Showing posts from 2012

Almost Ready!

The house is decorated, the cards are sent and the gifts are wrapped.  Holiday parties have been attended and pollyanna exchanges have been fun.  Two trips to the airport and one to the train station have been made to welcome home our middle son  from Baton Rouge, our daughter from a semester abroad in Edinburgh, and our oldest from New York.  Food shopping is done and menus are planned, thanks to the help of my husband who really enjoys that sort of thing more than I do.   We even had a brief celebration last night for our daughter's 21st birthday (actually on 12-21-12 when the world didn't come to an end) after she arrived from the airport.  All that's left is to deliver gifts to three of our neighbors, and to make the above stitching into an ornament.  I stitched three of these this year, one for each of the kids, as has been my tradition.  Of course, every year I promise myself that I will do the finishing before the first of December, and every year I leave it until …

Unspeakable Sorrow

Around 9:00 this morning, I was outside an elementary school supervising our students' arrival.  I noticed that a car had stopped in the street and a parent was letting her kindergarten child get out and walk between parked cars to get to the sidewalk.  I approached the car and asked the woman to park her car and let our crossing guard take the child across the street.  I reminded her that we are always trying to keep our children safe.  I hope that mother gave her daughter an extra hug this evening.  Parents of twenty children in Conneticut will never have that chance again.

I Must Be Nuts

While cruising the blogs recently, I ran across mention of Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year challenge.  I have exactly one Scarlet Letter kit, Scottish Band, in my stash and it's been there since the beginning of time.  Well, maybe, not that long, but certainly since the start of the millenium.  In fact, it's been there so long that I raided the kit for silks I needed for another project.  I think this challenge is just what I need to get stitching on this project.  Wish me luck!

I've Been in Rehab

I'll bet that post title will cause some internet searchers to be surprised when pictures of my blocks of the month come up.  In spite of not sewing a whole lot in the last month, I have done a few more in the Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Designer BOM.  These are (mostly) fun, especially that top block where I constructed the center by piecing strips and then cutting it down to size.  And it worked!!  I'm still new enough to quilting that I'm sometimes amazed by what I can produce, with matching seams and everything.  This quilt has a long way to go as it has a large center piece and then stars in the sashing.  I'm not rushing it and just enjoying the journey.

Speaking of not rushing things, remember the Thimbleberries quilt border?  I'm still plugging away on it.  I sewed one strip of 27 half-square triangles together and came up an inch short.  I tried adjusting seams and couldn't get it to come out correctly.  So I employed my seam ripper and started over.  Las…

I'm Still Here

 I've been back at work for seven or eight weeks now and am once again discovering how much that interferes with sewing time.  Work has been busy as I adjust to two new schools, but this past week, I felt as if my head was above water.  At least I wasn't running through lists of things I needed to do through my head every night.

This fall, though, it's not just work that is taking up my time.  I've been going to physical therapy in the evenings to relieve the lower back and shoulder pain I've had for six months.  Sometimes the treatments and the exercises have caused the pain to spike for a day or two and I usually don't feel like sewing when I get home from the appointments.  I'm happy to say I've gotten a lot of relief and will probably be finished with therapy next week. 

Speaking of time consuming, we bought a new car.  Thank goodness I only do this every 8-10 years as it's not a quick process.  I love my new machine and will post more about …

Summer's End

I'm enjoying a leisurely morning.  I've finished a book (The Thread of Truth by Marie Bostwick) and gone to the gym (spin class--never gets easier no matter how many time I do it).  Everyone else in the house had a late night and all are sleeping in, allowing me a few more moments before I need to get ready to go to the mall with my daughter.  She's headed off to Scotland at the end of the week and doesn't think the winter coat she bought two weeks ago will be warm enough.  So we need to look again.  Today is our designated packing day.  Remember I'm a genius at packing so we will be sure to get the maximum amount into those suitcases for my little clotheshorse.  (She inherited that trait from my husband.  I'm a jeans and T-shirt person myself.  Buying clothes just doesn't compare to acquiring books and needlework stash.)

Last week I endured four days of inservice at school.  It's great to be back and see everyone, but it really is torturous to sit thr…

Move Along (WiPocalypse #8)

Move along, there's nothing (much) to see here.  Stitching went by the wayside this month as during the first half I was preparing to move my son and during the second half I was racing around getting ready to go back to work.  Some of that was fun as it included lunch with friends and a fabric shopping trip in Lancaster County.  And then there was the part that was actual work--interviewing for a new therapist in our department, attending a conference on billing and doing an evaluation.  My district has four days of teacher inservice this week and the kids start on Tuesday.  I'm already bringing work home in an effort to keep up!  Funny thing is, though, that I find I actually stitch more when I'm on a schedule.  Hopefully, I'll have more to show in September, but for now, this is all you get.

Rehab is Working!

Here's Block #3 in the Fat Quarter Shop's 2009 Designer Mystery.  I tell you, I have totally amazed myself with being able to piece these blocks.  I think this is the most complicated block I have done to date.  Only some minor re-sewing was involved this time as I had to switch the "wings" on the top and bottom flying geese.  That's because I took this block to piece at my guild's UFO workshop on Saturday and didn't pay attention to the directions.  I did have lots of fun talking to friends on either side of me which is also why it took me nearly half the day to get this block done. 

And speaking of those "amazing" piecing skills--well, not so much with my Thimbleberries block of the month.  The top went together like a dream.  So did the first strip of half square triangles for the border.  The second strip of triangles needed some adjustments in the seam to make it fit, but that was really no big deal.  I got the top and bottom borders on a…

BOM Rehab

I completed Block 2 in the Fat Quarter Shop 2009 Mystery BOM.  I love the colors!  I'm getting better at doing the layout correctly the first time, but there was still some re-sewing involved in this block.  Still, these are fun and I'm looking forward to the next one. 

The last three weeks have been hectic here as my son got accepted into graduate school on his birthday (exactly three weeks ago) and started his graduate assistantship today.  My husband and I accompanied him on the 21 hour drive to his new home near the Mississippi last week.  His Honda Civic was stuffed with an amazing number of his things.  I reminded my son more than once that I am a genius at packing and got rewarded with an eye roll each time.  Seriously, if there was an Olympic medal for packing, I would win gold hands down. Of course, there wasn't too much room in the back seat and for awhile, I doubted that I would ever be able to walk normally again after the trip.

I found myself wondering more …

A Day Late

Here's my BOM Rehab for this week, a day late.  This is from the Fat Quarter Shop's 2009 Designer Mystery Block of the Month.  I think I bought this in 2010 as I received all of the blocks at once.  I was pretty new to quilting in 2009-10 so I didn't tackle this one right away.  My piecing skills have improved and I felt ready for the challenge.  Just wish my layout skills had also improved so I wouldn't have had to rip out half-square triangles that were turned the wrong way  (not just one of them, either).

I was definitely in a "Christmas in July" frame of mind last month as, at home,  I worked exclusively on Quaker Christmas, bought fabric for another Christmas quilt and pulled this out of my stash.  I also made a baby quilt for a little girl who will make her appearance in September and took that to the quilter.  The five-hour drive up to Newport, Rhode Island at the end of July turned into an eight-hour drive and I nearly finished the background on the …

WIPocalypse #7


My plan this month was to work on Not For Us Alone, but early in the month, I picked up Quaker Christmas and kept going.  It's nice not having to change thread colors all the time and I feel I've accomplished something each time I finish a motif.  The Sanibel canvas may be finished this weekend as we are making a short trip and have a five hour drive to get to our destination.  That's the perfect time to do the basketweave for the background.

Lots of things have been happening at my house, including my son's acceptance to graduate school and my daughter's preparations to study abroad for the entire year.  Somehow they seem to need my attention just when I'm ready to sit down to stitch.  I do have some quilting progress to show and will post that when I get back after the weekend.  Hope everyone is staying cool this summer!

It's An Epidemic

Nancy,Piecemeal and Patchwork Penguin have all made recent posts about the state of their sewing rooms.  I was in a similar position earlier this week with a myriad of projects and wannabe projects covering my cutting table.  I wasn't able to focus on anything as far as quilting goes.  My solution?  I got a couple of shopping bags and put everything that is not related to my current project into them.  My cutting table is clear and I can move ahead with that Thimbleberries block-of-the-month quilt I'm determined to finish this summer. 

And yes, I know that I've only put a band-aid on the whole issue of reorganizing the sewing room as I now have a number of bags and boxes sitting around the room.  But with my hisband and two of my kids around most of the time, I don't want to do a full clean-outThat would be scary!!  So the cleaning process will happen one quilt at a time.

WIPocalyse #6

In spite of being off work for two weeks, I have very little progress to show this month. I finished a Christmas ornament and put a few stitches into some other projects.  I can't seem to settle on one and I still find myself finally sitting down to stitch around 9 in the evening.  Try as I might to find stitching time during the day, other things keep interfering with that plan.  It's amazing to me how household tasks expand to fill the available time.  I could show you pictures of my clean kitchen and emptier closets but that's way less exciting than stitching.  The heat wave we have starting today and predicted to go through next week sounds like the perfect excuse to stop cleaning and get stitching.

FNSI Check-in

I think this is the first time I've every posted the results of my Friday Night Sew-in "on time."  Participants are supposed to report back on Saturday and most times I just don't get around to it.  Unfortunately, I have pitifully little to show for my efforts last night.  I decided to pick up New Mercies from Tree of Life Samplings.  I started this on January 1 and it hasn't seen the light of day since. (Sorry the picture is so dark.  It was tough to get enough light this morning when I was running out to meet a friend for breakfast.)  Last night there was some frogging involved as I changed thread colors for what will be the sun and then miscounted somewhere along the line.  Let's hope the rest of the summer is more productive!

Friday Night Sew-In

It's that time again--the third Friday of the month and time for Friday Night Sew-In.  Stop on over at Heidi's blog to sign up.  The timing couldn't be better for me as tomorrow is my last day of work until late August.  Tonight is the high school graduation for my district and I'll be one of the faculty members marching with the students.  This year, some of the students I had in kindergarten through third grade (and again when they were in middle school)  are now 21 and graduating from their special education classes.  It's always a special moment for me to see how far they have come.  The last day for students is today so tomorrow the teachers are heading for an early lunch.  That means I'll be home in the early afternoon and organizing my stitching projects for tomorrow night.  I just finished an ornament, so I think I'll be going back to Not For Us Alone.   If I'm exhausted from all the celebrating, I'll probably pick up my Sanibel needlepoint…

May I Present

Here's Sergei by Plum Street Samplers.  He was lots of fun to stitch with Sampler Threads and an NPI.  Sergei was started during my guild's retreat in Ocean City, Maryland at the end of April and finished during the first weekend of June.  I'm thinking of putting him in a simple black frame and have the perfect place for him in my kitchen. 

As I said in an earlier post, I have been struggling to stay awake in the evenings and therefore, stitching time has been limited.  I'm headed into my last week of work and have very few plans for the summer other than stitching and reading the stack of 20-30 books in my bedroom.  My workouts will shift to the morning so I shouldn't be falling asleep as soon as I sit down at night.  Good thing as I had no willpower during my guild's stash sale/swap yesterday and came home with a *few* new projects.  More on those later.  In the meantime, we have had some gorgeous weather and today is no exception, so I'm off to sit on t…

WIPocalypse #5

Thanks to the Delaware Valley Historical Sampler Guild's retreat in Ocean City, Maryland at the end of April, I have lots of progress to show you this month.  The piece above is Carriage House Samplings  Alphabet.  I spent quite of bit of the retreat stitching those black boxes, and there was no frogging involved!  I have the separate patterns for each alphabet letter and most of them call for using Sampler Threads Bittersweet for the fill-in at the bottom of the block.  I was never crazy about the color (probably one of the reasons this piece has been in the WIP pile for so long) and while I was at the retreat, I auditioned a couple of different colors.  Sampler Threads Antique Rose won and I'm happy with the choice.

 I also started this piece at the retreat.  I threw this in my bag at the last minute just in case I needed something with a large count when my eyes got tired.  I started it on Sunday morning before we left and eventually, it will become this.

At home, I contin…

FNSI progress

Here's what I worked on during this month's Friday Night Sew-In.  It's Sergei by Plum Street Samplers.  I find that I'm more and more drawn to pieces in a primative style these days and I'm having a lot of fun stitching this one.  I started it on my guild's retreat at the end of April and was stitching it with two threads over two.  When I got home, I decided I didn't like that and so started over with one thread over two.  I'm using the called-for Sampler threads and an NPI.  My goal is to finish it by the end of May.

We have had lovely weather this weekend and it has felt so good to be home for a change. I've spent all or part of the past three weekends out of town at the guild retreat, moving my daughter home from college and my son's graduation.  All good things, but it does feel nice to have my house cleaned and to have some time to sit on the deck and read the paper.  I'm hoping all of you are enjoying the weekend as well!

Friday Night Sew-In

It's been a busy week, starting ith my son's graduation and progressing to an overnight trip to Washington, DC in the middle of the week. I hadn't seen my sister who lives in Iowa for about 18 months. When I learned that she and her husband were going to be in DC for the week, I made plans to meet here there. A day or two later, she called and if I would like to be on a private tour of the White House with her. Who could pass that up?? So my husband and two of the kids tagged along and we all had a fabulous time. Then the new graduate had his wisdom teeth out today. I'm ready for some prolonged time on the couch with a stitching project. Pictures tomorrow, I hope. You can pop over to and join in the fun.

Happy Mother's Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful day. Mine was spent at my son's college graduation. He made it through in four years and graduated cum laude with departmental and university honors. I couldn't have asked for a better Mother's Day!

Going to Rehab

Sinta at Pink Pincushion is hosting BOM Rehab.  This is just the push I need to get working on some of those quilting projects that have been languishing.  Here's one of the blocks (#6, I think) for the Thimbleberries 2010 quilt.  I had to make two of these, but this is the one I didn't have to rip out and re-sew!

Know Thyself

Tomorrow morning, I'll be leaving for a three day retreat with my sampler guild* in Ocean City, Maryland. This will be my second time on the retreat although the guild has been doing these on a semi-annual schedule for a few years. I have a great time last year relaxing in the hotel lobby, chatting, and looking out at the ocean while stitching away. The problem was, there may have been a little too much chatting and gazing at the ocean as I had to frog the border on my piece in several places when I returned home. That problem isn't limited to stitching retreats as I've had to rip out and restitch on pieces that I've worked on at guild meetings. So, finally, I've learned that I need to keep it simple. I've chosen two pieces for retreats and guild meetings that should keep miscounting and misplaced stitches to a minimum. My bag for retreat is going to contain Carriage House Samplings Alphabet and a needlepoint canvas I picked up on Sanibel Island in Flor…

WIPocalyse Check-in #4

Chapter 2, Not For Us Alone
                                                    February, Anniversaries of the Heart

It seems that I frequently participate in Friday Night Sew-In, but rarely get the chance to come back here and show you what I've done.  So I'll combine that with April's check-in for the WIPocalyse.  I did some work on Not For Us Alone on Friday night although there was some frogging involved and my progress seems minimal.  The man finally got a face and hat, but he still looks like he has a tail since I need to fill in a few stitches on his coat.  Hopefully, this week, the lady on the left will no longer be headless!  Thanks for all your comments on my earlier post about this piece.  I'm still OK with the Montenegrin stitch as it goes quickly.

I finished the February chart for Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart and personalized it with my mother's name and birthdate.  I had backs…

Spring Break Recap and FSNI

Spring break is just a fading memory by this time.  It was a great week that ended with a mini shop-hop with two quilting friends.  We traveled to Generations in Pottstown and  Ladyfingers in Oley, PA. I tried to keep my purchases to a minimum, and only buy coordinates for fabrics already in my stash, but somehow the makings of a whole new quilt ended up in my bag.  One of the things I was looking for was fabric to bind this wall hanging since I didn't like what came in the kit.  The hanging above was done from a pattern by Patchability and kitted by my LQS.  This was something I bought last year and I had actually finished the background.  Doing the fusible applique and machine stitching only took another hour or so and I had a new Easter decoration.   I think I finished the binding on Saturday, so I did get to hang it for this holiday!

During the break and continuing after, we have been dealing with a hospitalization, rehab, and long-term care decisions for my mother-in-law.  I…

Spring Break, 2nd Edition

Spring Break, 2012 is going well.  My husband and I rounded out the weekend by going to see "God of Carnage" at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia.  The play is about two sets of parents who meet to discuss what to do after one couple's son injures the son of the other at the playground.  The parents end up acting like children and it was highly amusing.  An added bonus to the afternoon was running into someone I had worked with until she retired several years ago.  We have a subscription to the Walnut as does she and her husband.  Each of us had exchanged our regular tickets so that we could attend the Sunday afternoon show and we ended up sitting next to each other.  It was so much fun to catch up and see pictures of her newest granddaughter. 

I finished stitching the February chart for Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart last night.  It's too early to get a good photo this morning, so I'll have that for you later.  Next up is Amy Mitten's…

Spring Break 2012, Early Edition

Spring break has gotten off to a fine start.  After I left school yesterday, I headed for the nail salon for a mani/pedi.  The salon is far less busy on a Friday afternoon than during the weekends and I realized that I was also far more relaxed since I wasn't thinking about the dozens of things I needed to be accomplishing in only two days off work.  Then it was time to head into Philadelphia where we were being treated to a meal at one of the hotels.  Our acquaintance brought along his 13 year old son whom we had never met.  He was such a delight that I found myself wishing he and my daughter were closer in age.  The meal was fabulous--I had venison, of all things.  Definitely outside my usual restaurant fare of seafood, and it was terrific.

Having done my Weight Watchers weigh-in yesterday afternoon, I was free to sleep in this morning.  I'm usually up around 5:00 so it was wonderful to be able to sleep until 7:00.  This morning (a gray one in this part of Pennsylvania), I&…


You know that feeling when something is so close you can almost taste it?  That's how I'm feeling about my upcoming spring break.  Only 1.5 more working days and I'll be sprung.  As of 12:30 tomorrow, there will be no lesson plans, parent phone calls or paperwork for a week.  I have a few things planned for the break--we're being treated to a special dinner tomorrow night and we have theater tickets for Sunday afternoon.  I've got appointments with a doctor and a dentist as well as for a haircut.  But there will be lots of time for stitching and quilting and a  trip with friends to the fabric shop.  All three of the kids will be home at the end of the week for Easter.  What could be better?

WIPocalypse Check-in #3

I know I don't have to have a finish in order to post for the WIPocalypse, but it sure feels good to have three finishes in three months!  Here's Lizzie Kate's ABCs of Aging Artfully which was fun to stitch despite several miscountings that required frogging.  I haven't decided whether to finish it as a pillow or to frame it, but either way, it will go in the guest room. 

Right now, though, the "guest room" is still a semi-shrine to my older son.  The son who went to college in Miami, graduated four years ago and has lived in Los Angeles and New York since then. The son who has not spent more than two consecutive weeks in the room since the summer of 2006.  He just got a new job that gave him a nice increase in his income and at the same time, found a new apartment to share with a friend from high school.  After 18 months of living in sublet rooms, he has signed his own lease and now can become an official New Yorker.  At some point in the near future, we&#…

FNSI Report

 Thanks to a significant amount of time on the stitching couch on Friday night, the ABCs of Aging Artfully went from  this                                          

to this. 
I apologize for the poor picture quality.  The first picture was taken in the early evening after a marathon day at work (it's report card time) and I grabbed the second shot right before I headed out to Weight Watchers and then on breakfast with a friend (definitely not a Weight Watcher's event).  There wasn't any stitching yesterday, but I did get the taxes done and filed for my children.  Even though I still have to finish ours, I feel that a big job has been accomplished.  I'm hoping for some time to stitch this afternoon and would really like to finish this piece today.  I've already gone diving in the stash for the next WIP I want to finish.


A Loud Moo

I know, I know--I disappear for a couple of weeks, and then come back with a rant.  But I am quite the COW* after my encounter with the customer "service" people at the financial institution that handles our home equity line of credit we took out last year.

This all started a few weeks ago.  I finally followed through on my goal of moving our money market account.  The new account allows me to conveniently make on-line payments, and that's what I did to pay off the loan.  I typed in the amount on the statement, hit send and confirm and thought that was that.  This morning, I opened my e-mail to find that the payment had been returned to my account.  After work, I called the customer service number on the bill and got only an automated system (also found out that I could pay my bill over the phone with a bank check and be charged $10 for the privilege).  I flipped the bill over and found another number.  After being told by the automated system that my loan number wasn&#…


Last week, my husband had to have eye surgery on a semi-emergency basis.  Since he was an add-on to the surgical schedule, we knew we would be waiting quite a while.  The night before, I gathered up my stitching things to take along and for the life of me, couldn't find the scissors I keep in my "traveling" bag.  I knew it had been with me when I went to my guild meeting, but it was nowhere to be found. They were missing until I got home and remembered that I now keep them in this great bag*  that I got from Stacy at our guild's exchange in December.  Seems the only thing that has  truly gone missing is my memory.  And I didn't put in a single stitch on anything during the six hours of waiting.

*The bag is from a pattern called Snap Happy.  It's made with a carpenter's ruler so that the closure snaps open and closed.  The pattern has three sizes for the bags.  It's on my list of projects I want to do this year.  The scissors fob was from Francine, an…

WIPocalypse Check-in #2

Grace Mason (Of Female Worth)  The verse over one
Grace Mason is finally done!  Some of us on the Legacy board had Thanksgiving Day starts one year.  I'm thinking that must have been in 2006.  As I've mentioned in other posts about this piece, the verse was the text for the sermon at my mother's funeral, and this was the first piece I worked on after we returned from the trip to the Midwest for the service.  I've also mentioned in other posts that I remember working on the border as I sat with my mother's sister, who was 90 at the time, and listened while she tried to come to terms with giving up her apartment and moving to assisted living.  Lots of memories in this piece. Now I'm concentrating on Lizzie Kate's ABCs of Aging Artfully.  I've managed to "personalize" this piece by miscounting threads in the first row which means I'll have to fudge here and there.  This piece is either going to be made into a pillow or framed to hang in th…