Monday, January 27, 2014

back in the freezer

Here is my progress on my IsaV Marquior.  Each of the six sections is made up of nine blocks.  One and three quarters done of this section.  Now to decide how much I want to complete.  A good girl would do an entire section.  Not sure how good I feel this week.  ;-) I was having more fun with my etui. 
Other wool project in the finis column.  I hooked this little pillow last year and finally pillowized it.  I actually have quite a collection now of pillows completed - eight or so with several more waiting to be hooked.  I think it's time to move onto a rug but I can't afford an entire rug all at once.  I wish I could find a store that does what quilt store do with blocks of the month.  Then I could afford it. 
And speaking of blocks of the month, here is my current block of the month project up to date (as of today anyway - I expect month four tomorrow).  Seven inch blocks - 12 out of 52.  These are all civil war prints. 

Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I finished up the Ellen Chester side of my etiu last night.  This side is my favorite and not because Ms. Ellen herself has been gracing my blog with her comments.  This is my favorite needlework saying of all the saying out there that I have found. 
 I don't think I ever posted a good photo of the first side I completed last month. 

So pretty!  I love that I'm making good progress on this one.
I'm going to put the etui down a bit and work on another WIP.  I think the IsaV Marquior is up next - I only have two sections (out of six) to go and I'd love that put that one if in the finis column this year.  I'll post a photo with progress soon.
I've always been a lover of Judith Leiber bags.  My sister is a HUGE fan and owns many.  She surprised me last week with this cute pug bag.  Not in the usual pug colors but cute nonetheless.  The bag is surround by some of the little Judith Leiber scent boxes she has been buying for me. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

chilly and snowy

So far this winter has been snowy and really cold!  Like the winters used to be.  Here is my progress on my Etui.  I love how this side is shaping up.  I wish I was farther but a combination of weather and opportunity has allowed me to work from home more than usual.  And I've only been stitching on the train. 
 Speaking of working from home, here are my coworkers gathered around the space heater in my office.  Seriously, it's not that cold in here!  LOL!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

A couple more little finishes

I've been busy working on finishing up old projects.  I managed to get to the quilt store for the border fabric for my 36 inch wall hanging.  I love how it turned out.  It will be a while though before it hits the quilting machine - my sister did a ton of work on her house and the sewing room is still a mess.  I have to go and get it all together again before I can start working on quilts in there.
This is a little 12 inch quilt who's kit I purchased last spring or the winter before even.  Super quick - I did it in just two days.  The plan is to have a ton of these little quilts so I can change them out monthly.
This little pin cushion was a test block of a quilt that I've been working on for years.  I have to be in the mood to work on paper piecing and the wall hanging quilt has been just sitting in a box.  But I saved the first test because I knew it would make a great little something.  And it did!
This pin cushion is a kit from Just Another Button Company.  I've had the kit for a couple of years but the instructions had an error and I never got around to emailing them for the correction.  Well I finally did on Monday and finished this up last night.
And lastly and hard to see what it is, is a table runner I quilted on the quilter two Christmases ago.  I need a quick gift for my nephew and niece so I made them each a table runner.  I did a test first using metallic thread but it didn't work out that great so I redid theirs using cotton but hung onto the test.  And finally bound it.  As long as you don't look to closely you can't tell that the thread broke a million times. 

I've also been stitching on my Etui but no current progress photos and working on finishing up more blocks from blocks of the month quilts.  I really have a bunch.  :-)  And I finally looked in my quilt kits box.  Oh boy, do I have the projects to get to.  :-)

Friday, January 03, 2014

Quilting time

 Since my last update I've spent my crafting time quilting.  And I've been very productive!  Below are three little paper pieced pictures that I've completed.  It's a series of six but so far I've only acquired three.  Now I want to buy the other three.  I pick these up at quilt shows so I might resort to an online order if I can't wait that long. 
 I also finished the piecing of a small quilt for my wrought iron mini quilt holder.  I actually cut this out around 13 months ago planning on it being on display two Christmases ago.  Didn't make it again this year but will no doubt be in place this year.  I've got a ton of mini quilts to do and I'll put them on the machine quilter all at the same time some time this summer. 
Lastly I finished piecing another smallish quilt 36 x 36.  Love this one - its from the book, Civil War Legacies - Quilt Patterns for Reproduction Fabrics.  It's still missing the last 3" border though, I bought a kit from my favorite quilt store way over a year ago and it was missing from the package.  Bummer but a good excuse for a trip to the store today. 
I've also been doing a little more but no photos yet.  I'm working on a quilt of the month quilt called Hampton Bridge.  Another reproduction fabric quilt and so far I'm keeping up with it.  Well actually I just got caught up as we were just sent month three.  :-)  Before going back to work on Monday, I hope to do some work on a log cabin that I've had in the works for way over two years.  It's made up of random light and dark reproduction fabrics cut into super small logs.  Each log will finish at a half an inch!  And I hope to piece month five of another block of the month I got way behind on called Civil War Tribute.  I haven't worked on this one since April 2010. 

What are my craft plans for the year?  I want to finish things.  I've got a ton of stitching WIPs plus even more quilting WIPs.  I want to complete a ton before I invest more $$ on new stuff.  There a are several wool rugs (all pillow size still at this point) I want to finish - love rug working but I never purchased a frame I really like yet and it's still hard to settle in.  I also need to get going on my Cabinet - the second online class starts in March and I'm in this so deep in regards to money at this point I need to keep going - way over $2,000 I estimate at this point with at least $3,000 to go. 

Also have a ton of travel planned for this year.  A short cruise in Caribbean, a longer Disney cruise in April to Mexico with my sister and her kids and grand kids but the big trip of 2014 is a cruise and some land travel in May to Asia with my sister!  I'll start planning that soon so stay tuned for that.  We thinking adding on a three day Beijing land tour to the cruise.  And of course maybe Africa again in early winter - just a mission trip this year.  My nephew Larry and I plan on taking more climbers to Kili in 2015.   My attendance on that depends all on if I can raise the funds again.  I won't need as much as my trip in 2013 but I don't want to ask too much from friends and family if I want to try again in 2015. 

No major home improvement plans on tap this year - my travel plans this year will take all my extra funds so no big money available for that and I need to pay down my debt to get ready for a home equity loan I want to take out for the roof and siding I need.  I'm putting in a new hot water heater for sure and I'm hoping to purchase more hardwood for my floors (just to have on hand, no money for installing it this year) and changing out windows starting with my bedroom.  It's still cold in there despite my gutting the room and putting in insulation in the walls, getting insulation in the attic and putting in an all new heater and ducts!  Like five degrees colder than the rest of the house so at this point it can only be the bad windows.  I'm also (even though I swore I wouldn't do this) planning on cosmetic work on my kitchen.  I didn't want to spend money twice but I just can't stand it anymore and it's going to be at least a decade I'm thinking before I can do what I want to do with the kitchen.  I purchased an island several months ago and I love it.  I've already purchased a kit to paint the cabinets a cream color and plan on antiquing them darker.  I'll put in new counter tops and a back splash in slate tile.  If I can find the cash, I'll put in a new sink (I really want a hammered copper farmhouse sink and can use in the new kitchen someday so I really won't be wasting the $$) and a new oil rubbed bronze faucet as it's the only piece of metal left in  the house that doesn't match.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Actually making progress!

I'm very pleased with the amount I've actually stitched this week.  :-)  Making great progress with this side of the etui.  Just the first border and quote left and it's in the books.  I'm working from home a bit over the next two weeks as I'm not taking any time off during the holidays.  I'm hoping to keep my momentum going by finishing this side of the box and finishing off my current casket project.  I'm also hoping to get some quilting in.  I have a ton of quilt WIPs and kits that are collecting dust in my sewing room and I want to make room for more!  :-)
Enjoy the weekend! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Queen Stitch Blues

I finished off the first side of my A Petit Sampling Etui last week.  Between the Queen Stitches and the over one lettering, I thought I would never be finished!  :-)  But I'm super happy with how it turned out and I've already started on another side. 
Making great progress on the second side (by Ellen Chester I think).  This one has no Queen Stitches and only a little over one lettering.  Normally I love over one stitching but it's too hard for me to see on the train now that I need to wear glasses to stitch.  Not enough light so I have to wait until I get home and have my Ott Light to help me see. 
I also worked a bit on my current project from my ongoing casket project.  It's the pin cushion and I'm almost at the point of this project where all I have left is, yes, Queen Stitches.  :-)  We are done with the first 18 months worth of classes and so far disappointed with what I have completed.  Nowhere close to designing my piece and even farther away from being able to do the stumpwork required.  The second session starts in March and that is dedicated to the stumpwork skills.  Hoping that will inspire me to get going on the skills needed to complete my casket.  I'm planning on taking some of my income tax refund money to buy some of the materials needed to complete the casket.  Like the foundation fabric and lining fabric and papers and a ton more of the silk threads.  I have all the tools I need at this point, lamps, wood frames and stumpwork tools so I'm good there. 
In other craft news, I started making jewerly again after I got inspired from a bracelet I puchased while in Africa from the Maasi (top crystal one).  It turns out it's done in the style of bracelets by Chan Luu.  Way cool but way out of my price range.  So I got creative and made a couple.  Way cool and super easy.  :-)  I did the blue stone one and the wrap one.  I think they would make great gifts.
Over the weekend I picked up a new dog bed for the pugs.  Isabelle has a huge one that they love but they just get swallowed up by it (even when all three are on it) so I've been on the hunt for an affordable, smaller one for Molly especially because she is getting up there in age (she is 10) and when the floors are cold in the winter, she has a hard getting moving when she is sleeping on the floor.  Within minutes of putting it down, Molly planted herself and stayed there for hours.  Clancy got in a little while later and the two of them are now happly sharing it (Aoife doesn't like to share and wanted nothing to do with it).  Late last night I looked down and what do I see?  Isabelle trying it out.  Silly dog. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Cross one off the bucket list! I made the summit!

Getting to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  And I thought completing a marathon was hard.  That was easy compared to this!  It was both a mental and physical challenge from start to finish.  And totally life changing.  Here I am at the summit with our head guide and first assistant guide.  Without their help, I don't think I could have made it.
 My climbing buddies - my nephew Larry, one of Larry's best friends, Scott, me, my nephew Mark and our good friend Bill - taken on our safari to Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
 I was amazed at the wildlife we saw while on safari - I could have reached out and touched the elephants and they strolled by our truck.
 Almost above the clouds on day two.
And the moutain herself.  I can't wait to go back.
And I'm looking for a new adventure. :-)  Where will I go next?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

feeling good

I've actually made some progress on my first panel - almost finished with the first color of the Queen Stitch.  Two more rows on each after this but I feel good about just picking it up again.  It's funny, I was bitching about Queen Stitches and how it holds me up and I looked over at the pin cushion that I'm making for my casket (photo posted in last blog update) and I'm almost at the point where all the remaining stitching is Queen Stitch!  Yikes!

 I also did a couple more steps in my long term project - Scott Lee.  Scott Lee was a class piece that the late Jean Hilton did many years ago.  I'm almost finished with the "prework".  Then the hard stuff starts.  Like this was a piece of cake... Not!  The amount of counting that had to be done to line up the light tan wavy border with dark tan wavy border was amazing.  Took forever and many pulls and recounts.  And of course I once again saw the note that said "you must pay Kelly for the chart"!  Sorry Kelly!

I started a blog for my climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro.  We are going to have 24/7 tracking and hope to upload photos and videos everyday.  Tracking will be turned on the 14th when we leave for Africa - our climb starts on the 17th.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's been a while!

I can't believe it's been six months since I last blogged.  I can't believe it's been six months since I really stitched anything!  I've been trying, really I have, but I just can't seem to put together more than a day or two at a time to stitch.  I know some of it is because on the project I wanted to work on the most, I'm at a point where I have nothing left but Queen Stitch and I HATE those so I've been putting off  working on it.  I started back on A Petit Sampling Etui several months ago and made great progress on the first panel of the box.  But now I'm at the point of nothing left but those damn Queen Stitches and a bunch of over one letters and I just haven't wanted to pick it up.  I was doing so good until that point!  Still having issues with staying awake on train and stitching at night.  And my new glasses didn't help as much as I was hoping they would.  But here it is in any case. 

I've also been trying to put some work into working on my Casket materials but can't seem to get anywhere with that also.  I started payments for my double casket early in the summer - $110 a month for 24 months and as soon as I can get the cash together I need to put the deposit down on the second class of the series (the first class is complete as of this month).  This one is all about stumpwork.  I've put so much money into this and I'm frozen.  Only one panel is designed and I haven't even started to try to learn the stitches I need to despite the several kits I have purchased.  It's driving me crazy.  Here is the start of the pin cushion.  It's tent stitch over waste canvas.  It looks pretty crappy now but it should look ok when the waste canvas is pulled off.  The stitches will look all puffy.  At least that is the plan anyway. 
Not much else going on - I did my usual it's summer I don't want to work on the house routine so nothing has happened there. 
But my biggest news is I'm going to Africa in two weeks to attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro!  How about that!  It's 19,430 feet to the summit.  It's a fund raiser we came up with to benefit an orphan school in Moshi Tanzania.  Before my brother-in-law passed away last year, he asked that we help out his favorite nurse with her mission work and one thing lead to another and well I'm climbing a mountain.  :-)  Pretty cool huh?  Lot's of photos will of course follow so wish me luck. 
Thanks for stopping by after all this time!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scissor Case Finis

I finished up my scissor case over the weekend.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.  Two down and ?? to go.   :-)  I really don't know how many little treats are coming with our casket class (I have instructions for four or five at this point).  I laced up the next one and started stitching - it's a little pin cushion.  I'll take a photo the next time I work on it. 
 Here are my two little treasures together.  These will have a home in the casket someday. 
This is a set of hand made needlework tools I purchased from the UK.  They are made of English Yew and are all hand turned.  I'll need them for the stumpwork that I'm doing on the casket.  Of course I don't know how to use them yet but that will come in the second 18 month course.  I can't wait. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My old eyes...

For at least a month now I've been trying to finish the goldwork on this piece of stitching. It's for my Casket class and it will be part of a little scissor case. I've not been able to make any progress and I couldn't figure out why. Then it occurred to me last week the issue is I'm really struggling to see the stitching.

I have a new pair of progressive glasses (cost a small fortune) but they don't help at all and in fact my cheaters are far better for stitching than they are. Once I realized what the issue could be, I asked my casket group for recommendations for magnifying glasses or lamps. One of the ladies suggested I use a pair of cheaters along with my glasses. That did the trick - I was able to see well enough to finish the stitching on the piece. I have also ordered a magnifying lamp that has interchangeable lenses and a no heat lamp. That should come next week. I’m still looking for an affordable option for stitching when I'm not around the lamp - there was a lot of strain with the cheaters and glasses. Not something I want to do long term.

But as a result of finally being able to see – the finished cuff of my scissor case! I hope to put the scissor case together this weekend so I can start stitching the next item for the class – a pincushion.

I have made my first installment payment of my double casket. $110 dollars a month for 24 months. Yikes! We are on the home stretch of the first class having just finished up month 12 of 18. That means in September I start the second class which is another 18 months long. I’m still afraid to start work on the stumpwork – I haven’t even done any of the many sampler kits I purchased. I don’t know what my problem is. Nor have I finished learning Adobe Illustrator so I can start to design my casket. Again, I don’t know what my problem is. Time is always an issue but I’ve been sitting around at night bored out of my mind. I just need to start something, anything and I think the rest will start to role.

I’ve started work on my half bath and so far have the tile floor finished and the toilet installed (all done by yours truly). I wanted to install a beadboard wainscoting but the $$$$! Yikes. And I didn’t have the skill level yet and really didn’t want to ask for help. So I found the coolest product at Home Depot – paintable wainscoting wallpaper! I swear it looks like the real thing and I haven’t even painted it yet. Only took two hours to do the entire bathroom. Next up the pedestal sink and trim work. I need help with both of those but I’m learning. Hopefully someday I won’t need to make phone calls to family members.

Until next time!

Friday, March 01, 2013


I'm totally caught up with all my quilting!  There is nothing in the box!  Since the early winter, I've quilted 20 quilts on my sister's long arm machine (in addition to her 20 quilts).  Of course I have a ton of tops ready to go - some cut out, some started and some just in the raw fabric form ranging from 12" x 12" to 110" x 110".  More than enough to keep me busy for quite some time.

This one is an older Joann Fabrics block of the month quilt.  I totally changed the center block - the original was this hideous applique block of a house.  I designed what is there now and I love it.  I'm keeping this one for sure.  It's queen size and will look nice in my spare bedroom during the summer months.  I have so many now that I can change out quilts for each season.  :-)  Which was the plan from the start.  Now I just need to make myself king size for my bed.  So far I only have one quilt finished and only one kit in my stach.  Need more.  :-)

The last one off the machine was a French General - this was the from first line of fabrics that was designed by them.  Still my favorite. 
Have a great weekend!  I'm still digging out from the snow during the week and as I type this it's snowing again! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

another one bites the dust

 I finished up this quilt over the weekend.  Only two to go!  This was the first one that I tried to mix it up a bit - different border and different designs in the squares.  I love how it turned out. 
I LOVE feathers!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I can breathe!

My sinus surgery was a complete success and I'm happy to report that I can breath through my nose.  :-)  I still have a headache and my left eye hurts a bit but there is still a tube in there that gets removed on Friday and I suspect that is the culprit.  But it's almost over - a year of being sick.  I can't wait to start to feel better.  Hopefully I'll be able to stick to my running plan now.  I want to loose some of the weight I've gained over the past couple of years and I can't do it without exercise and running is my exercise of choice.  Over the past year, I haven't been able to find any momentum because I'm always sick.  I want to run at least one half marathan this year (targeting the fall) and lot's of smaller races.  I really enjoy it. 

 I didn't make as much progress as I was hoping to on my scissor case.  I didn't feel like stitching at all while recovering from the surgery.  Hopefully I'll feel like it soon.  I really want to get caught up. 
 Here is another quilt hot off the quilter.  This is the final JoAnn Fabrics BOM I had laying around.  This one is earmarked for a niece.  Thinking I might need a wedding shower gift in the next year or so.  I'll just put it away until it's needed.  I have two more that are quilted and just need to be bound.  They should be done in the next couple of days.  And the last top is on the machine already half quilted.  I can't beleive I have no more tops to finish. 
Not much progress has been made on my house over the last six months or so.  I havne't had a ton of money and time is always an issue.  But yesterday I got my front hall closet door hung!  I only lived with the gaping hole for 18 months.  :-)  It feels good to get going again.  Next month I'm starting work on my sewing and spare room.  All new oak floors and trim work.  Then I'll start working on the half bath attached to my bedroom.  Lots of cool plans there.  I can't wait!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Second Casket Project - Progress!

I've actually been making progress on my second casket project.  It's a tiny glove scissor case and this is the cuff at the top of the glove.  The size of the linen is giving me fits.  I just can't see well enough with even my best cheater glasses and even though I have progressive lenses in my glass, they are worthless for stitching this fine.  I broke down and bought the highest power cheaters yesterday but didn't have time to stitch last night.  I hope they work.  I think it's time for a Dazor light with magnifying lens.  I'll need it for all the fine work I need to do on the casket. 

I finished up a couple more quilts last week but only took photos of one.  Don't know how I forgot the second one.  This is another blast from the past - a Thimbleberries from about seven eight years ago.  I think it's called Bird House Quilt?  It was a block of the month club I belonged to at the time.  Still cute even though it, like so many other quilts I've finished lately, don't match my house at all.  But it's sorta spring like and it's on my couch.
Close up of the quilting pattern - like how it turned out.  As I said before, I finished two last week and I'll take a photo when I have a chance.  I have another quilt on the frame but as fate would have it half way though the quilting yesterday the machine started to misbehave badly so I quit for the day.  I already ripped a ton of quilting out and that is not easy to do so I walked away and I'm looking for advice from my Yahoo Group on my brand of quilter.  Sometimes I hate this machine.  I'll only have two quilt tops to go after that!  I can't believe I'm always done with almost 20 tops.  :-)

Think of me on Wednesday - I'm having a mass removed from my sinus and I'm quite apprehensive.  I've never had any sort of surgery and it's freaking me out.  :-)  I'm sure it will all end well but I hate not knowing what I don't know.