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. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

My First Casket Project (and more quilts)

Here is my first completed project from my Cabinet of Curiosities class - the Butterfly Pinkeep.  We had a choice of two colorways, the bright original looking colors and the faded colors (or we could do our own of course).  I went with the bright colors based on what the ladies were using in the late 1600's.  And they are bright.  Love it.  Tricia has set up the course so we learn to use the silks and techniques that we will need to make our caskets.  And I'm really glad she has set it up this way.  I love the colors of the Soie Paris silk but I hate working with them.  And they are pricey and money is a concern for me so I'll be looking for substitutes for them.  I'm thinking Vicky Clayton silks will be a start.   And I can order variegated colors and that would be cool.  I'll then have more money to spend on some of the other threads that have been developed for the course. 

 And I've already started work on my second piece - it's a little glove - this is the band.  All tent stitch over 34 count linen.  Oh my eyes!  :-) 

I'm way behind right now.  We are currently on month 10 of lessons and instructions and have already received complete supplies and instructions for four projects and started on the instructions for the fifth.  And I still need to start work on designing my box panels.  And for that I need to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator and my Bamboo Tablet.  I don't want to draw and redraw the panels over and over again as I change my mind.  But the learning curve for my plan is huge.  My plan is to have all my casket panels more or less designed and colors and stitching styles selected  by the time this first course is over.  And I want to have most of my supplies gathered - stitching frames, linen, silks, extra bits, etc. by the time the second stumpwork course starts (nine months from now).  Then I start working on my box as the months of that course unfold. 

And don't forget I still need to buy my casket.  I'm sure it's going to be around $3,000+ or so but I'm pretty sure we can pay for it monthly with delivery after we are done paying for it.  For me that is in a couple of years.  :-) 

 I finished another quilt last weekend.  This was a Timbleberries quilt pattern with Timbleberries fabric from around 8 or so years ago.  It's called Paintbox Stars.  I did hundreds of flying geese.  :-)  But super happy with how it turned out and it fits my king size bed!  My first quilt ever to do so.  I'm glad the long arm quilter can do up to this size quilt because I want more!
 Close up of the quilting pattern.  I'm very happy with how it turned out.

 This is a quilt I finished up a couple of weeks ago.  Can't remember the name of it or the pattern line but love how it turned out.  Quilted it with black thread and happy with the end result.

Up for this weekend (already on the quilt frame) is another JoAnn Fabrics quilt of the month from around seven years ago.  That one I plan on keeping as the colors still work in my house.  Then I can start a French General that I made a couple of years ago!  Can't wait for that one.  French General are currently my favorite line of quilt fabrics.  The just one more top to go and I'm totally caught up with my tops.  I have my next quilt cut out - it's a smallish wall hanging - about 36 inches square but with lots of little pieces.  And the beauty part?  I'll be able to quilt it right away.  :-)  It's great having a long arm quilter.  I still have around a dozen or so quilt tops kitted up.  I really want to start to get to those also.  I hate buying more when I have tubs filled with uncut fabric.  And it's always been a goal of mine to be a finisher and not just a starter with everything I do.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

still quilting!

Still a lot of quilting going on in my life!  I'm down to only three tops that need to be quilted on my machine.  Here are several quilts that I managed to get photos of.  I just noticed I'm missing one or two and I still have three that are in a pile to have their binding finished off.  :-)  I'm down to three tops that I still need to buy backing for so now I have started to piece more tops!  I'm starting to run out of space to put all my quilts.  A happy problem to have for sure.

 This was an old JoAnn Fabrics quilt block of the month quilt.  I think it's around nine or ten years old.  I gave it to one of my brothers as a thank you for all the help he has given me on my house.  He was quilt thrilled with it.  :-)  It's big - queen size at least.

 This bright little guy I put together last summer (along with the same quilt in a different color way) and my sister needed a quick baby quilt so I let her give this one away. 
 Here is another top that sat around for years waiting to be quilted - this pattern is a Miss Rosie (she is one of my favorite quilt designers) and it was my first fabric random (scrappy) style quilt.  I did it around eight years ago.  This one is big also.  It almost fits my king size bed.  If I would have done more more column and one more row, it would have.  Bummer.  :-)
Here is Isabelle in her favorite chair sleeping watching me quilt.  The long arm machine is at my sister's house and she gets tired out from playing with my sister's lab, Hunter.  Break times are always in this chair. 
 Here is my first ever "real" quilt.  Everything before this had been just putting together blocks and making stuff up.  This one is at least 25 years old.  I bought a booklet that taught the user one block and technique at a time.  I hung onto these 12 blocks for years and years and around two years ago, I put the top together.  And here is it finally quilted!  The colors are dreadful so 80's but I still love it.  I plan on putting it in my sewing room when I'm finished with renovating it this spring. 
 My latest finish just came off the frame on Sunday and I bound it last night.  This is the warmest quilt I have ever done.  It's 100% flannel top and back with 100% wool batting inside.  It's from a design from Primitive Gatherings and again, is on the large size.  The photo on the bottom is a close up of the quilting .  It looks great with the strips. 

Until next time!