Sunday, February 21, 2010

You just can't trust the weatherman

If you can't trust the weatherman, who can you trust?  a used car salesman?  your ex-husband?  i think not.

Last Wednesday evening my friend, Brenda, called to invite me to a quilt retreat for the weekend with her and her friends. it sounded lovely. she always comes back with such good ideas and stories of the fun they had and the wonderful food they ate. i really wanted to go....and said i would. but then the weatherman was talking doom and gloom...rain and snow for friday night and a severe snowstorm for sunday. i decided to stay home.

What a mistake. not only did none of that materialize...Saturday was all sunshine and 55 degrees....the best day we have had this winter so far. of course, had i gone, all of that nastiness would have come down on our heads....that's the kind of luck i have. 

So i had my own little retreat at home and pieced a couple of UFOs and quilted one of my quilts. but it is not as much fun just talking to yourself. I know the ladies had a good time and i'll be waiting to hear all about it. i hope i get the chance to be invited again.

I'm never trusting the weatherman again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Have you tried Texture Magic?

Have you seen Texture Magic? you sew it to any piece of fabric and then steam it and it draws up and creates texture on your fabric. i bought a package some time ago and just unearthed it again today. although i am supposed to be loading a quilt today i decided to play with the magic.

Here is the package. the sheet comes 18"x47". You can get it at    and through   .... it is a bit pricey....about $15-20.  i have seen a larger piece that comes about 36"x47".

The instructions say to draw lines on the magic where you will sew it to your fabric. today i watched a Patsy Thompson video where she just meandered the magic to a piece of fabric and didn't draw any lines. so, it could go either way. i intended to use the whole piece at once, so i drew lines 2" apart in each direction. you can see through it easily so i placed it on my cutting table and used a regular pencil to draw lines.

You can add batting if you want more dimension and texture to your piece. i thought i might make a bag from this so i added batting. first i laid down my fabric..wrong side up. i am using a hand dyed cotton/silk blend and i laid the cotton side up. then laid my batting on top of that and then the magic on top of the batting. i pinned it all together with many pins.

i wanted to have the silk side of my fabric on the outside for my project.

Then i took it to my machine and stitched on all the lines...doing the short side first...sewing first one direction then the other...then went the other way and also stitched all around the outside. you are stitching on the magic you can see your lines....and i noticed my machine didn't want to sew on that too well. i had thread breaking issues...and no matter where i set the stitch length...they all came out small. Also in the Patsy Thompson video (found on Superior Thread's site...she showed stitching on EITHER side...if you don't draw lines you can do that.

After stitching all the lines i took it to the ironing station to steam it. you are steaming from the magic side BUT you can NOT set the iron ON the fabric. so it takes a while to hold the iron above the fabric about 1/2 inch in each spot until it does its magic. i was switching hands....think of it as arm exercise. haha   it takes a while...especially if you do the whole piece like i did. as it does its magic, it sort of curls up, so you might have to hold the fabric down a bit so it doesn't touch the iron. in the beginning, i was not impressed with what was going on. but the magic is actually happening on the other side. you don't see too much on the steaming side. here it is about half done.

It reminds me of those quilts that you make with puffy batting and make little squares...looks like waffles. LOL  the directions did say that the closer you sewed, the more it would texturize. so i might have to try it again one day and just put it on the longarm and meander or feather or something closer. when it was all done it looked like this. i found that it only pulled up so amount of adding more steam made it pucker any more. i went through 3 irons full of water for the steaming. the magic stuff kind of feels different after you are done...not quite stiff but has a different hand..sort of 'plasticy'
Here it is all pretty and finished up. there are 2 spots that didn't seem to pucker the same as the rest and as i amount of resteaming changed anything. after finishing, the piece came out 16"x39" i lost 2" on the short side and 8" on the long side.

And here's more of a closeup. if i were to cut this and use it in several projects or as an applique or something would want to stitch around your piece before you cut it out...otherwise you would lose the 'pucker' on the edges once you cut into it.

Had i found and watched Patsy's videos BEFORE i tackled this, i would have put it on the longarm and stitched it out differently instead of squares and i would have liked it even more. but that playing is for another day. I don't know how i can train myself to think things through first and research for my sister and husband do....i just have to jump in and DO IT. hahahahaha

I really need to go load that quilt.

Sewing along .... several projects at a time.

I am in a quilt group that meets every 2 weeks and this year we are making a quilt called Our Town. it's a row quilt with stars, trees, buildings, applique wreaths, etc. this week's assignment is a pickle dish block. i have to make 8 of them. i managed to get one done last night after class. it doesn't look bad. we are paperpiecing the arcs, stitching the melon piece inside and then appliquing that whole part to our 8.5" block. actually, we are supposed to do needleturn applique but i don't do that. my fingers don't i stitched it on with an applique stitch on my machine and i like it just fine.

The only thing i would have done differently...had i thought it through and really looked at it...would be to switch the red and green little triangles so the green would be in the middle. but that one is made and i am not trashing it and making 8 more. i can cope with it just as it is, thank you. 1 down...7 more to go.

And i am working on a crazy quilt for the bed at my sister's new house. i am using leftovers from the wedding quilt for Matt. i found a block on EQ6 and put 4 of them together to make a pinwheel type thing in the middle. the first one i used the same fabric for the center and then anything else for the rest. i didn't like it so much....the pinwheel didn't stand out much.

So, i tried again...making the pinwheel darker and using the same fabrics for each part of each block. that was better. not all the large 4 patch stitched blocks will match each other....but inside the large block they will all be the that? LOL 

There is the first block....24 more to go. sometime within the next year.

What are you working on? Do you work on more than 1 thing at a time?


Melting icicles and snow

Like most of the Midwest...we've been snowed on. we seem to have missed the last batch that went through St. Louis...which is all the same to me, thank you very much. i am not a fan of snow and/or ice. especially the shoveling part. LOL

Speaking of shoveling, i went out and shoveled my deck at the studio a few days ago and felt all proud of myself. about 30 minutes later i heard a huge 'thump' and looked out and guessed it...another mess slid off the roof and onto the newly shoveled deck. forget it...i give can stay there till it melts. it's not like i'm going to go sit out there in the cold anyway.

As the snow is melting from the roof, we are getting some really weird icicles forming. on the driveway side of the house, some of them are about 4 foot long now. the really weird part is that they are melting in an arc...TOWARD the house. how does that happen? there must be some scientific explanation for it but i don't know what it is. i just think it looks cool.

We have a new metal roof...that has curvy parts in corrugated cardboard...perhaps that has something to do with it. i guess the ice is dripping down the back of the icicle rather than the front and making them curl in...i don't know but it is interesting.

Check it out. this first pic is from outside....DUH!  haha

These other 2 are from inside so you can see them curving toward the window. strange.

I seem to have issues with the ice this year. after our first 2 or 3 rounds of snow a few days ago, we had amassed about 12 inches of snow on the deck on the house. it wraps around 2 sides and i was concerned about all that weight on the deck. so i trudged out there with my snow shovel and figured i would spend a little time shoveling it off. well, first i had to GET there. i guess the wind gathered all the snow on the side of the house. it was way over my boots just getting around to the deck. i cleared off the steps so i could get up there. then started on the deck. i should have done it as soon as it stopped snowing.

It had melted some and refroze so there was about an inch of ice on the bottom. and a lot of it had falled from the roof so there is a mound all the way across the deck that is about 14" high that is mostly ice. while i was out there i looked up and the whole mess was hanging over the gutters about 12"...sliding down a bit at a time. so i took my shovel and smacked it a little. hahahah

A whole section came falling down....good thing i wasn't standing UNDER wouldn't find me till spring after the thaw. when it all fell down in a big shook the deck. i kind of figured that Mother Nature was tougher than i i gave up and went back in the house.

I went back out the next day and managed to move a little snow off the deck but most of it is still there.....dripping....and making the mound even higher.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Can you blow through it?


Let me tell you my husband story'll get a chuckle.

When the ground is all saturated with water like it is now from the melting snow, my basement gets water in it. not a big deal...i have a pump hooked up and i just flip a switch and it pumps the water out.

I have been trying to pump it out for a couple days now but it wouldn't work. so i went outside and dug the hose out of the snow and pulled on the gurgled, so i knew it was working. there wasn't any ice anywhere. it just wouldn't pump.

So, i called my husband at the house and asked him to come and look at it. when he pulled up the pump he said the hose was stoppped up...probably with ice. so he pulled the hose off and i brought it into the basement and hung it on the steps. it started draining water as soon as i hung it up. he went back to the house.

In about an hour, he calls me and the conversation went something like this:
  him: did the water all drip out of the hose?
  me: i think so...nothing else is dripping out.
  me:  WHAT???? 

Excuse me, but i am not putting my mouth on a hose that has been laying outside all year with who knows what kind of creatures walking and peeing on it. so, no, i am NOT blowing through it to see if it is clear.

  him:  ok, ok...i'll come over and blow on it.
  me:  be my guest. LOL

So, Mr. Fix-it comes over, blows on the hose, and hooks me back up. i flip the switch and bingo....we are back in business.

I guess it is a guy thing. i am not a froo-froo girly girl. i help gut the deer in hunting season. i can change oil in a vehicle. i don't panic in an emergency. but i am NOT blowing through a hose to see if it is clear and that is that.

And then as i thought about it came to me...he is gonna want a goodnight kiss....and i know where that mouth has been. hahahahahaha


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stashbusting for January

And how is your stashbusting going? i just updated by SB folder and discovered that i busted 37 yards in January...WOW!   a third of the way to my goal already. of course, you know the best plans always start off like the roar of a lion and then slow down to turtle speed. but i am going to try and keep the momentum going. 

so far, along with piecing i have also quilted these 2 this january.

And while i was at my sister's for 3 days...helping her to celebrate her birthday...i pieced this little beauty. it has been in a box partly cut out and pieced for about 3 or 4 years. now it is in the 'to be quilted' pile...a step in the right direction.

and this got pieced, too. it was only about a year or 2 old.

And i worked on a few small wallhangings and other things. it all adds up.

My sis and i had a great time for the last few days. i went up there on Thursday morning...after our snow storm of 5 inches of snow that we got. she didn't get hardly anything. we did some thrift stores on thursday and she found a very nice wooden dining room table and 6 chairs. it is higher than normal and it is very, very heavy. the middle leaf folds in half and drops down under the table. going to be very nice in the new house.

Friday we went to the library book sale once again. she scored about 5 boxes of books.....i think i only bought 5 books. LOL   and a jigsaw puzzle.   but i did help her find a couple good ones. then we checked out another thrift store and went out to eat. that pretty much tired us out for the day. 

on Saturday we went out to the beast and took the carpet off the back stairs. at least they weren't glued down. they had those old fashioned metal rods against the back of the risers and we just popped those off and pulled out all the tacks and some nails in the wall. a couple of hours and we were done. it was too cold to do much else. but we did take a truck load of books over there. 

So, my days have been busy and i am back home before the next snow storm is supposed to hit tomorrow. i believe i might head to the house and take a wee nap. cold and snow are good for naps.

Stay warm and cozy

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bessie is back home!

WooHoo!!!  Bessie is back home and good as new. too bad they don't do a wash job while she is in the shop. LOL    she needs one desparately.

The problem was a small oxygen sensor was out. whatever that is. i didn't even ask. it only cost a bit over $100 so that was good enough for me.

Our mechanic is Soooo good. both myself and my dh drive Ford Rangers and Bill is an expert at them. we are so happy to have him. and he works at the small repair shop in town so we don't have to frequent a dealer.

So, Thursday morning i am off on an adventure to my sister's house for the weekend. it is her birthday so we shall do our usual and have sale....perhaps a movie....and if it is warm enough go out to the beast for the day and do some work.

Now i have to decide what project to take along with me to sew on. there are so many, many projects. i need something that i can make some substantial progress on. and i have finished piecing a few tops that have been hiding out for months and months, so when i get back home i have to get crackin on quilting them up. they probably won't get any fancy treatment....just git her done. hahahahaha

So, if i don't talk to you again till next week, you will know i am in Illinois having fun with my sister. behave yourselves while i am gone.

My truck is sick

My poor is sick...again. on my way to class yesterday the check engine light came on. darn...that just came on a couple months ago and cost me a couple hundred dollars...something about an emissions thing.

So, last night we dropped it off at the shop and i am waiting patiently for them to call me and let me know the damages. cross your fingers that it is doable.

My truck will be 14 years old in April this year and has 231, 835 miles on it. it has been a really great truck...hauling stuff hither and yon. it has not been in a wreck .... although i have backed into the barn and nudged a post or 2 here and there. but it starts right up and gets me where i want to go. perhaps not as quickly as it used to...but, shoot, i don't go as quickly as i once did, either.

Going up hills is hard for ole bessie...sometimes we have to drop down to 3rd gear. something about the compression that bessie has lost with age. i always feel sorry for the folks behind me in traffic up the hills....but we do make up for it going DOWN the hills. LOL   but sometimes the folks behind me just don't understand and in passing give me words of advice.

But i really am not ready to give her up for another. the truck of my dreams now would have 4 doors; automatic transmission; 4 wheel drive; and, unfortunately a large payment for years. the last part i really, really don't want. so, i am saying a little prayer to the automotive gods that bessie can be fixed up again to travel a few more miles down the road.

Snow dyeing fabrics revealed

Yes, i know...i am a couple days later than i said to reveal the snow dyeing fabrics. but things just get in the way sometimes, you know, and you can't get to everything you want to do.

here is the first one...bright yellow and burgundy. i kind of lost the yellow


Second piece was with red violet and marigold. it's ok but the marigold got a bit muddy looking. think i need to do more of the yellows and less of the other colors.

Third piece was with cerulean blue and lemon yellow. this is my favorite piece. it reminds me of under the ocean (not that i have ever SEEN under the ocean..LOL). but i think it would make a great background piece for an ocean art quilt. gotta think and dream on that.

Next piece was sky blue and fire red. i want to call this one heaven and hell. haha   what if i did an art quilt with angels in the top blue...regular people in the middle...and devils in the firey red at the bottom. i may have to dream on that, too. what if i put pictures of people i know...the ones i like in heaven and the ones i don' hell. hahahahahahaha

And this last piece was a smaller piece and i just used 1 dye..imperial purple. see how the red and blue of the purple separated? i guess the cold of the snow causes that.

These were all 2 yard pieces of PFD fabric..except for the last purple which was a piece of muslin i had laying around.

It is my first experimentation with 2 colors of dye in one dye bath. i think i want to try it again but in regular dyeing without the snow. these were put into their bins in the morning and sat all day till about 5pm..waiting for the snow to melt. had i been at the house and not at the studio all day i think i would have turned them over about halfway through the process. or perhaps not let them sit so long. they sat in the coolest room so it took most of the day for the snow to melt. perhaps if we get more snow i shall try it again and put them in the kitchen to melt and keep a closer eye. who knows....but experimentation is fun and these will all wind up in a quilt somewhere.

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