Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sewing Saturday

Today was a great day to sew.  I did my longish run last night so I rewarded myself by sewing most of the day.  Well, that and a pedicure.  70 of 90 blocks finished. I think I could make these blocks in my sleep now....

I've got all the black and white prepped for the remaining blocks.

Yep, a lot of black and white in this quilt.  Hence, the name White Nights.

Pretty toes for our anniversary date night.

Today was our anniversary so we went to the Cumberland State Park restaurant. It was so good!  
Here is a pic of me and my goober husband.  We are such homebodies.  We got there when it opened at 4pm, (there were about 20 people waiting to get in!), then took the long scenic way home. Nice quiet anniversary.

And a pic from last night's run.  I love doing my longer runs on Friday evenings after the sun goes down.  It was still hot last night, and there was a lot of Friday night traffic on the road that runs by the lake, but I don't mind.

....and another highlight of the day -- I got to FaceTime with my favorite little girl.  Love. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Busy Saturday

After my run last night, I went back to a patch of wild honeysuckle I saw and picked 4 cups of blossoms.

This morning I made honeysuckle syrup.  Pretty simple really.  I steeped them in water over night, brought them to a boil this morning, strained them, and added honey.  Put them up in 1/2 pint canning jars.

I tried some in tea and it was pretty tasty.  The honey is prominent, but you can still taste the honeysuckle.  I wonder if using sugar would allow the honeysuckle flavor to be more prominent. Although I must admit it did taste somewhat like drinking pollen.  The hubby gagged.  And yes, I googled "ingesting bee pollen" to be sure we would live.  Seriously, bee pollen is supposed to be great for all kinds of health issues.  I think the hubby would rather take his chances without it.

Then, I decided to dye some jeans.  What do you do when your favorite jeans are faded and worn looking.  You dye them!


I think they turned out ok.  Definitely not the typical dark denim blue, but an improvement.  I just wish I had taken a before picture.

Next I worked on my mega quilt. 45 of 90 blocks done, yippee!  I finished the quilting and binding on the smaller version that is now hung over our tub.

I cut the batting and backing a little close.  A little too close actually and had to trim off some of the border.  All in all, a good productive day.    How about yours?  any sewing today?

Thursday, April 21, 2016


It felt more like summer.  The water was like glass as you can see from the clouds reflection.

It was a perfect day to get out on the paddle board.  During the week is great because there is hardly any boat traffic.

It was really neat to get up close to the osprey's nest on the marker buoy (or whatever that thing is called). I don't think he liked me getting too close.  He cawed at me some until I paddled away.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Piecing, Gardens, and Scottish Life

Piecing.  I have 31 of 90 blocks made.  Yippy, one third of the way done.  I worked all week but I snuck up to the quilt studio a couple of times during the week "just to get one or two blocks made."  Normally I don't sew on work days. This evening after a long day of running errands, mammogram, etc., I was trying to get a couple more done and after sewing in a little piece wrong, twice, I figured it was time to quit.

I finally got my herbs planted this evening.  I am trying to put things closer like in the Square Foot Garden, so I have plenty of room to plant a few more veggies.  I'd like to get some peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I planted rosemary, green onions, basil, thyme, and parsley.

My son and his family traveled to the Scottish Borders last week and enjoyed visiting an old abbey that was founded in 1118 A.D.  Amazing, isn't it?

I mean seriously, how did they build these magnificent structures without the aid of electric tools, cranes, etc?

My baby girl is getting so big!  Can't wait for my next trip to visit her in June, oh yeah, and her parents :)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Piecing and Woodworking

I am currently heavy into piecing my new project.  I like to think of ways to make things faster.  I know many quilters say they love the process. Me, I love the finish.  One thing I started today that seems to speed things up a bit - used my wooden iron for the little pieces.

Each 9" block has 30 pieces to be sewn together. I know, crazy design (but it is my crazy design). I hated getting up and ironing each. little. section. Now, I use this small tool until I get each of the four rows together, then press them and sew them up.  I've got the time down from about 30 minutes per block to about 16-18 minutes.

I can't help but wonder.....does anyone else time how long it takes them to make a block, then figure up the time it takes to complete the project?

I'm liking the way it is coming together.  So far, I've made 17 blocks.  I am shooting for 20 this weekend.

As I was figuring up my finishing time, I was reminded of something I told myself years ago.  I was working full time and contemplating going to night school to get my MBA degree.  I knew it would probably take about five years. I was 38 at the time. I told myself in five years I would be 43, so I might as well be 43 with a master's degree.  It helped me to think like that.  I worked on the classes a little at a time, and in 5 years, I finished - on my schedule.

So, this quilt may take me 4-5 months, but if I make it, in 4-5 months I'll have a nice, big, beautiful, king size quilt of my own design.

Did something else today that I've never done.  Used a miter saw, a brad nail gun, and a Kreg jig.  I am learning how to use tools so I can make that king size bed, this quilt is going to cover. I was thrilled to learn some new things. I don' t need another hobby, but I have this insatiable desire to learn.

I worked on some practice pieces.  Thank goodness for Youtube videos.  I still have a lot to learn but I am feeling more confident that I can actually do it.

So tell me, do you figure out how long it takes to make a block? a quilt? do you give yourself goals for finishing? Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Catching up

Lots to blog about this evening.  Let's talk about customer service.  I ordered some fat quarter bundles from Craftsy recently.  In one of the fat quarters I found this.
Yes,  a couple of holes.  In one fat quarter, only one.  I've never had that happen before.  I emailed Craftsy and tonight I received a response.  They are sending me a whole new bundle of fat quarters!  Wow. Incredible customer service.

I've started the massive king size quilt.  It is amazing how much better top quality fabric sews.  I used some cheap black and white I had for a wall hanging in the same pattern I am making for the king size.  I had trouble with my 1/4" seam, it was not fun.  I am using Moda for the black and white in the King size and started it tonight.  It sewed up like a dream.  Made 8 blocks.  Only 82 more to go.  Oh my.

One of the cats brought in the sweetest little rabbit last night.  He was precious.  He acted like he enjoyed me petting him.  Thank goodness the cat didn't seem to harm him.  Isn't he cute?

Do people still polish their leather shoes?  I remember as a child polishing my dad's on Saturday evening.  I bought a pair of low boots in the fall, that I love.  I wear them almost every day to work with jeans.  I have a long walk into the office so they get a lot of wear.  very comfy.  They have been looking pretty bad.  I took one of the hubby's oil sponges to them.  Wow.  I am not convinced that is as good as polish but it did make a big difference.

I'm still running.  Got in a great five miles tonight.  Cool. Windy. Perfect for a nice long slow run.  5 miles.