Monday, December 15, 2014

Feeling less grinchy on Design Wall Monday

Well again, I've disappeared from this blog for longer than I planned. Last week was filled with plumbers... a different problem from the As the Bathroom Turns saga... and I was working on Christmas presents that I can't show. The plumbers left me feeling kinda grinchy but I climbed out of my funk yesterday by going to the movies with a friend to see White Christmas. It is my FAVORITE movie of ALL time and it is just wonderful on the big screen. The singing and the dancing are fun and seeing all the details of the costumes is a feast for the eyes. Vera Ellen had such a tiny waist, and Rosemary Clooney was beautiful. I loved Edith Head's designs - such pretty fabrics and flattering styles. If you love this movie as much as I do here is a great article from the GlamAmor blog which talks about the costume and has great screen shots.  And here is another article I found on Vera Ellen's costumes... I particularly adore the daffodil yellow dance outfit she wears in the "Abraham" number.  I know every line of this movie and it never fails to make me smile! If you ever get a chance to see it in a theater I think you would enjoy it... I know I did!

My good mood continued when I got home and I went down to my sewing room to work on this quilt - my version of the Four Corners quilt from quirky granola girl.


It ended up being 58 inches square and I used a jelly roll of Deb Strain's Be Jolly collection. Now this quilt could easily be sewn up in an afternoon but I made it into project of EPIC proportions... something I am soooo GOOD at doing - LOL! If you go here and  look back at my design wall for December 1st you can see it was a scrappy quilt ,but it was too splotchy for me. I wanted busier, which isn't always better, but it was the destination I was headed for,  and I think I arrived. Here are some close ups of the fabrics.

Cute jolly snowmen and lots of polka dots...


Holly that looks jolly and snowflakes...


More dots and more snowflakes...



If I was going to do a quilt like this again...and I think I will... I would cut the jelly roll strips into random lengths before I started sewing them together.

I have some batik strips in my stash and I'm thinking I may play with this pattern...Birch Bark by Hunter's Designs.


You can purchase this as a digital download here on Craftsy.

I still have a couple of Christmas projects to work on, but this is awfully tempting...and then there are several WIPs that could benefit from a little attention.  So many choices, so little time... big sigh. I've even given some thought as to what I want to work on in 2015. I don't make New Years Resolutions as I never keep them, but I might put together a wish list of quilts I'd like to do. It could be interesting...

Hope the week is productive for you and for me!. Christmas is closing in and I know there is still lots of stuff we all have to do.

Happy stitching-
carol fun



Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas around here

So I got all the Fall decor to hop back into their plastic bins, and hauled out the Christmas decorations... okay to be perfectly honest my sons did the  hauling  as I supervised...its a hard job but someone has to do it and I am definitely more managerial material than  labor!  LOL

In anticipation of Christmasfying the house I realized that I needed a table runner for my new yellow display chest, and I whipped this together.


It is a simple runner but I'm happy with how it turned out. The fabrics are from  the one Mini-Charm pack of Aspen Frost by Basic Grey I found in my stash. The background was leftover from a little Schnibble I made last Christmas. I think that mottled white/cream with the little silver polka dot is quite festive.


My Janome was behaving and I was able to quilt the whole piece using a Sulky silver metallic. I like that bit of sparkle when the light hits it just right.


And here it is in action as the ground for my Nativity scene. Not a lot of it shows but I know how pretty it is.



This Nativity scene is turning into an heirloom. When I needlepointed these little figures (they are about 5 to 6 inches high) I didn't know that I would still be using them 30 years later. At that time I was into needlepoint, and I frequented a shop that had a professional finisher, She did a lovely job with these. On the bottom of each one she stitched my initials and the year "1984".




I  was pregnant with my first son when I  was stitching these and I envisioned a Nativity scene that could be handled with no fear of breakage and it has performed admirably.




I used lots of different wools, perle cottons and metallic threads and all the beards and the sheep are done in a stitch that makes them fluffy. My boys still love this set and they have never wanted me to replace it, so I haven't. There is a little part of me that hopes it lasts another 30 years or more and that some other little person will enjoy it someday. (It's still way too soon to think about grandkids, as my son and his fiancee aren't going to be married till April... but I can indulge in wishful thinking, can't I?)


And to get into the holiday spirit I took a trip to my local greenhouse -Benkens- love that place. A week ago I picked up two small pine trees for the pots next to my garage door. Today the place was wall-to-wall poinsettias - isn't that swath of red just gorgeous?


And I've never seen poinsettias this big - these were about 4 to 5 feet tall!


I took home a couple of these little gems - this poinsettia is in a teeny tiny 2 inch diameter pot and the whole thing is only 5" high. I put it in one of my Fiestaware condiment cups and placed  it next to the sink in my kitchen. Too cute!


Well, my Christmas tree is assembled but not decorated yet. I was thrilled that it all lit up this year. I just bought it last year and my experience with pre-lit trees is that you only get a few years use out of them before they start going dark a section at time driving you stark raving mad and sucking any good Christmas feelings you have right down the drain. Taking a deep breath now... fortunately we haven't reached that point yet with this tree... I give it 2 more years tops.

Hope things in your corner of the world are starting to look Christmas-y too!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Monday, December 1, 2014

Why I'm not a runner on Design Wall Monday

Well, I disappeared for another week - didn't mean to, but boy was I busy busy busy! Since last Wednesday I have been swept up in a whirlwind of activities that had to be done RIGHT NOW! I helped my son with two major end of the semester projects. I cleaned my house...REALLY GOOD... it needed it. I prepared a Thanksgiving meal for 7 that was eaten Saturday evening... a lovely evening with family... good food (if I say so myself, and I do) and good conversation. Yesterday was the first day in eons I had time to sit and sew... and I did!
.
I had seen a jelly roll quilt tutorial on quirky granola girl's blog and I wanted to try it out. Now I've never done a jelly roll quilt before and in my mind I thought this was something I could knock out in an hour. I have Juki sewing machine that goes REAL FAST - and off I went. What I forgot to consider was if I ever did run a race of any kind I would be the participant that stops about forty thousand times to look at this, and that, and that, and that shiny thing over there, and oh there's white squirrel! (I saw another one last week and this time not in my neighborhood... I'm beginning to think they are stalking me instead of the other way around.) Anyway, just like that previous thought it took a while to get my jelly roll panel together.


I used the Deb Strain Be Jolly collection which you can see here. Two of my friends have made darling disappearing 4 patch quilts with this collection and I wanted to play with it too, so I picked up a jelly roll at Fabric Shack. You only need to sew it to a width of 16 strips which is 4 passes. However, I kept stopping and rearranging the fabrics. It says to randomly sew them end to end, and I did, but when I started to sew them to each other I encountered deep OCD issues. Now I was okay if one red fabric touched another red fabric, but it was the two strips of the same red fabric well...I just couldn't do it! So I'd stop and pick out one strip and replace it with another strip and them move a third strip so that it didn't happen again and on and on and on. Again I succeeded in taking something simple and easy and turning it into a major production ... it's a gift don'tcha know - LOL!

Sooooo....when you finally get your strip set cut down into four sections you arrange it around a center square like this...


Check out the tutorial here. She does a great job walking you through the process. And I bet if you just followed the instructions you could whip this up real fast...like a runner...which I'm not...I'm more of a wanderer. And at this point all you need to do is sew the four sections together starting with a partial seam...but I can't do it... because...it isn't scrappy enough for me.  I really don't like those areas where there is only one fabric in a row.. I want more pattern, more color...and I know how to get it. It will involve unsewing some areas and inserting the bits and pieces I had left to make the whole thing scrappier... and it will make me HAPPY!

As I was sewing this I was pondering other variations with this idea. I'd love to do this in batiks but instead of starting with 42" strips I want to use a variety of shorter lengths... and maybe put in a spacer strip here and there... oh the little hamster wheel in my brain is turning now... and you know that's gonna be trouble!

And why do I sit down to sew with precuts wearing a black turtleneck? Here's a selfie I took... and yes I have no head...I didn't crop it that way, it is just the way I took it. So not only am I not a runner I'm also not a very good photographer.


It was very festive fuzz... red, green, navy, white... my first Christmas decor project! The splotch in the middle is chocolate. I can't sew without chocolate... and I have to take my shoes off too...I think that is the Kentucky in me - LOL!

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The bricklayer is finished on Slow Stitching Sunday

Oh I've been a bad blogger - it has been over a week since I posted anything - sheesh! It was a busy week. I had some sort of lunch/appointment/engagement to go to every single day and that kind of in and out of the house doesn't make me productive. A little knitting here, a little cross stitch there.

However I have gotten all the bricks layed for my latest house piece, Blackbird Designs Bittersweet Lane from the Prim Ladies Club at Dyeing to Stitch.


It is a classy looking little house. Still need to put the door and windows in and get the roof done. There was a big pot on the roof that I had to take out. You can see the phantom stitches in the picture. The brown of the pot (GA Wood Trail) was just too similar to the roof color (GA Maple Syrup). I'm going to restitch it in GA Aged Pewter.


I'm still head over heels for this border. I'm leaving the flowers till the end so I can make them Smyrna crosses instead of Algerian eye stitches. I'm not fond of stitching the Algerian eye stitches...they just take too long...I feel like I'm treading in wet cement... and I LOVE that big bump you get with Smyrna crosses. Great texture for very little work... and I all for that - LOL!

And then this sneaked in through my mail slot...Lizzie Kate's Things Unseen Mystery sampler.


Next to Blackbird Designs, Lizzie Kate are my second favorite designers. I've done 3 of their seasonal samplers - Winter, Spring and Fall and every time I display them I love them more and more. I'm confident this Mystery Sampler is going to be a beautiful addition to my collection. I got all the parts - the 32 ct. Wren linen, the Weeks floss and the embellishment package. I considered it a gift to me because I'm awesome... ROFL...oh my, even I don't believe that but hey it is as good a reason as any!

The another  episode of How the Bathroom Turns was completed yesterday. I have a working exhaust fan, a new ceiling, new light fixtures, new copper pipes, new plumbing fixtures and a new coat of paint. I have a company scheduled to come out after the first of the year to refinish the tub - it is chipped and I noticed the other day that when it was originally refinished a swath about 2 inches high and a foot long was totally missed- you can still see the salmon pink color - yuck! I am SOOOOOOOO HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY to get this project wrapped up. Now onto the basement project which I'm pretty sure is going to involve demolition of part of my downstairs bathroom to fix the cracked pipe. I'm trying to get another estimate or two on this job. More phone calls tomorrow.

Hope you all have a lovely week as Thanksgiving approaches... not too much stress. I'm not having "the meal" till Saturday to accommodate my son and his fiance and my family's other obligations. It gives me more time to straighten up my house and prep the food. Until then I think I'll enjoy the rest of today and sit and stitch a bit more.

Happy stitching-
carol fun

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Postcards from Kaffe, Brandon and Phillip

I took this pictures on Monday...when it was still warm and sunny and lovely...unlike today which is cold and cloudy with a chance of a snow flurry - ugh!  Monday was a good day and along with procrastinating about  sewing the binding on my Postcard quilt, I had been putting off planting all the Spring bulbs I bought. So Monday afternoon I planted 90 daffodil bulbs, 75 tulip bulbs and 11 allium bulbs. This activity was followed by a hot shower and a 2 Advil chaser and a quick run back outside to get these pictures... I think it was worth it.


When I first started this quilt I thought I could keep it small ... wall hanging size... but in the end it is a nice lap size...it just got away from me! It is 9 blocks wide and 15 blocks long. All the colorful prints are either Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably or Phillip Jacobs and there are no duplicates. They put me in the mind of the bulbs I planted - lots of color!  The black and white text prints I've collected for a while and I love how they look in this quilt.


This was quilted with a panto by Terry Finnerty of The Walking Needle in a variegated thread.

Here's the back - an explosion of brightly colored little flowers...

and some close ups of the front of the quilt...




It was a fun quilt to make and after looking at Windham Fabrics version which you can see here, I might have to made this again in another palette.

Thanks to Debbie at A Quilter's Table for the fun pattern and the encouragement to get it done. Check out other Postcard quilts here on Flickr too!

happy stitching-
carol fun

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ummmmm...that didn't turn out the way I expected~

So last week I was knitting away on a Sockhead hat using my Blue Moon Socks That Rock yarn in the Supercolourfragilistic colorway. I was loving the color, the yarn and the mindless knitting. It was just what I needed to get through last week's installment of How the Bathroom Turns (see post of 11/12 for the latest episode).

Yesterday I finished it... it was quick knit...about a week of time...very colorful...and squooshy...



just one little problem...I look like a deranged elf in it! Really, it is true and I didn't take a picture because I don't want that image stuck in your brain as it is stuck in mine. I'm trying to be compassionate here.

Sooooooo.... I'm going to unravel it and knit something else with it. Perhaps my tried and true standard vanilla socks. Something I know will turn out fine.  Oh well, it was good therapy last week and it kept be from hurting someone. That's what I like about knitting... it is a stress release for me.

Now I was cheered up by some new Blue Moon Socks that Rock yarn that snuck into my house this past week from the Simply Sock Yarn Company. From right to left -

Azure Malachite, Tardis Blue, Christmas Balls, Beach Blanket Bingo!


I adore this yarn for its bright colors, its squooshiness and for the names they come up with. The Tardis Blue is a wonderful blue with some purple-y undertones. I'm not sure why I like the Christmas Balls but I do... it is an interesting combination of colors. And I HAD to have Beach Blanket Bingo - a tribute to Annette Funicello if I ever saw one. Annette is near and dear to my heart as her last name is only one letter different from my last name, and all my life people have asked if we are related. Not that I'm aware of, but one of the thrills of my childhood was meeting Annette for a few minutes when she was in Cincinnati, Ohio for some sort of promotional tour for the Mickey Mouse Club.  I was saddened when she past away last year but I know she had suffered with Multiple Sclerosis for years so I take comfort that she was released from that pain.

Don't know what I'm going to work on next. I need to get those skeins wound and should probably start on a hat out of the Tardis Blue for my younger son. He tried on the Sockhead hat and it wasn't his cup of tea either so I'll look on Ravelry for something that would suit him.

Happy knitting!

carol fun

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Looky what I made~


Are you scratching your head? It looks like two logs doesn't it? And how does one make two logs? Well....one makes them out of fabric! And they aren't actually logs, they are draft stoppers filled with kitty litter. I made some for my house last year and this year my son requested a set for his house. We've had new weatherstripping put around the doors and sweeps on the bottoms but they are older houses and every little thing you can do to keep the cold out and the heat in helps.

I also made another one for my house for a door in my basement that I keep close most of the time.



Cute chickens, right? LOL

Anyway that is the sum of what I've been doing lately that I can share. I'm working on a Christmas present quilt and have about 8 more blocks to go. I want to finish it pronto so I can send it off to be quilted.

If you aren't interested in the next installment of How the Bathroom Turns you can leave here. I understand... I'm tired of hearing about it too but it make me feel better to vent a bit - thanks!

The continuing saga of plumbing and bathroom renovation woes goes on and on and on. Seriously it has the makings of a multi-year soap opera. After the tile guy and plumber finished up last week, my handyman started the job of putting in an exhaust fan in my bathroom and lowering the ceiling. The bathroom had this beautiful cove ceiling...  that was functionally a nightmare. Every time you took a shower the steam would collect around the edge of the cove and then drip down on the floor and leave water stains all over the ceiling. Perhaps this is why the room was painted a blech brown when I bought the place. I had seen peeling paint in the corner by the window but chalked it up to an old paint job, not the steam problem.  Sooooooo.... an exhaust fan makes a lot of sense... and the installation shouldn't be a big deal....but it was!  The electrical work was stymied by the fact that the bathroom isn't a main line, it was run off of another room's main line. Additionally the walls and ceilings in my house are made of a material sometimes referred to as glassrock. It is a plaster like substance which in reality is concrete. It is impossible to put a hole in the wall to hang a picture without a drill and any holes to find the wiring required a sledge hammer and a saw.

The whole exhaust fan/ceiling renovation was projected to take 10 hours.... at the end of the first 10 hours all we had to show for it was a torn up ceiling and wall and no juice for the fan.  That was Saturday.

On Sunday work resumed. Overnight the handyman realized he could crawl back into this tiny opening in the second floor attic area and access a main electrical line. It is a good thing this guy is small and wiry and not claustrophobic. There isn't enough money in the world to get be back into that space, nor a shoe horn large enough to squeeze me through the little opening for that fact - LOL! Electrical problem then rectified in about 30 minutes. Good, back on track. Now to vent the fan to the outside. Cut/saw/bang a hole through the glassrock wall and drill/chisel/bang through the brick on the outside. Again, a problem. Turns out that the walls of my house are about 10 inches thick. There is the outside layer of yellow bricks and behind that layer of brick is another layer of brick - solid brick - no holes in it at all - weighs a ton - and then a layer of cinder block. It took about 2 hours to get a 6 inch hole to the outside. The handyman referred to it as his Shawshank Redemption! LOL At least he has a good attitude. Eventually the drywall was nailed to the ceiling, the fan was connected and two can lights installed. It was now 20 hours into the project... and it isn't done yet.

This week will include taping and mudding the seams for the drywall. Sanding the drywall, re-mudding the drywall, sanding again...and then it can be painted. I and cautiously optimistic that it will be completed by next weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.

Well the Arctic blast is descending on Ohio. Monday was gorgeous with a high temp near 70. Today cold gray and a high of 40... it will be the warmest day for the rest of the week. Possibility of white death on Sunday... I'm already counting the days till Spring!

Stay warm!
happy stitching-
carol fun