Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Nothing but work these past 5 days

Although I will start off with one small fabric purchase I made a couple of weeks back.

More African fabric that came into my local quilt shop. I was quite thrilled to see more fabric and there were a few colours there that I "needed" to add to my collection.

I just got an email last night that this quilt shop will not be renewing their lease next March and I am very sad to hear that. I have been shopping quite frequently and heavily in the shop lately - as you all know - LOL!!

I have been almost completely absent from home the past 5 days - with two long night shifts - Friday and Saturday and then sleep Sunday and a two day workshop ( work related, not quilting) Monday and Tuesday. I was so gosh darn tired last night that I fell asleep during the last few minutes of The Sopranos and was unable to stay up to watch the season premier of Boston Legal. Now that is tired! I was really looking forward to Boston Legal starting up again.

I am now getting myself ready for my quilt guild's "Fall Seminar" The is a lecture tonight by Becky Goldsmith of "Piece O' Cake Designs" and Jeanette DeNicolis Meyer. I will be taking a course from Becky Goldsmith on Friday - "Little Bitty Ensy Teensy" It is applique for very small pieces. Which I think will be great for my continuing progress with my Dear Jane quilt.

I am also taking a class from Judy Morningstar . She is a Canadian teacher. Her class is called "Creative Curves. I think it is more of an "art quilt" class, rather than traditional quilting. I don't always do well in those classes but I always have a fun day learning and anything I make can always end up in an orphan quilt - LOL

Well I have a lot of blog reading to catch up on - it is amazing how much can happen in 5 days.

Thank you to everyone for all your great comments on my African quilt. I am ready to stitch it together! I will use layout #4 and keep it the way it is on the wall. I think if I had to do it all again I might have done a couple of things differently, but it is always a learning process.........
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Playing with the layout

I have finished all the blocks for the African quilt. I have decided that it will be 16 blocks. So I spent the afternoon playing with the layout on my design wall. I made 5 blocks with Dancing Mama's and 11 plain blocks -- which is probably not the best combination for making an evenly placed layout.

Layout #1. The Dancing Mama blocks are randomly placed in the quilt -- looks okay.

Layout #2. Dancing Mama's in each corner and then one block in the centre -- sort of centre, because it is 4 rows of 4 blocks there is no centre. I'm not fussed on this layout.

Layout #3. All the Dancing Mama's in the centre except for that one block -- see the problem of having 5 blocks of the Mama's!! The problem of course is I'm out of the black fabric - I still have lots of African fabric and lots of Mama's. I could use some other black fabric but this fabric is from Maiwaa Handprints and it is a different texture than regular cotton and blends well with the texture of the African fabric. The regular black cotton looks different when mixed with the rest of the fabric.
Don't like this layout at all.

Layout #4. Again random placement of the Mama's. Better placement of the blocks I think. So - in the end this is the one I am going to go with. What do you think? Opinions and suggestions needed.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My first stuffed Teddy Bear --0r another dog story!

A week or so ago I decide to try making a stuffed teddy bear. I bought a Simplicity pattern and some minky fabric from Fabricland and then a bag of stuffing on Friday from Fabricanna. On Saturday and Sunday I cut out the pattern and put the bear together - stuffed it up and stitched the back closed while Jim worked hard on the window. I was looking around for a small amount of light brown wool to stitch a nose and eyes on the bear. The bear turned out much larger than I expected, it was a very simple pattern - just two pattern pieces. I thought I might give it to the little guy down the street who is about 3 months old now. I left it on the top of the couch yesterday while we were at work. Jim gets home much earlier from work than I do. And he first spotted stuffing -- all over the stairs..... leading to the poor bear!!

He only lived two short days.

This is the stuffing that Jim gathered up - in tiny bits all over the house. Ahhh yes. My mistake really because the dog was very interested in the bear as I was stuffing it on Sunday, I should have realize that leaving the bear where she could get it would have resulted in the death of the bear. It must have been some site to see her running around the house having a grand old time ripping the stuffing out of the bear - with no one around to stop her - LOL

And here is a picture of the windows - with the furniture back where it belongs -- so come on over and have a sit :))

This is the window over the stairs. Previously it was a window that opened and it had cross hatching on the panes of glass. We never opened it because it is in an awkward spot and difficult to open. So now that it is one solid piece of glass we put up the stained glass piece that was previously in our bedroom. I think it looks lovely here. And it is right beside the front door - so now everyone who comes to the door will be able to enjoy it as much as we do. And didn't Jim do a great job on the finishing :)) Now it looks like I just need to clean the window - LOL
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Saturday, September 15, 2007

I worked on my African Quilt

While Jim worked on the window I spent the day working away on my African quilt.

I have a bit of a plan. I have made 5 - 12 inch blocks with the Dancing Mama's and then I have 11 - 12 inch blocks that are the black and African fabric. I was thinking that I would make just the 16 blocks. I will see how it looks up on the design wall when finished. I have only a small amount of the black fabric - that is my limitation right now.

Each Dancing Mama block is a little unique and put together differently - to equal 12 inches finished. I think that will give it a bit of a "funky" look. The other blocks are all the same. The African fabric is quite difficult to work with - it really stretches and moves around. No real straight edge or salvage - very loose weave.

And a couple of days ago the quilt shop had more African fabric - so I bought three more 1/2 metre pieces. I am not including this in my quilt though as I am pretty much finished cutting out my blocks and such.

And I also made a teddy bear yesterday. Picture to follow -- but I wasn't too happy with the pattern - it is much bigger than what I wanted. So I have not decide what I will do with it yet.

So all in all it was a good day -- but very quiet in blogland. Have a good weekend :)))

A very productive day

We have both been very busy today, so I think I may need to do this in two posts. Jim has finished one window!!! I think the other two will be finished tomorrow.

So of course we need some pictures. Here is Jim, borrowed nail compressor on hand. Ready to start.

First molding to go up!!

Hard at work with borrowed mitre saw ( see the trend here - LOL)

First window finished -- now time for a beer and a glass of wine!!
Doesn't it look lovely!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Look what I did today!

I bought a featherweight last November and the machine itself seems to be a nice little machine. It sews well, and has all it's parts and is in really good condition. The case though - smelled so musty that it had to be stored outside. I tried everything I could think of. I joined a Featherweight Yahoo group recently and one suggestion is to put a 150 watt lightbulb in the case for about 8 hours. Apparently the glue that was used on the American made Singer cases will degrade and mold if the case is stored in a damp area. The other suggestion was to strip the case of all fabric and refinish it, sanding and staining the outside. I saw a couple of examples. So -- in a flurry of activity this morning I pulled all the fabric off my case!!

This is the beginning of the removal of the outer fabric. Most of it came off very easily and left very little glue on the wood. The top and bottom had quite a bit of black glue left though.

I pulled all the fabric off the inside as well, which is where most of the musty smell comes from. I plan to paint the inside with a nice black lacquer or Varathane. I removed the little black tray. I will order a new one. I am thinking if I can I will order some nice shiny new latches.

This is where I am at so far. It really sanded up nicely. It needs a bit more sanding and I need to find out about new latches. If I can get new ones then I can take these off and sand under them. Jim has lots of stain and Varathane left from the window molding -- and he tells me they are going up this weekend!!
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Saturday, September 08, 2007

My sewing mat from Tazzie

I got my sewing mat from Australia!! Thank you so much Tazzie! I love the colours. Isn't blogging fun! Tazzie does such wonderful work -- visit her Etsy page!

Here is my sewing machine with my new sewing mat. One day soon I will have my featherweight up and running and ready to put on it! That is my goal before the November retreat. I have joined the featherweight Yahoo group and I think I am almost ready to do the tune up myself! The machine actually runs quite well but it really should have a little oil and lube. I just love the look of the sewing machine mat with the little featherweight sitting on it so nicely. But in the meantime my Pfaff is quite happy on my new mat. And it is so nice to know where that darn seam ripper is at all times - LOL

This is the view from the window at my sewing machine and computer. There are two large windows in the room. The computer is in front of one and the sewing machine in from of the other. As you can see the yard and garden are not that large and there is only a small piece of grass between the window and the flower bed which is mostly hostas.

The reason I am show you this is because two times this week I have looked up from the computer or sewing machine and there has been a small black bear walking along the grass!!! It is quite startling to see the bear. It looks like just a young bear - maybe 2 years old or so. Jenny gave the bear a good barking at from behind the closed door tonight. We have a small plum tree out behind the hedge and there are a few other fruit trees in the neighbourhood - so I guess he is busy looking to fatten up for the long winter (aren't we all!!)

And here is the final picture of the quilt for the new baby - Ty is the baby's name. I gave them the quilt last weekend, they really liked it. It will be a great wash and use quilt for the little guy.

Jim and I have been watching Season One of the Soprano's this week. We finished the last episode of Season One tonight before 7 pm -- so off Jim was sent to the local video store to find the first DVD of Season two. We never watched any of the episodes when they were on TV and we have been hearing so much about how it is such a good show that we felt we needed to check it out. I will have to blame Susan from Blackberry Creek for getting my interest in the show started.

We are really enjoying the show. Such a great way to watch TV. We are able to get about 4 episodes in a night, but it have really cut into my blogging time. And of course the windows..............we won't mention the windows - LOL
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A bit of frustration -- or - no wonder I am out of sorts!

The summer that never was - is now over!!

It has been a very cool, grey and rainy, nondescript kind of summer here in Vancouver. I think it was July 10 or so the last time it was warm enough to go for a swim. Jim has been very busy this summer because there are no salmon -- apparently the less fish there are the hard he must work - LOL!!

I have done very little of anything quilty wise since returning from holiday. I have worked a fair amount in August and it seems they were mostly night shifts. But I think the biggest reason for my lack of energy and enthusiasm is the house. We moved all the living room furniture into the middle of the room back in June to have the new windows and door. First the doors came - remember they couldn't find the window for a few days. Then the window came and then we had to leave everything because the window moldings needed to be stained and installed and Jim was going to do this himself at some point during the summer -- which was really busy as it turned out! First he painted around the doors - so that is done. Then he stained all the wood for the windows. And then about 2 weeks ago he decided he could get going on installing the molding. Well - they don't fit, there are some issues with something. There are a few uneven areas - molding too narrow etc.

The window guys came back today. Mostly it is just a bigger job than Jim was "aware" it would be. I don't want to say "capable" Because he probably is capable and feels it is something he should be able to do - as a guy. Well - I said "you have other things you're really good at - making beer, for example. Not every husband is a carpenter". Moldings are a lot of work -- fiddly work. I really would like him to just hire a real carpenter to come in and slap up the darn moldings -- penny wise and pound foolish!! I told him even quilters send out those big quilts to be quilted -- something quilters are capable of doing themselves but sometimes the time saving and fact that it will actually get finished is worth the money!!

So -- this is what my living room has looked like since the middle of June. And the disarray just seems to spread to other rooms. The dining room has stuff in it that belongs in the office - which is full of stuff that Jim needs to sort through before it can be put away - but he has been too busy to deal with. The birds and their cage is still in my sewing room -- spitting seeds all over the carpet and taking up my ironing board space. My ironing board is in the small entrance room - taking up space. And the whole thing just makes me a bit out of sorts!!

As you can see one of the windows in the background -- they aren't even very big windows!! The molding that are around the windows in this picture are the old moldings from the old windows, they have since been removed. The sliding glass door on the other wall of the room is finished now.

So, hopefully this gets finished some time this month -- although it will be still a very busy month for Jim at work. I am going to ask the neighbour - who is getting some work done at her house if she knows of a good carpenter.............
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