Friday, December 18, 2015

So THIS is How Reindeer Fly

This is from my favorite machinery embroidery design company, Embroidery Library.   They have a bunch of quick holiday designs on sale right now.  Check them out!  (No, not connected to the company in any way other than a happy paying customer!)                     

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Caterpillar Stuffy Fail:-(

Stuffies should not be scary and, yes, those legs are centipede-scary, aren't they?

  • Obviously the black ribbon legs were a huge mistake. Nothing says centipede like a lot of blacks squiggly legs!
  •  Also, while I like the fabric for the body, it needs segments.  Caterpillars must have segments.

 I do like my ribbon antennas, though.  I have got to use up some of my overwhelming ribbon collection.  Did I really just call it a collection?  That's not good.  Supply!  I meant supply!

This began with me trying to steal Sandra's Hungry-Caterpillar-book-with-stuffy gift idea.  I love both of her versions of the caterpillar.  You have to check hers out to see how good this might have been if I had just not decided to, once again, reinvent the wheel.

I can't even bring myself to donate this one.  It would be cruel.  Mine will terrify some poor child who happens upon it lying in the thrift store waiting for it's forever home. 

Until someone comes up with a kiddie book about a lovable centipede, this will will have to go the way of all centipedes--hidden in the far depths where they belong. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Finally Got the Man Cave Pillows Finished!

The girly pillows have been finished for a few weeks,
but being as it's supposed to be an official man cave (I do let the guys use it on occasion), it needed this pillow to finish it off.
He fits right in.
One project down.  About a million more to go!

Update:  I wanted to add a little more about how I did this before posting it to Threading My Way's pillow page.  First, the pillow patterns I found on the web have those nice lines across like the actual emoji, but then the pillow is quite flat.  I wanted a fluffier pillow.  I ended up drawing a pattern by hand.  The downside to an overstuffed version is that you can't get sew in those lines.  After sewing that bit of a line at the top it was obvious lines further down would not work. 

To fix that first problem on the next pillow (because a half dozen people wanted one after seeing mine), I want to put together a sandwich with a little stuffing for the top piece. That will allow me to put in the lines.  Then I will sew on a back panel that can be fully stuffed.  I think that should give me both lines and fluff.  We shall see!  

Now that I think about it, everyone who wanted a pillow was way younger than me.  I may be having a Peter Pan moment--or life.  Too late to change now.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Saddle Cover

How does one end up with a saddle in the kitchen?  My niece asked me to make her a saddle cover.  Looking online, I found that they are fancy-schmancy things shaped to the saddle.  If you are gonna use the cover for riding in the rain in addition to a dust cover, I can understand the need for the shaped design. I know my niece.  Riding in the rain is never happening.  That eliminated the need for any special shape.  Saddles are kept inside which in my mind eliminates the need for ties.  It's not going to get blown off!  Once again I managed to get my sewing project down a simple rectangle.

I used a laminated fabric from Free Spirit designed by Parson Gray for the top.  It's from the Curious Nature collection fittingly named Trade Blanket Smoke.  I feared that the laminate would be difficult to sew, but it was a breeze with the Teflon foot. 

The other side is a piece from my stash that I believe is from Joann's Soft N Comfy line.

It was finished and sitting in the front hall for pick-up in less than two hours.  I actually finished this in July, but my Adobe Photoshop has been so difficult to use that I haven't been able to get pics for the blog.  It's one of the main reasons I've been blogging so little.  Putting the new Windows on my computer allows me to use another program that is simple and quick.  I love Microsoft!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Meet Poor Pathetic Chicky

Oh, yeah, he is as ugly as sin, but you should have seen him when I first got him. All the stuffing was as flat as a pancake. It was Flat Stanley flat.   Kiefer handed him to me saying, "Can you fix this?"  Chicky is Jordan's stuffy from her baby days.  It is made of a nylon-type fabric that is so worn you can see through it in places. With all the holes, tears, and open seams, I didn't really know where to start trying to put him back together.

I found this to be a daunting task.  I feared ruining something that was really important to Jordan. (Stop laughing,  Sandra.)  After staring at it and thinking about it for a few weeks, I realized I could not possibly make it any worse! I mean really!  

 So, the surgery began. I decided against removing the wings for restuffing because the fabric is so thin. Just look at that pathetic see-through head.  I tried to fix a few of the "open wounds" on his head with darning--not my strong suit. I cannot tell you how many times I started restuffing Chicky only to find yet another hole or seam needing repair.

I finally got most of the damage repaired including getting this leg sewn back on which was a major PITA.

 Let's be honest, though.  Chicky is one ugly dude--sorry, Jordan.

I made him the blanket thinking it would help.  I know, I know, it just further emphasizes his shabbiness.


I think it's time for the talk about keeping memories and photos instead of dead toys.  Oh, wait a minute!  Kiefer and Jordan moved to the new apartment.  Chicky is going to their house!  Yay!  Problem solved. 

The View From My Window

What a difference two weeks makes.  This was the view from my office two weeks ago.

And today:

We had a beautiful fall this year in upstate New York!  From the first pops of color,

 to the peak of foliage season,

 and on to the end, we have constantly been surrounded by awesomely colored trees and bushes.

I'm hoping Mother Nature will bless us with an equally beautiful winter.  Off to finish raking up those leaves!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Summer Projects 4-6 FINALLY Finished

Summer projects bled well into autumn, but here they are!

Laundry room:
Finished! (Except for the covers for the hampers and something to cover up that ugly plumbing thing on the far wall.)

Man Cave:
Finished! (Except for the pillows I need to sew and the television that needs to be put in and the pictures I need to put up and the mat for under the office chair.  Is anything ever really done???)  I did get the stairs finished.  They are painted with carpet stair treads rather than completely carpeted.

I won that battle when Brian found out it would cost $400 more to carpet the stairs. No, wait.  They are not completely finished.  I still need to put in a piece of molding on the top step.

Exercise Room:
Finished.  Okay, I also need to get mats for under the exercise equipment and move said equipment  downstairs, and hang pictures.  I'm never gonna finish this stuff am I.  Well, it's so much better than this:

and this:
Kiefer's mess
 and this:

I wanted to paint the wood paneling, but Brian did not.  We've waited so long he may be right anyway.  It should be coming back in style soon.
 and this:

Kyle's mess. 
Yup, it's looking so much better.  I was going to write that this week's goal would be to finish all the little things, but I know that won't be happening.  Realistic goals are finished pillows, mats for the exercise equipment and the office chair, some of the equipment downstairs, and maybe that piece of molding.  We shall see!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ocean Zen Gardens!

If you steal some sand from the beach and pour that sand in a pretty containers with a few shells, you will have an awesome (and cheap inexpensive) souvenir.  So much better than t-shirts and salt water taffy.  Okay, maybe not better than the taffy. 
Shells were purchased.  One goes to Ocean City, Maryland for the great beaches, but not for finding great shells.
The shells with the long points are perfect for "grooming" the sand.  This bowl is for Keegan and Pep.
This one is for Kiefer and Jordan

I baked the sand at 250 degrees and sifted it to get nice smooth finished product.  Baking dried it to the point that it didn't hold a design well at first, but just being out solved that problem in a couple of days.

Shells with shell design--must be Jordan's handiwork.

Since Kyle is in Minnesota for a year of post-graduate work and Melissa's still in Mongolia with the Peace Corp, this one will stay with me until they settle down.  Did I mention that they got engaged this summer?  Now if we could just get them on the same continent...    Soon! 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Back to the Summer Projects List: #3 Empty Nest Bedroom to Office

The empty nest has some good points.  A few years ago a deserted bedroom became my yoga and meditation room, and now the newest empty bedroom is my office.

At this particular point in the process, however,
Under the plastic is the old desk that is about to get a make-over.
I would have been visiting my drug dealer if I had one.  FIVE coats of paint.  I thought I had bought Pratt and Lambert paint which I wanted to try.  Somehow I ended up with Benjamin Moore. I've never used it before and never will again.  Three coats of paint is the most I've ever done with any other paint.  The third coat is, more often than not, just to be sure I haven't missed anything.  In the end, though, I won the paint battle!  I have an office.

  It also has a nice sitting area for hand sewing or reading.
The desk is a crappy old desk left behind by the youngest child that got a paint job (NOT Benjamin Moore) and new hardware.

I put a piece of glass on the desk with black and white photos of the kids taken by my sister back when they were sweet and loving and listened to me without rolling their eyes. 

Kiefer says Keegan looks as though she's trying out for Nirvana.

Brian put in the new ceiling fan and light.  I don't care what the people at HGTV say, ceiling fans are not ugly!

I've already started project 4--the laundry room.  I'm at the wallpaper removal stage. In additional to the usual problems with wallpaper removal, this room turns out to have two layers of wallpaper.  It could be worse I guess.  I've heard that some people actually paint over wallpaper.  I cannot even begin to imagine how nasty it would be to get painted wallpaper off.   As it is, I sometimes dream of hunting down the former owners to verbally pummel them for some of their half-assed home improvements.

Twelve room down--five to go!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What is Art?

While wandering around Washington, D. C. last week, we came upon a sculpture garden.  I can't remember which of the major institutions owned it.  Smithsonian maybe??  In any case it was a lovely respite of green amidst all the buildings and roads.  I loved some of the pieces such as this full-sized tree made of some kind of silver metal.  It's about the only kind of tree I want--no shedding leaves, won't grow too big.
 I also LOVED this one called "Thinker on a Rock." 
Some pieces I just wanted to rename.  The artist called this one "Four-Sided Pyramid." 
 I'd like to call it "I Probably Should Have Been An Architect."

Before looking to see what the artist titled this one, I chose to call it "I Thought They Said These Were Stacking Chairs."

The artist entitled it "Chair Transformation Number 20B.

The artist called this next one Stele II.

I saw it more as "The Emperor Has No Clothes" in honor on another time when people agreed they saw something great when there was nothing there.

This one is quaint and whimsical to me.

 I called it "No One Understands Me" and I hadn't even been to the museum that had old typewriters and heard all the little kids says, "But what is it?" to their parents.  I am so freakin' old that the typewriters I learned on are displayed in a museum. Who remembers these erasers with the brush to clear away all the eraser crumbs?  Yes, for all you people under retirement age, it is an eraser.  The artist quite appropriately titled this one "Typewriter Eraser."

Advice for those going to D.C.  Go in the winter during the week if you prefer a less crowded visit.  There were so many people, so many families, so many children's groups this time of year.  The museums do handle everything really well.  There were no long waits.  I'm just not a big crowd person.   If you do go this time of year, go earlier in the day.  The number of people on the streets and in the museums grows larger and larger throughout the day. Also, consider staying outside the city at a place near a Metro station. We stayed in Silver Spring, MD just a few blocks from a station.  The Metro is easy to use, brightly lit, runs on time, and is very clean.  The people in the area were polite and helpful.  We had three full days for seeing the sights and probably didn't even see half of what is there. It's back on our list as a day trip whenever we take a driving trip south.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Missouri Star Quilt Company

I love this company and no, I'm not being paid to say so.  MSQC has top quality fabric (and loads of it) at great prices.  I most love their daily deal offers which bring the pricing up to the spectacular level.  Such great buys on such great fabrics! I'm swooning just thinking about it.  This post is the result of having just read my daily deal email.  I had to quickly send it to Deleteland, though, cuz my sewing supplies budget got eaten up by some of their other great sales this month. 
Some of the recent goodies ordered with more on the way as noted in the shipment email shared below.

More good news about this company:  $5 flat shipping or free if the order reaches $100.   High shipping charges are one of my biggest pet peeves, especially when they go up and up the more you order. 
Then there are the MSQC YouTube videos with inspiration and tutorials. You have to check them out and be sure to subscribe so that you'll get notices for the new ones as they come out.  

To all this you can add a sense of humor. This is snippet from an email I received to let me know my order had shipped. I'll let you read the rest when you get your own email.  Someone in Hamilton, Missouri has a great sense of humor!

"Thanks for your order at the Missouri Star Quilt Company! We just want to let you know that your quilting supplies have been meticulously gathered, placed on a red velvet pillow, and delicately escorted by 25 of our finest employees to our shipping department. Our master shipper has dutifully performed his craft, lovingly packing your order in the finest materials known to man." 

Okay!  Check out their website  or YouTube videos if you are looking for fabulous fabrics or inspiration.

Update:  Look what just arrived in today's mail!  I should have noted in my post that speedy shipping is another perk when dealing with this company.

I'm gonna be doing some strip quilts. I HAD to order this stuff!

This roll of Metallica Strips is so much lovelier in person.  The "metallic" part isn't popping with my camera (or is it skill level?).

This is my second bundle of white strips.  I have great plans!  Now I just need to get to work on said plans.

I'm seeing one of those cross kinda quilts using these and the white strips for each block.

These were free!  I am a sucker for bling and cutesy.  These happen to be useful, too, which makes them a especially nice.