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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Done - done and DONE!!!!!

After countless hours in front of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby Royale and the computer (my crappy crappy computer), I have finished another week of blog posts for QUILTSocial. They will go live starting on Monday, February 2. No worries - I have put so much effort into them - I want EVERYONE to read them - you will be reminded!!!   And I want OOOHHHHS   and AAAAHHHHH for the brilliant photography, writing and projects!  I'm kidding of course, but I will post the link on my blog.

Always nice to finish that off, but now I am already thinking about the March posts.  Got lots of projects to make and techniques to experiment with. I am learning so much and that is why I make the extra effort - I love to learn - I think if you love to teach - then you love to learn or vice versa!  Anyway - I like both.

Of course my computer had a major melt down in the middle of editing. I think it needs a new card slot for the camera. It doesn't seem to like that and at one point - well I was ready to toss it. Matter of fact, I moved to the Windows 8.1 computer to finish off the editing.

And I love this message from Google when it is having trouble loading pages. 
 I would have liked to KILL the computer, not just the pages.

So while I was waiting a LONG LONG LONG time for the computer to reboot and do self diagnostics and all, I did manage to get a few things done.

I was working on this table runner on Monday (it is part of our table runner series at Ruti's). I had just willy nilly cut that outside border fabric knowing that I did not have enough. It was only after I had one piece sewn on that I had finally convinced myself that it wasn't going to work.

Not enough border fabric!!!!

Dug through the stash and found this - PERFECT.   The new borders and binding are cut. I will use the same fabric for the backing and it is back in the Monday box to finish off then.

New border fabric

And yes - that little border piece is already in the scrap box.

Speaking of scraps - our sewing groups have been collecting scraps with the intent of making pet mats. Well - there is starting to be a big pile and I must deal with it.

Bags and bags of scraps
 I bought some pillow cases at Value Village. I sewed a seam right down the center of the bag and stuffed both sides with scraps until 1/3 of the pillow case was filled. Then I sewed a vertical seam to make a pocket like a duvet cover. Didn't get a chance to take a picture.
Starting to stuff the pillow case

Well let me tell you - what some people throw away for scraps would make you cry.  Seriously????   I found this in the scrap box.

BIG scraps
 At this moment in time - I was pretty ticked at the computer and the person who threw this away, so I grabbed my rotary cutter and chopped it up!!!!   It was too big to put in the mat anyway.

Chop chop chop!!!!!

Then I calmed down - that was good therapy!  But as I went through the next bag - I could not resist taking this out. All this came from one little grocery bag and there was a lot more that I would keep, but I thought I don't have time to fussy sort through all the stuff.

Seriously????   This is someone's scraps?????
 I think there were enough scraps in that one bag to make a small quilt. I see we are going to have to have TWO bags to collect scraps - one for PIECES bigger than 2 inches and one for everything else. I LOVE my scrap boxes and use them all the time. This is such a waste - but then one man's trash is another man's treasure!!!!!

I also managed to get another cut made to those pieces I was working on on Monday. It was only after I made the cut that I realized why the project had been abandoned.

See the orientation of my cut - lanscape

And the orientation in the pattern???? - Portrait
 Ooops - well - I guess it won't look like a star - it will be a crazy pieced quilt and I'm OK with that. Obviously I wasn't before as that is why I stopped working on it.

Well I am still madly trying to find that darn project to work on with Claudette. It was in a white bag hanging on the side of my project shelf. Then I decided that I wasn't going to work on it, so I winged it away somewhere. But where???????   I should keep a list of missing things so I will feel good when I finally find them. I see I will have a few minutes this morning before the embroidery club comes, so I may search some more. BUT - I did find something else that was missing.

I had purchased a really really expensive pair of scissors. And then one day - they were gone. I must say that I owe M an apology because in  my mind - SHE lost them. But NOPE - I was the culprit. They were in a project bag for a jacket that I haven't finished!!!!!    ACK!!!!   But see - if I had a list of missing things - this would be great. First I had forgotten that they were missing and then I could have checked them off - one more found object. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Relocated scissors which are safely back with the rest of the scissors

I also found a small bag with extra bobbins for the long arm and some neutral threads. Yikes - I hate when I buy stuff and do not put it away immediately!!!!!

Found neutral thread and bobbins
I didn't even know this was missing because technically it never got put away!!!!!

Went to see the movie Taken 3 - yikes - there were some wild car chases/crashes in this movie. I couldn't keep track of who was in what car.  Oh yes -I try to get away from the computer and the sewing machine every once in a while.

Well - I am off to try and organize a few more things this morning. Then a busy day ahead and then I will be glued to the long arm for the next week if I am not teaching.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Technical Writing

Another awesome day with Monday Mania.  So many laughs - got another project done and delivered (but can't share with you until next Friday (Feb 6) and advanced several others. I was hoping to come home and get myself all organized for next Monday, but that didn't happen. Will do that today. It really pays to have everything cut and ready to sew.

One of the things I like about Monday is that we encourage each other to finish some projects that have been languishing for a LONG LONG time. I think Claudette is probably the best at this. So is this good because she is getting them done or bad because she has so many unfinished???  Anyway - thanks Claudette - I appreciate the push.

We agreed on TWO projects to bring next week. I just have to sew buttons on a jacket and it will be done - it was on my radar screen so I was happy to agree to that one. The other project was hanging on my shelf last year, but I put it away for this year and where did I put it????  I must find that one before Monday. While searching for that project, I did a bit of tidying up so that really was a good thing even if I haven't found the project yet.

I took several pictures of stuff that people finished yesterday, but I am not posting them because they are the homework for our table runner class and I will show them that day! Sorry ladies!  I know that Veronica and Tish worked hard to get their project done and they look fabulous.

There is always a LOT of sewing going on, but I don't always get a chance to get around and see what everyone is working on. Paula was sitting right beside me and she is madly working on her double wedding quilt and she made several of these units. Lots of work in this quilt - lots of curved seams, but she seems to be coming along rather nicely!

Paula's paper pieced bits for double wedding ring quilt

There are two parts to writing the QUILTSocial blog. One of course is coming up with the content and taking the appropriate pictures which sometimes can be very time consuming if I have to make a sample to demonstrate what I am talking about. But when it comes to the text - well it is like writing a technical manual. Not quite, but almost. I can't just say - oh you know - attach that long thing - nope - I have to go back to the manual (if I have forgotten or don't know) the real name for the various parts. Let's just say that I am becoming VERY familiar with the manual and the sewing machine. I am having loads of fun with the process despite the time commitment.  It is the kind of learning that I like to do.  A while back Carla issued a challenge to Jennifer (a fellow QUILTSocial blogger) and myself.  Check out these links to read all about it. I will be showing you a bit of my challenge next week.   And you can always read the Tuesday and Wednesday link - Jennifer is introducing the Pfaff Creative 4.5 sewing machine.

Monday - Introducing the Challenge

Thursday - sewing the project part One

Friday - Swing project Part Two

Isn't that exciting?  I can't wait to see what Jennifer's quilt is going to look like.  And oh boy - we are completely different!

At last - I am grabbing a few real mindless (well sort of) projects to work on at Monday. The last couple I have done have been a lot of work so nice to work on something easy for a bit. And I am happy to say that I am actually getting things to completion. No MORE UFOs for me!!!!!!!!

This project was resurrected from YEARS ago. It is one of those stack n slash quilts. Called Pointless Wonder by Quilt Country (I've already made this quilt - this must have been the SAMPLE for teaching the class). The big rectangles were cut and the first slash was made, but that it where it has sat for years.   I managed to get that first slash sewn together yesterday. I will keep you up to date with my progress.

The slashed pieces of fabric - now they are ready to be slashed once more
I keep telling people that they need to practice their machine quilting. And it is even more fun if you try different types of batting. Actually would be a great exercise to get four bundles. Quilt EACH set the same way - one lightly quilted, one medium quilted, one set densely quilted and one  - do several densities on the same piece. Serge up the edges of the samples, throw everything in the wash and then evaluate the results. I LOVE the fact that the Warm Company has put out these little bundles where you get a sample of all their battings. You can find them at Fabricland for $1.00.  No further discount please!  If you get a chance to pick up these bundles - they are perfect for practicing. ACK - now there is going to be a mad rush to Fabricland. I think I have three bundles - I need ONE more!!!!

Sample bundle of battings from The Warm Company

OK - so do you know what these items are???

Mystery tools - ooops - I called them a tool - that is a hint

I have to say that the service at RONA is BRILLIANT. We have had so much trouble keeping our kitchen faucet TIGHT!  I know - silly thing, but very annoying. The tools pictured above are the tools that come with your faucet for the very reason of tightening them should you need to. Well we had the bottom one which was too small for our faucet. No idea why, but anyway - we needed the bigger one. I went to RONA to look for the bigger one. The fellow told me that they come with the faucet and are not for sale. But he went to the junk drawer in the plumbing department, found one and gave it to me. The same as the fellow in the hardware department the other day with my strapping problem.  I MUST write a letter to the manager and tell him how helpful the staff is. Unfortunately I did not get names of these two employees!!!!

 Hey - are you resurrecting some old projects????  I am having so much fun doing it. I know so many people who no longer feel committed to an older project. No desire to finish it for a variety of reasons - they used cheap, ugly fabric, technique they didn't like, fabric they didn't like, etc. Well - I don't even look at them like that. I look at them as it is a job to be done so I do it!   Someone will be able to benefit from the project at some point. I care more about the process rather than the object which is good as I like to think that makes me less materialistic!

If you want me to post a picture of a UFO that you have resurrected and FINISHED - send it to me. I'll post it. Could be kind of fun.  Have to think how we can challenge each other with this! Any ideas???

On that note - I have a TON of things to get done today. Funny how when one deadline is met, another looms immediately in its place.  I can't imagine what life would be like without some kind of deadline or commitment.  I guess I will be in my grave when I find that out!!!!

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Adventures in EGYPT!!!!!

I have always wanted to be a doodler but I don't think I ever was even when I was in school. Oh I think I tried, but it isn't a natural thing for me to do.

For those that doodle - I envy you. I think it is a fabulous creative outlet and according to this new book I found - it can be used to solve many problems. I don't have a lot of time for details this morning, but here is the book and some doodles to ponder.

The Doodle Revolution by Sunni Brown

 I love the book - there are a LOT of very interesting facts about doodling. As you read through the book, there are various exercises - here are my result of two of them.

Two doodles by me!  Not original - they were part of the exercises in the book 
 Then last week I was at a meeting and like I said - I am determined to make this doodling part of my routine. This is what my meeting notes looked like when I was done.

Ooops - hard to read what I am supposed to do!!!!

But I did pay attention in the meeting, I was focused, I didn't talk when it wasn't my turn and ooops - all of a sudden the meeting was over. Yes - I like this doodling thing.

I did NOT make it to the gym this morning. I was up until midnight trying to get the last of the editing done for QUILTSocial. That was not to be, so I will be finishing up tonight. I don't know how many more pictures I took and edited and loaded. I love pictures - what can I say!  And every pictures requires that I am taking a picture of something so that has to be prepared!

Which is why this is a very handy thing to have.

A spare battery for the camera - when one dies - I immediately recharge it and then I have a fully charged one on hand at all times. 
I have quite the collection of election signs and they need to be cut into the appropriate size for the bottom of bags. I was using a craft knife, my cutting  mat and my acrylic rulers to do the cutting.

Cutting supplies for the election signs
 However I didn't think using the craft knife with the acrylic rulers was a good idea. I have visions of shaving small amounts off the side every time I used them. Off to Rona to get something much better.

A nice STEEL carpenter's square which will make the cutting a whole like easier. Not only because it is metal, but you can use that angle to secure the square when you are cutting. I did a lot of cutting yesterday - yes - when I was supposed to be editing. OK - so it wasn't a lot, but I did some. 

See how you can hook that angle on the edge and cut?  It is a brilliantly designed tool. Of course - it is designed for the traditional MAN jobs. But we can't really complain too much about our acrylic rulers. 

While at Rona, I also splurged and bought a set of screwdrivers. Ours always seem to be missing. These MUST stay in the tool box. And a pair of tin snips. Just because I want to do some creative stuff with tin and why kill my craft scissors.

Tin snips and screwdrivers

Remember yesterday when I chatted about gifts?  Come on - we all love gifts. Well this isn't exactly a gift because I am reimbursing Lauraine. It is a kit from the Row by Row Shop Hop this past summer. How fun is that with all those polka dots.  I have to check my boxes for the license plate as well. Just haven't had time - maybe tomorrow when I am done with the QUILTSocial editing.

Row by Row kit from Quilting Confections which I believe is in Leamington

My little Lego gal has been in hiding lately. She lost her wig last summer and well she is a bit shy and quite frankly she has been lonely. But things are looking up for her. Not only does she have a new wig, but she has a companion!!!!   Mr GeoCacher aka GeoGeorge. In case you don't know, the logo on his "shirt" is the Geocaching logo. And if you don't know what Geocaching is - you can google it. Think modern day treasure hunting with a GPS.

GeoGeorge and Lego Lania
 I know - I was even lying on the floor to take those pictures. Life is too short to be worried about what others think!  I had fun doing it.

Lego Lania also got a spare hat in the event she loses her wig again. 
 And while I was on the floor taking pictures of my Lego clan, I looked up and there was Sammy. Gosh - she looked so much like the Sphinx - I had to snap a picture.

Lego Lania on location at The Sphinx in Egypt!!!
The Spinx
Maybe Sammy could get a job as a model. Hey - maybe Sammy WAS the model in one of her previous lives????   OK - so I am getting silly now. But that's OK.

"It is HARD work being a model. I'm exhausted."

Sparky just sleeps through everything these days

Well the studio looks like a hurricane went through.  I have been busy digging out stuff for the blog and well it just looks crazy.

One set of work tables. I had to laugh because boxes were out - lids were open, contents spilling out

The other set of work tables - not quite so bad. Let's just say that the Ruby Royale was given a good workout in the embroidery mode although it is sitting idle in this picture. Notice that I erased what was on the design wall.  Oh yes - can't have you seeing something before you should!

My sewing table - not so bad, but again project boxes piled up because I need to sent e-mails regarding the projects. 

The cutting table - could be worse

The ironing board - not so bad - see those darn election signs were everywhere

At one point in the day I had to zip off to Fabricland to get some supplies. A BIG bag of supplies.

Supplies from Fabricland

On that note - I am out of here.  It is Monday Mania!!!!!    Yep - sewing for fun all day - well almost. I do have a couple of things that need to be finished up.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gadgets galore!!!!!

Whew - last week was a bit of a whirlwind. This coming week is a LOT quieter which is great - I don't think I have any meetings or major things happening outside the house so it will be heads down to get a few things done at home. Including today where I will be taking photos, editing photos and writing blog posts for QUILTSocial. My week is coming up soon and of course I am a bit behind the deadline. Each time I get better at hitting the deadline - one day I will be on time and shock the world!

I am also trying to edit all blog post pictures as I take them and put them in the appropriate folder so that I don't have to keep going back to try and find the ones I want.

Today is an odds and ends day.  A whole bunch of different things that have popped up over the past week.

I used to be a gadget girl. I would buy ANY gadget out there. Some I used, some I did not. I had purchased this pen - it is called a Fabric Folding Pen by Clover. I don't think I ever used it and once when I was cleaning up, I think it went to a guild to be sold at a quilt show.

Fabric Folding Pen
At one of my classes last week, Judy brought in the pen and was raving about how much easier it is to fold things so I broke down and REPURCHASED the pen.  I want to try it for turning pockets and things of bags which I seem to be doing a lot of lately. I'll let you know my thoughts when I use it which will be soon.

Another product that I have but haven't used much is called Transfer Eze.    This is a "pliable film" that you put in your printer. You photocopy the hand embroidery design onto the Transfer Eze. Peel back the sticky backing and place on your background. Then you will stitch through the Transfer Eze, the background and I like to add a light interfacing to the back of my projects - that is a LOT of layers to hand stitch through.

Transfer Eze
I spent a bit of time (this morning) trying to find my sample and I have no idea where it is. I remember when I was cleaning up the project (Snow Days) that we used it on that I wondered where to "file" that sample so I could find it for future. I do NOT have a box for hand embroidery stuff. I have put it in a logical (at that time) place but where that is - I have no idea. I will find it as my brain will be processing that all day today!!!  If I find it - I will start a demo project box for hand embroidery stuff. Where where where could that thing be????

Anyway - I am not sure that I like the product - you are now having to embroider through that extra layer. And Linda brought in a sample where she had used the Transfer Eze. She had left the product on her project for a LONG time and the stuff becomes a bit brittle and thick.   I have heard others say that it is a bit of a challenge to "rinse" out. More like a good soaking is required.  Like everything else - TEST TEST TEST before you commit yourself to a big project. I will say that it makes it a BREEZE to get your pattern on the fabric ready to stitch. Fast!!!

Hard to see here - but this is Linda's sample with the hardened Transfer-Eze

Speaking of Snow Days - I saw another completed top yesterday.

Lauraine's Snow Days.  Love those brilliant colours!!!!   Thanks for bringing it in!!!!

I forgot to post this earlier this week, but a certain someone - we shall leave her nameless to protect the innocent. She was busy getting a small piece ready to quilt. She basted a couple of lines of stitching through her piece. And look what happened....................

YES - that white - that is her notes!!!!   Nicely basted to the back of her piece. We all got a chuckle out of that. (And she wondered why it felt thicker than normal!!!!  - come on - we have ALL done that at one time!!)

I love presents!  OK - everyone loves presents. Look what I received the other day!!!!
Mini notebooks and pencil set - all bicycle themed of course!!!!   Thanks Ronda!!!!

I have a few other things to post as well, but I realize I haven't taken pictures yet - so that will have to wait for another day.

Oh yes - forgot to blog about what I did on Monday. So we are now on a BIG kick for applique. This is the year that I am going to accomplish something. Project number one - is already DONE!!!!!

Remember - Simple Country Sampler - DONE - well the top is done and all that was left was some applique. 

Onto Project Number Two. I have to stop for a moment. I believe it was Mary Kay who left a comment a couple of days ago about cleaning up. Mary Kay was cleaning up closets/pantries and her sister asked if she was dying!!!!    That is so funny because I often think the only reason I am getting this stuff done is so that someone else doesn't have to deal with it should I die. Well - as far as I know - I am no where near my death bed, but just in case - I had better work faster!!!!   Every project I complete is one less for someone to wonder about when I am no longer here.

OK - onto Project Number Two.  I dug out Amish with a Twist (the original one). Marlene is also going to work on hers on applique day. I think we are in about the same stage of completion.

Amish with a Twist (the original)
 Normally I would not have started this project, but because the store (Cockadoodle Quilts) closed half way through - we only got some of the fabric. Marlene and Mary in their wisdom decided that we need to push on so we could order the missing fabrics while they were still available. So because of them, I started to work. Got all the blocks done (this was a long time ago) and sewed the top together. In my silliness, I did not pay attention to the length of the sashings. I cut what the pattern said which was NOT the size of my blocks.  I sewed it together and it looked like a kiddie wave pool!!!!

I went back for a quick peek - I signed up for this Block of the Month on July 17, 2013. So that is not bad by my standards!!!!

Anyway - the quilt had been completely ripped apart (not the blocks). I cut the sashings down (thank god the error wasn't in the other direction!) and got the top reassembled. Then I added the piano key border.

My Amish with a Twist - the original
 There is one final border to put on - there is applique in two corners so that will be my project for the next applique day!!!!   Can't wait.

Project box organized for the next applique day

Then I sorted through the scraps that were left over - I have started to cut out a new little project. I know - we can't let anything go to waste!!!!

These were the little little pieces and they went into a scrap box for plain fabrics and the triangles went into the HST box

So soon another project box will be completely cleaned up!!!!   I am getting very excited about this process!!!!

I watched a movie the other night - from the library called Philomena.  It is an excellent movie, but terrible what happened to these girls.  Just goes to show that we have come a long way, but definitely shows that "image" was important and sex education was severely lacking.  While watching the video - I got another binding hand stitched down.

Binding hand stitched - this is my quilt
 Got lots more to go - well about 5 and I have a couple more movies on order from the library so I will slowly work my way through them. There is NO rush for those quilts - they will just go into a pile of finished items  - I'm not worried about them.

In preparation for the next round of QUILTSocial - I am testing the embroidery part.  I love it - I get the machine fired up, set the embroidery and then leave it to work in the dark!!!!  Now if I could just have an assistant to do paperwork - I would be happy!!!!!

The Ruby Royale alone in the dark

Some people actually use VIDEO baby monitors so they can see what their machine is doing when they are not beside it!!!!   Not a bad idea since the thread can break or run out of thread and that is DOWN TIME!!!!

Yesterday, I received the sad news that my Uncle Paul passed away. He had been ill with cancer for a couple of years. I had a good visit with him last year when I was in Saskatchewan and he was the recipient of one of my tractor quilts which had plush on the back. He loved the quilt as it kept him warm. RIP Uncle Paul - I will miss the twinkle in his eye and his ever present smile even when he was sick.

Tractor Quilt

On that note - I had better get myself organized. I have over 100 pictures to edit (most will get culled - but there are probably 25 that I will keep and edit) and then upload to the internet and then write the text.  Sounds easy but for some reason takes a long time. Usually because I think another picture or another sample will show what I want to say better and then I have to go and make that happen!!!!   And we wonder why producing a movie or TV show or a photo shoot costs so much. If we could only snap ONE picture not ten in order to get the one we want!!!   I do enjoy it so I'm not complaining.

Have a great day!!!!!!