Archive for April, 2014

New Wheels

April 23, 2014

Since I retired in 2012 and even before that, Hubby and I have talked about getting bikes. We’ve enjoyed riding them as children and even when our children were children. But life got in the way and we haven’t even thought about bikes for many years.

So recently when we were having an exceptionally fine Spring day, Hubby comes to me in my sewing room where I was contentedly sitting in my little nook knitting. He said “Let’s go get some bikes.”

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You can probably notice the bike rack on the back of my car. For something that’s supposed to be a simple attachment, we had quite a time trying to figure it out. It must have been a funny scene to anyone taking the time to watch these two old geezers  on the W-M parking lot trying to figure out how to attach this thing so we could get our bikes home.

But with another trip inside the store to get security ties and a few frustrating moments later, we took off for home with our bikes dangling behind us on the rear of the car. Luckily we got home without either one of them falling off.

Later when I had time to actually read the directions, (which really wasn’t that plain in the first place), I had to laugh to find out how simple it really was to get those bikes up there and keep them in place. We’re almost old pros at it now. 🙂

Ah well, I guess we old geezers can still learn a few new tricks.

Hubby had to make a few adjustments to his seat and handle bars, but I just got on mine and took off.

We’ve been to the bike trail almost every day since we got our bikes. (It rained off and on one day so we didn’t go.) Surprisingly, we’ve been handling it very well. I was sure I’d have sore legs the next day, but neither one of us have been sore or otherwise discomforted in any way. We get a little winded once in a while, but we’ll get used to that.

We like our bikes and we’re glad we got them.

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My First Hand Quilting

April 7, 2014

My grandma was a quilter. My mother and aunt were quilters. My grandma tried to get my sis and me interested in quilting. She started us out by cutting enough fabric into squares to make one or two nine-patch blocks.  I remember sitting on the floor at my grandma’s feet cutting out more of those little squares. We used a cardboard template cut from a cereal box, traced around it with a pencil on the back of the fabric, then cut each square out with a pair of scissors.

I tried to sew the little blocks together the way Grandma showed me on her treadle sewing machine. It was a challenge for this little girl to get herself coordinated enough to get the feet and hands (and brain) to all work together. When I think about it now, I’m sure Grandma had a few silent moments of amusement watching me.

It took years, but I finally finished that quilt, only because I was pregnant with my first baby and was bored, bored, bored waiting for that baby to get here. Of course the sewing went a lot faster on Mom’s electric sewing machine. Several years later, Mom and my aunt hand-quilted it for me.

However, my love of fiber crafts has always been with the yarns — knitting and crocheting. Sewing was interesting to me when I was in the mood, but I usually just made some of my clothes, the kids clothes and occasionally a purse or pillow. Oh I “helped” do a little quilting when I was visiting my mom and she had the quilting frame out working on a quilt. It was fun to sit and visit and keep our hands busy by quilting. But as I told my mom, quilting just wasn’t my “thing.”

My BFF Carolyn has been interested in quilting from a very young age. Over the years, she’s made many, many quilts some of which she’s won ribbons (and money!) on. The last several years she’s been encouraging me to learn to piece and quilt. (And I, in turn, have been teaching her to knit. 🙂 )

Since then, I’ve pieced together two more quilts. One was for my daughter’s wedding gift so I had that one quilted by Carolyn’s friend on a long-arm machine. The other one was a sampler quilt that I finally got together with Carolyn’s help. Then she let me quilt it on her long-arm machine. It was fun!

My interest is finally growing for quilting and piecing. I was thumbing thorough a “Quilters Newsletter” magazine (June/July 2010 issue) and saw a wall hanging made with an embroidered panel and pieced with squares of fabric and put together like a little quilt.

It took me awhile to get it made but I finally finished it yesterday. And I hand-quilted it!

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It sure did a number on my fingers. However, no matter how badly my fingers were hurting, I just kept at it because it was soooo much fun!! I can’t imagine my grandma, mom, and aunt quilting whole quilts by hand. I guess it’s just something your fingers have to get used to. And it IS fun!

Oops! One More Pic

April 5, 2014

Here’s another project that didn’t get entered in the last blog with the other ones.

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These switch plate covers came in kit form. For some reason I had two of them which worked out pretty good since I have two switch plates in my kitchen.

My kitchen is decorated with strawberries. I dreamed of having a red and white kitchen when we could finally move into a house, hence the reason I bought these kits. They’ve been in my kit stash since we lived in our first house, some thirty or so years ago. I KNOW! That’s a looong time ago. And yes, my kitchen then was red and white as well. (I guess there were two switches in that kitchen, but I can only remember one.)

I had a lot of crafts, knitting, and sewing going on at that time; but with three kids to take care of, it was difficult to find very much time for it.

So it’s about time they were finally made up, right?

Finished Projects

April 3, 2014

Warning: Lot’s of pics ahead.

Following are the projects I’ve worked on and finished while I was doing all of that cleaning and organizing of my little shop out back and my sewing room.

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This is another little baby afghan that I made with the rest of the blocks from my MIL’s project. I sewed the two three x five pieces together, then crocheted all around it with a granny square trim with the remaining yarn. I had about a yard of yarn left when I finished! It will be donated to an unknown (at this time) charity.

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These little cuties are mug rugs and coasters made with the left-over strips from “the bag” that I made from the jelly row fabric that became a diaper bag.

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This is the finished fifth afghan I’ve made this year. The pattern called for 96 motifs, but I only had yarn for 72. It just about covers our queen size bed so I think that’s big enough. Boy, I sure got tired of making those motifs! They were joined as I crocheted them, so at least I didn’t have to sew all of them together at the end. It’s kind of pretty, don’t you think?

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The next project was a needlepoint eyeglass/iPhone case. This was one of the many, many kits that it will take me two lifetimes to make. This didn’t take long to make. I worked on it in the evenings while I listen to my audiotapes I get from the library.

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These next few pics are some projects I worked on while I was straightening up my little shop out back. The can is from some cookies that I had from Christmas a couple of years ago. It was such a cute can, but had all this printing, ingredients/nutrition info, etc. on it. So I painted over all that with paint to match the lid, then put the cute gingerbread man and cookies on it.

I love tall bottles and who doesn’t love snowmen? It just was meant to be.

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More snowmen. These little jars will be candle holders. They will have a pretty bow around the rim and then a fat candle on top.

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I’ve arranged our counter top in the kitchen to create a little coffee corner. So I painted this shelf to hang on the wall in the coffee corner to hold my huge cup that says “Grrr, I’m a bear before I’ve had my coffee”. There’s a little stuffed bear in the cup. This was a gift from a friend from long ago. (Yes, I keep things!)

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A knitted cowl and

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a knitted purse. This purse was also a kit and it’s knitted out of fabric strips! It was fun to make and turned out really cute, but rather small. I came across more fabric strips that I bought, I think, at a craft show, so I’m thinking about making another one. There’s more strips in the bag that I bought than was in the kit so I should be able to make a bigger purse.

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This bag was a kit as well. It’s been in my kit stash for many years. I bought it way before I knew anything about quilting, (not that I know that much now, but I have made two quilts thanks to my BFF Carolyn). When I came across this bag kit while going through my goodies, I thought, “Hey, I bet I can make that now!” And sure enough, it wasn’t that difficult and turned out pretty neat, I think.

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I also came across this pre-printed panel and decided to make my sewing room a new pillow. I backed the panel with batting and quilted around all the patchwork, the large circle in the middle and the cat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show the details. But my sewing room has a new pillow anyway.

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This is a place mat that my mom had started who knows when. After my mom passed away in 2000, we went through her things and took what we wanted. For some reason, I wound up with this place mat. The front was already made, (hey, she used the fabric she had on hand!), the back was cut out (it’s in one piece out of the blue and green striped fabric), and the binding (from the same fabric) was already made as well.

I thought this would be a good piece to try my hand at free-motion quilting. I had a stencil for stippling that I bought on clearance somewhere, so I sandwiched the pieces together with batting in-between and played. Wow, it was more difficult that I thought but I have to admit that I had fun! I got the binding on and washed the whole thing so it would “crinkle” and I LOVE it! And it’s my mom’s. Unfortunately there was only one, (maybe that’s a good thing), but I’ll use it for myself. One of these days when I get industrious, I’ll make a set out of my own fabric.

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And last, but not the least by far, is a messenger bag (which I had already started some time ago) made from a kit. It’s a suede-backed fleece fabric. Didn’t take any time to finish it up. The pic doesn’t show, but it’s pretty huge. It was started as a gift and may wind up becoming just that. (I’m not really into tiger stripes — or is it zebra stripes?)

Anyway, unless I’ve forgotten something, these are the projects I’ve finished while working on organizing.  (And I haven’t even mentioned all the WIPs [works in progress] that have been started during all this “organizing”!)

Have I mentioned before that I LOVE retirement!? 🙂

 

 

“The Rest Of The Story”

April 2, 2014

It took several weeks, but I finally got all the drawers, shelves, and projects gone through, organized, cleaned out, etc. I actually have a few sacks of supplies, material, etc. set aside to put in a yard sale or that will make a trip to the Salvation Army thrift store. 🙂

I had a big tote of sewing projects, UFO’s, WIP, and wannabes in a large tote in the cockpit next to my sewing machine. PILED on top of the lid of that tote was more of the same. Something had to be done to that mess because it was not “user-friendly”.

We have a tall, narrow shelf unit sitting in the utility room not being used for anything but to collect more junk. So I decided to put it in the little area by my sewing machine where the tote was, clean out the tote, and put all of the projects on the shelf so I had to look at them and eventually DO something with all of it.

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My little shop out back is organized and straightened up, my sewing room is now as organized and straightened up as it’s going to get for a while (there’s still some things to go through, MY BOOKS and MAGAZINES, to name the biggest), and now I’m ready to start working on using up some of this stuff. Actually I’ve been working on projects in-between all of this cleaning and organizing. (It’s hard not to get into some of these projects when I’ve been handling and going through all of it.) So next time, I’ll post some pics of finished projects! Yay!