Monday, August 31, 2015

What a Relief

Our Paris household goods were delivered this morning at 9:30 a.m....20 boxes. I did not let the movers leave until I had verified my sewing machines were in the shipment. My Bernina 440  and the French Singer antique made it! 

By 1:30 p.m., I only had one box left to unpack.

Most important were these treasures I couldn't wait to touch.

Also, the all important Starbucks mug collection...

and my stash of French dark chocolate peanut M&Ms.

Lots of piles around the house as I haven't put everything in its place is a happy chore to have!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Instead of Sewing...Organizing

Why must organizing anything, 
take so much longer than you anticipate? 
Even when it is kind of fun? 
It's my toys I am organizing.

For at least 15 years...this has been my self-made cutting table. I bought six unfinished wooden cabinets with lots of little drawers. The cabinets were meant for scrapbookers. I painted them white to use as a base for two hollow-core doors, also painted white, to make the table tops. I was able to fit four rolling wire cabinets underneath the tops, two on each side. 

It's a great table size but the cabinets with all the little drawers were really not a great source of storage...tiny drawers.

Tiny things, like beads...are great for these drawers.  I'm not a beader...I'm a quilter and I need bigger drawers. It has bugged me for years!

But I love the wire rolling carts. I have a mini one at my sewing machine table. I'm tired of the white finish on everything. So...last week I spent several days spray painting two of the rolling white carts to a antique bronze. Love the look. It required a ridiculous amount of spray paint...very expensive. But I do love the color.

Next was lining the drawers. I looked into purchasing some liners made for these drawers...only found them at a place called, "The Container Store." When I lived in was one of my favorite stores. None in Alaska and the shipping on their mail order is extremely expensive...there is a $30 sure-charge for shipments to Alaska and Hawaii. That is just crazy!!! So time to improvise. 

I found some heavy duty opaque shelf lining plastic sheets. These big sheets are meant for going underneath a sink cabinet. Very difficult to trim with all these creases. I tried hot air from a blow dryer to relax the plastic...not hot enough! 

Then I came up with the perfect water bath. 
You can see the fold lines but it lays flat now.

Here's drawer with a liner...perfect!

Only one problem...the paint does rub off the formerly white wire if bumped. 
I will have to do some touch ups now and then I suppose. 

No quilting getting done on my midarm...heavy sigh...I really am a tortoise. Machine quilting is a high intensity must happen in the daytime when I have my wits about me and it's hard to find an hour or two of uninterrupted time. But I do get a little handwork done most evenings. I'm working on the fronts of a set of ornaments...I'll attach the backs and stuff all at once since most have a white felt backing.

Ukraine Santa...more limbs emerging.

Monday will be a big day...out of the blue we had a phone message that our household goods from Paris will be delivered on Monday morning...can't wait to see if we got everything.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Parting with a UFO

I am trying to go through my "stuff." That means confronting UFOs.

Here is one started in 2008, a Moda U pattern. I don't like anything about it anymore but I did some really nice work on the applique so I hate just throwing it away...but really...I don't want a quilt from these blocks. I guess I should just look at it all as practice and get over it. Very silly to continue to store it when I have so many other projects I would really like to spend my time on.

Goodness knows, I should really spend most of my time quilting the 15 tops I have finished instead of starting anything else. But I am not the quickest quilter...even with a midarm. I just finished stitching in the ditch around all the blocks and stashing when I discovered two lines of bad looping on the backside. Darn! It will be a quick fix...but gosh...I hate tension issues. I know there are a few master longarm quilters who refuse to work with batik backings. I am just stubborn about it I guess but I've had trouble with non-batiks too so I'm going with what I love since I plan to use my quilts on beds. 

Meanwhile...McKinley thinks everything I do is wonderful. When you are an take way too many puppy pictures! My husband has been in Paris since July 31st and he requests daily photos. So just like all those "first day of school" photos I have been seeing on Facebook..I have my puppy bragging photos.

I do have some fun Alaska photos. Both my sons are pilots but one is working this summer flying tourist around Denali park and landing on glaciers around Mount McKinley. Here's the plane he is flying...notice the skiis.

Here's a panoramic photo he got a few days ago. Mount McKinley is in the distance on the right horizon.

He will have a couple of days off and will be back in town. I've been requested to fix dinner for the next few nights. I'm looking forward to seeing him but no idea what to put on the menu plan.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Slow and Steady...

I wonder how long it will take me to quilt this top...I feel like I am moving at the pace of a tortoise.

I did my version of basting the entire quilt. My midarm does not have a basting stitch...just a long stitch. I did horizontal stitching rows, about every four inches, the entire length of the quilt. This gets the batting off the floor and away from dog hair...which I now have to worry about. I will remove the horizontal long stitches as I work on the quilting design. Right now I am going back and stitching in the ditch around all the blocks and sashing. Very dull and time consuming but it is definitely something I have learned is necessary.

With the diagonal setting of the blocks I cannot complete a line of stitching without moving the quilt in the frame. I do this with the needle down. Another reason for long-stitching the entire quilt first. 

Here are the Swiss Santa, Spanish Santa and now I have started the Ukraine Santa. There are beads, outline stitching and mustaches to add to all three.

Already, McKinley has the walking routine down and is insistent when she thinks I've forgotten.

One week left and my husband will officially be done with his position in Paris. He'll still be flying as a pilot so he will be gone often...just not so much. No idea where our crates are with our household goods from Paris. We've asked but we gotten no information. So very frustrating.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Y'all Quilt

I'm two weeks behind my goal of getting started on quilting my next project. I finished loading the quilt and did a little stitching in the ditch. So far it is going great. I just figured out a way to evenly mark off some design elements with out the labor of math or measuring with a ruler...hopefully I can share my new technique after I give it try!

I started working on the ornaments of the Christmas Tree wall hanging.

I got a gift in the mail from a family June we had a family reunion in Texas. I've been to Paris, France but not Paris,Texas...maybe someday!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Plants, Projects and the Puppy

With summer's a good time to get photos of my massive planters. They are 36" tall and at least 84-inches wide. I've been trying out perennials. The big test is next spring to see what managed to winter over. 

This first planter is pretty much completely in the shade. As you can see...I got very lucky with this one! I've got three Astilbes which have pretty much finished blooming and then the two large-leafed plants are Ligularia. It is supposed to produce large golden spikes...I think they are just starting to bud! I also threw in two decorative ivy plants...can't remember the name right now...but those two plants definitely like this location.

The next two planters get a good amount of sun. I tried these chartreuse Bleeding Hearts, which are meant to be in full sunlight, in the planters last year and they wintered over! YES!!! This one has just one Bleeding Heart but I added two Columbines that are providing pretty green leaves but no blooms so far. I also put in two Day Lilies...which bloomed nicely. The little trailing orange plants were just some filler annuals.

This planter has two Bleeding Heart plants that pretty much overwhelmed everything else I put in the planter. I love this green color against my house color.

Still working on organizing my sewing room. I did fire up the fancy iron I bought at the Paducah quilt show that steams all fabrics...even synthetics. Worked great on the felt pieces for the Bucilla stocking kits I am obsessed with. For the first time I had a major piece of felt that was impossible to use...and of course it was the background piece of the stocking front. There was a huge stain on the bottom and the toe was cut off.

I called the toll-free number available in the kit and luckily they are sending me a new piece of felt. I  was not sure they would be able to help me since this is a kit that was released in 2009. (In the Workshop.) I had heard from others that Bucilla was good about responding to kit problems.

In the meantime...I started a wall hanging kit, Nordic Christmas Tree. This is the base of  the tree. 

My cross stitch projects were being ignored. This is a Swiss Santa ornament after three nights.

But mainly I have been playing with my new puppy.

Turns out she is also a bit of gardener...a digger!

We might have some future disagreements.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Good News

I read my emails this morning and heaved a great sigh of relief...the second crate has been found! We had just gotten the word on Monday that the first crate was approved to be sent to us but I don't think it has actually left Paris yet either. It is still a great mystery...though my husband works for Fed Ex...the move is being handled by an international moving service and the crates are being put on a Delta airplane to get to the U.S. That's all I know so far. If only we could put it all on a Fed Ex  plane...with a tracking number...all the way to our house.

I have seen lots of critters this summer but the sightings have been at the wrong time for me to get a photo...finally one bull moose has cooperated. His antlers are covered with velvet. He is huge!!! I did not get out of my car or linger in the area to cause him any irritation.

Fall is definitely in the air. 
Our morning temperatures are in the 40s. 
Fall is my favorite season in Alaska. 

I turned in my quilts for the state fair before I came up with an excuse not to follow through. I saw some very pretty quilts sitting on the table when I was checking in. Sounds like several of the local quilt stores have started getting new lines of fabric in...big sales starting tomorrow. I think puppy McKinley will get her first training about going to the quilt store and waiting patiently for me in the car. She is wonderful about being calm in her crate so I expect it will all go smoothly...except that I will probably spend too much on more fabric that I don't need.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Prepping for the State Fair

I officially finished the Santa ornament set from a Bucilla kit. Lots of hours spent on these babies...

I spent yesterday blocking a quilt for entry in the Alaska state fair. I have never entered any quilt show and I decided on my trip to Paducah this spring that I really needed to participate as an exhibitor...after all...the quilts in those shows have to come from someone. I know what I think could be better in every quilt I will be interesting to see what the judges find.

I'm going with my design, "Kachemak Baywatch." A 94-inch square. I may also do my River Rocks lap-sized quilt but haven't blocked it yet. I used my fiberglass insulation boards that serve as my design walls. I was happy to find floor space for two of them. It worked perfectly. Saw this idea on someone's blog a few years ago. I need to sew on a sleeve for hanging today...surely they will pick it for displaying! If they don't, I will, once I get it home.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Quilting Progress...On Paper

I'm going to the latest puppy picture first. She is such a doll. Sleeping very well through the night. McKinley is now 11 weeks old. I have been a bit nervous when out walking lately...lots of bear sightings by neighbors and I see lots of new bear scat but so far the bears and I haven't crossed paths. My husband says they are heading up the mountainsides because it is time to start eating berries. That makes complete sense...just hope I continue to miss them on their meanderings on our mountainside. Kinley might look a little too tasty to them!

I have segregated Kinley to my sewing room as it is the only true space she can't ruin with potty accidents. What a good excuse to spend most of my days in the studio! I have been working on a quilt design using these patriotic fabrics. I never work in these colors but the special Quilts of Valor batik with the fireworks print grabbed my attention.

In the hours I have spent working on the design in EQ7, I could have finished sewing the top. It just took forever to get what I saw in my head into a quilt design. Being able to preview fabrics is my favorite part of using EQ!

Of course it is a huge quilt...the red and white star blocks are 14-inch blocks. I did try to go smaller...really I did! Right now it is at an 84-inch square. more living in Paris. I am home, in Alaska for good. I had several folks ask about Paris since I mentioned half of our household goods shipment is missing. It is still missing. Everyday I think of something else in the shipment I want right now! I had a lot of my specialty rulers in Paris sewing room.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Missing Goods from Paris

Just a few minutes of work accomplished yesterday. Arms stuffed. Making my way down Santa's torso.

We have been anxiously waiting for our household goods from Paris to show up. Turns out all of it is still in Paris and now one of the two crates is missing. I am so worried. I had my favorite quilt over in Paris. My Bernina 440!!! And even more importantly all the Bucilla Christmas stockings and ornaments I have made over the last three years. My husband is going to insist they at least deliver the one crate they have. Our goods were packed up on June 26th. So very frustrating!!!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Baby Steps

It is time to get a little work done...puppy nap time! In our "new" house, my sewing room is in the basement and has a large dog run off the basement door. It is so very convenient. Kinley spends all day in my sewing room or the dog run. At night she sleeps in a crate in our bedroom where she can see me at all times. Every power cord is unplugged and out of reach except my desk area and I just figured out I can easily get all of those power cords out her reach too! When I leave the house she goes in the crate in this photo...too big for her right now but she will grow into it. She is rarely alone but just like a toddler...I loose track of her all too quickly! I am taking advantage of all this "forced" time in my sewing room...when I really can't sew...I'm organizing. I could easily spend a month or more doing that in my sewing room!!!

Kinley is small enough that she spends a bit of time laying in my lap, napping. I have been able to get some embroidery done at those times. My fifth Santa ornament is in the final construction stage...sewing the backside pieces to the front.

I start from the top of the ornament and work my way down. 
From the backside you can see where I have added sculpting stitches. (Not very easy to see actually...which is a good thing.) It is easy to hide the stitches on the front side but I just try to make them as neat as possible on the backside.

The final step will be adding these cute little cherries to the hat.

I have been working on writing my pattern for Paris Flower Shop.
 I have also been developing the quilting design.

I keep telling myself to try and keep it simple!
 But I definitely want this to have a very "girlie" look to it.

Kinley is still napping. What should I tackle now?