Sunday, January 31, 2016

No Cabin Fever Yet

Being housebound is a good thing in many ways. I did some major "spring cleaning" on the main level of my house. Boring...but good exercise. I installed the wall-mounted frame for my husband's office television. He gets home tomorrow...he'll be a happy camper! I'm not a great winter driver but I can operate simple house tools fairly competently.

 Opened up a jigsaw puzzle my husband got me for Christmas. I love puzzles...but I really think they are a waste of time...unless you are housebound!

And as a treat for cleaning my my main level....I hung some quilts to replace the Christmas themed ones.

This is the first quilt we ever made in our Breakfast Club. It was also one of the first I quilted when I got my Nolting Fun Quilter. Nothing fancy...a simple freehand swirl. 

Then I quilted this about two years after I got my quilting machine. If you are a fan of Nancy Halvorsen this will be a very familiar pattern. I completely followed her pattern along with her fabrics. This is hanging in my tiny kitchen breakfast nook.

And right by my front door is a quilt I finish two years ago. I advanced to double batting which really makes the machine quilting pop. This pattern uses strips and layer cakes. 

I just can't seem to get in the machine quilting groove. Very frustrating but if the designs won't come to me...what can I do? Start another top. I'm going way out of my usual color scheme and making a patriotic quilt. I am hoping I can hang it up this fourth of July.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Too Much Drama

I was patting myself on the back for doing great on my winter driving...and it has been a difficult winter with little snow and lots of ice. But...I got taken down yesterday. I made a right turn onto my neighborhood street and continued to keep going right...slowly sliding off the road. No car was even damage free. But I needed a tow truck to pull me out. There was also the problem that the road I slid off was a solid sheet of ice and no sign of a sanding/gravel truck coming to save the day.

Once the tow truck showed up the plan was to pull my car up on the road and while it was hooked to the tow truck...ease it down the road to my driveway which was only the length of a football field away...but all downhill on the wet sheet of ice.  The plan included having me in the car so I could try to steer it. (Yep...that part of the plan was pretty sketchy too) So...I got in the car and patiently sat while the tow truck pulled me up to the street.

Then the towing cable that was supporting my vehicle snapped. OOPS! Then my car went careening farther down the mountain side and stopped when it hit two trees. Luckily...again...I was not hurt at all but it was such a disappointing end.

Now there is damage to my car.

The sanding/gravel truck showed up 4 hours later...right after the towing company finally got my car out and loaded on a flatbed truck to take it to a body shop. At least all my neighbors got home safely from work. I did watch one on my neighbors slide down sideways in her car before the gravel truck showed up. She was very lucky...she stayed on the road and didn't hit anything.

 The roads continue to be horrible as we keep getting a light rain and then freezing temperatures. 

And of course...pilot hubby is on a trip. He'll be gone four more days. He laughed hysterically when I told him the story...I didn't know I was such a comedian. I guess you'd have to know I have a little history with wacky situations that sometimes involve operating a car.

Oh...and my handyman was at my house when I initially got stuck. He is working on building a shed for us. He left before the tow truck showed up and had a very exciting ride down the mountain...but he too managed not to hit anything or actually go off the road. Today he had chains on his vehicle to navigate our mountain.

Sounds like I should just spend a few days staying nice and warm inside my quilt studio. I am most upset that I missed the January Breakfast Club. We started a mystery quilt in December and along with the rest of the the final design was revealed. I called the quilt shop and the class leader is not a computer techie so she is mailing me the steps. Just not the same as getting to sew along with everyone.

And my mailbox is at the bottom of the mountain...I'm certainly not going to walk down the mountain road any time soon...though I could use the exercise!

The first place I am driving to when my car is fixed is the tire shop...I'm getting studded tires...and a set of chains.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Home Sweet Home

Made it home safely. We had to fly on a red-eye flight to get home...I hate red-eye flights. My husband takes them in stride since he is a Fed Ex pilot...just the usual routine for him I'm afraid. But we got a wonderful surprise on this one...the Northern Lights were out for our last hour of flight. I have never seen them from an airplane. It was wonderful. We landed at 5 a.m. and continued to watch them as we were driving home. 

In the mail was my freshly printed book from my 2015 blog entries. This is the first time I have done this. So excellent!!!

Now I have a wonderful journal to share forever.

I just had to put Kinley's picture on the back...she was definitely a major event in 2015.

Besides all the normal chores of getting back from vacation...I added the beards and star sequins on the three Santa ornaments I made on vacation.

And I did the beards for two Santas I finished before our vacation. Adding the beards is my least favorite part and for some reason I prefer to have "beard making sessions." 

On the way to the Kauai airport we had time to kill so I stopped in a second quilt shop, Vickie's Fabrics in Kapaa. Wonderful little shop that also has exclusive batiks printed for their shop. I got more turtle batik fabric but will have to look next year for their pineapple batik...they were out of it this year. It takes 10 months for their batik orders to be made and shipped so I hope I get some next year.

This fabulous quilt was in their front window. I've seen these Hawaiian batik layer cakes before but didn't know what to do with them...this is a great design. 

Yes...we always plan on making a trip to Hawaii an annual just doesn't always happen.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Aloha from Hanalei, Kauai

We have been soaking up lots of sunshine. We tried out a new cottage for our trip. We are just on the outskirts of this small north shore town, Hanalei.

There are only 5 cottages placed along the side of a small river. This is our lanai (outdoor patio)...where we spend most of the day.

Our big entertainment is watching paddle-boarders and kayakers make their way up and down the calm waters of this river. We have hardly driven since this private cabin is very close to the tiny downtown area where we have several great restaurants and shopping.

There is a fantastic little quilt shop on Kauai, Kapaia Stitchery. I bought a kit for this adorable baby turtle quilt...mostly batiks. The shop has a custom turtle batik manufactured just for their shop. You can see it in the outer boarder of this quilt. I bought extra of that turtle batik for a quilt of my own design that I worked while on this vacation.

Before I left home, I did finish the staining projects. My thread/ironing cabinet is stained on the drawer fronts and painted on the sides and back. I will be adding the padded top when I get home. I cannot wait to get this project done and start using it!

Here is my husband's office cabinet and desk. Really awesome. Still a bit of work to do in this space to get it ready for him. Most importantly...getting a little television mounted on the wall he faces while sitting at the desk. A major project will be going through all of his Air Force pictures...mostly pictures of airplanes...and getting them hung on the walls. In the military it is referred to as an, "I love me wall."

Another view of the desk front...the drawers have reclaimed wood scraps from our main flooring. Those double doors lead to my magic room.

Just one more night in paradise. We have had glorious only rained at night. Exceptionally great for January on the north shore of Kauai. In Alaska there has also been pretty nice weather. They got about 4 inches of snow...just enough to make everything pretty and light again. They have also had lots of sunshine...but only for about 5 hours a day...but getting more everyday as we build up to our 20 plus hours of it in June.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Sewing and Staining

I am six tabs away from finishing these stockings...they just need a few stitches to hold the hanging tabs in place.

Officially over halfway sewing my rows together.

And I just have one more coat of polyurethane. I have been busy! 

I needed to make "repairs" to 13 stockings in my collection. When I first started making these kits over 20 years ago...I used an adhesive backed felt to stick in place as a lining on the front pieces. A very bad idea...over the years the adhesive turned yellow and lost its stickiness. I was able to pull it off pretty easily. Now I have these six to make new linings for...

and these six stockings.

This stocking background got warped when I pulled the adhesive felt off I think I will replace the blue felt with a new piece. I think it will be fairly easy.

I wanted to share my recent present for myself. I like listening to audio books when I sew but getting the volume right for machine work with a speaker never worked well and I hate wearing ear buds after about 10 minutes. I saw these wireless bluetooth headphones on sale at Christmas time and decided to try a pair. I love them!!! My iPhone can be on my desk and I can walk all around my house while I listen. My ears can get a little hot when I'm doing something sanding furniture. So far that is my only complaint.

This afternoon we are going to visit Kinley. It has been a week since she went to the trainer. She's had a rough time adjusting to her new digs. We've missed her an awful lot too. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Daily Goals Met

The past two days I have managed to get two rows sewn together, per day, for my "Strip Lash" quilt. There are a total of 20 rows so I am almost halfway.

Each day I want to finish hand sewing a stocking front to a stocking back...two days...two stockings done. Four more to go.

My new house projects arrived yesterday. My husband's office wall and desk plus my huge thread cabinet with an ironing board top. I plan to tape sensitive areas and sand all the surfaces after I write this post. It would be a great bonus if I could get the first bit of staining done. My husband's wall unit will be two tones of stain so it will be important to stain one color first and let it really get nice and dry before moving to the second color. 

And we started an exterior project...thank goodness I'm not working on this one. Our handy man and my husband will be building various parts of a large shed. The foundation posts are in with support braces welded in place. Notice there is no snow on the ground...not a flake in site. Warm air from Hawaii has been hanging out in much of Alaska for several weeks. It was colder in Phoenix, AZ a few days ago. We don't like this "no snow" business...too dark without it to brighten up the place when we don't get much sunlight.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Start of a New Year

Happy New Year!

So...I am starting my new year a day behind schedule. I wanted to get a new look to my blog on the first day of 2016 but it takes a whole lot of time to create a new banner. It was also time to officially claim my status as a full time Alaskan. No more living anywhere else in the world.

Christmas decorations are still up in my house. I will start to take the tree down tomorrow. In the meantime, I am also trying to finish a few Christmas decorations so they can officially be put away with everything else.

Over the holidays I did manage to get the linings to these six stockings sewn in place.

I made it Breakfast Club last week. We are tackling a mystery. There is a lot of cutting in this pattern so all along we planned to start construction at our next meeting which will be January 28th. I was one of the few to finish all my cutting. As homework we were given the first sewing step...I finished adding background corners to 72 rectangles...can't wait for the rest! I really wanted to try and do Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery but I just don't know how anyone finds the time in the thick of the holiday season. Sure is a gorgeous usual!

I have found some time to start sewing my blocks and rows together from our November Breakfast Club. It's all going together very nicely...going to be a gorgeous one!

I'm using my numbered pins I bought at the Paducah quilt show last spring. I've got 20 rows so it worked out nicely.

Kinley just left for her retriever school today so I should really be able to get a lot projects done in the next two months. Two big cabinets have been made by our handyman and he is delivering them on Monday. Those will be on the top of my to-do-list...I have to stain them.

And I have to toot my horn a only fitness goal during the holiday season was not to gain any weight...I stepped on the scales this morning and I met that goal. A great way to start the new year. I would like to lose a few pounds in the coming months...still a bit of French bread and cheese to get rid of that's hanging out in my belly!