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August 2019

July 2019

Preparations

Floral bug

Yesterday I found a set of truly awesome (imho) artworks online, following a link from the National Geographic newsletter. If you click on the photo above, you, too, can go admire the floral collage work on this artist who composes butterflies, beetles and other insects! Worth a visit. :)

Yesterday I packed up my sewing machine (Blue, my Featherweight) and the projects I want to take along on vacation when we go. I chose only three things - the 'fractured' Dresden plate design I was piecing for on Friday, a checkered Dresden plate design from Missouri Star featuring bright florals mixed with 'low volume' prints, and a pretty orange beaded scarf kit I bought last time I visited Jinny Beyer Studio. That ought to keep me busy for five days, eh? :)

My friend Patty came down to visit in the early afternoon. She shared the goodies purchased on their jaunt to Quilt Odyssey on Friday ... and brought me the two items I had requested from Missouri Star - the 10" Half Hex and the 10" Dresden Plate templates. Sounded to me like the women who went along had a great time at the show! :)

I was _supposed_ to be packing clothing and such today ... but, typically, I got sidetracked by yet another Squirrel So Shiny. :) I bought a Layer Cake (set of 10" squares) of the Moda collection Susanna's Scrap Bag a few months ago - I do, occasionally, dabble in reproduction prints. :) I peeled out the new Half Hex 10" template Patty brought me and cut up the entire set of squares. I decided (on a suggestion from my friend Barbara) to make a Pioneer Braid strippie quilt with this set of fabrics. 

I had fun figuring out how many half hex pieces to make in each column (21) and sewing the first one together:

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See that yellow print? That is my favorite fabric so far in this collection -

love the print pattern and that buttermilk yellow is lovely!


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This is my first strip of braided half hex pieces.

I will be searching for sashing, beginning/ending pieces and a border as I go Row By Row adventuring with my friend Barbara tomorrow. (Nothing like cramming a lot of living into a little bit of time, eh?:) I am thinking maybe of some dusty eggplant/mauve purple fabric for this purpose. :)

Wish me luck!

:) Linda


A Break

A_break_in_the_weather

This beautiful image is a painting called A Break In The Weather. If you click on the photo, you can go read about the painter and the cause (conservation) for which the painting's price will donate. :) We are enjoying a change from the ultra-hot temperatures we've been having - this week the air seems MUCH cooler in the low 80s! :) Nothing like 99 degrees and over to change my ideas about hot. :)

I spent today shopping for clothing with my son, Hugh. He tends to ask me to go out buying with him right before we go on vacation in August (his favorite time of year) ... so we went off to Kohl's department store and bought him new duds today. I was very glad we found everything he wanted at reasonable prices and in one place! Even so, I had to rest for an hour when we got home before I could go off to sew for a while.

With my 'hat' as block-of-the-month coordinator for my 'traditional' guild, Faithful Circle, I proposed an over-the-summer-months pattern I call Early Snap Peas ... because that's what it looks like to me. :) I have seen this design in several places and it certainly isn't flashy ... but I'm glad to have finally gotten my version sewn:

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I had fun picking through the scraps I scavenged out of my friend Barbara's basket last Sunday to make this block. :) I told the guild they didn't have to make GREEN peas, but I certainly did. I love sugar snap peas! :) I'll take this block with me to guild at the next meeting I attend, whenever.

I was fretting over what ufo to work on when I sat down to sew yesterday (I haven't been sewing much for a couple of weeks and was itching to shove some fabric under the presser foot) ... but, as usual, got distracted by something new. I had purchased a new-to-me Dresden template that I wanted to use:

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I looked pretty carefully at the enclosed pattern directions ... and decided to use a charm square package I had purchased several months ago (of course, I forgot to take note of the name of this collection; I bought it because I liked the happy, perky colors:). As a (former) shop owner, I will say that I think this design was created with an eye toward selling a lot of extra fabric. I expect to have a pile of scraps left over after cutting this out!

Anyway, here are my seven rows (of six blocks each), not yet joined into a large rectangle so I can cut out the blades:

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I chose to alternate 'light' and 'dark' squares ... and when I ran out of those, 'cool' and 'warm' colors. I have kept them in rows because I need to press and starch the fabrics before I sew them all together. Every outer edge of each blade will be on the bias grain when I cut the pieces out - calls for stabilization, eh? I _am_ eager to see what my plates look like when I finish them. :) A set of 42 charm squares are supposed to allow for making three Dresden circles for a table runner. I might make three pillows instead ... we'll see. :)

As a total aside (and to show you how my brain crickets around) - do you know why they are DRESDEN plates? I once saw a beautiful art show at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore about the German city of Dresden and its fabulous porcelain-making industry. I think this is why we think of these 'plates' as Dresdens. :)

Anyway, Patty and Barbara went off to Quilt Odyssey today (I chose not to go - don't have the stamina right now). I think they probably had fun - it is always a great show! I asked them to pick up a couple of templates for me ... yet more shiny projects for the future! LOL.

:) Linda


Sizzle!

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This little parade was going on along the by-road on my way home tonight from Springwater Designs quilt shop. Momma goose was clearly proud of her half-grown babies! :)

Along with a bunch of other parts of this wide country, we've had sizzling, scorching weather going on here in eastern Maryland over the past few days. Humid, hot, windless - nasty summer weather. :P I tend to hide out indoors in the a/c when this kind of weather hits us, but I was out and about this weekend. sigh.

Not, not really sighing - had fun things to do. Going out does get followed by a considerable cooling-off-my-body period when I get home, though!

Thursday evening our dishwasher refused to start washing ... it was dead, Jim. Sniff! So ... Saturday was _supposed_ to be a monthly meeting of the Columbia Friends Bee at Springwater. Instead of doing that, I had to go out shopping for a dishwasher with my sweetheart. Luckily, we found one we liked at the first place we went (Bray and Scarff in Dobbin Center). I did drop by Springwater for a few minutes to say Hi to my modern sewing buddies and to drop off some fabric for one of the bee members. Considering the temps outside, there were a fair number of folks there to sew (seven? eight?) in the classroom. :)

Again on Sunday it was nasty outdoors. (Well, I don't like this kind of weather; I guess some people might so I probably ought not to call it 'nasty' - definitely unpleasant in my humble). It was the scheduled Sew & Tell sewing date for July. I had promised to bring deviled eggs for our pot luck lunch (Kathy who usually brings them could not come). I have not made deviled eggs in probably 20 years ... so I went online and found a basic recipe to use. My husband and I grew up in very different cultural milieus - I in the South and him in the Northeast, of Midwest extraction. It influences a lot of our respective food choices/likes. :)

I like my deviled eggs with sweet pickle relish in them ... he does not. He likes his with mustard in them and I don't. So, I made my two dozen eggs on Saturday evening with powdered mustard (got a nice zing to it:) and without relish. They were pretty bland, in my humble. :) Next time, I'll make half my way and half his so we can both be happy. :)

When I reached into my cupboard to get a pot to boil the eggs in, I discovered that all my pots and pans were/are covered with cobwebs. :P Been way, way too long since I cooked, eh? I think I need to have a cleaning company in to do a really deep clean of my kitchen!

Today I spent a chunk of the afternoon washing dishes (many of the ones in my defunct dishwasher). The new dishwasher is supposed to be delivered sometime on Wednesday, so I have to get the dirty dishes out of the way. Tomorrow I will wash the remainder of them.

The reason I did not get them all washed today?? I went off to my regular Monday evening meeting of Faithful Circle quilters at 6 p.m. This week the church we usually meet at is holding VBS, so we met at Springwater Designs instead. Now, I was just there on Saturday ... nevertheless, I found a fair bit of stuff to purchase. Their Row by Row kit ... a lovely Halloween panel (ravens and pumpkins) with backing fabric to match ... a copy of Kathy Shaw's new embroidery stitch book ... a beautiful Fall-on-the-farm panel and backing ... and a ball of bright orange perle cotton, size 5, for embroidery. One of the members who came brought four looking-for-a-good-home quilt tops with her to give away ... I took the one deemed 'too ugly' by the charity committee (_I_ like it:). Fun all around, as is usual for our meetings. :)

Tomorrow is supposed to be more hot ... and I do not have to go out so I will be staying indoors in the coolth!

:) Linda


Where Were You?

Apollo-11-buzz-aldrin-science-experiment

There are certain events in history that touch peoples' lives so significantly that everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when .... the Moon Landing is one of those events. I remember it like it happened yesterday!

I was between my junior and senior year of high school that July. I had won a spot in a National Science Foundation summer program for engineering which included a week away from home at Texas A&M University (my dad was a graduate student there at the time and we lived on a farm outside Bryan, TX). All of the kids in the program (30? of us) were housed in student dorms for the week ... and we sat in the lobby of the dorm watching television of the landing. I'm not sure whether the tv was brought in special or 'lived' in the lobby ... and there were both boys and girls in the program but I don't think we were housed together (the times being what they were:) - certainly all of us were present to watch the landing. 

It was especially exciting because of the great group of geeky kids I was with at the moment - I don't think I'd have watched if I was at home (not sure whether we even owned a tv at the time:). Certainly I would not have enjoyed watching as much at home with only my (younger) siblings to share. :)

There are other things I've experienced in my life that fall  into the 'where were you...' category: the assassination of JFK, the Challenger crash, 9/11 ... but the moon landing was an unmitigated joy. :)

 

In the discussion of using textile creation to track things, I picked up this article recently.

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The article is titled Dad Knits a Blanket to Track Baby's Sleep. You can go read the article ... brilliant idea! :)

:) Linda

 


Busy Weekend

IMG_1096Barbara, Patty, Jenny Doan, me and Caren

This has been a busy, happy weekend! It started Friday morning at 6 a.m. with actual breakfast on my part (my nutritionist is trying to get me to eat breakfast again:) ... by 7 a.m. I was ready to go on an adventure. My friends Barbara, Patty and Caren picked me up for a long drive to Lancaster county, PA. We went to see Jenny On The Road at Shady Maple smorgasboard in East Earl, PA. We had bought the second lunch sitting so we had time to stand in line for a chance to chat with Jenny after the show and have our pictures taken. Fun!

Jenny Doan is the moving spirit behind Missouri Star Quilt Company and makes oodles of great (free) videos about quilt making. As a retired professional, I can tell you that she has done a lot to promote quilting in this country over the past ten years, especially to the 'internet' generations, as well as revitalizing the small town (Hamilton, MO) she lives in. I have heard a number of small quilt shop owners grumble about her methods ... but I think anything and anyone who promotes and furthers quilt making is good for all quilters. :)

Her lecture/trunk show was fun and informative - Jenny is good at speaking from her own life experiences and is very down to earth and entertaining in a realistic way. She showed a couple dozen simple designs during the show - which is, after all, pointed toward selling templates, fabric and such through her quilt company - and which any beginner who can read/follow directions, use a rotary cutter and sewing machine can make. Inspiring. :)

We had a great lunch after the chat/photo you see above (the food at Shady Maple is pretty good for a cafeteria type place). Afterwards we did drive to at least one quilt shop in the area before trundling home. Burkholder's Fabrics in Denver, PA is a great shop; they were having a midsummer sale - 30% off on bolted fabrics, books, notions, patterns; 65% off on fat quarter bundles! Needless to say, we did a tiny bit of contributing to the local economy. :)

Saturday, Barbara and I took our second-Saturday-of-every-month trek down to Great Falls, VA to attend Jinny Beyer Club. As always, I am inspired by the show and tell and by Jinny's great eye for color mixing. This time I only took one photo, of an applique piece in progress by Diane:

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You may not be able to tell from my photo but Diane, besides being a wizard at applique, does a lot of fabric embellishing and realistic extension with inks and paints on her work. If you click on the pic to make it bigger, you might take a look at the watermelon rind and seeds, the kiwi, the cantaloupe shadowing - masterful! :) I am tempted to take the class just to learn that part of her techniques. 

Sunday was the monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. This month many of the members are away at MAQ (MidAppalachian Quilters symposium), taking classes. We had a very nice informal meeting/sew-in and got to know one another better with chatter and inspiring show and tell (as always:). I have to spend some time tomorrow getting my photos of the meeting up on the guild's website. I had too much to carry with me and left my own hand work at home ... but managed to take photos of the other folks there. It was nice to get to know other members better - and thanks to Laura's loan of a needle and scissors, I hand quilted some freebie fabric while I was there (not taking photos:) which will find its way into a nice zipper pouch for a bingo prize soonest.

To top off my weekend busy-ness, I had an appointment last night at the sleep lab near Howard County Hospital. My pulmonologist recommended an assessment to change from my usual CPAP machine (for sleep apnea) to a BiPAP (which uses a different pressure when breathing out). He thinks that will help my current tendency toward sleeping too much. Judging by my night's sleep last night, it will help quite a lot! I woke up before the alarm went off (at 5 a.m.!) and felt pretty energetic most of today (until I fell asleep for an hour around 5:30 pm). :) Here's hoping!

I look forward to sewing and playing and doing a bit of housekeeping this week.

:) Linda

 

 


Rain and Heat

Be kind
According to the visual search at tineye.com, this image was first seen as part of the #BeGood hashtag on Instagram in January 2018. I did not search any farther back - you can find lots of other 'be good' images if you click on the photo. I like the idea of purposefully being kind to others ... and, judging by the behavior of other folks I meet in the street, so do other people. :)

Kindness can be as simple as holding a door open for someone, sharing an umbrella on a rainy day or carrying someone's groceries to their car in the rain (I've had strangers do all of these for me). Kindness, like politeness, lubricates social interactions (even the ephemeral ones like strangers passing in public places) and makes life more pleasant. :)

I've had ample opportunity to practice kindness - at least the sort that is caused by keeping one's temper under stress - over the past two days. Sigh. I _think_ I managed to do well. Tuesday (yesterday) I had an appointment in the morning for a one-on-one counseling session with a nutritionist, as part of my preparation for bariatric surgery. All the classes I go to for that purpose (a series of eight or nine) are held at MedStar Health Center (a huge hospital complex) on Franklin Square on the northeast side of Baltimore (Rosedale?).

That's because the surgeon I have selected, Christopher You, is affiliated with that hospital/institution. It takes me about an hour, depending on traffic, to get there. So, any day when I have an appointment, I spend at least two hours and sometimes more just driving. I find that somewhat trying, especially when I have to do it during 'rush hour.' Yesterday my appointment was at 11:30 in the morning ... and so _should_ have been non-traffic-clogged. :P I left my house at 10:15 a.m. and go to the nutritionist's office at 11:50! Such is the risk of driving around Baltimore - or Washington, DC, for that matter - traffic is NOT predictable. You never know when you will encounter an accident or road work or other impediments that slow travel. Sigh.

Anyway, I got to the office twenty minutes too late yesterday ... partly because the letter they had supposedly sent me with detailed directions never arrived in my mailbox (mail delivery has it's vagaries, too, in this region). I made an appointment to come back today (Thursday) because the appointment is for one hour and another patient had already been taken. More sighs.

Sooooo, this morning I was back on the road to drive again. THIS time it only took  from 11:20 until 12:15 to drive the distance (my appointment was at 1 p.m.), so I got there on time. Whew!   I'm sorry, this story probably seems dull (if you are still reading:), but it serves to explain what this region of the country is like to travel in, if you don't already know.

Part of the purpose of having surgery is to lose weight and to, therefor, improve my health. Luckily, I am pretty knowledgable about the process of 'dieting' and so the nutritionist and I could discuss goals and process rather than having to focus on simple 'what is a calorie' kind of issues. She suggested that I try hard to expand my meal routines to include breakfast daily (I generally skip it) ... to stick to drink water/seltzer/non-carbohydrate-containing beverages ... and to spread out my calorie intake a little more during my day (right now I eat two meals and maybe a snack each day). Useful goals which I am sharing here to reinforce my own intention to achieve them. :)

Other than driving for more than four hours during the past 48, I have done little else ... other than my usual reading and tiny bit of sewing on scraps. I need to sandwich my Japanese taupe wall hanging so I can carry it around to hand quilt, but that won't get done this weekend.

Tomorrow I am going to Pennsylvania with three friends to attend a lecture by Jenny Doan, owner of Missouri Star quilting. I'm looking forward to it - except for the part where I have to be picked up at 7 a.m. LOL! Zombie Linda will be the likely morning passenger.

Saturday is the monthly meeting of Jinny Beyer Club ... Sunday afternoon is the monthly meeting of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild (I always look forward to that) ... and I  have to go the sleep lab on Sunday night for another assessment of my sleep apnea (and potential new machinery). Busy, busy!

Gotta go to bed now - 6 a.m. comes early, early!

:) Linda


Lazy Summer Days

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This picture really sums up lazy summer days in the country for me. :) If you click on the photo, you can go read the accompanying article with ideas for what to do on your lazy days. :) I, personally, rarely have trouble finding something to do - not always something productive, but time wasting is easy for me! :)

Skip had to work on the 5th (last Friday) so I spent the day quietly, reading and sewing. I assembled my small tool set of hand sewing items - using a clear vinyl Bernina zip pouch from the freebie table at guild to hold it all. I am such a visual person, I really need to be able to see into storage containers - labels don't do it for me at all. :)

I put my favorite hand piecing needles (Clover black betweens size 10), a pair of small scissors, a big spool of medium gray 50 weight piecing thread (happened to have a spool of Metler; when that is used up, I'll get an Aurifil spool), a Clover desk needle threader (best tool since the rotary cutter in my honest opinion:), a few flower-head straight pins and a ceramic (pink) marking pencil (mechanical) with extra leads. 

That way I have a tool set always at hand for sewing things. Oh, I also made myself another pop-up thread catcher:


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I used a quilting-weight cotton for this one. Somehow it doesn't fold down quite as well as the last one I made ... but for now it works fine. Takes up half of my tool pouch (when coiled). I'm happy to finally have gotten myself organized in this tiny way!

Saturday and Sunday were quiet with quite a  bit of rain, off and on. Mostly I read and watched my sweetheart play video games. We got an invitation to an acquaintance's birthday party in mid-August ... and I decided to make a small quilted gift for her. I think she and her husband would like to be better friends with us so I'll stick my neck out and go along (my sweetheart is resistant to most social overtures being an extreme introvert). Anyway, in my pile of goodies I found a small top I had pieced a couple months ago that shouted 'summer' to me .... today I quilted it.


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I am very content with the way this looks. Now to bind it later this week or early next week (and put a hanging sleeve and label on it:) ... then wash it. Happy, happy!

I busied myself with making a block for a guild obligation ... and finished sewing my Sisterhood Swap square (no photo, yet). Nothing momentous but all satisfying to finish. :)

I even managed to go to my Monday evening guild meeting yesterday, giving my friend Patty a ride in the bargain. I have to be firm with myself to get out of the house to socialize as much as possible.

:) Linda

 


Happy Fourth!

Flagwagon
Happy Fourth of July! It is REAL summer weather here in Columbia and I thought I'd share a little embroidery design for the holiday. If you click on the photo, you can go check out a great archive of simple, free designs (warning, the site is maintained by a Portuguese lady so you might need to translate).

I love fireworks and family get togethers but we will be spending a very quiet Fourth - our family is far away this year and I don't have the energy to dispute with the crowds for the aerials. Sigh.

I will be doing some sewing though - my friend  Barbara and I used to sew all day when my shop was closed for holidays and such (our classrooms made great sewing spaces:), and I've tried to maintain that tradition ever since, whenever I can. :)

Free-4th-of-july-printable

This is a free printable you can download to decorate with (click the photo). This little design pretty much sums up my attitude about our country - I am a believer, down to the bone, in the ideals of American democracy (which is likely why I avoid the news whenever possible these days).

I have found two new shows to watch this week which is giving me some pleasure. One is a BBC documentary about the origins of Britain in prehistory which I found out about from my friend LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color.

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The episode I watched tonight was about the Neolithic Revolution (when farming came along) and the growth of monumental architecture. Fascinating.

The other show is a spin-off from Miss Fisher's Mysteries (which I loved) - Miss Fishers Modern Murder Mysteries, set in 1960's England. I've only watched the first episode but I found it charming.

 

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I hope you have a wonderful Fourth, whatever you are doing to celebrate!

:) Linda

 


Back to Summer

Temp

How can it be July already? Have you been thinking that? I have! :) As you can see from the graph above, we are at the peak of high temperatures in Maryland for the year starting now. Our temps over this past weekend were pleasant but we're back to high and humid today. We had rain storms pass by last night (lots of rain plinking on our chimney pipe:) which just adds to the humidity. :P If you click on the graph, you can go read about Maryland's weather if you are interested. Bear in mind that Maryland stretches from the Atlantic beaches to the Appalachian Mountains ... so the accumulated data is a bit misleading. Here in the eastern area where I live (just southwest of Baltimore city), it's pretty hot and humid most of the summer. NOT my favorite weather. :)

I have been sewing ... although my two free weekend days were spent in lazy pass-times (sleeping, reading, watching my husband play video games:). I made an infinity scarf for myself - and got one I had ordered in the mail. These are pretty awful selfies of myself. :P

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This one was made - dyed and decorated - by Beth Berman, whose blog I follow. When I saw her post about making these, I had to buy one. :)


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This scarf I sewed up using some fabric from the freebie table at Faithful Circle Quilters. Not sure what the fiber content is - something with 'swish' and drape. I liked the irregular plaid-ish effect ... and the color. I think it will be warm in the winter, too. :)

Monday the 1st was the monthly meeting of Mimi Dietrich's Grad Class at Bear's Paw quilt shop. I managed to finish sewing together my fourth Glitter block  while I laughed, listened and admired:

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Now that I have four finished, the next step in my carry-along work will be to cut setting triangles to put these blocks on point. I like the way that orientation puts the central nine patches into a 'flower' arrangement and the points of the stars at diagonals.

I did manage a little gentle sewing over the weekend and yesterday to make a tote for my small travel iron to go into Blue's travel bag (my Featherweight). Following the theme, I used a bit of my last precious fat quarter of Outback Wife fabric:

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Looks pretty lumpy doesn't it? :) When this pattern first came out several years ago, I sewed a sample for my shop of the 'regular' size tote - it opens out into an ironing surface with that silver-faced fabric (see a bit of it there on the binding?). I have a big jar of old, old buttons that had two shank buttons in it of the right size - but they were ugly black, so I covered them with a bit of the Kaffe fabric I used to finish the binding (I was definitely channeling 'frugal' for this  project:). So that worked out ok ... not as smooth as I envisioned, but functional and prettier than black! 

I need to go back to destashing and de-stuffing my house - I did get a bit of stuff taken off to Goodwill on Saturday morning along with my errand to the post office. ;) Onward and upward is my motto!

:) Linda