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August 2021

Shopping Loss

ChickenscratchpearI finished the embroidery on my next chicken scratch block - a pear. I _hope_ this looks at least vaguely like one. :) It is smaller than most of the other blocks I've made so it only took a couple of afternoon sessions to complete. I'm definitely beginning to think about the final quilt layout as I embroider. :)

Today had some highs and lows, achievement-wise. I woke up quite early (for me), at 8:30 a.m. Rather than try to go back to sleep, I actually got up! I faded out around 2 p.m. and had to take an hour for quietly listening to an audiobook while I closed my eyes - but, unlike my more usual pattern, I did not sleep. Who knows why. Sigh.

I decided, having some extra time in my day today, to go out and look for some storage bins (plastic, completely sealing) to hold the various family history related items I have piled in spots around the house (including underneath my newly tidied computer desktop). My first thought was to go to Walmart ... but ... our more-local one is not a nice place and the parking is lousy. The better Walmart a bit farther away just seemed like too much effort. :) I chose to go to JoAnns ETC which is fairly close (2 miles? away) and I know where in the store the bins are to be found (well, I _thought_ I did, but as usual I was wrong).

So ... nope, nothing that 'spoke' to me as a good option. The bins that were likely choices were hugely overpriced compared to the ones I bought two years ago from that A_ place online. Like 2.5 to 3 times as much!!! I like to encourage supporting local businesses (although I do not really consider big box stores to be very 'local' given that most of them do not pay local taxes AT ALL). Still, that kind of markup over online sources is ridiculous (and yes, as a former business woman, I DO know what goes into pricing items for sale).

I tried the nearby Target next ... their prices were slightly lower (maybe only twice as high as A_) ... but there were none of the kind of bins I wanted on the shelves. Sigh. That just-in-time-inventory management algorithm is not working out, imho.

I dropped two letters off at the post office and came back home in disgust from my shopping trip ... and went upstairs to order what I wanted online. I hate that ... but what is a dutiful conscientious consumer to do? I will tolerate local prices being 50 to 75% higher than online but I have my limits (even counting the carbon burden involved in shipping vs. driving my car locally).

On the way home, I stopped at our cluster mailbox and picked up our mail. There was some happy news - I got Stash Bee blocks from two fellow members:

From Susan Connors:



And from Kristen Beck:

Kristenbeck (I sure hope I got those two names right! Please forgive me if not? The envelopes are still downstairs and my computer is upstairs.:)

So, you win some, you lose some. Life has a way of evening out, yes?

:) Linda

Embroidery August

August_Dachshund_applique_design_grandeOh, to be at the beach with this little guy! :) If you are a machine embroidery aficionado, you can click on the image above and go read how to buy it to make your very own surfing puppy. :)

August has been pretty pleasant, mostly, so far. There have been a few too-hot-for-me days (defined as over 94 degrees F, with humidity:). Since my sewing room is on the second floor of our house, it gets a bit warm on really hot days (despite our whole-house air conditioner and two fans in my area). That is almost certainly why I've been doing hand embroidery (which I can work on in my comfy chair downstairs in the coolth:). 

I did receive my first two Disappearing Rail Fence blocks from a fellow stash hive member this week: (thanks to J DeSantis)



I look forward to seeing the rest of my blocks come in the mail! This will be a bright, happy quilt.

Last Monday (the 9th) I spent a good bit of the afternoon stirring up dust in my bedroom while cleaning off my computer desk. Since my neck pain has eased (due to the series of steroid pills), I wanted to do two things - make room for a riser for my computer and clear space so my sweetheart could install my new computer. He bought me one of the first Apple M1 chip desktop computers to replace my very elderly iMac.

BeforenewThis is my cleaned and spiffy desk (with the old computer on it), waiting for the new hardware. I have not taken an 'after' photo, yet (bad me:) - too busy playing with the new tool. :) I is good to have the screen higher so my neck nerves don't get pinched!

The newest pattern in the Halloween mystery series came in the mail on Tuesday so I spent some time Wednesday evening during the modern guild's sip and sew zoom session tracing off the new pattern.

NewestI am liking this series so much, I finished the embroidery on my block by Friday evening:

Witches hatNow I have to piece together and applique on the oval Dresden frame to finish this block. I had fun doing the work on this one. :)

Besides the hat, I'm still trying to catch up with my chicken scratch embroidery blocks. I am almost finished with the next one - a pear. I am using yellow and pale green floss for this design (like a Bartlett pear:). I'll share a photo when it is finished.

I found myself collecting patterns on Pintrest this afternoon for chicken scratch designs. I guess in my back-brain I am adding to the quilt with some other motifs. I have an empty fabric book with available pages that I might sew some samples into, too. I like the idea of a stitch/motif sampler book for reference. :)

Otherwise, life is quiet (figuratively). We've had some rousing banging thunderstorms this week ... and my Sew&Tell stitch group met via zoom today (always makes me happy). Life is fine here in 21045.

:) Linda


Unusual August Weather

BookI wandered off to Springwater Designs in the middle of this afternoon to pick up a new book. I managed to take a good look at the projects in this book from a publisher's promotional video - which convinced me to buy. :) I really like several of the projects and am eager to try some wool applique the next time I'm rustling around for some hand work. Bright, clean, 'modern' designs. :)

The weather has been remarkably mild for early August here in eastern Maryland - temperatures in the mid80s to low90s, blue skies, mild humidity. Doesn't  happen often. :) It's bound to get hot and swampy again before the end of the month but you have to enjoy the days as they come!

As has become usual for me, I've been dithering along, sewing a bit of this and a bit of that. This month is my turn to be 'queen' in the Stash Bee block exchange group. Thanks to my friend Barbara, I asked for Disappearing Rail Fence blocks ... so I spent some time early this week getting my ideas down on paper and setting up the tutorial info for my hive (#4). It will be fun to see what kind of blocks I get! Here is one of my sample blocks:


I made one new-to-me block pattern for a friend and want to make another. I enjoyed this pattern and it was much easier than I expected to create - I can see myself dipping into this design. :)


I've been trying to make progress on catching up with my chicken scratch embroidery snowflake blocks, too. Finished this one yesterday and started another one today:



Yes, eventually my embroidery blocks will get washed, pressed and blocked to smoothness ... but I have to take a picture as soon as I finish something or I plain forget to record it. :) I did figure out that I have been calculating the size of my background fabric pieces incorrectly (which explains why they've been coming out a bit smaller than I'd like:). I'm starting to think about how I will set the blocks eventually when they are all embroidered.

When I dropped by Springwater today I bought fabric for two other projects as well as my book. I took the top I pieced for my sister and found a backing print I liked to go with it ... and bought a batt. I am thinking to have them longarm her quilt as I've never used their services before (I like to know the work of many of the local quilters so I have choices). Since her birthday was in early July, it will be a late gift in any case.

I also bought some prints to use for making the 16 Halloween swap blocks that are due October 1st. I chose a design last week, and have purchased the background fabric, and now I'm gathering the materials for the remainder of my block. I'm eager to get going on that so it will be finished in good time. I keep _saying_ I won't do any more swaps ... and then jump into new ones with both feet. Sigh. :)

There were lots of other pretty fabrics to distract me in the shop, of course. I bought five fat quarters from the new shibori-style print collection from Moda - have a hard time resisting indigo. :) Had to close my eyes and avoid the row with bright Kaffe collective prints. Leave some to buy another day!

Other than my two hours or so afternoon sewing each day ... I read and eat and cook and do very little else. I did manage to see my (non-surgical) orthopedist early this week. He prescribed a course of steroids that seems to be calming down my 'pinched nerve' in the neck (thanks!!) ... which means I can do more as the pain is going away. Whew!

Gotta get outside  more ... the yard desperately needs weeding and I'm losing all weather tolerance.

:) Linda