Saturday, December 19, 2015

yes, we all make mistakes

There seems to be a misconception that I can't make a mistake!  Not too long ago, I messed up on something I was making, and what I heard from the people who knew about it was that they were relieved to find out that I could make a mistake, just like the rest of the world!

Oh, yes, I have made some doozy mistakes!  I don't document all of them, nor do I even talk about them, but believe me, they happen!
Here are just a few recent ones:

I made these 2 little love bunnies for the grandsons.  But on the way to getting the parts all sewn together, I got the head on backwards on one of them!  Not something that could be overlooked, since the ears were not facing the right direction.  So out came the seam ripper, had to turn things all inside out again, but finally got the head on straight!  And if you've ever done something like this that has to be turned through a tiny opening, you know the frustration as the stitches pull and openings expand as if by magic, making it all the harder to hand stitch the opening closed.  Squeezing that big stuffed head through a much smaller opening was something like childbirth!

Then, here's a nice quilt top to admire--
what doesn't show is that the rows were first assembled in the wrong order, so again, the ripper comes out!  It was pretty confusing, due to the mix of hexagons and triangles, and I kept trying to flip the rows end for end thinking that surely there must be some easier way to make it work, but the ripper ruled!  It is finally all together and I couldn't be happier!

And my mistakes are not limited to just sewing, either!  Actually, I probably make more mistakes in my knitting, because I tend to just decide to keep working a little farther.  Somehow I think that the mistakes will fix themselves!  Here's a cute fingerless glove that ended up fitting me so snugly that it is going to end up going to my sister, Jan, who has teeny tiny hands.  (Actually, this just brought to mind an old Saturday Night Live skit of the girl with teeny tiny hands singing a Lawrence Welk tune, but that's a whole different realm of teeny tiny hands!)  Anyway, this was supposed to be a glove set for my son, and no way is it fitting him!  And I think I had a feeling from the very beginning that even though I thought I was following directions for a man's glove size, it looked like a child size!  What was I thinking?!  So now I need to make glove #2 like this for Jan, and then start over with some new directions for man hands.

So yes, we all make mistakes!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

some more projects that are almost checked off the list

Some more project progress today!  Sadly, tomorrow I have to leave.  Happily, tomorrow I get to go home!  With a box full of done and/or partially done quilty goodness!

I made 3 strings of Christmas pennants, like the ones hanging on the windows below.  They were cut from a printed fabric panel, fused, stitched to backing, sewn to a ribbon and voila!

Here are 2 quick and easy tablerunners (sorry Amy!) in holiday fabrics, made from a pattern that includes 5 total designs, by In The Doghouse.  They aren't very big, so quick to put together.  I picked these fabrics at Bear Patch and made kits of each, so we will have them ready to display for Christmas gift ideas.  Still needing quilting and binding, but that will have to happen at home.

Here's something I didn't make, but have longed for.  Leisl, my friend, makes these bowl holders to use in the microwave.  Perfect for my morning oatmeal!

I worked on this red and white quilt yesterday, and ran off the rails last night when I started to put the rows together and got them out of order.  So I set it aside, took some stitches out this afternoon, and now it's all together in the right order!

Tonight I'm joining the movie watchers for a viewing of Julie and Julia.  
A great show for the 2nd or 3rd time!

Friday, November 13, 2015


I'm a lucky happy girl, spending time with my friends and my machine!  And I'm loving the chance to be immersed in my sewing, I have so many things to make and so little time to make it!
Here's some results--

Legendary by Elizabeth Hartman

Little cuddle bunnies an old edition of Love Patchwork and Quilting.

Delight by Jaybird Quilts.

Sweetpea Pods by Lazy Girl.
Enjoying some good meals and M&M's, too!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

metal work

 FINALLY!  I have a finished railing!  This followed all of our work to replace the nasty old carpet with laminated wood flooring.  To get the flooring to work and run over the edge to the open room below, we had to remove all of the vertical small log spindles.  We kept the large logs that kept the top rail in place.  I really really wanted something different to go up there, but I had a hard time determining what that would be.  After deciding on getting some kind of metal panels, I had to figure out what that would be and who could make them for me.  I looked at lots of pictures and samples everywhere I could find them.  I finally settled on a rough sketch, knowing I wanted something that wasn't a solid barrier, but still safe for little people.  After a little shopping around, I found the metal works that could make what I needed--Accent Ornamental Iron--in Cambridge, about 20 miles north.

There are 5 panels like this around the loft and I love it!  Bob was a little bit slower to jump on the band wagon, but that's not unexpected.  We have totally different perspectives on design and color.  Bob is all left brain (loves puzzles, analysis, computers, etc.) and I am primarily right brain (love color, design, creativity, etc.).  I tease Bob that if he ever needs a head CT it will show a big empty cavern where his right brain should be!

Here's a tip that helps with some of that creativity.  Last night, I was trying to arrange 8 shades of green from my fabric stash.  I know the picture looks kind of brown more than green, but trust me, in real life they are shades of green!  In the next picture the fabrics converted to black and white (real easy to do on iphone or iphoto in the effects when editing).  Looking at them this way, I can more easily rearrange to get them in order.

With the season definitely switching to autumn, and very soon winter, I found some interesting pieces of nature that don't show up at other times.  We have a little nest on a low branch that seems too big for hummingbirds but too small for anything else.  But it's really neat!  There's one single leaf left on the whole tree, the one dangling from the nest because it's fastened into the nest.  And I got a good close up to really get a good look at the parts and pieces that made the nest.

I could also see several other nests up high that are hidden until the leaves disappear.  I wonder what was living in them?

Even a paper wasp hive that has survived the windy weather.
And some pretty "berries" that aren't really berries?  The first ones are actually on our asparagus plants--

And this is bittersweet growing wild.  It has grown into a nice big vine.

So we're about ready for winter, it's inevitable, so let's get it on!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

a tale of quilt market and some sewing, too

I went to Houston last week, along with Debbie from Bear Patch, to attend the International Quilt Market.  This is a twice-yearly trade show for quilters and sewists.  The convention center is filled with booths for many vendors of fabric, notions, patterns, machines, etc.  There are a lot of miscellaneous businesses that participate, selling things like lotions, lighting, sewing furniture, baskets and even nail files!  We also can order shopping bags, labels, ribbons, etc., that we have the store name and logo printed on, and we use them for customers and packaging kits.  So it's quite a variety, and takes full attention to get it all done correctly.  I use a little wheelie backpack to carry our findings and paperwork and snacks and lunch!  We stayed at the Magnolia Hotel, I think about 8 blocks from the convention center.  We prefer to walk to and from, to get some more vigorous movement than the standing and ambling that we do the rest of the day.  We also get to see a little more of the local color that way, too.  This year, we didn't get as much walking due to the weather.  Hurricane Patricia sent storms to Houston, and it rained for most of 2 days.  We don't walk when it's raining or dark, so we relied on taxi and shuttle bus service.

One of the stops on our walk is the Phoenicia Market, a grocery store/deli/coffee shop/bar/cafe/bakery with a distinct middle eastern flavor.  Debbie and I like to just look up and down the aisles at all of the unusual foods.  A lot of varieties that we don't find at home!  Here's a picture of one of the aisles of pickled things.  We like to buy one of their large sandwiches to split for lunch, along with some fruit and water.  Sooo much better than the convention food!

Across the street from the Magnolia is a very old Episcopal church.  We walked over to take a look around, and because there was no other activity going on, we went in and I took a few pictures.  A pleasant courtyard, beautiful stained glass and carved altar.

 I have written some reports on our Market experience over on the Bear Patch blog, with more pictures included.  Hop over there if you want to see more.

Back on the homefront, I have been happy to sit down at my sewing machine again.  After those days of being in the midst of so much quilty creativity, I really longed to get back in touch with my machine!  First, I want to show you a great new potholder that my mom gave me---

I had made some sample disappearing 4-patch blocks and gave them to her to make use of.  This is one of them.  And while we were at retreat together, she wanted to learn to do a little free motion quilting, and potholders made for good practice.  Thanks, Mom!

Some things I have been working on:
the Fifties Flare Apron by Atkinson Designs, in Christmas fabrics for the store display.

 the Jelly Roll Jiggle table runner by Tiger Lily Press, a work in progress.

and a small quilt from the Diva 2 pattern by Maple Island, with this fun dragon theme fabric

While in Houston, we attended a reception for Bernina dealership owners.  Beverages and hors d'oeuvres were served, and I liked this idea for serving jumbo shrimp.  With the cocktail sauce in the little shot glass, it was easy and neat to eat.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

home at last!

Our trip back home was uneventful, but that long flight sorta drives me nuts from being cooped up too long.  Chocolate does seem to help!  And a good long night's sleep (I actually slept 12 hours and I don't know if that has ever happened before!)
During the flight, I finished the Jodi Picoult book I told you about, and this was not my favorite from her.  This story was all about the search for a missing woman who had been an elephant researcher.  I learned a lot about elephants, maybe too much!  And the ending was really unexpected and still leaves me wondering.  I won't say anything more, in case it's on your reading list.

Happily, my suitcase did finally show up in Kauai, after a vacation in Paris.  I got very irritated about it, after numerous calls and wasted time with people associated with Delta.  I really didn't want to waste my vacation time dealing with that, nor shopping for necessities to replace what was missing.  And I kept thinking "it's going to show up anytime now", so I didn't really want to buy a bunch of stuff.  I ended up wearing one pair of shorts (Bob's gym shorts!) and one t-shirt (bought at the Kauai Walmart!) most of the time, running laundry when needed, and trying to keep a positive attitude!  I did finally give up on being mad about it because it was such a ridiculous episode, and now it's pretty funny after it's all over!  Even after the airline brought the suitcase back from Charles de Gaulle airport, I think it sat somewhere for a couple days, then went to Kauai and sat there 2 days when it was supposed to have been picked up and delivered to me.  I actually only got it back after 2 trips to the airport to bug people there about it until I found the right person to unlock the office it was stored in.  Crazy!  Got it back on Thursday and we left for home on Friday!  The silver lining is that I have a whole suitcase full of clean clothes!

my little lost suitcase

I did find a quilt shop in Lihue, and we stopped there for a look-see.  It was a pleasant little spot, with a mix of Asian and Hawaiian designs, and a big section of batiks.

 I only bought a few things--a pretty blue and green bark cloth piece that would make nice pillows for my couch, a neat hexagon print that has a little bit of gold bling on it, and 2 prints of vintage Japanese rice sack labels. 

I found another store, after some searching, that advertised garments made from these vintage rice sacks and I liked the idea and pictures on their ads.  It was called Jacqueline's in Hanapepe, and she makes and sells "aloha shirts".  It was an obscure little storefront that we drove past 3 times before we saw it (and this is on the one main street in town).  When I went inside, I was very sad to find that everything reeked of cigarette smoke.  There was no way I was buying anything there!

In another little shop, I saw this--

seems like good advice!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

book report

Packing up for a vacation always involves choosing a mini library to have on hand!  
I already told you about The Girl In The Spider's Web, that was my first start and first finish for this trip.  

Then, I moved on to Stolen Prey, from John Sandford, a favorite Minnesota author.  This is another Lucas Davenport crime spree thriller, and, of course, Lucas triumphs over all!  Well, I don't want to spoil this for anyone, but Lucas' adopted daughter, Letty, really shines in this story, too!  In fact, she's kind of like my other fave heroines, Lisbeth and Pippi!  

I've started on a new Jodi Piccoult story, and it's too early to know if it's going to be as captivating as her other novels.  Give me a little more time and I will tell you what I think about Leaving Time.

Bob has been engrossed in the pages of this epic--
and it's perfect to learn more about the history of our vacation spot.  This is a really long book, and typical of Michener's in-depth historical novels.  Last night I mentioned that we would have to watch the movie made from this book, and he was sort of miffed that I hadn't told him that there was a movie and saved him all that reading!

And for good measure, some easy-reading romance novel fluff!

It's always good to have options!

Thursday, October 15, 2015


The flowers and foliage of a different climate are great visual reminders of our trips, so I like to collect pictures.  This time, I am practicing with a new camera,  a Nikon DSLR.  I'm going through some lessons from an online class (on Craftsy).

I don't know the names of these flowers/plants, but the colors and forms are wonderful!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


When I look at this one person on a beach that seems endless, I get the feeling of being just a little speck!  There are 2 more islands visible from this point on the west side of Kauai, near the Barking Sands Missile Facility.  They are named Ni'ihau and Lehua.