Saturday, February 27, 2016

the struggle is real

Again, I have a DIY story for you.  This is where the struggle happens!  This is a good one!  Our upstairs bathroom had some real ugly old caulk by the tub, and I had removed it with a lot of elbow grease awhile ago.  Maybe a year ago?  I don't know, one DIY project just seems to meld into the next!  When you pause that long, I found out the the edge of the good ole vinyl flooring (which is not being replaced because Bob gave me that look when I suggested tile would be nice) starts to curl up a little bit.  So we were faced with a worse mess to try to pretty up with some new, neat, white caulk.  First, we thought adhesive.  Not sure what to use, Bob pulled out his Gorilla glue and slathered some of that under the edge, as well as in a few other places that it didn't belong.  Then he jerry rigged a weight to hold the edge of the flooring down while the glue did its thing.  Well, that was not a huge success.  We now had partially glued down flooring and lumps of gorilla glue in some spots.  So, I suggested staples, for not the first time in this little drama.  Bob caved and got some staples in the right spots.  Then he carefully taped off the area for the caulk, and with my watchful encouragement, spread in some white caulk so very nicely.  Tape strips were carefully removed, and we gingerly tiptoed out of the bathroom, thinking this is too good to be true, but we had finally licked the caulking problem!

Now move forward to the next day.  Bob's upstairs, and I hear him calling me to come up there, there's something I have to see.  With some trepidation, I climb the stairs and see him in the bathroom.  I'm pretty sure we will soon be doing the happy caulk dance.  But NO!  I look at the floor and this is what I see--

How come those staples are showing???  Yesterday they were covered by caulk!  What happened???  We hardly know what to say.  Bob has the caulk tube in hand, and look what it says in fine print--

OMG!  We were nearly on the floor laughing so hard!  This never happens on the Home and Garden shows!  Is there a prize for the people who make the hardest job out of something that should be simple?  We are the champs!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

relax and have fun

I have some bonus sewing time for the next few days since I am attending a retreat for the employees of Bear Patch Quilting Co.  Some things I am working on...

I started this in January when I was on another quilting trip.  I had all the blocks sewn together and worked on positioning them in the right spots.  Then I had to pick them up and pack them up.  Yesterday they came out of the box again, and this time I was able to sew all the blocks together and add the borders.  This turned out to be much more tedious than I had expected, because I had to do lots of pinning to match up seams and corners.  I had hoped they would match up a little easier.  But the hard part is done!

This was an interesting project because it uses images on a CD that are printed onto sheets of paper backed fabric.  They can be printed off your own printer at home.  The sheets that I prefer are called Printed Treasures.  The band at the top, the little label in the side seam, and the label sewn to the front of the bag are all part of the set.  The CD also includes the directions for all of it.  There are a few different themes available.  There's another for knitting and one for baby/kids, too.

Signature quilt
These blocks were given to me 2 years ago when I turned 60.  The friends in my quilt group, the Ham Lake Piecemakers, were invited to make me a small block.  Then I added some triangles to make each block a "square in a square".  I used my EQ program to design a small wall hanging size quilt using some additional fabrics for rows of sashing and borders.  I would love to get this completed, it's ready for borders now, and since it's not terribly big, I should be getting it done soon.  The borders I have pinned up to the upper left hand corner of the quilt are what I am planning.  It's nice to see the names as I put the blocks together.  These women have been friends for quite awhile, and joining that group was one of the best things I've done to increase my involvement in the quilting world.

Friday, February 19, 2016

I'm EQ Happy!

I've been stretching my brain lately with some learning on my Electric Quilt (EQ) program.
EQ is a program that allows the user to design blocks, quilts, etc., on the screen.  I have dabbled in this for some time, going through versions 5, 6, and now 7.  Each new version builds on the previous one, and can usually be purchased as either an upgrade or a new program if you want to start.  Actually, I started with a program from another company, but it soon became obvious to me that I needed to jump on the EQ wagon for the best options for my needs.
Up until recently, EQ was only windows-based.  Which was fine as long as we had the desktop computer, and I even at one point loaded the program onto Bob's window laptop, so it had more portability.  But I've been loving my MacBook laptop for quite a few years, and I take it wherever I go, and was always a little sad that I couldn't conveniently take my EQ with me in case inspiration struck.  Yes, there were a couple programs out there that let you run windows things on a Mac, but reading some of the reviews from people using that for EQ made me hesitant to even go there.
But, lo and behold, those EQ people finally got the Mac conversion up and running!  So I had been planning to purchase the EQ7 upgrade for Mac.  I read good reviews of it, but held off on purchasing because I wasn't in need of it at the time.  Plus, I did read some reports that people had a hard time getting the download to work and working with the files.  Those are very basic things, and I didn't want to run into those problems and have to feel ridiculous asking for someone's help to make it happen!  EQ does have really good support on their website, plus I always have my tech guy, Dan, on speed dial.  And he is always very patient and helpful with my computer questions.

Here's an example of pulling together some ideas for a design for Quilt MN 2016.
Then last fall, at Houston Quilt Market, I discovered a woman who offers EQ coaching.  This sounded like something with my name on it!  I had gotten proficient at using EQ6 for my everyday designs, which helped me out with some of my pattern designing and writing.  But I knew there was a lot more potential in the program that I just didn't know how to use and hadn't taken the time to learn.  So I signed up with Kari from the On Point Quilter to get her help.  We have now had 3 online class sessions together.  Learning how to use screen sharing capabilities was another little learning opportunity, but with her instruction I have succeeded.  Here's an example of something we did in our last little class--

I learned how to take an image from a fabric sample (on the left), move it into a quilt block and try to "fussy cut" or position it to make a kaleidoscopic effect.  Those little giraffe heads aren't all positioned perfectly, but it's a good start!  With a little more time and patience I could manipulate them properly.

Now all of this might not seem like anything remarkable when compared to the amazing images and graphics that are possible with today's technology.  But for me, it means a lot.  It means I learned how to purchase and download the EQ upgrade, learned how to screen share for my lessons, even learned how to do screen shots and put them into this blog!  What's next?!  And what are you doing to stretch your brain today?!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

a little clean-up

I know this is late for Valentine's Day, but this is too good to be true!  We (Bob and I) have been working on some cleaning up, sorting out and re-organizing.  During the excavating, we have found many gems.  This is a good one--

Such a sweet reminder of our fun days with both Brita and Dan when they were young.
And a reminder of my own childhood--

These little cookbooks were mine, and I remember them well!  Even though I thought these little books were very special, everything I really learned about cooking was from my mom.  She could write a wonderful cookbook of her own!

This doesn't look like much, but it's a wonderful sight to me!  This is a little cubbyhole closet underneath the basement steps.  When this space was created, I fully intended that it would be outfitted with some sort of shelves.  That was about 20 years ago!  It was just never at the top of the "to-do list".  Random things were thrown in there, but I sort of knew what was in there.  Mostly it was a lot of boxes of old tax records, now largely shredded and disposed of, thanks to Bob's quality time spent with the shredder!  Remember, you really only need to keep 7 years of records!  So we installed a few little shelves and I even narrowed down my collection of boxes.  It's not a horde, it's a collection!  

In some spare time, I have learned a new variation of a design for my quilting, and practiced it on a little boy quilt.  This isn't a real good depiction of it, but with a little more practice it will be fun to use in the future.  

 I have seen this done before, but had never taken the time to really see how to best do it.  I found some great videos by Angela Walters, a name known to many in the quilting world.
And maybe take a minute or 2 to enjoy some of her other videos, too.  It's great to have that kind of learning opportunity.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I'm a good starter!

My biggest downfall with my sewing and quilting and crafting is that I'm always very good at starting things, but not so good at finishing!  
I've been trying to stick with this project so it doesn't linger unfinished forever and ever.  I started it last summer, following Sue Daley's sew-along and this is as far as I've gone.  Her finished piece is much larger, lots more ambitious than I'm feeling, so I might just end mine without all of the graduated rows surrounding the center star.  This is all handwork, and not quick to do, so it takes me a bit of time to accomplish much.  Some evenings I watch a show or 2 on TV, and stitch these little guys together.  And I do like being able to do this handwork.

There's another new English paper piecing project calling my name, and it is called--

This is a bed quilt size, full of interesting pieces.  It comes from the blocks in this book--

It's a monthly sew-along organized by Paper Pieces, so they send out monthly installments of the papers needed for a required number of blocks.  Some of the blocks are real easy, they are made from just one piece of fabric, so I'm already doing some of those!

Each of the straight edges of these hexagons is 3", to give you an idea of the scale.  The picture at the top of the page uses 1" hexies.  Many of the other blocks are made of several pieces fit together to make a 3" hexie, and they have names!

I'm not going to be up-to-date on the monthly assignments for this project, but I'm happy with collecting and gathering here and there, until I get that other project at the top of the page done!  I'm forcing myself to not give up on the unfinished project, but I am still putzing around with picking fabrics and even cutting some pieces for the new one.  Here are some little bags I made up for 6 of the new blocks--

As you can see, my talent lies with starting!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

something's missing

I've had the feeling that something has been missing in my life, hard to put my finger on it because there's more than 1 thing missing!

Mostly, when I think of things I miss, my kids and grandkids are #1 on that list.  When Brita and Dan were kids, one of my main goals with parenting was to make sure that my kids would grow up to be fully functional adults who could take care of themselves.  That meant when Dan had a job that required ironed pants and shirts, he had to learn how to iron for himself.  And now he is really good at ironing, even though his work attire now is probably the antithesis of ironing!  So, with that frame of mind on childrearing, it shouldn't come as a surprise when they grow up and away, right?!  Doesn't mean I don't love knowing that they have happy lives far from their original home, but also doesn't mean I don't miss them sooo much!!  But that's not what this "something's missing" feeling was about.

Maybe that "something missing" has to do with the lost and founds happening to me lately?  I really strive to keep my home and belongings organized, mainly so I don't run into that problem of things going lost.  Just within the last few weeks, I've "lost" some important things:  my #37 foot for my Bernina 730, my Socks with 2 Circs knitting book and my mechanical needle threader.  I'm happy to say that the first 2 things turned up in unexpected places, and I'm still working on the 3rd one.  I know it's here somewhere!

Finally, it dawned on me that what was missing was this!  Yes, writing and sharing pictures on my Frayed Edge blog!

I have casually drifted away from regular writing, and I think that's been bothering me.  Partly, the drifting happens because of the time that it takes for me to organize my pictures and words.  I really labor over it, probably more than it needs.  I want to avoid saying the wrong thing, so sometimes just saying nothing is my preference.  Also, it bugs me when spelling and grammar are left by the wayside, so I always need to check and double check.

A lot of times an idea pops into my head that something I see or do would be fun to put on the blog, but then a moment passes and I'm on to something else.  So that's something I am going to work on.  Most of what I have intended this blog to represent is the sewing, quilting, knitting, etc., that I like to share.  Along with that comes the scenes from my everyday life, involving family, vacations, cooking, books, etc.  So all of that gets lumped together, hopefully someone reading this will find it interesting in some way or another.

We have had some beautiful sunrises lately, and the days are definitely getting longer!

Not very long ago, I wrote that we were doing some updating on the room that used to be Brita's bedroom.  I now call it my "overflow sewing room", since I use it for storing everything that won't fit in my actual sewing room.  This is also the room that has the crib for visits from the grandsons. The first picture shows the work on the floor happening, by this time the rest of the wallpaper gunk had been removed and new paint applied.  The flooring is easy to do in those long uninterrupted areas, but putzy to do around nooks and crannies.  The second picture shows things going back into the closet, hopefully in a much neater and orderly way than before!

That sorting and organizing job has yielded some interesting finds of things that I had forgotten about.  For example, these 2 Pendleton wool shirts--
 Both of which did not fit me, but were in perfect condition.  So, I wondered who might really appreciate them.  I decided they needed to go to Montana, since the style and fabric would be appreciated there, and they should be arriving on Dan's doorstep soon.  He says he knows people there that would be glad to have them, so it's a win-win!

I just had 2 recent finishes on these things:

Last fall I started working on a new concept for a custom tote bag for a friend.  I used pieces of other tote bags that I have collected with this in mind.  It has taken awhile to work out the plan, but now I am very happy I took the time to make it into something she will be proud to use.  I used the design for my own pattern, Aisle Style, which is loosely based on the measurements of a paper grocery sack.  I quilted the outer bag to Soft & Stable, also called headliner because it's used in the ceilings of vehicles.  It gives enough body to stand up on its own.  I had these nice leather handles that attach with a metal clip that is pounded together to grip the edge of the fabric.  I might have to keep collecting and make one for myself!

And someone has a birthday coming up, the big #2 celebration calls for a personalized quilty blankie for this little guy!  As so often happens with the second child, Jack gets a lot of things handed down from big brother.  So it's time to make sure he has some things with his own name loud and clear!  And I put Cuddle fabric (plushy) on the back, so it's even better for snuggles!

That's enough, probably more than enough, for now!  
I need to get ready for the Super Bowl, after all!