9/1/15

September Goals and Progress Report

It was a dismal showing for my August goals. In my defense, I'll say that I spent 8 days in the kitchen canning. From the outset, I knew August would be busy, and so there was little hope of finishing my goals for the month. Still...nothing ventured, nothing gained. Here's what happened, aside from canning:

1. At the tippy-top of my to-do list is to finish up the Vintage Tin flimsy and sandwich it for quilting. In Progress. The quilt top is finished, but I haven't sandwiched it yet.



2. Quilt and bind To the Rescue. Complete!



3. With Vintage Tin so close to flimsy stage, I'd like to try to finish off the Mom Cats quilt I started for the Let's Book It challenge quite some time ago. It just needs embellishment and then it will be ready for quilting and binding. No Progress.


Monthly Challenges

4. As is my usual modus operandi, I'm two months behind on 


This month's goal is to make a red cat for July. August's color is indigo. These are the cats I have so far.


As you can see, I already have an indigo cat, made for the blue month. With that in mind, I think I'll make a black cat for August. No Progress

5. I missed participating in the July's


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and so I'd like to make a block in August. No progress. August's block included a template, which discouraged me from participating. Better luck in September.

6. Also, I've missed the Let's Book It challenge for the past two months.

I'd like to give another try to a table runner I chickened out on some time ago.  No finishes are required for the Let's Book It challenge. A start is good enough. With that in mind, this goal is Complete!


There's still a little bit to do to finish off this top, but it's very close.

WIP's

7. For this goal, I'm going to back way up to a goal I set for myself in June, when I made no progress getting it done. With that in mind, I'd still like to make two more block sets for Yard Art...a project so long on my WIP list that it's beyond embarrassing. No progress, and so the embarrassment continues.


8. Another project on my to-do list for much too long is the Mumm's the Word quilt. I'd like to make the next section of blocks for this quilt as well. No Progress.


9. Finally, I want to keep up with making a block each week for Lisa's Live, Love, Teach quilt. This month, I'll be working on blocks 25-28. When those are finished, half of the blocks will be complete.
In progress. Two down, two to go.



Of course, I always like to put something on the list for


10. For this month, assuming I get the Vintage Tin quilt sandwiched, I'd like to get a start on quilting it. It absolutely, positively must be finished by October, and so time's a-wastin'. Since the quilt isn't even sandwiched, obviously, No Progress.

Okay...no bonus points for me, unless I get bonus points for canning. Then...I get mega bonus points because it's been an

 extrava-can-za 

in my kitchen. Ha! Do I get bonus points for that pun?



Okay, so September promises to be a busy month too. No doubt, there will be more canning, but we're also going over to Moab for ten days. Smitty and Gracie aren't going this time. They'll be at home with our pet sitter. 

So what's a quilter to do with so many demands on her time? Well...I can tell you this: I'm not adding any new goals to my list. Instead, I'm going to give myself another month to finish up the ones I started in August. Here's the list:

1. At the tippy-top of my to-do list is to sandwich and quilt Vintage Tin. It must be finished by the end of the month.



2. There are a couple of exceptions to the "no new goals" recipe in September. One is to quilt the Four Fabric Forest. It's a small quilt, and I can probably finish it up in one sitting. It's going to be in my guild's quilt show at the beginning of October, and so it too, is a must for finishing.



3. I'd like to try to finish off the Mom Cats quilt top (pictured above). It just needs embellishment and then it will be ready for quilting and binding. 

Monthly Challenges

4. As is my usual modus operandi, I'm two three months behind on 


and so this is the other exception to the "no new goals" rule. This month's goal is to make a red cat for July, a black cat for August, and an orange cat for September. The cats I have so far are pictured above.

5. I missed participating in July and August for the 


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and so I'd like to make a block in September. 

6. I like participating in

but for this month, I'll just aim for finishing and sandwiching the tablerunner I started in August. You can see it pictured above. As long as I'm going to be sandwiching quilts, I might as well sandwich all of them.

WIP's

7. For this goal, I'm going to back way up to a goal I set for myself in June and yet again in August, when I made no progress getting it done. With that in mind, I'd still like to make two more block sets for Yard Art (pictured above).

8. Another project on my to-do list for much too long is the Mumm's the Word quilt (pictured above). I'd like to make the next section of blocks for this quilt as well. 

9. Finally, I want to finish the two blocks that weren't finished in August, Sophie's block and Misty's block (pictured above). With so many must do projects on my list, I don't think I'll add any more of these during September, but pick it up with my block-a-week goal in October when things settle down a little.

Of course, I always like to put something on the list for


As long as I'm sandwiching quilts, I'll want to include Feed the Cat in the pile. 


Today is a CSA pick-up day, but otherwise, it's NBS (nothing but sewing).

8/31/15

Leafy

It was a nice day yesterday...rainy and cloudy, with sunshine toward the end of the day. It gave Mike a chance to get outside to work, and it gave me a chance to sew for most of the day. I was interspersing a little cooking and some light housework in between making the last of the stemmed leaves for the Blushing Aspens table runner.

When I left this on Saturday, I had taken it this far:


The first thing I did when I picked it up again was to make the tiny little leaf in the upper left of the image below.


After that, there were two more leaves to make in Section 2. When I had those finished, it was time to sew the whole section together.


If you read my post from last Wednesday, you know this was tricky business. Remember this diagram? Partial seams were clearly in order, but I wasn't sure where to start or which order to sew the leaves together.


There were several good suggestions and a lot of cheering. Eventually, I went with the method Gayle suggested, thus:


That made sense to me, and it worked perfectly! Thanks, Gayle! You guys are so smart. I knew someone would steer me in the right direction. So I've turned the image below in the same direction as the diagram so that you can see how it went together. No seam ripper required, thank goodness.


With that done, I was ready to sew Section 2 to Sections 3 and 4:


After that, there was one more leaf to make for Section 1.


Now all of the "veined" leaves are complete. I just have the little row of ten leaves along the right hand side as you see in the image below.


The smaller leaves go much faster than the veined leaves. Each veined leaf took about an hour to make. I'm thinking I can make several of the little ones in an hour's time. Then I'll just need to add the borders, and the top will be finished.

Today I need to head back to see my orthotist. You might recall that she's been working with me trying to get my custom orthotics right since I was fitted in a half size larger shoe recently. The shoe size was a good move, I think, but it threw off the fit of my custom orthotics. My right foot, especially, has been hurting ever since. 

Going into a larger shoe makes me think of a time Mike was up skiing on Mt. Bachelor and he was complaining to a fellow skier that his ski boots no longer fit his feet. The younger skier's reply was, "Gravity, Man." And thus, I'm in a larger shoe size now too. Gravity, Man. Did you ever stop to consider how many of aging's woes can be summed up in that one simple phrase? Wrinkling skin? Gravity, Man. Falling boobs? Gravity, Man. That's all you need to know most times. Fall down and break one of your aging brittle bones? Gravity, Man. See what I mean?

Anyway...that's going to take at least a couple of hours. Also, I'm heading to the post office to mail off my letter to the Salem Municipal Court, and that baby is going Certified Mail. Hopefully, I'll have time to work on my leaves when I get home this afternoon. 

It's the last day of August. Use it wisely. Fall is on the way.

8/30/15

A Morning of Stitching

It's been a busy morning in the sewing room already today. I'm looking forward to a near-full day of NBS (nothing but sewing). Only "near" full because I'll be making some new appetizer recipes for dinner tonight. Sometimes we have a dinner of nothing but appetizers...kind of fun.

As for my morning of stitching, I finished up the 4th of nine blocks for the Gingerbread Square quilt.


Someone asked me about the color in this piece yesterday. In case you're wondering, the color is added with good old Crayola crayon after I trace out the design for stitching. Some of it is first colored with white crayon and then covered with another color. By first using white, it lightens the shade of the final color. There is also some "shading". I've done that by simply outlining the stitching lines using whatever color is designated. It usually takes me a couple of hours to make one of these blocks for stitching, including tracing, coloring, and then heat-setting the crayon with my iron. To do that, I simply place a paper towel over the design, then iron until there is no transfer to the paper towel. Then it is safe to iron directly on the fabric. 

I'm not sure how this will hold up in the wash, but I'm trusting that designer Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studios has tested it herself before publishing her patterns. I happen to love her work, and I notice she's doing more and more of this in her newly-released patterns. Here are the four blocks I've stitched so far:


The next time I work on this, I'll be doing the Town Square Gazebo. I don't know about you, but I think these blocks are impossibly cute. 


And that left me with no embroidery for tomorrow morning. Since there must be embroidery, I made up the embroidered label for Erik's Vintage Tin quilt. His birthday is in October, and I simply must get his quilt finished up in September. Starting with the label seems a good idea.


I can probably do this one in one or two sittings. After that, I'll get started on the next two blocks for Lisa's quilt.

The only sewing I did yesterday was to make one more leaf for the Blushing Aspens tablerunner. I made the one in the lower left corner. It was a little tricky because of its long, slender stem, but we got it worked out.


There are still two large leaves and one tiny leaf in section two, and so I should be able to get those finished today. Hopefully, I'll be able to puzzle my way through sewing it together then.

There's plenty on today's agenda and enough to keep me busy into tomorrow. What are you working on?

8/29/15

A Guilt Trip with the City of Salem

We had quite a storm last night. We were awakened at around 3:00 a.m. by a serious thunder storm. It was directly overhead judging from the loud CRACK! of lightning followed immediately by the rumble of thunder. We haven't heard a storm that close since leaving Phoenix in 1978. After that, it poured rain for quite a while. Even though we were glad for the rain, I wasn't able to get back to sleep, and so it's been kind of a heavy-lidded day for me. I did manage a short morning nap, but as I write this, I'm trying to stay awake so that, hopefully, I'll sleep better tonight. That makes four nights this week that I've awakened too early, and then not been able to get back to sleep. Oy.

Today I canned the latest CSA tomatoes and a few that came from our own plants. I'm not doing anything fancy with them now...just chopping them and canning them for soups, stews, and chili. I haven't done just plain tomatoes before, surprisingly enough, and so I'm hoping I cooked them long enough to concentrate their juices. Otherwise, I'm going to have chunky tomato juice.


The yield was five pints, and there's nothing in there but tomatoes and a little lemon juice. It was recommended that I add a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each jar to be sure the acid level was high enough to process them safely in a boiling water bath. Apparently tomatoes are right on the borderline of being safely acidic. Bottled (rather than fresh) lemon juice, gives some control over the acid level, and helps ensure a safe jar of tomatoes.

There's always a lot of stirring and waiting when canning tomatoes, and so that gave me some time to work on the Gingerbread Square block.


I've hooped it for the last time with just a little bit left to finish.


After that, I'll move on to a couple of little projects. I need to finish up two more blocks for Lisa's quilt. They both have some embroidery. Also, I want to make an embroidered label for Erik's Vintage Tin quilt, and then we're just days away from the latest Vintage Kitchen block release. I'll finish those four small projects and then get ready for the next block in Hocuspocusville.

If you read my post from yesterday, then you know I was the unhappy recipient of a traffic ticket. This morning I wrote my "letter of explanation" in an effort to get the stiff fine of $260 (sucks in breath) reduced. If you're interested, you can read the letter I wrote to the court right here. I figured a play on their sympathies with a hefty dose of a guilt trip might get me what I want. And if not, I'm not ashamed to go down there, throw myself at somebody's feet, wrap my arms around their legs and weep uncontrollably. "Puh-leeze don't make me pay the whole fine. Puh-leeze!" If that doesn't get 'em, nothing will. They can just take their seats among the heartless bastards of the world. Am I right about that? Who's with me?

So that's about all I've done today. After this, I think I'll get back to my leaves. I can probably get at least one more made before day's end.

8/28/15

Oregon State Fair 2015

Today was Day One of the Oregon State Fair. Sue and I headed out this morning to see it. The day started out a little rough when I was issued a traffic citation for turning left at this right turn only intersection. Bummer.


Without going into all the details, I'll just say that I did not see the sign. I so didn't see the sign that we went back to look after we left the fair. Sure enough...there it is. In my defense I'll say that I'm not familiar with the roads in Salem. As you can see, there are a lot of signs and there was a lot of fair traffic. My biggest defense is that I pulled up to the limit line and stopped, and the sign was no longer in view. Oh well. I broke the law, and this time, the law won. It's an expensive ticket. I'll just write a letter of explanation to send along with my fine and throw myself on the mercy of the court. If I can get them laughing, maybe they'll reduce it. We didn't let it ruin our day.

So then we walked what seemed like a long way around to the far side of the fairgrounds where there was no line to pay for admission. We headed directly for the quilts and mine was hanging right above the ladies who were welcoming visitors to the show. There was the Blooming Sunflower with a pretty red ribbon. Okay. I was feeling better about that traffic ticket by now.


Then we walked down a row of quilts and came to Psycatdelic, hanging there with a blue ribbon! Yay!


And around the corner from that was A Gardener's Journal...also with a blue ribbon!


Shoot for the Moon was not a winner, and that's okay. I still love that quilt, and let's face it...you can't win 'em all. I'm declaring the 2015 Oregon State Fair showing suh-weet!


For whatever reason, I wasn't much in a picture-taking mood, but I did take a few pictures of quilts and other stuff. Here are the two "Best of Show" quilts.


The one below was in the youth category.


I just thought these next two were adorable.



We looked at a few more displays before heading over to the livestock pavilion. I can never pass by an orchid without thinking of my mother. She loved orchids.



The sheep were being groomed for showing.


We were suspicious of these guys. Just what do you suppose they're up to dressed in these disguises?


They look a little like terrorists don't they? And what about this guy below? We suspect him of being their leader with that getup he's wearing.


And then there were some pigs who were obviously good friends.



We were hoping to see piglets, but there were none this year.

I haven't done any more sewing since Wednesday. We're expecting quite a downpour of rain over the weekend, and we really need it. It will be the first significant rain since March. I have another pile of tomatoes that I'm going to dice up and can just as tomatoes. These are from our CSA shares, but the two funny-looking ones in the lower left are from our plants.


When they're all diced and cooked, I should be able to get about four pints. Then, the rest of the weekend will be devoted to sewing. It'll be nice to be inside listening to the rain after the hot summer days we've had.