Paper Trail

Good morning, my friends. We actually saw some blue sky yesterday afternoon. The rain let up late in the day, and we hoped we were through the worst of it. Then, I heard it raining last night. Still, I think we'll get some relief today, and the forecast is still looking good for our camping trip next week. Wouldn't that be something? As I mentioned to my friend Kate this morning, I don't think we've ever been to Cape Disappointment when it wasn't raining. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, okay? There's still plenty to do at home before we take off.

Our goal for yesterday was to make a run to the recycling depot to unload another five or six boxes of paper. I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I said that makes about 500 lbs. so far. I think we've finished with the worst of the recycling. The rest can just as easily be added to our curbside recycling bin. There's still going to be plenty for donation, however. Neither of us has even started on our closets. I was telling Mike yesterday that the last time I went through my closet, I spared a few things I liked and thought I'd wear again. Approximately ten years on, they're still hanging right in the same spot they were back then. I'm afraid I'll have to be more brutal this time around.

Before we did that, I spent some time on my slow stitching, finishing off the "Dessert for Me!" block.

Then I took just the first few stitches on the "Turn My Eyes Square" block. I was barely started on this, but then I did a little more later in the day.

I expect to finish this one before we leave for our camping trip, and so I traced out October's block for the Joyful Journey quilt. Between this piece and the quilt binding, I should have plenty of stitching to keep my hands occupied while we're gone. This is pretty hard to see, I know.

Here's the picture from the pattern cover. October's block is called "Harvest."

Later in the afternoon, I started in quilting the Heartland Barns quilt. I decided on this Coats & Clark "Star" variegated for the bobbin.

For the embroidered blocks only, I'm using this neutral King Tut thread.

These threads are gifts from my quilting fairy godmother, Ila. Thank you, Ila. Ila has been so generous with her threads that I never have to wonder if I have the color I need.

With dark thread in the bobbin and light thread on top, I spent some time getting the tension right.

Smitty was there to help me turn the tension knob. He would also like to share this tip with his feline friends in Blogland: Tension knobs are excellent for chin scratching. (In case you didn't know, kitties have very itchy chins.)

When I had the tension the best it could be, I went to work on the quilting, starting with the largest of the embroidered panels. I added some clouds in the sky and shingles on the roof and silo...

ruts in the road...

Siding on the barns...

Outlining of the barns...

And outlining the trunks and largest limbs on the trees.

For these embroidered panels, I didn't want to do anything too fancy because I didn't want to distract from the hand embroidery. It's always hard to decide how to quilt the embroidered blocks. Mainly, I want to add texture and functionality. Here are a couple of shots of the quilt back.

Smitty came back when I'd finished quilting the embroidered panels.

He was there to enforce my quilting time limit. 

Purrhaps you should stop now.

Fortunately, he allowed me just enough time to choose the thread I'll use on the rest of the quilt. This is another King Tut thread. I've used this color before.

It's a nice variegated dark brown. I have plenty to finish this quilt, but I'll probably buy some more of this for future use. I love the colors.

And then, I was purrmitted to stitch just a sampling of the design I'll use next. I'll probably use this leafy motif for many of the areas that still need quilting. It's a good border motif, but it also works as a filler.

And that was the end of my sewing day. I was trying a new recipe for dinner. This is Ginger Chicken with Sesame-Peanut Sauce. It was good and easy enough to do in the RV. The chicken is coated with a wet rub, and then left for at least an hour or up to 24 hours. Then it's roasted in a hot oven. The sauce needs no cooking. I mixed that up while I waited for the chicken, and I added some broccoli to the oven at the appropriate time. We used the peanut sauce on the broccoli too.

And I'll just say I'm partial to peanut sauces. This one was especially tasty. You can try clicking on the link I've given you for this recipe from the NYTimes, but you probably need a subscription to see it. As I've mentioned, it turns out you can enter your email to get limited access to a certain number of articles each month without actually having to subscribe. As always, if you want the recipe and you can't open the link, please feel free to email me, and I'll be happy to send it to you.

Okay, so what's going on today? Well, I'll continue with my slow-stitching and quilting. I'm also going to do some baking today. I'm gearing up to do some cooking ahead for our camping trip. Today I'll make some cranberry biscotti to take along. I'm also inclined to bake some cookies for two. I'll be making some foods for breakfast and dinner tomorrow. For these short trips, I like to have things prepared ahead, and then there isn't much cooking while we're relaxing at the campground. There's one housekeeping chore on the calendar for today, and there's still more purging to do. We're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on that, however. Getting rid of the mountains of paper feels like a big accomplishment. Also, we listed the now-empty 4-drawer file cabinet on Craig's List, and someone came to get it yesterday.

Breakfast is next, and then I'll get on with my day. It's going to be a busy day. What are you doing to keep busy today?


Nearing the End

Good morning, my friends. Is everyone staying warm and dry? My goodness, we've had a lot of rain here. It slowed to a sprinkle for a few hours yesterday, but then started up again last night. It's been warm enough...this being a "Pineapple Express" from Hawaii. But man...wet, wet, wet. If the forecast is to be believed, we should start drying out sometime tomorrow, and we're actually expecting dry weather for at least a few days starting on Sunday. It's perfect timing for our camping trip. Fingers crossed the forecast is correct.

We thought we'd do our massive recycling yesterday, but then when it rained so much, we decided to just bag it for the day. I believe we'll do that today. Instead, I spent most of my day top-stitching the Whimsical Quilt Garden blocks. Sadie was my helper.

But only if we're not doing any papurr-piecing. In this, I stand furrm.

She helped me finish off Block #17.

The blocks are time-consuming to top-stitch, and Sadie was tired by then. Smitty stepped in to help.

With his help, I finished off Block #18.

I'm nearing the end of the blocks for this quilt. There are just two more blocks to make before I can start sewing the quilt top together. Here are all the blocks I have so far. (I suppose I could have laid them out a little straighter.)

Okay, so I mentioned our new pile of recycling. Fortunately, I think this is pretty much the last of it. There are still a few odds and ends stuffed into nooks and drawers, but the lion's share is finished. We'll take this to the recycling depot today (I hope). 

In addition to papers that should have been discarded years ago, there are a lot of paperback books. We used to be able to resell books at our local Powell's book store. Last time I brought in a load of books, they weren't interested in most of them. We'll save ourselves the trip this time. There are also a few hardback books, but those will get donated to Goodwill. (I chuckled when I noticed one of the hardback books still had a price tag from Goodwill.)

When that's finished, I can get started quilting the Heartland Barns quilt. It's been lounging over my sewing machine and chair, relaxing its wrinkles out. It's a surprisingly effective method when a quilt has been folded and stacked in a pile for months.

But I can't start on that until we get rid of the recycling. As you can see, it's all piled uncomfortably close to my sewing chair.

And let's just talk about the quilting, shall we? Hopefully, I've learned my lesson about quilting for too long and making my wrist hurt. Today's goal will be to do the embroidered panels in the middle. I'll start with an off-white thread and outline some of the motifs, and maybe quilt some stuff in the sky...clouds, sunshine...it'll come to me as I go. The rest of the quilt will be done in a darker thread...brown, probably...and I'll use some sort of leafy motif, although I'm still mulling that over.

And since I'm imposing time limits on myself, I can also begin sewing the "Stitching Wisdom" blocks into a finished quilt top. If memory serves, I was working on this embroidery during one of our trips. I have some pretty fabrics to finish it off. The four small blocks in the lower right corner will be pieced into stars before I sew them into the rest of the quilt top.

Finally, I'm making good progress on The Story of My Day blocks. I'm nearly finished with the first one. So, I'll need some stitching to take along on our camping trip. Already I have the Ties & Tails quilt to finish hand-sewing the binding. 

We're only gone for three nights, but that should still give me plenty of time to finish the binding. 

When that's finished, I'll start on the tenth block for the Joyful Journey quilt. Within the next day or two, I'll trace that block for stitching. Here are the blocks I have for the Joyful Journey quilt so far.

I like this in-between period of time where I've finished with one thing and I'm looking at what's next. The anticipation and planning is fun, and the frustration hasn't set in yet.

So there's a full day of activities ahead of me. It's a good way to stay dry, except for the recycling, of course. I have one housekeeping chore to do in addition to the recycling adventure, and then I'll get busy with the quilting.


Happy Feet

Good morning, my friends. If you haven't guessed from the title of this post, I managed to get myself to the salon on time for my pedicure. Now my toes are sparkly red and ready for the holiday season. Phew! My toes needed that. 

The morning was spent slow-stitching, and I finished off the Bumble Sampler. This is a pattern from Kathy Schmitz. I like her stitcheries for the variety of stitches used. 

Now I'll add some borders and turn it into a little wall hanging. I have some cute bee-related fabrics to use. 

There was some time for more purging of dresser drawers, and then it was time to be on my way. It was after 3:00 p.m. when I got home, and so I had just enough time to finish Block 18 for the Whimsical Quilt Garden.

I was dreading cutting and placing all those red flower petals until I figured out I could cut them all in one piece by leaving a center circle.

And then it was a simple matter to add the yellow center.

Now the two blocks are ready for top-stitching. That will be today's sewing goal. I'll need to trim the blocks and add borders first.

It's been raining, and raining, and raining, as I mentioned yesterday. There are reports of flooding on the Oregon coast. Several of the coastal state parks have closed because of high water. Our camping trip next week is north of there, just across the Columbia River on the Washington side at Cape Disappointment. I checked the state park website yesterday, and there was no indication of any closure there. On a positive note, it's looking as if the rain will let up by the weekend, and we might actually get some dry weather for our camping trip. Fingers crossed.

The kitties know what to do on these cold wet days. Please purrmit Sadie to demonstrate propurr napping position.

Smitty prefers a less "folded" approach to his napping.

There wasn't any more time for sewing yesterday, but I took the first stitches on the next "Story of My Day" blocks...mainly just using up the leftover bits of floss on my floss bobbins.

While I was away yesterday, Mike spent some time emptying out a four-drawer filing cabinet of ancient paper-work...receipts for things we no longer own, old medical claims for his mom who passed away in 1999, property tax bills on a home we sold years ago...yeah, really important stuff like that. We now have another four boxes of paper for recycling. There are still three more drawers of crap neatly organized into file folders. I'll go through that stuff today, and then I think we'll be close to ridding ourselves of old paperwork. The purge continues. We're probably about halfway through the job, and there's plenty of time left before the carpet goes in. It's a big job, but I know we'll both be happy to have it done.

Despite rummaging through old paperwork, there should still be plenty of time to finish the top-stitching on my quilt blocks, and then I'll be ready to quilt the Heartland Barns quilt. There most likely won't be time for that today. I expect it will go under my needle sometime tomorrow. For now, I'm still in thinking mode about how to quilt it. If you smell smoke, don't worry. It's just my smoldering brain doing some thinking. I'll put on my thinking cap and that might prevent my hair from catching on fire. Nothing like keeping the home fires burning on a wet day.


The Runaround

Good morning, my friends. It was another day of almost no sewing yesterday. I'm afraid it's the season for busy things to happen. We spent the morning running errands...stopping at the post office, taking our donations to Goodwill, unloading recycling at the recycling depot, and finishing it off with a short grocery shopping trip. We were just at the grocery store a few days ago, but I needed to get some make-ahead stuff for next week. Now we're probably free to live our lives grocery-shopping-free for at least another ten days or so. And let me just tell you it was good to unload all that crap we've accumulated in our purging process. We're only about half finished, but we're making daily progress.

So that didn't leave much time for sewing. I was able to get in some slow-stitching in the morning and then again later while we watched the news. I expect I'll finish up the Bumble Sampler today. This is all I have left.

There was a little time in the afternoon to start on the next two Whimsical Quilt Garden blocks. I was able to finish the fusing for Block 17. It still needs top-stitching.

I'm hoping I'll be able to do the fusing for Block 18 today, but I ran out of time yesterday. 

Our dinner last night was a bit of a production. I made Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Cranberries, Walnuts, and Bacon. It takes a while to make them, but the stuffing is enough for two acorn squashes. We each had a half for our dinner, and I'll freeze the rest of the stuffing to use another time. I've also done this with Delicata squash. It's a tasty dish. You can make it vegetarian by leaving out the bacon, and you probably won't miss it.

I'm giving you a screenshot of the recipe from my Paprika app. This doesn't always work very well, and so if you're having trouble reading it, email me, and I can send it to you a different way. I would link to the recipe, but I can't remember the source, and I couldn't find it online.

So it was kind of a lackluster day, but it felt good to unload all that crap. And there is So. Much. More. to deal with. We're taking it slow, and so it doesn't take up to much of any given day. The kitties are contributing in the best way they know how.

It's been wet and windy outside. They know exactly what to do.

Today I'll finally get my pedicure that was originally scheduled for two weeks ago. My toes will be happy about that. And I checked and double-checked the time in addition to receiving a confirming text message. Barring some unforeseen catastrophe, I'll get my toes done today. Aside from that, there isn't much going on. I'll try to finish off the Bumble Sampler, and then get back to the 18th block for the Whimsical Quilt Garden. 


Checking In

Good morning, my friends. Have you been waiting on tenterhooks to see if I took a day off yesterday? Well...yes, and no. As I've mentioned, we're having new carpet installed on the upper floor of our house on January 16th. Said upper floor consists of the stairs leading up and the landing at the top, our master bedroom, and a second bedroom that doubles as my quilting room and office. (No beds have been seen in that room.) So Mike and I have been dreading the purge associated with this carpeting extravaganza. Home Depot is doing the job. They'll move the furniture from one room to the other and back again as they work. Our job is to empty everything off of and out of the furniture. This purging effort mainly involves drawers, closets, and bookshelves. So far I've been doing one drawer per day, which takes about one minute per drawer.

Okay, so yesterday, we're feeling all high and mighty about doing our workouts. Then, I got this hairbrained idea to do the little attic area you see where the elfin door is on the left side of the image below.

It leads into an unfinished space with a low roof. And if you remember what our house looks like, I'm referring to the space, I've circled in green below. There are actually two dormers, but one is hidden behind the branches of the fir tree.

One must stay bent at the waist to move around in there. Other tactics include sitting down and scooching around on your butt. The point is that it's an uncomfortable space to move around in, and it's full of fiberglass insulation. Early on, Mike laid some plywood planks down so we could use it for storage without getting into the insulation. When I have an item in my hand that has no home (think empty boxes and large shopping bags), and I don't know what to do with it, I have a very bad habit of opening that door and tossing it in. Out of sight, out of mind. Well. Yesterday I paid the price for years of out of sighting and out of minding and cleaned out that space. What you see in the earlier image is all the crap we've pulled out of various spaces. 

The stuff on the right is for donation. The stuff on the left is for trash and recycling. About 3/4 is for recycling. I had four boxes of reference materials from when I was a working social worker. My office was closed permanently in December of 2004. I was required to hold onto my client files for seven years, and I got rid of those as soon as I was able. For whatever reason, I held onto the reference materials. After seeing all that crap yesterday, I wondered why I waited so long. I blame Necessity and Motivation. Both of those chickens have come home to roost now.

It was a tiring and (literally) painful job. I don't recommend it when you're trying to take a day off. Probably I spent several hours of my day on that. Mike was working away at one of the storage cabinets in my office, weeding out old technology like wired computer mouses and miles of land-line telephone cable. It's going to feel good to have it all finished, but we're only about halfway. There's still a lot to do to be ready for the January install date. We'll get there, but we are not happy taskers.

So, I was ready for a day off from sewing anyway. I still took some time to make up the next two stitcheries for The Story of My Day. This one is "Dessert for Me!"

Also, "Where's the Remote?"

These are all the blocks I have for this quilt so far.

Also, I made copies of the next two blocks for the Whimsical Quilt Garden. (They're printed on both sides of the sheet, and I need single-sided copies for tracing the applique.) I'll be doing the two blocks at the bottom of the image below. After that, I'll just have the two on either side of that row to finish all the blocks. For now, though...the the two I've indicated.

Except for tracing and making copies, I didn't do anything in the sewing room yesterday. I'm hoping to get back to it today, but let's just revisit that image at the top of this post. We have to do some recyling and donating today in order to make room for more. Eventually, we'll do a dump run, but for now, trash is the least of our problems. 

So, how do you like my day off? I don't recommend following my lead on this. There will be less physical labor today, but we'll need to make a trip into town. We figure since we're going into town, we might make a quick trip to the grocery store. I have food to get us through the week, but our camping trip postponed from last month is happening next week, and I'll want to do some cooking ahead for that. Also, I'll drop off the Little Green Frog quilt at the post office and send it on its way.

It's been raining, and raining, and raining. We're been suffering through a series of "atmospheric rivers" the past few days. We aren't expecting to see the sun until later in the week, but maybe we'll get lucky with the weather for our camping trip. Only time will tell.