Some Finishes

Smitty has been at the computer all morning, or I would have written this post sooner. There are quite a few little finishes from yesterday to tell you about. Mike finished putting the shelves into the catio, and now it's pretty much complete. We were considering purchasing a (very expensive) waterproof cat tree, but I think with the addition of the shelves, we don't need it. This morning we discussed whether to put carpeting on the shelves and decided against it. In our wet climate, I'm afraid carpeting would get soggy wet and stay wet all winter. If we use kitty beds and towels, etc., we can at least take them into the house to wash and dry them. So here's where it stands, although Smitty may have already shown you this image in his blog post.

Nice, huh? There are shelves on four levels and a little platform where they can sit together or take a nap. The catnip had been relocated under the platform, and I'm going to give them some kitty greens to nibble on as well. We're going to switch out that chair to an Adirondack style, and we've also ordered a small shelter. I think they'll be more comfortable at times if they have a little place where they can hide away. Kitties do not like being exposed. Mike did such a great job on this, and I know he's happy to have the construction part finished.

Pausing at times to help hold things, I spent most of the day sewing. When I went down into the sewing room, I found my three rows of blocks all askew. Now what do you suppose is going on here?

Don't look at me. I didn't do it. I got nothing.

Well, I just straightened it all out again, and then went to work finishing the fourth row and sewing the whole thing together. I've sent an image to my cousins, and they both liked it. This morning, I'll get to work piecing a back together for it.

So I left it laid out on the floor last night, and when I went downstairs this morning, I found this.

When I picked it up, I found this. A mischievous toy mouse! The culprit is busted. 

Somehow I think he has a partner in crime, but this will require further investigation. I'll keep you posted on the Mystery of the Mischievous Marauding Mouse.

Also yesterday, I started working on Lesson 4 of the free motion quilting sampler I'm doing for the Sit Down Free Motion Quilters Facebook group. Lesson 4 is feathers. The video showed several ways to approach feathers. I first checked my tension and tried making a row trying out different methods. I did some just free form with no spine...just making the tear drop shape. Then I sewed a spine up and back and make some feathers along a spine. Also, I tried using the tear drops themselves as the spine for the feathers that came after. 

Since our goal in this lesson is to fill a block (rather than a border), we are learning to take them in a direction and fill in a space. This was a small practice space I had, and I first gave it a try there. Not good at all, and I got lost in the space I had.

Then I tried a larger piece, but I still got lost in it about halfway around. Part of my difficulty is remembering to make the tear drops by swinging out from the bottom first and bringing them around to the top. Others may do it differently, but that seems a more natural movement for my hands.

Below was my second try, and it turned out a little better. At least I kept them moving pretty much in the right direction.

I want to practice at least a few more times before committing this to my sampler.

This being Sunday, I should probably report on my slow stitching.

Slow Sunday Stitching

I made some more progress on the Gingerbread Square block. Most of the bottom half is finished now.

I set it aside for a few days to make Blocks 6 and 7 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. Yesterday, I traced out Block 6.

I worked on it yesterday and this morning, and now it's finished. This one is called "Bee Sweet".

Block 7 is out now, and mine is ready for stitching. This one is called "Bee Charming". The hat is fusible applique. I used the triple stitch on my sewing machine to stitch the red onto the hat. The rest will be done by hand, and this one should go pretty quickly.

Finally, I wanted to tell you about our dinner last night. We went to one of our favorite restaurants (don't we always?), The Charthouse. They have one of the best views of the city, and we just happened to be sitting at the best seat in the house...literally. It's a corner table with windows all around. Mike used his phone to shoot this pano.

As usual, we took our own bottle of wine, and I couldn't resist showing you that the tacky wine bag is still in the picture. I swear I'm going to make a new one this month!

We enjoyed the view with our cocktails. So nice.

Each of us ordered the gazpacho, and I think this might have been the best gazpacho I've ever eaten. It motivated me to work on discovering my own version.

Mike ordered the Mac Nut Mahi, and I ordered the Tour de Shrimp.

Mike's was supposed to come with a mashed purple sweet potato, but it came with Yukon gold, which was more to his liking. That's a little balsamic syrup drizzle. Looks like chocolate, doesn't it?

My shrimp were wonderful. The coconut crunchy shrimp on the right of the image are my favorites at this restaurant, but I branched out and tried some of the other offerings with this "tour".

We had a stunning view of Mt. Hood straight ahead.

We watched the city lights come on as the mountain took on a pinkish cast at sunset.

For dessert, we each chose a little cobbler of apples and dried cherries. Yum.

And that was our 300 Days-to-Retirement Celebration. And I'm happy to say that as I'm writing this, there are 299 days left.

So there's plenty to do today, mainly in the kitchen. I'll be cooking up a few things to take to our Fourth of July get-together down by the river. It's one of my favorite family outings of the year.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

SJSM said...

Mischief in the sewing room! My cats won't stay with me in mine at this point. I know they visit even when I'm not there. Nose prints on the window is one give away. Finding a lizard behind a box was another. We know when our winter is over. Suddenly we find lizards in the most unusual places. Lana's giveaway is staring at one spot continuously. We know somethin alive is in the house.

Ivani said...

Barbara, wow how fast you stitched block 6! I have only blocks 1 and 3 done. The Gingerbread Square block is beautiful. How did you add the color? There is a tutorial for me? I would love learn this. Happy Slow Sunday Stitching!

Chris said...

Wow....great post! Love the countdown to retirement. Does your town have alcohol restriction? Can you bring your own but they can serve it? I've been to receptions and parties where this is the case but not restuarants. Have a great 4th!

CathieJ said...

I love your accounts of the cats' adventures. So glad that you straightened out that beautiful quilt. Thanks for the great dinner tour. What a beautiful view and your meal sounds scrumptious.

Quiltdivajulie said...

The cat is fabulous (as is Smitty's investigative report). I'm finally ready to stitch lesson one for the FB group this week and I've been doodling lesson two (yes, I'm behind). Your feathers look better than mine!

quiltzyx said...

The birdie baby quilt is wonderful - love those birdies! Guess what? I have my ALQS10 ready to put the binding on!!!! Lucky for me she extended the deadline. :) I will be doing that tomorrow morning.
Construction Man & CMAW have done a terrific job on the Catio - congrats! I know Sadie & Smitty will adore it.
Wow! Those Hydrangeas are fabulous!! As well as all the other bloomin' things you've got growing at your place. The BIG boss brought in some squash & peppers from his home garden for us the other day. The zucchini & yellow squash was just too big for me as I've been less inclined to cook that usual in all the heat we've been having down here. I'd guess the zucchini was about 3" around & at least 12" long. Sheesh!
All your stitcheries are coming along beautifully. Good job!!
Oh, and that Frangelico frozen coffee looks marvelous. One of my bosses has gotten me hooked on Starbucks' Double Fudge Frappuccino. It tastes like a Fudgesicle!
Have a GREAT Independence Day at the river tomorrow!

cozykoza32a@gmail.com said...

The little bird is so cute. Well done on the quilting. Think all it takes is more practice.
Kathleen Mary
I blog at Kathys nest 32

gpc said...

Mike's Catio skills are amazing! And what a lovely celebration for your century mark -- it makes me want to anticipate retirement all over again. :)

WoolenSails said...

Love the new Catio, they must love that. One of mine got out today and she just sat and cried, first time she didn't run and tear my skin off, lol. I think they are too used to being in now. You have gotten lots of wonderful projects started, I do enjoy stitching. I wish I could eat out there, miss being able to eat out but it is a pain to ask what they have and what they put in things.


Michele said...

Oh it definitely looks like you've got a pair of quilty criminals there.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Great work on all the stitcheries and the quilt is looking so cute.

Kate said...

Lots of progress in and out of the sewing room. Congrats to Mike on reaching such a milestone on his count down.

Jenny - the lilac cat said...

Loved Smitty's blog post. And think they are very lucky cats to have such lovely human parents who go to the effort to create a stunning catio with a great view!!