Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kindle cover

I made a temporary cover for my new Kindle Fire.
It's just a fleece sleeve.  It ended up being way too long.  I had originally intended for the top to fold over just a few inches and then have the loop hook over a button.  Well, it's about twice as long as it needs to be, so for now I'm just wrapping it around itself and putting a rubber band on it to hold it together!  Nothing fancy, but it should help save the device from any scratches.

I have a Nook that I have loved for years, and really like Barnes and Noble.  I did put the Nook App on the Kindle and intend to continue to use B&N as much as I can.  I just wasn't sure of the Nook's future and didn't want to get a device that may be phased out.  Although, aren't all electronic devices 'phased out' within six months of their introduction?  sigh.

My "bling"

The kids ordered me a new wallet for Christmas.  They got it off the internet and thought that the design was embroidered.  When it came, it was all raised metal and rhinestones!  They were a bit hesitant to give it to me, but when they did, I fell in love with it!  Hey, even moms need a little bling in their lives...
Now, if I could just fill it with money.  haha.

Happiness is

a puppy in the house!

Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm still here

Had a wonderful time off over the Christmas Holiday.  Visited with family and friends.  Yesterday we celebrated Nick's birthday.  Never too old to blow out candles...

Ended up making a couple batches of bread in jars.  The first batch was banana nut bread and the second batch was pumpkin nut and raisins.  Both turned out pretty good.

Have one more recipe to try in the jars if I get time.  It's a recipe for apple cake that I think will work.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Lights

Have you ever noticed there are many different styles of decorating outside for Christmas?

There are those who will line their windows and the roofline of their house with strands of lights and call it good.  Some may use all one color, some may use icicle lights or large, old fashioned bulbs (my favorite), but basically it's the same type of decorating. 

There are the lawn ornament type of decorators.  Lighted reindeer, moving and stationary, and trees created by stringing lights down, teepee fashion, from a pole. 

Then there is the inflatable category.  Oh, what person created these monstrosities, I don't know, but at this time of year you can't go down the street without seeing a waving Santa or snowman, lit from inside.  In our little corner of the world there is an inflatable snowman that is actually two stories tall.  It reminds me of a used car lot gorilla....

We have one line of the old fashioned, large bulb lights going all the way around our fence, and two solar powered lights with Santa and a snowman on either side of the sidewalk leading to our front door.  I would have liked to have done more, but this was enough.  What I like is that you can see the lights on the fence several blocks away when you cross the railroad tracks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Maybe it's the season.  Maybe it was the music on the radio.  Either way, I was driving home from work today, after making several stops, and a song that always gets to me starts playing. 

There I was, close to my house, with a trunk full of groceries and presents, forming a blog post in my mind about Christmas lights, and Feed the World starts playing.  I couldn't help but think how blessed I am.  I have a family that is healthy and happy, and employed.  We don't have everything we want, but we have everything we need.  Vehicles that run.  Warm beds to sleep in at night.  Food on the table.  Presents under the Christmas Tree.

So many people in the world aren't as fortunate.  Something to be thankful for and try and remember, especially when we are trying to find those last minute gifts and fighting the crowds in the stores.

Every single person reading this post is blessed in many ways.  Count them up, folks.  It will make you feel better about things that have been bothering you.  Promise.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Great Weekend!

Over the weekend we went to visit family.  Had a great time!  Good food, lots of laughter, and presents!  Here's a pic of Mom's tree.

And a close up of underneath the tree...
Addy seemed to think that she should be laying under the tree at all times!  Everyone just cracked up about it.  She was a good dog the whole trip.  We were very pleased.

Mom is still using the tree skirt I made her several years ago!

Haven't been online much from home.  Lousy internet has been out over a week.  Doing a dance with the provider right now to get them out to fix it.  Not sure who is going to win.... haha.  Seriously, if they don't come fix it soon, we are just going to change providers.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Busy Time of Year

Last night I made MORE cookies....  Another pan of wonder bars and a batch of chocolate chip raisin cookies.  I think I might be done baking cookies for a while...

Yesterday I had to run over to Nick's apartment.  I snapped this pic of the front of his building.
I may have shown a picture of the building before, but it is such a beautiful piece of architecture, it bears repeating.  Can you see the Elk head mounted in the middle, above the steps?  It used to be an Elk's Lodge!  In fact, they call the building the Elk Tower Apartments.

Isn't this little ornament cute?  Johanna stopped by one day while I was at work and dug this little guy out of the ornaments.  She hung him in the doorway of the kitchen.  He's like a s'more playing the guitar!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Getting into the Spirit

This was the view out my front window when I was driving to work (I was stopped at a stop sign).  There had been a light dusting of snow overnight and it was still flurrying a bit.  Kinda helps put me in the Christmas Spirit!

I finished binding and labeling the Roses in the Snow quilt for Mom.  That's a load off my mind.  I think she will be pleased with it.

Made a batch of chocolate covered peanut butter balls yesterday.  Done with the candy making now.  Tonight I want to make a pan of those bar cookies again and some chocolate chip cookies.  Then I will be done baking until next week.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cookie monster

Cookies, cookies, cookies!  Yesterday I baked after I got home from work.  I made six and a half dozen Amish Sugar Cookies and a pan of Wonder Bars.  This is just a start to all the baking I have yet to do.

I have also been making homemade candy.  I made homemade turtles, mixed nut clusters, and cashew clusters.

Oh, and I want to make some peanut butter balls.  And next week I would like to make some cakes in a jar to send to my uncle in California.

Maybe I need to clone myself....  haha.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quick peek and my pup

Yesterday I got up at 7 a.m. and quilted Roses in the Snow finally!  Need to bind it and it will be ready to give to Mom for Christmas.  Really glad to have it done.
I didn't do much else in the way of sewing yesterday.  We put some lights on the fence outside.  Better late than never!  Then spent some time snuggling with Miss Addy Jo.
Such a little lover...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My personal quilt show - Part 2!

I got to the bottom of the last post and it wouldn't let me add any more pics, so I guess I reached the limit!  Anyway, here are the rest of the nursing home quilts:
This was the quickest top I made.  The center is a preprinted panel.  I liked it because it looks like a window.  The large floral border was a piece that was just those long wide stripes of flowers.  I didn't have enough to go all the way around, so I used something else in the cornerstones.  There is a bit of a blue and white print in the other two borders.
 The back was a medium green print that has been in my stash for too long.  It was time to use it up!  Since it needed to be wider, the light green solid helped it out.
Close up of the quilting shows the cornerstone has a large flower.  I like to think that it looks a bit like a chrysanthemum.  And yes, I had to spell check how to spell 'chrysanthemum'!  haha.
 The Rail Fence quilt.  At least that's what I call it.  Dora suggested it may have another name since it's more than three rails.  Anyone know for sure?  I tried to pull colors for the stripes from the middle print fabric. 
Same stash green that needed to be on its way for the backing.  So glad to get some of this stash moved out!
 In each of the blocks I just went back and forth, then switched direction for the next block.
 The chopped block quilt.  This was a Missouri Star tutorial.  I liked the block, but it did take a bit of time.
 More of the red and white for the back.
Back and forth lines, changing directions in each block for the quilting.  Feathers in the border with a filler in the stem area.

Hope you enjoyed all the pics!

My personal quilt show - Part 1

Ready to see all the nursing home quilts?  Here they are - front, back, and close up!
 The "unchopped" block quilt.  I got tired of making the "chopped" blocks and just used them as is.
One of two backings that is green, for Christmas, but has shamrocks on it!  Hey, I was stash busting...
Going to have to remember what I did here.  A little hard to see in the pic, but the center has a flower, the next round has loopy loops, and the third round has a flower in the corners and on the sides.  It looks nice in the whole quilt.
The spiderweb string quilt took a lot longer than the other tops to make, but the overall effect was worth it.  There are so many different scraps that it will keep someone occupied for a while just looking for different little things.  The novelty fabrics in it add quite a bit of variety.  These scraps mainly came from a gallon ziplock bag of scraps purchased in Paducah.
The back also had shamrocks.  Since the shamrock material was not quite wide enough, in both backings there is a bit of a solid green to make it the correct size.
Close up of the quilting.  Johanna said her favorite part of the quilting was what I did inside the star part.  I like that too.  The spiderwebs just had a big spiral.  The area that had the tear or snag is in this picture.  Can you find it?  Hint:  I patched it with a yo-yo!
 The purple Carpenter's Star. 
 Backing was the little red on white print I bought a bolt of in Arthur last time we were there.
Quilting is swirls and flames done freehand.  I did this on several tops to try and get better at it.  It works as a good overall pattern.  In the border I did a large loopy loop.
 The blue Carpenter's Star.  I think of the three CS's that I did, this one is my favorite.  I love the blues and I think it has a good amount of contrast between the dark and medium fabrics.
 Again, the red on white material for the back.  I had loaded enough backing for two tops at a time while doing these quilts.
Swirls and flames for the quilting, plus a ferny leaf in the border that almost looks like waves.
The pink Carpenter's Star. 
 This one the backing actually goes with the top!
Swirls and flames in the center, feathers in the border.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fab 40

This morning, before work, I got 40 minutes of sewing time in.  In that time I was able to put the binding on the spiderweb string quilt for the nursing home.  Last night I put binding on two others, so now I only have ONE MORE left to bind!  woohoo!

My friend Sandy came over to my office this morning to see the quilts.  While I was having a little quilt show for her I noticed that on the spiderweb string there is a small tear on the top.  Grr.  I think it may have caught on the corner of the cabinet while I was sewing the binding on.  At any rate, since it is such a scrappy top, this is not a big deal at all.  I'm going to grab a piece of scrap material when I get home and stitch right over it.  Problem will be solved!

Oiling the bobbin on Polly helped some, but oh the gunky dark stuff that came up with the thread was a sight!  I had to run scrap material through for a long time to get rid of it all!  The clanky sound diminished somewhat, but it's still there.  I am going to take the faceplate off and oil that real good next.  I was under the impression that the machine had been well oiled before I took it home, but apparently it needed more love.

Also, I was having a minor issue that when I stopped sewing and wanted to pull the bobbin thread out to cut it, it was catching on something and sticking.  The machine is downstairs, not near all my sewing tools, so I just scraped the inside of the bobbin case lightly with a pair of scissors to see if it needed to be cleaned.  It does.  Seems to have a lot of fine rust/dust in there that isn't visible unless you really get in there.  Will do that tonight, too.  Even the little bit I did helped so I'm hoping that will completely solve the problem.

All in all, it's been a good sewing week so far.  Polly is running well and I'm very pleased about that.  The nursing home quilts will be delivered tomorrow for distribution Sunday.  And now I can do a little bit of my own sewing this weekend.  I've given myself this weekend do throw a couple things on Gemma that will be gifts.  Then after they are done, the rest of my time will be devoted to the tee shirt quilt for my nephew.  My brother's girlfriend wants to give it to him for Christmas, so I'm going to try real hard to get it done.  At the very least I want to have the top finished and she can give him that, then I will take it back and quilt it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Half way there!

Oh, I am so close to being done with the nursing home quilts!  Woohoo!  Last night I finished binding two more.  I have 4 done and 4 to go.  Yes, I know I started out needing 9 but it's down to 8.  The quilt recipients are nursing home patients.  I'm sure you can figure it out...

Anyway, back to the quilts.  Still doing the binding on the Singer 15-91 that was brand new in good ol' 1953.  It is a bit clanky sounding, so I put some oil where I thought it should go on the underside.  Will see if this helps tonight when I start sewing again.  May need to take the face plate off and oil in there, too.

This was the last of the three Carpenter Star quilts being bound.  I had planned to watch Quilt Cam while working on them, but Bonnie had some technical difficulties.  Worked out fine, though, for me, because I just kept on sewing.  Would like to get 2 done tonight if possible.  Oh happy day when they will be completed.

Have I mentioned the deadline for them is Sunday morning?

hee hee hee.

And darling hubby has been so patient with me.  I have left the sewing machine out, rather than putting her down in her cabinet, every night.  He says he is not bothered by it at all.  I am able to sew for longer periods of time when I use that machine on the main floor because I can keep a good eye on the dog and there is less for her to get into.

I am thinking of naming this machine "Polly".  My grandma on my dad's side was Pauline.  I heard her called Polly quite a bit.  The featherweight machine is Grace, the longarm is Gemma.  Yes, I think this little gal will be Polly.  Gram would get a kick out of that, I think.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is it really only Wednesday?

I guess I should be thankful it's only Wednesday because it means I have more time to finish things!  But while I'm at work, it seems like the day is just dragging.  Tonight I would like to get at least 2 of the nursing home quilts bound.  Last night I got another one bound.  Two down, six to go!  I have been sewing them on the old 15-91, which is really nice.  The only thing is, I had a bit of a casualty.  Let me explain...

When I set up the 15-91 I needed to create a quarter inch seam guide.  I used Bonnie Hunter's perfect piecing tool to get everything just right.  Problem was, I forgot to take the little tool upstairs and Miss Addy decided it would make a nice snack.  Grrr.  Well, I had to replace it, and since you can only order them from Bonnie in lots of 6 or with a book purchase, I just had to purchase a book that I had been wanting!  Ah, such sacrifices...  haha.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inch by inch

I have finished binding one nursing home quilt!  whee!  One down, seven to go.

Last night after I made dinner I got the old 15-91 fired up and started binding.  That little machine runs like a dream!  She is real good at going over the heavy bumps and seams in the binding area.

What I especially like is that she is in a cabinet and I have her on the main floor.  I can sit in my little corner and still see and hear the t.v. in the front room while I sew.  This will be especially cool when Bonnie does quilt cam!

Addy had a couple moments where she tried to pull on the quilt while I was working on it.  Once she settled down, things went real smooth.  I even laid a quilt on the floor for her by my side and she just crashed out there while I sewed.  Good puppy!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Done and ready to bind

They don't look like much here, but these are the last 2 of the 8 nursing home quilts ready to go upstairs to be bound.  Hurray!  I really did a lot of quilting this weekend on Gemma.

I think I will make all the bindings the same color/material.  Just going to cut enough strips for all of them, sew them end to end, and go crazy.  Binding isn't my favorite part, but it's that final step, at least on these quilts, and that's a good thing.

The before picture

We had a family outing over the weekend and got our Christmas Tree!
This is the 'before' picture.  We are concerned about it getting the floor wet so have plastic down underneath it.  Ev wants me to help him straighten it out tomorrow at lunch.  He thinks it's crooked.

I have a hard time putting the lights on it because the needles give me a rash so he usually does that part.

So far Addy has left it alone.  So far....

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dinner - tortellini sausage soup!

Wednesday night I made some tortellini soup that I thought turned out very good.  It was sausage based, rather than chicken, which I know some tortellini soups are.  I don't really have a recipe that I followed, but I can give you a rough idea:

1 lb. bulk sausage
1 large onion, chopped
minced garlic (a little or a lot, depends on what you like)
1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine if you want it
3 cans beef broth
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 zucchini, peeled and diced
1 bag fresh spinach
1 cup diced carrots
1 green pepper, diced
Italian seasoning blend
beef bullion cubes (4-6)
8 - 10 oz. frozen cheese tortellini

Brown sausage, drain most of fat, add onions and cook until tender.  Add remaining ingredients except tortellini.  Bring to boil, then simmer for an hour or so.

Prepare tortellini according to package directions.  Add to individual bowls and ladle soup over them. If you cook them in the soup, they get too mushy and fall apart.

Some recipes call for a garnish of Parmesan cheese, which sounds very good.  I think it would also be good with some warm and crusty bread.  But then anything would be good with some warm and crusty bread...  haha.

It's a very hearty soup and if you have a crew that doesn't think soup makes a meal, this one will change their minds.  Especially if you add a good quantity of tortellini in their bowl!  My favorite tortellini to use are the Louisa brand.  They have a lot of yummy cheese filling in them.

I'm taking some of this soup over to Johanna's for lunch today.

Friday finally got here

Yesterday was an interesting day.  I had received a letter to report for jury duty on that date.  I ended up going, but not getting picked, so I'm off the hook for now.

When I got home, I loaded a double back on Gemma and one of the Carpenter Star tops.  I have it just about finished.  Maybe 10 more minutes and it will be done and I can load a second top.

In the border I'm doing my hooked feathers.  It's my go-to feather.  Not what I should be practicing, but it's feathers at least!

The color of the thread is labelled 'fuchsia' but to me it looks more like a raspberry color.  It goes well with the top.

In the center of the top I am just quilting swirls.  I'm actually very pleased with the way they are turning out.

So nothing fancy, but I like it.  I have to leave post it notes on the top where I have to change directions of the feathers, though!  haha

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Maybe a new routine

The last two nights I have done something a little different when I got home from work.  I have put dinner together then went downstairs to work on Gemma while things bake or cook.  It has given me enough time to finish up the fourth top.  I did have to go up and shut things off when I got real involved, but that was okay.  Maybe I can keep this up.  It will certainly help with my current project and if I keep going, I can get more of those tops quilted that are languishing in drawers...

Addy was sitting on the couch yesterday looking so cute I just had to take her picture!  See how she has those markings above her eyes?
She sort of blends in with the couch.  Poor puppy doesn't really want to come downstairs yet, so she sits on the landing while I work on Gemma.  I keep a running commentary going to let her know I'm there.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pictures I like

While shopping at the IGA store recently I saw this picture on the side of a box for some kind of alcoholic beverage.  Maybe it was a beer, but I'm not really sure.

I liked the picture.  Such a pretty winter scene!  And all the things I like - snow, dogs, sledding, woods... Although I can't tell you the last time I went sledding.

Anyway, I wanted to share the picture with you.  Just because.  Hope it makes you smile.

Meat loaf, meat loaf, furry furry beet loaf...

When the kids were little we would make up silly rhymes and this dorky meat loaf rhyme was one of them.  It has stood the test of time because we still chant it once in a while when we are having meat loaf!  (This particular rhyme originated from the scene in A Christmas Story).
That's what we had for dinner last night.  Plus leftover mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, and a can of corn.  Turned out to be pretty good eats.

I was checking out Connecting Threads website earlier.  They have some good deals on thread that are ending today.  Not able to get anything right now, but if anyone is in need of thread, now's the time to get it. Connecting Threads Essentials are my favorites to work with and they do very well on Gemma.

While making these nursing home tops is time consuming, it is also fun to choose backings and threads from my stash.  And we all know I have a big stash.  hee hee hee.  I've kind of given myself permission to use some of the threads that I might not have enough of.  If I run out, I can switch to something else and it will be no harm, no foul.  A design decision!

I've been emptying the bobbins from the longarm by using them as top thread on my domestic machine when piecing.  That works out quite well, especially when it's something that the thread color doesn't matter on, such as those string blocks.

Welcome to the Grand Illusion...

Come on in and see what's happening...

Corny, I know.  Styx lyrics for a quilting pattern.  I'm showing my age here.  I'm also showing my fabrics for the Grand Illusion Mystery.
I haven't started sewing on the mystery yet, but I do have the red and blue strips cut for the half square triangle blocks.  Have to remember how to use that Easy Angle ruler.  Might have to watch Bonnie's video again.  Here's the website for clue #1:


The black fabric came from some stash I bought when someone was clearing out a storage locker.  The red, blue, and yellow all came from Miller's Dry Goods over in Arthur, IL.  I've said it before - I just love that place!  Mary and Marla and I all met there in October for a girls' day out.  Sure had a good time.  Maybe next time I can drag Sandy with.

Isn't it funny how quilters become friends?  Sandy and I were at a garage sale a few years ago looking at quilting stuff and started talking.  Since then we have become good friends!  Marla and I both attended one of Bonnie Hunter's workshops and now we are good friends, too.  And Mary I've known since grade school.  She wasn't a quilter until recently and now she's got the bug real bad...  Hee hee, I've corrupted her!

On a roll

Normally Monday nights are not a sewing night for me.  I guess it's the whole 'having to go back to work after the weekend' thing that wears me out and all I want to do is plop on the couch until bedtime.  Last night was different.  I managed to not only get the medallion top loaded on Gemma, I also began quilting it!
In the two blue/white borders the quilting is just a squiggle in one direction for a few lines, then the opposite direction for a few lines.  Nothing fancy, but it works well.  In the larger floral border the quilting is a loopy loop with the loops being almost dime sized.  In the cornerstone is a flower.

I was thinking of going with diagonal lines in each of the floral panes in the center.  Once I looked at it on Gemma that just didn't seem right.  It seems like it would break up the design of the block (this center piece is a pre printed panel).  I think a spiral will work much better.

My plan is to finish this top tonight as soon as I get home from work.  Tomorrow my cleaning ladies will be at the house for a couple hours when I get home.  During that time I would like to get the backings prepared for the next 4 tops.  Loading a backing large enough for two tops has been working out very well.  It cuts down on set up time and that motivates me to keep quilting!

And yes, Mimi, I think you are right - on those feathers that I quilted the wrong direction I believe it will just be an intentional design element!  Good idea!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Third top quilted

Sunday afternoon was productive for me.  I put together a backing big enough for two tops and loaded it on Gemma.  Then I loaded the Rail Fence top and decided to use a pinky purple color thread for it.  Once again, I had to think long and hard about how to quilt it.  I decided to do a free form of lines going the length of the rails in each block.

 The border needed something a little different so I just went with a squiggly line.

I actually finished the quilting on this, the third nursing home top, last night around 9 p.m.  I have the medallion top ready to be loaded on the same backing.