Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Countdown continues (with lots of photos)

As many of you know, this is going to be one exciting summer for us.  One of my "bucket list" items has been to do a house swap in Europe - and this year it is happening.  A computer is coming along so Nana's wanderings and adventures, hopefully, will be chronicled with words and photos.  But that also means that we have a lot of "stuff" to get organized at this end.  One never really realizes just how much there is in our homes that we have put aside for something important - or is that only me?  [I doubt that!]

And so here are a couple of little things that I found in Nana's stash.  This is the original Nana (my mother) and these were hers.  Aren't they just so cute.  I have them, but have no idea how to showcase them well.

Part of the thimble/sewing notions collection

Pewter thimble from Iona, Scotland

Friend Judy from Stashbusters knows that I really like finding interesting men's shirts to use as neutrals in quilts.  She brought me this one, which I have cut up.  I like it!

That's a lot of fabric from one short-sleeved shirt.  I'm a happy girl.

And here is the Bird Brain designs angel I'm working on.  A perfect in-front-of-the-TV projects (as I don't want to start anything really big.  I'm trying to clean up!)

Sorry about the wrinkles.  But isn't she sweet.  Now I do have one challenge and would really appreciate your suggestion.  This uses #8 Perle cotton for the stitching with a #4 needle.  However, I find it difficult to thread without a threader.  How about you?  Do you use some sort of tool or what?

Busy days. 


Monday, April 25, 2011

Rainy Monday (again)

Some days (or should I say some years) it is really hard to be patient as the weather sorts itself out.  We have had more than 3 inches of rain above the norm, so far this year.  And so while there are flowers about, they are late or beaten down by the deluge.  It is discouraging.

My sweet D-I-L is on spring break this week (a 7th grade teacher) and so she and I had a day outing.  First we managing to get to the kitchen store to get her some bakingware - a left-over gift from Christmas. [alright, alright - it's late I know, but neither of us could find a good time.  She is excited to have a couple of days to play with her new dishes, now.]  Then we went to Pacific Fabrics to find some fabric to make drapes for her bedroom.  That will wait until after our trip for completion.  But nice, nonetheless.

So what's been happening at Casa Nana?  Not much as I haven't been here much.  Last week was consumed with getting my daughter and kids ready to and then actually to effect a move.  They are (un)settled in their new little house which is much closer and Nana likes that part a lot.  The other night with very little traffic, it took exactly 18 minutes from her driveway to mine.  Yeah!  No more long ferrylines and waits, not to mention the expense.  They are cleaning the old house this week and then will continue the slow process of weeding out what needs to be kept and what can find another home.  It might have been nice if that had all happened before the move, but with her out-of-town trip, etc. it just didn't.  So now it all begins in earnest.

When I have been home and able to stay awake, I have been doing more of my needlework.  Just silly dish towels, but I needed some new ones and so I may as well try to make them look pretty.

I am excited to try my hand at some marvelous stitcheries from birdbraindesigns.net  
Check out their website as they have some of the cutest designs.  I first saw them (that was me, not the company) at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in February.  More of that to come.

Nana hosted the Easter gathering with DD and family and ex-hubby and his wife.  (yes, we all do get along)

Don't those Peeps just make you laugh?

Happy last week in April (can you believe it?)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I forgot to show you

Last week (no, it was the week before) while DD was out of town and I was doing my Nana duties I did have a chance to visit the Kingston Quilt Shop.  While I did get a couple of yards of fabric (I know, I know - not stashbusting - but wait until you see it!) I also found a pattern and 2 books that are great.

Isn't that terrific?  This picture is a bit blurry but they have the actual quilt in the shop and it is stunning.  And two new books,

And the fabric - for a couple of pillowcases

Do you love it?  I know that some do.  However, on a much more mundane note, I did find a pattern and fabrics at the church Superfluity sale, that did call my name,

And my MAJOR Superfluity find, was this
It is Le Creuset.  3+ quart enameled cast iron.  I have had to work hard - lots of elbow grease - to clean the grease off of it.  But it sure paid off, when you consider that it came to live at Nana's house for $1.
I really want to try the no-knead bread that you make in this sort of a pan.  Have you tried that?  And what about the knob on the lid?  What has been your experience?  I have wanted one of these for some time, but they always are just too doggone expensive.  I'm excited!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Sewing Project

At last, a few minutes to work on a project sitting behind my favorite machine (when she is working properly).  From a book called 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt by Megan Nicolay, I made a little backpack to take to my friend Willem in the Netherlands this summer.  I have tried to document the steps so you can see about making one yourself - they're pretty easy.

Instead of a T-shirt I used an old sweatshirt.  Mine came from the Goodwill but you could find one at home or from a friend or perhaps the church rummage sale. :-)

Cut the shirt apart and throw away all the seam allowances.  But save the bottom ribbing for your straps.

Fold the ribbing into thirds and stitch.  Remember as the straps, it has to stretch, so pull them as your stitch them,

Cut two pieces of the main body of the shirt (T or sweat).  Mine were cut at 13" by 18"

Join these, right sides together, on three sides.  I chose to use my serger but you could easily just use an ordinary sewing machine.  I would probably do some sort of a edge stitch and a second seam inside that - just to be sure.

Fold down approximately 1 inch to become the casing for your straps.  I stitched mine twice, again just to be sure.

Make a hole in the outside layer of the casing and using a bodkin thread your straps through - one running left to right and one the reverse so that it will close up.

Cut a hole on each side of the body of the bag (through both layers), very near the bottom and thread your straps through and tie a big knot.

And viola (I wish I knew how to spell that word correctly!) you have just the cutest, easy backpack.  You can add pockets, and/or decorate and embellish to your heart's content.  I will bring some letters and sports balls for Willem to add as he wishes to this one.

Superfluous - more than is wanted, needed or necessary

Each year some of the women of our church organize a sale of superfluous things called "Superfluity".  It is quite amazing and seems to continue to grow in size and scope.  Goods are collected starting right after the first of the year and the sale itself is right around Easter.  Folks are organized into teams, responsible for various items, such as linens, household, decor, jewelry, sporting goods, special treasures and BOOKS!  (can you guess where I work?)  We have been working at the church for the past 2+months sorting to prepare for the big day(s).  Tomorrow evening is the pre-sale and you must have a ticket to attend.  Folks begin to line up around 4pm and we open the doors at 7pm.  We seem to get quite a few dealers, such that last year on the pre-sale night alone, the books department raised over $1000 - at $1 per book that's a lot of books.  Friday will be full sales day, 9:30-4pm (no admission fee) and Saturday morning.  Last year we raised over $30,000 all of which was given to worthy organizations in the community.  There are 3 pre-schools in the church and they get to do private shopping, along with special time for church staff to visit our amazing extravaganza.


Sporting goods


Hope we do well.  We sure have enough stuff!

Helping a quilting friend

Sometime we just have to say "wait" and get ourselves a bit more organized.  Tuesday was that day.  Ronda had a day off work and asked if she could bribe me with a lunch and come to help her to organize her stash.  And we did just that.
Only a very small part of what was there!

I think the hardest decisions are HOW to organize your fabrics.  Do you sort by color?  pattern?  type of fabric - i.e. batik vs homespun or ????   We did spend some time pondering those heady questions and finally decided to separate out fabrics larger than 1/2 yard by color.  We made a collection of fat quarters, too.

Ronda is a great Goodwill shopper and has 4 racks of baskets in which to keep her fabrics in the closet out of the light.

A large collection of backs go on the shelf above, projects in process in the rack in the corner and quite a number of bits and pieces to be made into strips and squares for leaders and enders - thank you Bonnie Hunter.
Very nice and most productive.  Colby supervised, sort of. . . . . . .

Monday, April 11, 2011

CTA Gift Exchange

You may recall that I started a little gift exchange [a la Crazy Exchange] with my CTA group.  Today I received two gifts - one from before and one for this month.  You saw the applique Morning Glory that I did this month.  These are the gifts I got,

Rita said I could do lots and lots of shopping with this really large bag.  [her husband found the lining at a yard sale and bought it for her - almost 10 yards.  Ah, stashbusting!]

Diane made a charming cover and a photo book.  A lovely paper-pieced dove, all outline stitched with decortive stitching on the wing.  Isn't this sweet?  Lucky me!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stuff and Things

Everyone survived Nana duty.  The kids were just great and considering this is their first adventure with mom out of town for a week, they were truly amazing.  The easy little project I brought along was some hand work.  I really need some new dishtowels, thus

We got a funny little parcel in the mail this week.  It was a belated Christmas gift.  It included a little device to pick up coffee filters -

And a riotous hot pad (you know, to pick up something hot)

Don't you just love it?  My very own Kermit frog.

My last accomplishment this week, was I got this little piece I had stitched completed with borders and a frame.  This is for my CTA gift exchange.  I hope Rebecca is pleased with it on Monday.

Today was my turn to be the CTA volunteer at a local fabric store.  Twice a month we volunteer to be in the store and just be available to answer questions and try to help out customers with questions.  It is quite fun and today was no exception.  We were quite busy and it made our 4 hour shift go by very quickly.  And they are kind enough to give us a discount card to use during the next month.  Nice, huh?

We're progressing with preparing for our adventures in the Netherlands.  Just about 5 weeks to go.