Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quarter Circles: Day Two

My adult education class was on again.  

I brought more quarter circles to put together.  This time I stacked the pieces so all the same color fabrics were together.  Then I rotated thru the different colors. Some of the pieces went together perfectly, while others had odd stitching on the back or the seams became inconsistent.

I'm not loving working with these pieces as much as I thought I would. It's not just the actual sewing that I'm having a problem with, it's the colors. I really would like to have the background be a different set of fabrics that the quarter circle but the template for the AccuQuilt is set up so both shapes are cut at the same time.

But I have all these lovely pieces cut out so will challenge myself to perfect the stitching!

I searched again tonight to find some help with the piecing:


The Studio AccuQuilt is in the classroom again - hurray - so next week along with food for the potluck, I will bring fabric prepped so I can cut pieces up.  The decision to make will be on what fabrics to bring and what shapes to cut?

Template Name                            Rough cut   Cut results
50607    Super Strip Cutter 5.5 inch       15 x 26   1-5.5 inch strip (double check rough cut)
50047    Strip Cutter 6.5 inch             13 x 25   2-6.5 inch strips 
50062    Super Strip Cutter 4.5 inch      9.5 x 25   2-4.5 inch strips
50058    Super Strip Cutter 3 inch         10 x 26   3-3.0 inch strips
50060    Super Strip Cutter 3.5 inch      9.5 x 25   2-3.5 inch strips
50612    Super Giant Strip 2.5 inch        13 x 25   5-2.5 inch strips

50212    Square #1  5 inch by 5 inch     11.5 x 17   6-5.0 inch squares (2x3)
50284    Everyday Tote                     10 x 15   tote ends up 3"W x 12"L x 9"H (need pattern)
50297    Rag Quilt 6 inch by 7 inch       9.5 x 12   1-6"W x 7"H (15 cm x 18 cm) rag shape with 3/4"L x 1/4"W (2 cm x 1 cm) fringe
50220    Tumbler Block #2                   5 x 25   6-3 5/8"W x 3 1/2"H
50221    Tumbler Block #3                 9.5 x 24   4-6 1/2"W x 6 1/2"H

I cut a bunch of the smaller tumbler blocks a few years ago and found them to be really enjoyable to sew as leaders and enders to my more liberated projects, but I don't want to get tired of them.  Also it seems my friends are all having baby boys so all the pink that I cut out won't be used right now...

I did not prep the fabric last time I used the AccuQuilter so had to spend time ironing and folding to get things to fit.  I think it would be more time efficient to come with pressed pieces at the rough cut size...!

The teacher has more templates including the quarter circle (I think it would be good to add some print materials in my plain mix of yellows and blues), and she may have a whole circle template.  If she has the whole circle then I will make an abacus quilt.

In other things I've finished scanning another bankers box - only 5 million to go!  Ha ha.

My DH and I have been talking about getting new windows, but I can tell it's going to be something I research and decide on really.  Any one out there will experience on this?

Also, this comiing Friday we were asked to bring food for potluck for the quilting class.  I'm scratching my head on this too - ideas welcome!

: )

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Quilting: Book Olive Ketteridge and on the East Coast!

I just finished reading the most depressing, but well-written book.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

It really several short stories that are only linked together by the character, Olive. In one she is the seemingly uncaring wife with a husband about to wander (but doesn't). In another she helps someone get care they need. In the saddest she is a mother of a boy marrying someone who doesn't care for Olive and then later her son divorces that women, marries again and doesn't tell his mother. She is left out of his life, misunderstood and there isn't anything she can do about it. Getting sad or angry doesn't help.  Even changing the way you think doesn't change things, just helps you focus on other things.

I got the book at a wonderful library sale in Newport RI. My friend and the librarian both remembered as being a great book. To me each of the chapters ended in sadness, sorry, missteps, misunderstandings. Olive is a strong character who in the end seems to have worked thru all the unhappiness, but well it was a sad, sad story and I don't recommend it unless you want to be sad and dragging your feet and wondering if it will happen to you!

In other news, I'm on the east coast again! Yippee! I have had a wonderful couple of days.

- Worcester visiting DHs WPI at an alumni event - a social event at the Higgins House. Beautiful and nice. We saw a brief presentation on Bioengineering at WPI.

- Hartford to see the Mark Twain House.

- Waterbury to see Holy Land USA and friend who happened to also be in town from Colorado. Nice meal and time.

- New Britian Museum of Art for the Quilt Exhibits (no photos allowed).

- Rhode Island to see wonderful friends and their new home!

- Providence to see Waterfire - very pretty then had a delicious meal on Federal Hill.  A day of light shopping and walking (where I got the book), great pastries too. Yummy seafood. Relaxing morning before driving to

- Wincester.  There I went thru the boxes we left two years ago at their house.  I pulled out two long sleeved shirts and a mouse scanner and intend to return to mail things back to us - it's taking forever to find a place to get here ourselves.

- Cambridge.  Out for nice meal friends then to Charles Hotel to DH.  I got so happy again once we were here.  I walked in the evening to the CVS and to Flat Patties to get things to help DH.

DH is ill so our plans are changing now.  Today we had breakfast at S&S Deli and then I walked around a new complex called Assembly Row but didn't go on the subway myself so I could bring some food back to DH.  Finished the depressing book and now will move on to a different book that I also got in Newport.....

Seeing lots of designs in buildings.  Will post some later on...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Building Blocks: Rail Fence, Basic Building Block, Cheaters Drunkard's Path

I've sewed and quilted the Leah Day Building Blocks Lesson Pattern blocks for March, April and May.

It has been a long time since I have worked on this project.  The initial cutting for all the blocks was done in January, so it's pretty easy to pull the material and quilting designs out of the envelopes and then sew, mark and piece.

My seams for the rail fence were a little off, so I had to adapt the marking a little.  I did the marking before watching the videos and realized that I wasn't looking at the big design for each section, I missed seeing that some of the designs flow from the different sections.
Piecing Rails - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/03/9-piece-rail-fence-block.html
Lines - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/03/10-quilt-rail-fence-with-straight-lines.html
Wiggles and Teeth - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/03/11-quilt-rail-fence-with-wiggles-teeth.html
Cursive words - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/03/12-quilt-rail-fence-with-cursive-words.html
Circles and Stairs - http://www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/03/13-quilt-rail-fence-with-circles-stairs.html

The building block design is genius!  I didn't appreciate the block or the design or the lesson until watching the videos. Leah was very smart to have us do three designs in 4 different scales.  This was the best lesson/exercise ever.  We did micro stippling in 2012 with the whole cloth experiment, but I wasn't really sure if I was doing it at the correct scale or not.  Once I uncover that piece it will be interesting to check.
Piecing Building Block - http://www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/04/14-piece-modern-building-block.html
Stippling - http://www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/04/15-quilt-building-block-with-stippling.html
Gridlines - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/04/16-quilt-building-block-with-gridlines.html
Circuit Board - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/04/17-quilt-circuit-board-over-building.html
Building Block - front
Building Block - back

The cheater's drunkard's path was interesting.  I had not made a block this way - sewing and then cutting back to have piece appear. The raw edge will fluff up I guess once the piece is washed.
Piecing - http://www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/05/18-piece-cheater-drunkards-path-block.html
Lines and Grids - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/05/19-lines-grids-in-drunkards-path.html
Wiggly Lines - http://www.freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/05/20-quilt-wiggly-lines-in-drunkards-path.html
Spirals - http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2014/05/21-spirals-and-echoes-in-drunkards-path.html
Cheater's drunkards - front
Cheater's drunkards - back
I'm getting more confident with the machine again.  Relearning to listen to the sounds as I sew and adjusting accordingly.  I have not broken one needle, and have gone thru two and a half bobbins so far.

I am doing most of the blocks with out rotating - the skills are coming back after this long break from sewing!

Leah has finished the quilt now (there are no anchors on this page so scroll down to see her standing with the project) and it looks really nice, much nicer than I thought it would actually.  I am not going to change my thread color at this stage in the game, but I have discovered again that I really like seeing the thread on the fabric.  My choices for this project have the thread blending in the fabric for part of every block and all the backs.  I should have used black thread to really show off the wonderful designs! and I should have used much lighter colors for the other fabric. It's very hard to mark the designs using the fabric I picked.

----
The mug rug I made husband needs to be washed, so I made up a new little coaster for him at the computer - see the cursive Bernie at the top?



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quarter Circles: Day One

I attended the first and second session of local adult education class.  The second class brought the sewing machine and my box of Accuquilt cut quarter circles that I cut a while back.  I had I think five shades of blue and four shades of yellow.  With this template you have to cut both pieces at the same time, so that would result in a boring quilt I think....

I'm hoping the teacher will have the Accuquilt cutter in class with the template again so I can add some other colors or designs to the mix.  In the mean time I just grabbed two and sew them together.

I had to remember that you put the larger piece on the bottom.  I found that pinning at the beginning, middle and end helped a lot.

I pinned ahead about three blocks then sewed.

I tried to organize them once I got home, but wasn't really successful.  I have a ton of these pieces left to sew so can get organized for the next sewing session.  I'm think it would be fun to somehow have it organized so the darker outsides go up at a diagonal, and then then the darker insides go down in a different direction.

This is when it would be good to get the design wall out again!

 I also attended the first of three classes on using digital camera last week.  It covers a different slant than I thought it would, more looking at the different options on cameras then how to set things up for different kinds of photos.  I'm undecided on whether I will continue attending.  My battery is dead and needs replacing - guess if I can get one I will continue.

I'm up to date in my quickbooks work, now finally getting little things done so I can continue with the scanning and shredding and giving things away.  Right now our son and future DIL have decided to not make time to do anything with us, including even touching bases on everyday things. All this talk about joining families and friends isn't happening.  : (

The temperatures are really hot. I have to stay in one room all day with a fan turned on just to survive!  Glad I'm feeling well and getting things done and marked off the list!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Fat Quarter Game

I don't remember how I came across this game, but it looks interesting!




Everyone starts with 5 fat quarters. You have 3 dice. The dice have L, R, C and plain dots. When you roll, an L, you pass 1 fat quarter to the left. Roll an R, you pass 1 fat quarter to the right. If you roll a C, you put one fat quarter in the center. If you roll a single dot, you do nothing. As you work your way around the table, round after round, eventually, you end up with a stack of fat quarters in the center, and you end up with 2 people with 1 fat quarter. Who ever rolls a C, puts their fat quarter in the center, and the remaining player wins it all.  

Here's a link to Amazon to the dice:  http://www.amazon.com/LCR-Center-Right-Random-Color/dp/B000F9YDKY

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scanning progress

I've set up the scanner now in the kitchen.  It's a sunny place and nice to not be looking at the boxes that I piled in the living room.

I have scanned only three days but am getting used to how to scan and have learned things to make the sessions easier.

First, I remove paper clips and staples and straighten the pages.  Then I feed thru the scanner in very small stacks.  Most of the time so far the papers are of different sizes and types.  I have found it saves time in the end to feed the different sized paper individually.  I just found today that I can simply push the button on the scanner (rather than moving the paper I placed on the keyboard press the continue spacebar).

Then I stack the scanned paper into either financial or not.  The financial papers need to be ripped up or shredded.  The other stuff can be put in the trash.

I check every once in a while to verify the scan is correct.

At the end of a session I bring the computer to my time machine back-up hard drive so I have two copies of the files.

I name the files as consistently as I can.  And then add information to the file name if I think it might be important.

To save time, I have set it so only the first page is turned to OCR. DH has a new program that is very quick with rescanning the files so all the words are searchable so I do not need to wait around while the data is being processed.  We tested this tonight and it works great at indexing the words so things can be found.  DH doesn't think it works for printed letters, only typed ones.

I do not have a scale to weigh how much paper I have scanned but I estimate I have gone thru three reams of paper already.  At first I was tossing all folders, but now if they are reusable I am stacking in the living room and will give away using freecycle.  Each time I scan I come up with new little tricks that seems to save time and effort.

I had been estimating a month to go thru all these boxes of paper.  At the end I will still have Christmas decorations, some office supplies, toys, photos, videos and more to deal with but they were to be packaged well, labeled and replaced so easy to find.  I had dreamt of processing everything then moving on to other areas, but now only have two weeks I think to work on this, then I need to paint the downstairs (another job I was going to do with DH, but now will hire out) as we are hosting a party for our son and his fiance the middle of August and I would like the interior of the house painted and really clean for that event.

In anticipation of that I was already going to hire a gardener to help with maintaining the yard.  Unfortunately as of about 5 days ago we have mole holes in our backyard.  It's very disappointing to have this surprise.  From what I have been reading this means we may have them for many years.  I just wonder what has changed in the neighborhood to have this issue. We have lived here for 25 years and have never seen the little holes that are appearing every day.  I will have to hire out to deal with them as I just get ill thinking about them.

So I counted the boxes I brought in the living room/dining room:

I went and tried to count the boxes (most are bankers box size) now in the living room/dining room:
14 - mostly new office supplies
18 - Christmas related including decorations, trains, turkey roaster, serving plates, little stuffed animals I used to put out
7 - Lego blocks, little chairs, board and lawn games for kids (DS)

3 - blankets, afghans, bed cover

28 - my parents or DS and my stuff mainly to scan but also some pictures and photos, the little dishes I found today and photos are here too
3 - large boxes that are all mixed up that I still need to go thru

1 - stuffed and overflowing - wedding invitations, informals, and I'm not sure what else - hopefully the list of people we invited to our wedding, probably some photos

4 - DH mom
40 - DH projects, awards, files, SDCUE archives, some pictures, some disks
6 - videos, film, and audio tapes
====
124 boxes

Tomorrow I need to call to have estimates for painting. We are going to stick with the same colors as what we have now (light beige on walls, white for trim or cabinets).  Most of the ceilings were recently painted, but two rooms need ceilings - maybe three.  I'll have to do a walk thru.

I'm excited to have the party, but wish it could be in the fall so I didn't have to stop the processing of the boxes and going thru things.  I wanted to have things fixed and updated in the house next year after going thru things.  But now we decided to cut back on changes we were thinking of doing and just do maintaining. Since I want the interior to be painted, it would be silly to pay for the kitchen cabinets to be painted and then to have them all replaced the following year.  So I will keep what we have.  There is one change I can make that will add a nice bit of adjustable shelving.  The old microwave and wall oven can be pulled out and then a door made to cover the hole (and the brackets installed for the adjustable shelves).

So before the party hope to have interior painted, a few faucets replaced, carpets cleaned, old oven removed and door installed with brackets for moveable shelves inside.  Oh I'll have to make a list later.  Going out for breakfast with an old friend today - couldn't sleep thinking about those moles in the yard.  I'd better try to sleep again now for a while...


 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lose 50 Pounds in One Day!

My DH and I went to NYC for our honeymoon.  Maybe I'll write more about that later, but one of the places we went to was a bookstore where I saw and purchased The Happiness File.  It seemed a perfect book to start a marriage with!  The ideas were sound, but to put the system in place involved copying information on different colored index cards and having to move them to different sections as jobs were completed.  I was already using databases so wanted to put everything to it could be in the computer and printed, but then it was expensive to get paper to run through the printer that would end up as index cards.  The Flylady was genius as she made the system pretty much paperless, using Yahoo groups and the calendar to send reminders of what should be done.  (she does recommend a physical control journal).

See original article by Pam Young below
Any how, I subscribe to the Flylady list and receive the (many) emails.  Every once in a while one of the original authors of the system, Pam Young writes a column that is shared that way.  I can't find that she has also posted the emailed article on her site, so have copied and pasted the email below.  So this is here to remind myself and to share with you! The article talks about how she cleaned out her clothes closet for Goodwill (and so lost 50-pounds in one day).

My husband and I are doing a major house redo that is starting with finally opening boxes and seeing what's in side of them.  Some of these boxes have been in the garage in our first house, then moved here in 1994!  Now we have scanners so we are going to scan or take photos and save things digitally.  He (last month) has already pretty much done his office in this way so has a system for filing naming set up.

I'm using painters tape to label each box after I open it, and stacking them in the dining room/living room slightly arranged by topic.  (Christmas, Office Supplies, Florida, Pictures/Audio/electronics/disks, son, wedding, DH, me, teaching)  We have three rooms in the garage, so far I have only looked at the boxes in one of the rooms.  I had ten boxes that were clearly a mix of topics so I'm going thru those boxes first.

I started yesterday with three boxes, tossing duplicates and things I didn't need (I mean recipes from magazines dated 1984 and 1985!!!) and ended up with one box.  I felt badly just stacking things back in the box.  Last night I thought about it and realized I need to have boxes ready to receive things we want to keep so things are categorized when we go to scan them.  The trick will be thinking ahead on the categories so the items are only handled one last time when the scanning is done.

I could drive myself crazy trying to come up with the perfect set of categories!  I think I will start making them up based on what I find in the boxes.  I was so organized when I was teaching, but that was because I had everything organized by the instructional goals and objectives - even using numbers. But this is life and things are not as clear cut... I know the goal is to handle each paper as few times as possible, but also for things we are scanning if they named clearly then it won't matter as much if they are not on the same topic.  The reason to categorize is to see how much of one category we have.  For example: If I can see all the Christmas stuff in one place, then it's easier to find the proper boxes to store things and to see what duplicates can be given away or sold.

I have been going thru the rooms in the house following the Flylady suggestions and have made great progress with decluttering those rooms. I do the weekly vacuum, clean bathrooms and kitchen pretty much all the time so I'm set there.

The garage is a major project that will take a few weeks I think to have done.  Our garage is fitted with walls so a car can not be stored in there, instead we have boxes and boxes on portable plastic shelf units.  When my mom moved to assisted living I put up her shelves and put her boxes and boxes from my husband's mom in the garage too.  DH and I had cleaned out the garage, then my mom fell and it was clear she wasn't going to need her furniture so the furniture was put in our newly cleaned out space.  Too much stuff.

So this is the project I'm working on now.  Going thru boxes.

I started by picked the sewing/guest bedroom and going thru everything in that room.  If it was not sewing it was taken out.  I took supplies and clothes to my mom's assisted living place, supplies were put in the bathroom or garage.  But I knew in the garage I would find lots of fabric and the projects I put away to make more room for my friend who stayed here while we were in Boston last year - my clearing out the room I had room to put the items without a lot of fuss.  I started labeling the boxes after I had already put things in the closet, so there are some boxes not labeled.

Then I went thru the bathrooms and got rid of duplicates or old things so there are just a few cleaning supplies under the cupboard (still probably too much there).

I went thru the under the stairs closet first, emptied it and put things in boxes so they go together (table clothes in one box, paper plates and cups in one box, etc.).  But I did not label the boxes so will need to go back and redo that later.

So now I have pretty much emptied one of the garage rooms and put the boxes in the dining/living area.  I'm going to go thru the mixed up boxes and categorize them, then will probably start scanning to clean things out the dining/living room before starting the next two garage rooms.

So I know this is really boring stuff, but posting here to challenge myself to keep going and to finish it up this summer!

5 Decluttering Questions to Ask Yourself
Yesterday I crammed my big suitcase (the one that always weighs more than 50 pounds when I check it at the airport) with all the fall and winter clothes I hadn't worn in the last year. Actually many of the garments hadn't been worn in several years. If you haven't worn a garment in the last year, what makes you think a year from now you will?

Yes, I lost 50 pounds of clothing that was clogging my closet, and when I dropped the contents of my suitcase off at Goodwill, I felt 50 pounds lighter spiritually! Whew! I always say that clutter is the biggest destroyer of peace, and decluttering closets, cupboards and drawers brings a peace that money can't buy!

About half the stuff I'd packed in that suitcase, was just not me anymore. Like the linen, Kasper suit, that has beautiful classic lines that don't go out of style, but it just didn't fit my style anymore. (I was tickled it still fit my body!) I bought it at least 20 years ago as a speech suit and I probably spoke in it 25 times. Today when I speak, I wear casual clothes.

One dress that went in the suitcase, I'd bought to wear to a big deal occasion several years back. My good friend Marla Cilley, the FlyLady, had invited me to speak at an event put on by Yahoo to celebrate FlyLady's reaching 500,000 Flybabies through email. I think I got too excited about the affair, because the dress was more like something you'd wear if you were a queen at your coronation.

As I was packing that suitcase, knowing all this was going to Goodwill, I asked some great questions of myself and I thought it might help you if I shared the questions and my answers.

1. Has my lifestyle changed since I wore this?

In the case of the linen suit, my answer was "yes." I have a basic black dress in a polished-cotton that I can scarf up or down, (sparkly scarves for evening, pastels for spring and summer, red for winter and orange for fall).
I also quit wearing 4" heels when I speak (I always ended up kicking them off mid speech anyway).

2. How long has it been since I last wore this?

A good test of this is to put the garment on and go show your husband. As you model it for him, if he gets a confused look on his face and asks, "Is that new?" you'll know it's been too long since you've worn it and probably means you never really liked it in the first place.

3. Why have I kept this so long when I never wear it?

I had to ask this one a lot as I handled each garment that ultimately ended up in the suitcase. The answer that kept surfacing was: 'It was on sale and for that price I couldn't pass it up even if it was too small. And besides I always wanted to be a size six like Molly Cutter (a high school cheerleader who was so cute and petite). And even though I never have been (and never will be) a size six, I'm an eternal optimist.' When I heard myself use that cockamamie excuse, I knew I'd reach that point that it was time to admit, I'm a size eight and that's just fine with me.

4. What if I regret giving this up?

This question came directly from Nelly, my inner child.

"Hi Nelly, you mean what if I become a size six like Molly Cutter and I want the dress back?"

"Yeah, and it'll be gone and we'll be sad."

"Nelly if I somehow become a size six, it'll probably be because I'm very sick and all I'll need are size six pajamas."

As we grow older, we can still carry dreams or remnants of dreams we had when we were young. But thank goodness, our dreams can change and as they do, there is a peace that comes when we let go of dreams we've outgrown. Looking at that size six dress I'd never worn, I saw what power that garment had in holding me to a dream I'd outgrown. So ultimately my answer to the question, "What if I regret giving this up?" was, I won't.

5. How will streamlining my closet help me be happier?

Clutter causes stress and stress saps energy. I'm a living breathing believer that the less stuff I have the more peace I have. By streamlining my closet, I have given myself the gift of happy dressing every morning.

I feel like I have a new closet and a new wardrobe. I read somewhere that women wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time. I've just allowed myself to wear 100% of my clothes 100% of the time!

Thank you for reading my blog! I hope I've inspired you to lose at least 50 pounds today and I hope you brag to your friends that you did. I believe clutter is one of the biggest sources of stress in our society. It saps our energy and raids our hearts of the natural peace we are meant to have.

Peace
 -----------------------


For more of Pam's essays and videos please visit her website here!


  • Link to Flylady's article: Wardrobe Slimdown
  • FLYing Lesson: FlyLady’s Moving Tips  (She suggests using different color markers to indicate what room the box should be moved to. In another email someone shared the idea of getting different color tape to mark the boxes and the doors of the new house.  Orange = office, Blue = bedrooms, Pink = kitchen [sink], Green = great room.)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Received: I'm a winner: Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer from Kelly at Stitchy Quilt Stuff

I am remiss with posting that I received this book -

Life has been very distracting lately, but it will be so nice to have this book to read and refer to for ideas for projects.  Looks like it will be good inspiration.  Thank you Kelly!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Collossal Prize at Lily's Quilts

For chances to win this COLOSSAL prize, here are your options:

1.   Sign up to the Pink Castle Fabrics newsletter and let me know that you have (or were already signed up) and you can sign up right here!  

 


2.   For extra chances, retweet, regram, share, blog, google+ etc - one comment per social media share.
The winner will be picked a week from today.  

For info on this give away - to find out what the collossal give away is please go here: http://lilysquilts.blogspot.com/2014/05/cotton-steel-monthly-club-144-fq.html

Comments disabled on this entry since it's Lily's Quilts event, not mine!