Saturday, March 17, 2018

Post Project Cleanup

As I hit the tail end of a project (bound, just needs a label), I straighten up the sewing room and continue work on my long-term projects.  The bag of selvedges yielded another dozen or so triangles (I’m less than ten away from having enough to piece that quilt).  I backed a few more crumb hexies; I've just cut fabric for another two dozen.  My crumb bag is pretty full, too.  I may piece together some more hexie fronts with lots of blue and brown.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Like Thursday: Some Color

We were buried in snow again on Tuesday. Knocked out the power at 11am. Since the sump pump wasn't running non-stop, the neighbor was kind enough to lend us some of the generator power.  So we chose to run internet and the freezer.  Power came on at 5am the next day.

As much as the storm was a drag, I liked that I could do my work most of the day.  I liked that the fireplace kept us warm (although I need to order more propane soon!).  And I do really like the snow plastered to the trees.  I got out for a brief walk on Wednesday and it was so pretty on the heavily wooded road.  (I didn't think to grab my camera!)

I like spring flowers. I bought the daffodils over the weekend. The scent on these are so strong they’re giving us both headaches. Not fond of that. But the color! Yellow! Green! It was so nice to see them unfold.

And I like the tomatoes and tea, too.

Did you know yesterday was Pi Day?  I observed the day by having a little Table Talk apple pie for elevenses.  A celebration for having a warm house and hot tea.

I've been enjoying Half a King.  Not sure how this book got on my reading list.  Easy prose, underdog protagonist, twists and turns, Viking-like world.  I've just reserved the other two books in the series.  I hope the weather doesn't delay them arriving too much.  I can't wait to read more.

I like the stuff I've been working on!  Unfortunately lack of power has been upsetting my sewing and blogging.  I hope to share stuff soon.

I'm sure there's far more interesting likes over at Not Afraid of Color's I Like Thursday.  Be sure to check them out.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

I Like Thursday: Creature Comforts

I like electricity.  And heat.  And running water.  And internet.  The storm on Friday was more than I had anticipated.  I was surprised when the Friday night dance was canceled.  Then the electricity went out at 5pm.  We were very lucky to have lost power for a little less than a day.  I was unprepared.

I like that the tree that went SNAP in the middle of the afternoon was well away from the house.

I like that my neighbor on the other side of the duplex had a generator and kept the sump pump running... which it did all night.  Whew! There would have been a lot of water in our basement otherwise.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Quilting Progress

I don't know why I thought an all-over quilting pattern would magically take less thread to quilt than quilting in each area.  I knew how much thread went into Sunshine.  And yet I bought so much less thread for this quilt.  So silly.  I'm taking notes:  it takes lots of thread to quilt a throw quilt.

Of course I ran out of the thread the day before the storm (more on that on Thursday).  I knew it was wild weather when I picked my car up from the shop, but didn't realize how bad it was until after I picked up the thread.  It was a harrowing drive home, with skewed traffic lights, getting detoured from closed streets, downed wires with branches or whole trees across the road.  But one must have thread to quilt!  (Well, except when one loses power.)  May this be a lesson - buy the correct amount the first time!

This video is for curious non-quilting friends and my mother, who wanted to know how I free motion quilted Sunshine on my domestic machine.  First is a close up of the basic swirl and petals of the repeating design I'm doing.  You'll see me point or move my fingers around during this video - I'm doing the design free-hand, and I point to help visualize where I'm going next.  It also helps to ensure I don't quilt myself into a dead-end.  The second bit of the video you can see I stop and start quite a bit:  straightening the quilt, moving my hands so the needle stays between them, and clipping basting thread (because my foot tends to get tangled if I sew over it.  Hmm...I wonder if I'd have better luck basting from the back side so I'd have less exposed thread on the front?

Monday, March 5, 2018

So Much to Say

Two Wedgwood videos in two weeks!  Who would have expected that?

Wedgwood was in a strange mood last week.  Wednesday morning she kept begging and whining for food and attention.  I finally picked her up.  She chatted non-stop for about five minutes.

I put her on the floor.  She meandered back to the cage.  Ten minutes later she was back on the floor poking her nose all around and burbling away.  Then zoom!  back to the cage.  She must have yakked herself out - she was quiet most of the week. 

It was a chilly Friday and Saturday with no power (it came back Saturday afternoon).  I packed Wedgie's cage with extra cozies on Friday night.  Saturday morning she was up at the usual time, begging for breakfast.  A cold house wasn't going to slow her down!  I hope the rest of you East Coast piggies are warm and dry.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

I Like Thursday: Baking, Reading, Sewing

I had another bake-a-thon last weekend.  Some of it was my New Year's resolution:  trying out new recipes.  I bought some ricotta and the skillet lasagna only needed half of it.  So I made ricotta cheese cookies with the rest.  I liked them, although they were a little doughy.

I also tried a recipe for caramel brownies.  Years ago I'd make something called Death Bars (yes, I have a plethora of oddly named recipes).  They required cake mix and caramels, which I rarely have on hand.  I've been looking for a version from scratch.  This wasn't bad, although a little dense and the caramels need some work.  But they're delicious.  I will play with it and see if I can get close to the original bars.

Monday, February 26, 2018


Wedgwood has been doing well.  We have good days where she's happy to interact with me and other days when she seems a little lost.  I'm looking for an older sow for company, but haven't had any luck locating a good match.  I will tell you one thing - two guinea pigs are far more entertaining than one.  Wedgwood may be warming up to me more, but I miss watching and listening to guinea pigs interacting with each other. 

The one fun thing that Wedgwood has developed since being solo is floor-time sprints.  She doesn't do them often and never for long.  I'm thrilled when I can catch her going full-tilt across the floor.  Thumpa thumpa.

It's been difficult to capture her antics.  I swear she knows when I'm filming, because she does her best stuff when the camera is not at hand. 

Wedgwood has an uncanny ability to orient herself soon after she hits the floor, traverses hardwood as fearlessly as carpet and is happy to explore any nook and cranny.  I regularly pick her up and carry her into another room.  If I put her on the floor, she explores locally for a brief time, then gets her bearings and takes off for home.  If I haven't already opened the gate, I need to rush over to the cage to let her in before she arrives.  I've left the gate open all day sometimes, but she very rarely ventures out on her own.  She does her most exploring on cage-cleaning day, when I've blocked access back up the ramp.  It's too bad - I'd love for her to do more exploring on her own. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fixing Grommets on Acoustical Drapes

My most recent Drapes of Doom™ repairs involved some guesswork.  I was frustrated I couldn't find any examples online.  So I'm documenting what I did (and will update with any success/failure).

Removing old headers and replace with new jute
The backstory:  I volunteered to repair a set of heavy velvet acoustical drapes that are used by several dance organizations in the New England area.  The drapes are roughly 6 to 8 feet wide, and 14 to 16 feet tall.  They are well used.  The first set of repairs included splitting three very large drapes (16' across) into two narrower drapes so they'd be easier to handle (six 25-pound drapes are easier to put up and take down than three 50-pound ones!).  I patched holes and restitched hems.

I received 10 drapes for my next set of repairs.  I was asked to patch holes and deal with grommets that were pulling out of the drape headers.  This was more of a challenge.  I didn't want to sew over the metal grommets, wasn't sure how to shore up the weakness.  In the end, I left many of the grommets as they were.  Three drapes had more torn grommets than intact ones and the fabric around the others was tired.  I sliced off the entire row of grommets for those drapes, ripped out the crumbling jute, and attached a brand new jute header.  This required a full set of grommets to be installed.  That seemed to be the safest route to fix the drape:  removing all of the weakened fabric and jute, then add new.  The drawback was that it removed three inches from the height of the drape and required a full set of grommets.  Even though I was given the green light to do the modification, I wasn't sure if there'd be issues with a shorter drape.  (Although I think they've been happy with the modification.)