Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Empty Nest Cleaning Frenzy

I went into a cleaning frenzy over the weekend. After moving our younger two to college (the middle for her junior year, the younger for his freshman year) and getting all of the “stuff that needed to go with them” cleared out of the piano room, I decided some major cleaning in order now that it was only going to be my husband and me rambling around the house for the majority of the next nine months.

I started with the kids’ rooms then moved on to the bathrooms, which got pretty much a top to bottom, every cabinet and surface lysol-ing. Then I worked my way through the downstairs and the basement, dusting and sweeping and mopping until I was exhausted. (It didn’t help that we’d had two nights of horribly interrupted sleep. Night one involved major storms that seemed to last ALL NIGHT LONG. Our “little” dog, Neville, hates storms. Thunder, gunfire, smoke alarms…they all make him shake. Just the sound of rain makes him nervous. He spent the night army crawling around under our bed, shoving things out of his way and out from under the bed as he went which I would then trip over in the dark. His stress made our other dog, Luna, stressed. So stressed that she decided to snooze in the closet. Night two involved a misbehaving smoke alarm that went off twice for no reason and a stressed Neville, as not only was the smoke alarm terrifying but so was the new storm brewing outside.)

Anyway…

After hearing me complain several times about how I had to kneel on the floor to use my large rotary cutting mat, my husband decided that there had to be a way to get the mat off the floor in our shared office/sewing room. So we tackled that room on Saturday night.

Let’s rewind for a moment to see how I came to be kneeling on the floor to use my cutting mat. Twenty years ago when we built our house we planned for the “den,” as it was labeled on the print we used, to be my sewing room. I was sooooo excited to have a room just for this purpose. For several years I enjoyed having my own craft room. Occasionally I would move my sewing table elsewhere in the house when it became more convenient to do so. For a short while it was in our bedroom, then the living room, while the craft room became a play room so the kids could be nearby when I cooked meals.

Around 14 years ago my husband took a job with (what we referred to after a very short time as) the Evil Empire and the Boss Who Shall Not Be Named. Let’s just say it was a rough four years. The only good to come of those four years was that my husband could now work mostly from home.

There was only one problem.

He needed office space.

So I had to share my sewing room.

We’ve been sharing ever since. (And, thankfully, he no longer works for the EE and the BWSNBN.)

Once we started sharing, I lost one large table and about a third of the room. As I didn’t want to have to travel back and forth between, say, the kitchen table and the sewing table, I chose to suffer through long bouts of kneeling on the floor whenever I needed to cut fabric.

But, no more!

With our new arrangement, I’m able to keep my largest mat on my sewing table AND also have my two smaller mats on a desk. I’m pretty excited to get back to my projects now that I have this new arrangement. My husband is excited that I can no longer talk about taking over our oldest daughter’s bedroom which would have us on totally opposite ends of the house. Of course, we will both probably be in a nursing home before she finally moves her last possessions out of her room, so the likelihood of me moving up there anytime soon was pretty slim anyway.

Here’s the progress I made on the Pieceful Retreat quilt last week. I really like this one!

knitting · Uncategorized

Shrieking Owls

I sat down to write and an owl started hooting outside. It sounded close to the house so I rushed out on the deck to see if I could spot it in the trees. Luna, the dog, fearing an intruder on the property, got mad and started barking. Nevy, the other dog, charged out onto the deck with me because that’s what he does when the slider opens. The owl hoots had him quickly wanting to go back inside. He’s a bit of a scaredy-“cat” when it comes to loud or strange noises. I wasn’t able to spot the owl, but as I stood and listened, another owl, also close by, began shrieking. Our hooter, perhaps offended that someone else was in his/her territory or scared off by Luna’s barking, quickly relocated across the pond.

(Luna is on the left, Neville is on the right. Luna was enjoying the brown-eyed Susans on Saturday. The photo of Nevy is from a hiking trip where he managed to get himself from the back of the car into the middle seat. He was very pleased with himself.)

We’ve lived in the woods for over 20 years, and up until this year I had never heard an owl shriek. We’ve only ever heard them making their cute little hooting call. A couple weeks ago I stepped outside IN THE DARK with Nevy so he could do his business. It sounded like Jurassic Park out there. There were shrieks coming from all directions! This is 2021, and, as we all well know after living through 2020, anything is possible. I didn’t know if there were velociraptors lurking in the weeds or alien life forms swinging from the tree branches. What I did know was that Nevy and I were not going to stay out there long. He was in total agreement with that.

After a bit of YouTube searching, I discovered that our little shriekers were the barred owls that we’d only heard making cute sounds up until that moment. For many years we would occasionally hear a pair hooting to each other from separate sides of the neighborhood. After listening carefully to our shriekers, I’ve determined that we have at least three now, which is incredibly cool!

We’ve been enjoying nature a lot the past few weeks. I’ve not been spending much time in the sewing room, because when northern Michigan gives you decent weather and minimal mosquitoes (I hear others aren’t so lucky), you get your fanny outside because you know it’s only a matter or months before your fanny will be freezing out there without multiple layers.

I’ve picked up my knitting again in the evenings. My goal was to use up most of my yarn before purchasing anything new. Ha! I stayed strong until I saw some yarn that would make a pretty afghan. As if we need ANOTHER afghan! And now that I have the yarn, I can’t find the pattern I was going to use. So while that yarn sits gathering dust, I knitted up some dishcloths.

The variegated yarn is from a large spool which I believe is never going to run out! I can’t tell you how many dishcloths I’ve already made from that spool. You can see from the photo that I’m attempting to use up every last bit of dishcloth yarn, even if some of the color combos are a little wacky (such as the variegated and blue one). Once I bored of dishcloths I started a pair of socks.

I find it’s nice to have a project going that you can do almost mindlessly while watching television at night. I feel just a bit less lazy if I have something to occupy my hands while relaxing on the couch.

We’ve been working our way through Schitt’s Creek, a show our middle daughter suggested, and have found it to be really funny. On the opposite side of the “humor” scale, we’ve not been enjoying HBOs (which I think stands for Random and Pointless Nudity) The White Lotus, which for some strange reason claims to be a comedy (and a drama). We started watching since it claimed to be a comedy. We keep coming back week after week and cringing through it because we just want to know who dies. Why are we doing this to ourselves? It’s not like we don’t have better things to watch. Hubby has that DVR filled up with movies…and there’s always those Chicago Med episodes that I haven’t been desperate enough for entertainment to work my way through. (I got fed up with a few of the characters…well, all of the characters…and stopped watching last year but never told the DVR to stop recording them.) The good news is, we are four episodes in and there are only six in total. I gotta say, though, I’m about one random and pointless nudity away from not giving a crap how it all ends.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

A “Love”ly Little Lap Quilt

Call me sappy, but I adore fabric with hearts on it. So several years ago, while on a quilt shop hop with my mom, when I saw the most adorable peachy/pink and minty green and cream fabrics covered with hearts and old fashioned typewriters and the word “Love” and cute little dots and letters, I knew that I had to have that fabric.

We were at Hearts to Holly, a quilt shop in Charlevoix, Michigan, located north of us where an employee designs quilt patterns called “Holly Bunch Quilts.” Sometimes these patterns come packaged with a selection of perfectly matching fabrics. (I’m terrified to purchase kits. Having purchased a kit from Joann’s once that contained not quite enough fabric for the project, I’ve shied away from them.) So instead of purchasing a kit, I opted to purchase my fabric separately.

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The pattern I used was HB #1001 titled Spinning Cross. I modified the pattern slightly, leaving off the two borders. I often leave borders off, preferring to let the binding be my only border.

I can’t remember what year I finished this quilt, but it is perfect for the Valentine’s Day “season” which is why I’m sharing it now. Presently it is draped across the back of our couch, a cheery sign every year that we’ve cleaned up the house from the Christmas season and have moved on into the new year.

Neville, our silly dog who is presently licking the carpet for no apparent reason, was glad to help take photos. Thankfully he chose not to lick the quilt for no apparent reason while helping.

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The quilt is lap size. I pieced the leftover scraps together to make the backing. I kept the quilting simple, choosing to quilt in the ditch of all pieces.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Fruits and Veggies and Bread

I haven’t finished a new project in a few weeks, as I have been working on a time-consuming scrap quilt. That project is now in the quilting stage, so I hope to be able to share the completed quilt soon. I’m doing all-over meandering quilting, which causes my wrists to become sore and tired, so it will take me several days to complete.

In the meantime, I decided to share one of my absolute favorite quilts. Neville seems to like it, too.

Several years ago, I went crazy at a quilt hop buying up all sorts of fabric with fruit and veggies. I loved all the bright colors (especially the vibrantly purple eggplants and the gorgeously orange oranges). Using a template purchased at the same hop, I put this together quickly. (I purchased the template in three sizes, so I should probably use the other two sometime!) I thought the bread fabric was perfect for the backing.

I did close together all-over meandering quilting, which I deeply regretted after the first hour of quilting resulted in only a tiny fraction of the quilt being quilted. Though I love the final result, I will probably never quilt so tightly again.

I have bits and pieces of this fabric left over and have made a table runner from some of the scraps which I will share when it goes back on the table later this summer. I’d like to use some of the remaining scraps for placemats, but haven’t done so yet as we aren’t really placemat people.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Luna: Assistant Fabric Arranger

I pulled out a Work in Progress yesterday, laid it out on the floor to see how many blocks I still needed to sew, went outside, and came back to this:

Her name is Luna, and it appears she did not approve of my block arrangement and wanted to show me a better way to lay everything out. What is it about pets and projects? Why do they always have to lay on them? For years I had cats on my projects. Now it’s dogs!

I’m excited to get back to working on this project. I’ve used so many neat fabrics. There are frogs and elephants and flowers, and who knows what else I will find to add!

Yesterday morning, I finished another project. This quilt was made with a few pieces from my stash and a charm pack I received free when I ordered fabric from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I outline quilted with monofilament at approximately 1/4.”