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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Thunder!

Hiding
Our poor little Bisou is terrified of thunder. Rain by itself doesn't bother her, but thunder is more than she can bear, so she finds a little "cave" to hide in until it passes, and she quivers and quakes until it does. I feel so sorry for her!

The cave is frequently this space under my computer desk, which explains the tangle of wires you see here.

Poor little pup!

A cool drink

My husband has been reworking the fountain we have in our back yard. He raised the base and repositioned the whole thing a bit, adding new plants to soften its look; the bottlebrush was already there, but he added three hibiscus plants. One gives peachy-orange blossoms, one yellow, one red; unfortunately, right now they're regrouping for a new blooming spurt and don't have any flowers to show you.

I guess we're not the only ones who are happy with the new arrangement, however. ;) Bisou has discovered that she can now get at the running water, since the new height means that the plants don't block it any longer. She popped right in for a sip or two as my husband was making sure everything was running as planned. LOL!
Yum! Cool and refreshing!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cardigan

Cardigan
A couple of months ago I showed the beginnings of a new cardigan I was knitting. I was sidetracked by a  couple of things, including a not-so-lovely sinus infection that slowed me down for a time, but I've finally finished. :) This was a fun project to knit, since it had some lacy motifs to keep things interesting and some plain stockinette work that went fairly quickly. The cardigan is relatively long, covering my hips, but I made the sleeves approximately three-quarter length. I like that length, as it's convenient to wear and doesn't get in the way of doing other things — like clearing up after a meal. ;)

Bottom hem
There are three rows of the lacy motif at the bottom of the cardigan, and just a single row for each sleeve. I really like the fan-like effect of the patterning and the scallop it creates at the bottom. :)
Sleeve hem

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A gift from a grandson

My birthday was a couple of days ago, and it was a pretty big one. ;) My family really spoiled me with various gift cards that they knew I'd enjoy using, and there was a dinner at one daughter's home, followed by dinner at a favorite restaurant last night with my husband, and another dinner to come this evening at our other daughter's home. A prolonged celebration works for me. ;)

One of the most touching moments came when grandson #4, age 9, gave me something on his own. The members of his class at school had apparently had to select some sort of craft to work on, and my grandson chose to make something just for me. He knows how much I like having tea — I usually read my email in the mornings while enjoying a small pot of Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchong. Actually, he and his brother (grandson #2) rather enjoy having tea with me (especially if cookies are involved!) from time to time. What did he make for me? It's a little hot pad he made to put under my teapot, which you can see is doing a superb job. Wasn't that amazingly thoughtful? :D

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Organization



Tool storage
I won't claim to be completely organized or compulsively neat, but I do have part of my little sewing room that works very well for me and that I thought might be interesting for someone else. The doorway into this room opens on an angle, which means that the door itself doesn't open flat against a wall. There's a tiny bit of wall space behind the door that isn't good for very much, but it works quite well as a base for a piece of pegboard on which to store various tools. The pegboard keeps things very handy and yet out of the way. :)

As you can see, I have several square rulers at the top left, next to an array of shears and specialty scissors. The item in the green/black bag next to the scissors is a set of compass points that fit onto a yardstick or narrow ruler to draft large curves and circles. There is also a Kwik Klip for pin basting, as well as some old embroidery hoops and a tape measure. Near those are my spools of Aurifil thread (my other threads are stored in boxes in the closet), a row of filled bobbins, and a collection of different rotary cutters (including my favorite Martellis).

Dangling at the very bottom of the pegboard are some spare cutting mats and some odd-sized rulers, though my most-often-used rulers are in a dedicated rack on another wall.

Smaller set of drawers
That leaves only the two boxes to explain, and I really like those! The smaller blue one was a gift over 35 years ago from my late father, and I've used it ever since for little things that might otherwise be lost in a jumble somewhere. As you can see, Schmetz machine needles fit perfectly inside one drawer, but other drawers hold Pigma pens, bias tape makers, a stencil knife, Command clips, and so on.

Recently, however, I was delighted to find a similar box with drawers of slightly different sizes at a home improvement store. Yay! This meant I could "uncrowd" the drawers in the blue box and even add more little notions to the new organizing drawers.

Larger drawers
While the blue box is metal, the new box (grey) is plastic. It probably won't last as long, but it's not as heavy, so that's a trade-off. The drawers in this one are two different sizes, giving me more options for things that will fit. For one thing, the needles from Superior and Klassé fit into these drawers, where those boxes were slightly too tall and wide for the other set.

I also have all of the instructions for my machine feet in a drawer, and stray buttons, various assorted kinds (lots of kinds!) of sewing pins, rotary cutter blades, and empty bobbins distributed in others.

 I suspect I could fill up a pegboard twice the size of mine, as well as at least one more set of drawers, if I only had a place to hang them! LOL!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Challenge Quilt

Our guild here has an annual challenge for members. This time we were given two pieces of fabric: one was a black/white cotton print, and the other was a silver/black sheer dotted fabric. Ugh. I took one look at that second piece and decided not to enter the challenge this year. However, I was eventually "convinced" to give it a try, and managed to get it done. I actually finished the quilt in October, but I hadn't put a label on it until today, so now it's officially complete. ;) The challenge unveiling will be on Thursday, so I thought it would be safe at this point to show the quilt here. 

Mine is a mini; the blocks are 3" square, and the quilt measures just under 11" square. I paper pieced the background blocks and added the pandas with machine appliqué. I attached two rows of corded piping (love using piping! ), one on either side of the little red border. No fancy quilting this time, as it would have been lost on the dark background, so it's just straight diagonal lines through the blocks and some outlining around the pandas. 

The theme of this year's challenge was to use ideas from a fable, myth, legend or fairy tale. Can you guess what I chose? It's called "The Three Bears Went to China and Left Goldilocks at Home"! LOL! Papa Panda and Mama Panda (in her glittery skirt) are watching Baby Bear take a nap.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thread catcher

Today I went to the monthly meeting of the quilt group I belong to. Our usual routine is to have a business meeting (never long, of course!), followed by one of our group showing us how to do a project or technique.

Today's project was a very cute little fabric bag designed to sit next to a sewing machine or on the table next to where you're doing handwork; the purpose of the bag is to catch all of the little thread ends that inevitably accumulate as we stitch. The whole project takes only minutes to do! Here's mine, done with some scraps of batik and some buttons left over from another project a few years back. (The spool of thread is there to give you an idea of the size of the thread catcher.) Of course, if the right buttons didn't happen to be lying around waiting for the project, you could always use a decorative stitch on your sewing machine instead. Isn't it cute? If you'd like to make one, too, there are instructions here. Mine will live in my sewing machine case, collapsed and ready for taking along with me.