Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Baggy Weekend

 It was chilly this weekend.  ( But sunny, and I  really should have been in the garden!)  So I stayed inside and did some sewing.
I was given this great bag, by Maruca, as a gift quite a few years ago.  I love it (except for the very skinny strap) and wanted to replicate it. 

I've used this as a pattern before, but couldn't find the tissue paper tracing I had made. So I started over, using that pellon stuff with the (in theory only!) one inch grid printed on it. It's sturdier than tissue anyway.

Some of the members of my online quilting group may recognize this fabric as a gift we got at our retreat in Seattle ( I think)

I cut out the pieces from the outer fabric, pinned them to batting and quilted them.  The lining pieces are muslin.

And here's the bag. It has two roomy outer pockets and one small pocket inside.

The bag fabrics were just samples or remnants, so there wasn't enough for the strap.  I found a stripe in my stash that looked pretty good- and made the strap 1 inch wide for comfort!

I had some pieces left over, so I made this little key chain wallet, using this pattern, by Susie Shore designs.  I made one to test the pattern before our vacation, and made some changes to this one.  I'll do the next one different again.

It opens up to reveal a credit card pocket and a larger pocket at the bottom.  In the pattern, it is a zippered change pocket.  I almost never have change, so I left the zipper off which gives me a place for secure credit card storage, or my headphones!

So, then, I made this quilt

(Based on this work by Victor Vasarely)

Into a duffel (Is it duffel, or duffle???)  bag to use as a carry on next time I fly.

I made the only "Leftover" piece into a pocket!

 I used instructions I found here- which fit the size of my quilt almost perfectly!
I used the quilt label for an inner pocket.
It's nice and roomy, so will also be big enough to use for day trips, or overnights!  The best part is, I know no one is going to steal it- whether because it would be too easy to spot, or simply because it's weird.  (You can say ugly, if you want to.)

I'm still nagging about carrying your empty drink bottles home for recycling. I read recently that the average American creates 4.3 pounds of waste a day, but recycles or composts only 1.8 pounds of that- even though much more is recyclable!  Check out some other recycling facts.
 We are such a throw away society, accustomed to just leaving garbage everywhere.  That mindset has to change!  If you carry it in, carry it out and recycle it!!!

I am grateful for:
The gift of regular visits with Jonathan.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
A play day with my BFF
Some sewing time
I already had a couple of Prince's best albums, and listening to them made me less sad.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring gardening enthusiasm!!!

The first warm and wonderful days of spring came over the weekend.  So I spent two wonderful days doing the backbreaking and sometimes impossible job of cleaning the gardens in preparation for the glorious season to come.  (I have the damaged fingers and sunburn to prove it!)

   I have LOTS of bulbs planted all over, so I get early color in almost every corner of the "grounds".

Sadly, we had a late snow/ freeze, so any that tried to come out early look like this

 My pink Helebore is getting so big I will have to divide it soon.   The flowers are so beautiful, I'm sure I'll enjoy them anywhere I can find a spot for them.

 These are called scilla. I love the bright blue; I wish I could find some summer flowers in the same shade!
 I've forgotten the name of these at the moment. 

 The snow glories and early daffodils look like a bouquet in the "lawn"

 This bed is the next excavation project, obviously.  Grass roots are evil and insidious and impossible to remove.  (so when I hear of a grassroots organization, I am not going to support them!)

So this is my Earth Day post.  Get out and enjoy nature.  Learn to appreciate the gifts we have been given to enjoy on this planet.  And remember- there will be NO jobs when there is no air to breathe!!!

I am grateful for:
Any time I can spend with the kids.
I have two sweet kittens in my nursery to play with.
A friend who wanted me to come keep her company at work.
An excuse to make cheesecake brownies.
Sunshine and having the house windows open.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Just Passing Through

So over a year ago, I promised Cait a new canopy for her swing.  It's one of these.
 I never saw the original one, so I had to wing it.  I put the frame together the best I could without the hardware- using crochet hooks and masking tape.  You know, like girls do.  
It fits pretty good!  I can't wait to see it on the swing.  I'll get a picture when they put it together.  (Because I know everyone who reads my blog won't be able to sleep until they see the finished project.)  

Sewing through that heavy fabric did not make my sewing machine happy.  It was due for a tune up, so I took it right in the next day.  Good thing I have an extra, so I can sew if I find some time. 

Otherwise, the only accomplishment I can share is finishing this knitted bear.  He's about 8 inches tall.  The pattern was designed by Megan Kreiner, published in "Love of Knitting" last fall.  Cute pattern, but the instructions were a bit vague.   Good thing it wasn't my first stuffy.

 I've read a few articles lately about coal companies going bankrupt.  I know there are people whose livelihoods are dependent on the coal industry- and I feel bad for those families.  (Not the rich bastards who won't actually lose a penny!)  However, closing down every coal power plant, and ending the destruction of formerly beautiful mountainous areas is wonderful news for our planet.  By comparison to strip mining and blowing off mountain tops, miles of wind turbines to generate electricity in Texas seem quite scenic!!
Hopefully, cleaner technology will move into those areas and help those families- and our climate- recover. 

I am grateful for:
Being able to surprise my kids with something wonderful!
Sitting in the sun on the front porch, reading the paper.
Time spent with my quilting friends.
Being excited, when I used to be scared.
A fine spring day in the forecast!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Running fast, but getting nowhere

Since we got back from our vacation, I haven't had much free time.  I went back to work the next day, and didn't feel like I was back in my own time/ dimension/ life until the following weekend- which was Easter. 
It was gorgeous- near 70 degrees!- on Easter Sunday and I spent several wonderful hours in the gardens; cleaning up and even transplanted a couple of errant Hollyhocks.  I'm guessing they did not enjoy the snow we got this weekend.

Then softball season started.  I have to go to as many of the games as I can, since this is Amy's last season.  

Which brings me to the weekend just past.  I spent Saturday having a "girls' day" out shopping with Kiara.  We went to the mall food court for lunch. ("junk food" and "grandmother" goes together, you know!)  Her other favorite part of the mall is the little playground.

 On Sunday, I spent the day with Jonathan.  Yup, he's starting to walk!  And he is awesome!  I can't imagine a better way to spend the day than watching him explore and playing with him- and especially singing him to sleep at nap time!

All of this is not to say I have had no creative time.  I colored a page from my brand new Jane Sassaman coloring book!

And I finished the first of what could become many "Opulent Ornaments." Paula Nadelstern shared these with us last October.  I used one of the fabrics I didn't use in class for this.  The motifs are a bit small for the ball.  It looks nice, but I'm working on another one with a smaller ball.  Stay tuned.

I thought daylight would make them sparkle, but it washed the beads out.  
Below is the same ball on the candle holder where it will live- for now.

This one will be after the smaller blue one.  This is an older Amy Butler fabric design called Lotus.
The beads I plan to use are soft yellow and gold.  I'm finding sequins in interesting colors harder to locate. 

 Earth Day is quickly approaching. This year, we should plant trees.  I saved some pine cones last fall, and the seeds are now ready to plant.  I'll start them in pots so I can keep an eye on them.  Last year, I potted baby trees I found in the yard and gardens, with the hope of planting more trees along the side of the road out front. (hoping the roadside destruction crew will leave them be, of course).   Don't want to plant a tree?  Find other ways to get involved!  There are a LOT of events scheduled!

I am grateful for:
The fairy frost along the sides of the road this morning.  (which I'd never have enjoyed without the very cold weather last night)
Being so close to the grands!
America for writing my "magic" song.
At least we have "Fear the Walking Dead" to help us with the withdrawal.
The girls who came by at lunchtime and gave me M&M's.