Monday, July 25, 2011

Forty Years Together

Today is John and my 40th wedding anniversary.  Wow – 40 years!  That is a long time… most of the time it sure doesn’t feel like we have been married that long…. but then again it is hard to remember not being married to my best friend and the love of my life.
J&L Wedding
This photo taken on our wedding day in 1971 brings back many happy memories.  All the friends, and relatives that attended made the day special, many who are gone now.  I was the first of the 5 of my brothers and sisters to get married and my dad was so nervous that day when he walked me down the isle he was shaking.  I just look at John’s dark hair and my long red hair in this photo and I sigh.  When did John’s hair turn grey and mine fade to tan/blondish with a little white at the temples?  Of course the pounds have been added to our bones over the years to round us out a little too.  Oh well, everyone changes as they age and we roll with those changes as that is not what is really important.

We were married the summer we both graduated from the University of Nebraska.  We dated for 2 years before we were married but were friends most of our 4 years we were in college.

I made my wedding dress and veil in the 2 months after graduation before the wedding.  At that time I did a lot of garment sewing as did my mother so she could advise me as I stitched it if I ran into a problem.  I used a couple of patterns and took what I liked from each to design my dress.
This is a photo my sister in law took this last weekend of the two of us.  Couldn’t turn down an opportunity since we had our party for my mother’s 90th birthday and were half way dressed up.  Not too bad for a couple of old duffers.

Here’s to many more years together.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Window Remodel

We had 3 windows removed from our basement and replaced with glass blocks.  The windows were leaky, old and the window wells were small and not that much above grade so rain water would overflow. Just imagine John outside bailing water during a pouring rainstorm, at night and me inside manning the shop vacuum sucking up all the water pouring into 4 rooms and trying to keep the mess to a minimum.  We will be having the two bedroom windows in the basement replaced with larger windows and larger window wells to make escaping in case of a fire much easier.  Replacement of them will happen a few weeks from now as our “Fix It” guy is a kid that grew up near us so he is working on the windows on the weekends. 
Poor guy was working during days of upper 90s temperatures and high humidity.  He said it helped to have the box fan blowing on him as he worked but I’m not sure I would agree - hot is hot no matter what.   His shirt was sopping wet after a few minutes working.  Great kid and is doing a good job. (Well, maybe not a kid anymore but still a kid in our eyes.)

We have a big mess now to clean up in the basement as the cement saw really made the dust fly in the first room – the furnace room.  The room was cordoned off with plastic but the air-conditioning was running and sucked up the dust and distributed it through out the basement and some upstairs too.  That is the price we pay for fix ups.  The other window was draped with plastic closer to the window.  If this job keeps the water out it will be well worth the clean up.  If you are interested you can click on the group of photos to see before and after photos and some of the process.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Denim Pot Holder Tutorial

IMG_3439Update 14/12/10   I have changed the size I cut of the pretty fabric and the denim squares  from the below diagram.  Now I cut pretty fabric 8 1/2" square and I cut the denim 9 1/2" square. It doesn't matter what sizes you cut so long as the denim is about 1" larger than the pretty fabric and the batting squares are 1/2" smaller than the pretty fabric.

A few weeks ago I blogged about the denim pot holders I had my grandsons make from old denim jeans when they were here.  I have had several more questions about them so decided to post a tutorial on making them.   The frog one above is one that I got as a gift from a friend many years ago and it has seen much use and sparked the idea for the project.  This is one of my favorite pot holders as it really shields my hands from the hot pots and pans.IMG_3399 numbers
I made mine bigger than the frog one and cut the fabrics and batting the following sizes.  You will need 2 - 9 1/2”squares of denim from old jeans, 2 – 8” squares of cotton batting that is pre-washed and dried and 1 – 8 1/2” square of pretty fabric  It is very important that the cotton batting is pre-washed and dried in the dryer as it will shrink when the hot-pad is finished and the denim bubbles on the back and the batting bunches up.  I cut off a hunk of batting a little larger than the size I would need and soaked it in hot water, squeezed it out really well then put it in the dryer with a towel to dry then cut my shapes. IMG_3402I then marked the quilting lines on the front of the quilt fabric with a new marking pen I just got.  It is a Frixion gel pen made by Pilot.  The marks come off with a hot iron but have not used it for anything else yet so might want to be careful marking something really precious.  They are supposed to be erasable too.  The verdict isn’t in yet whether these will be good for quilting but on these pot holders thought it would be a good test.   It certainly disappeared when I pressed it with a hot iron.  The web page says the lines will come back with temps of 14 degrees but wonder if they would come back if you washed the fabric – will have to give that a test before I use it to mark quilting lines or use it for applique.

The lines were stitched but I didn’t like the way it was so compressed in the center with the lines all crossing there so took out the diagonal lines and stitched just vertical and horizontal lines instead.   The first pot holder I stitched I layered the pretty fabric on the two pieces of batting and quilted them together.  My later ones I stitched these quilting lines with one piece of the denim to the back centered under the batting and quilting fabric and liked it better.  My original potholder didn’t have the quilting lines on the back so tried to give these the same look – steam can follow the holes left by stitching and come through and burn your hand so keeping one piece of denim on the back with no quilting lines would keep this from happening.
Center the last piece of denim on the back right sides to the outside  and the pretty quilted sandwich on the top side facing up and pin it together.  The seams are all exposed and will be clipped like the rag quilts.  You should have about 1/2” around the edges that is just denim.   I used a embroidery stitch on my machine and the walking foot to stitch the layers together close to the edge of the quilting fabric.  I just overlapped my stitching on the corners and at the end to secure.  Remember this is a pot holder or hot dish mat so it doesn’t have to be perfect.  The fringing on the edge that takes place after clipping when you wash and dry it will camouflage it anyway.
The last step is clipping the edges.  I clipped out the corners and made clips every 3/8” almost to the stitching line.  I laundered them with some towels and that helped to fluff up the edges.  I didn’t have the boys do this on their pot holders but will when I get to their house the next time as the edges fluff up better.
Easy Peasy – all finished and ready to use!  You might notice this grid quilting is done differently on this one than the one I wrote about and showed above.  It really doesn’t matter how it is quilted only that it is quilted.
I plan to keep this one nice and not use it for a pot holder but to lay on my table when I use my tea pot.  I am storing it with the tea pot so I don’t forget and dip it into some casserole and have it messy when I need it clean and ready for tea with friends.

I think that is easy to make so give them a try and it is a good project for kids as there is really nothing you can do wrong and it doesn’t matter if the stitching is straight or not.

 This post is from the blog, Nebraska Views. If you are not currently reading this via e-mail or an RSS feed, then this post has been stolen or scraped from the Nebraska Views blog.  Stolen content can be reported HERE .”

Until Later,

Check out this blog post on the Ivory Spring blog on the Frixion pens by Pilot.
Another post showing more potholders on this blog entry

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Question For Bloggers

I have a question I hope someone can find an answer for.  One of my blog followers has a blog but when I click on her photo on my follower list I get a page that shows her photo, her name, sites she's joined and activities.  She is trying to get it to list her blog link as well and neither one of us can figure out how to do it.  It has been so long since I set up my blog I don't remember how I did it.

Just leave a comment if you can help as she will read it.

Thanks bunches,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Inspiration–Picture Frames

Since no sewing is going on here will share some more inspiration photos that could be a start for an applique design, quilting pattern or trapunto design.  These photos are all photo frames or frames around mirrors.
Look at that center photo – wouldn’t that be a beautiful design quilted in a border?  How would you use these designs?  How would you change them?

Check out my previous blog posts with other inspiration for quilters.
March 2, 2011 - March 4, 2011 - April 8, 2011 - April 11, 2011


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pretty Toes?

Are toes ever pretty?  When you look at them closely they are really kind of funny looking aren’t they?  I like to have polish on my toenails during the summer when I wear sandals and flip flops.  Our local Wal-Mart has a small nail salon right as you come in the front door and usually you can just walk in and get one of the gals to work on you right away, plus it is fairly inexpensive too.  Maybe they don’t do as good a job as more expensive places but most people’s eyes are at least three feet from your toes so who is going to see any imperfections. 

Last Friday I had to make a trip to Hastings and decided I would treat myself to a pedicure.  I don’t think there is anything much more wonderful than getting your feet and lower legs massaged, buffed and nails polished.  This time I decided to have a design painted on my big toenails and the gal added 3 rhinestones to each nail…pretty fancy for this country girl.   The bumpiness of the rhinestones takes a little getting used to but so far they are stuck tight and don’t rub on my regular shoes either.  I probably won’t have the fancy, blingy toes done again this summer but is fun for a “pick me up.”

Speaking of “pick me ups” everyone around here needs one as we are experiencing a heat wave that just won’t quit.  We have had temperatures nearing 100° F (37.7 C) and high humidity for close to a week now and the heat index yesterday was 115° F (46.1 C.)  That is too hot for man or beast in my opinion!

We are having the windows (they leak) in our basement replaced with glass block in the bathroom and furnace room and larger egress windows put in the two bedrooms.  A young man that grew up near here but works in Hastings is doing the work for us on weekends.  He has worked for a builder several years since he graduated from carpentry and masonry school so he knows what he is doing.  He came yesterday for the first time and worked on the west side of our brick house from about 7:30 am until 7:00 pm.  I really don’t know how he did it as it was so hot  out and the brick intensified the heat plus he was working in full sun during the afternoon but he took an old box fan we had and had it blowing directly on him as he worked.  He was still saturated though – looked like he had jumped in the shower with his clothes on.   He had a thermos of water but I kept pushing liquid on him too by tempting him with lemonade and iced tea.

He got the two windows out in the furnace room  and the new glass block in yesterday and he is back to work this morning working on the bathroom window.  It all sounds so easy but he has to saw through the cement basement wall to level it up, put in a row of cement blocks then the row of glass blocks and finish the joins inside and out then put a slope on the ledge so the water runs away.  The cutting of the cement is the hardest job and it is leaving a fine grey dust outside and inside but he has used plastic to try to contain it and it is not too bad in the house.  All I can say is I sure couldn’t be out doing what he is doing when it is this hot out.  (Who am I kidding…I couldn’t do this kind of job anytime in any weather!)  It is 10:30 am right now and the temperature is already 93° F (33.8° C) and the same high humidity as yesterday.

Probably no sewing today but am thinking about cleaning my closet this afternoon  a job I can do inside where it is nice and cool.  We have a pretty good sized closet and John is good about sorting and getting rid of his old clothes, etc. but I am a saver and really need to sort and bag up stuff to take to Goodwill the next time I go to Hastings.  When something has not been worn in several years it is probably time to get rid of it and make room for the clothes that fit and that I wear.

Until Later,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lilies…A Bug’s Eye View

Photoshop Elements 7 can give some interesting effects to these cropped close up views of my lilies.  I’ve posted before and after the manipulation in Elements 7 so you can see how the photos originally looked.
Accented Edges
IMG_3317 IMG_3317 Accented Edges 
IMG_3326 IMG_3326-craquelue
Glowing Edges
IMG_3319 IMG_3319-glowing-edges
Dry Brush
IMG_3327 IMG_3327-Dry-Brush
Fun, right?

PS Click on the photos to enlarge them to really see the details of the results of the manipulation.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Beauty of Flowers


The flower offered of itself
And eloquently spoke
Of Gods
In languages of rainbows
And secret silence...
~Phillip Pulfrey, from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grandma Time at the Ranch


I spent a few days with my granddaughters this last week while their parents went on a little trip.  We had a good time and I got to see them work with their 4-H lambs and them teaching the lambs to lead and practicing showing as the fair is coming up soon.  The sheep are pretty tame and are getting the idea of what they need to do when the girls practice with them now.  They will get a bath and be sheared off soon and will look so much better than they do right now.  Love this first picture of D. leading her lamb with the parade following her.  She has Maggie the dog supervising and the two black ducks, Quackers and Olivia, that the girls got at Easter time bringing up the rear of the parade.  Those ducks are so funny as they follow the girls everywhere, quacking as they go.

IMG_3356I am sure the sheep are wondering why they have to walk round and round then stand just so, over and over each day.  They don’t know yet they will get to show off at the fair with how much they know about standing and walking beside their girl in the show ring.  Don’t you love the bright pink boots S. is wearing?  That is a requirement from their parents…they must have boots on when ever they are away from the lawn around the house as there are rattlesnakes around where they live and some have been found on occasion close to the barn and the garage.  The boots won’t protect them 100% but at least it is better than flip flops!  A sheep stepping on your foot with flip flops on is not fun either so another good reason to wear boots.

Until Later,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blue On Blue Borders

The pile of extra blocks are ready to be lined up for the borders.
The blocks all laid out for the borders on the quilt.
Whoops, I have one extra block.  I thought I had made 296 but must have miscounted.
Border blocks all stitched but now I need to buy some fabric for the 5” spacer strip and an outside border.  What color should I look for?  Actually this beige carpet doesn’t look too bad does it?  I think if I go with another blue it could look pretty muddy.  Let me know what you think?  What color, what value?

Until later,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Second Half Just Like The First

The second half of the center section of my Blue On Blue quilt went together just fine.  The seams matched up and I kept the blocks in order thank goodness.  Now I hope that I don’t find two identical fabrics close together after it is all done.  It seems like you can look and look at the blocks and then find some identical fabrics right next to each other after things are sewn together despite trying your best to look it over first.  How can the eyes miss things like that when you have studied it so often?
Borders are next.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing Blocks Together

That design snafu got solved and it was time to start stitching the rest of the blocks together.  I am not a fast stitcher and take lots of breaks because sitting for long stretches makes my ankle get puffy and stiff and I pay for it the rest of the day.  I stop and walk around the house (should be cleaning but that doesn’t seem to happen.)  I do my ankle exercises fairly often as that helps plus I have been wearing the ever lovely TED stockings to help with the swelling.  You should see me…Oh no, you should not see me in my white TED hose, shorts and a T-shirt.  I am a vision of fashion. 

(For those that don’t know what TED hose are this is what Wikipedia says…Compression stockings and socks are specialized hosiery items designed to increase blood circulation. Their main theraputic purpose is to provide graduated pressure on the lower leg and foot and, in some cases, the thigh, to alleviate circulatory problems such as edema, phlebitis and thrombosis. Unlike traditional dress or athletic stockings and socks, compression stockings use stronger elastics to create significant pressure on the legs, ankles and feet. Compression stockings are tightest at the ankles, gradually become less constrictive towards the knees and thighs. By compressing the surface veins, arteries and muscles, the circulating blood is forced through narrower circulatory channels. As a result, the arterial pressure is increased which causes more blood to return to the heart and less blood to pool in the feet. )

Actually they feel pretty good on but when I am outside in the summer time they are really, really hot so I don’t wear them much.  They also don’t look so good with crop pants or shorts.  I do have some black and tan ones that look good with long pants and wear them a lot of the time when it is cooler.    Enough of that…Back to the Blue On Blue quilt progress.

As you can see I got two sections done and ready to stitch together.  Remember I had to take the outside row on the right and put it on the left side to make the design come out so that is why the one section is so much bigger than the other.  I was not going to rip all those rows I had done out.  I paid close attention to the pressing of my seams so that they would all nest in opposite directions when I stitched the parts together.

But what is that in the upper left side of the photo….two pair of shoes.  They are the same kind but one pair is much newer than the other and this type of shoe is very comfortable with my fatter ankle.  But why do you leave them sitting there you may ask?  At one time there were these two pair of white shoes plus a pair of flip flops all laying in the same area so there can me more shoes gathered in this same spot.  This is what happens….I have the shoes on my feet when I first start working on the quilt and come in to pick up more blocks and put the location pins in them.  I sit down on the floor and off come the shoes as I can’t sit on the floor with my shoes on as it bends my ankle too much.  I continue going back and forth from the floor to the sewing machine without my shoes until I need to do something else.  I am in another part of the house by then I end up putting on another pair and wearing them to do what ever I was going to do and when I come back to sew off they come.  I should remember where I put my shoes as I have them dropped in several parts of the house.  I think I am worse than a kid with shoes all over and periodically have to gather them all up and take them back to my closet.  Anybody else do that besides me?
The top half of the center section is finished now so on to the bottom half.  Blue On Blue is definitely growing seam by seam.

Until later,

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I played with my Canon DSLR camera on July 4th and tried to take some photographs of the fireworks we watched that night.  I braced the camera on my knee to take the photos and think that if I would have had a tripod they would have been better.  I didn’t know what settings to use so just experimented and got the following photos.  Anyone that knows what settings to use on a DSLR camera please let me know and I will print them and put it in the camera bag for the next time.  Still Interesting shapes and colors even though they are blurry.
IMG_3250  IMG_3269
IMG_3244 IMG_3245
IMG_3253 IMG_3247
It was such a beautiful evening with no wind and the town had sprayed for mosquitoes so they weren’t too big of a problem.  We did spray with mosquito repellant though to keep the few that were looking for a meal away.  One interesting thing we saw just before the fireworks started and it was almost dark was a bat.  Yes, a bat was flying erratically up and down the street where we were sitting.  It would change directions quickly then off in another direction just as quickly.  I presume it was eating those pesky mosquitoes and other bugs.  I don’t think I have ever seen a bat flying before.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blue On Blue…Stitching It Together

Ready, Set….GO!  I started sewing the laid out Blue On Blue blocks together and it was going great…for a while anyway.

I knew I needed to orient the blocks the correct way so the seams would nest together. IMG_3211 That was no problem, I flipped them all over so I could see the seams and every other row would be oriented either up or down.  I labeled the rows with pins very simply…one pin in the first block of row one, two pins in the second block of row one…etc. until about half of row one and two were stitched together then I moved on to row 3 and row 4 doing the same thing.

blue-on-blue-3The piecing was coming along fine until I looked at the finished section.  The plan was to look like this.
The partial pieced center that I had just pieced looked like the photo below.  Can you spot the difference?
blue-on-blue-4Well, if you don’t see the mistake on my pieced rows look at this diagram and notice how the corners are like an X instead of a box.  This diagram is one I considered as a plan for this quilt but didn’t like the way the lattice looking thin strips looked in the corners so chose the design above to use instead.

How did that happen as I had the blocks all laid out upside down to look like they did when they were right side up?  Not sure but my first theory is that I laid the first two blocks together and stitched them together on the opposite side and I thought I was being so methodical with how I picked them up to take them into the sewing room to stitch.  Of course I wanted to be consistent so I wouldn’t make any mistakes and kept up the same technique with all the rest of the portion I happily stitched together.  In actuality the problem was I was picking up the blocks back side up and when I was stitching them together I flipped them over to lay them right side up with the rest of the blocks already stitched.  Going from back side to front side they needed to be flipped to line up correctly ... alas the problem.

(Just looked at the part I stitched again...the first pairs were put together with the backsides up then I would flip them over to the right sides to put them in rows.  Since I had marked them with pins I knew which was the first, second, etc. I just lined them up accordingly.  So the blocks would be put together with the wrong vertical sides together.  If I would have kept sewing them together with the wrong side up I would have been fine.  Confusing....right?)

In the afternoon when I was going to join more blocks together I was standing admiring my work from the day before and realized they just didn’t look right.  I tried to convince myself it was OK and would leave it that way but after looking at the diagram I had made in that configuration I just didn’t like it, especially the way it looked with the border blocks.

What to do, what to do?  I hate ripping and didn’t want to rip that many blocks apart so decided to take the outside row from the right side of the quilt and move them to the left side of the quilt and added those blocks to get the design to be “correct”.  I again had to look them over and make sure there were no identical blocks too close together and moved a few around but I am never sure I have them all separated as I keep seeing blocks that need to be moved but am satisfied it is good enough now.

I stitched on the new blocks then had a couple of phone calls and friends stop in this afternoon so that is where it sits for now.  I am or was trying to stitch the blocks into 4 chunks that will be joined after they “chunks” are stitched rather than long rows as I don’t want to sew that many long rows together.  This top section will be a little larger than I had originally planned but it will be fine now that it looks like it is supposed to.

Still like the plan and turning the blocks seam side up on the floor was a good idea a friend suggested.  She made the same quilt and had problems with the seams and getting them to “nest”.  I also still like the idea of marking rows with pins but will definitely be more careful with how I pick up the blocks and may put one pin in the seams that are to be stitched  to remember which side to stitch from now on.  I am carrying several sets of blocks from my living room to the sewing room and back after they are pressed another idea that is working.

Well…maybe I will have more progress to show you later.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blocks are Made

All the blocks are made now for the Scrappidy-Do-Dah quilt I am making.  I have named my version “Blue On Blue” and the final block count is 296.  If I would have known I was going to be making that many blocks at the beginning, to be honest, I am not sure I would have even started this quilt.  Here they are laid out on my living room carpet.IMG_3193
It helped that I went through the blue fabrics in my stash and cut 2 squares and two strips of each fabric before I even went to the workshop….I have a lot of blue fabric.  The squares and strips were stacked in a box so when I felt like sewing after the workshop was over all I had to do was pick up the pieces and start.  I could sew a few or more depending on how much time I had.   I did have to make about twelve more blocks from some of those same blues to get up to the 296.

Next on to stitching the blocks together.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Wishing all Americans a happy and safe Independence Day!

Family, friends, food and fireworks...our plans for the day.



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