Monday, April 17, 2017

Not turning into a food blog

It is absolutely amazing when you can’t have food, how it simply becomes the one thing you constantly think about.  Planning most of my weekly meals ahead has almost become second nature but occasionally it can backfire.

This week I’ve decided to do the weekly menu of one of our bigger food retailers and guess what is on the menu tonight?  Smoked apricot and honey glazed snoek with “roosterkoek” (directly translated it would be grilled cake, but basically bread) with apricot jam.

There I was smoking the fish, smelling the flavours, spreading the jam and unable to eat a single thing.  So cup-a-soup, here I am again.

So this is what hubby got for dinner.

And then there’s mine….. at least I have “after dinner wine” – both served with straws!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ah snap!

Satisfied with all the quilting I got done this week I got to do other things.  Shopped with my youngest, planning my menu for the upcoming week, washing everything made of material in the TV room, seeing that hubby painted not only the new ceilings but the walls in this room too, went menu shopping and so much more.

Got home, made myself a cup of coffee, took a plate with salty-cracker biscuits to my computer and just planned to relax the rest of the day.  As I chewed on about cracker number 5 I heard this gunshot go off in my head and even not being clued up on anything medical, I just knew this jaw, is no more.

Went to hubby, then painting the entrance and said that I’m sorry to interrupt but I think we should go to hospital.  A strange stiffness immediately made it very difficult to talk without pain, even swallowing my own spit hurt.

Got to emergency, had an X-ray taken and yip, the jaw was fractured in a Z shape but the surgeon, I guess the only one we have in our city, only returns on Tuesday, after Easter.  So I was given my X-ray CD, asked if I needed more painkillers and told not to eat, laugh, yawn or talk until I get to see the doctor.

What a way to not only end Easter weekend but my sick leave too.  I guess a new round coming up soon!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Quilting fun

Setting my timer for 15 minute intervals I had so much fun quilting my Mystery quilt.  I looked at a single section that needed to be done, selected a pattern from my heaps of books and then set out doing small portions at a time.  Normally I would just want to get this done and meander all over the place.  I am rather pleased with the results.
I also got a nice pile of strips sets done ready to be cross-cut.
I must admit after this I was out for the count regarding quilting and I guess I enjoy it so much because it is just a hobby and as a rule I won’t be quilting from the morning to the evening.  Getting my hour (if that much) of quilting in a day is about what I need to keep me wanting to come back for more. After this intense week of everyday quilting, I am satisfied to the brim.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Back to back set-up

Being Easter Friday and a public holiday anyway I guess my sick leave has come to an abrupt stop. Poor hubby and his fitters however still needed to work today.  We are doing the flooring of an X-ray department of one of the private hospitals and the work can only be done over weekends or on public holidays.

With our cats being overly annoying – I guess due to the rainy weather outside – I had a hard time quilting in peace.  So I set up my quilting station back to back.  On the large table I had the mystery quilt under the Pfaff grand quilter and on the desk I had my sewing machine and my strips in need of being sewn together.

If one of the cats preferred the quilt, I’d do the strips and if one decided to test out how it would be to sleep on the strips, I could quilt but I had to bring in a soft fleece to prevent both from choosing both fabric lots.
I set my trusty timer on my cellular phone and would free-motion for 15 minutes do 15 minutes kitchen duty, sew strips for 15 minutes, change seasonal clothes in my cupboard and this way a lot got done.

I think this picture sums up my cat situation perfectly!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Still enjoying my sick leave

The builders didn’t finish the ceilings yesterday and has kindly decided to speed up their Easter weekend and will only be returning on Tuesday, next week.  Now for most people that would mean living in a messy house over the Easter weekend but luckily for me, my dear husbands’ OCD won’t allow this.  He already pulled off protective plastic tarps yesterday evening, mopped the floors, moved some furniture back and has every intention of finishing the rest himself.
I then decided to satisfy my own OCD and gathered my trusty household appliances to swish and swipe the rest of the house and while doing this I noticed my poor Mystery quilt top patiently awaiting its turn to be quilted on one of the guest bedroom beds.  I’ve almost forgotten about this.

So once I had the house in a fairly respectable fashion, I cleared the sewing room table, backed and batted this and once the black cat gets the urge to pee I can start quilting.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sick leave 2

Hubby left town at 5:30 this morning on a business trip and all I had to do for the rest of the day was to open up for the builders and to cook him dinner.  I only made dinner for him as I am still unable to properly open my mouth so I am left to slurp soup and rather mushy scrambled eggs.

I continued to cut my strips and I think I now have a nice pile to keep me busy for a while.
Then I did the binding on my Freestyle quilt to have this one done too.  Not a masterpiece of an artwork but a decent sized quilt and apart from the batting and backing, not a single fabric purchase made.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sick leave

My procedure (removal of a cyst, 3 teeth which never came to the surface and bone transplant from the lower jaw to the upper jaw for a future crown) took place on Monday but they don’t play with these things lately.  I was wheeled into theatre at 17:00 and back home, even after we stopped at the pharmacy for my prescription, at 19:00.

The only thing I truly feared was pain.  I’ve been in just so much pain since December with my frozen shoulder that I didn’t know how much more I would be able to handle.  But, touch wood; apart from being terribly swollen I do not have any pain whatsoever.

So today I seriously cut strips.  I’ve been looking at scrappy quilts on the internet and blogger friend Chris and I fear we might not live long enough to make all of these.  This however made me realise you can never have too many pre-cut strips on hand.

We have a builder replacing ceilings in the front of the house – part due to water damage and part as renewed decorating – so I did little cleaning knowing the ceiling dust will be all over the place for the next couple of days.

The latter part of the day and evening I turned to my Owl Wall Hanging which I blogged about over here to try to make some progress. I got to add the body background and the beak.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

A good day

Our newest grandchild got christened today and ah…. these family days are becoming o so special.  I was up bright and early finalising the lunch and then we all set off to the church for the big event.  Needless to say the little man made it ever so special to decide this was boring enough to take a poop and granddaughter had a ball sitting on her oupa’s lap ensuring her the right to misbehave and talk as loud as possible.
After church we returned home to enjoy our lunch and the pretty cake.  Granddaughter is still not ready to go home and will spend the rest of the afternoon with us.

I am having a massive dinner tonight; made up of the leftovers as after a small breakfast before 7am tomorrow I may not eat anything until the operation in the afternoon and with my jaw being operated on who knows when I’ll ever be able to eat a proper meal again.

I am however so geared up with quilt projects to do should I be up to it being off from work, so hoping not to have too much pain; I am kind of looking forward to these days off.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Scrappy strips 4

On Friday I woke up just before 4 am with the lovely sound of rain outside and decided this was too good to continue sleeping, so out of bed I got. Started cooking food for the dogs, ironed the laundry and then got stuck in my green scrap drawer to cut strips for my scrappy strip quilt.
I was also done with quilting my Freestyle quilt so I continued to cut strips for the binding.  I am having a cyst removed from my jaw on Monday and will be at home (swollen and blue, they say) until after Easter weekend, so I better get myself something to do when not in too much pain.

After work I managed to sew the binding strip to the right side of the quilt and then had the grand-kids over for the evening while mom and dad took a well-deserved break.

Got up early again this morning and tackled my blue scrap drawer but after cutting for more than an hour I haven’t even made a dent in this drawer opposed to my red drawer that has nothing in it.
Then quilting productivity stopped as I went to the salon to “wash that grey right out of my hair”, shopped for backing and batting for the mystery quilt, went for coffee with the quilter who kindly took over the books I didn’t want any more and started prepping Sunday lunch.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Scrappy strips 3

I was brought down to basic level rather hard.  Thinking I am making a scrappy quilt and there wouldn’t be much to it…… big, no HUGE mistake.  Some time ago, I decided quilting was my hobby and I’m not doing this to win any awards or be noticed by anyone, as long as I can find a bed for a quilt, I’d be quite satisfied.  This however comes with its drawbacks and I slacked on accurate cutting and piecing and it really didn’t bother me too much until now.

My strips were supposed to be cut 2” wide and then the plain (white) strips in between should be 14” long and I thought I did it well enough but not perfect and it just didn’t work.  So after unpicking a whole block, re-measuring and re-stitching, I remembered one of my DH’s favourite sayings “if you do it right the first time, you won’t have to do it more than once”.  Darn….. I hate clever people but I guess I have taken note!

So finally I have my first block measuring an exact 14” x 14” done.  Hoping to do at least one block a day (wishful thinking) I should be able to finish this soon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Softening the stick insect

I really needed to do something to soften the look of the centre piece that stood out like a sore eye and decided to try branchlike beige strips curving in different directions.  I think I should not have made the ends of the centre piece straight lines but had these curvy or even pointy.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Free Books

This post is meant specifically for local (as in Bloemfontein, not South Africa) quilters.

In my attempts to clean and organise my sewing room, I am getting rid of a couple of craft and quilt books and I would give these free to the first Bloemfontein quilter who…

a) Leaves a comment on this post and
b) Will fetch these from me within 7 days of this post. 

Otherwise these would kindly be donated to the library or the Book Exchange Shop.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Circles added

With all my applique circles cut, I sewed these to my Freestyle quilt.  Almost like free motion quilting having to move the huge background of the quilt through the machine while sewing these on but it got done.  Hopefully it is looking slightly more interesting now.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Scrappy strips 2

While working through my scrap drawers I was kindly reminded why I needed to continue deep cleaning my sewing room.  Sharing the room with 2 cats I always have to leave the window open and hardly ever can I start working before having to dust or wipe my table tops.  My machines are also always covered with dust covers.  Here is an example of the dust that gathered which I saw when I pulled out the drawer storing my black scraps.  Now these drawers are inside a closed cupboard, so one can only imagine how much dust the open areas collect.

So yesterday after work, I got stuck into it.  Not much into removing drawers, pulling the racks out and wiping everything down with a wet rag.  Done and dusted as they say….. the cleaning, not the cutting of strips though!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jo’s Mystery Medallion – The final 2 clues

We got both the last two clues on one day and for this gathering it was Karin’s turn to host us.  Sadly again, we started off cutting energetically but once we started eating, cutters and fabric were all forgotten and did Karin splash out with her meal!

Pre starter shooters, cold prawn starter, fillet with crusted veggies as part of the main, black forest chocolate cake for desert, followed by more sour shooters and finally chocolate to enjoy at bedtime. Just look at all of this!

So we were left once again to work on our own and get up to date with our final steps.  I however needed to see our grandchildren over the weekend and I knew my progress wouldn’t be too fast.

Had all the kids and grandchildren over on Friday evening but they had early morning appointments, so our little princess didn’t stay for the weekend and I could get sewing.

This mystery would have ended in a perfect square but I have no place or need for a square, so I decided to change it somewhat.  The instructions had a 4 patch round followed by a 6 inch border and 4 pinwheel cornerstones.  I opted for a smaller border first followed by the larger border and the pinwheel corners just on the top and bottom to make the quilt longer to at least fit granddaughter’s single bed.  These were my changes.

The fastest bed-sized flimsy I’ve ever done. Now just to bat and back.

Before packing this project up I even remembered to cut strips for my Scrappy strips project.  Getting the hang of it, I hope.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Still flying high

I still receive my daily Flylady e-mails to help me regularly declutter and maintain my house and when starting the next step of my Freestyle quilt, we’ve reached zone 2 in the Flylady programme which is the kitchen and in my case especially my appliance pantry.  Sounds glamorous but it used to be the pantry but got too warm in summer and now I simply keep all my kitchen appliances that I don’t use on a daily base and cleaning stuff in there.

So I made it fun.  Set my timer for 15 minutes and wiped down any and everything in the pantryand reorganised these.  When the alarm would go off, I’d stop there and then whether the rack was totally clean or not, take a quick break, go to the sewing room, set the timer again and start cutting my circle applique shapes for my quilt.

You’d be amazed at how much gets done this way.  More than once I did so well with a task that I truly believed I’d forgotten to set the timer but alas just as I was about to check, it would go off.

Now my pantry just have to hold so much stuff that it will never be picture perfect but at least I know it is clean and sorted and hopefully I will remember where I put what!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quilting a duvet cover

Dear granddaughter received a duvet cover for Christmas and DIL asked me to bat and quilt this.  With my shoulder acting up, I only got around to it now and it was the worst fabric ever, very silk-like polyester.  When I quilt, I use a Topstitch 90 needle and I was worried that it would be too thick for the fabric but it worked like magic.

The problem was that the front and back was cut so skew that there was no way the two would lay flat on each other. So I knew I would have puckers.  I then simply decided to at least keep the front fairly pucker free and not break my neck about what happens on the back.

Being an under the sea theme I had to decide which quilt pattern I’d like to stitch out on it and at first thought of doing wavy lines but then I remembered these circles and they reminded me of bubbles, so I went with the circles.

The fabric also has a stretch to it which caused little bubbles in between the quilting lines but not much I could do about it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Scrappy strips 1

I saw a picture of a scrap quilt somewhere online.  Unfortunately I must have been in a hurry as I only saved the picture and nothing more, so I am unable to give credit.  I have SO MANY scraps and truly too stingy to simply chuck these, so I have to make them work.  Now up and until now, I’ve never been a scrap quilter but my sewing room needed a deep cleanse and as Flylady says “you can’t organise clutter” but my fabric is NOT clutter, so I’ll have to organise these and the only way would be to make a scrappy quilt.  Easier said than done for I was at a total loss and had to e-mail blogging friend Chris for help, which she kindly gave.

So now the tedious strip cutting has started having to iron every single scrap before use (I simply stuff these in drawers according to colours and never fold them neatly).

I guess I’ll have to set my trusted timer and work 15 minutes at a time and before I know it, this too will be over.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Not that artistic after all

As usual I had a great weekend watching one TQS video after the other for free as a treat for International Quilt Day and again I was amazed by the creativity of all these quilters.  So much to do, so little time!

Well when I finally got my applique shape ironed onto the background I was not impressed at all.  I really do not have a moment’s creativity in me but heck I came this far, I had no intention of stopping here.  Winter is on its way to South Africa and I am quite convinced if all else fails, some needy person would appreciate a warm quilt and not give a damn how it looked (hopefully)!  Does this not look like some stick insect?

 I used a variegated King Tut thread to do a zig-zag stitch all around the edges of the applique shape.

And even after sewing it down, it did not look any better (and I wonder what made me think, it would?)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Jo’s Mystery Medallion Step 3

On Wednesday it was my turn to host friend Karin for this step and I prepared stuffed marrow bones on toast as a starter.  Coq au Vin Blanc as part of the main meal and Crème brûlée for dessert.  Oh I do love using French to describe a dish as the main was basically chicken cooked in white wine but it just seems so much more sophisticated in French. I must admit I screwed up the Crème brûlée at first but then Kairn realised what I did wrong and I could fix this.

We decided to only cut together as we chat, eat and drink way too much to do more.  Then we could each stitch on our own to complete this section of Jo’s Mystery Medallion.

Karin’s was already done by Thursday but I had to wait until today before I could continue with this.  So I decided to celebrate National Quilt Day on my own and I am not complaining.  Thinking on how I would have to pack up everything to attend a guild or group gathering in another place tires me.  At home I have everything I need in their place and I don’t waste time travelling.

I am also in the process of deep cleaning my sewing room starting from the ceiling with a wet cloth and working my way down, inside every cupboard, rack and drawer.  So I alternate my timer for 15 minutes cleaning and then 15 minutes sewing.

This is the result after step 3

Friday, March 17, 2017

Block 26 – Linda

Finally…. With my frozen shoulder behaving extremely well (it still freezer up at night when I’m asleep) I get to continue with my Katja Marek’s Quilt with me EPP project.

This is the 26th block of 52, so I guess I’m halfway there. Yeah!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How lucky can one get?

Just before the weekend I saw an internet post where a quilter shared the built-in laser in her sewing machine.  Not long after that another quilter showed how she used a laser tool bought from a hardware store to stick to her machine.

The laser light comes in handy when you need to sew from corner to corner with HST or joining a binding, you then don’t have to draw lines on your fabric.

Now Karin and I, still doing our mystery, had to draw umpteenth of lines when we did our flying geese round on the quilt.

So I showed the pic to DH and by golly, he came home last night with a little laser tool, made a metal clip that simply hangs off the top of my sewing machine and then the magnet at the back of the laser adheres to this metal clip.

Can’t wait to do my next flying geese or join a binding.  I think this is so cool.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Jo’s Mystery Medallion Step 2

Wednesday was Karin’s turn to host us working together and her husband’s fresh caught fish on the coals set the mood for a good night but we never got to finish our clue before we headed home.

I guess if we drank less wine and took fewer pictures we could have finished it!

We then both had to work on our own and today I finished my flying geese round.  This mystery is riddled with mistakes and quite a few people are really angry with the clues not being correct, so Karin and I just decided that we will not print or download our clues when it comes out on Mondays but wait to see how many other participants complain and how many times the clue will be revised before we start with it.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Freestyle quilt continued

The next step in completing this quilt was to use a piece of unprinted newspaper to roughly pin out the centre of the quilt where I wanted the big applique piece to be.  Having used 10” blocks made it easy and my paper had to be cut 30” x 60”.

 I then drew an abstract shape freehand as this needn’t be perfect.

This was then cut out and laid on the top again to see whether I was satisfied.  Now in all honesty even if I wasn’t 100% satisfied (which I luckily was) I would not have gone through this whole process again.

 Then came the tricky part; tracing the shape onto applique paper.  Fortunately I didn’t have to bother about reverse image but the applique paper was not quite wide enough and again, refusing to just go out and buy more, I opted to join the paper and make do with what I have. Having a cat as a helper is also no fun at all. (In hindsight…… never join applique paper, it turns into one big mess with the one paper stuck to the other ripping the gluey part off your fabric, lesson well learnt!)

 Okay with that done I wanted to show the piece of fabric that lead to my decision to start using my stash.  This print must have been in my cupboard for 5 or more years and I just figured it was time to use it.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Jo’s Medallion Mystery

Karin came over last night for an all-nighter and we started with a brand new Mystery as shared on the Facebook group Just UsQuilters.  This really didn’t take us long and we both did the centres of the Medallion.
My centre

Karin's centre
Then we still had the rest of the night ahead of us so we worked on projects that really needed our attention, in my case…..another NEW project. Karin worked on an amazingly beautiful batik scrappy hearts quilt.
I really need to get rid of fabric that has been in my cupboards for ages without ever being used.  The problem is that I don’t even notice these fabrics anymore and will easily go out and buy new ones just to realise that I already have something that could have worked.  So another resolution I have, is to start making scrappy quilts as my “scrap” drawers are simply overflowing.  One of my motivators is Chris from the blog Sewing Junkie.  She seems to be able to turn the tiniest of scrappy piece of fabric into an amazing quilt.

For this new quilt I cut 90 x 10½” blocks to use as a background planning to make something freestyle – if there ever is such a term in quilting but somewhat of my own idea using the fabric that I have.

I almost got to finish the quilt top before Karin called it a night at 4 am and headed home to dive into her own bed and I too took a quick nap and after waking up, finished the last 3 rows to at least have the background top done.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Being rid of my frozen shoulder

After 2 months of pure hell in pain, I got a cortisone injection directly into my shoulder and I IMMEDIATELY (sounds unbelievable but true) had relief.  I almost cried that afternoon, this time not of pain but because of the pure joy to be able to move again and get things done and boy, did I get it done!

The first evening it seemed I was so used to waking up every two hours due to the pain that I didn’t sleep well at all but (as if I knew it would happen, which I didn’t) I bought myself 2 new books the afternoon and when awake almost finished half at the first book during the night.

The next morning I could finally continue with my spring cleaning and decluttering that I so badly wanted to have finished by the time my daughter got married on 4 February.  I moved mountains, took off all 3 the spare bedrooms’ bedding and washed these, thoroughly cleaned out and decluttered our main bathroom, prepared a massive Sunday lunch for us and the one set of kids (the other set had prior arrangements). I then opted to rest the shoulder (even though moderate exercise is good for this condition) during the late afternoon and evening but at least I feel like a complete human again.

So although no quilting done my guest bedrooms are as neat and ready as can be for the next person in need of a place to crash.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Bachelorette and thereafter

It seems nowadays youngster are simply not just content with a Kitchen tea prior to getting married and this is regarded as an activity for the ‘older’ folks.  So the Kitchen tea on Wednesday was followed by a Bachelorette the Friday evening for the younger generation.

Now being older I simply went for the welcome drinks and snacks at DIL’s house and did the limousine ride with my daughter to the first place of gathering.  We were welcomed with cocktails and then the sexy lingerie was opened and shown.  Gosh they do have really pretty stuff nowadays and she got enough to last her on a month long honeymoon!

This being done I chose to go home and leave the brave ones to their own devices.  They are adults after all.

Now without my daughter knowing about the place mats I made, she wanted a quilt signed on her wedding day.  Luckily I don’t have to have the quilt completed before then. I just had to cut the blocks to be signed and make the sign/indication to show the guests what was expected from them and with a shoulder feeling like it is going to tear out of my body at any moment, I did this.

 These will be put up against a wall in a frame at the entrance of the venue later today.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Secret circle project revealed

The next big event for this year was the Kitchen tea for my daughter, our youngest, and it happened on her dad’s birthday using this to invite her over for some snacks with her not knowing that it is actually her kitchen tea.  My dearest daughter-in-law is an astronomical organiser and with my injured shoulder I cannot thank her enough for everything she did, planned and stepped up to.

I made all these tulle pom-poms to hang from the roof as decorations but fortunately these were made before I hurt my shoulder.

I’ve been working on a secret circle project for a while and I can now reveal what it was.  With my daughter getting married I wanted to give her something she could remember her kitchen tea by and made these place mats to match her black and white dinner set and appliqued coloured circles on it and the guest used these to write their names and a short message on a circle.

These would still be used at her bachelorette for those who did not attend the Kitchen tea to continue with the messages.