Friday, April 27, 2012

Can I whine just a little bit more?

Most days, I love being a homeowner.  Some days, NOT.
Monday, the one tenant told me that rather than moving June 1, he would be leaving THIS weekend.  Sigh.
Then the toilet backed up.  This kind of put me over the top.  Plunging and snaking did nothing, so we prepared to remove the toilet and do it the hard way.  I made a hasty trip to my local Home Hardware (great store) and grabbed a wax seal for when we would reinstall it.  When I got home - miracle!  It was working.  I guess we did dislodge whatever was the problem.  I think I'll keep the wax ring - even if it is only to ward off the evil spirits.

Some days, I need to just hide, .....  and quilt.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

FNSI didn't happen

Well, after the whirlwind of the last couple of days, I really needed a night to myself and thought I'd do the FNSI.  However, my body had a different idea.  Once I sat down, I couldn't get up.  I was exhausted, drained, craving horizontal time.  So I did.  I curled up on the sofa, dog at my side and watched tv.
Today my sewing club girls were in for their last class of this season.  They made scarves for their Moms for Mother's Day, and pj pants for their Dads for Father's Day.  Gifts for others seemed like a great idea to end our year.   I'm so proud of them.
So, after tearing out to go to Costco after the girls left, I am again, horizontal on the sofa, with my faithful puppy curled up - on top of me.  I am still pooped.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get back to sewing ?

Friday, April 20, 2012

FNSI - I need you so much today!

I'll post about what I get done tomorrow.  In the meantime I'll explain WHY I need FNSI so badly today.
Wednesday, both my boarders gave notice that they will be moving June 1.  One is moving into an apartment with a buddy, and the other is moving to another city.  I'm happy for both of them.  I'm not so happy about having to replace them.  :(
Yesterday, I'm advised by the downstairs tenant that he noticed a water leak in the basement.  It seems I've had a slow leak in the one corner, coming from the shut off valve, just before the water meter.  Thank Goodness it's before the meter, as that makes it the city's problem and not mine to replace it.
Step 1, call carpet guy to clean/dry carpet and install fans.
Step 2, on further consideration, call home insurance.
Step 3, try not to freak out when insurance adjuster notices there is the beginning of mould, and that the drywall is also damp.  (I just installed that drywall in September!)
Note: the tenant thought the smell was his dirty laundry and wondered why his asthma was acting up.  Silly boys!
Step 4, Shut off fans so it doesn't spread the mould.
Step 5, get up early Friday to be "up and dressed" for contractors.
Step 6, first contractor arrives at 9:00 am, installs a dehumidifier the size of a bus.  Tells me the "rip out" guys are going to be another hour or so, as they are running behind.
Step 7, City engineers arrive at 10:00 am to shut off water, replace valve and meter, and turn the water back on.  Only a small hole in the lawn from locating the street shut off valve. :)
Step 8, Get email from accountant, tax papers are ready to sign.  Walk the dog to destress.
Step 9, "rip-out" guys arrive at 1:40 pm, just a "little" late for the estimated 8am-12 pm time frame.
Step 10, leave one boarder in charge as I dash to the school to pick up son for a Dr's appointment that we've waited weeks for and could not be changed to next Friday - when he has a PD day and is off school - because the Dr will be away next week.
Step 11, cope with son's attitude about having to go for a "checkup"
Step 12, after checkup, Dr mentions she wants bloodwork
Step 13, watch son have total meltdown.
Step 14, drive to accountant's office to sign income tax forms.  For the first time in my life, I have to pay instead of get a refund.  Oh yay.
Step 15, stop at the lab on the way home to get son's bloodwork done.  Praying all the way that they are not closed for the weekend yet because if he has to freak out over it for the whole weekend - I won't cope, I know it.
Step 16,  Hold hand, hold face away, coo, coax, and generally get it done!  As soon as the bloodwork is done, he starts to relax and get REALLY chatty and silly.  This is my guy when a stressful situation resolves - he gets motor-mouth.
Step 17, Arrive home to find the extent of the drywall rip out.  Not as bad as expected - should be able to fix with a sheet and a half when the time comes.   See the extent of the moisture damage to floor and carpet - worse than expected.  Boarder will be sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the den for the next 2 weeks while it dries out and then wait for the contractors to repair said rip out.
Step 18, check phone to find my Mom has called 3 times since I left home at 1:40 to "see how it's going."  I love my mom.
Step 19, crash on sofa.  Dog crashes at my side.  Will rest a bit before making a valiant effort to sew SOMETHING for FNSI tonight.
Big Sigh.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Playing with Paper Piecing

I had some spare time on my hands, and a couple of fat quarters of Stonehenge fabric.  So, what's a quilter to do?  Play with a new technique, that's what.
I've done paper piecing before for a tiny project that I never finished.  But I've been seeing it pop up on blogs and videos lately, so I thought I'd give it another try. 
First, I drafted up the pattern as I saw it on a video.  The first one, of course, I got backwards !
Then, I made four blocks of the original size.  So I thought, "why not go smaller?"
A few photocopies later, and I had the pattern for a smaller size - 60% of the original.
Made up four blocks, and thought "why not go smaller yet?  So, repeat process, going to 30% size and made four of them.  I stopped there :)
Then, what am I going to do with 12 blocks, in three different sizes?
Sew them together!
I used the 'cut it larger and then trim' technique for the setting triangles to get the pieces to fit.  Unfortunately, I ran out of the background fabric.  It's a MODA blender, so I should be able to get more at my LQS.

Here's what I have so far:  I think it looks like a Christmas Cactus don't you?
It's obvious that I need to practise a bit more - the points are "a bit" off.   As I tell my son, you can't be perfect at something the first time you try it, or why would you do something again?  (as in, get your butt in gear and practise your drums!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I delivered the Dresden Plate quilts and their matching throw pillows to their happy owner yesterday.  Both she and her husband loved them.  They're going to give one to her Mom on Mother's day and keep the other.  It was such a privilege to be able to work with 80 year old blocks and complete them into quilts for her.
I was also treated to a tour of their newly built home that they moved into last weekend.
It was a good day!
I'm going to get one of the quilts back to show at our guild's quilt show May 25-26, so I plan to take some photos of it when it's hanging up properly.  I didn't dare have my son hold up a white quilt outside!! - especially just to take a photo.  Some things are just TOO risky!
This makes me wonder.  How do you photograph your quilts?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sewing club big finish :)

If you've been following my blog, you'll know about "my girls" in our sewing club.  They are 11 years old and are soaking up learning to sew like sponges.  They're amazing.  Nothing daunts them - I think it's a case of fresh minds.  They've never been told to fear certain parts of garment sewing.
So it's with great pride that I present "my girls" in their big finish - fleece hoodies!

In a matter of a few months, they've gone from learning how to turn on a sewing machine to:
Threading a machine and a bobbin.
Cleaning a machine.
Changing the machine foot, new needle.
How to thread the machine for a double needle.
Learning to read a pattern, check it for size, purchase the needed amount of fabric.
How to trace out the right size onto tissue paper using a multi-size pattern.
Convincing parents to buy fabric for FUN!  Future quilters???
They learned to stitch seams, finish seams, topstitch, double needle topstitch,   gather, stitch in the ditch, and Un-stitch too.
They learned about pre-shrinking fabric.
They learned that the iron can be their friend.
They learned how to insert a zipper into a seam.
They learned how to insert a separating zipper.
They learned how to set in sleeves.
They learned how to add a cuff to a sleeve using the freeam of their machine.
and along the way they learned a bit of trouble shooting, how to use "modern" sewing techniques (like basting tape, fusible web, rotary cutters, washable markers etc)
they learned that sewing is fun.................................

What am I most proud of?  These girls, after only a few months of sewing, decided on their own to use their skills to make their summer dream of attending a National Camp for girls,   buy making and selling headbands.

You girls ROCK !!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Book Review: Quilter's Academy Vol 1 Freshman Year

I thought I'd give book reviewing a try.  What could be better?  I get to read the book for free AND voice my opinion.  Win - win, right?  My first choice was Quilter's Academy Vol 1, Freshman Year, A skill building course in quiltmaking, by Harriet Hargrave and Carrie Hargrave.     You too can review books by C&T Publishing by checking out their Creative Troupe at 

Quilter’s Academy Vol 1, Freshman Year, A skill building course in quiltmaking.
 Harriet Hargrave and Carrie Hargrave,  C&T Publishing 2009
C&T Product # 10662

This guide to learning how to quilt does not disappoint.  It begins with the basics of how to set up a sewing area, how to choose a machine, how to choose fabric and how to start with very basic piecing using strips and rectangles.  It then progresses into drafting of quilt patterns, choosing color and value of fabrics, as well as prints and how to begin building a quilter’s stash.  It only touches upon the actual quilting part of the process as that is covered in another volume.  It finishes with a tutorial on binding.
The book is written to be a textbook and does read as such in some places.  It does focus on technique rather than flashy tricks and products.  It gives a well rounded education into the field of quilting.
Throughout the book are tips and tricks that are valuable tools especially for beginner to intermediate quilters.
There are excellent definitions of quilting terms as well as some unusual quilter speak.
Overall, this is an excellent choice for a learn-to-quilt library.  The authors are well experienced in this field and share their knowledge in an orderly, learn as you go pace.