Saturday, May 31, 2014


Just a quick note to put up some photos from Brooke's Graduation last night. A beautiful, meaningful commencement and a beautiful graduate:
 the happy family
 Happy grandparents and graduate

Today we start our journey in ernest. We are embarking on the train trip that will take us from Dar es Salam, down through Tanzania and into Zambia. It takes 46 hours plus delays so will be interesting. If you want to follow our travels in Africa, please go to:  Where are we today?

The only things that I brought with me for while I travel besides my camera, are:
~ Knitting - my silk scarf.   I will get this finished sometime for sure.
~ Crocheting - my granny square coat squares. Now that I have all the wool, I can go to town on them. I forgot, however, a needle to sew them together so will end up with a bunch of finished squares with loose tags of yarn. 
~ Needlework - 2 Christmas Crackers. These are the ones that I gave Mom for Christmas. They are just not for her in her current state. So I promised to complete them for her and then make them up into crackers. I believe that she wants to give them to my sister Lauri for Christmas, so I had better get going on them!  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Africa here we come, graduation month is a must

The month of May is a busy one for us and I can tell you it won't be in the needlework or quilting arena. Our granddaughter has many an activity and event this month in honor of her graduating high school. The high school graduation is a memorable time in a young woman's life and we are blessed to be able to share in it.

How wonderful is it to see these events as grandparents? And graduation comes this coming Friday.

Throughout these events/celebrations, I was able to finish another mugrug, this one for April, themed Fruit 
 Apple Blossoms in April lead to a basket of apples in the fall.

I was able to finish, well almost finish the flimsy for BTF#2. I miscut so had to order the last border. And so it sits waiting for me to pick up the mail, return from our next fabulous journey, and get Miss Betsy out of deep storage.

Throughout this period of time we are planning our next epic journey, this time to Africa with friends from Europe. With this in mind, Miss Betsy is put into deep storage as she is a minor irritant sitting there waiting for me to come to her and use her many talents. 

I managed to make a sandwich for my flying geese UFO. I had already sandwiched them but it was way to flimsy for even a summer quilt. So Mr. Rippit came to visit and we ripped everything out and started again. It is now at the point where I can quilt it on Miss Betsy. Do I dare get her out and try? We leave in less than a week and still have some things left to do in getting ready? hmmmmm

And so the question remains, will I get it done to qualify for this quarters Stashbuster's UFO Challenge or will I have to pay a penalty?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I tried to be productive ...

So I tried to be more productive in April, at least that was the plan. And as all planning goes sometimes, mine went awry. An unplanned, quick trip to Panama found me taking my needlework with me - no quilting.

The last couple of days I managed to complete a little bit more of Zach's quilt squares, until I ran out of the main blue. How could I have miscalculated? I had one more complete round of blue to do. to do.
 now the fun will be to try and match it up as the fabric is at least 1.5 years old.

I found inspiration for a way to present all my molls in the oddest place - a bathroom in a quilting/knitting shop.
 so of course while in Panamá, I had to buy more molas.

 This is the one that I will make into a cover for the printer which will definitely add some color to the house.

As soon as we returned, out came Miss Betsy and I was able to do some random sewing at random times in between our random ramblings. 
Christmas Cracker completed in Panama but the embellishment added once back stateside.
 First up was finishing up Rainbow Jane's Spanish Moss.
 Next was to finish March's mugrug - Luck in all Shapes ...
As well as adding to my stash at a wonderful store found near Lake Somerville State Park. This will make a flimsy for BTF #2.

I continued to work haphazardly on the Santa Stamp cross stitch. I am motivated to get it finished as I want to start a pattern that I bought while in Edmonton. It is a big project so will no doubt last a few years just like this one has. :)

Somehow life always seems to get in the way so I really haven't done much more than this. Sometimes I feel like I have done nothing yet when I start to list it all out, I have actually done a little something. I should just stop berating myself and go with the flow ...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Are these really addictions?

Time without internet, time without electricity which equates to, without one's sewing machine. Withdrawal symptoms are definitely there. Would this be considered an addiction of sorts? I would have to say so. Well, this has been my manta now for the last while and it is miserable, I can tell you.  We are back in the land of 21st Century technology and all it takes is for me to get out Miss Betsy and resume where I was when I closed her down, so why can't this be done at will?

I had been working simultaneously on DGD and DGSs quilt before I was shut down in March (National Seashore Park). You know the one that I wasn't so sure about the colors [photo] and the wonky but not so wonky lime greens and blues.  Well, I got all the lime green blocks to about 1/3 finished and also found a black that I think will work for the sashing. With the DGDs blocks, I got enough finished to put together one set of the pattern. This was so that she could look at the colors and pattern to make sure it is what she wants. The lime green is as it is - no changes. Then I realized that I had been working on the first DGS's quilt and not a thing was done on the 3rd DGSs quilt and he was the one coming to visit. So I had to do an about face and get started on his.

This involved taking a photo
 from the internet and designing out the sizes that I wanted, using choices from this fabric set.

 I started with a goal in mind - a set of 4 circular squares together so that he could see how his would look in design, if not colorway. I got a couple of insert squares completed in a left-over fabric color way not designed for anything and decided that, hey, I could make a baby quilt out of the trial and error for his quilt. I got the first 2 circles of 3rd DGDs cut out and the first set of strips cut and sewn. A mock up of the color war Not even ironed yet. And then disaster struck: the generator went kaput - no more electricity except what little we could get from solar in overcast and stormy skies and this was definitely not enough to run a sewing machine and an iron. So with a heavy heart, I put everything away so that  wouldn't be tempted to tempt fate and the solar panels. My mind however, kept thinking about his quilt as I showed him what I had, how it would look but he wants it backed with fleece and extra long like his brothers. So I came up with a slightly modified way of getting the circles on the flimsy and still back with fleece. [photo]

During this time I had also intermittently worked on starting the sample squares for the cover for the printer and the dash table as talked about in Procrastination. They are coming along quite nicely; i.e. I got the first block cut out and sewn into a haphazard start before the disaster.  It too was put away.

There was one square for Rainbow Jane - Bachelor Buttons
 completed as well.

Don't forget the quickie project for my World Wide Swap from Stashbusters - a needle holder to go along with the stash exchange. The was made from scraps of another project that is still a UFO.

There was no hand sewing of any kind to be done there.

Now what to do? My hands were idle, not busy as they normally are. Oh well, off to the bag of handwork UFOs to pull out the first random one to work on. And it was……. oh my goodness, the cross stitch postage stamp Santa that is definitely not a favorite,
 Who ever heard of greens in the beard and yellows in the fur on his hat when the pompom is whites and blues? Oh well, if I finish it I can start another travel project. It has only been on the go since 2010 - a UFO for sure.

And of course there were always the Christmas Crackers ....

During our stay in the area around Corpus Christi I was also able to sign up and take a half day class for building (read sewing here) a fabric bowl. I had wanted to do this for some time and here was the chance.

Fun fabric, meeting new people, and finding another equally fun project. Oh boy, I think more to come.

And all of this was just March. Of course April is another story! And yes, I would say that I am addicted!

Friday, February 28, 2014

New toy and mug rug finish

My new toy allowed me a fast finish(due before midnight tonight) of February's One Toe Out of the Box mug rug with "Love" as the theme.
Two Hearts Beat as One
The background fabric of floating hearts is pretty busy so I made the appliqué very plain - simply the two intertwined hearts. The floating hearts have been FMQd. The right side, middle hearts on white fabric is densely quilted for the mug to sit on. I do now understand why the instructions recommended that appliqué pieces be backed with a "wonder under" type fabric and then cut like paper. It was hard to get the hearts straight and tight in order to satan stitch around them. I ended up using spots of glue out of another appliqué kit. The glue claims to wash out easily or even soak out. This was a fun project and already March's theme - "Luck" is sending all sorts of ideas pulsing through my mind.

I did not get the February UFO finished as I had hoped. Monkeys Jumping on the Bed still waits the final border to be quilted, squaring and trimming, the binding applied and then a label. Hopefully within the first few days of March a finish ill be accomplished.

Working helper skelter on the blocks for Brooke and Zach's quilts. Also need to get started on Blake's so that he can see them as well when he comes.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What a surprise.

Yesterday I had gone in to the sewing machine shop to pick up Mr. Brother from servicing. Danny accompanied me and started looking over the various machines and toys and their respective bells and whistles. Of course I took great pains to show him the long arm machine, its setup and how it works with the computer set-up. Living in a RV we simply don't have the room to have such a toy and I told him that it was my "lust machine". The last few days he has been asking me what machine I would love to have if I could have any one that I wanted. Of course, this one comes under that category. While in the shop we overheard the ladies talking about the fact they were getting in their long-awaited order of Brother Scan n Cut, the very one that I wanted for Christmas. They didn't have them in though.

So today, Danny heads out on an errand early this am. Lo and behold when he comes back he brings me a Scan n Cut. Wow, whoopee. I couldn't wait to try it out. I have just the thing too. He tells me that it is a fabulous machine as the lady demonstrated it for him.

This evening I was able to try it out after reading the instruction manual, and the how-to's. I tried to scan and save to a memory stick but it wouldn't work. So I scanned and cut from a resident form. A heart within a heart so that when cut it was an outlined heart. Worked great and cut 2, one right after the other. And of course, me, I didn't get any photos as I did it. Next trial for sure.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Instead of biting the bullet and getting started on the FMQ of the UFO Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and the February rug-mug, I procrastinated once again and made and noted the blocked for Zach's quilt.
  It is quite vivid and the fun will be when trying to decide on a shushing and a border. Hopefully I will get some input from the ladies of Stashbusters and Lib-Quilters. Now to make 24 more of them keeping the thought in the back of my mind as to sashing and borders.

I may bust some stash with this quilt but I have already made up for it as I bought some more fabric yesterday for the dash cover for the RV. I was looking for teal and a teal with a flash of color in it for the centre piece. Well, I think I found it - not quite the magenta pink that I wanted but the red is just as good.
 I still need to find a white to go with it. I am hoping that I have one here with me and that I didn't put all of them into the storage unit the last go around of cleaning.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Celebration of February

February is a great month for Danny and me: both have birthdays, Valentine's Day, and anniversary. To celebrate this year we took a quick car trip to Port Aransas on the Texas Coast. We also decided that this would be a great place to bring the grands for Spring Break.
 The weather was cold and rainy most of the time but it sure was refreshing. The skies were grey, overcast and often times rainy.

The car tripping allowed for more knitting on the second cowl. It is slowly getting to the right length of 54+" but I did have a visit from Mr. Rippit. Had moved the ribbing by one stitch and boy what a look that gave. LOL  Am inching slowly forward as we move the RV however, and now only have about 10inches left to do. Being a "car/RV trip only" project, and no further tripping after this one in the foreseeable future, it might take a bit to get it done. Our RV moving will only be around one area within a radius of about 25 miles.

Hoteling it when the evening weather outside is cold and blustery allows for more work to be done on the Christmas cracker as well.
I got all the beads on and finished to the point where I have to gather or ruffle some flair. As I have never done this, it will be an interesting learning experience. There are no instructions on how to do it so will be doing some trial and error I am sure.

My main focus for this month will be trying to complete a UFO Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and doing another mug-rug for the month of February with Love being the moniker. For the quilt, I am doing some playing with Superior Threads Glitter and the different embroidery motifs on the machine.
I had gotten to the last square and Miss Betsy started to squeak on me. I called a service centre and got "Oh Oh, you better bring it in" which I ended up doing once we got to the Corpus Christi area. In the meantime I inched my way along trying to finish up the basic square and inner border on the quilt so that I could do the outer border on Mr. Brother. Also had Miss Betsy serviced and yet, horrors upon horrors, had it back within 36 hours. Can't beat that - didn't even have time to get out Mr. Brother in her stead. So now Mr. Brother is now in being serviced. The only thing left on the quilt is the outside border, the binding, and the label. Can I do it?

The mug-rug will use up some of the fabric FQs that I got at the Waco "Winter Wonderland Quilt Show" - Stonehenge's Sweetheart grouping.
 This is what I have to work with.
I have an idea but am not sure how it will work out. Here too time will tell.
 basted, ready to work with. I was going to put hands being held on it but I didn't ave any flesh colored stash and as I want it all to be stash, .....

As we are planning on being in one place for greater lengths of time this month and next, I got out Rainbow Jane and restarted her. I have updated the website found on the right of the blog. I actually finished the second block
and printed off instructions for 2 more blocks, one square and one triangle, but not the templates. The templates come from the software and I think that is still in the storage unit. Drats! Maybe I can copy them from the book. When I reviewed the blocks found in the first series I found that I am probably going to get over my aversion to curves in quilting piecing - there is lots of it. But for now, more traditional piecing. Man, the pieces are tiny, fiddly and hard to match up even with paper piecing. I can see why people take forever to make one of these. I even managed to get the template onto Photoshop where I can add the finished blocks to it.

Now that we are settled in for 10 days, I will hopefully finish both the quilt and the mug rug and start a couple more of the Rainbow Janes.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Already February ...

It is amazing how fast time flies. My mother used to tell me that the older I got the faster time would fly by and I sure am a believer now. Almost the end of January, and what have I accomplished?

Starting with our return to the USA, the first "get re-acquainted with" Miss Betsy was the first UFO finish of the year. I needed to do this to get my mojo back in place after it's long hiatus. Winter's Coming did just that.

But then my declining mojo was interrupted again as we took a flying trip to Canada to visit my folks. What could I take that was easy and quick? The cowl that Brooke indirectly asked me to make for her. It knit up quickly and by the 3rd day of visiting (taking into account that I had hours and hours of flight time) I had the required 54+" done.
Once home I quickly got it sewn up and mailed.

When I finished with the knitting the next thing out of the bag was the third in the Golden Cracker Christmas series.
This looked like a fairly easy one to do until I looked closer at it. A lot of beads to be attached which is not a good thing for air travel. Too much to worry about in too little of arm/maneuvering room to fiddle with beads. So I got that to the bead stage before leaving. I have since added some of the beads and continued on while parked here in the RV in the Coooold weather of Texas.

As a result of this, I ended up buying a second set of knitting needles in Edmonton for the trip back to Texas. Started a second cowl, this one for me, which will be a "in the car" project only. By the time I got home, I had 1bout 12" done on it. Rocking and rolling.

With the weather here in Texas taking a turn for the worse, I then started to organize my stashes here in the RV. There is way too much and I need to learn to concentrate on only a couple of projects in each medium at a time. Listed out a ziplock bag of stash so that I know where it is when I need it and it will go into the storage unit next trip.

For now I started on the One Toe Out of the Box  January challenge - Snow: A rug mug. I decided that for each month I would make a mug rug and give the series to my DDIL in Texas for her desk at work (she eats at her desk all the time). This will be her Christmas present for 2014. Fabric cut to 8"x11", quilted and bound with a monthly theme.
 Didn't realize before that the one side is a little wonky. Should have looked at that a little more closely. Guess I will be going back and fixing that!

Next up, getting started on piecing Brooke's quilt. I cut out the fabric to make the first of the blocks to see how I like them one evening while trying to stay out of the elements. This is where I am currently at: Ziplock bags labeled with each unit.
 From here I will construct the blocks, section by section. I am sure that there is a better way that I can organize them but for the life of me, I can't come up with one. I will have to go to the store to see what I can find to organize them in a manner that makes it easy to use and to store on a daily basis. 

Having had a discussion on leaders and enders, I am going to see what I can put together to try that out. For now, however, I will use Zach's quilt blocks in between each snowball square in Brooke's to simplify the sewing - no struggling with each corner square, one on top of the other. Zach's blocky is taken from the Wonky Log Cabin block found at Just Jude's blog made with blocks like this ... 
 only out of blue and lime greens.

As for UFO completions, I am working on getting my "Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" (girl) quilted. As a UFO, this is how it looks, being taken out of the from Panamá box.

 This is really cute fabric and I bought enough to make another but in a Friendship pattern as well as the same fabric in blues for boys. The Friendship is a UFO not even listed: It is still in the Panamá Box while the boys one is still in the wanna make pile. The last time I went to the storage unit I was able to find the fabric that I bought for the binding so now it is simply a matter of getting it completed. Working diligently on it: 

I foresee a break in my mojo coming fairly soon. A trip to Panama is in the works and later, a trip to Iraq, but in the meantime, onward with the sewing/quilting/needlework.