Saturday, November 30, 2013

Take It Easy

Before I could poke along on the Bonnie K. Hunter mystery, Celtic Solstice, I needed to finish up cutting my 100 Half Width Of Fabric 2 1/2" Civil War strips for an upcoming swap. I had most of the 5 lights and 5 darks already cut.  I just needed one more light!

Five full width of fabric strips in Judy Rothermel's Party Of Twelve gave me just the thing. Each one gets scissor clipped in half to make ten HWOF strips that go onto the ten waiting stacks.

When the ten stacks of ten were complete and I folded them and loaded each one into a snack sized baggie.

After each baggie got an address label, it was put into a big baggie and loaded into a bubble-wrap lined priority mailer and mailed out this morning to Subee, our washed-fabric swap hostess over at Quiltville Swap. It's a great group if you like swapping with responsible folks!

Then I was able to cut out a few of the Tri Recs EZ ruler/template pieces after reviewing Bonnie's wonderful instructions at Quiltville's Quips & Snips.
Although I've owned these ruler/templates for over a year, I never broke the package open to use them. Now that's a confidence problem!!! LOL, I was so relieved to learn that they are used just the same way that I would use the EZ angle ruler.

First you cut the strips to the correct size. Above are my neutrals in 3 1/2" swaths. I love that little red flowered Cumberland on cream background!

I stupidly began cutting at the wrong end of the strip and had some waste and some creases. So I worked smarter on the next set of neutral strips.

I cut quite a lot but didn't count how many. Then I cut a few of the mirror image blue triangles, also from 3 1/2" strips.

Again, I did quite a few but didn't count how many I'd done. That seemed like a good stopping place for the day.
Then I really got distracted by a piece of blue fabric from my fellow Stashbuster friend, Joyce in Connecticut. It was in a big bag of Civil War scraps that she'd sent me in return for some of my red plaid homespuns.
I had ironed this lovely Jacobean floral on a blue background to use it in Celtic Solstice. The more I ironed it, the more I fell in love with it!!! I just could not bring myself to cut it up into little pieces. So I took the rest of the afternoon off and made myself a scarf out of it instead, LOL!

I found a fabric that worked well for the "wrong" side of the scarf and sewed it all into a tube that was twice the crosswise width of the fabric. My strips were about 4" wide. I only had a scant running quarter of a yard of the blue. I know, I know, it's a pretty floral. I can never resist them!

I have since that last photo, pressed the scarf, but tomorrow I think that I will topstitch it too.

When I took the new scarf upstairs to try it in a mirror, I kept hearing an odd banging sound. It was quite irregular in it's rhythm.
It wasn't the furnace. It wasn't the washer. It wasn't the dryer. What the heck was it???? Finally, I tracked the sound down to the guest bedroom.

Miss Emma Lynn, what are you doing there????

Perched on the side of the guest bed, she was wagging her tail into the wooden foot-board of the bedstead, which was acting like a soundboard and amplifying the thumps! What was she watching through the window so excitedly?
Ah, there was a big red cardinal sitting in the rosebush eating rosehips. How dare he?

Miss Emma woofed away but the big puffy cardinal was cold and hungry. He wasn't leaving until he finished his dessert! As they say, "Life is uncertain; eat dessert first!"

Footnote: this quote is by Ernestine Ulmer, an American writer who lived from 1892 to 1987 and survived to be 94 on this regimen.

Happy sewing!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Secrets Revealed!

No, no, I'm not talking about the Bonnie K. Hunter mystery, Celtic Solstice that just began today! But I'll be working on that clue 1 for this week, so you'll see that later in a few days. But if you want to join in that fun, here is the link to it.

This secret project was a farewell quilt for our beloved Alton Senior Center former director, Amy Braun. She was called away to go work at the sumptuous assisted living facility called Sugar Hill in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

This quilt was worked on by all the gals in The Sunshine Club quilters as we pooled our stashes to make a scrappy 4" tumblers quilt. We wanted it to be from all of us!

Here is Sue ironing freezer paper onto the backs of some of the light-toned tumblers to make it easier for folks to sign the quilt.

We all worked to get as many of the regulars that come to the Center to sign their name on a light tumbler and we had to be very sneaky so Amy wouldn't see it happening!

Margorie brought in a lot of cut tumblers made with a borrowed template. I did most of the assembling of the blocks.

Here is The Sunshine Club when the top was all assembled and after it was quilted by me on my old trusty White Sewing Machine.

 We had it pinned onto the Thanksgiving quilt just so that the regulars could see it for a day before we presented it to Amy up in Wolfeboro at her new job.

Didn't Pauline do a fabulous job on that red binding? I'm showing the next picture of Pauline holding a different quilt because she did the binding at home and I have no pictures of her working on it, but here she is!

Amy just loved her new quilt and had to hold back her tears of grateful appreciation!

Some of the ladies that happened to be enjoying coffee together right there at the Sugar Hill coffee shop were from the Ladies Of The Lakes Guild and were happy to take our picture with Amy.

Pauline, Amy, Sue, Margorie, and Victoria (me).

It was a wonderful moment and I am glad to share it with you! There were hugs all around and soon we were out in the brisk New Hampshire air.

But as I walked back to my car, I was dismayed to see that my front license plate was missing!

When I got home and reported my problem to my two heroes, Felix and Matthew, they took Felix's mountaineer on a mission. Recall that I had gone off the road twice on black ice and then gotten hit by another sliding car last Saturday night?

Well those two wonderful guys of mine scoured both locations. They finally were able to find my lost license plate and a part of my front bumper lying in the tall grass in a ditch along Route 107 in Belmont!!! Talk about lucky finds, wow! Tomorrow they will work on getting it all back together for me.

Stay calm and quilt on!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Traveler's Day

Not too much to report that's quilty, but I find that easy, mindless sewing still takes time and effort. I have been sewing the blocks and strips for the Tavern Reds and Cheddar quilt.

I bought these Paula Barnes for Marcus Brothers precut strips from Keepsake's website when they had a 25% off sale back in April of this year. The Mothership itself is great for browsing for fabrics but their website gives very little information about fabric manufacturers. As a fabric snob, this is a problem!

I ironed on a scrap of matching backing onto some freezer paper to do a label for that quickie quilt that I made from 2 Paintbox charms. Now to just find my fabric pen! I used to print my labels on the computer on Printed Treasures, but it just got too pricey and it was a pain to space four to a page neatly.

I caught a sale at Hancock's of Paducah and picked up these Judy Rothermel Party of Twelve beauties for a nice price. But I was unable to gloat because there was no invoice nor catalog enclosed with my order to show what I paid for what. Hmmm. All this paperless trend is going too far!

That large tan piece in the middle is a prize! It is Marcus Brothers' Aged Paper-bag muslin and I bought three yards of it. It looks fabulous with Civil War selections that are often printed on tan stock fabric.

Monday I awoke early to catch this breath-taking sunrise. It reminded me that it's great to be alive.
I hope you have safe travels if you are enroute today to family celebrations and that you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Small Owie On My Car

We took Matthew out for his Birthday dinner celebration last night because he is working from 6 to 6 on Wednesday, his 24th birthday. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Hong Kong Buffet and headed home by about 7pm.
But, as we ate, a cold front moved in, dropping temperatures and a glaze of ice over all the roads that then changed over to snow on top of it. Black ice!!! The deadliest driving conditions of all.

I was driving my 1989 Mercury Marquis sedan with two wheel drive. At least I had studded snow tires that Felix and Matthew had graciously put on the day before. But this part of New Hampshire is quite hilly and the black ice spun me out as I tried to go up Cotton Hill or Mystery Hill on Route 107. I did a complete donut and landed in a shallow ditch going the opposite direction! I was able to drive out of that and we quickly determined that a broken stick was all that was causing the ticking noise.

We changed our route and went back into Laconia to get on route 106 going south into Belmont. The roads were treacherous! It required all of my concentration to hold my big old car on the road. We got into Belmont to the intersection of Route 106 and Route 140 at the lights and headed uphill on the huge Gilmanton Road hill. We spun out again! Did another complete donut, crossing over the oncoming lane and narrowly missing a guardrail. We landed on a small bit of sandy gravel that was unfrozen headed for a VERY steep drop-off into some woods. I felt like Thelma and Louise! But we were all unhurt and so very grateful for that! I tried to back out, away from the cliff and promptly was stuck in the soft earth up to my hubcaps. But at least, I was completely off the road. It was 7:30pm and we were not going anywhere, fast!

A good Samaritan stopped as she was coming down the hill and called for the police. As she was there, another car, that was also traveling downhill, lost control and slid right between the good Samaritan's car and mine, hitting my car with a glancing blow to my rear left bumper and then hitting the guardrail. That driver was, I later learned, Annette T. who was mostly unhurt except for smacking her knee on her own dashboard.

Soon, a police car arrived and reports were filled out and information exchanged. It was very difficult to stand or walk and very cold! At one point, Annette slipped and fell right onto her back on the pavement!
Annette's car wasn't running and mine was, with the heater going full blast. So we invited her to sit in my driver's seat where it was the warmest and I sat in the back with Matthew and my big case for the Featherweight. We passed a delightful hour waiting for the tow truck to arrive, chatting and eating hard peppermint twist candy. Annette also lives in Gilmanton and is a spritely 81 years young!

As the plow truck arrived to salt/sand the area, he started to get stuck too. Then there were at least two more accidents involving the plow.A second police car, had arrived too. We had been told that the safest place was to stay in the car.
At last, at about 9pm, Rusty's tow service pulled me out of the gravel and I drove away down the hill. Fortunately, I had the checkbook and was delighted to pay him his very low fee of $60. But the hill was now even more impassable and I was going in the wrong direction, LOL! MY, my, what to do?

We rejoined Route 106 south and hoped that perhaps the snow/ice line of weather might be nearby and that we might be able to drive out of it. No! The road was still terrible and I drove 20 to 25 miles an hour on a road whose speed limit is usually 50mph. We got down to Allen's Mill Road, a very steep-hilled shortcut up onto Route 140. Hallelujah!!! A small sander truck was there! As we watched, he laid a thick swath of pure salt onto the road, making it passable!

We got home at 10:00pm and counted all our blessings!!! We are so lucky.

I love driving a tank!

Stay calm and quilt on!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Busy Days

Wednesday at the Sew & Sews was lots of fun as I played with RJR "Lovely" charm packs by sewing on some "flippy corners." They are all the the purple floral family, so it was a brief break from my usual preference for Civil War selections.

I'm still loving that wonderful pool of light provided by my Ikea lamp courtesy of my dear friend Grace over in Maine!
Jean and Dwana and Judy were working piecing or hand hemming projects. We are so lucky that The Taylor Community allows us to use this room two Wednesdays a month for free, with free parking, too.
Dutchman's Puzzle!
Then on Thursday, there was an early Thanksgiving dinner served to us at the Alton Senior Center. It was good food and extra fun for me. I loved having Matthew and Felix join me there to meet the folks with whom I'm usually socializing on Fridays.

Matthew, Victoria, and Felix
There was even live entertainment after the meal!

Vivian and Ray performing.
 Vivian and Ray put on their gig of stories by Vivian, and songs from the fifties and sixties by Ray.
Ray had a wonderful voice! I enjoyed Vivian's stories, too.

Ray donned an Indian Warbonnet to sing, "Running Bear" by Bobby Darin. 
Then, today, I was right back at the Alton Senior Center for the quilting group that I lead there.

Kevin and Paul, and then later, after this picture was taken, Richard, joined us as we all chatted and ate Hersey's Milk Chocolate Nuggets and drank the free decaf coffee. 
Yes, once again, it was raining, LOL! But we made our own sunshine! At this meeting we decided to officially change our name from "The Sunshine Girls" to "The Sunshine Club." We wanted to be all inclusive in our name. After some discussion we all liked the word, "Club" better than "Gang." So, The Sunshine Club, it is!!! Guys are welcome!

When I got home after a few rousing good rounds of Bingo, I discovered that Mr. Matthew was using my little garden bench to a good purpose. 

He was installing the four brand new tires that he and Felix had just picked up at Sam's Club down in Concord! I'm glad he stayed up off the cold wet pavement. He had done a fine job restoring the luster on the chrome hubcaps that he had polished and painted, too!

Of course, Miss Raven knows how to avoid cold wet pavement, too, LOL!

Stay calm and quilt on!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Seniors Rule!

Yesterday was the monthly Senior Luncheon at the Gilmanton Community Church. The menfolk were all busy traveling to auto parts stores or crawling around on the asphalt under vehicles, so I decided to to take myself!

And no, we DON'T  have staying snow yet, it's just that the above picture is from my older files.

The Corners Church

The one church congregation was combined many years ago from the two churches in two of the three villages of the Gilmantons.

The Iron Works Church

So the services alternate between the two traditional white New England church buildings with one fine pastor uniting them.
The Senior Luncheon is held at the Gilmanton Four Corners church, in it's ample basement.

I enjoyed my garden salad, shepard's pie (cooked hamburger mixed with kernel corn and topped with homemade mashed potatoes), and home made squares of fresh gingerbread cake with whipped cream and hot coffee. There is a donation basket at the door where you put in what you wish.

It was fun and we were all talking about the 30 to 40 degree shift in the temperatures outside. It went from 63 to 33 just overnight! If you don't like New England weather, just wait a minute; it will change, LOL!

On the quilty front, I decided to start one smallish new quilt while awaiting the start of Bonnie K. Hunter's Celtic Solstace mystery. When I had ordered some sale-priced 2 1/2" precut strips from The Mothership (a.k.a. Keepsake Quilting), they had nicely put in free instructions for Woven Ribbons.
The strips were Tavern Reds by Paula Barnes for Marcus, I believe, and the black & white (grays) printed pattern just screamed, "Give me colors!"

So I obliged and chose a bright solid cheddar! As you see, I chose to do strip-piecing construction rather than cut 120 individual neutral squares as the pattern instructions read.

Pressing towards the dark both sides.

I was able to get 16 cross-cuts of 2 1/2" joined tri-strip panel pieces per each panel.

The reds and the neutrals are scrappy with the cheddar as my constant. The blocks are easy. I like easy!

I think that choosing a very simple quilt pattern allows the fabrics to shine, don't you?

When my garage door blows open if it is windy, guess who decides that we really should have housecats rather than barncats?
LOL! Please note that the tip of Miss Emma Lynne's tail is wagging approval, LOL

Tyler leads the way and Tanner came right in, too!
Lastly, before I go, would you please say a brief prayer for Joe and Camille for his recovery from open heart surgery, thanks!

Stay calm and quilt on!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Three Little Kittens

The three little kittens are not so very little any more at six months old.

Because there is one female, Tanner, and two males, Tipper and Tyler, it was imperative that I capture each one, load them each into a cat carrier, and get them all to be spayed/neutered.

I got up at 5am on Wednesday and got them there to a sponsoring shelter who took them to a clinic. If it weren't for my wonderful friend, Ernie, who is Margorie's husband from the Sunshine Girls, I would still be wondering how on Earth to get this task done!

Above is Tanner, the little female, staying indoors in my cellar for two nights as she recuperated from her spaying surgery. That was good enough for my cat allergic husband, Felix.

The dogs were actually very concerned and worried when the kitties were missing. Raven asked to go out more often and would stand in the middle of the dogyard sniffing the air looking for any sign of them.

Emma Lynn would search the garage looking for them. When the kittens came back home, there was lots of vigorous tail wagging and some sniffing of afflicted bottoms, too!

Now, of course, I just could not drive right past Marden's, but had to stop in, LOL!

My budget is stressed out but I did grab a couple of orange fabrics for the Bonnie K Hunter mystery at Quiltville's quips and snips blog.

And my dear friend Sharon sent me some smashingly good colors for the mystery, too! Thank you so very much!

 Felix and Matthew have been taking advantage of these last few days of nice weather by changing oil, checking anti freeze and front end lubing our fleet of sad old vehicles. Remember Matthew had been waiting for that new headlight assembly to arrive?

Well, it finally came and he got it installed right away!


Good going, Matthew! One thing that we learned this week is that Matthew may not legally register his truck until after he has successfully petitioned the court to reinstate his driver's license this December. It has been a very long 4 years of suspension. He promises to never speed again!

Wednesday night, I enjoyed showing off my quicky quilt, Paintbox by Moda, at the Belknap Mill Quilter's Guild meeting.

And yesterday, we had a neat meeting of The Sunshine Girls over at the Alton Senior Center. I started a new project there with some flippy corners on an RJR charm pack called Lovely.

Here I am sewing on flippy corners.

Margorie was there and had begun a new crochet scarf.

Sue and Pauline helped each other with batting issues for Sue's Rail Fence quilt.

And we all ate Hersey's Milk Chocolate Nuggets and laughed and drank coffee.

Through all of the busy days I did do some cutting of scraps into 2 1/2" squares for my four-patches. It seemed that there was never time to sew. This is my one block for the week just for my sanity, LOL!

Happy sewing!

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