Friday, 13 May 2016

The Annual Family Picnic

Just heard knocking on the window. A duck. I don't know if it was picking the bugs off the windowsill, or asking for a corn refill. Either way, we both got what we wanted.

I miss the dog. Angus was so much fun! Now, mind you - let's not forget that 10 days is a reasonable commitment when you are talking dog. Those things need a great deal of maintenance! I loved every minute, but on the 11th day, I rested. Here I am resting prior to the 11th day. It was an enforced rest.

I have to make a list of what to sew. Every time I go to the 'makery' I am overwhelmed by the possibilities. So much fabric, so little ability to not start and stay with one project at a time. And then, why do I care about that? Why do we put pressure on ourselves to complete projects or make 'good use of our time'? Mind you, I do need clothes. Maybe it's not me doing the pressure so much as it might be my closet. Ah! I do have a boss - and it seems I bow to the hanger. I'm good with that. 

Oh, and the undie drawer seems to have an issue with me too. I am a woman with many bosses.

On Mother's Day the sisters and I had the annual Mother's Day Picnic with my mother, her mother and lots of other family members at the Chester graveyard. We spread out the picnic blanket, open the snack and wine and have a proper family time. Mom likes a nice glass of wine, so we pour her a sip. The same man we met there last year drops by and offers to bring the wine next year. He's visiting the wife. We make a date with him for 2017, Mother's day at 1 pm. This all makes sense to us. It just feels right.

Although I could never explain to anyone outside our immediate family why mom has yet to get a marker with her name - we all understand. It's been 9 years. She might get her marker this year. Maybe. It's an act of great love and respect on our part to honour the family tradition of procrastination. It's what we do, but only when wildly inappropriate and yet fitting into the family criteria.

Oh, and there was an almost albino blue jay at the picnic. White with a few black streaks in its tail. It hung around for a while so we got to enjoy it. Neat!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Cherry Cake

The excitement continues! The CS Pro2 should come on the big brown truck on Tuesday. Staff are on high alert. My cell phone is at hand. Preparations continue.

I bought fabric for the sewing space do over. I have a lovely sewing space. It's time to make it beautiful. And my machines all need covers. The dust that gathers is so harmful, and as electrical devices they attract lint. Then there will be chair covers, accessories - general frivolity.

One of the virtual gifts I got was an idea for a project. I want to stitch out stitches I don't know. The machine has about 600. I think if I already know it, I may skip over a few. C brought me some lovely projects she stitched out (see last post) so I based my fabric choices on a sweet print I have loved for some time. I bought the remaining fabric on the bolt. There should be enough for a sewing room mum! Then I pulled in some solids to show off machine stitch work.

Thanks to those who have contributed to my virtual shower! It's been hard to make people realize I don't actually want anything. I just want the ideas! Share in my excitement people! Send me a virtual gift!

Monday morning I am baking a lovely cherry pound cake for the arrival.

Mouse update: DH cleaned up the makeshift house and found no bodies or other signs of mice. I'm hopeful this means they collected the troops and went on their way. DH says they have probably moved back in the garden shed. If so, I'll be letting them stay.

Our house guest is  making himself comfortable. He is smart and aims to please. I like him. However he does remind us how much care a dog requires, and therefore I don't see a dog on our horizon.

There was great consternation when his fav stick just wouldn't fit up the stairs and had to stay at the park. He did give it a good try.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Virtual Shower For Me!

There is so much excitement in my life right now, I may explode!

First - the other day I stopped at an intersection and let a large dump truck proceed. They have brakes and shifting and things - they deserve a break when you can and when you should. So as the truck passes me the load cover lifts and lowers! Just like it was tipping its hat to me! Better than running into Mickey Mouse at Disney! Amazing! Makes you feel like the princess you are!

Next, we are sitting a 75 lb. Irish Setter named Angus. He is so sweet, well mannered and he loves to spoon! We are really enjoying his company. That poor dog is being walked off his paw pads! After some time with no pet it is a treat to have him here. Though, I must say it's best not to follow him up the stairs. That rear end is like a little perfume atomizer - puff, puff, puff!

But the big news is>>>>>

I'm getting a new sewing machine!!!!!!

A really big one, and it's brand new!!!!!!

I finally decided to go for the new Creative Sensation Pro 2. It's just been released and I am jumping on it. The CS Pro has been a great, reliable machine. This machine adds a few bells and whistles and I am ready to go sewing/embroidery. I like to embroider and it seems silly not to get a machine that does it well. It also sews beautifully. The tension thingy is amazing and helps with both sewing and embroidery.

Now I did consider the new Husqvarna Designer Epic. I drool for the features on that machine. However, I want to stay Pfaff for the IDT (walking foot built in). Pfaff may be coming out with an 'Epic jump' in features as well. If and when they do I may reconsider then. My options are there.

So the order went in today and it should be here next week. In the meantime I am throwing myself a virtual shower, and you are all invited!

If you could, and money is not in question, what would you give me as the perfect present for the new embroidery/sewing machine owner? It could be an accessory, fabric, whatever! It could even be a project that I should try. What was the best thing you got yourself, or did?

The Great P 'gave' me a virtual magnetic hoop. She finds it practical and versatile.  I agree, and have one on order.

Our technician brought me a project she did and suggests I do. I want to spend some time stitching out the decorative stitches. Everyone says that but we rarely get there. They look so much better stitched out than they do on the machine menu. She thinks it's best if the stitch out then goes into something you use. For inspiration she brought me some bags and a seat cover/bag she made long ago - and still uses. Excellent!

So. Come to my virtual sewing machine shower! Bring me your fav accessory or project that will send me off to a great start with my new baby! Help yourself to the virtual and calorie free temptations and make yourself comfortable. I am so excited!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

If Mice Would Just Wear Nappies

It was lovely yesterday! Sunny and perfect for rummaging around the garden shed.

We moved lots of things out to make room for gardening activities. Lawn furniture, that sort of thing. I was digging in my cupboard drawers looking for some wettable sulfur when my nose picked up a less than delicate scent. Yuck! Stinky mouse pee in my potions and lotions drawer!

Now pay attention. Stupidity sets in here.

I am grossed out thoroughly but figure I better do the cleaning today as it won't get any better with time. I start to pull things out and set them outside for bleaching and hosing. Most things are in bins so it's easy to do. The bottom drawer has the foam sheets I used for wrapping trees. It's really stinky and I pick it up by both ends so no pee spills out.

I make it to the door before I realize that wasn't what I needed to notice.

Things like:

  • the pee smell was fresh - very fresh
  • foam is soft and easily chewed
  • mice had been there for some time - why?
So at the door the well chewed bottom drops out of the pile of foam and a mass of chewed foam, a mother mouse and a whole bunch of baby mice drop on the doorstep. OMG!

Mother picks up a baby and runs to a plumbing pipe lying handy by the door. She stuffs baby in and then turns to glare at me. I'm horrified! The babies seem too young to move on their own and I figure the best I can do is to put the group back together in a safe and warm spot. DH is fetched from his workshop and brings a milk carton with an old towel. I scoop mice into the carton, push it over the mouth of the pipe, dump seeds next to it, cover it with other bins and insulating layers. I'm still horrified, but recovering. I feel so bad! Poor little family! 

Back to the cleaning. I mix the bleach really strong (I hate to admit I even own bleach,  but there are times when nothing else will do). I spray everything in the bins and let it sit while I go back to the drawers. There are cardboard tubes in the bottom drawer I haven't yet moved and I decide they need to go. As I reach for the first one, it moves.

Add to the 'need to notice' list above:
  • the babies seemed to be in two groups - older and younger
  • this might indicate more than 1 mother
Mother #2 pops out of the tube, checks me out and scampers over the drawer wall - and then who knows where? I am a home wrecker and a family breaker upper! 

I clean the drawers and the bins. I no longer smell bleach, it's just what the world smells like, I think. I left the door open all day so maybe mouse #2 can come out and find her babies again. 

The mice here are really quite cute. They have round little bodies, they don't bolt and they hop. Really quite adorable! As DH has had them climb his legs on 2 separate occasions, we call them pant mice. 

I can only imagine what they call me. 

And yes, we do figure the baby she grabbed first was her favourite. Every mother has one.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Do Onto Chickens....

I will be 60 in July. I find myself referring to me as already 60. I'm not sure why. Mental rehearsal? I used to think this was going to be hard, and it may yet still be. But feeling good about it right now!

Can't decide to party or not. Any thoughts?

Some events come back to you vividly. Many years ago I was teaching a small group of 8 year olds and we somehow got on the topic of where water goes when you send it down the drain. This led to toilets and where that all goes. At that time our waste water went directly, untreated, into the harbour - not more than 100 metres from where we were at the time. We could see the harbour out the window.

The looks on their faces will never leave me. It was profound. The horror! The knowledge that adults, trusted people who ruled their worlds - would do such a thing! How could this be so? No politician would have left the room alive. They would have shrivelled in the glare.

Notice how I ignore my role in all this. I tried, but it just makes you think. All the time, at the most inopportune moments. What kind of touch am I leaving on this world?

So I see this short video on Facebook. I try not to fall into those rabbit holes, but I was weak.

It showed the life of a chicken, from egg to store. I raised ducklings with my grade 2 classes, so I have a thing for fluffy hatchlings. Mind you, I do find chicks stupid. Ducklings are intelligent, and they like to sit on your feet while you teach. Love that. So cute. And then they poop.

It was not a horror film designed to send you to nightmare city for the next week or two, but it pushed me over that edge. I don't think I can buy regular chicken anymore. I want happy, free range and naturally unengineered chickens. I'm also thinking that way for meat in general, and less of it all.

I'm not militant. I just want to be aware, and able to look those 8 year olds in the eyes. I am currently finishing off the 'bad' freezer contents. Waste not, after all. DH looked at the price tag on the free range chicken I bought and decided his conscience will allow him to eat the factory chicken after all. That's fine. He knows his way to the store. I can only be responsible for me.

I also checked out a Michael Pollan book from the library. It won't be the page turner the Michael Connolly was, but I shall see where it goes.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Working Out in Style

I ate the peeps. They were supposed to make it to Easter. They didn't. I'm not sorry.

Ms. G made me socks! You should all make something for a friend. It makes them feel so good! Just think of the joy you could spread!

On the subject of joy - you know how we all sweat the fact that our stash will more than likely live on well after we are gone? I have found a way to live with this - guilt free! I plan to have my stash bundled by a friend who knows what she's doing (The Great P) and given away as nice gift bags at my wake. That way it goes to people who know what it is, where it came from - and will know just patting it and never making a thing will be just fine. And now, I don't have a 'finish' line! I can stash on comfortably, knowing my stash has a purpose and a plan.

I have also decided to sew that stuff I keep thinking I should keep for good. Maybe someone I don't like will show up at the wake and get that piece. It's hard to plan these things. Who knows who may show up?  I'll want to be a good wake hostess and treat everyone well. I'm going to sew it if I want to!

So I therefore took a lovely piece of thick linen and some wonderful canvas and made a bag for the gym. I joined the local gym. With a great bag I am now obligated to go and work out. I'll also need new workout gear and a swim suit. Love it! More fabric that won't make the wake!

This bag was an amazing make! I was using thicker fabric than the quilt weight cotton called for and that caused problems for me, but first let's just talk bag. The Nora Doctor Bag from Swoon goes together just as she says it will! I love it when complex parts fit together and sew perfectly around curves. These patterns are always well drafted and work. The directions are very complete. Good pictures but you have to read the directions to get all the details. I hate reading directions, but I don't mind for Swoon. She doesn't waste words and chooses her words well.

She calls for several different stabilizers. I matched what she said and it gives the bag wonderful shape. I did remove interfacing from the handles. More info on that below.

I did add another strip of inner pockets. I needed a pocket for my locker lock. Now about the thick fabric! OMG! I had to experiment a lot with thread and needles and even then I had some skipped stitches and absolute refusal. My conclusions. Go slow, let your machine do what it can and don't force it. A jeans needle was best, but go as small as possible so the hole to be 'punched' is as small as possible. I used 30 wt Sulky cotton thread in bobbin and needle. The stitch looks more balanced that way. I didn't know I could do that! Thank you Lori.

I did end up stitching the last thing on my Singer treadle. I had to stitch across the straps - so 8 layers of tightly woven canvas. The treadle did it! No skipped stitches! However, It was a bit akin to drilling holes. I often had to literally punch my way through for some of the stitches. But the treadle was up to the challenge! Mostly, perhaps, because it doesn't have a motor to give you a hard time. It is my Super Hero.

One change I did make to the pattern. She calls for boning for the top bag channels. I tried boning and it wasn't as stiff as I liked, and kept shredding threads and such. In my corset class we used huge (28") zip ties from Home Depot. They were perfect! Very stiff, perfect size and slid into the channel beautifully. Also I moved the closing tab up from its back position to get it to close like the picture shows. However, look at my Actual doctor's bag. The closing edges overlap. Maybe that's what I should be aiming for. I'll ask Swoon.

I'll need a custom locker at the gym so my bag doesn't get crushed. They'll understand.

I'm off to Easter dinner with the sisters, et al. I'm taking frogs (Purl Soho freebie). They're stuffed with lentils or barley and most posable!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Peep Show

It's supposed to be spring, but I'm still cold. My fingers, my toes - all cold. The flannel sheets are still my best friends. I love them. So soft.

I promised pics of my stuffy phase. It seems to be slowing a bit. I haven't stuffed anything in a week. I do have Easter stuffy plans, but that seems a natural. I haven't added facial features. Can't say I miss them. What if you end up with a naughty expression? What then? This way, it's left to the imagination. I think of my stuffies as home dec items. They add a cuddly touch and colourful touch to any room. I need a few sausage dog neck pillows. I fell in the curling club parking lot and have a sore neck. And a bump where my hipbone used to be.

All but the elephants were free patterns from Purl Soho. It is a most generous site with excellent kits and patterns for sale. I used barley and lentils to stuff the frogs.  Makes posing much more fun.
This is a quilt I made to showcase some neat fabrics at the store. The Great P added some wonderful variegated thread for the quilting. She is getting quite particular and accomplished! You should see her pat gently as she guides the machine. Just like a mother duck! 

This a row of bunnies for a 'bed scarf'. It's such a quick project to try out a quilting idea. In this case the pattern came from a book All In A Row. It has a wonderful variety of row patterns and matching filler rows. I wanted to try appliqué with this bunny idea. You cut the bunny in pieces on tagboard and insert paper fasteners. Then you can pose your bunny as you like before tracing it on the appliqué fabric. I also used a fine fusible batting (Soft and Stable?) to back 2 of the appliquéd bunnies. It raised the fabric a bit and the bunny looks much better with the machine blanket edging. I'll do that again!

This is my Mixed Mutts quilt. It's a match to the cat quilt I made previously. I think the best part of this quilt was working with friends to get the blocks started. Sewing should always be social. Especially when puppies are involved.
 I have a few quilts in various states of completion right now, but I'm letting them percolate. I need to sew something for me. I therefore made myself a cozy knit dress. I am waiting for this phase of droopy hems and saggy pockets to pass, but in the meantime I am on that bandwagon. I also signed up for a pant drafting class on Craftsy. So far it looks good and makes sense. The proof will be in the rear end, and we don't get to that for a bit. Fingers crossed!

Yes, Easter is on its way! This calls for a Peep display, and these peepers are in the spotlight on my kitchen windowsill.