Wednesday, December 30, 2015

African Blues is being worked on!

Whew!  African Blues is finally under the needle but it was a chore.  First of all I had to sandwich and baste it on two card tables (which I had to go and claim back from my neighbor who never returned them from her summer garage sale).  It was too big for it but that was as close as I could get to be able to do it.  It took me FAR too long to sandwich it.  It just would not line up right and first one side was too short then the other side.  First the top was off side and the back was short.  Then the back hung over and the top was too short on one side.  Yeah, perhaps it wasn't the best day to start this.

But finally I got it put together and now it is underneath the needle.

I turned it over , holding my breath while I did so, to see how it looked.  I had mixed feelings when I did so.  I haven't finished  quilting it but I do have the vertical lines in and that when I noticed a couple of problems.  One is that when it is done I will probably have some areas where it might be a little puffier or not "quite right".  I will live with that.  Yep, that's when you know you're ready to give the project away.  You mentally start to distance yourself from it.  This one has pissed me off enough (but I enjoyed doing it) that I can let it go.

The second thing I noticed is that it will pick up all the lint around the place!  I will have to heavily defuzz it.  It is all cotton but it really acts a bit more like a flannel.

Look at all the fuzz flakes (new quilting term)!

I'm done quilting it for today.  Tomorrow  is another day and then I'll figure out how I want to finish quilting it.  

Of course it won't be finished quilting until I run to the store tomorrow and get more thread.  Yes, that is another thing that happened.  Ran out of bobbin thread.  It's black.  Really!  How did I run out of black thread!   LOL.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Surviving the Holidays...or at least the first part of it

I hope everybody is surviving the holidays!  It's been a good one for me, if you discount that the post that holds up my computer monitor decided to break and my computer fell over on top of my keyboard.  Nothing broken though).  For me that means relaxing a bit and chatting with one of my best friends A LOT (all over the phone...hehehe).

I thought I'd take a moment out to talk about what I finished working on, what I might work on in January and please forgive me if I have posted some of this already.  So sit down in a comfortable chair and here goes.

Shall I talk about food first of all? I decided to freeze up some meals so I wouldn't have to cook as much during this break.  That means I did a crock pot full of Beef and Cabbage soup as well as a crock pot full of Pork and Hominy Chili.  I also made a Bacon and Potato Casserole.  For Christmas Day I made a Cornish Hen and scalloped potatoes and had some Lindt chocolate for dessert.  Today I made Russian Tea Cakes.  Now I'm all cooked out for a bit but that's ok.  It leaves more time for crafting and naps.

Here are some pix.

Cabbage and Beef Soup

Russian Tea Cakes (half the recipe, the other half gets baked tomorrow)

Bacon and potato casserole

Pork and Hominy Chili

Cornish Hen and Scalloped potatoes

Not bad huh?

That left me time to start to organize my crafting stuff, alternating with crafting and napping.  Cleaning can wait until after I go back to work (except for dishes).

At work Theresa, a co-worker and the one I helped do the t-shirt quilt before, asked me to help her make a Christmas gag gift.  I said ok but wasn't too sure since we had less than one lunch hour to do it.  Can you tell what this is suppose to be?

I don't blame you if you can't.  I wouldn't have known and I was the person who was helping to make it!  The white batting is actually the pattern.  I took my material and pinking shears to work to cut down on sewing.  I just did a running stitch by hand around the batting.  AND....this is the result.

Theresa was to put a snap on the Horse blanket.  So here is the story.  A family member has this horse which by now has only 3 legs.  This horse goes EVERYWHERE with them and is always showing up in family pictures and vacations, etc.  So she thought it would be cute to make a horse blanket/saddle for it.  The problem is that the family member seldom lets this horse out of his sight.  She finally managed to sneak the horse into the bathroom one day and took string in with her.  We had two pieces of string to determine if our blanket would fit.  One for the circumference of the horse and an even shorter piece of string to show how far we had to taper it to fit underneath.  I think we did pretty good all things considering.  There was a brown blanket that we made for it also.  LOL.  Theresa said that everybody had a good laugh over it.

I managed to get the test blocks done and mailed off and today I received the email saying that they loved how they turned out.  :)  YAY ME!  I'll show you the blocks once it is published in The Quilt Pattern Magazine.  I think it is scheduled for July or August?

Then I didn't finish making Lyndon's quilt/wall hanging but I did show it to him and he liked it.  He has to come back to the office on January 4th so I hope to have it ready for him by then.

Here is a decent picture of it.  The material hanging over the side will be the backing material.

Did you get a quilty present for Christmas?  My friend Janine crocheted me an infinity scarf.  I was wearing it around all Christmas Day since it felt nice and soft against my face.   :)

It was even long enough I could wrap it around the top of my head.  Sooner or later we will get snow and that will be handy.  Notice it is in NIU's colors of red and black!

I also managed to get to work on my cross stitch saying.

I think it is coming along nicely.

I'm not sure if I will finish stitching it now or put it away until July when I can tell my brain it's Christmas in July and time to start to finish Christmas projects.  We'll see.

January is right around the corner and I have some projects already lined up for that.  There is a three month Stitch a long in one of my Facebook stitching groups.  We are to stitch anything that has wings.  I might do The "B" Flower Fairy from the DMC Collection (By Cicely Mary Barker).  I am also getting ready to work on a Theresa Wenztler Golden Dragon complicated cross stitch which I totally know will NOT be finished in three months.  That's why I thought the small B Flower Fairy.  I could put it, perhaps, in one of my embroidery hoops and hang it on the wall.  We'll see.

How is everybody?  I hope you are having a wonderful time no matter where you are or what you are doing.  I'll catch up with you in the next post.  :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas around the corner - Are you ready?

Is anybody ever ready for Christmas?  I am about as ready as I can get.  Christmas Day is usually my day to be by myself and just laze around.  Of course I still have to make it through the last day at work.  It's not too bad but my mind is already thinking of stuff that I want to do after work.  First up with be a visit with my sister in law.  I want to show her what I'm making for the retirement gift for my boss.  Lyndon will be back on January 4 to turn in his keys and stuff so I can give it to him then.

I finished up my text blocks but can't show you until around July when they are in publication.

I think that tonight, if I stay awake for any length of time, I might pull out some cross stitch and just veg.  Doesn't that sound nice?  Just relax.

I hope everybody has a wonderful holiday and be safe.

I'll probably write another post before the new year starts until then try to keep your sanity during the holiday rushes.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

African Blues is coming along

Ready for an update?  The wall hanging/lap quilt that I'm making for my boss is coming along.  I think one more vertical strip and then the borders.  I was delayed for a bit since I needed a different foot for the sewing machine.  I don't think I'll finish it in time for to give it to him before break but I can always mail it to him or have him come back some time.  There is a small possibility that I can get it finish by the 23rd (last day at work) but we'll see.

Here is what it looks like so far.

Right now it is about 30" wide and around 44" long.  I am calling it African Blues since the blue print fabric all came from Ghana.  It is different fabric that he brought back to me on his yearly trips there.  Well most of the blue fabric anyway.  I still have plenty of other fabric to figure out what to make with.  :)

I also have been working on three block that I am testing.  They are due on December 25th and I shouldn't have a problem with that.  I have stitched down two out of the three blocks but need to do the little fiddly stuff.  You know what I mean.  Draw in a nose in one place, whiskers on something in another place, etc.  But that's all I can say right now.  

I am on schedule but, like so many other crafters, don't have a lot of down time.  Must keep going during the holiday season.  :)

Hang in there and have a great day/night.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Brrr. It's cold inside!

That is today's theme.  It's cold inside!  That is because I sit at work with no heat going through the radiators.  They had to drain the steam vents so yesterday and today is no heat.  Now today it is suppose to be around 42 outside but I can assure you that it is colder inside.  Our pastime this morning is wondering why we came to work.  Don't talk to us about dedication when we do things like this!  I have my sweatshirt on and a double crocheted afghan over my legs.  LOL.  I am glad that I leave it at work for cases when the wind comes through the windows.  The heat is suppose to start back up around noon so we'll see.

I did manage to get one seam sewn before coming to work.  Somewhat pathetic report but it is still progress and progress, I might add, BEFORE caffeine.  I am also testing three blocks for The Quilt Pattern Magazine.  Can'ts how you them yet (have to wait until around July) but I am making progress on them.  They are cute.

That's about it for now.  I'll write more and have a picture perhaps when I thaw out a bit.

Stay warm and safe everybody!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

In another hour and a half it will be Thanksgiving.  This is a different one for me since it's not been that long since I lost my borther.  Still I have a lot to be thankful for.  I am totally thankful that I live in such a great country.  I am also thankful that I have a job.  Not everybody has one and while I might complain  about not having enough money, I have more than some others.  I am also very thankful for all the followers who encourage me.

I hope everybody takes time out of their busy schedules to give thanks. You don't have to make a list or even tell anybody what you are thankful for.  You'll know and that is what is important.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's a Wonderful Time of the Year!

Why yes it indeed a wonderful time of the year.  With the holidays soon to be here and our snow on the ground, how can I NOT like this time of year?  I'm afraid that I'm not into the buying from the stores much.  Grew up with making presents or giving I.O.U.s/gift certificates for things like home cooked food or cleaning for those who couldn't.  Perhaps that is why I love this time of year.

Some of you might know that Illinois (and other states) got some snow this weekend.  Some, in my case, was around 12 inches.  It sounds like a lot but it really wasn't since there wasn't any snow on the ground first so it took a bit to accumulate.    Here is the picture outside my window after the plows had gone through.

The plows had gone through the first time before I left for gaming so I managed to get in my gaming this Saturday.  It was Battletech and turned out pretty good.  Anyway,  I also managed to scrape my hand a little bit (aren't I talented?) but not enough to really bother me.

I also say it's a wonderful time of the year because that is the name of one of my cross stitch projects I'm working on.

I just started it but am making good progress I think.

Of course I wouldn't be able to do any of this if it wasn't for my magnifiers.  For Sue, and others who wonder what I use, here it is.

The flip up when I need to.

The glasses are actually pink but this shows them just sitting on the glasses.

But then they can flip up so I can see things at a distance.  :)

I also got an early Christmas present.  My friend Connie bought me a replacement walking foot.  I haven't tried it yet but hope to this week.  I am off work on Thursday and Friday, but Thursday I will be at my sister in laws for Thanksgiving.  I'll keep you updated.

Everybody have a blessed and great day/evening.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What was I thinking!!!!

Hi everybody!

Don't have much to show you.  I have been going through a period of not being able to decide on what to work on.  That was when I started back with the cross stitch.  I've made progress on the NOEL project.

Then I was thinking of some quilting projects that I wanted to get done.  I fused on an Angel for a block I'm working on.  I'll show you when I get it done more.  I have two to do.  You'd think that I could knock out those two this weekend wouldn't you?  No.  I got lazy.  Here is the colors for one of the blocks.  I'm meeting Connie tomorrow to work on crafts at lunch time.  I think I'll take my embroidery floss and choose which colors I'll use to for my buttonhole.

Anyway then I felt guilty for not doing more quilting stuff so I thought on what to do.  The Quilt Pattern Magazine came to my rescue.  I found a pattern that I signed up to test.  Of course you don't get to see that yet.  That you can't see until the Summer I believe.  I will have to get going on that.  I am hoping that the deadline for that will give me that push to keep going.  

What else is new?  This is.

My friend Connie gave me this.  Talk about comfy to wear!  They are flexible and notice that they have room for your nails to go through.  It is to help pull your need when it is stubborn.  Of course once I got them my needle decided to behave.  Perhaps Connie should have given it to me years ago.  :)

That's about it tonight.  I hope you all find your inspiration and keep crafting!  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cross Stitch project day

Today I worked on my Noel cross stitch.  It's starting to come together.  It takes awhile to make any progress but that's ok.  I'm not in a hurry.

Another project which I liked but haven't done yet is this:

I might keep this in mind when I retire (ie, not the immediately future but perhaps in 5 years).  I think that it shows a lot of possibility.

After doing almost nothing all day except sit on my duff and cross stitch, obviously made me tired and hungry.  Doesn't it for everybody?  So what did I make?  I made the first dish that I learned to make on my own.  I can't even remember what cookbook it came out of.  It might have been Betty Crocker for Kids or something like that.  It's varied a bit over the years but tonight it is:

Thin pork steak (original recipe called for pork chops)
tomato based sauce which has sauteed green peppers and onions in it as well as various spices.

What are you having for dinner?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

I had a rough night last night or should I say this morning when I woke up at 2 a.m. from a nightmare and couldn't get back to sleep for a bit.  So I haven't done much today.  I have done cross stitch and promise to show you a picture tomorrow of the progress on the Noel.

Today is Halloween.  So here are some pictures of some pumpkin carvings.  I think they look terrific.  I didn't go out Trick or Treating but instead spent a nice quiet night at home.

So I guess what I'm saying is:

Have a great day/night!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Christmas Cards for Recovering American Soldier

I don't send out many Christmas cards but it's getting to be that time of year again.  Here is one place that I like to send a couple of cards too.   I'm going to send mine out this week (there isn't a deadline).  In case you would like to do the same, I'm posting this now so you have plenty of time to start to spread the good cheer.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


I had a good time gaming last night with friends and they are taking over being in charge for a bit to give me a break.  That's nice.  I need the mental break of GMing.  That won't make sense to a lot of you but to my gaming friends who read my blog it will.  So what does that really mean?  It means I get some more time to craft!

This weekend I have actually managed to get two projects, small ones, done and planning on a couple more.  What did I get done?

I have had a t-shirt that I loved the saying on it.  I made a mini wall hanging that I can use in the office after Thanksgiving.  It will hang after Thanksgiving until we leave for Christmas break.  It measures around 15 inches and should fit nicely in that little space by my desk.

The backing fabric, which I used to wrap around for the binding, was some free fabric that was given to me.  It has some Christmas ornaments and holly leaves on it.

Then I decided to pull out some other free fabric that was given to me and finally get around to making one of those microwave hot pad/bowls.  I really need to figure out what to call them.  This isn't great but it is functional and my first one and didn't take that long to do.  I tested it in the microwave for 5 minutes and didn't have any problems with it.

This first picture is the back so that you can see the fabric.

And this is what it looks like with a bowl in it.

I kind of like it.

Now the honesty section otherwise known as "notes".

1.  Don't forget to clip corners and maybe even trim the seams so you have less bulk.
2.  Leave a bit more opening for when you flip it inside out.
3.  Make sure you cotton (including your thread).
4.  Write down the dimensions for different sizes before you forget.

I feel productive and that means planning new projects.  That probably should be "planning new UFO's".  I found a great picture of a pumpkin on  It is a coloring page for adults and when I saw it I thought I might want to make a small pumpkin wall hanging with it.  I don't have much time for this year so it would probably have to be done in straight stitches and French Knots but I could so see me doing it in full hand embroidery.  I hope to get it drawn out this weekend yet and perhaps started.

Then Esther Aliu came out with a new pattern which I am thinking of doing.  That probably won't be until the new year but that really isn't that far away.

I'm not sure what colors I'll do .  Not to fond of the ones she used.  I also am not sure if I"ll do the whole thing or just the middle.  I'll start in the middle and figure out if I want to continue after that.

That's about it for my news today.  I hope everybody has a great day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A few Days off Work - and nothing

I took some days off work and totally enjoyed it.  Normally that would mean that I would get lots done.  Ummm.  Not this time.  I was soooo lazy.  I don't think I got much accomplished except for around 20 stitches in cross stitch.

I did go to Clinton Iowa on Sunday with my niece in law Jessica.  She gave me a ride to go and meet up with one of my online gaming friends who wished to give me a refurbished computer.  It's something that he did when he worked in the field and when he can he and his wife still do it.  This time they had one that he wanted to give me.  Clinton Iowa was about the half way point between the two of us.  Jess and I decided to make a little bit of an outing.  Here are some of the pictures that I managed to snap as Jess was driving.  It was a beautiful day and I loved to see the different colors in the trees.

Finally we arrived in Clinton and what was the first thing we saw?  This cute adorable advertising which was making us both hungry!

You will see a train theme in these pictures since Larry, my online gaming friend, loves trains and I like them too.  I also love the water and after getting this

We headed back.  I couldn't snap any pictures on the way down but did manage to get some pictures  on the way back (while the car was moving).

I was surprised at how good the pictures turned out when we went across the Mississippi River since the car was still moving.

Then in Morrison Iowa we saw a sign that said there was a covered bridge near by.  We found it!

Nothing glamorous but something else that made the trip a little special.  I was expecting Jess to take me straight home but she had other plans.  There is a railroad park in Rochelle, IL that she likes to take the kids (including her husband) to so she showed me where it was.  Just a little park where the trains go by and you can have picnics at, etc.

I liked the idea that they have a couple of stationary trains there for people to get a close up look at.

I also liked that they turned one of the cars into something that kids can sit in and take pictures on etc.

I also went to see my sister in law Bobbie to see how she is doing.  I can't believe that it has already been three months since Kerm died.  She is doing ok.  Predominantly she is doing well.  I will be going to her place to have Thanksgiving and we had a nice chat about crafts and stuff.  She showed me what she was working on with her cross stitch and I had taken my book on Civil War quilts for her to read as well as my Civil War BOM blocks that I had sewn together.  I had hoped to get the border put on but, of course, I haven't yet.

And that was about ALL I did on vacation (besides meeting friends for lunch) and now I find myself having to go back to work tomorrow.  :)