Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yesterday, Mr Spontaneous decided to put u some shelves here and there, which I have been waiting for. We spent some time in the basement looking for shelf hardware and we moved lots of boxes looking for it. We both got kind of cranky and when Jack sat down to rest I came upstairs to look for the hardware. My daughters friend was here and when they didn't hear Jack making any noise the friend wondered if I did something to him. I think she was joking. Anyway when I got back downstairs he told me that while he was sitting there thinking he remembered where he had put the stuff when he took it out of the box weeks ago.  So the shelves are up and some more things have been put away, which means they are out of the sewing room. I had set up my space for quilting but  I never did get back to the sewing room, except for getting things out of boxes to put away. 

Today I got the thread box out and decided what I want to use and I started quilting my Basement Diva, Mary Ellen Hopkins challenge quilt. I am still not sure exactly how I will quilt everything but I have started quilting in the ditch and I believe I will be changing some things when the pattern changes. Mary Ellen named this Metamorphosis and I think I will keep that in mind as I quilt it. 

We'll see how it goes.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Six of us from the quilt group at church went to our annual retreat at a YMCA camp in NW Pa. We met there on Friday and got settled in our rooms in a nice lodge just across the lawn from our work area. We had a lovely big room to work in,with big windows on 3 sides and enough space for triple the number of people who attended.

 This was the view from the windows at the end of the room.

Most of our meals are in the dining hall right across from our sewing/quilting room.
We have our meals with whoever is camping there that week end. It has usually been the Father/Daughter week end for the the Y Indian Guides and it was again this year. It is nice to just walk across the hall and have our meals without having to cook or go out somewhere. The food is not gourmet but it is adequate and we have no complaints. Friday there is no dinner served so we bring something for a pot luck meal.

Everyone was productive. Betty, Dorine and Cathy are show their with their projects below each of them.

Betty and Cathy each worked pretty steadily on one project, a double 4 patch for Betty and a Judy Neidemier paper piece project for Cathy. Dorine had 4 projects,  2 that were finishes and 2 that she started. This is a T shirt quilt that she started Saturday from her fathers Bald Eagle T shirts. Her Dad passed away this past year and she is making this for her mother.

Elaine, on the left, had more than one project too. She made a baby quilt from a kit and applied binding to another quilt and made these "Take 4" batik placemats.
Kim worked on one project all weekend. She had a lot more blocks in more colors that she finished after I put my camera away.

I layered up my Mary Ellen Hopkins Basement Diva challenge; it was great to have 4 tables pushed together to work on. I made "Take 4" placemats too; I didn't finish them at the retreat but I did finish them today. Somehow, I managed to make one of them 1/2 inch wider even though I trimmed them all very carefully. I know how I did it. I decided they all needed to be just a bit smaller and I was interrupted after the first one and I had not written down the measurement. So..... when I got back to to trimming, I just went ahead and cut without checking.

There is no photo of me but if you look closely I am reflected in the window behind Betty while shooting her photo.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Watermelon Inspiration

Jack's favorite summer fruit is watermelon and we have been eating a lot of it this summer. It seems like as soon as one is all gone we buy another. After the second one I told him that we were not buying another watermelon unless we bought a watermelon knife. As quickly as the words were out of my mouth, he did a quick U turn and went to the aisle where they were located and  picked up a watermelon knife.

So.... I have been cutting up a lot of watermelon. The knife does make it easier and the watermelon this year seems to be especially good  and, though I too like watermelon but I will be happy to see the last of them for a while

Now that we live where there is a compost pile I have not only been cutting up watermelon I have been cutting up the rind so it will compost faster.
This photo shows the rind from the last one that Jack choose. It was the biggest one to date and I told him from now on I will pick the watermelons.
I really took the photo because I thought the color combination was pretty, it would look good in a quilt.

You never know 
from where 
your inspiration 
will come.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Little Quilting

I set up my Q Snap quilting frame yesterday with my BIG UFO and did a little quilting. This quilt has been around  for probably 10 years or more and I get it out every once in a while. The ladies in
The Friendship Group made the blocks one year and the border blocks another year. It was my first year in the Friendship group and I asked for 2 - 12 inch blocks.
I said I would like all the fabrics to be different but it was OK to repeat the neutral fabrics if they needed to. It is a testimony to their good nature that they did not elect to toss me out of the group. Those blocks have 48 pieces. In my defense I did ask the shop owner who was the leader of the group if it was OK to ask for that block and she assured me that it was.

 This is a closeup of one block showing  the sashing which formed another secondary block. Most of the quilting is in the ditch with circles in the block center and 3 overlapping circles in the sashing neutral rectangles. I have decided that when I get the quilting finished in the center of the quilt I am going to machine quilt the borders. The quilting will be in the ditch and I am telling myself it will be OK. I do not want this hanging around unfinished for another 10 or more years.

 I believe that the configuration of this room is more conducive to having the frame left up. I can get around it easily to get at anything and it will easily move to the other side of the room when I set up for machine quilting the MEH Diva challenge quilt.

The photo on the left is where I have my machine and one of my work/cutting tables. The quilt frame is set up at the end of that table.There are still some boxes under the table that are waiting to be unpacked when there re shelves on which to put their contents.

These two are my trainers. They are training me to be a proper companion to them. They have taught me to understand pretty well their oral commands and body language .

When I started to photograph them the cat followed me everywhere I moved and posed for me. The dog moved where I told him to but didn't seem too excited to have his picture taken.

I guess I am working out OK as a companion. The dog was prodding me to get up from the computer last evening and when got up to go to the living room he cat was waiting in the hall and followed me to my chair where she promptly jumped up on my lap and curled up, purring, the minute I sat down.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Little Sewing etc.

I  did a little sewing today, the key word here is little. I finally got round to piecing the back for the Diva MEH challenge.  I should say I started it; I sewed 2 short seams before we took off on another shopping trip. I had to piece a 20 inch wide strip of the big dot fabric that will
 go down the center with  4 inch strips  of the zigzag on each side. If I had purchased 6 1/2 yards of the dots instead of whatever it was that I did purchase, I would have been able to get by with one long seam. I don't remember my logic if there was any logic for buying that amount but it will be OK. Quilts usually turns out to be more interesting when I run short and have to improvise.

I didn't get any further today because Mr Spontaneous was ready to go and shop for another 4 foot Lifetime table. We didn't find it so I will have to order it to pick up at the store. I am finding that out here everything is far away. When we decide to shop for something it is not a few blocks away as it was in our apartment. We have lived a short distance from everything for the past 40 years and this is a big change. Walmart is close and Walgreen's and Rite Aid and Giant Eagle are close. The Mall and Joann's and the quilt shops are no longer 10 to 20 minutes away. I will have to plan my shopping trips a little better and that is probably a good thing.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not there yet!

We are still settling in. As always the sewing room gets all of the things that need to be dealt with, either unpacked,  disposed of, put away to a yet to be determined space or decided upon.
I am trying to make a decision about whether I want shelves or a design wall on the one open wall. I am leaning toward shelves and thinking over the options for a  portable design wall. I have  several design boards that I use that I can stow away when they are not in use.

I have some things in the sewing room that were not there before. the blue chair ended up there when the movers brought it in and it will not be staying, it may go to another room or it may go out the door. The narrow chest in the corner was in the sewing room before and holds odds and ends of sewing supplies like freezer paper and fusible web and other general supplies.  The green cabinet is 30" W x 23" D x 80" tall; Jack built it for me a long time ago before I started quilting,for craft supplies. Over the years it has held various things, most recently, it was in the living room and had season and occasionally used table ware, vases, seasonal decorations etc.  It is staying in the sewing room and holds Christmas dishes, quilts and things waiting for shelves. The Christmas dishes will stay, I think I will keep the quilts that are not wall hangings where they are. I plan to use one shelf for kids games. The closet in the room where the grand kids sleep when they visit is completely full of toys and games. the games that I have that are not duplicates can stay in the cabinet, along with kids craft items that they always used, when they visited. I am sure I will be seeing more of them from now on.
So.... no sewing yet, but soon. I don't want to start working on anything until I find a permanent place for most things. In the mean time I have not abandoned my blog but I have no quilting photos to post.
We are making progress, a little every day.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I wasn't really ready to sew on Friday; I don't have the room set up and there are still things that need to be unpacked and the boxes are taking up space and blocking access to things I need.  

The great grandkids arrived and wanted to sew. I don't like to discourage them by making them wait just in case they lose interest altogether in sewing. I dragged out my cutting table and my Janome Gem (that I am going to give to Grace) and she made a pillowcase.

 Her brother wants to make one too but I have to get more organized. It is just too much trouble cutting with a scissors, the light on the machine is not working since the move, and there are some other issues with trying to sew in a makeshift setup.

We'll get there........ but not today,
maybe not tomorrow either.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


We are moved and it went pretty well with nothing broken or damaged. Last Tuesday we ran out of steam and time when we were packing and that wasn't too bad after all. We went back to our old apartment on Monday this week to finish up taking down the window coverings and getting all the stuff in the bathroom vanity. Jack patched nail  and screw holes while I cleaned the stove and refrigerator. We left more stuff to gather up than I thought and when we once again ran out of steam I called for help and our DIL and her friend came and helped us.
At this end we could have paid a little more attention to the unloading as some things went to the basement because they were not marked and in the sewing room the boxes ended up in the corners and along the walls and the furniture and more boxes in the center of the room. By the time I paid attention it was too late and it took 2 days to get it sorted out. It is still not finished but I can move around but there will be no sewing for a while.
My computer has been acting up for a while and I thought it was my mouse and we replaced it and my keyboard with a new wireless mouse and keyboard, however........... everything worked fine but I started having the same problems again and Jack went on line and ordered me a new Dell. It came yesterday and I am in the process of sorting out what I want to transfer. I have a lot of stuff that I don't want to transfer and a lot that I had previously but on a flash drive.  No pictures today! With all my computer issues I am not even going to try.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A little lesson

The Basement Divas met today I took a break from packing. I won a basket at a meeting recently and one of the items in the basket was Susan Cleveland's Piping Hot Binding tool and booklet. Jan had taken a class with Susan when she taught locally a year or so ago and today she gave me a lesson.

Here is my little 9 1/2 inch square with piping and binding. It is always so much easier to have someone who knows how to do something demonstrate than to go through the directions myself and bumble through. Jan was very nice and patient, as she always is.
Almost all my fabric has been packed up as well as all of the  various feet from all 3 of my machines.  I found this little square already quilted along with 4 strips that I has used to demo faux piping a long time ago. I had one box of black fabric still not packed up where I found something to use for binding.  Jan set up her own machine for me to use for my lesson. I now have a new technique to use. Even though it is an easy technique, I might have given up at the first thing that went wrong if I had done this on my own. Thanks Jan.
It was good to get away from the mess for a few hours and it is always good to get together with my friends. There are packed boxes everywhere and the end is in sight. Jack says anything not packed up by Wednesday he will just throw in whatever boxes are empty; that will be just fine with me.

Friday, July 11, 2014


We are making progress but it sure is a mess around here. After Jack got all his stuff sorted out he attacked turned his thoughts to the hall closet and my sewing room. We tend to have different ideas about how things should be done and we were both pretty cranky for a while. It's a good thing we really like each other and we can laugh at ourselves or it might have been ugly.
He moved all of my boxes of fabric into the living room and started packing them in boxes. I wasn't too pleased with the way he packed the plastic boxes in the moving boxes but all of those boxes below are now packed up. The sofa is no longer visible with boxes stacked 3 high in front of it.
The pile of boxes in my sewing room is getting higher than the top of my head and my shelves are now empty; and only about 3 quilts and a tree skirt hang in the closet. The quilts are pieces that I don't want to fold up because they have fused and interfaced applique that would probably be permanently creased. That pile of hangers on my chair is from all the quilts in one half of the closet.
I spent a couple of hours yesterday folding quilts on the bias and then I put them in drawers that I had emptied of  things that the movers want out of the drawers. I assume that if we can leave clothing in drawers quilts are OK too.

I don't have quilt photos to post, only a stack of 6 flimsies. I think that is a pretty respectable number of UFOs, unless you count the big King size hand quilted UFO that is more than 10 years old.

Almost all of my sewing tools and supplies are packed. I only have one thing available to work on. I am  going to use this 12 inch block as a learning piece for piping hot piping when the Basement Divas meet on the 19th. Fellow Diva Jan is going to teach how to use the piping tool and add piping. I don't know that this was the best thing to use but it was right on top in my box of blocks and now it is the only thing I have that is not packed and sealed. Our group at church  meets tomorrow and I hope I can get it layered and quilted then as there are no horizontal surfaces available for my sewing machine.
I am starting to pack the contents of the kitchen cabinets. From no on if we eat at home it will be on disposable dishes, except maybe for our coffee mugs. I don't like my coffee in a disposable cup and get cranky when I can't have a mug at the coffee shop because it is close to closing time.
There are only 10 more days before our moving date so I may not post again before then. In case I don't post do not think I have fallen off the face of the earth.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Packing and an old project

Well the packing is coming along. My sewing room is really just a packing and holding area right now. After I folded up the sewing machine table and packed up my machine I got a lot more done. I emptied all of the various drawers in my sewing room and packed up most of the contents. It seems there is always something that really needs to be packed with something from somewhere else and then I have to drag that into the sewing room and get it sorted out.

You can see my progress in these 2 photos. I have a couple of items to put in one of the boxes and then that can be sealed up. There are more boxes to pack and more that are packed in the other room but it is coming along.

This  morning I took everything but the clock down from the walls. I got all horizontal surfaces cleaned off and started gathering all the photographs from all over. I am going to take most of the photographs out of the frames and put them in albums. Of course, as I am going through all of the photos from numerous boxes, I have to look at them. Oh my goodness, Jack and I sure have changed.
When we lived in a large house I never had to store things in boxes under my bed but I had been slowly adding boxes one at a time to the under - bed storage area. Today I  dragged them all out. There were 7 - 32 quart plastic  Rubbermaid boxes and 3 - 16 quart boxes. I guess it is good that we have a king size bed. I am going to need more than one large photo album. Not all the boxes were photos there are some Christmas and season decorations too.
I found one box full of summer pants and wonder of wonders..... they all fit. I think that when I put away dark and heavy clothes, I hung up the long pants to wear but it was still too cool for shorts or Capri's.  I put them in a box under the bed rather than back up on the top closet shelf; then I forgot them. I did kind of wonder why I didn't have more summer clothes but I thought maybe they were too tight and I got rid of them. I feels like I've had and very successful shopping trip.

I didn't want  to write a post with only pictures of bare wall and packing boxes and I have nothing new to show.  I decided to show something that I made a few years ago before I started blogging.
 These 3 piece were made when the basement ladies were working our way through Ruth McDowell's piecing workbook  (we were not yet the Basement Divas). the two larger pieces are about 21 inches square and the smaller piece is about 12 inches. The one on the top left is the one from the book. There were 5 or six different piecing exercises that went into piecing the 3 leaves and piecing them together into one piece with the circle and the square. I don't remember if the curved piecing was an exercise from her book or if it was from somewhere else. I had the orange floral fabric in my stash; I had purchased the large and small scale fabric sometime earlier for something that I never  made. After I used it for the border on the first piece I wanted to use the curved piecing to surround the one large motif in the second piece but I wanted it to be different so I reversed  the placement  to put the black fabric on the outside. I had "musical chairs" block left over from and earlier basement project from the "Quilters Playtime" book project and I used the smaller scale orange fabric for a narrow 1/4 inch inner border and kind if mimicked  the curves of the borders to make an asymmetrical border. I faced the last piece instead of using binding. I tried something new with each of these pieces and I made them to all be hung together. And hang together they do, in the closet. As with so many things, I make what the fabric or the technique leads me to do and while I may like it very much, it doesn't really fit in with everything else in my home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A diva meeting and packing.

Saturday was our Basement Diva meeting and there was over the top show and tell. It was reveal time for the Mary Ellen Hopkins Challenge.
I admired Lynn's "Hidden Wells" flimsy and she gave it to me. I love the colors and the floral fabrics. At first, I hesitated to take it but I was easily persuaded. I was never drawn to make this  pattern myself when it was presented at "Quilt Sitters Circle" some years ago. At the time I was not interested in anything that required making one kind of block and cutting it up and making something else that was a kind of a surprise. I have long since gotten over the need to control all the results of what I am making and I like the surprises.

Meeting with this group of quilters has been fun and irrational inspirational(aren't typos fun or maybe revealing).  As I look back over the quilts I have made since I became part of the group a few years back I realize the importance of having a group of quilting friends. I have gained so much as we have shared ideas and expertise. We help each other with quilting tasks and our challenges and mini workshops have helped me to  enlarge the range of my quilting skills.  We offer encouragement about quilting and family situations and we solve the problems of the world. Most valuable of all are the friendships that have developed over time. 

Yesterday, I took my Bernina out of the sewing table and put it in the case and folded up the sewing table. I have been packing and I need the space to get the boxes out of the way. If I need to do any emergency sewing I will be able to put one of my machines on the dining room table. I do have a couple of small things I might sew.  I want to have something small ready for the next Basement Divas meeting when Jan is going to show me how to add piping hot binding. Yes, it is a real mess right now but I'm working on it and soon it will at least be safe to enter the room.

Just in case I need some mental  health time, I have the backing handy to sew together for the Mary Ellen quilt; it is there, on the chair, in a large Ziploc bag.