Saturday, January 30, 2010

Excuses, excuses...

This week, I have not been able to make any progress in dealing with the 'aftermath'. I have had several projects at work that were unforeseen until a few weeks ago, and are not really stressful, but time consuming, so I have not been home from work before seven, all week, (except on Wednesday -because I go to my yoga class on Wednesday and I had skipped the last three classes for one reason or another - see, excuses...)

So all week long, I walked past the boxes for charity stacked by the front door, the various half full storage containers in the living room that need to be consolidated and put....somewhere, and the dining table with vintage glassware etc.

And, we have some excitement brewing in our family. A niece is coming to Las Vegas to get married, late in February. Not really 'running off' to get married, just taking advantage of the 'we have something for everyone' marriage industry in this town - and mild Februarys.

So, little by little, other members of the family (especially those from the frozen parts) are thinking that they will try to come for the occasion.

The Mister and I are very excited that everyone will be in town, and that many will be staying with us. We have decided to throw a little reception/party at our house for the newlyweds after the ceremony.

Three weekends (and a half, if you count tomorrow) to get everything in order, and guest accommodations prepared (we are even getting the camper out of storage for a kind of 'mobile guest suite')

And, 36 hours after the party, I am going to Pennsylvania to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show with Dearest Sister, her eldest and Ms A, with a side trip to NYC to see A's new place.

A lot of excitement for a February that didn't have any plans just a couple of weeks ago!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Looking forward to Ground Hog Day...

This has been a hard week for Dearest Sister. She had to say good-bye to her kitty on Saturday, and she has not been on top of her game for a few days. I was going to bag on her about not keeping up her part of the rhythm, but then I got a package in the mail!

I forgot all about any perceived shortfalls of steadfastness!

Of course you have probably seen the slippers of frustration. They are mine, now, and fit just right!
These prove my theory that if you whine and beg long enough, the average sock knitting sister will eventually shut you up by sending you a pair!
Do you think the stripes make my feet look fat?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Left To Deal With The Aftermath

Well, it was back to work for me, on Monday. But not back to the routine.

I have aftermath...

In the sorting, we went through much of the booty from estates sales of yore. Some good memories were in those boxes... And Melmac. And Casseroles. And Couroc serving trays. And figural planters.

And really, there is not a lot of room for mid-century collectible housewares in small NYC apartments, or small Cleveland apartments, before that.

So, A has become selective in what she needs to keep. We sorted into 'charity', 'can go, but may have vintage appeal' 'keep, but not New York', 'bring to New York' and 'take back in carry-on'. And trash.

We also sorted record albums.

The people who packed us up from Kansas really didn't distinguish between my record albums from back in the day, The Mister's record albums from back in the day, A's record albums that were her dad's from back in the day. And the 500 or so albums, that A brought home when the school library gave away their entire catalog of vinyl and said whoever wants any, can take them.

We had lots of sorting to do....

We kept some of the library cast offs. But not "The Six Day War - Recorded Live!", or "Supreme Court Cases from the '60's" We found a Jacques Brel album that was in better shape than the one that we had and several vintage jazz albums went in the keep pile. But the rest, well they will go back into 'public domain' - at the Goodwill store.

One good thing about the ex-libre records is that they are protected by very sturdy vinyl covers, the record in one side and the album cover in the other. That means that when folks are flipping through them at the goodwill store, the records won't slice through the cover and become a loose sandwich. I just hate it when vintage things turn into trash because they are too fragile for the wear and tear of bargain shoppers.

I can't help it. I am way too concerned about the continued preservation of things I don't want to keep. I have heard enough breakage at the thrift stores to realize, that the odds of anyone who might appreciate vintage parfait glasses actually finding them intact, are pretty long!

I think next weekend, I will try to find someone at the antique mall that might trade it all for a couple of hankies or a feedsack!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wrapping up the loose ends...

...of a week of sorting through many, many boxes and storage bins was the project for Saturday morning.

The plan was to photograph and document the set numbers of the Lego's, then take them apart and put them in the proper boxes for storage. I think the 'newest' set was from 1994 or 1995. That would make it about 15 years since they were last 'played with'.

At first, The Mister thought we were sorting, etc., to sell them on eBay (where there certainly is a thriving re-sale market), but he soon possessed a better understanding of their significance!

This is a 'before' photo of the box of 'people, animals, weapons, accessories, boats and greenery'.
The pirate ship with the assorted 'hearties' aboard!
This poor guy just came with a raft and a shark. And two days growth of Lego beard.
Some of the pirates apparently had adventures in the south seas.

This set has two attractions for A - a wizard in the tower and a flying dragon!
I am guessing this smaller set is the wizard's summer palace?
The ghost is an add-on... along with the 'wolf man'. (stocking stuffer size, you know!)

Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat went back to NY in the carry on -

along with the Quiddich Pitch.
My favorites, though, are Lego's answer to 'How can we get girls to like Lego's?'

The answer: The Paradisa! Collection

It's Pink!

It has horses!

And tiny dishes and pans!

The Sea Side Cafe

The Rolling Acres (or something like that...) Stables.

And the beach side cabana (with the ice cream man pushing the cart with little Lego ice-cream treats in it! They think of everything!)

Their strategy worked on me! I was just glad that A liked them too!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The last handmade Christmas gift...

Shortly after Ms A shared the news that she and her guy had the opportunity to move to the Big Apple, I saw this home decor fabric at the quilt shop.

It reminded me so much of what I imagine their decor sensibilities to be, that I purchased a yard without really knowing what I would use it for (as is my custom...) They enjoy mid-century modern furniture and style and I thought this might go with their vintage chrome legged furniture.

Since they might be doing their food shopping close to home, I thought they would need a stylish grocery bag to carry home the supper. (I always see people in the movies walking home with grocery bags. I am not sure it that is really the way it is, or just 'Hollywood-New York'...)

I found a couple of patterns and ideas on line, but essentially used a mix of all the various bags that I have to determine how tall it should be. I did french seams, but then lined it to give it a bit more substance.

The sides and the center are held with gripper snaps. I had never used them before, so that was a new technique! Sister G was visiting while I was working on it and suggested snaps. I went to the studio and found the grippers in the 'fastener drawer', which luckily had the instructions on the card (which was marked 10 cents!).

The Mister was a little startled when I borrowed a hammer to finish the bag...

It wasn't ready to go in the package with the xmas gifts, so I thought I would save it for her visit and make it a housewarming present. Now that she has seen it, I can show it to you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Staying up too late...

In the last two days, Ms A and I have spent about 15 hours sorting Legos and putting sets together. Many of those hours were spent long after we should have been in bed!

She has always enjoyed Legos and there were some fun sets in the 90's. One series called "Paradise" is all pink and gray and white with people vacationing at a beach resort, riding horses and surfing.

Pirate ships was another fun theme. What's not to love about tiny Lego 'pieces of eight' and peg leg Lego pirates with parrots?!

We also have some Harry Potter sets, undersea sets, and some generic sets.

At one time, they were all separated, but they got co-mingled at some point. So, we are putting them together so we can then take them apart and store them more efficiently.

Another wonderful thing about the Internet - you can find the instructions to put together Lego sets from 1979 (and maybe before, but the oldest set we have is from '79. A space station set that was originally passed down from older nephews.

The living room looks like a tornado with sorted piles for charity donation, trash and 'things to keep, but we haven't decided where'.

Since today is the halfway mark of my vacation, I suppose we had better make some progress on restoring order. I don't wan't to have to do it all myself after she leaves!

Monday, January 18, 2010

On Vacation!

Today is the official start of my vacation! Up to today, it was just weekend (and I worked a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday), so it doesn't count. Ms A and I have a lot of boxes of her things to sort through (and hopefully, reduce the amount that needs to stay...)

And we have places to go and things to do.

Yesterday, we went to the zoo. (I forgot the camera, so no photos.) It is officially the Southern Nevada Zoological-Botanical Park. It is very small, just three acres, but it enjoys a good reputation in zoo circles and has several animals from the San Diego zoo, on loan. We saw lots of birds, three big cats - a lioness, a lynx and a puma, one chimpanzee, some wallabies and a half dozen or so other mammals that I had not heard of. Also, a pair of sea otters, two alligators and assorted other reptiles.

The weather here is kind of like very early spring in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, and the peacock boys were in full parade! The girls did not seem to be impressed, but all the humans were. Peacocks feathers are soooo gorgeous. They have such amazing iridescence!

Other things on our list to do:
Go to the shopping mall at the new city center and admire the public art
Find China town and see what it has to offer.
Eat at In 'n Out.
Pick out a new paint color for the Rangoon Red, (for now) Falcon.
And, hopefull, take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The call was for pairs...

...of ginormous vintage buttons.

The smallest are 7/8".

I wonder what she needs them for? ;)

I will send them right away, so we will see!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Design Wall...

Okay, I don't have much else to talk about, because all I have been doing is going to work, eating, sleeping and working on this quilt top.

Since I don't have a 'design wall', I have been using the downstairs guest bed to lay out the blocks. But, in two days (or so), Ms A is coming for a visit! And she will need a bed with functional blankets and quilts.

After I decided how I was going to put them together, I hung them from the living room valance, to keep them in order. I still need to press the seams joining the blocks, but this is what they look like all trimmed and sewn into strips.

This is one of the 'wonkier' style blocks. There are four rounds of logs around the center piece.

The last four, were more like this. Only three rounds of logs, and they are not trimmed as sharply. I was trying not to cut more strips for the last four blocks, since I had plenty left over. I didn't have all colors in all widths, though, so I probably compromised a bit of interest. But, not all blocks can be superstars!

I hope to get them pressed and the strips sewn together tomorrow. Then I might have to put it away for a bit.

Because Ms A is coming for a visit!

And I will be on vacation!

And we will have things to do and places to go!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too Much Momentum...

I have been sewing away on my Wonky Log Cabin quilt. Sunday, I sewed all afternoon and got all the blocks put together. I decided that I needed twenty blocks to make a quilt for the guest bed and I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish up the last one.
Upon a re-count, I discovered that I had made twenty-one blocks!

Oh well! I still need to trim the blocks, (in a wonky fashion), which will make them a bit smaller afterwards. I might make a pillow from the extra, or I might make four more blocks and make the quilt bigger.

I am really excited to see how it will look!

The Mister took this photo today. Even though we are enjoying mild temperature (especially compared with some areas!) the kitties still like to sleep with a 'heater cat'!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quilting as Exercise

Since the beginning of the new year, I have read lots of resolutions, and many of them have to do with accomplishing particular projects of one type or another. A lot have to do with finishing WIP's (works in progress). I have my own share of wips, (and w's not yet 'ip'), but mostly they are embroidery projects. Just things I have started to have a variety of projects to work on.

But the quilting thing is trying to suck me in to starting another project before the first one is done! (Technically, I have already done that, I suppose, since my small class project top is still waiting to be finished, but I am giving myself an exemption, since I haven't learned that part, yet!)

I have been reading my quilt books and magazines and thinking about the next quilt that I want to start, even though I am only about half way through my 'wonky log cabin' top! I fear it is a slippery slope that I have stepped onto! I have decided that I probably need to be a bit strict about finishing one quilt (at least the top!) before I start the next, though. I know myself! It could get out of control, if I don't practice restraint!

So for now, at least, the 'rule' will be that I cannot start another project before the current one is complete (unless it is a gift with a deadline...)

Yesterday, we had a busy morning with errands. When we got home and lunch was over, and laundry underway, I started working on my wonky log cabin top. It takes me quite a while to do a block, mainly because I have a very inefficient set up for the process.

My sewing machine is practically at the front door of the house, my cutting area is in the dining room and the iron is in the kitchen.

The thing about the wonky LC is that not all the blocks have the same amount of 'logs', but they all have at least 13. So, twelve times from the cutting table (selecting the next piece), to the sewing machine to add it to the block, to the kitchen to press and then back to the cutting table for the next one.

I could re-arrange so that I would have less steps, but I am trying to increase my activity this year, so I figure that it makes quilting almost a cardiovascular workout!

So see? All my goals are aligning! Learn to quilt, use the stash and lose weight!

PS. I found out my efforts to eat better and exercise more are getting results! My cholesterol is down 51 points (from definitely high to under the top 'normal' threshold) WOO HOO!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Club Doings

Yesterday, I received an email from a woman who was trying to research a photo of ladies around a dining table, marked "Just-a-Mere Club, Arkansas City, KS 3-31-1930-something". She had come across this post that was spurred by an article in the New Yorker Magazine.

The email got me thinking, again, about the ladies clubs in the last century, and these books:

I found these in the family flotsam and jetsam.

They are the Secretary's books from the D.M.C. Club of Greensburg, Kansas. Another one of the many 'ladies clubs' of that era.

They are the official minutes of the meetings, beginning with December 29, 1921 (not the beginning of the club, just the first entry in the oldest book) and ending with December 8, 1950. Not the end of the club, either. Just the last entry in these books.

My Great Aunt Ruth was a member of the club (beginning 12/19/1945, according to the minutes). No idea how they ended up in our family archives, because I don't see in the records where Aunt Ruth was ever the club secretary.

Mostly, the secretary was Myrtle Linegar...
...pictured here on a Christmas card with her twin sister. (Can't tell you which is Myrtle and which is her sister...)

The pages in one book are very fragile (1925 through 1929) and some of the entries are very brief. Often with just the day and date of the meeting, the Hostess name and roll call topic, (current events was a popular one, as well as gardening tips. One was Irish jokes...) and a mention of the activity of the day. Often it was, "An enjoyable afternoon was spent with fancy work and conversation". It seems that taking pictures was another popular activity during the 1920's, sometimes described as 'kodaking'.

During the war years of the '40's, making items for hospitalized soldiers was a focus, but mostly the activities were social. And always food. From 'delightful luncheons' to cook-outs of 'weenie sandwiches', there was always food!

Often, meetings would be cancelled during the 'busy times of harvest' in June and July, or due to 'bad roads' in the winter.

The club membership was about 8 or 10 in the '20's and rose to almost 30 in 1950. I think it kept growing, because I remember going to holiday meetings when I was a child in the early '60's that were held at the VFW hall due to the size of the group.

My original thought was to transcribe the minutes. I got through 1922, but some of the pencil writing is very tiring to decipher, so I stopped transcribing and just read. Many of the member names are familiar to me as friends of Aunt Ruth, although some of the secretaries referred to members by first name, and others used a more formal "Mrs. R.A. Linegar" which is harder for me to keep sorted out. Some even used 'Mesdames Linegar and Gregory'.

I am going to try again this weekend. My eyes just work better during the day with natural light. Some of the pages seem like they could crumble to dust at any minute, so I don't want to wait too long.

Maybe I will check into voice recognition software. Then I could read the minutes aloud and then just edit.

I am sure Myrtle would have appreciated that kind of technology!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


...goal-wise, anyway...

Just four days ago, I set a goal to quit 'growing my stash', until I started using some of it. I was well underway, using about 20 fat quarters, plus a couple of yards of sashing fabric.

But, I didn't have enough of the yellow sashing. It is Kona cotton, banana yellow, and I bought the end of a bolt at Jo-Ann's before Christmas. There was a bit more than a couple of yards on the bolt and the person at the cutting table said that Kona had been on sale the week before, so I assumed that was why the stocks were low. There would be more.

My 'design bed'...

A few days later, I was in the 'way up North' part of town with some time to kill before an appointment, so I stopped at the other, larger, Jo-Ann, but they were out of banana, too.

The next week, I looked at my regular Jo-Ann, but still we have no bananas!

I called the smaller store in the "way up North the other way" land and none there, either.

I checked the Jo-Ann web site and no banana amongst the 35 colors listed.


And Buttercup.

No banana.

I decided it can't be a case of 'discontinued favorites'. I just became aware of Kona banana a couple of weeks ago!

I called Dearest Sister and asked her to check at her Jo-Ann, but none there, either, or in the neighboring town, where the grandbebes live.

It was too late at night to call on resources further East, so I went to the web.

When I found it on-line, on sale at 20% off, I bought five yards. I will probably use a couple more yards in the quilt I am working on. And I will have about 22 of the Moda fat quarters left over. I like the yellow with the prints, so I am sure that it will be perfect in whatever other project I decide for them.

The banana hasn't arrived, yet. I guess I have a few days to stitch up something to 'make room' in the stash for five yards.

But now, I am in the hole!

And - I found an ad for 3 bolts (15 yards) of Moda classic white for $100 on Craigslist. It seems like a deal too good to pass up!

What do you think?

Do I have the discipline to say no?

Is it too late for a 're-do' on my goals?

Maybe that is the solution! I will change the goal to: Refrain from increasing the stash by more than 100 yards a month...

Monday, January 4, 2010

When New is Better Than Vintage...

I love vintage things, especially quilts. We all know that about me, by now.

And, over the years, I have collected fabric, tools, patterns and books about quilts, and have just recently begun accumulating the knowledge of how to actually make a quilt.

This is one of "Aunt Martha's" booklets of patterns. I use the word booklet, loosely. It is barely more than a pamphlet. It has the patterns for 14 quilts, in 15 pages.

The 'Trip Around the World' quilt (the middle one on the cover) has always intrigued me and I thought that it might not be too complicated, since it only has one pattern piece. So, last year (way last year...) I decided that perhaps I could figure it out.

I was mistaken.

I suppose that Aunt Martha could assume a certain level of experience back in the day when home sewing was a given. There is no mention of skill level for any of the patterns.

This page is the extent of the instructions.

I read it, and re-read it. And read it again.

From the way the directions were written, I could not see anyway to put it together without every piece having two set in seams. I was thinking that there should be a way to put the pieces together in rows. I could see rows! I just couldn't see how to get the pieces into rows without getting the color pattern all mixed up.

Finally, I just put it away.

Over the weekend, I picked up a quilt book at Jo-ann and found this pattern that has kind of the same feel:

The book is "American Jane's Quilts for all Season's ...and Some For No Reason" by Sandy Klop. The pattern is called "Fiesta Ware". And, there are FIVE PAGES of instructions!! That I can figure out!!

The book says that it requires about 9 yards of fabric for the top. If I can use fabric from the stash (I might have to purchase the 3 yards of black...) that will make room for 6 yards of new fabric!

So this addresses two goals for the new year! Quilt making and stash usage! A win-win!

I probably should have started working on the goal of organizing my studio, first though. I wonder if The Mister would mind if I just take over the dining room...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The New Year - Listing Goals (but not resolutions!)

Happy New Year, to all!

Yesterday, Dearest Sister announced her two year! Blogaversary!

I remember the day she opened the blog world door for me - we were talking on the phone and she directed me to log into her Ravelry page. I was all 'huh?' Why would people take photos of yarn...?

Then, she directed me to her blog - and her blogroll. I spent the better part of the next couple of months discovering bloggers and reading their archives like a crazy cat woman lurker.

DS has always been a writer of her thoughts. A journal keeper, a list maker and a goal setter.

I am none of those things, but I aspire to be a bit of each. In the past, I started journaling a couple of times. Never seriously, or for any length of time, though. She is also a much more careful writer than I am. I just pound out my thoughts, edit for clarity and brevity and publish. She blogs about what she thinks and has learned (her eldest teases her about her 'hippie talk'). I am more about 'look what I made'!

She sets goals to master new skills - and generally achieves them - and more. I am more about trying something new now and again, usually sticking to the bunny slopes.

Through the process of blogging, I have made progress toward those goals, though. Mainly because I have been inspired by so many others and found so many things that I would like to do. And so many things broken down into baby steps to make them approachable!

So, as this is the beginning of a new year, AND a new decade, I have decided to make a list of goals.

  • I am going to continue my journey to become a healthier weight with better eating and regular exercise (I haven't made any 'forward progress' in a couple of months, but I didn't go backwards during the holidays, so I am counting that as progress)
  • I am going to stop increasing my fabric stash. Not to stop buying fabric, just to start using it up at least as fast I bring it home!
  • Ditto for yarn, which is easier, since I am only really tempted by cotton yarn for dishcloths...
  • I want to make a quilt. This is a carryover, but still a work in progress, so I am listing it. And I want to make more quilts!
  • I am going to create a better organization system in my 'studio' so that I will have room to really see he potential in the materials that I have.

Maybe next year, I will add 'knit a garment', but for now, I think this list will suffice.

Even if blogging has not made me a 'writer', it has at least been a documentation process. And, I hope it will help to hold me accountable for accomplishing some things. (We will see how well that works this time next year!)

Be sure and pop over to congratulate DS! She is giving away a gift certificate to Atomic Sisters Etsy Shop!