A View of My Quilt Life

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Estate Sale Find

Friday was a work-from-home day. By the time lunch time rolled around, I needed a break from all things computer.

Earlier in the week, I noticed a sign for an estate sale, not too far from home, on what was a horse property.  I was hoping there would be some good used tack that I could get at a good price, clean it up and send on to a horse rescue group. 

Of course, I was also hoping there would be a Featherweight or two just waiting for me to carry them home, too.

Well, turns out that way just wishful thinking on both counts. The property was indeed a horse property, but no tack and I couldn't go into the neat little 4 stall barn. The house was a trim 3 bedroom ranch style stuck in the 70's but it was sound and laid out okay.  It also had a large pole barn building housing some small farm equipment and a workshop.   If I had the resources, we would be moving in a heartbeat!

Someone who lived there dabbled in quilting and sewing. Alas, no Featherweight but a 70's era machine in a cabinet that held no interest for me. There were some older sewing and quilting books and some fabric piled about.  While most of it was definitely dated & not my style, my eye was caught by some bright, sunshine on otherwise grey day.

Six (6!) yards of Northcott shaded yellow cotton for $5!  Now that made it worth the trip. And it was a welcome break from the workday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Riding the Choices

Saturday, I decided to get in a ride since the temp was going to over 20 degrees F at 9 am.

For some reason, I can no longer remember, though I am inclined to blame my friend P, I thought riding in my dressage saddle would be a good choice.  It's been about a year since I used it last. In that time, I purchased a lovely girth, 
had longer girth billets put on the saddle 

and bought a few colorful square pads to go under the fleece shaped pad.
I don't have all of these - just a few of them.

In reality, Saturday went like this - the Norman Thelwell illustrations are amusing and quite accurate. Pony is way too fuzzy in his winter coat and a little fat due to some time off being a babysitter for the Clydesdale weanling.

My new girth is too short for him, the new long billets aren't long enough to make up the difference. The new billets are also too stiff to get a proper tightening and the double pads were slip-sliding all over the place.

The ride was interesting to say the least!  

The end results are tack chores and a little shopping. I need to get neatsfoot oil worked in the billets (& saddle flaps) to soften them. I need to hunt down a new longer girth. I need to find a dressage square pad with integrated extra back cushion. Stormy & I need extra exercise to get back to a more fit state. 

And I need to take the truck into the mechanic because somewhere on the way home from the barn, I blew a hole into my exhaust system.

Part of me thinks I should have choose to stay in the studio, quilting. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tea Time

One of my Christmas gifts was a new Downton Abbey tea set, 

and a new tea travel tumbler,

and a Teavana gift card, 
so I could shop for any tea related thing I wanted, which was of course, loose tea,

AND an assortment of Republic of Tea's Downton Abbey teas.

They are all good but I especially like the Butler's Pantry tea (black with essence of honey) for an everyday afternoon pick me up.

You may have guessed I like Downton Abbey.  The sixth and final season of the show has commenced airing here in the States.  I am NOT watching it in weekly installments.  I'm waiting for the DVD set to come out so I can marathon watch it later this winter.  While I wait, I'll have a cuppa or two.  I have lots of yummy flavors to choose from. 

And a new everyday tea cup from friends P & T.

Yep - a Harry Potter Marauders Map teacup. It holds a lot of tea, perfect for the studio!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cold Weekend - Warm Studio

Saturday found me in the Studio, wrestling spreadsheets for work.  I originally thought they would only take two hours at the most. 

Nope. They ended up eating all of the afternoon that was supposed to be stitching time.  Oh well, life happens - Just. Keep. Going.  

Saturday night, I headed north to P & T's house to spend the night for Sunday morning's tack sale.  The sale was an hour's travel north of their house, set to open at 9 am, with morning temperatures forecast below zero, it made the most sense to stay over.  But the tack sale is another story, with pictures, for a post later this week. 

Sunday afternoon, I cranked up the space heater in the Studio and tackled the remaining machine quilting on the mini Mystery Quilt.

It really didn't take long at all, except for running out of bobbin thread. And it was on to the cutting table.  I always love the way the look of the quilt changes when it's all trimmed and ready for binding.

After auditioning the orange (no), deepest shade of violet (no, and the lime (oh, heck no!), I settled on the variegated red violet batik for the binding.  I could tell I was getting tired as it took three tries to join two of the three binding strips together on the bias.  ARGH!  Un-sewing ensued but I was not stopping until I had the binding stitched on the front. 

The hand stitching of the binding will happen this week. It needs a name & a label, too.  Then it's on to the lap size version of the Mystery Quilt.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Training Wheels are Off!

Last Friday, I celebrated my three month Chemo-versary. That is, I am three months past the day of my last Chemo treatment. I've done every thing since then to put it in the past, though the fatigue and neuropathy are still hanging on and they will for awhile. That's just the way things are right now.

I returned to the barn & riding on October 31st. All of my rides since then have been on Rudy - a steady Welsh Pony/ Arabian cross mare.  

I referred to her as my 'training wheels' rides. Being out of the saddle since April, I needed time to get my seat back.  The neuropathy would occasionally have my legs going completely numb and painful in the middle of a ride.

While the neuropathy is not gone,  my seat has come back enough for me to take off my equine training wheels. On Saturday, our trainer J, put me back on Stormy, a Morgan/Thoroughbred gelding!  

He is my favorite horse at the barn and will be my dedicated Dressage ride when we get back to that.  It was AWESOME!!!  I had an amazing energy high for the rest of the day.  Stormy inherited very little from his Thoroughbred daddy, certainly not any outward appearance characteristics and definitely not size. 
Stormy & Me - December 2014
He is short, stocky and hairy in his winter coat right now.  I like riding through his little quirks; he has a funny, stubborn side - just like me.  Looking forward to my 2016 riding adventures.

Today, this Friday, I have an appointment with my Oncologist. Can't wait to show how far I've come since my last appointment and share some of my plans for the new year.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Tale of Two Sit-ties

Yeah - bad pun, I know, but that's the kind of mood I'm in right now.

Sit #1
I've been working from home quite a bit from last June on, using my sewing table as an oversize desk.  I've juggled two sewing machines, two laptops, and a monitor in a small space. Doable, except for the rat's nest of cables. But believe it or not, that wasn't the worst problem I needed to address.  What I should have been thinking about all those months ago was my chair. Or lack of a proper, comfy, supportive chair.

I have been making do with a regular kitchen chair with the addition of 2 seat pads. Not good at all!  I kept finding myself in these weird crunched up body positions.  For our anniversary, I mentioned that I would love to get a real comfy office chair for the studio. I was prepared for a lengthy hunt to find the right one - comfy but not a million dollars and I wasn't in a real hurry, though my body was!  The DH however thought it was a great date day shopping adventure. It turned out he was right.  We were out and about doing a planned supposedly short shopping day (Walmart and Barnes & Noble), when the car turned into Office Depot.  They had a large selection of chairs (that you could actually sit in to try out) to choose from and they were having a SALE!!  

I found one I liked - comfy, not huge and in my price range.

DH put it together for me and it's great!  It's made by Serta so you know it's comfy. I like that it's not a dark color and it's not huge, so it doesn't overwhelm the space. Did I mention how comfy it is?  Of course, I promptly covered it with a quilt to protect it from sharp kitty nails. I'm thinking a custom quilted cover may be a near future project.

Sit #2
A young rider, K., at the barn, who has her own little buckskin gelding, needed a new saddle.  She has a lovely all leather western saddle but it's simply too heavy for her to lift onto his back by herself.  She needed an everyday lightweight training saddle so she can prepare her horse for lessons independently. In stepped the Shopping Maven (me) to lend a hand.  Discussing things over with K's Mom and our trainer, we settled on a budget, a brand, and the size & weight requirements.  I found one that fit the bill, in less than 4 days!  

It was a great deal on eBay,  it shipped quickly and over this past weekend K got to try it out.  The look on her face when she lifted it for the first time was priceless!  She proudly hoisted it over her head to show her Mom.  That totally made my day! It feels good to use my shopping powers to help others.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Threads Away

After the holiday crush, the cutting table was a disaster area. Actual cutting of anything fabric related was impossible.  Not to mention, there was general disorganization of sewing supplies not put away from my travels.

Eventually, I got down to spools of threads and bobbins. I've ordered quite a few Featherweight bobbins recently to add to the old ones.  Many of the old bobbins were filled with thread - old thread - in some cases multiple colors of old thread. Time to take some time to strip all of that off.

All the empty bobbins have found a new home. 

These cute tins are re-purposed tea tins from Teavana.  Love the bright colors.  I think I have enough FW bobbins  - could use some 66's. I even found an odd 15 bobbin from when I mistakenly bought them for the workhorse Singer.  

I resorted my thread spools by maker, weight and color, along with any coordinating, already wound bobbins.  Yep, my ocd totally kicked in! 

This is only part of the thread collection. The hand quilting thread, the single color piecing thread (natural, cream, grey, black) and the 'other' threads are stored in the upright drawer cabinet. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Mystery Quilt Work

Clean a little, organize a little and I get some stitching time as a reward. The truth is, I couldn't find the top of the cutting table to work on anything in the studio unless I did some work first.

The mini size Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt was asking to be layered and quilted.

I dug into the batik stash and found a muted, multi-color piece for the back.  Layering was a breeze, as it is only 21 inches square.  I settled in with my workhorse Singer, an archived episode of Quilt Cam on the laptop and a nice cuppa. 

This quilt has a lot of seams!  I probably should have taken the time to trim the quarter inch seams down. The intersections of the triangle units required some extra care and effort to stitch through. You can see a few wobbly-bobbly quilting lines from the back.

There is a good bit of quilt in the ditch on this quilt - more than I usually do but I wanted the piecing to shine. The outer round of setting triangles are not done yet. 

I think I'll just be finishing it off with a narrow red violet binding. Here's a picture of the two mystery quilts together to show off the difference in scale. 

 The lap size needs a border or two of some kind before I layer and quilt it. Hopefully, very soon!

Monday, January 11, 2016

It's Really January - BRR!!

Sunday dawned bright and clear and COLD!  

After enjoying a few days of mid to upper 30's, a weather system blew in from the northwest bringing SNOW and plunging temps. 

Thankfully, I was home from the barn and the store on Saturday only a short while after the snow started falling.  We have plenty of supplies to see us through this blast of winter for the better part of this week but needed a few things.  It was so crazy busy at Walmart, you'd have thought we were expecting a blizzard. 

The dreaded task of cleaning off the frozen cars fell to me as the DH in not allowed with his back injury.  As I was driving around the neighborhood, I couldn't resist taking a few pictures.  

Once I finished my snow chores, I got to sit & stitch. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Sewing Gift

Among my Christmas gifts was this:

It's a DVD on Vintage All Metal Sewing Machines.  Eight collectors share their passion & collections.  I haven't had a chance to watch it yet but very soon.   I am harboring an inner desire to not only expand my collection but to learn more about their inner workings, (wiring, motors, etc.).  Studio space constraints are an issue but a girl can dream, can't she??

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year's Cleaning Commences

Lack of organization can make me either crazy or I can totally ignore it (for a little while anyway).  This part of the downstairs bedroom closet is of the making me crazy variety.  The bedroom is small (10' x 11'), the closet smaller. You may remember when we replaced the doors - huge improvement.  

But the functionality is not optimized.  Originally, I kept our off season clothes down here. But now that I sleep down here, some everyday clothes have migrated with me. And they need some serious corralling.  Since the wardrobe and the chest of drawers are already full (sweaters, fabric, sweatshirts, fabric, and did I mention fabrics?), I needed a solution for the smaller, non-hanging items.

A trip to Michael's for Sakura Gelly Pens netted me a few plastic bins. Kind of a bonus that they are coral, to match the wall color. YAY!  

Just the ticket for socks, bras and undies. And I can slide in things along side the bins too!  

Perfect way to start the de-cluttering/reorganization for 2016!

Oh - and the oven has already been cleaned too!  The Christmas Duck did a number on it.