Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Thus, I have been trying to schedule a long walk at least once a day to keep sane. I find it is a relaxing time to get away from stress, and noise, the last few days. It has been a welcome break from it all. And I know the dogs really love it.
Today I took them out the front door around to the back to check the progress on the back steps. I was carrying the leashes in my hand. Those dogs could hardly contain themselves with excitement for going out on a walk. I had contemplated leaving the little ones home so Ginger and I could make an extra long trek at a faster pace and still use the same amount of time. Sugar, bless her heart, was raring to go and was trying to beat Ginger out of the yard. She usually likes to lag behind a bit and was the reason I was thinking of leaving the chihuahuas at home. I'm glad I didn't, she kept up nicely and was excited the whole time.
The neighbor kids were outside playing so we walked back home on that side of the street. I wanted to try to socialize the little ones around people more. The kids wanted to take turns walking them up and down the street. All in all it worked out pretty well. The dogs were pretty well behaved and went along with being lead by kids for the most part. When I finally took back the leashes and asked them if they were ready to go all three of them lined up in their usual formations (they seem to like their own preferred positions) and looked to me to signal "let's go". And we were off. I was so proud of them for behaving well with the kids!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
He's still got his work cut out with building a new wood deck platform and steps. At this point we are taking the dogs in and out the front door. Now Ginger doesn't seems to want to readily jump that height since she sees the little ones going in and out the front door.
I decided to get away for awhile this afternoon and took all three dogs on about an hour long walk up and down and throughout the neighborhood. They seemed to love it. I really enjoyed the walk, and the mostly sunny day. It's still seems cool and breezy to me, so I was bundled up warm in a sweater. We all got tired out from the walk and the dogs laid down and slept afterward, even through the noise. I took a few pictures of the rubble, but will post them later this afternoon.
I've been up working of my studies for this week. Busy, busy, busy with school work. We have only three weeks left. Yeah! I can't wait to be finished this semester. I am looking forward to taking the summer off. I want to be able to review more in depth on the HTML coding and learn my Dreamweaver program more thoroughly before I start up again in the fall. But I know it will seem a lot less hectic than it does right now. Hopefully I'll have time to work on a business plan and get some other things taken care of - like finishing the sorting, organizing and purging I started some time ago. So many plans, I can't wait for more time to commit to them.
And of course once the new back steps are done Pat and I will likely celebrate with a nice week boating and fishing. I hope the weather cooperates and we get a really nice, warm sunny day at that time.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Beginning last Friday my husband started work to remove our cracked and broken back steps. It is slow going, but he's making progress. We had rain and thunderstorms Saturday. This left him unable to work outdoors. Instead we spent some time together, went to see the new Narnia movie, and relaxed a bit before I started in on my homework again.
This is the view I woke up to this morning from our back door. It's too big a drop off for me and the chihuahuas, but Ginger makes the leap in fine form.
I took the dogs on a long walk this afternoon to get away from the noise awhile. We enjoyed our little reprieve, basked in the cool breeze, and met another little dog friend along the way. She was a cute little Yorkie who ran away from her mama about half of a block to come greet and meet us.
While we walked, Patrick kept chipping away at the back steps. As shown here, they are more than three-quarters gone now.
Word around here is when we replace the front steps, we're building a new deck over top of the old. My dear, hard working sweetheart says, "This is the last time I'm doing this!"
While I was out and about with the camera I got a few shots of the lilacs. They smell so good right now. I absolutely love this time of year when they bloom.
These are in the back yard hiding the neighbors behind us and giving us a nice tall backdrop to enclose our yard. They are very tall, at least eight or nine feet in height.
Here is a close-up of the pale violet color. Just gorgeous, and they smell so wonderful. I do not know that much about plants and flowers, but one can easily see the front and back lilacs are of two different varieties.
There is one lilac bush in the front yard. It was quite large when we moved here. We trimmed some from around the bottom because it wanted to keep spreading further out. Now it has grown so tall it seems more like a very bushy tree. This is a shot above my head, so you can tell they are very tall. They go up over the corner of the house.
This front yard lilac is located near the front bedroom window. When that window is open we have the scent of fresh spring lilacs on that side of the house. What a blessing to enjoy beauty along with the fresh scent of lilac.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
How interesting to see so many people have used my instructions to make their own quilts. It seems to be a popular one for recycle enthusiasts. That's part of the reason I wanted to reference it again after so much time - recycling has become so big again now with everyone going "green" for the environment as well as saving money due to high gas prices and increases in other products as a result of those high prices.
I'm glad to see the instructions have been such a hit. Hopefully many others will see it again here on my blog and keep some of that denim out of land fills and find a new life in a recycled quilt.
There are more links I just ran across here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
This site shows some step-by-step pictures of the process.
Here is another site with step-by-step tutorials on the Circle Jeans Quilt.
And another website with photos of the process.
This forum's page discusses my Circle Blue Jeans quilt and using flannel instead of denim. Actually the very first person I showed this quilt pattern prior to submitting it to About.com was for a friend who wanted to use regular quilter's cotton instead of the denim. We spent an afternoon visiting while I showed her the steps. I would suggest using a square of batting inside underneath the "window" square to give it some warmth. The only drawback with using cotton is all the seams are on the bias. If you are not careful you will find they tend to unravel easily and may stretch out of shape when sewing around the circle shapes. That's why I like the denim, it doesn't have that same stretch to it. This might also be fun to do with felt circles. I might try that as a small table topper one of these days.
Here's another forum talking about a program Fons & Porter did calling it a Peek-a-Boo Quilt for Baby. Apparently they made theirs with flannel. There were several other links to various sites and photos of finished quilts from this forum. Have fun perusing the various links.
Have fun sewing one for yourself or a loved one. They make great lap quilts. They're certainly warm! A bit heavy if you make them too big, but certainly warm!
Here are a list of the links I've found so far in the event one of these doesn't work for you, you can copy and past them to your browser for yourself:
I think that's more than enough links for me to look at tonight. I'm sure you can find more photos of other quilter's Circle Jeans Quilts if you do your own search. That's how I found these. Search "Circle Jeans Quilt" in your own browser and it will take you to lots of references to this quilt and all kinds of variations from it. It's kind of fun to see so many renditions of this.
My Designer 1 was purchased many years ago as my first embroidery machine. I have always enjoyed this machine. Even though I have a newer Pfaff model, this one is still a favorite of mine. If you have ever considered purchasing a sewing/embroidery machine I would definitely recommend this brand and model. Of course they have since made an update where the floppy disk drive is now replaced with a USB port for a memory stick. I decided not to have mine updated because I have so many designs on floppy and the slightly slower loading time doesn't bother me.
This is a purchase I made when I attended a Husqvarna Viking Convention for machine and software training some years ago. I managed to get it and a few other items in my luggage and it survived the airport attendant handling to grace my Sewing Studio wall. It had been stuck at the time shown in the picture for some time until tonight when I inserted a new battery. I have moved its location to another wall above my desk to hopefully help me better track my study time. It's happily ticking away as I blog!
I mentioned this Jeans Quilt in a previous blog earlier this month and also posted a link to the pattern I submitted to About.com some years ago. Here's a photo of some denim circles cut from recylced jeans, ready to sew. You can see the plastic coffee can lid on the rear left pile. It's the same one I've used for years. These will go to make a new car quilt I'll use later this fall when the weather turns cold again.
This orange banner was something given away at a Husqvarna Viking convention when they rolled out the new Viking Designer SE. The million machine march was a play on the slogan once used for the million man march several years ago. This was a fun convention, very lively as everyone in the audience had banners to wave, balloons with the Viking logo were released, bells to ring and whistles to blow at the new machine unveiling. Lots of excitement and lots of noise. I have wanted to sew a string of banners in this same size to decorate my Sewing Studio for quite some time. That's another idea on the back burner awaiting some free time.
I've seen weekly photos on some blogs that show "What's on my Desk" and thought I'd start one in a similar vein. This one will go up on Wednesdays - "What's on my Cutting Table". I want to try to do at least some sewing every week. So far that has been pretty minimal while I've been busy with my on-line classes.
Okay, while I'm at it, here's the answer to "What's on My Desk". As you can see I'm well equipped with iced tea and what's left of a frappacino while I was studying for classes. Here I had just opened my blog page to make this update. As soon as I'm done taking the "Blog Break" it's back to studying. Nose to the grindstone and all that.
I was looking on-line for some material for a class project and happened upon a news report about Starbucks changing their logo recently and how the logo change is stirring up controversy, apparently it's causing some uproar. This is a picture of a mini taste-testing cup when I tried a new flavor over the Christmas holiday last year. It is currently holding a batch of fortunes from fortune cookies consumed during a few Chinese food meals. I keep thinking I'll use them someday in a collage or in a fabric journal. Just another idea rolling around in the back of my mind.
Anyway, the controversial new logo design hasn't shown up in our local Barnes & Nobel Starbucks yet. I never paid that much attention to it before. It's interesting how one of my classes this week covers images used in advertizing and how they need to be chosen carefully so as not to offend various groups and those from different cultures. The article I read said Starbuck's sales have slumped considerably since gas prices have increased so much lately. They suggested this remake of the logo is an attempt to stir up interest and increase sales. Very interesting!
Monday, May 19, 2008
It ended up being a long day of driving for my husband and me, but we made it back just fine. The dogs were overjoyed to see us back home. It was a long day for them also. I took a little time before I head off to bed to look through the photos I took. Am posting just a few right now. The rest will have to wait since it is so late right now.
Thanks for a fun visit guys!
Here are a couple close up shots of the boys.
There's still a lot I need to learn about my Photoshop program to correct photos. The one of Josh on the left had his face in the shadows with the sun behind him. The one of Ben above had too bright a shot of the sun on his face. That's what happens taking pics on the fly, I just keep clicking away hoping to get some good ones among all the rest.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
You'll never know how many times I tried taking this picture and just missing. I would have thought a little fish swimming round in circle would be a bit easier to capture on camera. I had lots of pictures of it just coming into view, just exiting from view, out of focus, glare from the tank, etc. I see a bit too much flash on the fish here, but this picture will have to do. It was the best of the bunch.
I ran across this stitch out when I was looking for something else the other day so thought I would share it. I made it using the PictureStitch module of my Husqvarna Viking Professional software program. PictureStitch works by turning an image into a stitched design. It can be done in a single color like is shown here in black, or with four colors of thread that are supposed to represent the four colors you see in printed images with cyan, magenta, yellow and black. I like the single color I chose for this rendition. The size is not more than 6", but they take a bit of time to stitch out. Obviously the four-color option takes longer than the single-color choice to stitch. It is a picture of me when I was a little girl. It is black thread stitched on an ecru muslin background. The project was for a software class I taught last year. I haven't made this sew-out into anything yet. It was going to become a page in a fabric book I was working on, but then thought maybe I'll make it into a totebag. Those seem to be so popular now with the decreased use of plastic shopping bags.
Well we've loaded up the truck and plan to head off to see the boys tomorrow. They're moving into an apartment together for the summer. So we packed up some of the last remaining "stuff" that belongs to our youngest son. He has decided not to come home to stay with us this summer. It looks like he's on his own from here on out. I've already started the re-arranging of that room to reclaim it for our turf. There still remains some lingering belongings from both the boys. They say they will come back to claim the last of their items sometime, but it is down to very little. I have already boxed most of that into plastic bins and tucked them away in a closet. It looks like we really are empty nesters now. Am I sad? Yes and no. It's a good feeling to see they are able to stand on their own. I remember that time of life as kind of fun when I did it, so I'm happy for them and know they will do well. Will we miss them? Yes, I think so. But I know we'll be okay with that. They are only a phone call away.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I had a craving for one of those big, deluxe cupcakes today so I decided to take a walk to a nearby grocery store to get one. My husband, good sport that he is, accompanied me. We took all three dogs just to get them out of the house. They were well behaved (for the most part) as we ambled on over to the store. We took turns going inside so one of us could stay with the dogs outside. It was so disappointing to get inside to discover they only had one cupcake left, and someone had managed to poke a couple big holes in it with their finger. I didn't want that one! So I settled for the next best thing. They had a couple of these mini cakes - chocolate. They're small, maybe six inches in diameter, at most. It was moist and tasty so I can't complain even though I had my heart set on a cupcake. But, looking on the bright side, now I have some left over for tomorrow. --Yummy!
There's really not a whole lot to write about for today. It was pretty low key. I got some homework done, I had not one, but two walks - one walk was a loop around the mall since it is cool and rainy, and the other with the dogs so they could stretch their legs. I have to say they are doing so much better on leashes now than when we started. Sugar seems to be taking to it like a younger pup lately. She's getting old, so I don't want to push her, but there were several times today she was running up ahead of me along side Sparky. She occasionally trips and stumbles, not sure what that's all about . . . age or something else? I'm happy to see them enjoying their outings!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
It's a little thing to have these all sorted and lined up by color, but it makes me feel good to look at that wall of threads and see ORDER! I'll keep plugging away on more of this room little by little. I sneak in sorting and organizing mini sessions between other things (like waiting for my printer to finish a task, between taking the dogs for a walk and starting some homework, etc). I figure 5-10 minutes here and there will add up. Plus I can look at areas of the room and see progress. It gives me hope that this will eventually all get accomplished!
I took all three dogs out for a walk today. We did not get snow that was in the forecast. It hit a bit further north. We got a little rain scattered about. There was still a feel of dampness in the air. That along with the wind lead me to go back to wearing my wool jacket and leather gloves on our walk. Quite a lot of other dogs and their owners were hitting the sidewalks today as well. We came upon many and every single one of them Sugar and sometimes Sparky had to be vocal and bark at them. She needs to be socialized more to wean her away from that behavior. With all the barking and protesting she was doing it was not such a peaceful walk. I think they were as glad as I was to get out of the house. They seemed pleased with their outing. I'm walking them around ever larger areas as we go. I want to get them used to walking and work up to a good long walk by the middle of summer. It's a matter of pacing ourselves a bit now so they can build up their stamina, especially Sugar. She the oldest one and had been used to being stationary the most. Maybe by mid-summer she'll be used to walking as well as seeing other people and other dogs and cut out all the noise.
Friday, May 9, 2008
It has been overcast and rainy throughout the day, so this was a good day for a nap. There is a chance of snow in our forecast for tonight, but so far it's just been cool and rainy. The grass has really greened up lately. It still feels too cold to put geraniums in my front step flowerpots. Whenever I come and go I think it won't be long now. I love the look of geraniums in pots on my steps. I'm hoping another week will make enough of a difference for some warmer weather to come in. Those pots sure look vacant without flowers.
Between getting my nap for those extra Zs and the cool rainy weather I haven't taken the dogs out on a walk now for two days. They've had to settle for just spending time outside in our fenced backyard. They don't seem to relish the cool windy, rainy weather very much either. It's just in and out, real quick! The two little ones seem content with staying curled up in their kennels on days like this. But I can tell Ginger is a bit antsy to do something different. She probably wouldn't mind the cold and rain so much if it meant getting out for a walk. We'll see if there's a break in this weather tomorrow; maybe she and I can just get out regardless of the weather.
My Sewing Therapy will have to include getting back to organizing my stash. I still have some sorting and purging to do. This pile is definitely staying.
This is a quick peek at just a tiny portion of my fabric stash. These fat quarters, charm packs (a collection of five-inch squares) and jelly roll are a few of my more recent acquisitions. I just love looking at fabric! All the different colors and patterns available are wonderful. The embroidery sewout tucked underneath the charm packs will be turned into a pillow at some point. It is one of the last things I embroidered before I completely dismantled my sewing studio to re-configure the furniture for more room and to get re-organized.
Here's a look at my new Pfaff Creative Vision. I bought it earlier this year, but have not taken very much time to sew on it yet. It's somewhat annoying actually that I'm not making as much use of it as I would like. It seems my time is stretched among so many things. So I try to sneek in a little time here and there.
I satisfied my need for a tiny bit of Sewing Therapy last night before I went to bed by sewing about a dozen seams on a few quilt blocks. It's a scrap quilt. I've got some scraps sorted by color in a few pull-out drawers. That combined with a tremendous urge to "just sew" lead me to sew for a very short bit. Even if it's 15 minutes a day, I think I'll continue working on this scrap quilt a little each day.
The pattern is from this year's March/April issue of Quiltmaker magazine. There are only three size blocks to cut so it's a pretty simple pattern. I like the scrappy look of it.
Free-Motion can be alot of fun to play around with. This was a test sample for a tote bag. It was something I worked of for a class project I was developing. I thought it was a fairly easy project as a basic totebag. The creative fun was in the free-motion for the front side of the bag.
I did this project a short while back. The flower is hand drawn with Fabrico permanent fabric markers onto plain fabric. It was heat-set with an iron then layered with quilt batting and a piece of backing fabric. The black thread is free-motion stitched to set off features of the flower and other elements in the piece. I left the back side plain as a black and white rendition in reverse. This was actually a fun, freeing sort of thing to do.
To do free motion sewing, put on a darning foot and drop your feed dogs. You are moving the fabric manually since the feed dogs are lowered they cannot move the fabric. This means you can move it in any direction, not just forward and back under the needle. I've done other thread painting pieces that are more fully filled with thread in a variety of colors to create the image. This is much easier with just the black thread. In thread painting you use multiple colors of thread to give depth, details and interest to the work.
It was a long time ago I uploaded this Circle Jeans Quilt info. It seems funny it could still be on-line after all these years. I should go through my stuff, I bet I could come up with more jeans to make another one of these quilts. I always thought it made a good quilt to throw in the trunk of the car. Here in the north they say it's a good idea to keep a blanket in your vehicle as part of your winter survival gear in the event you are ever stranded.
I've been thinking about what I will do for one of my class projects. We are supposed to create a site and include instructions on how to make a project or do a task. I'm not sure what I'll do my assignment on, but it will probably be something with sewing, or perhaps cooking a meal. I'm still rolling ideas around in my head about this one. I thought I could revise something I already taught as a sewing class project. I am planning on revamping those ideas and making those designs and patterns available at some point on my website. This could be the start to that process.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I was going through some of the older photos I recently downloaded from my camera and came across this one. I would have to look through some records to see when I made this doll, I don't remember off the top of my head. She came about because I saw an on-line challenge and sent away for the challenge kit. The idea was to use at least three of the 5-6 challenge kit items that came in the kit to create a doll. She was a winner for me in this challenge. I've always liked the way she turned out.
The three items I used were a plain muslin cotton dish towel, some orange feathers, and a short length of rope. I made the doll body, head, arms and legs from the dish towel. The feather was glued into the little bird cage I found in a local hobby supply shop (as if her caged bird flew away and left only the feather), and I un-twisted the sisal rope to use the fibers to make her hair. The doll is wired - meaning her fingers are poseable - I used pipe cleaners as the wiring. Her head and body are overpainted with acrylic paint so she has a stiff feel, not the soft cloth squishy doll type. I hand-painted the features on the face with acrylic.
I had her packed away for awhile, but took her out of storage a while ago. She's currently standing on her pedestal in my living room. I've got several other dolls I periodically take them out on a rotating basis for display. There's just not room in my house to keep them all out. I'd probably get tired of looking at all of them after awhile anyway.
Sometimes I wonder why I keep all the stuff I've got in storage. Since I recently started clearing things out of my Sewing Studio and realized just have much I have I have been thinking of selling some of it to get rid of some excess. I just haven't found the time to do that yet. I've still got some stuff to sort through.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
They're mine, and I love 'em!
Today I decided to post a few pictures of "The Fam". My family consists of all guys! I'm the lone female voice in the group. I tell you sometimes as the kids were growing up they out voted me on a number of things. But I could always pull "the mom" card out of my hat if I really wanted to. You know, like "I'm the Mom," and "because I said so" type of thing. The was an especially good thing to be able to do on occassion.
Actually it wasn't so bad. I like all my guys, and they are pretty good guys afterall. So here they are as photographed by yours truly on a fishing adventure one cool windy day last year. My oldest son, Ben, is at the upper right; then, shown on the middle left, a couple years younger, is Josh; and the lower right picture is of my husband, Patrick. Aren't they a handsome bunch?
This day was fun. I don't recall that we caught very many fish. It was pretty cool and breezy. We had fun taking a spin around the lake.
Ben was able to come home this particular weekend to spend time with us. Josh was home for the summer. He and his Dad did their share of fishing last year.
Now that the boys are both living away from home I get to be the designated fishing buddy for my husband. We took the boat out two times so far this year.
One boating/fishing day was just a real short time of it out on the river. Staying close to home was a good idea that day. It was nice and warm (one of the first really warm days of the year), but there was still snow on the ground. It was pretty humorous to launch the boat out on the water, see people in tank tops and shorts fishing along the shore, and still drifts of snow along the bank. Only in North Dakota!
Hopefully it will be a great summer for fishing and boating.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Here are some photos of the puppers. They have been in our family a long time. We got Sugar when she was a tiny puppy small enough to fit in the palm of one hand. The boys were little then and wanted a dog so we thought one small dog would be okay.
Then we bred Sugar and kept one of her puppies. Sparky is about three years younger than she is. At the time we thought two dogs were okay because the boys could claim they each had a dog then. As it turned out Sugar turned out to be more partial to mom than to the boys. Given the choice she would rather sit in my lap or lay right next to me.
Later we got Ginger as a surprise birthday gift for our youngest son. I should clarify, my husband got Ginger. We had been talking about what to get him for his birthday, and I was going to stop at the store after I got off work to pick something up. Then I got a phone call from my husband letting me know I didn't need to stop after work because he already went and got a gift. I thought, great, that saves me time. When I asked him which of the things we talked about did he decide on, he responded, "Oh, uh, you'll see when you get home. It's a surprise." I didn't realize I would be the one surprised. Of course the boys, my husband, and the new dog worked on me til I relented and said she could stay.
As a puppy, Ginger was about the same size as the chihuahuas, but with that puppy awkwardness and clumsiness. Those two could run circles around her nipping and biting. They did not like her intruding in on their place at all. Poor Ginger! We felt so bad for her, but she was oblivious to their mean ways and kept at it trying to follow them around and play. Pretty soon she got bigger and still had a wealth of playfulness. By this time the chihuahuas had trouble getting her to mind. Pretty soon her herding instincts kicked in and before they knew it she was herding them around getting them to do what she wanted.
As It turns out, she is one of the smartest dogs we've ever had. I heard somewhere a comment referring to this breed of dog, they were as smart, and knew and understand as many words as a 4 year old child. I swear she listens when my husband and I are talking. It sure seems she knows what we say sometimes. She is a great hunting dog when my husband and the boys go pheasant hunting in the fall.
Jeepers, I'm driving myself nuts! I most definitely need some Sewing Therapy.
I did manage to get out and take a long walk with the dogs on Saturday. That was a blessing because it was such a nice sunny day. Windy, but sunny.
The little dogs crack me up sometimes. We've got two chihuahuas (Sugar and Sparky) and a larger hunting dog (Ginger) who is a mixed breed border collie and black lab. She's really smart! The two little ones are real characters at times. The little guy, Sparky is such a pip. He throws a tantrum if the leash is pulling too hard. The funny thing is, I can be standing still and he'll pull against it and go into this wild tantrum and start squealing while he spins circles. I'm hoping one day he'll make the connection to realize he's the one doing the pulling and tugging that gets him riled up. Meanwhile, he makes me chuckle.
I actually took two walks today. Once around several blocks with all three dogs. We go at a pretty slow pace for the chihuahua's short little legs. Then they stayed home and I went out again a little further, and quicker pace, with Ginger. I think she got pretty tired out. She laid around the rest of the evening. When we left she was pretty high energy; when we came home she was pretty low energy. She and I are trying to walk off some excess weight so it does us both good.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I've been thinking about setting some time aside to get some Sewing Therapy. I think I need to do that on a routine basis. Right now I'm a bit frustrated with some things and need a diversion to get my mind off some things.
So my new plan is to spend at least a half hour to an hour each day in Sewing Therapy. I have already decided I need to get out to take the dogs for a walk on a daily basis as well. Unfortunately I missed out on that the last two days. We've had extremely windy days around here and things not pinned down have been flying around outside. I decided it would be better the last couple days to stay indoors where it's calmer. What s difference getting out for a little fresh air makes, though. I miss it.
With all the trying effort I've put toward the HTML class I've neglected my other five classes. Tonight and tomorrow is time to buckle down and get my assignments done for those. I was hoping to be able to spend a relaxing day with my husband on Sunday. We'll see how it goes.
Okay, enough blogging for now. I'm taking the dogs out for their walk!