Sunday, June 4, 2017

TOO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE

In the last couple of posts I have mentioned several projects we have going on. Somehow this week has disappeared with none of them being completed. I have had zero energy. So many projects to do and I can't wrap my head around any of them. My yellow chair is still waiting for it's second coat of paint. the bench cushion is still just in the idea stage; my French Lines quilt is still waiting for it's ruffled binding. frames need painting, and on and on it goes. If that is not enough jobs to be finished, I thought I might start a few more this week. 
On Thursday a few of us gals got together to make summer bathrobes. I mis-judged the size I needed and after cutting everything out in an XL some of the girls insisted that it would be much too large for me. 
 
To prove the point I tried on a Small one that one of the other girls was making and it was a close fit. They convinced me to recut to a Med. and I agreed but when it came time to cut, I just could not bring myself to cut a Med. I decided to go with a Large. I hope that I am not going to be sorry, but I do not like a skimpy bathrobe. One thing I do know is that I am going to like it...
 

 

This is the size Small (minus the sleeves). I'm guessing the XLarge may have been just a bit roomy!
My goal is to finish mine this week.
Speaking of goals; Mr O challenged me to finish a quilt that I started hand quilting over 10 years ago. A little something to mark the occasion of Canada's 150th.
I have been plugging away at it and all the blocks and sashings are now done. All I have left to do is the outer border and then it is ready for a binding. I might just pull this off!

 

 

Isn't it pretty? In spite of my very immature hand quilting. I'm told practice makes perfect and I have another quilt waiting in the wings that is about halfway done with the hand quilting as well, so time will tell. In my mind, "done" will be almost as good as perfect.

I know I am all over the map with my ramblings tonight, but here is a pic I took last week of my little rhubarb patch


It has grown enough this week with all the rain we have had that I was able to harvest my first crop yesterday while Mr O and I were out working at cleaning and burning brush from all the winter windfall. 

A lot of the leaves and broken branches have been put through a chipper to make mulch for around the raised beds. The other bed beside the rhubarb has tiny strawberry plants I purchased late last summer and they seem to have wintered well and are starting to show flower buds on a few plants. Hopefully next summer I will harvest the perfect combination for some yummy strawberry rhubarb pies.
In the meantime I made a rhubarb pudding today and I have to say it is pretty yummy. A friend had posted on her Facebook page and her blog about a recipe she found online for this pudding that makes it's own sauce, and I thought I would give it a try. It is quick and easy and very tasty.
 

I still have lots left to make a batch of muffins on Monday. 
The recipe can be found here    http://commonsensehome.com/rhubarb-pudding-cake/

I used about 1/4 cup less sugar in the cake batter and it was still plenty sweet. I imagine this would be absolutely scrumptious with a mix of rhubarb and strawberries.
Another thing I usually do with my rhubarb is make aslush mix that I keep in the freezer and whe we want a nice cold refreshing drink, just scrape out about 1/4 cup of the frozen (alcohol free) slush and top up the glass with either Perrier or 7Up. Yummy!

You may have noticed a bit of a change to the side bar on my blog where I list blogs I read. I removed some that were inactive and will be adding others I have started reading. Not only have I been negligent at writing in my own blog but I have not been reading the one I used to keep up with all the time. It is so nice to catch up on all the activity of my fellow bloggers.

I leave you with a few pics of the "weeds" on our side lawn. Actually they are actually one of my favourite wild flowers. Mr O has cut the lawn already and still they show their happy faces. How forgiving they are. Much more so than any hothouse flower that has to be petted and babied into flowering. Behold the lowly wild woodland violet; our provincial flower here in New Brunswick.
 
  

 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CALORIE FREE BLOG POST

No recipes, no pictures of pie and the only jelly rolls you might see will be made of fabric.
3 Things on the agenda for today are showing off a few road trip treasures, my quilty catastrophe, and another project by Mr O.

 

Last week I took my my 2 sewing machines for a ride. The shop and service man that works on my machines is 2.5 hours away. The distance is a bit inconvenient but there is a sweet deal at the end of the ride. Edmonston is a border town. It is just a short jaunt across the river to Maine and a very unique fabric store. Mardens is a discount general store with a PHENOMENAL fabric department!
Hundreds and hundreds of bolts of fabric. Wonderful designer fabric, Amy Butler, Robyn Pandolph, Denyse Schmidt; lovely Maywood Studio fabrics(I LOVE the quality of Maywood fabrics!) RJR, Free Spirit, lovely Dowton Abbey fabrics. Etc etc etc. Best of all the prices are amazing! The most expensive fabrics are $4.49 but most run from $2.29 to $3.99 AND they give a 10% guild discount or group discount. Even with the Canadian dollar against the US it is still a great bargain! 
Hobb's batting is $6.99. Great deal on pillowcase kits, $2.49-$5.25 per kit.

 

 

 

I bought 5 yds of Hobb's batting, 4 pillowcase kits, 29 yards of top quality quilting cotton, and a half yd of thermolam batting for $143.00.    START THE CAR!

This week I decided to wash several of my quilts. It was a perfect day to line dry them and really freshen them up. I believe in using my quilts and they get washed as needed. All four of the quilts had been previously washed at least 2 or 3 times. 

 Looks nice eh? Let's take a closer look
 

 



Both of these red and white quilts have been washed at least twice, but apparently not together, because what was once a lovely white backing is now a mottled pink/red. Egads!
I looked all over town for Bounce colour catchers with no luck. Thankfully I have a quilting friend who had a box of colour catchers at home and she was willing to give them to me. I rewashed this quilt 6 more times with vinegar, with Oxi clean, with colour catchers ( all 30 sheets!). I even watered down a 1/4 cup of bleach and added it to one load. The back is not white but it is better than it was and thankfully I did not ruin the front of the quilt.

 

Look how much colour came out in the colour catchers!

 

Lesson learned. I will be washing these babies alone next time!

And now the latest project for my sewing room brought to you by Mr O.

 

My new cutting table! Lots of space for cutting and mulling over colours and fabrics. Lots of storage underneath.
 

 

Mr O did all the construction and I did the staining and varnishing. I used Minwax White Oak Stain.
 

 

The plans for the table came from an online source. I found it

HERE

Mr O made a few changes in the dimensions as per my request. It was made to fit my space. The rod at the end of the table was purchased last year at IKEA and the plan was to mount it on the wall above my old cutting table but after getting a wood table it was a perfect fit for the end.

As promised all the goodies I shared were calorie free!  HOWEVER the first crop of rhubarb is ready to be harvested so I can't promise the next post will be calorie free.

 

Monday, May 29, 2017

A YELLOW CHAIR WITH ONE BLUE LEG

Bonjour! C'est moi, Wendy! (Don't mind me, I am practicing my French..I have been taking an intro to French with an audio book from the library. Before you ask, no my blog post will not be bilingual, because with what I have learned I really would not have much to say to you other than Hello, goodbye, excuse me, thank you and goodnight...oh! and, "do you speak English?")
The weather has been so dreadfully wet and cool that my walking is mostly indoors and I use my alone time to listen to audio books. I have listened to some great books this spring, The Lilac Girls by 
Martha Hall Kelly is an amazing true story that caught my attention and held it all the way through to the end. The author does an amazing job of telling the story of how the war impacted 3 women from 3 different  countries and tells how they affected each other. Highly recommended!
 
I have read/listened to some great books but my current book is a French Language course. I'm not sure how far I will go with it, or how much I will learn but it makes good use of my time in the vehicle, or time sitting knitting or hand stitching, or painting, which brings me to what I have been doing lately. 
Now I know every serious do-it-yourselfer takes before pics, but I almost always forget that step until I am well into a project, so you won't be getting many before pics.
You may have noticed that my blog format is a little different as well, and no I do not have the before pic, you will have to rely on your memory. I wanted to freshen things up a bit and I had big plans, but it can take so much time to do this kind of stuff that I ended up with a very simple header and a plain background which I hope will be easier to read.
I have been wanting to make changes here at home as well but kept putting it off, because I know how disruptive renovations can be, but it was time. I talked Mr O into adding beadboard wainscoting to the back entry and half bath. It was a lot of work for both of us, but the results are worth it. Everything has been cleaned and painted and feels so much better. I still have little finishing things to get done, but I am pleased so far. Of course I did not take Before pics but I will have some After ones when it gets totally finished. AFTERWARD: I Found a few pics from when we had our house listed for sale a couple years ago, so it will give you a bit of an idea of the before.
 

 
 


Not glamorous but keep in mind it has been almost 20 years since I had done anything to these rooms.

 Here is a little peek at the tiny bathroom with paint and wainscoting.

Nothing too exciting yet, and it will be a challenge to take photos when it is all done, but I will give it a shot. The back entry is also a small area, long and narrow, but you need a closet, a place for shoes, a coat rack, a little place to sit to put on boots and shoes or to drop packages when coming in...a tall order for a space that is only  4ft x 9.5ft. Even though it is small it was still a lot of work. 

A pet peeve of Mr O's was that the key rack was easily seen through the window of the door. After a "break in" you start to look at things differently and are more mindful of what is in view to potential "unsavoury characters".
Last summer I found a 70+ year old hand made medicine cabinet at a yard sale. I think it was made in Marchof 1941. Very modest piece all wood with a small inset mirror. Like many things from that era, it was made with what was available, and the back of my cabinet was made from the side of an apple crate...I know I know a picture would be nice but it is firmly fastened to the wall and I am not about to ask the "keeper of the tools" to remove it from the wall so I can take a picture for my blog post. He is pretty patient with me, but everyone has their limits...It was also signed and dated by the maker. The dowel under the cabinet (for a hand towel I assume)was broken and taped. I only paid 5$ for it and thought I would find use for it somewhere. I knew Mr O could perform minor surgery to repair the dowel and I could slap a little paint on it, giving it a new purpose in life. 
I originally thought it might live out the next stage of it's life at the beach property but it followed me home in the fall and before I knew it, it became part of the furniture family here. I figured it would be perfect to house all the keys and keep them out of sight of the "bad people". I slapped a little Annie Sloan Graphite paint on it and a couple coats of wax and Mr O added some hooks and "Voila!" A new home for our keys! (Did you notice the little French I threw in there to impress you?)

I warned you earlier that I tend to forget to take before pics so alas there is none available but it did clean up pretty good despite my lack of fine painting skills.


 
 
A little place on top for family pics.

 

The newly replaced dowel is a perfect place for umbrellas before heading out the door. 

 

Lots of room for keys! Oops! The little dish of baking soda and the scented candle is to try to mask the smell of "antiques" to appease Mr O. 
You can see that I left the inside of the door because it had a little history there. I can only guess that there may have been a little calendar there or maybe a little memorial card from a funeral of a loved one maybe???

 
I covered up the colour and repurposed this little cabinet but just did not have the heart to destroy the history of the family who owned it before me. I hope whoever it was is happy to know it now keeps my keys safe from curious eyes. Thank you sir!

I had so many projects lined up for Mr O this spring, it was kind of a good thing that the weather was unfavourable, because it gave him lots of rainy cold days for working inside,

Do you remember the little wooden tables and chairs we had as children? Well I found a little chair at a lovely little antique shop on our last trip and decided it needed rescuing, so it also followed me home. 
It looked like the middle one in this picture I found online.
 


I had started painting it before I got the brainwave to take a before picture, ( Have I mentioned that I almost always forget to take BEFORE pics?)
Well out came the phone and I snapped a pic of my "YELLOW CHAIR WITH ONE BLUE LEG"
 

 

It is a little sickly looking right now with the blue showing through the bright yellow, but I am hoping it will turn out ok in the end. Another coat of Annie Sloan English Yellow paint, a coat of clear wax, and light smear of dark wax and a bit of distressing and then buffing before you get to see it. The plan is to put it in the little reading room bathroom with a basket on it for reading material. That might change though because I find sometimes the very last place I would put something is exactly where it wants to go! Sort of like my quilts. This little red and yellow Schnibbles quilt from several years ago seemed happy to grace my table centre occasionally and now it has gone to live in the reading room bathroom.

 

I also painted the bench in the entry way. It is finished but I will be making a new cover/cushion for it. 
Again in yellow. I seem to be so drawn to yellow lately, maybe because I am longing to see some sunshine for longer than an hour. (Remind me of this when I start complaining of the heat in July)
 
 This is as Before as I manage to remember... but you can refer back to the Before pics of the room above.
I have been playing around with fabric choices and accessories and I kind of like this combo. I guess we will see what happens...
 

That might lead to making new curtains...oh my goodness how did such a seemingly small job turn into something so time consuming?

I have so many projects ahead of me I want to get done!
I have a quilt on the design wall right now that needs finishing...

 

I am meeting with friends later this week and we are making summer bathrobes. That should be a hoot!

 

My summery bathrobe fabrics...
Hey! I remembered to do a Before! Yay me!
I have not done much garment making in a very long time so you may not see the After in this case.
Again you see a little yellow in there...
I will leave you with a little Before and After shot for today

Before I started my post today

 

After my post

 

Hopefully tomorrow I will show you some pics of road trip treasures, a small catastrophe and other projects Mr O has done for me. Remind me please?

 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Is this a Trend?

I wonder if this is becoming a trend...I seem to blog only when I am on the road. I said that to say this...I am on the road again! We have been home 2 and 1/2 months after all. Meeting up with friends at a resort for several days and then on to spend Easter week with our son and his family. Should be a nice relaxing time. It is always so stressful getting every thing ready, and packing should be second nature by now but I think it it is getting more and more distasteful to me. Next trip I think I will look into hiring someone to do that job....yeah right!

One of our "comfort" stops along the way always makes me smile. I forget about it as soon as I leave but the next time we stop there, Mr O fills the gas tank up and I hurry in to to empty my bladder and every single time I turn the corner and go down the hallway to the restroom, it makes me smile. Have a look
 

 

Isn't that hilarious? I am noticing now that the doors could use a coat of paint, but that is not my job. I am on vacation!

Are you wondering if I took my sewing machine with me? Well yes as a matter of fact I did. On a previous trip while travelling through South Dakota I had purchased a bundle of 40 fat 1/4's along with some yardage. It is a collection from one of my favourite fabric designers... Three Sisters and the collection is Luna Notte.
 
I'm not one to use a collection as it stands. Not because it is not beautiful on it's own , but I want to make mine a little different from everyone else so I tend to add some other fabrics to add a little change to the look. Several years ago Mr O put a small fat quarter bundle(8-10 fat 1/4's) in my stocking for Christmas. I really liked it but the right project just never surfaced until now. I am thinking it will play nicely with my Luna Notte fabrics. Time will tell.
The pattern? Oh I'm glad you asked...
Evangeline, by Bonnie Blue (Red Crinoline Quilts)
 

Evangeline is a poem byHenry Wadsworth Longfellow with part of the setting so very far from home.

 

Such a tragic, romantic love story with the setting right at home in the Maritimes. I know the original pattern uses civil world reproduction fabrics but I think the 3 Sisters fabric should work, because who does "romantic fabric" better than 3 Sisters?

I mentioned that I was only home 2 1/2 months, but I am kind of pleased with how much I accomplished in the quilting department...I am working away at reducing my stash.
I was commisioned to do a very large baby quilt. The nursery had a custom paint job on one wall
 

I have not seen the room but I am hoping I hit the colours okay. Here is the quilt..

 

  

I have made a couple charity quilts, and bound a couple more. Our guild made 12 quilts as our contribution to the 1000 quilt challenge for Ronald McDonald House in honour of Canada's 150th birthday.
We also made several quilts for Victoria's Quilts Canada
I made a mystery table runner also a Canada 150 project. It is not quilted yet, but hopefully soon

 

I'm not sure why it is such a blurry photo..itis clear on my phone, but you get the right idea.
I made a quilt for our grand daughter's 21st birthday. She had her eye on my Union Jack quilt and I was afraid it might go missing if I did not make her one of her own. It is not exactly like mine but it has the same feel. The pattern is called Asterisk and it is from a free Craftsy Block of The Month class from 2012 by Amy Gibson. It is a fun and easy quilt to make. In the class she says to square the block to 12.5" but I was able to square it to 14". I assume she suggested to square it to 12.5" because it needed to match up with the rest of the sampler blocks.
 


 

 

The smile makes the late nights worth it all.

I made one more  quilt. It is my second time doing this particular pattern. Itis a Miss Rosie pattern called Hubble, but I made it like she suggests on the closing pattern pages. I was inspired by a quilt by Lisa Bongean and pulled out some creams, greys, and beiges from my stash and then appliqued an anchor to the front. I am actually pretty pleased with my anchor drawing. I was all ready to buy Lisa's pattern and when I went to the website to order it, I read that the pattern was a 24" mini or a King sized quilt. The anchor was going to be way to big for a lap quilt so I was on my own. I got out my trusty freezer paper and folded it in half and proceeded to draw half an anchor and this is what I ended up with...
 

 
 

It is not finished in this photo but it sure looks different from the first one I made 3 years ago

 

It is a gift for our son and his wife for their new boat. They have an anniversary next week so I will get a pic of the finished product and show it off later.
I have been on a roll and and I am ready to start Evangeline. I have a feeling there are a few late nights in my future, but I will try to keep you up to speed with photos along the way.
My eyes are getting heavy and we still have a bit of a drive tomorrow. 
Time for me to say night night. I leave you with this photo I found online. I would love to give credit where it is due but I have no idea who took the picture or whose quote it is, however, I agree whole heartedly.
 


TOO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE

In the last couple of posts I have mentioned several projects we have going on. Somehow this week has disappeared with none of them being co...