Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another blogger meeting = a bright spot for me!

I've been blogging for a few years now but it wasn't until last November (2010) that I met a fellow blogger. Actually we didn't really meet, we passed each other, in North Carolina in the Intracoastal Waterway, on our boats like ships in the night. You can read about that encounter here.

Then in February when we finally reached Florida, Mary (from Mary Sews) and her husband came onto our boat for a visit. We had a nice time and they even offered to run us around if there was anything we needed. At that time we were pretty well provisioned and didn't need anything but we appreciated the offer.

Fast forward to this week. Cyndi from Bluebird's Wing realized that during my travels (I was helping Baby Girl move), I'd be staying within an hour or so of her home and she offered to come on over and meet me. As a huge fan of her blog for a long time (Cyndi is one of those people you wish lived next door to you), I was thrilled and of course I agreed! Cyndi is an animal lover (like me), she loves to make purses (like me), she has an adorable dog (like me), and she also thinks that my Wilbur is a cutie (like me)!!

We ended up having lunch at the Olde Richmond Inn. I believe we were there for over two hours and I only hope Cyndi enjoyed herself half as much as I did.

I also realize I may have suffered from diarrhea of the mouth (non stop talking). But that's what happens when one doesn't get out very much!

So in addition to lunch, Cyndi presented me with a wonderful and very useful bag she whipped up the night before on her new 'old' machine.

Since Hans and I are going to be living at a marina we'll be taking advantage of the shower facilities and this little bag will very nicely hold my toiletries.

Cyndi also made up a gift bag for Baby Girl (now an assistant coach at a private college) and I have to admit that I immediately took advantage of Cyndi's gift since Baby Girl seemed to be lacking in any and all soapy products and it didn't occur to her stupid mother (me!) to provide such stuff

I've always wanted to make one of these and never have.

It's just perfect.

And here it is, with all the wonderful products Cyndi gave me in its outside pockets. This is truly going to come in handy for me when I head to the shower building at the marina.

I'm not going to know a soul when we move south next month but Cyndi's thoughtfulness will most assuredly make me feel much less homesick than necessary.

As for Wilbur? I only hope once we move, we can find a fenced in park for him to play. He's going to dearly miss his friends here in the Big City.

Wilbur after a day at the park.

Every mother's dream!

NOTE: Cyndi from Blue Bird's Wing had a request from 'Caroline' about the pattern for the bag she made me. However, Caroline didn't include her email address!!! Caroline, if you read this please get back in touch with Cyndi, she'd be glad to pass that info along to you!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A bright spot in my otherwise crappy summer!

Cyndi over at Blue Bird's Wing recently had a give-a-way on her blog and I was one of the very lucky winners! If you click on her link and then click on my blog name, you'll get a much better picture of what I won.

This picture I took is awful, but the fabric is beautiful. Tons of fat quarters plus one full 1/2 yard.

My biggest fear is that I'll do something stupid and ruin all of it!

Also included in a very cheerful bag (and certainly not part of the giveaway) were: a diary, note cards w/envelopes, notepad, pencil case, and passport holder. All coordinating and all very cute! Honestly, I don't think I've had this kind of combo since I was a kid and it just made me feel good. Not to mention that they will all be put to good use.

I love to read Blue Bird's Wing and it's one of my all time favorite blogs. Cyndi has a way of making everyone feel like she's their friend, I just wish she were my neighbor!!

Do check out her blog because in addition to being nice, she makes beautiful purses, she has a great wallet tutorial, and she likes my Wilbur!!!

Anyway, Hans and I are moving to Florida next month, and if you want to know how I feel about Florida in August, read this post. Apparently Hans is an even better salesman than I've given him credit for.

We will be living on our boat in a marina and I'll post the particulars of that type of lifestyle on a future blog. Don't worry, my sewing machine and a good bit of my fabric stash will be going with me.

I found this nifty little sewing board at the Good Will for $3.00. It'll make the trip to the boat with us and you can't beat that kind of deal with a stick!

Cyndi also sent along two very tasty rawhide chews for Wilbur. I ended up spending most of my day running around with my daughter and couldn't get Wilbur to the doggy park but since it was so stinking hot I was thrilled to give Wilbur one of those treats instead.

Wilbur was happy too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My quilt is done...

... and now I really appreciate this type of art.

All my life I've loved quilts.

Some of my friends have quilts that have been handed down to them through the generations (for some reason in my family of sewists this hasn't happened), some can be picked up for a song at garage sales (this has never happened to me either!), and some people just make their own.

My old home town hosts the largest agricultural fair in the state and you wouldn't believe the huge amount of quilts that are submitted for judging. They are breath taking and truly works of art. And each year after our fair was over and I was done drooling over all the entries, I would vow to make one of my own.

But I never did.

Until now.

My quilt is of the very simple patchwork style. The 2.5 inch squares that are sewn atop the 5.5 inch squares don't even have finished edges. They are supposed to fray during laundering thus giving the quilt a scrappy look. I have a feeling 'scrappy' would already be a pretty good description of my creation.

I finally cut out my binding which consisted of 1 & 5/8 inch strips, pieced them together, and attached it.

A close up.

But, most important of all I wondered, would it pass the Wilbur test????

You tell me!

I tossed it on our bed just to get a good look at it and what happened?



Normally Wilbur spends his evening plastered next to me on the futon but for some reason he snuck into our bedroom last night and hours later he was still there.

I guess everyone needs some alone time now and then.

Hans is really too sweet and after admiring my quilt he asked me if I planned on entering it at the fair. Don't worry, I know a five year old could do a better job and I told him so.

All I care is that it's functional and Wilbur likes it.


No, my quilt will never be entered in a contest. But maybe the day will come when someone picks it up for next to nothing at a garage sale and ends up using it for a picnic blanket, or a dog bed (and wonders who the little five year old was that made it!).

I just hope they get as much enjoyment out of it as we're going to.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A finished Market Bag and the Picnic that never happened.

Anyone who reads this blog has to know that I'm cheap.

So you can imagine how thrilled I am to find free patterns on the internet. Freebies for Crafters is an amazing place to go and I go there often. You should too!

That's where I found a down-loadable pattern for this Market Bag. It's very simple but please DO follow the instructions. I got a bit carried away with my own ideas and nearly ruined mine. I'm used to leaving an opening in the bottom of the lining for the whole turning the bag right side out and PRESTO! you're done!

Things don't work that way with this bag because of the way the bag handles are cut onto the bag. Just believe me on this.

Here it is all flopped over.

The striped fabric is from a batch of fabric my mother gave me last year. The bottom is cut out from left over blue jeans.

I laid the pattern over the side seam of the jeans (that were ripped apart at the inseam) with the side seam of the jeans a few inches up from the bag bottom.

A better view of the bottom.

I thought I had enough left over cotton for the lining but I was way off, and I ended up piecing the entire thing.

And when I decided to add pockets I had a brainstorm. Well, not exactly a brainstorm...

For the pockets I used the hunk of fabric that's left over from between the handles.

Can you see what I mean here? I did line my pockets and added a strip of Velcro to each for security (keys, phone, etc...).

And when all was said and done, I kind of liked the lining side better than the jean/striped side.

I've been using this bag when I take Wilbur to the dog park. This pocket is roomy enough to hold Wilbur's big water bottle.

I can see myself making this bag again and I'd love to be able to use it in order to come up with a better shower bag for dragging all my stuff to a marina's bathroom facilities.

So anyway, I ran Wilbur to the park today so that this afternoon when we went to an annual 4th of July picnic that we've attended for quite a few years now, he'd be worn out while we left him by his lonesome in the apartment.

Except there was no picnic.

We still have no idea what happened and have yet to get a call from anyone explaining the situation.

I'm just hoping that a mass email didn't go out telling everyone to please meet a day ahead of time and for God's sake, don't tell Hans and Laura!!!!!!

This is what Wilbur looks like when he's totally exhausted from many zoomy sessions yet hears the gate door creak as yet one more doggy enters the park.

A bit like the Loch Ness Monster.

Don't worry, Wilbur has gotten even with us for leaving him alone this afternoon during our Picnic that didn't happen.

The air is blue, I need a gas mask, and Wilbur has a big pitty smile on his big pitty face!!!!

The big stinker!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sewing, Baking, and Hans is in Biiiiiig Twubble!

I finally sandwiched some batting between my quilt top and its backing. Here it is minus the binding that I need to complete it.

I found a piece of fabric in my stash that's destined to be cut into binding strips. Maybe tomorrow.

First, I put the quilt top on top of some batting, hand basted it together (with very long stitches), and trimmed the batting so it's even with the quilt top.

I then layered this combo on top of the quilt backing (a huge piece of fabric purchased at The Good Will for five bucks) and again hand basted it.
Here are the basting stitches up close.

I fully expect to finish my masterpiece by Monday!

Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!

As for baking? Well, let's just say we are madly in love with strawberry rhubarb pie.

Unfortunately my very last Pyrex pie plate bit the dust a couple of years ago. But I didn't discover this until after I had all the ingredients mixed up.

Enter the loaf pan as seen here atop of the vintage table cloth I inherited from my grandmother.

And even though I did indeed cut up the strawberries and rhubarb all by my lonesome, I'm certainly no Betty Crocker. This is because I just love the ready to roll out pie crusts sold in the refrigerator section at the grocery store.

A few minutes of preparation, an hour in the oven, and it's ready!!

The crust has two big hearts (me and Hans) and a little tiny upside down heart (Wilbur) cut into it for ventilation.

So why is Hans in biiig twubble?

Because we're currently watching Fatal Attraction and like Hans says, "Every man in the world is in trouble as soon as this movie starts!"

And he's right!

Wilbur is very upset because Michael Douglas insisted on dragging the family dog along on one of his adulterous trysts!

He's so traumatized he can't even watch! Here is Wilbur hiding his head behind a pillow!

He's so very sensitive.