Saturday, September 25, 2021

September Sendoff

Bruce’s brother Marv (one of his three brothers) has been visiting us from Arizona for a couple weeks. As I write this on Saturday morning, he is on his way back home. But we had to have a family gathering before he left so everyone could see him since it’s been 8 years or more. Last night was the party night at our house. It was a lot of work, but boy was it a lot of fun! 

There ended up being 16 of us, with 3 in the under-12 age range. We had pizza (three kinds), tossed  green salad, a fruit salad, cookies and a great lemon zucchini bread. The kids had a blast picking their allotment of pumpkins (limit 3 each), onions (limit one each), and grapes (limit one small brown paper bag each). I had already picked tomatoes to pawn off on any willing takers. We sat out on the patio until past dark (the patio has lights and a fan). What a wonderful, wacky and fun group the family is! Even cleanup was a snap with several of us (women and men) pitching in.  


In my sewing studio, the carpet people arrived right on schedule Monday morning to trim and re-stretch and lay the carpet. As soon as they were done, I shampooed the carpet, and when it dried it looked as good as new! We began moving in the tables and shelving units on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday I went to Home Depot and got panels of insulation foam (like styrofoam). I used a staple gun to cover the panels with white flannel. 

The insulation panels I used came in a six-pack of 3/4” boards measuring 14x48” for $10.60.  Odd dimensions, but that is probably some standard building measurement for the space between studs. I had to run to JoAnn’s to get more flannel, but I had it all done by Thursday except where I ran short. 

I’ll have to go get one more insulation board to finish up. Later this morning our contractor and family member Jeff is coming to hang the blinds for us. Tasks like that are a bit problematic for a numbskull (me) and a one-armed man (Bruce). My final bookcase - a Hemnes bookcase from IKEA - will be delivered on Wednesday. The horizontal storage unit I wanted from IKEA isn’t available *anywhere* at present, but there is a similar one in stock at our local Target. I’m picking that up later this afternoon. The 3” bed risers for it will also be arriving on Wednesday. Then all I have to do is find a board to pad and cover for use as an ironing surface on top. With a little luck, I can get it all done this week and finish moving in my fabric. As soon as it’s all complete, I’ll give you a tour! 


But I do have all my sewing tables set up again, and Cousin Kim and I had fun sewing in the “new” studio last Wednesday for a bit. Here are the blocks I was able to churn out this week for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s orange September:

I started off with eight framed four-patches, above. I’d been sewing some regular 4P’s here and there earlier in the year, but this week decided to try them out with dark and light frames around them. Much better, and a great scrap buster! These framed 4P’s will be one of my RSC blocks moving forward into 2022.  And then I tackled my crumbs and got 12 6.5” (unfinished size) blocks.

On Monday, I’m planning a marathon basting session to get at least four quilts basted. My goal is to get that many finished up by the end of September. I feel as though I’m finally emerging from a long “tunnel” of remodeling, garden chores, and family guests/obligations. Not that I would change any of it; it’s just that I’m so ready for a rest and some serious sewing time! Life is good. Have a wonderful week, friends.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Tomatoes, Onions, Squash and Orange String Quilt Blocks

Actually, I don’t need to write a blog post today, because the title pretty much sums up my week. OK, OK, it’s not everything that happened, but it’s not far off. There were also friend visits, family visits, and we’re going out to eat outdoors again this evening with family. I’ll be attending another Quilts for Kids workshop today (masked and socially distanced). I’ve been asked to be prepared to demonstrate quilting with a domestic sawing machine if any newbies join us, but other than that I’ll probably just work on strings. 

The great news here at Chez Kizerian is that the carpet installers will be here at 8:00 a.m. sharp on Monday to trim and re-stretch the carpet in my studio. YAY! Then we can shampoo the carpet and move back my furniture and sewing stuff and finally put the storms and flooding of Summer ‘21 behind us. We’ll have to hang the wood blinds and shop for storage pieces, but at least I’ll have my Stuff back where I can see it and get to it!

This was The Week of Strings. Orange is a color that I love and use a lot in my quilting. It’s also a great gender neutral color and I get a lot of donation scraps to work with from the Quilts for Kids members. So I decided I would make one orange string quilt to use up a bucketful of strings and strips. I sewed 56 blocks (6 ½” unfinished) for a 7x8 layout that will measure 42x48” when finished. 

The center strip of each block is an off-white strip that I cut from a piece of yardage. It lends (or will lend when it’s all sewn up) a subtle lattice design to break up the orangeness. I couldn’t fit them all up on the exposed portion of the design board, so the remaining blocks are pinned up in clumps on the left. But you get the idea. The design board will be re-covered with fresh new flannel probably on Wednesday when Cousin Kim comes to sew. 

Then I sewed up 16  5.5” waffle blocks, which in turn were combined into four larger blocks of four each.This completes all the blocks I need for this Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) quilt. Although next month’s color will be lime green, I don’t need any more green blocks, so I can assemble this quilt  sometime over the next 2-3 months.

But that’s wasn’t all. I also stitched up these “chips” blocks (4.5” unfinished), which I am SO not crazy about. These 17 blocks bring my total to 180, which is thankfully all I need. 

I don’t have a setting plan for these yet, but they’re now in the stack of RSC blocks to be finished into quilts, along with the waffle blocks and the kitty blocks from last week. 

Kat of Kat and Cat Quilts has called out this block and these colors for the September-October block drive  for Covered in Love.  So since I have lots of orange scraps, I made four 12” blocks (finished size). They will be sent off to Kat this coming week.

I still have some four patches and crumb blocks to work on, to say nothing of assembling the orange string quilt and another orange-and-yellow quilt from scraps and orphan blocks. Once the studio is up and functional again, it will be pedal to the metal to finish up as many quilts (and use as many scraps as possible) until the end of the year.  To that end, I’ll be joining Devoted Quilter on Instagram for her WIPS-B-GONE 100-day challenge.  (WIP = works in progress). I’m going to shoot for 20 finishes in the 100 days between September 23 and the end of the year. Wish me luck!

That about wraps it up for now. This coming week will be another busy and exciting one here. I hope yours is a great one too!

I’m linking to Scrappy Saturday.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Sewing Time!

Oh, it’s been so good to sit down several times this week and just SEW!  Truly, it’s my happy place. If I need to de-stress or just REST from the garden, housework, errands, etc, , I head to my studio. Nothing has happened on that front for the last week. Apparently the person who schedules the carpet installers is on vacation this week, so my calls and even a personal visit to the store have yielded nothing. Apparently the Home Depot carpet world world just stops when Lara is not in. I’m fuming, for all the good it will do. But my stamina is not a thing to be trifled with, so I will be back on the phone and/or in the store come Monday. I want the carpet trimmed and re-stretched so I can get my studio back!!

So while I can’t baste and quilt quilts, I can still sew blocks. Since August is orange for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I whipped out and organized my overflowing orange scrap bucket and got to work. I’m linking up to the weekly Scrappy Saturday post where we all share our progress.  First up was the mama cat and her five kittens.

This is the ninth and final litter for this quilt. Yay! I can begin sewing blocks/litters together and then sash them. I have the design all set, so at least I’ll have a flimsy soon. It’ll be added to the pile of flimsies that need to be basted and quilted whenever, well, you know….

Next, I sewed four spring star (also called ribbon star) blocks. I love these blocks so much!

That block on the bottom left looks a bit off kilter, but I think it’s just the skewed directionality of the print. The measurements are actually fine. Oh, and that block’s star points are just covered up by the block on top of it. Regardless, it’s not getting ripped out and re-sewn. All I have left is one more light green block to do, which will happen in October, then the stars will be ready to be sewn into a flimsy. 

Yesterday I sewed up eight orange Split Nine Patch blocks. These are the final blocks for this RSC quilt. These blocks were sewn from 2020-2021, and now total 120. 

These blocks are so versatile and there are many ways to arrange them to yield different patterns. But until I have my design board back, I won’t even attempt to come up with a pattern yet. Hopefully, I can attack this one in October!

On our last trip to IKEA, I bought this cute folk-artsy pillow as well as the gold pillow case behind it. Then last Wednesday, Cousin Kim and I went to JoAnn’s and I got a pillow form for the gold pillow casing and some white flannel for the design board.  Anyway, here is Alfie “modeling” the new cushions. He very much approves of the colors! 

Both Darla and Alfie had their annual wellness visit (and booster shots) at the vet this week. They did NOT enjoy being tricked into their travel carrier and they complained all the way there. But they were good as gold during the exams and the ride home, and they didn’t even seem to hold a grudge that evening. Maybe after eight years they’re finally beginning to understand that the horrible annual trip where their temperatures are taken in the most undignified manner never really hurts them.

Bruce’s brother Marv arrived for a visit last night. I thought he was staying for a week, but I guess it’s for three weeks. It’s been almost ten years since he’s visited us here, although we see him every time we visit Arizona in February. I may have to break down and do some cooking! (Wink)

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Laborious Labor Day

It’s been well over a week since I’ve blogged, and while there’s been a lot happening around here, I’m pretty sure it’s only blog-worthy in summary. I’ll catch you up with some pictures and basics. As for me, I’m so glad that fall is beginning to make itself known and felt. It’s my favorite time of year!

******* The Garden ******

It’s keeping me busy. And now that the extreme heat of summer is past, even Bruce’s garden interest is once again revived. That’s good because I need him to annihilate chop down trim the weeds between the garden beds so I can harvest veggies without tripping or otherwise being dragged under by the unruly growth. We have lots of tomatoes and onions that I’ve been processing. For the grandkids and neighbor kids we have Jack-be-little pumpkins and bunches of grapes to pick on the grape arbor. Surprisingly (or maybe not), they all seem to love picking and eating the cherry tomatoes too. 

Our green beans and Armenian cucumbers were plentiful enough for us to eat and still have extras to share. The giant sunflowers bloomed magnificently. When their heads drooped, I cut them off (oh the humanity!) and set them out for the birds. And finally, this year we’ve been able to answer the burning question, “How much is too much spaghetti squash to plant?” The answer is 12 plants. Or maybe eleven, because one of them turned out to be a gourd plant. Gourds are inedible, but great for fall decorating! Don’t ask me how that happened, because we only buy seeds from nurseries. Anyway, we have enough spaghetti squash to last us all winter, plus we’ve been sharing with friends and neighbors and family and …you get the idea. Think zucchini. 

****** The Studio Remodel ******

How’s “studio remodel” for a positive outlook? Sounds better than “basement flood repair and recovery”. Well, it was no big surprise that our homeowners insurance didn’t cover one bit of the damage repair. Rainwater (or even sprinkler water) is like flooding, and unless you specifically have such coverage, fahgetaboutit. Good thing we didn’t wait on them; we got the insurance decision yesterday, the same day that the repairs were completed by our contractor and paid for by us. 

This is what the room looks like for now - a mess as we wait for the carpet guys to come back and re-stretch and trim the carpet. I can then use my new carpet cleaner (not the vacuum pictured) to shampoo the carpet.

The extra water-proofing and insulation ended up bringing the wall in a couple inches. That means I have less floor space in my studio - and it was a tight squeeze in some corners before. We were planning to get shutters for the window, but they mount to a window surround that would take up additional inches on the wall that would prevent a bookcase (for folded fabric) to be placed. So we have wide-slat wood (composite) blinds that will mount inside the window casing instead. We will install those this week.  Finally, I have new white flannel for the design board which has gotten filthy between years of use and all the construction mayhem.

Anyway, the smaller floor space means that one of my IKEA Billy bookcases won’t fit in its previous space, to the left of the window. And I hate that old oak bookcase I have, but desperately need the storage. So the plan is that once everything (window coverings, carpet) is installed and cleaned, we’ll move back what we can and then begin the process of assessing which storage pieces that I need and that will fit. But at least while that’s going on, I’ll be able to get back to basting and quilting again!

****** Sewing ******

I’ll show all my September orange Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing on Saturday when I link up to Scrappy Saturday. But in the meantime, I’ve been sewing string blocks. I gave up counting somewhere near 100. Plus I already had that many on hand. I need to do a full count, but this is what they look like for now, sorted out by color on top of my treadle machine that is tucked safely out of harm’s way for now.

****** Family and Cats ******

Tomorrow we take Alfie and Darla to the vet for their annual physical and booster shots. Our fingers are crossed that they don’t need any dental work. 

My daughter Megan, who lives in Seattle, has gone back to school (nursing), so is just working part-time in a bank. They mask up and are separated from the public by a plexiglass screen. She is fully vaccinated, yet recently contracted Covid. It’s a mild(ish) case and she is already feeling better. She is out for two weeks or until she tests negative. And they’re still paying her, so she feels very fortunate. 

Bruce’s brother Marv is driving up from Arizona. He’ll be staying with us for a week while he visits friends and attends his 60th high school reunion. If his schedule allows, we’ll be having a family gathering  so everyone can spend some time together. 

So that pretty much catches us up. I’ll be back here on Saturday!