Monday, April 22, 2019

Plunk . . . Plunk . . . Plunk . . .



A funny thing happened on my way to a relaxing afternoon of hand stitching on Saturday.  Not five minutes after uploading my last blog post, I was heading down cellar to finish painting the dowel hanger for the "Loon Lake" wall hanging which I was bringing as a hostess gift on Sunday. Well, as I reached the bottom step, I heard a sound which strikes fear in the hearts of homeowners everywhere . . . . water was dripping somewhere. I had been down cellar the previous night, but at 1:00 on Saturday, there was water dripping from the ceiling. Not a gentle drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .  but rather, a steady plunk . . . plunk . . . plunk. I put down buckets and ran for the phone to call the plumber. When I hadn't heard back in a couple of hours, I tried another plumber. What do you think the chances would be of hearing back from a plumber the Saturday afternoon before Easter? If you think, pretty slim, you would be right.

There was no sign of water under the kitchen sink, or in any of the bathrooms, or near the dishwasher. I have an old fashion double sink in the cellar, so the buckets were easy to periodically dump. The scary part was that the water was dripping from the rafters near one of the sinks. I could see that a section of the sub floor (under the kitchen floor) was soaked. That was a very bad sign, but I didn't panic.

There are many terrible things associated with having battled cancer, but it does teach you to keep things in perspective. No matter how bad the situation might be; it wasn't cancer. No matter what,  no matter how bad it was, problems could be fixed.

I went back upstairs and sat down to stitch. Later, I got a bright idea. I had a 2' by 6' piece of plywood which I angled so that the dripping water would run down the plywood and directly into the sink. No more dumping buckets.

A truly wonderful thing happened on Easter. The second plumber who I had contacted called me. I explained the problem, and he responded that he lived fairly close by and that he would be over in ten minutes to take a look. He checked everywhere and looked puzzled. Then he located the problem; a tiny section of pipe which ran above the sinks had corroded and the water was actually shooting straight up hitting the rafters and joists and then dripping back down. He replaced a length of the pipe and the problem was fixed!!! I told him that I had been afraid that he would have to go up through the kitchen floor to try to locate the source of the leak. He smiled and said that was what he had been afraid of, too! Usually situations like this are a big, big problem.

Though the floor boards and joists above the sinks were sodden, he said that they would be okay when they dried. . . another concern alleviated. Whew!  Today was spent cleaning and finishing the drying process with every fan I could find in my house, but you won't hear me complain. In fact, I had a smile on my face realizing just how incredibly lucky I had been.

One suggestion . . . be sure you know where your main shut off is to turn off all of the water. The individual faucet knobs wouldn't budge but before leaving the plumber showed me where the main shut off valve was and how to turn off all the water in the house. Let's hope I never need to use this information.  :-)

The photo at the top is of one of the pages I have completed from the online Fiber on a Whim workshop "Layered Pages" which I have been enjoying. It was a six-week workshop with a weekly video and handouts which explored stitching, embellishing, and surface design . . . all elements that I love.

I hope you all had an uneventful weekend. :-)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

My Quilting Week in Review 4/20/19


 

Honestly, I don't know what has gotten into me lately, but I am happy to say that it has been another productive quilting week. :-) The blocks for this batik scrap quilt were made quite a few years ago and languished in a bag in the corner of my sewing room. I finally put the top together last summer, but then it just sat there. Sometime after Christmas I pieced the back, but because it wasn't wide enough, I added a length of curved piecing. (In my guilds we call that "back art" and joke that it increases the value. :-) The back actually look much prettier in person.



Each of the center shapes is four sided and as you can see, no two are alike. I fussy cut the centers and coordinated the strips surrounding them to create six inch blocks. The quilting was simple stitch in the ditch. Had I been more ambitious, I might have gone around each center piece, but who knows how long that would have taken!!! I love how it turned out, so I will definitely make another one. Let's hope I finish it a bit quicker than I did this one as it's a great way to use up scraps.


 

I will turn this in on Tuesday at our next Crosstown Quilters Guild meeting for an older child or teen receiving DCF (Department of Children and Families) services. The quilt measures 54x 65 inches.


I mentioned our guild's back table in a recent post. At our last meeting I found fabric to make two pillowcases which will also be donated.





I received this surprise yesterday from my "Ladies Lunch" cousins, their parents, their two cats, their two guinea pigs, and their fish. :-)
 



I have almost finished the machine applique blocks for this kit which I purchased at our guild show in the fall. Here is one of my favorites. . . so sweet.






Let me use this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Easter!


I have been doing some hand stitching, but I'll save that for a future post. Right now I'm going down cellar to finish painting the hanger for the "Loon Lake" wall hanging. I use a dowel and glue a fancy wooden cap on each end and then painted the whole thing in a coordinating color. Then after doing some quick errands, working for an hour or so on sorting and filing, I plan on sitting and hand stitching the rest of the day away. :-)

Life is good . . . 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I Saw a Dragon Today


I saw a dragon resting in the field at Hornstra Farm in Norwell, MA this afternoon.  Really, I did . . .


Check out his steely eyes and powerful jaws dripping with grass and dirt. Truly amazing . . .



Well, it made me smile on a day which had been a bit sad for me. My brother went home to God on this day twenty years ago; he was far too young at just forty-nine. It doesn't seem possible that it has been twenty years. These photos would definitely have made him smile, too,  as he loved all types of machines and tools.


Later in the afternoon, Emma, a friend, and I checked out the park at the Emery Estate atop King Oak Hill in East Weymouth. No, your eyes do not deceive you; this home built in 1903 was modeled on George Washington's beloved Mount Vernon. The home belonged to a family of prominent wool merchants from 1916 until the twenty-four acre property was purchased by Weymouth in 2011.  There is a short walking path and a pavilion for outside events.


By the way, when you go to Hornstra Farm for the world's best ice cream, be sure to try the coffee oreo; it's simply delicious :-)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Daffodils in the Rain


Yesterday, I awoke to the sound of thunder and pounding rain. My first thought? Thank goodness I decided not to run in the Boston Marathon this year! That is the same thought that I have every year!!! While I admire the marathoners, I'm super glad I never took up running.


When the rain eventually lets up, I headed out with my camera as I love shooting raindrops on blossoms. 

In case you are wondering, these photos were taken with an 18-55mm lens on to which I screw a 3T close-up filter. I have had this inexpensive close up filter set (1T, 2T, 3T) for years. Yes, I do have a macro lens, but I like the results from this very low tech method.  Please click on any of these images to see what I mean.


I finished both small "Loon Lake" wall hangings; one for a hostess gift and because I liked it, one for me, too!  The gift is for my cousin's mother-in-law who is hosting Easter dinner this year. She has a cottage on a lake in New Hampshire, so I thought this design by Sue Pritt would be appreciated. She will be able to use it as either a table centerpiece or as a wall hanging. Sue Pritt's Sweet Season Quilt Patterns are delightful.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Oh My Goodness - A Very Busy Productive Week!


After two welcome days of warm temperatures, the daffodils in my yard are in full bloom. {If you have never read the backstory of these daffodils, please read "Full Circle" which I posted back in April of 2011.} I guarantee you will find it worth reading. :-)


My pink plastic Adirondack chairs are out signaling the return of spring, and Emma and I took advantage of today's sunshine.


Here are a few quilts from Tuesday's "Show and Tell" at the Crosstown Quilters Guild Meeting. Donna S. showed three quilts; the first is from  Bonnie Hunter's most recent "Good Fortune" mystery quilt along.


 

Don't you love the four different borders on this quilt? If we gave out prizes for show and tell, Donna surely would have received one.

Gigi showed her Kaffe Mystery/BOM.


Tracey got a head start on Christmas gifts by finishing this wonky Xmas tree quilt. :-)


Laurie showed this purple sampler quilt.


The back table at our guild meeting is always a busy place. People bring things like quilt books, tools, magazines, rulers, and FABRIC which they no longer want and we all attack with gusto. Honestly, I usually leave my home with a bag of 'stuff' for the back table deluding myself into thinking that I am making some progress getting rid of things, but seldom do I ever come home empty handed. Case in point, this small piece of tea bag fabric. How could I possibly leave that behind? I also picked out yardage for two pillowcases to make and donate to our charity efforts and a pair of scissors.




Now, you might have noticed that I titled this post "A Very Productive Week.' It actually was for me. I finished the sashing and borders on my English Paper Pieced - Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt!!! I am also almost done quilting my oldest unfinished quilt top, and I made not one, but two, small quilted wall hangings. I should be able to post a photo of them in my next piece as one is going to be a hostess gift on Easter.

Finally, the other day, we bid a fond farewell to the Tufts Library. It has served the town well for many years, but it is going to be replaced by a new, modern library which will open in two years. I can't wait!!!


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Tea Bag Art Info and Hibiscus Quilt Fabric



First, let me say that in spite of my perfectly good intentions, no sashing strips or borders got sewn on my hexagon quilt yesterday; it might happen later tonight or possibly tomorrow since it is supposed to be a rainy day.

A reader asked about my tea bag art pieces, so let me start by telling you the sources that I initially found while recuperating from my recent second adventure with breast cancer. I had quite a bit of time on my hands and Pinterest can certainly help eat up lots of time! When I came across tea bag art, I was intrigued and began searching for more info. Here are some of the sites that I found helpful. Judy Coates Perez has a very good tutorial, "Tea Bags Revisited", and another  good site is Studio Saturdays: Tea Bag Art.  If you search Youtube, you can find many tea bag art tutorials. One you might like is "Mixed Media Morsels, Dessert 9 - Altered Tea Bags." One more thing . . . there is an artist Ruby Silvious who even paints true mini masterpieces on used tea bags. Definitely check out her work here as it is truly, truly extraordinary. Warning: tread lightly as tea bag art might become addictive!!!

I do follow one piece of advice that I found somewhere. I put a small square of muslin behind my stitching or painting to give the teabag more body, and I also forgot to mention in my previous post that I use Inktense pencils and watercolor pencils.

Now . . .  I am sure you were dazzled by the incredible piece of modern art at the top of this post. . .  No . . . oh well . . . it's fabric that I painted to use in the hibiscus quilt. I have plenty of fabrics I can use for the leaves and inner part of the flower but nothing quite right for the petals. On Show 2407,  MJ Kinman on The Quilt Show last week demonstrated how she paints cotton sateen fabric for her stunning gemstone quilts. How serendipitous was that!!! I followed her example, modified it a bit,  and now have this piece with which to work. I will probably put misty fuse on the back, and as I get working on it, it will look like Swiss cheese. I wasn't happy with the yellows so I painted an additional piece today. Here's what my set up looks like in my studio. . . okay . . . no studio . . . this is my cellar and I was kneeling on the concrete floor with the frame resting up against a work bench. :-)


I also toned down a piece of fabric that I had bought for the background. In the original the veining was much more pronounced. (FYI: I mixed Golden matte medium with white acrylic paint and then dabbed it on with a sea sponge.. After it dried, I had to repeat the process.) The fabric is a bit darker than it appears here.


In my next post I'll talk about the finished pattern which is all set to go, but I won't let myself start this new piece until the hexagon quilt top is done. :-)

One more thing, at yesterday's meeting of the Herring Run Quilt Guild we had a wonderful speaker, Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill from Whole Circle Studio.  Besides having a colorful, fun trunk show, what I found most interesting was her explanation about the creative process she used to design each piece. I came home with her "Up and Away Mini Quilt" pattern. After all, what's one more pattern to add to the pile!    :-)

Have a stupendous week.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Tea Bag Art and a New Art Quilt Project


This morning I thought I would show you some of the projects on which I have been working. These tea bags feature stitching, stamping, water coloring, buttons, beads, etc. What I will do with them, I'm not quite sure. Right now I am just making one whenever an idea strikes.


Here's the first step for my new art quilt based on a photo (used with permission :-) posted on the Mereknits blog. Perhaps you would like to follow the process. First I slip an 8x10" photo into a page protector. Next, I use an ultra fine Sharpie to outline elements in the photo. The close up below shows that I also indicate where the colors change.


I bring the page protector to Staples and ask for a large print: in this case I requested one that is 20" wide. (The machine will automatically determine the length.)  Depending on the clerk, you might get a skeptical response that it won't work. Smile and gently insist that it does indeed work. Here's the proof . . . a 20x24" print out. 


Below you can see the photo, the page protector, and the large print out.




The next step will be to make a freezer paper pattern of this print. I have already begun painting some fabric to use in this piece. More about that in my next post.

Yesterday morning I had to get up at the crack of dawn, well, actually 6:30 but that's a tad early for me. (Retirement means never getting up before 7:30 unless you have a darn good reason.) I was heading to the other side of the city to go to a First Friday mass. My young cousin Miss T. and her sister attend a parochial school. Miss T. was doing one of the readings, and I might add that she did a very fine job. :-) Anyway, as I was crawling along in Boston traffic, I had time to read signs and billboards. Maybe it was the traffic, maybe it was the early hour, but I got to wondering. "SELF STORAGE " H'mmm . . . Why on earth would I want to store myself??? Where indeed would I choose to store myself???  Then in Watertown center there was a huge sign for "Eyebrow Threading." What's up with that???

 At today's Herring Run Quilt Guild meeting this morning I spotted this message that a child had scrawled on a dry erase board up on the stage.


I love people who are passionate about what they enjoy doing; spelling doesn't have to be one of them. :-)

Emma and I have just returned from a long walk in the warm, glorious sunshine. Time to go plant the pansies that I purchased yesterday, and later, I hope to finish the sashing and borders on a grandmother's hexagon quilt before my head hits the pillow tonight. I may have written that a few times already on this blog, but this time I really, really, really mean it. :-)