Friday, December 5, 2014

What time is it anyway?

Oh, right! It's Bonnie K. Hunter's annual mystery quilt time! This year it's called Grand Illusion as she got the inspiration from the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. For the link, click here. I know what you're thinking right now... I should finish up the quilt tops I have already. But isn't it a lot easier to just start a new one? I have all the intentions of finishing the ones I have, don't get me wrong... But that would mean totally organizing myself, which right now I'm not quiet ready to do.
And I know Part 1, and Part 2 are out already, but I'm a little slow this year. I was away on Thanksgiving weekend when the first clue came out, then things came up, and I never started. Yet :) And to be honest, after I saw Part 2, I decided to bite the bullet and buy the Easy Angle ruler. Yes, I have to admit, I'm not a specialty ruler person, but since it's the 3rd mystery quilt I'm doing with her, and by now I noticed she loves to use this ruler, I might as well spend the $7.50 (+tax) it costs. Maybe it's me getting older, and lazier to calculate the math it's involved, or might be the person inside me saying why waste all that fabric making the diamond units with the cut-away-the-corner-triangles method, I'm not sure. It is what it is :)
Most important of all, I picked my fabrics. It wasn't easy, as I'm working with my stash (trying not bo buy fabric if I really don't have to...). The greens were a real challenge. I still haven't decided if I should use all blacks, or black and whites for the blacks, but seeing people's units for the first part, I think I'll be safe mixing up both. We shall see :)
Other than this, no sewing done since the last post, except that I got the belt and bobbin winder I ordered for the Singer 27. I think by now Fiance is not against me keeping it, I just have no idea where I'll put the table. Right now it's in the garage, covered all the way in the back, serving as a snow tire rack :)

So for this year's mystery I selected the following fabrics:

The whites are nothing exciting, tone-on-tones:

The 2 hand dyes in this pile were hand dyed by me about 12 years ago using the shaving cream technique as seen on Simply Quilts :)

Jaye (@artquiltmaker) helped me to pick out my greens:

All together:

I had an accident... when cleaning the vintage treadle sewing machine :( while trying to disassemble the bobbin winder, part of it broke :(

A close-up shot here (with cat hair and all now that I'm looking at it):

Luckily I could get the exact part by ordering online, I haven't changed it yet. In the mean time I ordered a new belt, which also came. Now we "only" have to bring the table upstairs and install the belt to see how it works. Fingers crossed!

During Thanksgiving break I had my name day (which we used to celebrate when I lived in Hungary, not so much anymore). DF got me this beautiful bouquet of roses. As you can see Roxy kitty was trying to have a taste. Lucked out with the little white flowers. Guess they didn't taste too good, because after the first attempt she luckily gave up.

When I came back home, I was obviously missed by Smoky. :)

And this little fella is growing fast! He is even showing his little white spot on his belly which is a rare moment to capture.

I will be back hopefully soon after getting my Easy Angle ruler to show my progress.

Finally I just have to share this video which quickly became my very favorite song, and listen to it first thing every morning, several times. I am a huge Lord of The Rings and Hobbit fan, and love this song! Hope you like it, too!

'Til we blog again! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Happenings Part II.

Sooo.... the wait is over, and the  cat  sewing machine is out of the bag... so to speak. :) My twilter friends already know, but in case someone missed it, and of course for the rest of the followers, a few weeks ago we bought this sewing machine at an estate sale. The family Grandmother died, leaving behind several children and grandchildren, who decided to sell her house. Entirely! Furniture, belongings, and all. She had this beautiful Singer 27 treadle sewing machine, which dates to July 28, 1904. My Fiance saw it, and sent me a photo. My heart just skipped a beat at that moment. I told him to buy it, it was priced to a $150, including the table. We didn't know if it was in working condition, or not, but I thought we could take the risk. I have memories with this type of sewing machine, as my Mom owns one, and I learned to sew on it. I'm sure I could still use it, as it is like riding a bike, right? You can never forget once you know how to do it.
I was at work, and sent my Fiance back to buy the machine. He started negotiating with the guy who was selling it, and the guy stated they had someone to come and estimate the value of the belongings, and they priced everything accordingly. Fiance started to reason that we don't even know if it's working, it's rusty, blah blah blah. He offered $60 for it, so they settled at $80. I was so thrilled, I couldn't wait to get home! We went to pick it up together, and it's in a lot worse shape than it was on the photo, I have to say that. But nothing a little cleaning can't help with. I turned the wheel, and the needle is going up and down. I will have to buy a new belt, which I looked up on eBay, it costs about $5-6. I cleaned the table the same day, and sat down to clean the machine, and got about half way through in an afternoon. It is beautiful I can tell that already. I oiled every single part with sewing machine oil, and I can't wait to get it finished and working. I took a ton of pictures before I'd set to work, so I can show those, the after pictures will be in a little while, as Fiance will have to restore the table a little bit. I have not decided if I will keep it or not, as we don't have room at all in our apartment. I will have to come up with something really clever to convince him to store it here. We shall see!

In the meanwhile here are the photos! WARNING: There are a lot of them :)

That is all for today, I will have to start to get ready for Christmas, so I'm sure I will be back with some quilty goodness soon!

'Til we blog again! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happenings, part I.

I've been wanted to sit down to write a blog post for a while, but life always got in the way. It seems like when July rolled around my life just got into speed up mode, and come to November finally it looks like will slow down just a bit. However today's post will be a little off topic, but with lots of photos.

Since my Grandparents died I've been talking to my Mom more than I ever did. She changed so much over the years since I left, and it's quiet surprising at times :) For example, she got into taking care of plants. I mean, she is recovering almost dying orchids that people wanted to throw out, and I have to say with quiet a success. She sent me a photo a few months ago, and my jaw just dropped. I had some orchids I got as presents over the years, and stopped blooming, and was wondering what I did wrong. Between my Mom's advice, and a guy called Brad I found on Youtube, I can say I successfully saved my orchids that were dying as I just realized lately. I will not go into details, but I replanted all 3 of them, and after 2 months one of them will be blooming soon, and the leaves on the other two are coming back to life.

Here they are after potting them, on September 12 for the before photos, and as of today on the following ones.

This one was in the worst shape out of the 3. See how the lower leaves are all wrinkled?

Same one from a different view:

And here it is as of today, after the weekly bath. Notice the little leaf that's growing in the middle?

This was in a rough shape, not as bad as the first:

The new leaf  grew a lot, and the wrinkles are almost gone:

This was in really good condition, I think due to the latest purchase:

And here it is, with the stem growing for the flowers (the dark green one under the leaf):

As anyone can see they are a bit more weathered than they used to be due to a couple of accidents involving Paw and his curiousness (is that the right word?) resulting knocking them over twice within a week, once at midnight... Oh, the joy of kittens :)

And a bonus: One can never be unguarded in the bathroom... :)

Besides all the work I'm doing I got involved in making kombucha. I'm really excited about it, as it is also a "growing" thing :)

I will be back with a different post as I realized how picture heavy this one became, but I have a very exciting news to share, in case you're not on twitter :)

'Til we blog again! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Some progress made

Hey everyone,
Welcome back!

I had a very busy last few weeks, and hardly got to sit down to sew. I did some minor repairs, but not much quilting done.

The last few weeks I realized that I am in a desperate need to have my own quilt as I was spending a few nights on our office sofa. No, nothing is wrong between Fiance and I, and I'm not planning on breaking up with him or anything. But unfortunately we lost our baby kitty on July 25th due to a mysterious accident, and we were both devastated along with Smoky who lost his brother. In a few days we decided to adopt a kitten to have him some company in these very difficult times. We both miss Sleepy terribly as we were raising him since the day he was born.

The new kitty arrived in 4 days, we named him Paw as he has gigantic size paws. He just turned 6 months about a week ago, and was very scared, hissing and growling at Smoky. Fortunately he is such a calm grown-up kitty, and can make friends with strangers. So I spent the first 2 nights with Paw in the office, and Smoky was sleeping with Fiance in our bedroom. It took them a few days to get to know each other, and it's been six weeks since the adoption, after 2  weeks they started to play with each other. Things are going well, despite the circumstances.
Here they are, unfortunately I only have a phone picture to show.

I did finish putting the borders on Lucky Stars finally, and also pieced the backing together for my Celtic Solstice. I did a mitered corner on Lucky Stars, as I thought what the heck... 

For the backing of Celtic Solstice I used similar colors as are in the quilt top.

It's weird to be in my sewing room without my regular helper, sometimes Smoky comes to keep me company and guard my fabrics.

Now I have a lot of tops to be quilted, and was thinking I should start basting them, the smallest one first, but then realized I don't have a backing for that one, and need to make one for Lucky Stars, too. Always something :)

Chain of Stars top, waiting for basting:

I have so many things I have to get done that I had to write a list :) Some of it was crossed out already, but there's still plenty left...

That's all for now, I'll be back with some updates, hopefully soon!

'Til we blog again! :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Never fear...

Yesterday while starting to work on my secret project, the first step was winding the bobbin. Everything went well until I heard a crack. Then I heard another one. At that point I stopped winding, and took the bobbin off the spindle.

What's wrong with this picture?!

What? You can't see it? Hint: look at the one in focus!

So when this happens never fear! I was stunned for a second because I hate to waste good thread. Not even when I got the whole spool for under $2. No. So I got the idea of putting the damaged spool on the vertical spindle on my machine, and wind it as it was regular thread. I'd set my machine to a lower speed (because it's great, and has that nice feature) and wound the bobbin like I normally would.

The result? A totally functional bobbin. There, you have it! :)

'Til we blog again! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Checking in

I have been away for a while as I haven't touched my sewing machine in a month. Which is a big deal as I got a brand new one with all the features I wanted. It's "only" a Singer, but since I've had Singers since I started sewing, even back in Hungary, I stayed with the brand. I bought a lot of accessories over the years that I can still use with both my vintage and my computerized sewing machine. I didn't want to shell out a lot of money for a big brand machine as I don't do everyday quilting, and I'm not a big shot blogger, or a professional quilter. This is just my hobby, which I do as my mood changes. Speaking of which...

The reason why I was away is that I lost both my dear grandparents within 4 days in the beginning of June. It was a lot of pain, and lot of whys, and the thought to know I will not be able to see them again. The funeral was held last Friday and I feel like I'm getting better. I even managed not to cry the last few days which is a lot from me :)
They were really close and dear to me as I spent all my summer vacations with them as a kid, my Grandmother even took me to work with her before she retired. Now I accept the fact that they were old, Grandpa 91, Grandma 84, but you don't think about that when they are in such a good shape from all the hard physical work they've done their whole life. Besides a cold they were never sick, had to take no medication. After all that happened I just didn't feel like doing anything, my days were passing by. Now that we said our final good-bye-s I just have to move on and follow the land of living.

That involves a secret project which was delayed with all this going on, but I got on it and will post pictures soon. Promise :)

I am still working on the Lucky Stars top, as I didn't calculate the border right and I ran a side short, oops! I have to make a few more strips, and sew them together to be able to attach it to the top. I still haven't washed the backing fabrics I had ordered, so it's all good. It's not that they're crying to be used or anything... :)
Once that's done I'm planning to do an inventory with my UFO-s just to know how many tops I need to quilt, and how many backs to make/order. I did clean up my sewing room which involved taking everything out, and I found a few battings in the process that I forgot about. So I think I'm okay in that department.

I started running again, not as intensively as I used to, but slowly working my way up. The longest I did the other day was 3.5 miles, which is fine, since the weather is crazy hot here these days, and the humidity is just ridiculous... Today it's 85%. I'm okay with walking, thank you very much!

I have been cooking off my Pinterest board this week. So far all the recipes I tried were delicious, and really healthy. If you need some ideas, hop on over, and also check out the Eatingwell, and Healthy food ideas boards. There is also one with healthy snacks and juice recipes. I did a juice fast for 7 days back in February (After watching Fat, sick, and nearly dead on Netflix), and decided to avoid wheat, and dairy products in my eating. Dairy was bothering me anyways, even though I was never diagnosed with lactose intolerance, but it runs in my family, so I know it's a problem. Originally I cut back on sugar, too, but I eat fruits, and that counts, even though it's the good one. As a result I lost 26.5 pounds, which I needed desperately. I'm thinking about doing another juice fast one of these weeks, just to reboot my system.

That is all for now, and so we don't go without pictures, I will paste in the photo of the pretty petunias in front of our house:

'Til we blog again! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Putting borders on without a measuring tape

It's been a while again since I posted last time.  Life got in the way which I would not like to explain right now, maybe in a while after everything is settled. I promised to post a tutorial about how I'm measuring and attaching the border on my quilt top without using a measuring tape.I use this method every time I have to put a border on a large quilt.

First, press the top, and lay it out on a hard surface. Then measure the sides of your quilt to determine how long of the border strip you need to make. You take 2x the length, + 2x the width of your top. Add about 10 inches to be on the safe side. Take your continuous border strips to the top, and lay it down in the middle lining up the edges.

The next step is to fold the border strip back, and cut with scissors, matching up the fold with the edge of the quilt top.

Then holding up the strip that was just cut, line up the ends with the rest of the uncut border strips carefully.

Cut the end the same way, folding back the longer strips, matching the fold with the end of the border strip.

Pin the borders in place, and sew it on. After pressing, repeat all the steps with the other 2 sides.

Easy peasy :)

I'm working on my Lucky Star quilt top, putting the borders on, this time mitered. That'll be my next post.

'Til we blog again! :)