Saturday, December 31, 2016

Final Completed Project of 2016 and Happy New Year!

I accidentally ran across this ornament kit and immediately fell in love. I had to have the kit. It reminded me of Dad and his love of birds not to mention it seems like half of my family are birders. I have always adored cardinals. So, it was perfect.

I finished the project yesterday afternoon with much fussing and such. It has been years and years since I made one of these kind of ornaments. But, while I was working on it, I was happy and content. I thought it turned out beautiful.

I had Dan hang it up in the designated spot before I even took a picture. So, the pictures below are not the best. I actually stood up on a ladder to take the first! Ha!

It is hanging in our hallway which I have turned into a "Christmas room". Yes, I am nuts; but, I do not really care what others may think of the things I do.

The big ornaments hanging beside it were made by my mother and hung over the bar every year at her house. These were the ones that no one picked for themselves and I'm glad now because they are beautiful where they are.

And now, onto a different subject. 2016 is about to end. It wasn't too bad of a year with the exception of an extreme depression time, dealing the chronic issues and the death of an old acquaintance who I was enormously fond of. She was my sister-in-law's Aunt. In spite of all this, I feel that I managed to accomplish more than I have in the past few years. The one thing that I picked up is Bullet Journaling that I believe helped me out immensely.

I am extremely thankful for so many things.

Life.
My husband, Dan.
Abby Gail, my buddy.
Family.
Friends.
The ability and space to create.

The only resolution I have for 2017 is to try to create (make things) more.

May 2017 be good to you all!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Winning Love

Note: This is to give bloggers and their giveaways a shout out and it is my way of giving additional thanks to them.

  • On October 25, 2016, I found out I won some Tonga Treats Batiks (2.5" strips) from the McCall's Quilting site. These are precut fabrics by Timeless Treasures. The prize I received was a set called Autumn (SKU: TREAT-STRIP-AUTUMN). I love how the package included a pattern called Confetti designed by Jill Boyd. I think I will use that pattern because I never really made anything using batiks before.

  • On November 16, 2016, I was notified by Clothworks' blog that I won Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 14 magazine.

  • On December 12, I was notified by Stitches of Love that I am one of the Day Nine winners of the Twelve Days of Christmas Countdown which was a Snow Mug Rug pattern. I usually do not enter giveaways for patterns; but, since this was a snowman and I adore snowmen, I had to enter for a chance to win. Much to my shock, I won!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Longaberger Baskets {Loot}

On an antiquing vacation/staycation trip we took back in December 2015, we found lots of mini Lane chests that were given out to graduating high school seniors by their local furniture store. It was like winning the lottery concerning these chests.

Well, during our trip back in October up to Waco, Denton Texas and beyond, I found many Longaberger baskets at bargain prices! It was almost unbelievable!

In case you don't know it, I love Longaberger baskets.

I had Dan make a few support shelves for three baskets in our pantry.

I also had Dan build me a small shelf over my desk to hold a few. This part is not done as I want a shelf all around the desk. And, they need to be stained. And, nailed/screwed down. Ignore the messy desk.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Macros: Spiders

The below pictures were taken on a very windy day when it (the spider) was not so shy.

I believe this is an Western Spotted OrbWeaver spider {Neoscona oaxacensis}.

I have never seen this one hereabouts until now. At least, none that hangs around long enough to become big enough for me to take macro pictures. It is a very tiny spider. The body of this one is probably slightly bigger than 1/4 inch. The web seems large for such a tiny thing and its strands are practically invisible to the naked eye. The web also seems very messy compared to the writing spider (mentioned further down this post).

Writing Spider {Argiope aurantia}
(Other common names: yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, corn spider, and McKinley spider.)

Speaking of spiders, We had a plague of ordinary garden spiders around the house last year. However, we only had three this year and only one of them successfully mated and formed egg sacs (three in all). She lived practically under our patio roof and in harmony with a huge wasp nest that hung off a wire. The picture above is after she had laid her second egg sac. I figured it'd be her last. Nope. She wandered off and laid a third one several days later. She left her third egg sac after about three days and died several days later without spinning a new final web.

Banded Garden Spider {Argiope trifasciata}

I was missing the banded garden spiders this year. While out and about with Abby Gail, I discovered one on the other side of the garage. It pleased me to see the critter. I was kind of mean to the spider as I kept shaking her web in order to wake her up to get some decent pictures.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! (USA Holiday)

I will be taking a break for just over a week. If I get back to blogging when the holiday is over, great! If not, that is okay too. I am currently experiencing problems uploading pictures to my photo hosting site which makes blogging extremely frustrating. I hope the site has resolved the issues when I get back.

For those of you who celebrate this holiday, I hope you will have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wordy Wednesday {Lunacy}

I am a HUGE Field Notes fan. There are other memo books such as moleskine and Rhodia that many people love. I like Field Notes for their size and simplicity not to mention they are made in America. (moleskine is made in Italy whereas Rhodia is French). These memo books also seem to take my abuse in my travels which is a huge plus as many fall apart on me.

A package arrived recently that thrilled me to no end.

The set of four black memo books is called Lunacy. (I received two sets.) I absolutely love these books as they remind me of my dad who worked for NASA and loved all things space. My oldest nephew recently interned at NASA and I think Dad would have been absolutely thrilled that a grandson worked there.

FYI: The brown memo books are standard typical memo books that comes with every shipment.

FYI 2: I have nothing against moleskine or Rhodia as both also make good books. I just wish to support good quality products made in the land I was born, raised and currently reside in which is America.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Macro: Long-tailed Skipper {Urbanus proteus}

As mentioned in a previous Macro post, I have a HUGE butterfly bush. On October 29, I spotted a very unusual butterfly fluttering about and grabbed my camera. It turned out to be a Long-Tailed Skipper.

Macros: White-striped Longtail {Chiodes albofasciatus}

As mentioned in a previous Macro post, I have a HUGE butterfly bush. These pictures were shot on October 30, 2016. Much to my surprise, It is not the same species as the one shot the day before. It was hard to get a good picture because it was constantly moving. This is a White-striped Longtail butterfly.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Feline Friday {Cats Stealing Chairs}

I was sitting in the nice chair (on the right). When I left to go do something and returned, I discovered Abby Gail has stolen the chair. I pushed her back and then sat down on the other chair. I left once again to do something and returned to find Gracie in the other chair! I sputtered, fussed and then laughed! I gave in and let them have the chairs while I worked on something else. I did not really need to be on the computer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wordy Wednesday {Interference}

This brat snuck onto my work while I was in briefly in another room. Oh well, it was time for me eat lunch anyway.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Macros: Gulf Fritillary {Agraulis vanillae}

I have a HUGE butterfly bush I planted years ago. It was loaded with a variety of butterflies recently. Abby Gail loves to roost underneath the bush and watch them flutter about. It is as if she has her own butterfly zoo and will often make a beeline for the bush when let outdoors. She's fairly good about not attacking them and even go so far and to approach slowly, stretch out her neck and sniff them out of curiosity.

The pictures don't quite do justice as the whites of the undersides of the wings shimmer when the light shines upon them just right.

{All pictures shown shot on October 30, 2016}

Gulf Fritillary

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mom's Holiday Wreath Ornament

This was a kit and I it found bagged in a small aluminum foil pan up in my mother's kitchen cabinet above the refrigerator. There was another foam wreath in the kit. FYI: I love ornament kits and have tons stored away that I purchased over the years.

I decided to take the kit for myself. I thought I could repair the one pictured; but, the damage was too severe. I ended up cannibalizing the old one to make a brand new one with the extra foam wreath. (There was not enough supplies to finish a new wreath.)

The maker of the kit is LeeWards which is no longer in business and, after many stores closed, it became Michaels. The kit was dated 1976. I also found a sticker price of $1.89. Wow. I was eleven or twelve years old when this kit was packaged together for sale.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Troubles of a Gypsy Wife

I was following a quilt along which got me excited and helped me out enormously in the beginning of making this quilt. It was the quilt along got me started on my dream of making one of these quilts. However, the host's husband suffered a horrible fall and she had to quit to focus on helping him recover. I do not blame her. Real life is a heck of a lot more important. By the way, her husband is now doing well.

After dealing with real life myself, I plodded along with the sporadic help of the co-host of the quilt along and via lots of research. I am telling you that this booklet is giving me grief and trouble. Here, let me show you some examples.

This is the latest block I am working on and it is in Section 3 (out of 10 total). The instructions are okay. But, take a look at the image on the right (above). Something is off. Do you see it? Here, let me highlight the problem (in pink).

Speaking of the Colour Wheel block, here is a partial assembly portion of section 3 in the back of the booklet.

The mistake drove me batty! Here is what I have done to "fix" it for me:

I penciled in the correction to the block and felt tons better.

On a related subject, I was cataloging all the blocks and strips I needed for each section so that I can more or less just follow my own steps to which blocks I should make or strips I should cut next since the booklet is in such a haphazard format for doing things. Below is the assembly diagram for Section 5:

The diagram drove me batty. There is a mistake. For the life of me, I could not figure out the mistake. I could not get the strips to line up with the documentation I was creating along with the images in the booklet and the quilt pictured on the cover. I ended up with a terrible headache before giving up.

I showed Dan my spreadsheet, the picture and the above diagram. He figured out the mistake after approximately 15 minutes and gained a headache for his efforts. Dan is my hero!

Here is the corrected diagram:

A strip was missing! Thank goodness I decided to do what I was doing before I got to actually assembling this section. FYI, these diagrams are the only instructions for assembling the sections of the quilt. There are brief explanations of symbols and whatnot in the beginning of the booklet; but, that is pretty much it for instructions.

Now, before I close, I need to mention a block, Old Maid's Puzzle, that almost turned me into a quitter. The full instructions is on one page.

Here is a closeup image of the cutting instuctions:

Ugh!

You have TWO background fabrics. Which is which in the cutting instructions? You also have multiple colored fabrics. It was not that simple considering this block is composed of two different blocks (times two each). I eventually figured it out. Lord have mercy upon me because I have to make another one of these blocks when I get to section 9!

By the way, I showed the above instructions to my sister-in-law who was visiting me at the time I was making this block. She also loves to sew. Needless to say, she was dumbfounded.

So anyway, this is why it is taking me eons to make this quilt. I have to be in top form/shape mentally to deal with issues that may crop up while making the blocks and whatnot. I am only on section 3. No telling what other problems and / or issues will show up down the road.

I used to consider myself an intermediate hobby quilter. However, this booklet made me feel like a beginner. I think I will be an expert quilter by the time I finish making this quilt. And, I think I will have a burning party when I finally finish this quilt. I will happily set the booklet on fire because I would not wish this nightmare on anyone else! Ha!