Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Doings

Seems like I just posted, but I see its been several weeks.  Sorry about that.

I've been really busy lately working on quilts, getting some rehab done on the house, and oh, yeah, work. 

I got back two quilts from my long armer (actually two different ones).  So here's a little show.

Here's my Christmas Irish Chain.  I've never had a Christmas quilt before, so this one is rather special for me.

Full Sized Quilt

Close Up of Quilting with Christmas Bells

Detail of Chain
And here's the Trip Around the World quilt that I made from fabric that I bought when I was in Florida over Christmas.
Huge Queen Sized Quilt

Detail of Feather Quilting

The rehabbing on my house is going well, but slow.  I decided I wanted my laundry area on the ground floor of my 2 story house instead of down in the unfinished basement.  I happened across a contractor who lives about 3 blocks away (I love buying local), got good references for him, and talked to him about what I wanted to do.  There was an empty hall way between my downstairs half bath and my family room.  The hallway went to a door that went out onto the back deck.  But since there's a big sliding door in the family room, I never used that door, and I thought I could remove the wall between the bathroom and hallway, and move the bathroom wall to enclose the former hallway and put a laundry area in the downstairs bath.  The contractor has done 80% of his work, but now we're to the point of replacing the flooring, which I wanted to do anyway.  I'm about ready to pull the trigger on that, then my painter will come in and paint the walls, the contractor's electrician will come in to finish the electric, and the plumber will come back to finish the plumbing.  Then the contractor will replace all the doors (I've been living without a door on my downstairs bath for the past 3 weeks) with new 6 panel doors, replace the molding that we saved, bring the washer and dryer up from the basement and ta-da!  I have been taking pictures of each step and I'll show it all when I've got it done -- before and after.

Tuesday I leave for Phoenix for some training and will return on Saturday.  I've got relatives out there that I expect to be able to spend some time with and will do a little sight seeing.  So I've got my sewing machine put away for a while between being out of town, etc.

Out in the flower garden, the snow is gone and the crocuses are coming up.  I have little purple buds.  The day lilies are being brave and are starting to peak their heads above the cold soil.  The big maple tree in my front yard is starting the process of budding.  When you look out at the landscape, no real green yet, just a hint of yellow around the edges of the willows.  Nothing showing on my forsythia yet.  But we all feel like Spring is finally on its way!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update from Wisconsin

Yes, I know its been quite a while since I posted anything.  No excuses, except for a busy life.  That, and it's a pain to upload pictures.

Last Fall I bought fabric for a Winding Ways quilt.  I sent out 12.5 x 12.5 inch pieces to have them Accu-cut as I don't like to do templates.  I got them back pretty quick and they have been sitting in a box since before Thanksgiving.  I finally got them out to work with.  Here's my first block.

I had to take it apart and put it back together about three times before everything matched up.  I got about 15 more blocks done and then got bored and put them all away for a few months.  I have enough blocks cut out for 56 blocks.

One of the reasons that I put the Winding Ways blocks aside was that I bought some darling flannel and was itching to sew up a larger baby quilt.  Nothing fancy, but here it is:

Of course, I ran out of the pink border fabric for the last side and had to go back to the shop and buy another quarter of a yard, but now the top is done.  I have the backing for it, so on Thursday at the church quilting meeting, I'll take it and sandwich it on the big tables.

I got my Christmas quilt back from the long armer, so I am in the middle of sewing on the binding for that, too.

The other big news around here is that I had the kitchen and family room painted last week.  Its a dusky blue color (was white).  Everything except the big furniture had to be moved out and was deposited in the living room (which made the living room VERY cluttered).  Of course, now I've decided I need to replace the flooring in the two newly painted rooms so I don't want to put very much stuff back because I would just move it out again.  Then I finally got a (good) quote on moving my laundry facilities to the ground floor instead of my unfinished basement, which would impact the flooring since we'd be moving walls.   I haven't called the contractor yet to accept his quote to even find out his timeframe, so heaven only knows how long it might really be.  So I'm figuring that the mess in the living room might be there for a month or so.  I know it will all be worth it in the end, but in the meantime, it is kind of irritating.

We've had a few more snow falls that have fun (NOT) to manage.  Today its beautiful outside:  sunny and probably 45 degrees.  I was out and didn't even need my coat!  I'd like to think that we've seen the last of the snow (of course we have piles of it everywhere that are slowly melting), but then we all remind ourselves -- THIS IS WISCONSIN!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Because Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Okay, so Saturday morning I was putting the borders on my Trip Around the World quilt and flicking TV channels.  And I came across a cooking show that I had seen one other time and kind of liked, so I left the channel there.  Have you ever watched Ciao Italia?  I caught her in the middle of making Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms and thought I could give it a shot.  Here's the hyperlink 
Chicken Marsala

I like watching cooking shows while I quilt.  Mostly because I normally don't watch like my life depends on it and don't have to worry about missing dialog if the machine is running too loud.  I like watching football while I quilt for the same reason.  If I'm watching a movie, then I end up backing everything up to catch what I missed while I was sewing and then the next time I get up (to iron a piece, or cut something, or just go to the bathroom), I don't come back behind the machine, but sit on the couch and just watch the movie and then don't get anything done.  I guess that's the problem with sewing/quilting in the family room in front of the TV.

Anyway, try the Chicken Marsala.  It was really good (even though I didn't use the parsley).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chicken Marsala!

When I went to the grocery store, it took longer to find the Marsala wine in the alcohol section than the entire rest of the trip.  I finally asked, and after the customer service manager looked for awhile, we got the store manager and he came and walked right up to it.  There were 4 rows of various wines and only ONE Marsala.  But I got home, pounded the heck out of two chicken breasts, doubled the amount of mushrooms, and ended up with a very yummy dinner.  DD ate all her mushrooms, all her noodles, and about 20% of one of the chicken breasts.  Then asked for a PBJ.  Oh well.  So she's not a gormet.

Trip Around the World Top Done!

This afternoon I got the top done for the Trip Around the World I've been working on for that past several weeks.  I'm so pleased with the way it turned out.  The pictures don't do it justice; it looks much cooler in person.  What looks blue is actually a royal purple.  Its another queen sized quilt.  I do have any idea what I'm going to do for the back, so I'll need to figure that out before I take it to my long armer. 

I don't have any clue what to name it.  Any ideas?

I bought a Nook Color this week and have been playing around with it.  I downloaded a few free books and also bought a couple from the Best Seller list.  There's alot that this thing can do that I haven't played with, tho. 

The weather here is finally above freezing.  I'm hoping that some of the snow will start to melt over the next few days.  I'd probably better put some salt down on the sidewalks so that the melted snow doesn't turn to ice overnight.  I'd hate if anyone slipped and fell.

I'm thinking about making Chicken Marsala for dinner for tonight, so I guess I'd better get off the computer and go buy some chicken breasts and wine at the grocery store.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard and More

Like most of the Midwest, we got socked Monday and Tuesday with more snow.  Monday was the dreaded Lake Effect snow, then on Tuesday started the good stuff.  I got off of work early on Tuesday to pick up DD.  It didn't take me as long as I expected to drive home and since I had a few minutes before school let out, I went down to the harbor to take a few pictures.

Snow blowing off the ice flows towards the bluffs

Port Washington Light House drenched with frozen spray
Both school and work were cancelled for today, so after I got up and around this morning, I went out to clear the driveway.  It was quite a lot of work since I had a 3 foot drift stacked up against my garage door and a 4 foot pile of snow courtesy of the snow plow at the foot of the driveway.  I have a smaller snow blower (I can actually pick it up to put it into my car when I need to take it to the shop), so I had to use the snow shovel to reduce the height of the drifts and piles so I could blow the rest away with the snow blower.  The sidewalks have to be done per city regulations (or else you get a ticket), and the snow there was up to the top of the snow blower housing.  It was really tough going.  I was out there about an hour; usually, I can snow blow the driveway in about 30 minutes.

But once I got the driveway done, I was able to come back in and QUILT!  I worked most of the day on my new Trip Around the World and got the first half of the top done.  I just took this picture and still have time for most of another quarter to go before the end of the day (I hope).

DD has gone for the evening to play with a friend, so I have the house to myself.  What a luxury!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Trip Around the World

While I was in Florida over the holidays I went fabric shopping at the LQS (I know, shock, right?).  At first nothing grabbed my eye, but then I saw this:

Gold and yellow are totally outside of my comfort zone, so I walked away from it a couple of times,  But I kept coming back to it.  It spoke to me.  So I picked it up.  It spoke to me some more.  It said it had some friends that wanted to go, too.  I just had to find them.  So after much searching and adding and subtracting, here are the friends that wanted to come, too.

Originally, just the green and yellow friends came home to play.  But there was some yelling and screaming and crying that they needed some of their purple friends.  So a couple of days later, we went back to the LQS and found the purple friends.

No, the original inspiration fabric is NOT in the rainbow of colors.  He said that because he's so special, he needed a special place.  We negotiated and decided that he could be the main border.

See how well he plays with others?

I'm using the tube method and am ready for the tube seam on the first quarter panel.  When I have that together, I'll take a picture and post it for you.

On a totally different front, I am keeping an eye on something I'm trying in the oven.  DD and I are going to a Super Bowl party next weekend, so I'm testing an appetizer recipe.  Its not too hard:  bacon wrapped water chestnuts.  They're in the oven and will be ready in about 15 minutes.  I'll take a picture, but you'll have to wait until the next post to see it and find out how they turn out.

Have a great evening!