Saturday, August 19, 2017

Feeling Sentimental

This past Wednesday, August 16, grandsons Tay and Aesa started school in Kansas City. It still seems too early to me, but here in Florida, local children returned August 10!

Tay began second grade.

Aesa began first grade.

What's tugging at my heartstrings is that this young lady is starting college, and those boys are gonna miss her.

Jill took Tay and Aesa out of school on Thursday and Friday, so all of them could load up a rented Nissan Qwest and drive Celina to Colorado State.

It was nice to see the family pictures loaded to the iCloud, so we could share their experiences setting up the dorm room.



Ahh. I remember those days... In 1994, taking Jill to Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois.

Move-in day was very hot!
Jill and my Dad
And then we left her there! I know I cried for nearly all the six-hour drive home.
Jill and her roomie, in 1994.
Saturday, that's what the family did. Left Celina. And said their goodbyes. 
 

I'm praying for everyone who will miss her at home. And for Celina's college success. 

I'm sure that was a long drive back to Kansas City. Linda

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What Keeps Me Busy

When I was on my way to teach quilting last Saturday morning, this was the view from the driver's seat. A gorgeous full rainbow, with all the colors entirely distinguishable, including violet. It was one of the best rainbows I've seen since moving to Florida.




Right after seeing that gorgeousness I met a fabulous class of students! Twenty of them were completely engaged in learning to walking foot and free motion quilt. In spite of some sewing machine challenges, every one of them persevered and later told me they learned something... always a good thing to hear when you're a teacher! They presented me with this bit of quilt sandwich, quilted by Donna. She FMQed this beautiful script, and the fabric was signed by everyone. Thank you so much! 

I must tell you that when I teach FMQ, after I've explained how to set up the sewing machine and then done a short demonstration on my Bernina, I ask quilters to quilt their name. I expect to evoke groans, and they never let me down. 😂 

English paper piecing has been my go-to handwork, and I'm loving where this one is headed. This is the Tula Nova pattern that I renamed Linda Nova because no Tula Pink prints are being used. Instead I'm using stashed fabrics, in a combination of prints and solids. When I complete this round, it will be about 21" across. The finished quilt is 56" X 56" when the EPPed medallion is appliquéd to a background. 
Linda Nova at almost 21"
When I was in Kansas City, doing a little shopping with Celina in old Overland Park, in a women's clothing store I saw a pretty cotton top for $54. It was a halter style top with a piece of string through the neck. Overpriced.

I decided to make one for myself. A search came up with a tutorial for a lined chiffon top. I learned that the tutorial's method for taking my own measurements to create a pattern worked beautifully!

However, these are the changes I made to the tutorial. My top: 1) is sewn with 100 percent quilting cotton (no chiffon and no lining); 2) has a front neckline that's cut one inch lower than the pattern measurements; and 3) has side seams that are sewn using a French seam.


In my stash of ribbons, I found an unused drawstring from a pair of pants that I turned into the 28"-long piece needed for the neck drawstring. I bought this "Soul Mate" quilting cotton, by Amy Butler for FreeSpirit fabric, at KC Modern Makers.

I was so pleased with how the top turned out - how comfortably it fits, and that I only need to pull it on over my head - I made a second one. It took only slightly more than an hour to sew! This fabric is "Lagoon" by Rashida Coleman Hale for Cotton + Steel, and also came from KC Modern Makers.

Now I've noted in my cell phone (ya never know when a fabric might jump out at you!) that I need a 1-1/3 yard to make a top - two lengths: one for the front; one for the back. And after cutting it out, I'll still have a nice-sized piece leftover for sewing into a quilt! Win, win!

The tutorial for the top is here. Follow those instructions for making a pattern. I created mine from two pieces of freezer paper taped together.

Other than what I've shared here, I haven't done my other favorite things like FMQ or play the ukulele. Though my carpal tunnel wrist is better, since it's still slightly swollen, I'm fearful I might reinjure it. I'm giving myself one more week. Linda
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Return to Teaching

Since going to Kansas City I've had a respite, but the pace for the next few weeks starts picking up tomorrow. That's when I begin teaching again.

All day Saturday, August 12 I'll teach Domestic Machine Quilting to quilters from Quilting Guild of The Villages. I haven't been told how many signed up for this workshop, but my max is 20. I'm ready, and excited to teach again!

On August 21 and 22 I'll lead two Domestic Machine Quilting workshops for York County Quilters in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I'm also looking forward to sharing my Domestic Machine Quilting program at their regular monthly guild meeting on the 21st.

Then on September 5 I'll give the same program to Quilting Guild of The Villages, followed by two more workshops on September 6 and October 14. I already know that both of those workshops are maxed out at 20 students. Makes me very happy to know there are that many quilters who want to learn how to quilt their own quilts!

My blogger-friend Elizabeth in California, recently posted information about the upcoming, August 21 solar eclipse, so I thought I would too. This map of the eclipse path is from nasa.gov.

This link to www.vox provides information about the path of the eclipse, including how close you are to it, based on your zip code.

Here in Florida, I hadn't thought much about viewing the eclipse. However, I'll be in South Carolina teaching that quilting workshop! Turns out I'll be only 27 miles from the apex of the path of the eclipse! Ideally - if the sky is clear and cloudless - I'd like to step out of the workshop at 2:41 pm Eastern time, to take a look, wearing special glasses of course.

I'm still mending from carpal tunnel syndrome, but last weekend decided to try some rotary cutting. It went pretty well. No pain. I cut out fabrics to make five 10-1/2" unfinished half-square triangle blocks for the QuiltCon charity quilt that five of us are making for the upcoming February 2018 show.


I pieced these blocks on my Featherweight while my Bernina was at the LQS for three weeks, getting it's annual tune-up.


Then I decided to try English paper piecing. With occasional stops to do wrist stretches, it went fairly well until I had a twinge up my left arm. I stopped for the evening, and the next day returned to complete it to this point. This is my Linda Nova project, based on the Tula Nova pattern. I'm using light gray-colored Bottom Line, 60-weight polyester thread for the piecing. It's downright invisible!

These are the makin's of the dozen star shapes that will be the next round. 

I'm glue-basting with Fons & Porter glue stick, and it's working nicely. I do love the neatness of English paper piecing.

Back to the charity quilt... On Wednesday, my friend Karen came over so we could arrange the half-square triangle blocks pieced by four of us. That evening I pieced the quilt top. It's about 70" X 90".

Karen's piecing some of the backing now, using up every bit of the Painter's Palette solids that were donated to us by Paintbrush Studios, a division of Fabri-Quilt in North Kansas City, Missouri. Thank you, Fabri-Quilt!

Now I've emailed Aurifil to ask if that company will donate three colors of 50-weight thread for domestic machine quilting. We hope they contribute too. Our plan is to quilt mostly with a walking foot - three of us will do that - and fill in with just a little FMQ. 

No FMQ has happened around here though. My #summerofFMQ is totally blown now due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Nor have I played the ukulele. I'm just singin' the same old tune (HA!)... my wrist is still swollen, and occasionally tender. I'm hesitant to do anything more than machine sewing and EPP. Maybe that's all I can/should do for a while. Boo! 

For the past month I've been making coffee using a French press rather than the Keurig single-cup machine. Something about it tastes better. Well, part of it is that I've discovered a to-die-for decaf coffee! I brought it back from H.E.B. grocery store in Austin, Texas. The brand is Cafe Olé, and the flavor is "San Antonio." It has a hint of vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon. Smooth, and simply divine. I drink it with a splash of Half-and-Half.

After making a press pot of it, I pour the coffee into my new Fiestaware teapot for an easy warm-up later.

All this talk about coffee, mostly on Instagram, opened my eyes to the fact that coffee can be made "cold brewed," meaning that grounds and cold water left to sit for 18-24 hours steeps a milder, less acidic coffee. An Internet search led me to this information by Jamie Oliver and now I'm making cold brew too. I do believe it's gentler on my stomach. Have you tried it?

When I saw Hogan sitting on the window bench while I was sewing, I couldn't resist taking a picture of him. Doesn't he look good?! After being diagnosed with cancer in January 2016 - and the vet was pretty dire about it - we just marvel at how he's doing. He'll be 14 years old in October, and though he's slowing down, is missing an eye (since 2014), and can no longer hear (not even the doorbell), he still has his frisky moments. And that dog loves his green beans! Goodness! We now buy three quarts of fresh green beans at the Farmer's Market every Saturday and keep a back-up stash of frozen green beans, from Sam's Club, so you know that's a big bag! Hogan barks at us to tell us when it's time to feed him... dog food and green beans!


There are worse things he could be eating, so we indulge him. He is a sweetheart after all.

Now I'm off to double-check that I have everything ready to take to teach tomorrow. Did I mention that I'm excited about it?! Linda

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Friends Time in Kansas City

While the primary reason I went to Kansas City for two weeks was to be with family, I did set aside a few hours to spend with friends. 

It was a real treat to spend several hours over coffee and in great conversation with my friend, Carla. We met through our blogs - she is LollyQuiltz - though I'm sad to say that she is no longer blogging. I always liked her excellent photography, and humorous writing style. In person, she's as sweet and lovely as she came across while blogging. I'm so grateful we had a chance for a good catch-up. 

Jacquie Gering also graciously set aside time for me. After we chatted briefly at QuiltCon in Savannah in February, and I told her I would be visiting KC a couple times in 2017, she said to call her up when I was in town. So, I did.

I visited her studio in the River Market area, enjoyed a delicious lunch at a nearby café, and returned to her studio... all the while talking about the Modern Quilt Guild and her participation in founding it, QuiltCon show quilts, MQG chapter activities, Bernina sewing machines, quilting styles, and more! I'm sure I could have way overstayed my welcome. As it was I took 90 minutes out of her precious workday.

Yes, Jacquie views quiltmaking as a job, which is why she moved all of it out of her home and into this building which she shares with four (maybe only three) other artists. Jacquie puts in regular hours in addition to extensive traveling. No doubt her book Walk (all about walking foot quilting), which is in its third printing, has much to do with that. To cut back on travel, her goal is to offer, in the studio, teaching quilt retreats to groups of eight quilters. She'll set up sewing space and offer side trips in the KC area. Quilters would get a full weekend of lessons and activities. Sounds like lots of fun to me!

My last stop in KC was on my last day there. I paid a visit to KC Modern Makers. I love Elizabeth's little shop. She carries so many things I like! It's always hard to narrow down my purchases. She has a wonderful collection of solids that include several types/brands: shot cotton, Kona, Free Spirit, and my new favorite Painter's Palette. It always happens though that I look at this wall and wonder, "Which colors do I already have a home?"

In addition, she carries a great assortment of garment patterns (not like those found at JoAnn Fabrics), and a variety of different weight fabrics: knits, voile, double gauze, decor weight, bottom weight. Also, Aurifil thread in several different weights, and Mettler thread.

What I'm saying about KC Modern Makers is that it's not just about quilts, and that really appeals to me.

I did come home with some quilting cottons though. I'm planning top two in this photo will be sewn into drawstring neck halter tops (still looking for a tutorial after seeing a ready-made top that I loved). I also bought one knit for a sleeved top, and one bottom weight for a pair of shorts. Obviously, all this will happened when my wrist is healed and I'm free to sew again!

It's probably just as well that I'm without my favorite sewing machine right now. My Bernina 440 has been at the local vac and sewing store since July 18, just for it's annual tune-up. I'm hoping to hear soon that it's ready!

On August 3 I started this six week online Bible study: We Saved You a Seat. The series is about friendships - how to be a better friend, and to make friends - and how Jesus modeled friendship for us. I sometimes think I'm a better on-line friend than an in-person friend, so I'm looking for ways to improve. I am definitely not doing well at keeping my Iowa friends. 😟

Getting to go to a Lifeway Christian Bookstore is something I look forward to when I'm in KC. When buying the "We Saved You a Seat" study, I also preordered Beth Moore's newest study: "Quest." I'll have my eyes open for a church that may be offering that video series.

You might guess that I'm trying to stay in the Word each day, and I am. Since living here for five years, worshipping every Sunday, looking for a church to call home, and attending a dozen different churches, I recently decided "I've had enough." I made the decision to return to worshipping with Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. While I can't go there physically, I can attend each Sunday morning NOON (Eastern time) via Hope's online simulcast. The sermon is dependably Bible-based, and the message always comes through loud and clear. If you'd ever like to join me, and receive the same blessings I do, here's the Sunday morning worship link. Linda

Friday, August 4, 2017

Family Time in Kansas City

Well, I'm back from two weeks in Kansas City, but I'm not back from Mars.

From July 19 to August 2 I was in Kansas City at our daughter Jill's house, spending some time with her, but mostly being with our grandchildren. I arrived at their house on a Wednesday at about 10 am, and by 12:30 pm Jill and granddaughter Celina were away, heading out on a five day mother-daughter driving trip to South Dakota and Wyoming. While they went to the Black Hills, Badlands, Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Devil's Tower, Custer State Park, and Crazy Horse, I took care of six and seven year-old boys!

We spent a day at SeaLife and Legoland which are side-by-side in downtown KC.
(L) Tay, age 7; (R) Aesa, age 6
I think this was the fourth time I've been to the KC Legoland (once to the Florida Legoland), and I never fail to be impressed with the Lego display of downtown Kansas City. That's Union Station center-left. 

And the KC Royals baseball stadium.

Tay and Aesa like the rides...

... and the 4-D movies. 

Once Jill and Celina returned home, instead of sending the two boys to Wee Workshop (they love it because every day in the summer is a field trip of some sort) I kept one of them with me for a day.

Each of them wanted to visit "Uncle Evan's Pet Store," which is in fact Olathe Pet Shop, a five year-old, successful, kid-friendly pet store. Both boys love walking through the fish tunnel, and especially like to handle the reptiles.

Tay favored the corn snake, and decided it "really liked me."

Aesa's a lizard sort of guy.

The boys have very different personalities, so it was almost impossible to get them to pose together for a picture. What picture-taking time turned out to be was a time for making silly faces and poses!

Aesa and I made the Elmer's School Glue Slime following this recipe. It really did turn out ooey-gooey-slimey! 

Celina time was spent going to Half-Price Books where Celi got two Stephen King paperbacks - her lifetime goal is to read every Stephen King novel! - visiting two antique malls...

... and eating sweets for lunch at the Clocktower Bakery in old Overland Park - tiramisu for her and an eclair and lavender macaron for me.

This turquoise Fiestaware teapot was my find at the Mission Road Antique Mall. Just $18! Brought it home on my Southwest flight direct from KC to Orlando. It was in my carry-on bag, and though the TSA fella paused on his viewer for a good bit, it moved along without incident.

Here's Celina is holding her second cousin, Maddy, who's the eight month-old daughter of Uncle Evan, the pet store owner. Tay confessed that he loves Maddy who's mom is on the left.

Who wouldn't love such a happy face?! She's in her grandma Susan's (my sister) arms. 

Our family adventure together was to drive three hours east of KC to Innsbrook, Missouri where we stayed for two nights at their new-to-them second home - a lakeside A-frame. It was wonderful! 



This is the back deck...

... and this is the view from their back deck. Just lovely!

From the stairs to the dock.


I kayaked for the first time, and thoroughly like the peacefulness of it. The family's teacup poodle, Milson, isn't a bit afraid of the water. He jumped in and paddled to me where I hauled him up on the back of the kayak.

The little boys have their own small kayaks, and Celina has a paddleboard that she stands on. We all had fun being on the water and in the sun. The weather was perfect!

With no Internet access, or a TV, we each found ways to while away our time. I'm wishing this young lady all the best as she begins her first year of college at Colorado State (Fort Collins, Colorado) on Monday, August 21 - the same day as the eclipse.

The area they live in is really lovely for hiking too, which Aesa, Celi and I did one morning. 
 

As for not being back from Mars... that's in reference to the July 17 post I wrote here. I remain "on Mars," as far as my left wrist is concerned. After taking the anti-inflammatory drug for 22 days thus far, I'm not seeing much, if any, reduction in the swelling. Nor does my wrist feel a whole lot better, though I have been really good and have done no hand work, sewing, quilting, or ukulele-playing. Each night I wear the brace to bed, as instructed by my doctor. I don't know where this is all leading, but I know for sure that I'm teaching an all day workshop - Domestic Machine Quilting - on Saturday, August 12, right here in The Villages. I will be demonstrating FMQ. And I teach again on August 21 and 22 in South Carolina.

I'm 🙏 over my own wrist for a complete recovery. May the good Lord answer my prayers! Linda

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