Reclamation of the sewing room

Yes I have actually managed to wander into the sewing room to make a dent on getting it cleaned back up so I can work in there.  I really want to start laying out my Barn Dance blocks on the design wall.

These are the last two finally all sewn together and these are my favorite two — the batiks I used for the largest pieces are two I purchased not long ago when I was making the fused snowflakes and I love those two fabrics.  The black with all the multicolors in it and the bright coral are just so pretty.

But, before I let myself play on the design wall I decided I really have to clear off the table and put some other stuff away.  I did collect all the batik fabrics I had scatted about that I was pawing through when making the Barn Dance blocks — look at those neat and tidy piles (and one basket of scraps)

20160424_4

Now I just need to get them all back on the shelves.  Which I am headed back to do.  I took a break to make some German Potatoe Salad to go with the smoked pork chops I’ll be having for dinner – a perfect pairing.   Hopefully I’ll have the table cleared off and the majority of stuff put away before dinner – that’s my plan anyway.

 

State of the Stash

Hmmm…. the state of the stash – well both yarn and fabric seem to be expanding lately.  However, no new fabric in this week and soon, very soon, I should have a top or two completed so I can tally up the fabric used.

Yarn — well, I found some good sales, which is unusual, and one of the yarn types I love was restocked at TLE and I had to get some while it was available.:-)

The group on the left is Malabrigo Finito which I so love the feel of.  It’s great for cowls and other little accessories.  I’d love to have a sweater out of it but it’s one of those that is dyed in small batches and can vary greatly from batch to batch so I’ll stick with cowls and little shawls and scarfs – it feels so good next to your skin.

On the right is some more Classic Elite Soft Linen like I am making my green sweater out of.  The place I ordered the green from  had put a couple more colors on discontinued clearance so it was too good a price to pass up. The color is Tropical Sea which is a bit more bluey-green than my photo shows.

I’ve decided to go a different path than originally planned for my On The Spice Market KAL shawl.

20160415_1

 

These were the original colors I got which I love  but I remembered some yarn in the stash that would make a more spring/summery colored one and then I could use this yarn for the other shawl I want to make The Joker and The Thief by the same designer as Spice Market.

So here’s the yarn from the stash that I will use for my Spice Market.

20160424_6I’ve been saving this yarn for something special – especially since I found ore of the “mink” color on sale – the taupe-ish color on the left.  It’s Knit One Crochet Too Covet and you definitely would want to “covet” it if you felt it.  I thought the Finito was soft but this is so incredibly soft  -100% superbaby alpaca.  This you just want to pet it feels so good.  But I need one more color.  The local shop where I had purchased most of this closed but I went searching on line and found a color of it called Rose Quartz – a light purple color so have ordered that.  Looking forward to getting started on this one.

How many curling irons does on person need?

My plan to clean the sewing room – haven’t gotten that far yet because I decided the bathroom really should be on my list first.   I was trying to think when the last time was that I cleaned out the cabinets below my sink vanity.  Yep, if I can’t remember it was a very long time ago.

The sink has a nice sized vanity cabinet with one drawer on each side of the sink and double doors below.  Trust me – you can cram a whole lot of stuff in that open area under the sink.  So I pulled everything out – hence the question about curling irons.

I had four various sized curling irons, two hair dryers, and a set of hot rollers all tangled up in one spot. I have curling irons in different widths since I’ve had longer hair and very short hair and length somewhere between the two and some irons also blow air with a brush attached.  Now what’s really funny is I can’t remember when I last used either the hair dryers or curling irons — probably when my hair was really short like in the blog photo on the side – but that was a couple years ago now.

Used to be I wouldn’t have gone out of the house without blown, curled and sprayed into place hair and makeup.  Now I’m not saying I certainly wouldn’t benefit from still doing those things but I pretty much roll out of bed into the shower, and as I’m headed out the door to the bus I have done nothing more than comb the tangles out of my extremely straight hair which is still wet as I go out the door.  Makeup – well eye makeup stopped being worn after my eye surgery so I only wear that for specific occasions, if then, and I’m allergic to so many creams, scents, lotions, etc. that makeup in general can be more hassle than it’s worth.

So in addition to getting rid of two of the four curling irons (well I may use the other ones one of these days), I cleaned out the drawers and a whole lot of old and dried up makeup hit the trash and when’s the last time I painted my fingernails?   Quilting and knitting are hard on nail polish –  let alone what typing does to it.   Hair dryers/curlers have been corralled in two plastic drawers that fit inside the bottom of the vanity.  I’ve pulled out all the old expired medicines  – and things like the One A Day vitamins that expired three years ago that I clearly never took “one a day” of .  Now to sort through the near empty bathroom cleaning stuff bottles.  But first I had to take a coffee break and write you this exciting blog posts – yep – Saturdays around here can be just riveting. :-)  So how many curling irons do you have?? I’m betting I’m not the only one who has more than she could ever use at the same time. LOL

I think a pan of Cream Cheese Squares are in my future – well I’m only making half a pan.  A treat for later and then maybe I’ll go finish up the bathroom cleaning……

Oh and just so there’s a pretty picture included now that my ramblings are done – my quilt pattern, Tossed on the Breeze, is now available for download at Hoffman California International Fabrics website.  Just a simple little leaf quilt with two slightly different blocks.

tossedonthebreeze.PNG

On the Needles – 4/22/16 -and Barn Dance

My knitting projects just seem to be messing with me a bit lately.  Or maybe I have too many going that I’m not paying enough attention.

20160422_5

This is the front of the sweater I’m working on (the piece on the left).  The piece on the right was the same section of front but as you can see (even tho it’s sideways in the photo) I got a good 8″ or so into it before I realized I had goofed.  I was going to try having the lace pattern (which is really pretty but doesn’t show up well in my photos) going across the entire front of the sweater.  The lace pattern just happened to be an 8 stitch repeat and I needed to decrease 8 stitches for the waist shaping so that would take out an entire repeat.

But…. with all the yarn overs and decreases and slipped stitches, I couldn’t get it to look right as I was decreasing out that section.   Then I realized even worse I forgot to leave any edge stitches in stockinette stitch in order to easily seam the sides.  Seaming into open lacy stuff is not very sturdy and the I got to thinking – I totally forgot about decreasing at the armholes – that’s going to make that lace pattern very weird to deal with.  So the piece on the right just got ripped out and wound back into a ball but I’ve solved all my problems redoing the section on the left and am very happy with it.

This photo shows a the lace pattern a bit better.

20160422_9

I may rethink the plain sleeves I was going to make and add some lace there too.

And on the quilty front — the last block size for the Barn Dance QAL is now available and can be downloaded.

I just have to sew the sections of these blocks together and all my blocks for this project will be done – miraculous!

20160422_2

Tomorrow it will be time to put refold and sort out scraps too small to save from all the stacks of batiks I have sitting all over that I pulled out for these blocks  – time to get them off the floor and tables and back on the shelves where they belong …. until next time I decided to toss them all over.  Then to clean off the design wall so I can see how much of this quilt I can get up on the design wall — don’t know that it will all fit.

Design Wall Monday – 4/18/16

Yesterday I said the tulips around the Capitol weren’t blooming yet – today when I got to work I see tulips starting to open up.  Amazing.  You must have been able to practically watch them growing over the last two days of 65-78 degree weather we got.

As for on the design wall and spilling over onto  the floor – all my Barn Dance blocks are nearly done.  Just the two on the floor (top photo) need to be sewn into rows and finished off.

DSCN507820160416_220160416_120160410_3

Batiks everywhere

My original plan for today was that I would clean up the sewing room so I can reclaim the sewing table that is currently piled with batiks, along with the batiks on my dining table, and get the batiks off the floor near the dining table and on the breakfast bar put away also.  Since the sewing table is too much of a mess to sew on I’ve been using my dining table which means I have strewn the mess into the entire apartment.

But, as I was about to start that cleaning I decided that since I only had two of the Barn Dance biggest blocks left to make, I should just go ahead and get those cut out so that I wouldn’t need to paw through all the batiks once I had put them all away.  Of course then I decided I might as well do some sewing on them.

So I’ve been puttering along on them while doing a few other things and I have all but the final seams left to stitch.

DSCN5078

Of course it’s now 4 p.m. and that is definitely too late in the day to think about any serious cleaning.  But not to late to taste test some more chocolate chip banana bread, put a movie in, and knit for a while — of course any time is the right time to do those things.

I’m declaring winter over

April 17 – the second day in a row where I got up and opened the door and opened a window or two a bit to let in the fresh air and it’s not making me cold.  The sun is shining – I am declaring my winter over and hopefully Mother Nature won’t be arguing with them.

See…..There is green stuff growing on that hillside – okay they are weeds but at least it’s still growing stuff.  The photo was taking thru my screen door so it’s got a bit of a grid over lay effect.:-)20160417_8

There’s one or two trees out there that I can just barely see a tuft of green leaves starting to sprout out on and the tulips on the Capitol grounds across from the office  are up – not blooming yet but it’s nice to see growing things again.

It’s Stash reporting day over at Judy’s Patchwork Times.   As for both the yarn and stash reports – I seem to be enhancing both lately since got yarn for a sweater (Wollmeise DK in color 82Pb – which is black so not really exciting to photograph)  – okay really yarn for two sweaters because I got another great deal on a discontinued color that couldn’t be passed up  in the same type yarn as the green cardi I’m working on now – Classic Elite Soft Linen which is a linen/alpaca/wool blend which I am loving)

I finished the back of the green cardi last night – love that lace

20160417_7

and also recently got yarn for a KAL – On the Spice Market shawl which I hope to get started on today.

And yes some fabric actually arrived this week also.  I’d really like to finish my Christmas Town Sampler  quilt before next Christmas.  One of the things (other than just general procrastination) that was holding me up is I was not happy with the fabric I had gotten for border/sashing use (actually more than one fabric and they just were not quite right).  I wanted snowy looking fabric but the colors were never right since I used short of a more of a bright pastel sort of color scheme in my blocks.20160417_9 This green snowflake print which I found on sale I think will be perfect – at least it picks up the shades of the greens I used in the blocks.

But – there is hope to add to the finished numbers soon – if I ever get the three sweaters waiting or seaming done (two are winter ones so I’m not in a rush to finish those right now) and I’ve got two quilts partially quilted that I need to finish and nearly all my Barn Dance blocks are completed.   I think I need to take a week’s vacation to hang out at home and work on some of these things.

 

Lots accomplished today

It’s been a busy baking, cooking, laundry, sewing, knitting day.  After cleaning up my salsa- making mess, a large loaf of banana bread and three mini loaves of banana chocolate chip bread were made (the gals at the office will be glad I made banana bread as it’s a favorite in our corner of the office).   I haven’t taste tested it yet but soon …. as soon as the coffee is ready.

Dinner – scalloped potatoes and ham (or actually smoked pork chop which tastes the same).   I just remembered I wanted to mix up some vinegar and sugar cucumbers but I’ve now cleaned up the kitchen three times so I think it will wait until tomorrow morning.  I’m terrible about brown bagging my lunch so I’m making an effort to make some things that I will actually pack up and take for lunch so have a few things to finish making tomorrow.

Got the last of the lace panel done on my sweater and even got my second of the large Barn Dance blocks finished.

20160416_2

Only two more blocks like this to make so I need to go stare at my design wall for a while tomorrow to decide what colors I want to use in those last two blocks.

It was a lovely day here today – probably mid 70s so just maybe the trees will start thinking about getting some leaves.  It was the first day I could open the windows and door a bit to let some fresh air in which was nice.

Now where is that chocolate chip banana bread………….

Hot pepper flakes and honey?

One of my coworkers had brought in some black bean and corn salsa to share at the office which was so delicious.   I normally don’t eat black beans (kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.) but the salsa is very addicting.  I got to thinking about it one day last week and have been craving it ever since.  Last week I thought I had bought everything to make it and when I went to pull out everything to mix it up, I had no black beans.  Dang!

So I have now procured black beans and set to chopping.  Actually I didn’t work too had at the chopping because I have one of these choppers, which I love.

20160416_5It’s one of those where you just close the lid ad push on it to send foods through the chopping grid.  I used the smaller one (which is in place) for the salsa but to the right you can see the larger grid that can be swapped in.

You can find a similar chopper in Walgreen’s in the “as seen on tv” section but I got this one at Aldi’s and it was much cheaper and the exact same thing.

So far it’s been good for everything I wanted to chop.  Last time I made applesauce I peeled and quartered the apples and used the large chopper grid to put them thru so it wouldn’t take as long to cook.  Worked great.

Anyway – it helped make quick work of this stuff

20160416_3

I had looked at several recipes on line and pretty much they have the same major ingredients so I decided to just wing it.   Red pepper, , green pepper, red onion, the bottom are tomatoes put thru the chopper – I used sweet red grape tomatoes and golden sunburst tomatoes.  Those little tomatoes are great to use – don’t have to worry about seeding them and you can see there’s some juice in the bottom of the container but I drained that out so my salsa wouldn’t be too wet.  I used frozen supersweet corn (which I of course thawed) and black beans.    Lemon juice, red pepper flakes, black pepper  and honey.

 

I had to have a taste test and it is going to be great tho I might have added a few too many pepper flakes — or it could have been the tortilla chips since they are from a fantastic local restaurant that sells their chips in the local stores and they have some seasoning on them that is just delicious.  Best tortilla chips ever.

20160416_7I may have to have a little bit of it to hold me over to dinner since I never ate lunch.

But now there are those bananas I took out of the freezer to defrost.  Banana bread, banana chocolate chip muffins  – not sure what I’ll make them into but they were taking up too much room in the freezer and I had other stuff I needed to get in there.

One more photo – I didn’t get all the way through the lace at the top of my sweater back last night but made good process nonetheless.  Only one or two more repeats to go but I really like this lace pattern.

20160416_12

Big Blocks

I’ve made my tester block for the Barn Dance quilts largest hole in the barn door block.  The finished block will measure 24″ and has three smaller complete blocks set within it.

The picture was taken at a bit of an angle but here’s my first completed one.

20160416_1  Instructions will be coming soon to start making the three smaller blocks that make up part of the larger  block.  Once those 12 smaller blocks are completed, it takes no time to get the rest of these big blocks set together.

Here’s that block on the design wall with all the others I have finished.  No way will all these blocks fit up on the design wall for this project.

20160416_2