Sunday, August 18, 2019

Weekly update: friends, a festival, and a finish!

There was a Magpie meetup on Tuesday.   Phebe (Spokane) went to visit Stacey (Kansas City) on Amtrak.  That required traveling to Chicago and changing trains.  Anna (southwest of Chicago) and I (north of Chicago) met Phebe at Union Station on the return trip.  Phebe had a two-hour layover and conveniently arrived at lunchtime.  We hadn't seen Phebe in person since the  first PieFest in 1999.   What a great visit!

A TV show filming was being set up in the Union Station Great Hall.

My husband and I took our friend Pat out to lunch on Friday. She's recovering well from her broken hip (when she and I were at the ALA Annual Conference in June).  She's living in a west-side suburb 60 miles away from where we live.  It took an hour and a half to get there (mid-day) and two hours to get home (Friday rush hour + summer + Chicago with a dollop of road construction). While we were at lunch her nephew called with the good news that he'd caught the cat who had holed up in Pat's condo, refusing to come out.. Apparently Mavourneen's need for human contact after two months got the best of her.

I helped set up the Rotary booth at Beach Park Fest on Saturday and stayed for the morning shift.   MAST therapy dogs Dandy and Buddy  were a big hit with festival-goers!  They belong to Rotarians Bill and Debbie.

(A definite design flaw: the Rotary logo points to the sky.)

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I am delighted and relieved to say that I finished the guild challenge quilt -- quilted, bound, labeled!
I can't show you until the reveal (September 4).  Here is a hint.

I'm now working on the Teal Mini Swap.  Beth Helfter hosts this annual fundraiser for ovarian cancer research in memory of her mother.  It's the fourth year I've participated.  The swap fabric is the teal print.  My partner is Lisa in Pennsylvania.  I'm nearly finished with the applique.  (It took longer to decide what pattern to make than to pull the fabrics and prepare the fusible appliques.)

Linking up with other quiltmakers this mid-August weekend:
 Oh Scrap!
 Design Wall Monday
 Monday Making
 Moving It Forward

Monday, August 12, 2019

Weekly update: garage sale -- success! and challenge -- success!

"I've got to hold a garage sale," I began telling myself earlier this year.   May was rainy and chilly.  Two June weekends were convention/conference.  July got away from me.  Our church has a big rummage sale at the end of August. I surveyed what I could contribute and decided I could have a sale of my own and give the leftovers to that sale -- and that the ideal weekend was NOW.  (August 9/10).

Artifacts that I'm not selling
It took a good part of the week to prepare.  I borrowed tables from two friends.  Some of the card tables were pretty rickety but they held up.  I had signs left over from the 2016 sale -- Friday/Saturday 8-3 -- so I held this sale on the same schedule.

  The big storage tubs with giveaway stuff, stored under basement stairs, were hauled up.  I had leftovers from another organization's sale ("I'll pay $20 and make it all disappear," I told that chairman). Then I went through cupboards and drawers in the rest of the house. 

I'm pretty aware of the household inventory, but there were surprises.   These buttons from long-ago library conferences went back into the archives cupboard in the basement bathroom.

Most of what I had on offer I bought at other people's sales.   I know how to buy on Etsy and Ebay but I haven't undertaken selling.

I put the box of flimsies out -- $35 per unquilted top.  I put price tags on finished quilts just in case someone was in the market. (No one was, but I got a lot of compliments.)

I don't wear aprons. I don't display aprons. I just own them. But now I don't!  I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of the clothesline I rigged up between two ladders. The aprons on the line were very eye-catching.

The weather was beautiful.  Traffic was slow but steady.  Customers included friends and acquaintances.   (I still get "You used to work at the library, didn't you?") 

Two women (sisters-in-law and housemates) live a couple of blocks away. We hadn't met them but after a half-hour's lively conversation they are new friends.   One of them spent over $200 (including 36 aprons and three flimsies).

Friday's proceeds:  $95.   Saturday's proceeds:  $328. 

 I returned the borrowed tables.   I'm still re-sorting:  putting things back (like the unsold quilts), putting things aside for a future sale (too good to give away), and packing the rest to take to the church (most of it).

 Author Susan Allen Toth referred to "a spasm of dispossession" when she cleared out her house.  I think that's why I am now finding things that I could have put into this sale. They can be seeds for the next time!

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I got the challenge quilt all put together! There is one section with applique.  I didn't like the way the appliques looked so I unstitched them, repositioned them, and then sewed them with a zigzag.  BIG MISTAKE.  When I sewed the applique panel onto the rest of the piece the misalignment was obvious.  To me, at least. I had **just enough** background fabric to make a new panel.  Whew!

Now it is under the needle. I can't show you any more than this.  The challenge reveal is at the guild's September 4 meeting.

Monday link ups:
 Design Wall Monday
Oh Scrap!
Moving It Forwad

Monday, August 5, 2019

Weekly update: Seventy-six trombones, a beach walk, and a finish, and progress

 Since we successfully traveled downtown to see Hamilton last month we tried the trip again on Thursday -- this time to see The Music Man.   We had fifth-row seats at the Goodman Theater.   The memorable songs, from 76 Trombones to Pick a Little, Talk a Little, to Till There Was You, have been earworms all weekend.

The previous time I saw the show was in 1959.  (I looked it up: at the Shubert Theater.  Did Robert Preston and Shirley Jones play the roles on tour?  Though the website Broadway in Chicago has digitized Playbills, the archive doesn't go back that far.)   What I remember is that we had balcony seats and that I had trouble seeing the stage.  A couple of months later I got my first pair of glasses.

Note the "AStevens" on the theater curtain--a replica map of River City and environs.  (Does this count as having his name in lights?)

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The weather has been drop-dead perfect in recent weeks:  not too hot, not too humid, and sunny.
We went to the beach (Camp Logan Unit of Illinois Beach State Park) Sunday afternoon.

 Midsummer wildflowers and a black-tanked husband.

(Monarda, yellow coneflower, Canada thistle, puccoon, and the two white flowers....)

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It's nice to start the month with a finish.  In this case, I quilted and bound  Purple Peaks.
Moreover, I have completed the design for the guild challenge quilt!   I am using Lynne Tyler's pieced letters (here is her blog). 

I'm the designer for Block Lotto this month.    Writing instructions can be tricky -- what makes sense to the writer may make no sense to the reader.  Here are samples for State Fair with fussy-cut floral centers.  The blocks are 6.5" unf. It takes longer to select the fabrics than to make the blocks.

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More wildlife sightings:  a red-spotted purple butterfly in the back yard and a juvenile jay seen from my home office window.

(It's the same butterfly-- the upper side and the lower side of the wings are so different!)

Monday link ups:
Monday Making
Oh Scrap!
Design Wall Monday
Moving It Forward
Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Hooray! Quilt show entries accepted

Curves Around My Modern Cabin
Homespun Sampler 
I entered three quilts into the Wisconsin Quilt Expo   I got notice today that all three have been accepted!  

The show is September 5-7 in Madison. The local quilt shop is coordinating a bus trip for September 6 and I'm going then.  (That means I have to pay to have my quilts shipped back after the the show ends Saturday.)

Initial Colors 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Oh, sheet: the backings stash, July report, and August goals

"Can I use sheets for backing?"  Someone posts such a question to online groups every couple of months.  Responses (especially on Facebook) are swift and range from "Never!" "Disaster!" to "All the time!" "Why not?"

I'm in the "why not?" camp.  In fact, I actively seek all-cotton sheets at thrift shops and rummage sales.  (Some cotton/poly blends are cottony enough, but you have to be careful: the blends from the 1970's (Kodel brand poly) are too thin and, well, polyester-y.)  

A queen-sized flat sheet, hems removed, yields about 70 x 80 in usable fabric. That's nearly 4-1/4 yards.  For $5.00 or less.  What's not to like? 

 I look for thread counts that approximate quilt fabric, rather than the ultra-high-count of so many newly-manufactured sheets.  I have the best results with Ralph Lauren or Laura Ashley brands.  

Yesterday I pulled out the three big tubs where I store backings -- no only sheets but also pieces 3 yards+.  (I swiffered the floor while I was at it. :))  [You can see the same boxes on the old flooring in this post from 2013 .  The contents of the boxes have changed somewhat but you can see that the quantity hasn't.]

The photo on the left shows the sheets.   I refolded them, added tags with the dimensions, and put them back in the tub.  Now that I am reacquainted with the entirety of  the backings stash I plan to use them!

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Now it's time for True Confessions, aka the monthly stash report.
Fabric IN, July:  114-3/4 yds, $372.00.  Average $3.24/yd.  (44 yards was a gift.)
Fabric OUT, July:  49-1/4
Fabric IN, YTD:  375 yards, $1454.00   Average $3.24/yd.
Fabric OUT, YTD: 299-1/8 

I need to spend less time acquiring and more time sewing, as I've said how many times before?

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And it's time to declare my OMG for August.   That's an easy one:  

Here's the link to the OMG home page.  Thanks again to Patty for hosting OMG!  

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Weekly update: OMG and a clutch-your-pearls finish

 This is my 1,000th post! 

I had a two-part One Monthly Goal for July.  I achieved both. 
#1   Make a prototype of the tote bags I will make for Margaret's Nepal school project.
I actually made three and sent them to Margaret. She preferred one and I will use that design.

#2   Get a good start on the guild challenge, Birds of a Feather.
I  have the letters made.  Now to put them together.  (Unless I change my mind and make something completely different....)  The challenge quilts will be on display a the September 4 meeting.

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I committed quilt heresy when I selected the backing for the strippy slab quilt I finished this week.

The floral fabric I used for the center panel came from my vintage stash.  It had the right colors and visual texture to complement the blocks and the turquoise sashing.  BUT I found a tag when I ironed it -- 50% cotton, 50% polyester.  GASP.

 "Use 100% cotton fabric!"  That's the advice/rule/law of quilt teachers, quilt books, quilt patterns, and dozens of quilt makers.   But we also say that there are no quilt police!

It looks just fine.  It feels just fine.  The quilting turned out very nicely.  (And I am pleased to report that I have finally gotten the hang getting the corners of the binding nicely squared.)

The quilt will be donated to a worthy cause. If it is used to the point of falling apart that may or may not be the fault of the cotton/poly blend.

Okay, I have confessed.
You may release your grip on your pearls.

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I feel as though this is a bonus week -- fifth Monday, Tuesday, :Wednesday.  I have a lot to catch up on (quilt-wise and otherwise).

Linking up with
July OMG Finish at Elm Street Quilts
Oh Scrap
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday
Moving It Forward

Saturday field trip: Arts & Crafts at Crab Tree Farm

Crab Tree Farm is on the east side of Sheridan Rd. on the north side of Lake Bluff.  I've driven passed it many times.  On Saturday I finally got to go inside the gate when I joined six AAUW friends for a tour hosted by the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation.

These pages explain the history.   I learned about Grace Durand earlier this year in a presentation about women in Lake County history.  Here is much more about her. (Her entry in the 1914 Woman's Who's Who of America says she believes in "restricted suffrage for men and women." What restrictions, I wonder?) 

 Crab Tree Farms' current owners have significant collections of Arts and Crafts furniture and accessories -- the genuine article, no reproductions!  Unfortuately interior  photography was not allowed so I could not capture all the wonderful design elements (stencilled walls, wallpaper, Charles Rennie Mackintosh-inspired embroidery). 

Well, I did sneak some inside pictures.  (Don't turn me in, please.) 

There is an exhibit of Newcomb Pottery -- again, no photography allowed.  If you watch Antiques Roadshow you are familiar with the pottery workshop at Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans.

This article shows photos of the pottery and needlework in the Newcomb exhibit.

Union Pacific Big Boy rolls through

The Union Pacific Big Boy locomotive -- technically No. 4014 -- has traveled across the U.S. to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad.  It reached Chicagoland on Friday.

The Big Boy is "a four-cylinder 4-8-8-4 steam locmotive. Built in 1941 it is the only operating Big Boy ouf the eight in existence." It weighs 1.25 million lbs.  (Read more about it here.)

I monitored the online Steam Tracker to calculate when it would reach the nearest crossing to us ( 4 miles west of where we live).  At 10:00 a.m. we got a good parking place near the tracks.
Other people had the same idea.

I forgot to bring the folding chairs but we had books.  (Though we ended up talking with people rather than reading.)

Freight trains, wildflowers, and books:   a very Blaine tribute.  (My dad was a railroader, my mother loved wildflowers, and we all love books.)

I should have just snapped pictures instead of going for video.  (This may not upload).

Here it comes. (A still shot taken from the video attempt.)

Right:  I was TOO close!

There it goes!

I learned later that the train stopped for a half hour at the Wadsworth crossing.

I had four shiny pennies in my wallet and placed them on the track. I forgot to retrieve them when the crowd dispersed.  I went back an hour and a half later and found two of them, smashed but still shiny!  I will make them into earrings.