Do you ever have those times in your life when you feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do? You're so overwhelmed that even when you finish something you still feel like you haven't gotten anything done. Partially because while you were finishing that one task, four more showed up on your to-do list?
If you do - you're not alone. I feel that way ALL THE TIME.
Because of that I take real joy in accomplishing anything. Even if it's a daily chore, like running the dishwasher.
So imagine my joy in finishing two quilts! They're small, but they're done. :)
It took me two years to complete this 16 patch baby quilt. In my defense though, I started it as a "time filler" project while hanging out with some quilty friends for a weekend. It has been a "fill" project since then. I finally threw it on the quilting frame a couple of weeks ago and got it quilted and bound.
The other quilt I completed was one I started about three months ago. It was one of those projects that I had no business starting because I have a ton of other projects going or ready to go. But, my scrap bin was calling my name. "Karen," it said "look at my fabulousness. Don't you want to pay attention to my fabulousness?" So I did and made this little lap/baby quilt I've been calling Neptune's Chain. Does your fabric hoard talk to you too?
Now I've got to take some full shots of these two quilts and get them posted in my Etsy shop. I'm going to have a hard time selling the "chain" quilt though - I've fallen in love with it. Maybe my little wiener dog would like a new blanket. lol.
Speaking of my pets, as soon as I laid my completed quilts down to get a couple of fall afternoon sun shots of them both of my babies thought it was playtime.
Bo is getting bigger everyday. I swear that I actually saw her grow as I was watching her sleep a couple of weeks ago. Bran and I both noticed that she seems to get extra special crazy right before she puts on a growth spurt. Extra special crazy is really saying something too, because Bo is already nut-tacular.
Bo is fitting right it here. She's super friendly and likes when new people come over to entertain her. Bette, on the other hand, is still a big old chicken. I'm always telling her she needs more bark and less bawk. She's brave when she's playing with the cat though! But, she's only brave if there is nobody else in the room. Because of this I had to video record them playing for Bran because as soon as he enters the room Bette becomes a big old chicken again. Poor little chicken dog. Bawk.
I found a giant bug in my backyard today and freaked out! I should be used to giant bugs as I live in South Louisiana, but I'm not.
After coming inside and informing my husband of the giant bug we went back out with the camera to take some photos.
If you know what kind of bug this is you'll understand why I now feel a little silly. It's a cicada. I had never seen one before - even though we hear them all summer long in Louisiana. I have seen them before they molt, and I guess that's what I thought they always looked like.
Thank you giant ass bug and Wikipedia for teaching me something new today.
Time's up for our old lady poodle. Tomorrow she's got an appointment at the vet for her very last nap.
Lucy's had a long life, I wish I could say it's been a good long life, but we got her as a rescue 5 1/2 years ago - so I can only say with certainty that the last 5 1/2 years have been good. Her first 11 years were spent as a puppy mill at some back yard breeder's business. Did you do the math? Yes, Lucy is 16 1/2 years old - that's a lot of years for a little dog - even more impressive considering she was a puppy factory.
When we rescued Lucy she was scared and pathetic. She had like three teeth - one of stuck way out of her head. Our vet pulled it when I took her for her initial checkup within the first week we had her. Slowly she became more and more confident in our home and has really blossomed over the last year and a half.
Lately she's been slower, skinnier, unstable on her feet, and just a day or so ago lost her appetite. I knew when food didn't excite her any longer that it was her time. I'm not ready - but I never will be.
Besides feeling sorry for myself over my old lady poodle I've been doing a little bit of sewing. I had put a couple of smaller quilts on my frame right before Isaak hit last week and then wasn't able to work on them when we lost power. So, with power restored this weekend I got the quilt tops quilted. I'm now working on binding them.
This week we had a friend visit us named Isaak. He brought with him 100mph wind gusts, tons and tons of rain, and he frakked the hell out of our power for 30 hours.
I'm not one of those people that is bored to death when faced with days of power failure. In fact, I kinda look forward to it. So, while some were bored to tears I was quietly celebrating the chance to read, play my piano, and sew on my great grandmother's sewing machine. That's right - hurricane Isaak didn't keep me from machine piecing some quilt blocks.
Besides the hurricane we had a couple of other exciting things happen around here since I last posted. One is that Bran and I got a new kitten. We named her Bo and I'm looking forward to calling her all sorts of crazy things as she gets older. You know, names like Bo-gers, Bo-truckle, Bo-dacious, Bo-diddly, Bo-jangles, Bo-ba Fett. You get the idea.
Another exciting thing is that my friend, Brad, asked me to start a blog centered around food and drink with him. We call it Cast Iron Stomach and his posts are very fabulous, while mine - well mine are definitely "Karen". lol.
Bran and I have been keeping busy. We're in the process of moving furniture, selling furniture, and buying new furniture. lol. Well, really we're just buying a new TV and inheriting some furniture from Bran's grandmother that we need to make room for.
Because we're pulling furniture away from walls that has been stationary for the last 10 years, we're taking the opportunity to repaint and tear down the old ugly wallpaper all over my house. Actually, more accurately I'M taking the opportunity to paint and refresh. Bran's a man - and he thinks just moving furniture is enough...lol. But, he appreciates how nice and new the house is starting to look. Men. I swear. It's been a long time since I painted walls. Let me tell you, it's a reasonably easy task that makes a huge difference, but my back is really feeling it! lol.
Other than working around the house I have been doing a little bit of quilting. I've got a huge fabric stash, but I'm still being distracted by my scrap bin. Here's a little sneak peak of the lap quilt I've been piecing over the last week.
I've finished the piecing and can't wait to get it quilted and bound. But, first I've got to paint a wall or two.
I live near New Orleans. I'm not a New Orleans native, Louisiana native, or even from The South at all. Well, that's not entirely true, I was born in a Confederate State. Nine months after my birth my parents moved me to the San Francisco East Bay where I lived until I was 22. So, I'm Californian. Yes, Californian.
In the 10 years that I've lived in Louisiana I've made friends. The one thing in common that most of my Louisiana made friends have? Most of them are not from Louisiana either. Because of that, most of them eventually move back home, or to some other blue state. (lol)
So, Monday morning I wasn't surprised to hear that one of the two closest friends I currently have in Louisiana was moving. She's moving today. I miss her already. Last week though, before I knew she was leaving, I made her some needlebooks. She had asked me to make her one, even bought the fabric and felt, about a year ago. But I was lazy and uninspired by a needlebook. I saw the fabric on top of my "things to do pile" so I thought that maybe it was finally time to get that done for her.
I made hers (the lions) then went crazy and made her two more. They all turned out adorable. If it didn't take forever to make one I might make more. If you're not as anal OCD as me then it might take you less time. I found this on-line tutorial to help me out. I did not follow all her instructions, but it's a very good tutorial and there's plenty of inspiration!
Since I last posted on this blog my hubby and I went on a cruise. I called Brad (my best friend) and he and Jim came along as well. This was the third cruise we've taken with Brad and Jim. I had a great week drinking, laughing, and being generally obnoxious. Really that's not all that far from normal for me. OK, maybe there was a little more drinking than usual. I feel a little bad for my hubby though, what should have been a romantic week long date for the two of us really was a week long play date for Brad and me. lol. If you're interested in seeing more photos from my cruise you can find them here.
Here at home I'm trying to get back into sewing. Next post I'll share what I've been working on. :)
Here is the result of last week's insanity. I had finished the arcs for my double wedding ring and wasn't really in the mood to move on to the next step. Besides, my scrap bin was demanding more attention. I finished this 16 x 16 block and made a few other little blocks before cleaning the whole mess of scraps up. Finally, all my scraps are currently in one bin and the lid closes! That won't last long though. :)
So what will I be doing with this? I'll be recovering the throw pillow my little dachshund uses as a bed with it. No, my dogs are not spoiled. I have no idea how you came to that conclusion.
My little green corner got a little greener this week as well. When my parent's were visiting at Christmas my dad and I got to talking about the baskets of fuchsias that he and my grandmother both had back home. He said that he thought they might do well in my green corner so I ordered a couple on-line. They don't ship until spring, so they showed up last week. Have you ever had plants delivered by UPS? I had not. They have been re-potted and are doing quite well.
This week I finished a quilt!
I finished the quilt top and quilted it last fall. Hand sewing the binding is all that has been lacking since Christmas. I left that step thinking I'd have something to do while my machine was up for the season. But, I obviously found other things to do with my time. After the quilt has received it's "crinkly good" wash I'll take some more (and hopefully better) photos of it. Oh, and Bette, she had to be all over me while I was trying to get some photos. No, not spoiled. ;)
Yesterday was the most exciting day I've had in months!
OK, maybe not exciting, but definitely memorable. I was just sewing, minding my own business, when I heard an explosion. It sounded like it was at the fence line between me and my neighbor. My first thought is, OMG I'm in my sweats, have no make-up on, and my hair is just pulled straight off my head in a mess. How was I going to go out and check on the fence when somebody might see me?! (Ya, I've got issues). So, I decided to go out to garage to see if I could peek through the side windows and see anything suspicious. Nothing.
A few moments later, after the shock had worn off, I thought maybe the sound came from inside the house. How could that be? I'm pretty sure I'd remember if I'd been cooking meth in the kitchen.
It's funny, really. An entire wall of shelving and rods in my walk-in closet had spontaneously pulled itself from the wall.
I guess the sound of a hundred brackets being torn from the wall and dumping their contents on the floor is louder than you would think. The aftermath looked bad too. It only took a couple of minutes to pull the stuff out, and Bran re-hung the shelves and rods this afternoon. (He's really the best).
Here's what else has been going on around here:
My mother-in-law added to my indoor garden with the gift of a ponytail palm. (I still need to re-pot it). My little green corner is looking pretty full now. I'm really going to have to think about new shelving for my plants. Oh, and the violet I tried killing off last month is still alive and it is flowering.
All of the rings for the double wedding ring quilt have been completed. YA! I have 5 yards of Kona khaki in my stash, so that's what I'm going to be using as the solid. Maybe, with the help of some go-go juice, I'll get that going this week.
Or maybe I'll work on assembling the top for my blue vintage sheet quilt.
Oh, and I've gone insane. Does it show? More on my insanity next post...
Let me distract you with some pretty pictures of one of my African Violets before I tell you about how I think I may have killed two this afternoon.
Last year I bought an African Violet from one of my favorite big box hardware stores. In the last year, as it matured, I discovered it was actually two plants. After re-potting a root bound violet this afternoon I thought I would take the chance, while I had my planting stuff out, to separate the two plants and re-pot them.
I've re-potted plenty of African Violets in my time, so I'm not sure what I did. Maybe I was over thinking having to try to separate the two plants? Whatever it was I ended up losing the entire root ball for both. Eeek! So, I dipped both plant's necks in rooting hormone and potted them in a fresh pot. African Violets are surprisingly resilient, but I think my life saving attempts may not be enough. Is there CPR for plants?
Have you been on the edge of your seat wondering how far along with the Double Wedding Ring quilt I am? Well wonder no longer...
I've been using Free Spirit's paper piecing templates to make my arcs. However, true to form, I'm not making the quilt as per the directions. First of all, their finished quilt is just 54x54. I (personally) feel that a quilt that is too short to cover me is too short to bother making. I'm making more arcs so that my finished quilt will be closer to 66x78. I'm also not going to make my four patches all the same; they're going be as scrappy as my rings.
So far I've got 104 of 142 arcs completed. Soon I'll have to decide if I want the background to be khaki (leading towards), grey (a possibility), or white (not excited about).
Meanwhile - spring keeps knocking at my door. Oh winter, what happened to you?
I started trying to propagate one of my African Violets back in November because my mom had expressed an interest in my variegated leaf plant. According to the instructions I found on-line the little leaves of a new plant should have been visible after about six weeks. 12 weeks later and it's finally showing signs of life.
If you're a regular around here you know that I LOVE fall and winter. Not so much this year. It's been too warm. I know I live in The Deep South and all, but really? It's been far, far, far to warm for my taste this year.
My indoor garden is loving it though. It almost makes me long for spring. Almost.
A year and a half or so ago I started work on a scrappy Double Wedding Ring quilt. I made a couple of arcs then stalled. Last year my friend Kaelin hosted a Double Wedding Ring quilt along on her blog. I thought, at the time, "Perfect! This will get me going again with my work." But, that didn't happen either. While mom was working on her quilt top here after Christmas, I took the time I had to do a little more work. The scrappiness and paper piecing made it easier to put down and pick-up as needed while I worked with my mom. Besides the scrap bin was finally so full I couldn't get the lid on any longer!
Now I'm hooked. I spent time Saturday piecing, sewing, cutting, and ironing. I just love busywork. There's something about it that makes me feel like I both have time for my (constant) inner dialog and that I'm accomplishing something. I'd have gotten more completed, but I ran out of paper arcs. Bummer.
So do you think I spent the time I had after I ran out of paper arcs to get the laundry done this weekend?
It was a great trip. I was home, saw my brother, his fiancee, and a ton of friends that I dearly miss. A trip to Napa, plenty of good meals, a visit with the Wade/Davis family, and Brad and Jim's annual Wine and Cheese Party were all highlights of the 10 days I spent in the Bay Area.
I feel so bad that I didn't take any photos when I visited my friends Doug and Elisabeth; but fun, conversation, wine, and great smoked ribs won over my brain cells for that evening. Next fall we're traveling to the Bay Area for my brother's Halloween wedding. That should be a trip to remember!
Christmas has also come and gone since I blogged last. Mom and Dad came out for 2 weeks and we were very happy to have them here. I really love nothing more than doing all the things I love to do at Christmas, like decorate and cook, while my mom and dad putter around me. Mom and I did some quilting the week after Christmas. She made a throw quilt for my brother and I did some piecing on my double wedding ring scrap quilt. Then, we set my mom's new sewing machine up on my quilting frame and she quilted the quilt top she made for my brother! I'm so proud of her. It looks good. I can't wait to see it bound and washed.
We did have a very very sad day over the holidays. Our 21 year old siamese kitty, Koshka, died on January 2nd. He's been an old man cat for a while, in fact I'd gone to singing "Old Man Koshka" to him to the tune of "Old Man River". We weren't really surprised that his time with us was over, based on his age. Though, he had just been to the vet three weeks earlier for his annual where he was pronounced old but healthy. So his quick decent from being normal Old Man Kitty to unable to move was a surprise. It was a quick and quiet death and we miss him dearly but know he's remembered fondly and now free.
The last couple weeks have been completely non-productive. First I felt sorry for myself and mourned Koshka's death, then I got the flu. Any, boy did I ever get the flu! So, I spent a whole week in bed with my little wiener dog and the occasional meal that Bran would bring me hoping it would help make me feel better. Bran got me a Kindle Touch for Christmas (it was one of those perfect presents that I didn't know I wanted that he's so good at) which got a lot of use a couple of those bed ridden days.
I'm now getting back on with real life, and just in time too. Rehearsals start for both the Tulane Symphony and the New Orleans Civic Symphony this coming week, I've got work projects to complete, plants that need re-potted, and OMG the Christmas tree to get the down.