Saturday, June 29, 2013

Back on Track

I really struggled grasping y seams with the June block on Block of the Month 2013. I haven't done a Lemoyne star before so I was excited to begin. Then it came to doing it, not so much.
We joined two strips at 2 1/2 wide together. That was easy enough. Then it came to cutting the forty five degree angles and the troubles began. I am new to doing angles most of my work is with squares and half squares until recently where I have learned some new techniques. That is why I did take classes on Craftsy to help me learn new blocks and get some great tips along the way.
I messed up the first cuts because I did put the 45 degree line in the right place before I cut. I watched that part of the video and went back to it again. Then it came to the assembling, I found marking the lines on the cloth so I knew where to stop was really important in making the block work. I also noticed that my 1/4 inch mark did not match my 1/4 foot on my machine. I didn't know that. I double checked my marking on the cloth and then the machine. I found the foot was definitely wider than it was supposed to be. So that might explain why on several other blocks I had trouble.
Well I did finally get it but not before taking it apart five times in different places. I made two new sections because of the bias. I have this bin I am filling for a crazy quilt so in there they went.
This was the block after all the frustration.

This is what my halfway point looks like on the 2013 Craftsy Block of the Month The colors are working out very well on the beige.
While I was on a roll I started adding the 2 1/2 inch strips to my 2012 Craftsy Block of the Month quilt so I can begin the machine quilting class with Leah Day. I went back and forth on whether I would do it with black or white. I finally tossed a quarter and white one. Once I had the white I really found the color enhanced my blocks the way I wanted the sashing to do. I am posting several of the blocks so you can see what I mean. I think white makes the blocks pop.
I really like the way the white sets this block.

                                               The white here connects the block.

Here it also connects the block.

This block without the white border I really did not like but with the white it works.

Unfortunately this block I still don't like the colors but I do not have enough blue to do another one.

This block is more visual with the white. It was mundane before.
It's funny Amy Gibson of
used the Kona white in her quilt for class and that is the color my borders are making the blocks stand out the way I want.
We had these crazy thunder storms on Thursday that made the power flicker during its tirade. Friday morning Purryl kept pacing downstairs on the lower patio area so I went to see what was bothering her. One of my hanging planters had come down in the crazy wind and rain. Unfortunately the hanging planter was filled with impatiens, petunias and vinca. Underneath where it hung were two clay pots with green beans in them. They did not survive the crash. The pots were shattered and the bean plants have several broken branches. I transplanted but not sure if they will survive. The impatiens, petunias and vinca faired much better I replanted them in their plant dish. The hanger though was not salvageable. They just don't make rugged hangers like they used to. Everything seems to be made in China. :(
I'm reading this fascinating book called Moonwalking with Einstein. by Joshua Foer. I am enjoying it more than I expected. Originally, I bought it with the intent to improve my memory. Like a lot of self help books you read because you need too but this also quite informative as well as entertaining

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My first Tunisian project

I am very pleased to say I have completed the Honeycomb scarf that was the project I was introduced to on Anny's com. It took several days and a lot of pulling out a row until I finally stopped dropping stitches but I did finally wrap my head around the technique. It does make a denser feeling scarf with a very attractive pattern.
this is a close up with my work in progress.

just showing how dense the stitches appear

My finished scarf. It took exactly 7 ounces of yarn, but you can wrap it around your neck and tuck it into your winter coat. This scarf took me over 15 hours but mainly because in the beginning I just could not get it right. I can't wait to try my next project. I am sure it will not take as long.

This is what I was saying about the pattern it creates as you go. The pattern is simply one of each.
Simple Tunisian stitch and then Tunisian Purl which makes the pattern you see above.
In addition to learning how to do the Tunisian stitches I have made some hats and another scarf this year. I take my crocheting in the car with me because I can't look out the window for any extended period of time my vertigo goes crazy and my headaches spike.
The good thing about crocheting for me is that it is more of a feel thing for me than a look at all the time thing. I really don't have to stare at my work, I can tell with the touch of my fingers if the stitch is right.
These are some of the projects I have done this year. The hats only take me about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish.

This is the group that I was mentioning in the above commentary.

This one I made to match the set I made my granddaughter Olyvia and my daughter Amanda. Yes, Olyvia's name is spelled this way. Her parents wanted it different. This from start to finish 3 hours using a simple post stitch.

This one matches the set I gave my dear friend Lael and her daughter Braylie. I put flowers on theirs but I did not on this one.

This is a shell stitch beanie I made to go with my scarf in the above picture. From start to finish this hat takes about five hours. I also made each one  for my granddaughters Mikhayla and Caitlyn as well for Mikhayla's friend Emily. Mik's is navy blue, Cait's is hot pink and Emily's is royal purple.
Mik's mom wanted her name spelled uniquely too!

This last one I made for me because I love blue and green together. It is in the fine sport yarn and works really well for spring time or a cooler summer evening.
Crocheting is very relaxing and is definitely a take a long project unless you are tackling something like an afghan.
Today, I did finally get the impatiens I bought on Saturday in to the ground actually in the knick of time. The sky was gray but not dark so I figured I had plenty of time to trim the carnations back not that they are past their spring bloom. And still have time to get the impatiens planted. I had them all in the ground and was giving them a drink of water. When it began lightning, so I took the hose back to the garage and started rolling it back on to the wall bracket when the sky let loose. If I had lingered a minute I would have been soaked to the skin. It was only a matter of seconds between the time I stepped into the garage and the rain began. Phew!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tunisian Crocheting and Quilting

Tunisian crocheting initially was so frustrating, I seriously considered tossing the hook out the window. I did that once with knitting needles and never looked back. This time I decided to sleep on it, maybe it would better the next day. Yes, indeed it was much easier and I am about four inches from completion on my first Honeycomb scarf.
Usually I do all of my craft stuff with but I thought I would give Anny's a try with the Tunisian crocheting. That was a mistake, I was very disappointed with the instructor. She was very boring, not the least bit engaging to listen to while you are getting the instructions and demonstration. Well, I stuck it out learned the techniques but am glad that I have finished. I never felt that way with any of the Craftsy instructors. Price wise they are comparable but that is the only positive I can say.

I cut my 2 1/2 inch strips out to add to my sampler blocks as Leah day advised for doing the blocks one at a time. Tomorrow's goal is to get all the strips sewn and basted so I can move on to the more fun stuff like machine quilting. I am really looking forward to learning how this is done. I have a quilt top waiting to be machine quilted as well as the blocks. Plus I have the Block of the Month 2013 sampler hallway done and it will need machine quilting when it is complete. I have all the material for my rock quilt so I  may even start my cutting that one out. Yes, I did say rocks. the material is different rock pictures
I have some beautiful pictures of different rocks along the ocean in my living room so I really want my quilt to compliment the pictures. What's missing in this picture is the Kona Gray material that I got to add more color to the grouping.
Today, is a very special day our son Christopher Hovey was promoted to Senior Chief in the United States Navy. He has worked very hard and definitely earned this promotion. We are so proud of him.
Congratulations, son!
Yes, I am one very proud Momma!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Yay, Craftsy Block of the Month 2012 Sampler blocks

My blocks are finally completed after what feels like an eternity but really isn't. It would have been easier if I had bought fabric specifically following the yardage supply list for the project. Not me. I wanted to use up all the pieces of cloth I had in my scrap bin. Grant, I did pick a hefty selection of colors to work with. That part went really well, it was the background material that gave me the most grief when it came to yardage. I had this slate color blue that I really liked but I only had four yards. I thought it would work if I was careful with my cuts and use the scrap pieces I had that matched whenever possible to reduce the amount cut from the big piece.

I was down to the last two blocks and I had exactly a half yard left. That sounded fine until I began cutting the pieces into smaller pieces to fit my paper piece sections. I messed up two times, so I wasted two pieces that I didn't have to spare. That's when you know you need to walk away for a bit and then come back to it. If I start making mistakes I continue so a coffee break was in order.

Friendship Circle Block and Circle of Geese were the paper pieced blocks. Both looked easy enough to do but for some reason my brain just couldn't wrap around the directions. So I watched the video several times and then went back to the machine. I kept putting the wrong sides together but once I did several sections I got it. I don't about you but taking paper pieced projects apart and not ripping the paper is easier said then done. Yes, I am  a beginner quilter.

So now we have all 20 blocks done and luckily we have 1/8 of a yard left of the slate blue background. Our sashing, and borders are going to be white. I am thinking about framing each box with a black narrow border and then putting the white but right now we are at the process of watching the video on how to do one block at a time machine quilting.
Yes, I enrolled in another Craftsy class with Leah Day. I am looking forward to learning so many techniques about machine quilting since I am totally clueless. All I know how to do is stitch in the ditch.

These are how I am going to lay them out when I assemble this together.
Thank you so much Amy Gibson at
I really enjoyed the BOM 2012. I hope you are considering another class.

Cat owners I am sure you can relate

Just so you have a little background we have three very unique feline personalities in our home.
Quasimodo, our eldest is a Maine coon cat, who is going to be nineteen in August this year. Our middle cat, Purryl Bailey is a very vocal short haired domestic obese tabby. She meows all the time, day and night, she makes her presence known. Our youngest cat, W.B. Yeats aka Yeatsie is a very athletic short haired domestic tabby that has this thing for eating freshly printed paper. If you are using the printer and not paying attention he will indeed chew on the paper.

Now that I have introduced our beloved felines, allow me to share my morning. I had the screen door open so they could lie on the deck in the sunshine. I rose from my desk to check on the little darlings when I noticed Purryl was inside on the tower and no one was on the deck. So I went upstairs to see if the boys had retired to the guest room bed for their morning snooze. Nope!

So then I went to the sewing room and Yeats was lying on my sewing table, naturally in the middle of my project. What's a quilt without cat hair, right? Quilter's I am sure you can relate if you own a cat, it will find a way to leave you plenty of cat hair where you really don't want it. I looked under the day bed no sign of the old man.

I searched under the remaining beds and still no old man. I proceeded down to the lower level where the family room, aka where everything ends up at one point or another. I looked in all of his favorite hiding places. We live in a townhouse where the main level is actually on the second floor.

I walked our whole neighborhood calling his name searching everywhere I could think of that the old man might have wandered too. I returned to the house and did a second search through every room. I decided to strip our bed while I was upstairs, saving myself a future trip up to get the sheets.

After having a major panic, because the old man gets easily disoriented. He is also getting quite deaf whether it be selective or not who knows. I just know the older he gets the more challenging he is when it comes to his daily needs. He doesn't come when you call him for breakfast, you have to fetch him.  However, where do I find him, sleeping inside the washing machine when I went to put the sheets inside. Now why he was in there or how he got there is beyond me. Grrrrr!

It may only be 10:47 am here but I am thinking it is five o'clock somewhere and I am definitely ready for a margarita. Enjoy, your day....mine is definitely going to be on the rocks with lime.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A-Z of Lyn Poem

A-Z of Lyn Poem

Appetite always enjoy good food and life itself
Brilliant at times, usually in the kitchen
Creative frequently, my inner artist appears
Deliberate who me, I'm an angel
Energetic daily, life is to short not to be
Fiber oh please, I am not that old
Grains a bowl of cheerios, how can you go wrong
Habitual why yes I am, guilty of loving routines
Involved in too many things at one time
Jovial usually, negativity does not suit me
Kinky I have my moments ask my spouse
Liberal indeed I am, I am very open minded.
Mom, to four wonderful children and seven awesome grandchildren
Nice that's been said a time or two
Optimistic more often than not that would be the Irish in me
Pessimistic seldom, and If I am a good Irish whiskey will cure it
Quilter with a serious fabric stash
Reads avidly particularly history and biographies
Silent type not hardly, I am definitely opinionated
Typical never, I'm a Irish lass
Unique very so I am told
Vindictive no, in the long run it is not worth it
Wicked yes I am a Mainer
Xi fourteenth letter in Greek alphabet
Yes I play scrabble, actually very lucky at it
Zealous, I am indeed devoted to my family and friends.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Spring in general is a time consuming task.

Vinegar, and a lot cleaner kitchen.
When I was younger, back in my teen years I used to laugh and say I will never spend that much time cleaning my house. There has got to be easier ways to do things than the way my grandmother is doing it. Really four times a year totally stripping a room down and wiping everything down with vinegar and water. I hadn't thought about how much time she invested in having her immaculate home until now.

Here I am stripping my kitchen down, wiping every cabinet, counter tops, appliances, windows just like she did. Except I am not as crazy about my house, as she was. I like a clean house but I value my time way too much and I am really active in all I do. I think two times a year is sufficient so long as you keep it picked up in between with vacuuming and dusting, and wiping whatever visual mess is there. This morning, I have one less class since I did all the work necessary yesterday and that five week commitment is done. Instead of kicking back doing nothing, I tackled the kitchen. It took me longer than I anticipated but the results are amazing.

I followed thru with my usual diligence by only using all natural products. My cupboards, countertops, refrigerator gaskets and vents, the oven and its vents, even the microwave all got cleaned with vinegar and water. The windows I used one cup of water, one cup of vinegar in put into a spray bottle then washed them with a newspaper. They were ridiculously dirty but not anymore. I did the marble tile floors first with straight vinegar and then repeated moping with one cup of vinegar and to a gallon of water.

I can't say my cats are overly amused but I did their beds as well in the washing machine. One the beds get an incredible build up of hair, two cats leave an oil residue on their bedding over time and they just look so grungy. All it takes is a 1/2 cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle and the results are amazing. When I first washed their beds before I decided to hunt down my gram's book of household hints with vinegar the hair matted but didn't take much off. Yuck! Then I would spend lots of time pulling all the matted wet hair off before I put it in the dryer. The dryer only took off a minimum of the hair, I then had mats of hair.
It drove me crazy, until I finally did sit down with her book. There it was how to reduce the amount of cat hair clinging to clothes. Well, the cat beds are made of cloth so I gave it a whirl. Sure as heck over time, less and less clung to their beds. And when I washed them they looked almost new but the best part was they did not smell anymore. I told my daughter-in-law about it and she was pleased with how much nicer the dog beds looked and smelled. Dog smells are certainly worst than cats but both are offensive.

Anyway, food for thought, if you are into the green scene. If you aren't consider this I cleaned with a quart of vinegar my kitchen which is 22x 18 and did three cat beds, and three windows and a sliding glass door for under two dollars and I did no harm to environment. Nor will I have ants visiting since they hate the smell of vinegar.

My next class awaits me so at least one room is completed, unfortunately I have seven more to go. My grandmother is probably laughing up in heaven seeing me clean like she used to with vinegar.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Three Herb Marinara

This is our scratch dish of the day.
Three Herb Marinara I found in Better Homes and Garden's Canning cookbook but I added my own personal touches which definitely give it a delightful taste. There's had just tomatoes, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and the fresh herbs. I prefer my sauces to be more flavorful and with lots of vegetables. So like all good cooks you start with a base and create the masterpiece.

 In large stock pot, add 2 tbsp. of olive oil coating the bottom. Into the oil you add 2 minced garlic cloves, 3 green onion chopped, 1- 8 ounce pkg. mushrooms, 6 small multi color peppers or one large green pepper sautéed until they begin to soften.

 Then you add 12 peeled tomatoes and chopped or diced whatever you want to call it into the vegetable laden pan. Now add 3 tbsp. of brown sugar, 1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp. of kosher salt, 1 tsp. of black pepper, and simmer about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft but not mushy. Add 2 cups loosely packed chopped fresh basil, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh oregano and 1/2 cup of chopped fresh flat Italian parsley. Put the cover on your pan and shut the heat off, let set for 5 minutes before serving.

 If you decide to can this recipe, add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice to each jar, seal and then process in water bath canner for 35 minutes. Let jars sit for a week before you use. Or you can put it in freezer for 3 months.

Great with fried calamari, or over pasta.
It is beautiful to look at and tastes delicious. Wow, the picture looks as good as it tastes!

PS. Purryl says hi, but that she is too busy to come in right now. Our Ms. Purryl is sprawled out on the lounge chair on the deck enjoying the evening air.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Brilliant Idea or Not?

Do I can versus not dilemma?

I used to can most of my garden vegetables, pickles and made jellies, all the time when my children lived at home. It was the only way we made ends meet. When it was just the two of us, I decided it wasn't a  practical use of my time. However, looking at the continuing rising costs of everything these days I am rethinking my decision.

Do we use at least 12 jars of pasta sauce a year? Yes, I prepare at least two or three pasta dishes a month. So that's a given.

Do we use at least 12 jars of salsa a year? Yes, all of our friends love salsa with chips while hanging out with a cold beer or a bottle of Mike's hard lemonade.

Do we use at least 12 jars of jelly a year? Yes, I can't think of anything better on a toasted English muffin for breakfast.

Now, right now strawberries are growing abundantly in my garden. I am getting very spoiled going outside and picking them. I could use some of them for jelly especially since my rhubarb is finally coming in as well. Strawberry Rhubarb jelly is delicious so why haven't I done it already. That's okay, Your response is not needed. I am really asking myself and not getting a reasonable answer here either. Today, I am just sounding off to myself and deciding if I really want to invest in a water bath canner and the jars again or do I want to continue to bemoan the prices.

While I stood in line at the grocery store I browsed thru both summer special editions. There were so many different recipes in Better Homes and Gardens canning book and in Taste of Home's Special edition I couldn't  make a decision.  I brought both books home with me from the grocery. So technically I  began the investment into taking control of my garden produce and my wallet. What I don't have in abundance in my garden doesn't really matter since the farmer's market is 2 miles down the road, so I really don't have that excuse either.

I guess the biggest question for me is where it will fit in my day. I write in the early morning in my journal with my coffee, I venture out to the gardens while it is still cool around 9 am. Then I have on line classes that take about an hour and half., They will be ending at the end of this month so I do have that time to use. Though the thought of having to clean the kitchen twice does not appeal to me.

Next on my agenda, I spend about an hour quilting, then its lunch time. While we are enjoying lunch I plan our dinner meal for the day, then I nap. I have to nap with my headaches they increase too much if I don't put myself into darkness daily even with the meds the doctor has me on. Then when I arise, most days an hour later. I chat with my spouse while reading what's happening in the world online. Usually he and I enjoy a glass of iced tea together with our mid afternoon break. Sometimes, after that I call the kids and see what's happening in their world before I begin prep for the evening meal.

After dinner, I work on one of my projects while listening to Jeopardy. I have a quilt going by machine and one by hand. So I can sew wherever I am at. Then it's time for a cup of tea and my evening blog time before I hit the sack. My days are not exactly idle but I guess I will figure out how to juggle my time accordingly. After all I do manage to work house cleaning in there but that's not difficult because we do that together usually on the weekend. It is only the two of us and we do keep on top of daily pick up during the week. I am blessed with an amazing man. I didn't get it right the first time but I sure did the second time.

The key to anything is time management. Luckily, I am actually really good at that. Guess that is one habit I picked up all those years driving bus. I  had limited time in between bus runs and for me to maximize what I needed done each day, I allocated specific time spans for each task. What does help me immensely is that I don't have to juggle a work schedule as well like the old days.

I have wrote out all the things that do transpire in my day and without a doubt I will figure it out. I really do hate wasting money on higher priced convenience groceries that I can easily do for us at a savings. Canning would not happen everyday so I don't have to worry about juggling everyday either.

My husband thinks we will have a good time planning our projects for canning. As I sit here, I think while I eaves drop on Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune will probably work the best. Then our kitchen clean up will be done once if we let our dinner dishes wait a bit and begin our canning adventure during the early evening and then the dishwasher would run at night.

Looks like as I blogged I worked it thru in my head as well as on screen.

Does anyone else look at their day and calculate the possibilities while blogging? Or am I the only crazy that talks to herself while blogging?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hello Sunshine

We are so happy to see you shining vividly outside our window. Purryl thinks, it a good time to open all the windows up and let in the fresh air. The air does smell so good after a rain, don't you agree.

The roses and the peonies took a beating with the torrential rain. The bushes are lying over, limp with most of the fragile buds on the ground. Thankfully, the beans, peppers and the tomato plants survived the hard pelting rain. Overall, we did better than anticipated. Others around us did not do as well. Our prayers are that the damage sustained is resolvable in a short period of time.
The before and after of our rambling pink rose. I think it is finally time to give it a severe pruning to get it under control again. Over the last two years, the roses have grown profusely in height and our now just to leggy to be really attractive.
The yellow rambler fared better than the pink but also is to leggy and sprawling out in the patio area.
The peonies are always fragile and do not handle touching of any kind. The rain stripped them of all their beautiful white blossoms.
We are very grateful this is all the damage our garden sustained. Everything else looks shiny and healthy. On that note, we are going to get ourselves motivated and off to the farmer's market.
We need a few tomatoes for our gazpacho, love having totally vege meals.
Enjoy, your day!