Friday, January 18, 2013

Hibernation Weather Projects

It has been a week of dour weather--cold, rainy, chilly, biting wind.
Other than a foray to scrounge in the charity shop and pick up salad makings at the market on Tuesday, I have been 'holed up' in the basement family room.
I've built a nice fire each afternoon, replayed the Outlander books CD's as I worked.

Last evening I had the 25 blocks completed for Gina's quilt and we did 'layout' on the king-sized bed.
I've long thought it would be nice to have a 'design wall', but as my quilt projects tend to grow to large dimensions it would really take a 'wall' to hold them and a stepladder to reach the upper rows.
G. wanted to have her 'favorite' of the blocks all in the center row.
I pointed out that we needed to balance color placement in both block designs and their backgrounds, so she quickly began shifting blocks until we had achieved a nice arrangement.
I marked and stacked the blocks and headed downstairs.
I finished the vertical 'sashing' strips; next session will be 'cornerstones,' horizontal sashing, and finally the borders.

 G. insists that she cannot use a tape measure or ruler.
[I think she likes to have me measure and cut things and therefore doesn't tackle it.]
She found a Shabby Chic sheet in a rosebud pattern that is good for her upstairs decor.
In a Sunday afternoon sewing session we split the sheet lengthwise and I cut it to allow for a good hem and the rod pocket.
I pressed up hems and G. borrowed her father's reading glasses to peer at the stitches.
She claims not to like my state-of-the-art sewing machine, but I slowed down the speed and told her to have at it.
Going into the back basement entry for a stick of firewood I found that water was seeping under the bulkhead door at an alarming rate. [It was raining torrents.]
We bellowed for J. and D. who were upstairs watching TV [go figure] and they
hove to with buckets, brooms, mops and plunger to unclog the outside drain and sop up the mess.
The three boy kittens came to offer help and encouragement.
Ignoring the uproar, G. and I went on with our projects, while the kittens trouped happily in and out with desperately muddy feet.
Nellie and Bobby assist in cleaning up the wet that came in the back basement door.

Devin 'plunging' wet leaves from the drain--with feline encouragement.

 G. was so pleased with her curtain making that she appeared yesterday, delivered by son Devin who was lugging her sewing machine and a great stack of torn jeans.
G. has wanted a very basic machine--no bells and whistles--and we found one--a Nelco--at Goodwill several months ago for $15.
It is almost identical to a Sears Kenmore which I purchased in the early 1970's.
A bit of online research revealed that the machines were a fairly short-lived venture by an entrepreneur who had been a distributor for Necchi/Elna.  
Whatever the history, this is a well-kept, sturdy piece of equipment.
It has zig-zag, a manual button-hole setting, several utility stitches.
Best of all, It seems to have inspired G. to take up some creative sewing.
I"m trying to convey the theory that attention to accuracy makes for a better finished product and makes for less frustration along the way.
At the moment, G. is pleased with what she calls her raggedy jeans patches and the hems on curtains.
My bins of fabric have been hauled out and I sometimes have to snatch back some cherished bit!

As with everything we attempt these days, we are greatly aided by the kittens.
Bobby McGee has to be pushed away from the fascination of the sewing machine needled going 
up and down.
We fear for kitten toes which swipe at the rotary cutter.

Little Edward investigates a pair of jeans being hacked up for patches.

G. has commandeered a pair of son D.'s jeans as her own and stitched on a patch.

 Bright sunshine today, although it was a few degrees below freezing when I stepped outside 
shortly after 7 a.m.
This flock of birds settled on the lawn, taking flight when I opened the door, camera in hand.
They were robin or starling size.
I didn't get a close enough look to identify.
All three kittens were in awe of them, merely eyeing them from the safety of the front porch.
We had a cat/bird disaster yesterday morning when Bobby caught one of the bluebirds who boldly perched on the cat yard fence.
I tell myself that cats will be catly in behavior--but, dear me, a bluebird!
I took advantage of the sunshine to peg out sheets and towels.

Pebbles took advantage of her fence being down.
Sometimes the deer who are constantly moving through the pasture catch a hoof in the electric fence wire and it goes down.
Pebbles is quick to see an opportunity but is utterly docile when J. tells her she must return to her quarters.

 I was ready to start a cooking/baking binge this forenoon when I discovered a leak beneath the kitchen sink.
J. returned from an errand to find that I had hauled out sundry damp articles and spread them across the floor.  He got his tools and began to operate on the drain fittings.
Edward has volunteered to oversee the repairs.

Edward, peering into the hole created by removal of fittings, has one arm up prodding about.

Household maintenance is hard work.
When we returned from the hardware store with what J. needed to repair the sink drain, Edward had collapsed in blissful repose after his labors.
The sink has been 'fixed.'
The laundry needs to be brought in from the lines.
And it appears that I must recover my interrupted momentum and tidy the kitchen in preparation for making bread and soup.
I am firmly resisting the lure of the quilt blocks waiting downstairs on the table!

[This post was created using blogger's repaired/revised posting format.
It worked well, but I'm pleased to have Live Writer as an option.]


  1. Beautiful quilt! I have an old featherweight Singer that does nothing but straight stitch. Love it because it is so uncomplicated. Your kittens are getting big!

    1. Hi Jane,
      I've missed your blog postings! I don't begin to use all the capabilities of my computerized sewing machines--but I've gotten hooked on the smooth quiet running and the options such as variable positioning for the pressure foot, even the gadget that ties off and clips thread at the push of a button. I do feel nostalgic when I stitch for a few minutes with Gina's machine--I kept my family outfitted and mended for many years with a similar one.

  2. What a good idea for regenerating torn jeans!

    I`m sure Pebbles enjoyed her wanderings when the fence was down. She sounds a lovely natured old horse.

    Naughty Bobby to catch a Bluebird ( even if it is his instinct...)! I felt awful when Lucy Cat recently caught a song thrush. I`m now keeping her on a selective curfew while the winter birds need feeding.

    1. Ann, Pebbles has always been easy to catch when she 'gets out.' Jim makes the process easy by offering her a bit of grain and she is greedy enough to follow the bucket.
      I feel badly the rare times that I see the outdoor cats catch a bird--especially when it is a little song bird or something rare like the bluebirds.
      We've chosen not to put out feeders this winter. I miss doing that, but it didn't seem fair to lure the birds in when there are several indoor/outdoor cats who are waiting to snatch an unwary bird.

  3. What a great picture of Edward in his basket:) You've used these winter days well, love the quilt.

  4. I did enjoy this post Sharon, I love it that you are working together on your sewing projects. The cats made me grin,with their idea of "helping" my 2 dogs are just the same, but what made me laugh out loud was when you said " I sometimes have to snatch back some cherished bit!" we are SO alike!

  5. I have to say that I love the antics of your newest three ....can we still call them kittens? ...they look so big now. Love the quilt ...envious of your ability as always ... and all the jean remodelling looks fun although still practical.
    It keeps nudging below freezing over here but we still don't have snow ....probably one of the only towns that doesn't ...probably because we are on the coast. Take Care xx

  6. So nice to have a sewing compatriot, but you do risk losing some of your fabric.

    I was going to choose the picture of Pebbles as my favorite, but then I saw the ones of Edward at the sink.

  7. Love the quilt, how lovely to be sewing with you daughter. I still sew with a fairly simple machine and I have a stack of jeans needing patches, loved the heart.

  8. Love your quilt it looks lovely,pics of your cats are lovely they made me smile.Love Jill xx

  9. I love reading about your homespun days there, and how lovely it is to have three generations all pitching in to make a nice life for all. And then there are the Plumber's Assistant cats to enjoy!

  10. It was a great insight into your life, scrolling down through the photos and the cats with their adorable noses into everything, must get back to patchwork your blocks looked so tidy and beautiful... Thelma

  11. What a lovely quilt. It is wonderful to be able to catch up with my friends again. (Using the internet cafe). I am going to be here daily until service is restored (we have a date of 8th February since I contacted our MP!)

    Those boys' antics made me laugh. I think they would get on very well with Theo, who has similar inclinations!

  12. What an accomplishment! Looking at your lovely quilt, my thoughts tend to consider the amount of time and patience it represents. Not everyone could do that. Good show!