Thursday, August 30, 2012

What a week!!!

Do you ever wonder why things happen in groups of 3?  Is it just coincidence or does God just really like the number 3?  (To be honest, I don't really believe in coincidences.)

It all started last week when we got home from church.  The first thing I did was change into more comfortable clothes.  After that, I bent down to pet one of our cats and fell to the ground in agony.  No kidding.  I've never thrown my back out before and I definitely wouldn't recommend it.  So picture this, I'm on the ground crying and in pain and the dog decides this is the perfect time to lick my face.  I can't move enough to even push her away!  Fortunately, Mr. Quilting Bug finally heard me and came into the bathroom to rescue me.  You wouldn't believe how long it took to get me off of the floor and onto the living room couch (where I spent most of the next week).  Ouch!

Gabriel - The Face Licker
Like most things, my accident has had a positive side as well.  The forced down time has given me lots of opportunity to work on my hand applique.  As I mentioned in my last post, I'm moving right along appliqueing the bats for my Baltimore Halloween quilt.  But even more positive is the continuing lesson I'm receiving on patience and perseverance.  And the Lord knows how much I need the constant reinforcement.

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:2-4 NIV

So that brings me to the second disaster last week...

Anyone who knows us, knows that our dog is just the slightest bit spoiled.  In fact, Mr. Quilting Bug insists on fixing her her own dinner each night after we're done eating.  The night after I threw out my back, he decided to make her a baked potato for dinner.  (She had tried one about a week earlier and loved it.)  Because we've never cooked one in the microwave before, we called my dad for advice first.  He wasn't sure, but suggested 20 minutes.  For anyone in the know, I can already imagine your reaction.  We thought that seemed like a long time, so we poked a bunch of holes in it and put it in for 10 minutes.

Sometime before 10 minutes, the potato started on fire, the microwave died, smoke was billowing from it and the smoke alarm started going off.  Because the smoke alarm is tied into the wiring of the house, there was no way to turn it off, so we had to listen to it until we could clear out enough of the smoke.  Which fortunately was a few minutes before the fire trucks showed up or it would have been a little more difficult to talk to the firefighters!  However, all of the neighbor kids enjoyed seeing the fire trucks and the fire fighters were just as nice as they could be.  We also had some caring neighbors calling to check up on us.  Do you know we learned our now dead microwave actually has a potato button!  As for Gabriel's dinner, she ended up with a handful of dog treats, because this was all that remained of the potato...

Gabriel's microwaved baked potato
 So that brings us to number 3...  Several days after the microwave incident when the house was no longer smelling like burnt marshmallows, I went to turn on my laptop and nothing happened.  It was dead as a door nail.  I'll admit to being a little bit panicked, because I've been meaning to back up the loads of pictures on my computer for a while and have never taken the time to do it.  Please let this be a lesson to all of those out there like me.  Don't put it of!.  Stop reading this right now and go back up those precious pictures and documents that you would regret losing.  I did some serious praying that night that the hard drive hadn't crashed and we would be able to recover the photos from it.  And praise God we were able to!  I now have all of those files backed up, including all of David's baby pictures...

David as a kitten
It was also perfect timing on God's part in terms of budget and finances and we were able to pick up a replacement the next day.  I believe this is my 4th laptop and I've noticed that with each one, the price has gotten better and they've become easier to setup.  It would be nicer if they would last longer too, but I seem to get about 2-3 years out of each one.  However, I wouldn't want to trade the convenience and portability of a laptop for a desktop.

So that's 3 for 3.  My back is still healing and we need to find a new microwave, but otherwise we've come through the week relatively unscathed.  It's also been easy to see God's hand through it all.

Until later...

They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. 
Psalm 112:7 (NLT)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Going Batty Around Here...

This seems to be such a busy time of year.  Summer's coming to an end.  Families are trying to take advantage of the last few days of summer vacation before school starts and everyone is rushing around.  Well not at my house!  I managed to throw my back out about a week and a half ago, so I've been spending the vast majority of the time since then on the couch recuperating.  It has been lazy and more than a little bit boring.  I am ever so grateful for our Netflix subscription.

This has also been a great time to work on hand appliqueing the bats for my Baltimore Halloween quilt.  Back in May, I finally had the top put together and started adding the bats that go around the border.

Baltimore Halloween top - minus the bats!
There are 20 of them - 20 right wings, 20 left wings and 20 bat bodies.  I've been ever so slowly checking them off my list and just today, I finished basting all of the bodies down...

Basting the bat body down in preparation for applique
I even managed to complete one single solitary bat.  It may not look like much, but considering how many hours have gone into this, it's a huge accomplishment!

One completely finished bat!
In fact, if I hadn't thrown my back out, I guess it would easily have taken me another month or more to get to this point.  I just wouldn't have had so many hours to spend working on it.

In other creepy crawly related news, we've been seeing some of the most unusual and largest spiders this year.  The front of our house is covered in ivy and for some reason all of the spiders are trying to build their webs in it.  It's giving me a bit of the heebie jeebies!  (I'm not very fond of spiders.)

This spider was large with bright yellow markings.
Can you see the spider in this tunnel?
I'm sorry the pictures aren't any larger, but I"m sure you can understand my hesitation to get any closer to these creatures than necessary.  I could just picture them taking a flying leap at me and my screaming like a little sissy girl.  With my back, I wouldn't get very far either.

I hope you're having a blessed week!  Until later...

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A sewing hussif...

Recently, as a sewing challenge for a group I'm in, we had to make a sewing hussif.  To be honest, as soon as I heard about the challenge, I had to go look up what a 'hussif' was as I had never heard the term before.  It's defined as "a case containing thread, needles, and other articles for sewing."  (I think it was a popular term pre-1950s.)

In  my research I looked for existing patterns for sewing hussifs or sewing kits, but really couldn't find that many out there.  A friend gave me an older one she had, but in the end I found the best solution was to draft my own using some heavyweight interfacing.  From start to finish, it was a fairly labor intensive project, but quite a lot of fun to design and sew!  

The Sewing Hussif and other gifts
I knew that the lady I was making this for has a fondness for pigs and so I started by embroidering some pig motifs on fabric.  Then I backed both the inside and outside with Peltex and quilted diagonal lines spaced 1/2" apart.  I really like the look of the lines quilted this close together, but obviously gave no thought to how long it would take me to complete it.  I think I watched about 8 episodes of MASH while doing it.  (Note: I used a FriXion pen to mark the quilting lines.  I LOVE these pens!)

Inside and Outside Panels Quilted
After quilting the big panels, I finally got started on adding all the pockets and stuff to make this useful as a sewing kit.  I added a pocket to the back with a velcro closure to hold a 6"x8" cutting mat.  (You can see my pattern template just above it in the picture.)

Pocket on the back for the cutting mat
The pocket closed
Then I moved on to the inside of the hussif.  First I added a zippered vinyl pouch to the left side.  It's been so long since I've put in a zipper that I kind of winged it.

Vinyl Zippered Pouch
Then I added 2 more pockets - one with an embroidered pig on the front and another to hold a pair of scissors.  I also put a small little button closure to prevent the scissors from sliding out when not in use.

Adding a couple more pockets
Finally, I added some elastic to hold a ruler and small rotary cutter.  I cut some flowers out of felt to hold pins and needles and sewed it down using a button and a few anchor stitches.  I also found some Moda ribbon I had in my stash and added it along the top of the hussif for some interest.  Because the recipient does a lot with crazy quilting, I put some metal loops on the right side to hold floss or ribbon.  I didn't want it flopping around or getting tangled, so I added the strip of fabric to hold it in place.

Finished inside of the Sewing Hussif
Then I layered the inside and outside of the hussif together and put the binding on it.  I also used a magnetic snap to open and close it.  It was a lot of work from beginning to end, but I enjoyed working on it, especially the design aspect of it.  Here are a few final close ups...

Until later...

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. 
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New additions....

Trivia Question:  Who are Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, Rajesh, Penny and Amy?

If you answered, the cast of The Big Bang Theory, you'd be correct.  If you also answered the newest batch of kittens at my parent's farm, you'd also be correct.  We're all big fans of the show and so my niece and nephew had to name the newest arrivals after them.  And like all puppies and kittens, they're just adorable.

Penny (or Amy) - They look like twins
Howard (the runt of the litter)
I somehow neglected to get a picture of Sheldon, but in case you're curious, he's all white.  Exactly what you'd think Sheldon would look like - only much, much friendlier!  They're all so sweet and playful and just a joy to be around at this age.

Until later...

Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 
John 14:1 (NLT)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hatch and Windows...

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've posted anything here.  That has to be the longest I've gone since I started this blog!  But I'm back now and I even have a finish.  I've been working on a mystery quilt with my quilt bee for the last 6 months and have finally finished the top.  The pattern is called Hatch and Windows and is a mystery from the Yahoo group Mystery Quilts 4 Military.  Once I've quilted it, it will be donated to someone serving in the military.

Hatch and Windows Mystery Quilt
Although not in the traditional red, white and blue, I'm really pleased with how this quilt turned out and hope someone in the service will enjoy it too.  It's also a stash buster - made entirely from batiks and hand-dyed fabrics I had in my stash.  I'm just hoping I have enough left over to complete the backing as well!

This was a mystery quilt that most of my quilt bee participated in.  We started off with a cutting party and then clues were handed out once a month.  There were a total of 7 clues, so we've been working on it for quite a while.  In fact, everyone else just received their final clue today, but considering I was the one who passed out the clues and pre-tested them, I had a bit of an advantage.

So here's a quick look back on my journey through this quilt...

Clue 1 - Fabric Selection and cutting
Clue 2 - Tons of Half Square Triangles
Clue 3 - Lots of these Chevron Units
Clue 4 - 4 Patches
Clue 5 - Starting to put things together
Clue 6 - All the blocks pieced
The final clue involved putting all the blocks together in the quilt and an optional pieced border (which I included). When some of the other ladies have finished their versions, I'll share pictures of them all so you can see what a difference fabric selection makes in the overall look of the quilt.

I'm hoping to get this quilted rather quickly, but I have a couple of other projects that need to see some work first.  One's already on the frame and the other is almost ready for it.  Hopefully, I'll be back in short order to share some more of the happenings around here!

Until later...

God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 
Matthew 5:7 (NLT)