Monday, October 28, 2013

Back to life as we know it!!

This fall has truly been a whirlwind!  I was gone from the coast THREE weeks!  It was WAY TOO LONG! and of course, it went really fast too!!

First we went up for Miss P's birthday and L&J's vow renewals.  Then I headed to Nebraska for my fall trip to see Mom.  I managed a side trip there to Des Moines for the AQS show - awesome!!  It was a whole lot of fun.  I have many pictures I need to put on the blog - soon, I promise, soon!!  Home from three weeks away - you can't imagine the to-do list, even in a small condo!!

We were home five whole days ... then over to see A&J2, Mr D and Mr K, then back up to Portland to babysit for 5 days while L&J went to Vegas for their actual anniversary.  Miss P and Mr M were fabulous.

The very first day the question of when mom and dad were coming back came up many times!  So I made a chart.  NOTE:  this works very well!!  If you find yourself babysitting for more than overnight, I highly recommend it.  I simply took a piece of art paper, folded it in 6 columns.  Labeled the columns with SMTWTF.  At bedtime each day, we sat at the kitchen table, listed things that we had done that day, and both kids "X"ed the bottom of it.  One day down!!  Example:

timed bike races in circle
Connect 4 tournament
went to Dollar Store
Spaghetti for dinner
... and on until you fill the column

We looked at it every day, counted the blank spaces until mom and dad got home, it did go pretty fast!  And when mom and dad got home, we gave them the chart and they got to see what we did every day!  Win-win!!  Miss P is in 1st grade ... the very first thing written on the chart by her - on Sunday - was on Friday's space she wrote, "Papa and Nana gone!!!"  I think the "or else" was implied!!

We had such a good time, but we were all ready for mom and dad to come home!!  5 and 7 yr olds just need to get back to their regular lives, with mommy and daddy and their dogs!!!  And 61 yr olds need that too!!!

We got home Friday night.  Saturday DH left for his month golf/poker game/watch sports on TV until your eyes bug out weekend!!  I enjoyed getting back to life as I know it and then .... Mr M's cold attacked me!!  DH had gotten it while we were still up there.  I'm always hopeful that I'll miss getting it when DH comes down with it first ... but I always DO get it!  Poop!  This is such a busy week too.

I subscribe to "Ripples" - you can too!!  Click here to subscribe  I met this young man when I was working at the University.  He gives a dynamic program.  I've been getting his weekly emails for  - oh, my goodness, 6 years now.  All have been good inspiration, but sometimes there's one that really hits home ... today's did.

Today's "ponder" quote:

Once you have decided you want the present moment to be your friend, it is up to you to make the first move:

Become friendly toward it, welcome it no matter in what disguise it comes, and soon you will see the results. Life becomes friendly toward you; people become helpful, circumstances cooperative.

One decision changes your entire reality. But that one decision you have to make again and again--until it becomes natural to live in such a way.
-Eckhart Tolle

Go make friends with the present - whether you have a bad cold or not - and be prepared to make the same decision tomorrow too!! ... and the day after that!!  Yep, that's the step I always forget!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pennant Banner Tute

Well, we were going to a party in September.  Miss P's 7th birthday and the next day -  her parents' wedding vow renewal. My DD mentioned oh-so-long-ago that she loved the old fashioned pennants and wouldn't they be great at a large party!!  Since the vow renewal was supposed to be at a barn ... weather eventually changed our plans.  I thought pennants might be used to guide us into the correct spot.  So, here we start.  I went with solids for their punch.  Bought a big selection [let's face it, every one of my projects seems to start with buying a big selection of fabrics!!!]

Here they are on the cutting counter - aka kitchen counter.  I over-stack always - but usually get thru them all. I cut 10 inch squares.  You could start with a Layer Cake, if you wanted!

Believe it not - I threw away these strings!!  I know, shocking!!

My DD loves polka dots and I found this ribbon by the spool at WalMart!!  So gathered a few different colors to make the string connecting the pennants. They're sitting on top of my 10" squares.

Each spool was 9 feet of ribbon.  Instead of making a 30 foot string, which might be too big for the space, or too small, I made 7 - 8 ft sections that could be easily connected together [or taken apart] as needed.  I have to say, it worked out great when it was time to put them up.

Oops, rainbow alert!!  It was a beautiful sight, a great excuse to pause in my sweat shop!!

Okay - back to work.  Fold the squares diagonally, I finger-pressed the points.  And feed them thru the machine until you don't think you can stand it any more!!  Take a break and sew some more.  I warned you it was a sweatshop!!

They add up and eventually you come to the end.  I made way more than I thought I was making.  Math is NOT my strong point.  I used 1/2 yard cuts of fabric, cut as many 10" squares as I could.

When you cut the chain apart, clip that itty-bitty point on the sharp end of the pennant.  You'll be glad that you did when you start to turn all these blessed pennants!!  Honest! 

I found a wooden knitting needle absolutely the best turning tool I've ever found.  The right length, the right sharpness.  All those pennants - 35 feet worth - turned and I never shoved thru the point!!  It was a miracle!!

Time to press.  Notice the large triangle on top.  We're going to cut that off.  Press them as straight as you can!

The drawback of making multicolored pennants is that you have to have ALL the pennants made before you can even start sewing them together.  After all, you don't want all the same colors together do you??

Here's where I found that purple and yellow would be a good addition. Back to the store, sigh!!

 Time to trim.  Start by lining up the pennant on the cutting mat grid.  Always start at the same measurement, then you'll be less likely to cut any too short!  No, don't ask me how I know this.  Sigh!

In theory, these are all the exact same size.  In practice, there are little differences. Try to get your measurements off the shortest pennant you have.  It will keep you from starting all over again.

Voila!!  Only a gazillion more to cut!!  But, really after they are trimmed and laid out in the order you want, the rest is a cake-walk ...easy as pie ... all downhill from here!!!  The hardest part is OVER!

Lay the pennants out on the ribbon.  No need to create a seam allowance - the ribbon won't shred along the edges and the open edges of the pennants will be inside!  Needle down makes it easy to space the pennants consistently. Time to sew and sew, and sew!! I gave myself a 6-8 inches of ribbon before and after the last pennant to create the loop that will connect them together to hang.  Worked out great!!
After you've connected all the pennants to the ribbon, turn it over and sew the other side of the ribbon down over the top of the pennant.  I created loops at each end to hang or connect each segment to the next as needed. The polka dots were stiff, but I finger-pressed the ones in the middle before sewing them and I didn't have to fight the ribbon to stay where I placed it.

I used twist ties to connect the sections temporarily.  They were sturdy and not very noticeable.  And we were able to take them apart when we wanted shorter sections!

Festive aren't they!!  Ready for a party!

Ta-da!!  I loved the look of them.  And I have enough to make at least another 20 feet of pennant banner.  I told you I'm not so good at math!  Now would it have been easier to go to a swimming pool supply site and order pennants?  Oh, yeah!!  Did I think of that earlier??  Nope!!  But I'm happy with them.  I gave them to my DD in a large shoebox.  I accordion folded the pennants to keep them from getting too wrinkled.  Included twist ties for convenience.  I think they were a big hit!  Hopefully, I'll see them again at the next party!!

Shop til you drop ... before my big trip!

Last weekend (alright, it was a month ago now!!  There are issues with working in blogspot on the Ipad ... still working on it!!) we had an 'emergency quilt shop hop'!!  Because I'm not traveling enough this week!!  U and I had not been to the Merrill Quilt Shop and P offered to take us!  What a gal!!  It's a long way from the coast to anywhere ... but especially to Merrill.  So we headed across the mountains to Ashland, where we visited the three quilt shops there and stayed overnight.  We had Chipotle for lunch, Yogurt Hut for an afternoon refresher, and Mexican again for dinner.  Ole!!


First stop was the newest quilt shop in Ashland.  Sew Creative.  The gals there were so very nice.  And it's a very interesting store - lots of wool and interesting projects.

Here is their famous guard dog!!

We fell in love with this scrap quilt.  Bento Box with the HST - kind of like my "Bento Box meets Broken Dishes" [aka Sliced Bread ] pattern on the internet, finished last year.  But a much more dynamic setting!

The very helpful staff - with gals this cute and energetic, you know it's going to be a fun visit!

Love all the wool and embroidery projects out and about to tempt us.

Especially this one!!  Birds ... they're everywhere, they're everywhere!!!

Awesome quilting!

On to one of my favorite stores ... Quiltz in Ashland! Believe it or not, all three stores in Ashland are within walking distance of each other!!  Even on very hot days!  Yes girls, I do have to take your picture!

Quilts is always so clean and airy!  Great selection of fabrics.  What's not to like!

Needlework and embroidery supplies, if they don't have it, you probably don't really need it!

Here we are at Fabric of Vision - right off  Ashland's Plaza - the town square.This tiny little space really packs a punch.  I always find something I H*A*V*E to have here.  Lots of unusual fabrics to draw you in.

A place for a weary  shopper to rest! In front of their VERY FULL Notions wall. If I can't find it anywhere else, I find it here!

Monday, we traveled to Tater Patch Quilts in Merrill. Hey, gals!!  Thanks for letting me take pictures!!
This store is fabulous - two floors, umpteen quilt samples hanging everywhere.  Definitely worth the trip. Don't miss the basement sales room. Spend some time looking around ... if you dare!!!  LOL!

In Oregon the mountains are never out of our eyesight - isn't this a wonderful quilt technique.  Dividing a large [beautiful landscape] into 8 panels.  Just Fabulous.

Funny how this advice doesn't touch on the restorative value of shop-hops!!! What a shame!!

Yep, even the bathroom is quilt-y and entertaining!

So many quilts, so little time!

So, ladies, if you need a tour director for shop hops, I highly recommend Ms Pand me to lay it out.  We had a great time, although the heat did take it out of us "Coastal Peeps"  In fact, I hate to mention it, but someone even skipped our book club that night!!!  We need to build up endurance for shop hops!! You can use fabric stuffed in bags for dumb-bells!!  You'll be glad you did!! LOL!