Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday


I don't have much to show this week because weekends are normally my quiet stitching time and this weekend I was busy fighting The Battle of the Pool Noodles. I am happy to say I was victorious. Once I had enough backing it was an easy roll up. I was beyond impressed with the whole thing. It's a game changer for sure. 

After doing my victory dance on Sunday afternoon I did settle down and finish that corner on the Village Quaker. I also started the last border of little houses and doo dads that will finish the whole thing off. 

The really interesting thing I did this week was dig out an old needlepoint kit I had. The Mister always calls my cross stitching projects needlepoint and I wanted to show him the difference. What happened is that I now I want to work on it but I couldn't figure out how to read the squares of colors. The Mister, who did latch hooking, showed me what I needed to know. 

It's a very pretty project and I doubt I'm going to be able to do justice to it but does it really matter? I'll just play with it until I get bored and then it will end up in my pile of orphan projects. 

Remember her? It's been two years since I put a stitch in Apply Dapply. I always have these romantic notions of sitting on a cold winter day before the wood stove with a cup of tea and happily stitching to whatever's on the radio-and it never happens. My brain lives in 1940. I don't. 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Using Your Noodle


I was so fired up after finishing Dad's last quilt that I was determined to finish one of my own. Charming Stars was ready to be sandwiched so I thought I would try a new way of basting using pool noodles. I had bought the noodles and connectors ages ago for just this purpose but I had forgotten all about them. 

It all went very well. The noodles worked perfectly. This is the way go to go but only if you have a LOT of backing material to work with on all sides. I didn't and THREE times I rolled it all out and pinned it only to find I had run out of backing again and again. Grrrrrr......I was NOT happy. 

Soooo......I had no choice but to add more material to the backing by piecing it. 

I was lucky to have a lot of the material and several packs of the charm squares leftover from this fabric collection but I was annoyed at having to pretty much make another quilt to back a quilt I had just made. I worked from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday and still didn't get it finished. 

The only good thing that happened that day was that my latest Barbie acquisition showed up. Fedex came down the driveway in the midst of my fit of temper over the quilting debacle saving me from completely blowing my top. Meet 60th Anniversary Reproduction Skipper. Mattel debuted her last week and I wan't going to buy her seeing that she was very $$$ but.......

....The Mister and I had words when I got back from my girl's trip to W VA when I said I wanted to buy one of these and maybe see a bit more of the world and he said no. A stick of dynamite couldn't pry him from his recliner anymore. He turned 70 on Sunday and you would think he was 90. I was so peeved by his disinterest and realizing I have nothing but a life of listening to Law and Order re-runs wafting up from the downstairs all day in my future, I decided that I might as well have another Barbie. 

I also need to thank Lucy in Kentucky for sending me this year's 150th anniversary Kentucky Derby pins. She's my bloggy Barbie friend so she understands. Sigh.....

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Spring Has Sprung


It's time for the spring giveaway!

I'm starting with the unscented bars first. On the right is Charcoal and Clay made with only natural colors from several kinds of clay and some activated charcoal. On the left is Milk and Honey made with real honey and four kinds of milk. Goat, yogurt, coconut and buttermilk. All the bars are rough cuts, meaning I don't clean them up or smooth them out. I like the rough texture. There is nothing like a brand new bar of soap. 

On the right is Blackberry Bliss and on the left is Lemon. They are both mildly fruity and smell just like you would think. I could eat them both.

On the right is a new one. Sea Salt and Yuzu. I don't know how to describe the scent but I like it. It's slightly fruity. On the left is more Harlequin Romance. If you didn't get it last time and asked for it, this is your chance. It's a lovely, light floral scent. If Barbie wore perfume, this would be it.

On the right is my old standby, Oatmeal, Milk and Honey. It's got colloidal oatmeal and honey plus a good dose of goat's milk and yogurt. On the left is Coconut. It smells like an Almond Joy and contains both coconut butter and coconut milk. I could eat this one too.

These two will wake you up. On the right is Awaken, which is a sweet citrus scent and rather strong. It's not very pretty because I tried to mix it while it was too hot and it turned into caramel pudding. It's still a lovely bar to use in spite of it's looks. Satsuma Orange is NOT a sweet citrus scent like Awaken. It's crisp and tart. It was a surprise to me. I didn't think I would like it but it grew on me after using it. 

Avalon, on the right, is one I've made before. It's a new favorite of mine. It smells like strawberries to me but it's supposed to be a mixed floral. Go figure. Honeysuckle on the left smells just like the flower. No surprises there.

I don't usually like fragrances I can't identify but I took a chance on Star Showers and I'm glad I did. It's a light fragrance that to me smells like soap should. It reminds me of baby powder. Cucumber Melon is a 80's retro fragrance. Think walking past a Bath and Body Works in a mall. 

Finally, on the right I have natural Cocoa Butter. This one has a tiny bit of chocolate fragrance to enhance the experience. It also has 2 whole ounces of that cocoa butter. It's very rich. On the left is Vanilla Bean and it smells just like you'd think. It contains my two new oils, jojoba and argon, for extra conditioning.

Choose your three favorite bars and I will do my best to see you get two of them. 
Send me your mailing info at either Ravelry or my soap email. The info for both is in the side bar. 
Thanks again for helping me clear my shelves. There's FALL soap to be made!

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Soap 101


Tomorrow is the spring soap giveaway. All my pretties are wrapped and ready to go, waiting patiently up on their drying racks over my Barbie collection. This is only one set of the racks. I have three more on top of other shelves in the sewing room. That's a lot of soap that's going to need a home.

Those of you who are old timers can ignore the rest of this post. I go over the same things every time but I always have several newbies who need to know what they are getting into. Let me explain....

Those little cards I include in your package are important soap 101 rules for safe usage. If you give a bar away, give the card away with it.

Don't forget this is real soap. The kind made with lye. I'm covered up in protective gear when I make it because lye gets hot-really hot and can leave a nasty burn. The fumes are no fun either. 

After sitting for 6 weeks that lye has gone through a process that makes it safe. I thoroughly test every loaf by taking an ugly end and taking a bath with it. I even wash my hair. I've got very sensitive skin and lots of allergies so if it doesn't bother me, it shouldn't bother you but you never know. If you have any concerns, wash just your hands and upper arms in the sink the day before you throw it in the tub with you.  Above all, keep it out of your eyes. Like any soap, it will sting. 

A bar will last a long time if you keep it dry. I sit mine up on a dry dishcloth on the edge of the tub.

Please take them out of the glassine bag it comes in when they arrive. They needs to continue "breathing" until you use them. They will get harder and milder the longer you keep them but I want you to use them up. They don't have any preservatives so they won't last forever-although I have some that are years old that I am still using and they seem fine. 

Finally, I get asked about postage all the time. I know it costs a lot to mail out all this soap but it's a part of my hobby budget. I live a very frugal life so this big splurge three times a year doesn't make a dent in my bottom line. The amount of fun I get out of all the making is worth every penny.

I have to say this is some of the nicest soap I have ever made. It's been a long journey to get to this point and I need to thank Cindy of Delighted Hands for getting me started. Without her push to get me over my fear of that whole lye thing, I would be missing a big chunk of happy time in my life. 
See ya'll tomorrow!

Friday, April 12, 2024

A Friday Finish


Well look at that. I finally managed to get something done and it's a BIG finish. It's dad's LAST quilt. It's officially the end of an era. I know I've said it before when I thought I had dad's last quilt finished but then I found this top in the bottom of a bag of batting. Years ago I had meant to hand quilt it so it never went in his finishing pile.

It's an oldie. It's one of the first Dresden quilts he made in 2012.

He loved making those pointy pieces.

He made five Dresden quilts all together. This one is on the back of my couch right now.

I even hand quilted one of them for him. What a job that was.

He was also hooked on paper piecing. 

This paper pieced one is the last we worked on together. He was in a hospital bed in the living room and I set up a sewing table nearby and he made the paper pieces while my sisters and I sewed it all together. 

This is the last one he made while he was living on his own. Things were getting wonky with him but he cut and pieced every one of these squares. I planned this to just be busy work for him but he managed to turn it into a masterpiece. 

After his first hexie quilt he paper pieced this batik beauty of a runner. I was working on one just like it at the time and I can tell you this is NOT an easy pattern to paper piece. 

Another paper pieced beauty. I remember always fighting with him over color placement. He was always right. I was always wrong. I did NOT inherit his eye for color. 

This one is my favorite. While he was in the nursing home I put this together from all his scraps and leftover hexies. It's become my security blanket. 

He didn't always paper piece. Look at those colors.

I could go on and on. There are so many. I remember not being able to keep up with the finishing. He wanted everyone he ever met to have a quilt and I think he met his goal.

Mom would have laughed herself silly at the sight of her bad boy of a husband sitting at his sewing table. She was his inspiration when he found her fabric scraps but she would have been so confused. Even now I have a hard time putting this all together in my head. It just goes to show you that you're never too old to start a new chapter. All you have to do is turn the page. 



Thursday, April 11, 2024

Many Funs


I had no idea what I was going to post about today until I saw Vera's post yesterday where she talked about her weekend of "many funs".  That's just what happened to me over the past two days. I had so many funs with my sisters I came home with no voice from talking and laughing all night and a wicked case of tennis elbow from hauling bags of travel stuff. I am so tired I can't see straight so picking up a project today is out of the question. The one thing I can post about is that I got to drive past the Howard County Fairgrounds where the MDSW is always held TWICE on my way to and from Auntie's. I waved an enthusiastic hello both times and made a wish that I make it this year. I'm no fan of those crowds but I do need a little fiber therapy. I need it bad. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Road Trip


I'm off on a road trip with my sisters to visit an aunt and her new little doggy friend. 

We are up in the mountains of West Virginia. Auntie made the move here a few years ago and it's our first visit to her new home.

Awwww.....Auntie is doing well at 88 and is even able to keep up with this little darling. I'll be on my way home tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Tiny Needle Tuesday


I would have had this whole corner section finished if I hadn't had to spend Sunday morning picking it all out. I was off by 1 stitch so the top pointy thing didn't match up. Nothing humbles me more than stitching. 

Exhibit B: After suffering through all that green fill I had a devil of a time getting the stems on those flowers in it right. They are top stitched and my first try disappeared into the background. My second try looked awful. My stitches were too short and choppy. The third time is not the charm but for now, it'll do. 

And....we had a good old time down at the beach with a couple of hundred other folks watching the eclipse. The line for glasses was long so I was glad I had bought my own. The Mister did manage to get a pair for a souvenir once the line died down.

It was a big crowd. The entire half mile boardwalk was pretty much packed. 

We watched from the pier. All the benches were taken but that was fine with me. Pup and I were nice and cozy in our little nook.

Everyone was complaining about the change in temperature. Everyone who had been out sunning themselves on the beach were now wrapped up and on their feet. 

We lucked out with the clouds. There were few to interfere with our view up until the peak. Then the clouds started rolling in but we saw what we came for. No complaints.

We love to see the patterns it makes in the shadows so at peak we walked around until we found some foliage. See the little crescents?

How about now? How cool is that? This may be the last really good one for us. The 2025 and 2026 partials look pretty meh. The 2079 one looks promising but I'd be 125. Not likely.