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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A relaxed day

After I finished the dishes yesterday I worked in my square foot garden.  I removed these pipes.

Then put in regular fencing posts.  The kind that holds wire fencing.  I used the hooks on the posts to run strings that will support the plants.  Before next year I will get some fencing.  Hmm... I just realized I've been telling people my garden is 12 square feet.  It's actually 24 square feet of space.  DUH!  I thought I could count better than that.  Apparently not.  Don't ya just love those duh moments?

After working on that I decided to do more house cleaning.  I didn't get back onto the quilting machine until late afternoon.  I almost finished stabilizing the current quilt. 

My cardboard breakfast bar is progressing along nicely and I'm getting the instructions posted.  I'm running short on double fluted cardboard so I have to plan carefully each step.  Kind of like running short on one fabric half way through a quilt and with careful planning the fabric goes farther.  Now that I'm creating with cardboard again, it's sometimes difficult to keep from starting lots of different pieces.  Must discipline myself to say NO to the creative inner mind when work must get done.  (grin)

After this current quilt is finished I have a day or two that I can use to finish up one of my own projects.  I'm not sure if I want to work on the door quilt that's already started or work on finishing the roses quilts.  I'll think about it. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

July snow cream

You've heard of making snow cream right?  Well yesterday I made some snow cream with July snow.  I know it's still June but it feels like July already.

Snow cream is basically just snow, milk, sugar, and vanilla.  Hmm.... you can't have snow cream without snow can you?  How you going to have snow cream in late June, the temperature is in the high 90s, and it's not snowing?

With a snow making machine of course.  Hee, hee, hee.  You thought these machine were only for flavored snow cone syrups didn't you?

You can even get fancy and add stuff like a can of pineapple or some chocolate syrup to make flavored July snow cream.  I made a big batch to put into the freezer.  It does get quite hard when frozen because it wants to go back to being ice.  Mine is in individual size containers.  I take one out and zap it in the microwave just enough to soften it again and it's snow cream whenever I want it.  A perfect quick substitute to buying boxed ice cream that's mostly air, fat, and sugar.  The cost is only pennies when compared to the cost of what you get from the store.  This machine did have an initial cost but has paid for itself many times over in savings by using it.

Another one finished

I had a hard time getting good photos of the stitching on this one.  The thread blends in really well.   No stitching showed up at all in photos of the back. 

It wasn't quite as hot in the studio yesterday which meant I could work long enough to get this one finished and the next one put onto the machine.

I did an alternating feather and curls on the border.  A simple loop design on the inside border.

I did a curl design on all the lime green inside sashing and floral designs on some of the piecing.

There's stitch in the ditch all over.   I did a leaf and curl design on the outside triangles.

The smaller piecing has line dancing on them with a futterby here and there on the larger of those.

It did take what seemed like an extra long time to quilt this one even though the designs were not difficult.  What took the most time was the stitch in the ditch.  There is a lot of bias with all the triangles.  Add to that the on point setting, you get lots of extra fullness that needs working with very carefully so you don't get puckers everywhere.  That's what took so long.  Being careful not to get pleats and puckers. 

The weather is supposed to be not quite so hot for the next few days.  I sure hope so.  It's been a really long time since I was able to start the next month's quilts a week early.  I have the first July quilt on the machine.  Usually, a machine quilter is way behind schedule because of life happenings and over booking.  I really like being semi-retired!  I'm headed to the kitchen this morning instead of the studio.  For one person, I sure do create a lot of dirty dishes.... geeze.  I'll get started on the next quilt after I clean up the kitchen.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Still here

I've been at the quilting machine working on the current quilt.  It's taking quite a bit of time to complete.  I work until it get's too hot in the studio then I go do something else.  I've been working on the cardboard breakfast bar and posting the steps on the cardboard blog.  Yes, I know it still looks like just a box but that will change. 

I've had to deal with some paperwork, paying bills, filling out entry forms, signing papers for my mother, and stuff like that.  I did have a visitor yesterday for a little while.  Of course the first thing she did was check out the cardboard furniture stuff and the quilts hanging on the design walls.   

When she first saw me she gave me a really great hug.  She takes after her Uncle Jimmy in that way.  He gives really great hugs too.  Not that the others don't give good hugs..... hmm... how to describe it.  Some people have a special way of giving hugs that are from deep inside themselves and you can feel it.  In my opinin, a hug is more precious than diamonds.  I just wish I lived close enough to the other grands to get hugs from them every few days too..... sigh. 

I'm hoping I can finish the current quilt today before it gets really hot again so I'm headed to the studio now. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oooo.... eye candy alert!!

Anyone want to see some really good art?  I hate to send you away from visiting my blog but it's worth it.  So you can see the eye candy I've been drooling over during a break from the quilting machine. 

Click on this link, look at the quilts posted on the blog, and then click on the "gallery" buttons at the top of the blog.   

Harmony Hopes Studio

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It was a good day

I had a really good ME DAY except for a bit of excitement in the neighborhood.  It's actually a building on the next block, behind those in the picture. 

I was having a ME DAY and sitting on the porch when I spotted this and called 911.  I didn't have the address.  They wanted me to walk to the next block to get the address.  Why is it they can't just go to the right block and see for themselves what address it is?  Surely firemen can't miss seeing thick black smoke and flames.  These are boarded up buildings without addresses on them.  Geeze!  Well apparently someone else called too so they got the address.

I went out and talked with the neighbors for a bit.  Apparently this is the 5th fire we've had in our neighborhood over the last month.  We have a fire bug!  I only know about 2 of the fires.  My neighbors told me about the others.  Those fires happened during the night when I would have been asleep.    

It's good to take a ME DAY every once in awhile.  I cleaned and mopped.  I worked on cardboard furniture and my blogs.  I called friends I haven't talked with in years.  I looked through fabrics.  I made laundry soap and put eggs in the freezer. 

I feel much better about getting back on the quilting machine today even though this quilt will probably take several days to finish.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another finished

I finished this quilt early this morning before it got hot.  I did get the next quilt on the machine.  I started getting it stabilized.  It will be the last of the June scheduled quilts.  Just guessing but it may take me another 3 days to finish it. 

For this quilt I did a leafy vine on the outside border.

I did a swag design on the inside border and line dancing on the pieced squares. 

Here's the outside border from the back.

Here's a view of the blocks and inside border from the back.

I will be taking a ME DAY today.  The floors need mopping and laundry soap should be made.  There are onions and eggs to be put into the freezer.   The ME DAY today is all about things like that.  General things that should get done before it gets overwhelming.

Floor mop pads

I made a discovery that I wanted to tell everyone about.  As you know, I'm a person that will avoid disposables whenever possible.  I like finding an alternative.  Not long ago I tried a new type mop for my floors.  I think it was a swiffer wet jet or something like that.  I didn't like it because the attached bottle was very heavy, the handle too short, and the pads were disposable.  I got rid of it. 

Well, I discovered these are washable!  No, the manufacturer doesn't tell you that.  I figured what the heck.... I could try washing them before throwing them away.  Couldn't hurt since they are made to be wet already.  I might find another use for them.  Maybe as duster cloths or something.

Ok, they went through the wash and dryer just fine.  A little ragged on the edges but still very usable. 

Then I got to thinking..... how can I use them again?  Why not as floor mops, like before, only this time use them on my duster mop.  I can use them either wet or dry.  They were meant to be wet so why not use them that way?  No bottle is attached on the duster mop so it can't be too heavy for me.  I bought these at the Dollar Store.

I mixed up 4 tablespoons of the Spic n span with 1/4 cup of the fabric freshener in a quart bottle then added water to the top.  I see no reason to make a strong mixture of the Spic n span unless someone tracks mud through the house.  A little goes a long way.

I put the mop cloths in the original box and poured the mixture on until the pads were all wet. 

I tried it on the floor and it works great!  No need to rinse the floor to remove soap either.  The spic n span is meant to be used without rinsing.  I did check the bottles of both to be sure it was safe to use on my flooring before I tried this experiment.  I like that I don't have the heavy bottle on the handle.  How many times can they be washed before I finally have to throw them away?  I don't have a clue right now.  I'll keep washing until they are beyond hope.  By that time I will have made myself some washable pads to use with the mixture.  Whenever I run out of the Spic n span, I'll try a mixture of my homemade laundry soap.    Hmm.... that reminds me, I need to make some more, I'm about to run out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cardboard crafts blog

For those who follow this blog, you may not be aware that I've launched my cardboard craft blog.  Yup, I started a third blog.  Why have more than one blog instead of putting everything on one?  Well, I think of the blogs as sort of like having three file cabinets.  Each one for a different subject. 

You can find the link on the side bar or go here.  It's rather plain right now and not much information there yet.  Check it out if you are interested in cardboard crafts.

Cardboard crafts blog

I didn't get finished with the current quilt.  I got down to the last couple of rows when it simply was too hot in the studio to continue.  So I went to the back part of the house and worked on setting up my newest blog.  Can you tell the room is dark?  If the sun can't get in.... it can't make it hot.

Well of course, while setting that blog up I had to work on the other two as well. 

You might wonder why I have three blogs instead of just putting everything on one?  Hmm.... it's like having three file cabinets.  One cabinet for each subject.  I have this blog which is like a "what's Anita doing today" journal.  I have the hints blog of "ways I save time, money, or space".  Now I have a blog devoted to "using cardboard in artistic ways" instead of putting it into a landfill. 

None of my blogs earn me money although I'm thinking of "monetizing" the cardboard blog just to see if it works.  I guess my curiosity is getting the best of me because I really want to know if money can be earned just by writing a blog. 

I still have work to do on the cardboard blog.  I want to do a few experiments with blogger features while there is not much on the site.  Less information to loose if something goes wrong.  But... right now I am headed to the studio to finish the current quilt before it gets too hot again.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Finally another finished

It really wasn't difficult.... just time consuming.  It's a large quilt.   Three and a half days of quilting.  I think the finished look was well worth the time.

I did line dancing on the yellow and flutterbys on the blue squares.  Those are 2 inch squares.

The thread doesn't show up on the red so I lay my test drawing on top so you could see the design.  It's a flower and leaf design.

It's hard to see the border design of a leafy vine.

This is on the back side.

During the heat of the afternoon, from about 2 or 3 until sundown, my studio gets very hot.  I do have central air but it doesn't help much unless I crank it full blast.  My budget can't stand a high electric bill.  When it starts to get hot I head to the back part of the house where it's cooler.  That's when I find other things to do to keep busy.  This is the first section of my cardboard breakfast bar. 

Yes, yes, I know it still looks just like an ordanary box.  There's a lot of strength inside the cardboard walls.  I'm ready to put in the second shelf.  I only work on it when it's just plain too hot to be in the studio.  It really won't look like much more than a bunch of cardboard until the final finish is put on it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Moving right along

I have the next quilt stabilized.  I think it will take about 3 days to complete.  I had a hard time deciding on a border design.  I have one chosen now and plan to work on it today. 

I also started writing some posts for my cardboard furniture.  This is the first piece.  It's a breakfast bar.

I'm writing the posts in draft for now.  This will give me opportunity to rewrite before actually publishing.  I think I should start a new blog just for the cardboard furniture before I actually start publishing.  I simply can't figure out a good catchy name for it.  I was thinking maybe.... "Anita's paper boards" or "Cardboard is free!" ?  I hope to have a meme that's unique and explains the blog at the same time.  I think of a blog name similar to that of a book title.  Sometimes the title is what draws a reader to read the book.

Does anyone have any suggestions? 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Checking in

It seems like forever since I posted on this blog.  I haven't forgotten about it.  I've been busy getting my house back in order after my daughter and grand-daughter moved out.  I did start a new piece of cardboard furniture.  It's going to be a breakfast bar in my kitchen.

I will be posting the steps along with photos as I create it.  I'll create my furniture based on my own household needs.  A breakfast bar seems to be the most current need right now.   This will NOT be a quick project for me because I have many quilt UFOs to complete.  Cardboard furniture is a hobby..... quilting is my income. 

I hope to post a new step every couple of weeks as it gets made.  Those of you interested in how cardboard furniture is created.... so you can do your own.... this will be for you.  As you follow the steps you will learn the strengths of how cardboard furniture is created.  Once you know this.... you can design and create your own custom made furniture.

Hmm.... I guess I really should finish making the changes to this blog.  TIME!  Gotta find time..........

Way cool!

I couldn't get onto the computer yesterday.  Early morning storm kept me away from electrical stuff again.  When the storm was over I was already into a spring cleaning rhythm.  Didn't want to stop.

I got an email from the owner of a very interesting site.  Check it out..... Anita Estes.  Way cool! 

Hmmm..... I think I forgot to show this little quilt when it was finished a few days ago.  It's a worm quilt.  I did stitch in the ditch on the center area. 

The border got marching worms.  They didn't show up very well in the closeup photo so here's what they look like on the back. 

I had a pretty productive weekend.  Lots of house cleaning of the spring cleaning variety.  I also worked on the remaining roses.  I did the tulle overlays and started the free motion embroidery.  These are not finished yet but can wait for another weekend.  I have the next customer quilt on the machine and getting it stabelized. 

I also cut some pieces for my next cardboard furniture piece.  I decided not to finish the cardboard desk I started several months ago.  It's waited this long.... it can wait a little longer.  I don't need it right away.  I'm creating furniture based on my current household need.  This project piece seems to be telling me it's needed first.  

Hmm.... I hear a quilt calling me from the studio.  Ok, need to make a post on my other blog first though.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This one done

I have another quilt finished.  It's a small crib size. 

I did a simple vague outline of the characters on the border with clear thread and line dancing on the blocks.

I went to the hardware yesterday. The grocery shopping has been moved to next week.  Anyway.... I got the pieces I need for creating the tool for my quilting machine.  Now all I have to do is get it made and test it.  I found a machinist willing to help.    I hope you understand why I can't show pictures of it right now?  I want to make it, test it, and patent it before I show it to anyone.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Playing -- what's in the box?

I do have another quilt finished.  I'll show it in a minute.  I woke to thunderstorms yesterday.  Lots of lightening!  During a storm I stay away from anything electrical.  Couldn't get on the quilting machine or the computer so I started playing.... what's in the box.  I wasn't trying to organize or sort.  All I was doing is re-familiarizing myself with the stuff I have stored away in boxes under the bed and stacked in the closets.  This is one of the boxes I opened.  What is it?

It's powdered dye and various other stuff for playing around with the dyes.  Oooo.... perfect!  Finding this is right on time for me to try a new art quilt technique.  IF.... IF I can locate and buy the rest of the materials I need and schedule TIME for dyeing fabrics.  These dyes were given to me a couple of years ago... hmm... maybe much longer than that.  Time has a way of fooling me as the years slip away so quickly.

I know I need soda ash to prepare fabric for dyeing.  But what is soda ash?  I thought maybe it was washing soda.  I emailed Melody Johnson (a well known fabric dyer and artist) to ask where it can be bought.  She must have been sitting at her computer because I got an almost instant reply.  I'm glad I asked instead of just winging it.  Now I have soda ash on my grocery list for this week.  I'll make a side trip to Walmart to buy it.... from the pool supply area of all places.  I need something called PH up.  I also need some plastic bottles.  The ones I have won't work.  Too small.

Ok, here's the latest quilt finished. 

The quilting really doesn't show up well on the outside border so I did a square design to give texture.  I call them city blocks.

I did a fluer d lis design on the first inside border. 

I did line dancing on the second inside border.

I meandered around the applique of the center area to make them pop out.  

Today I have another quilt on the machine.... it's calling me right now.  Can you hear it?  It's saying.... me! me! quilt me! quilt me! quilt me today!    Gosh... quilts can be soooo impatient sometimes. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Need opinions please

A few days ago I showed a portion of the sketch for this quilt.  Now it's quilted but it didn't turn out like I saw it in my mind.  I still like the idea.  I'll have to work more on the technique until I get it right.  My camera batteries were low so the photos look kind of washed out.  It's called "morning ritual".

I put too much stitching into the lady which drew up the fabric in those areas and created wrinkles.  Giggle.... I got carried away in stitching which often happens when I'm using the quilting machine.  I get started and don't know when to quit.  I had to put heavy quilting everywhere else to flatten it.  Putting in more stitching was easier than picking out.

I like the brightness of the colors on a black background.  There's just too much of it.  I made the mistake of going over stitching lines to make them brighter. 

I've had this idea for several years.  It all started when I would tell people  "machine quilting IS art" and "I use the quilting machine like a pencil".   Yes, I know there are many quilters doing thread painting.  Some are creating very beautiful paintings with thread and hand dyed fabrics.  I'm a little behind the times getting into thread painting.  A heavy machine quilting work schedule kept getting in the way.... until I retired.

One thing I did learn while creating this quilt it that I need to use something other than regular chalk for drawing the design on the fabric.  The chalk didn't stay and I kept loosing the lines that I was to follow.  It was the only thing I could think of for drawing on a black fabric.  None of my other marking pens could be seen on black. 

Another thing I learned is that I NEED someone to help make a tool for my quilting machine to help with back tracking.  I've asked several people to help make it but they either don't understand how important it is or else I'm not explaining it well enough.  Everyone looks at me with deer in the headlight looks and start avoiding the subject.  I've asked my son, my brother, a neighbor, a friend, and some others but I still don't have the tool I need.  I'm tired of begging people to help me get one made.  I know how it should be made and if I had the proper tools to work with metal I could make it myself.  Hmm.... Maybe a metal working class is in my future?  You think I could get away with taking only one class just to use their metal cutting/bending/drilling tools for about 30 minutes?

Well, I would love to start working on another art project but customer quilts are waiting.  Gotta finish those before I can play again.  Now that you've seen my art project....... any opinions or suggestions?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Another finished

I'm late posting today.  I decided to work at the machine early instead of getting on the computer.  I want to do some fabric sorting this weekend which meant I needed to get the quilting work done first. 

Here's a close up of the snowball blocks.

It's hard to see it but I did a feather and curl design on the outside border and a heart vine on the inside border.

I did line dancing on the 9 patch blocks.

I did a small heart on the snowball block corners.

There was one special block so I did a heart shape feather on this one.  I guess you can tell the customer wanted hearts and feathers... it's a wedding gift.

We also had a bit of trouble in the neighborhood.  That is from a house about a block away.   

As you can see it put a lot of smoke around my house because the wind was blowing our way.

I don't know what happened.  I guess it will be on the news later today.   Since I still have time left in the day I think I'll eat a bite then put the next quilt onto the machine so it will be ready for Monday morning.   I'm kind of looking forward to fabric sorting this weekend.  I can get myself reaquainted with what I have and rethink what I had planned to make with it.  I believe I've already gotten rid of all that I really won't use. 

If I finish the sorting with enough time left over maybe I can work on a piece of cardboard furniture this weekend.  Maybe not to start making it but more like doing the math for the pieces to cut.  I have several designs I've drawn.  I'm just not sure which one I want to start making.  Hmm.... maybe one priority this weekend should be finding a good place to store lots of large pieces of cardboard in this house.  I can't make cardboard furniture without the cardboard.  Can't have the cardboard without a place to store it.