Friday, February 27, 2015

Progressively In Reverse!

Another work week is done.  Today is the day I sleep in a little bit, catch up the laundry, pay some bills and just generally be a bum.  A day to recoup my mind, gone numb after too many hours of sitting in front of the computer, too many hours of keeping track of everyone & the days progress in the flurry of work activity & too many hours of workplace politics. 

Somewhere in there I did manage to aide in bringing laughter to work this week.  I looked up the requirements to bestow Sainthood on one of our Nurses, finding a webpage called Sainthood for Dummies, added some personal observations, and printed it, after she declared over lunch that she felt it would be easier to gain Sainthood than it would be to fulfill the requirements to achieve her RN Level 3.  She is a happy soul, completely unvarnished, whose tales of adventure usually have us shedding tears of laughter.  I've never met anyone who tattles on herself or is willing to share her most embarrassing moments better than she does!  Her one woman lunch break floor shows are guaranteed to send you back to work with, at the very least, a grin and a snicker!  Sainthood would be a stretch for her.  God love her, she even approached some of our Doctors, with the completely serious face of one of those people who stops you in the mall to ask you to take a survey, and would read through the sainthood qualifications and ask them their opinion on whether or not she might qualify?  She is absolutely our much needed and best ever comic relief!  My only regret is that she is only there to bestow us with her special brand of humor 3 days a week!  It's true, one does have to be a bit on the crazy side to work in the OR.

Also somewhere in there, I did manage to accomplish some more reverse sewing on my now, infamous, Country Charmer.  Picking stitches is one of those things that one can do in front of the TV, when ones mind and body are numb from the activities of the day.  As long as your eyes hold out, anyhow.  Each night Country Charmer has been draped across my legs and over the napping bodies of two contented, warm little dachshunds who cuddle up to me as close as they can get.  They sleep, I pick.  Last night was declared burger night, hubby picked them up and I picked up some extra picking time!  I hadn't really monitored my progress this week that much, and at 10:30 when I decided to call it quits, I gave it a better look.  I was very surprised by what I found!

The un-quilting that remains on this 35 block quilt is all captured within this frame!
This is the only block that is still completely untouched by the seam ripper!
And this, to me, is still a mystery...
why would anyone ever think to smother such a cute little bird that was clearly meant to sing?
These blocks centers have truly been the most difficult spots to unstitch with so much lines of quilting crossing over and so many curving lines of stitches that have been so tiny and tight that made them next to impossible to slide the point of the seam ripper under them.  This is when I really have to open the sandwich, say a prayer, take a deep breath and work from inside the layers, using one hand to keep opposing tension between the back and the batting to stretch a tight stitch as much as I safely can to get the point of the seam ripper in to pop it.  It is a miracle that only 2 (knock on wood) little birdie centers will need to be replaced.
~Nancie Anne

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Housewarming...Nearly Ready To Be A Sandwich!

After all is said and done...after all the unfortunate accidents (click!) that happened to this quilt top along the is done...well except for a little loose thread removal and checking the back for any loose stuff that still needs trimming & stay stitching the edges.  Last night, just as the Terrier Group was entering the show ring on the Westminster coverage the last few stitches went into the last border strip!  This top and I share a few secrets...we know where we had to make some "adjustments" that the quilt police would raise a disapproving eyebrow at.  Suffice it to say, there were several spots where I got plenty of practice in "holding my mouth just right" that went along with all the ripping, reconfiguring, rinsing, bleeding, washing, more ripping, replacing and reassembling, adjusting and easing.  But she's done and from the front you can barely tell that we have had such a journey!

Disclaimer...this photo is NOT the writer's husband...
further, writer does not accept responsibility and will not provide restitution for any confusion, 
additional altered mental status, palpitations or other physical injury that may result from any reader lingering too long at this portion of the post.
This one is for my husband, who actually used the terminology, "square it up" just last night & who learned long ago that it's useless to complain about the stray threads that attach themselves to his socks, the bits of fabric that seem to wander out of the sewing room on their own..."The Look" he receives when I see that he is considering whether or not using my Ginghers to trim something is really worth the possible consequences...the tower of patterns and magazines that keep him from being able to lie down on the couch without the assistance of a block and tackle to move them to a vacant spot on the otherwise fabric covered coffee table...the meals that are frequently a little later than expected. 
This is for all the miles he has driven on "Our Vacation" to visit the next quilt shop that's just a couple of towns over...for holding my precious little Doxie, while I'm pulling and petting bolts of fabric and visiting with the little quilt shop ladies who stop to coo at her.  This is for carrying her in his arms so she's not accidently stepped on by upward looking quilt show attendees while I'm snapping pictures of quilts fluttering in the breezes which are suspended from equally intriguing ancient Live Oaks, while more little ladies stop him to tell him about the little Doxies who still live in their hearts.  Even 8 lbs. gets heavy after awhile, especially when it occasionally struggles to make sure that the "Mommy" person hasn't ventured too far away & gotten lost forever and ever!

So...Happy Anniversary, Happy Birthday & Happy Valentines Day All Rolled Into One Sweetie! 
I Believe You've Earned It,
along with that new grill that should help you with that late dinner thing...
I took it outside for pictures this morning, briefly, cuz it's pretty and not windy out there but it's so stinkin' cold that my hands began to hurt.
As always, one discovers far more loose threads still clinging in daylight that need to be picked off before snapping pictures.
We decided that we wanted to repeat the center star in the outer border rather than the L brackets in the original design. 
& my trusty graph paper notebook lent some assistance in reducing that star!  I decided to surround the stars with the border fabric so they would "float" within the border...sorry my pix don't show them off as clearly as I'd like.  They pop much better in person!
I'm going to start piecing the back for it will contain leftover fabric from our daughters graduation barn quilt, which my husband is also very fond of. 
Yep...most of my backs are pieced from leftovers and stuff that's been hanging around forever. 
Use It Up, Make Do!  In this case, it will also be a bit sentimental.
Cotton Pickin' Country Charmer Update!
Night before last two more little birdies were freed from captivity!
25/35th's of the blocks are now completely picked! 
I'm not quite sure what I'll do with myself once they're all undone!
I know, I'm weird...but I really am enjoying the picking process!
Happy Wednesday!
~ Nancie Anne

Monday, February 16, 2015

Alert The Media!!!!! I'm Starstruck!

Go To TheQuiltShow.Com ...
you will be taken to where you will be able watch the incredible
Lynn Wilder
guide Alex & Ricky through the process of making quilt block components 
and teach us all about
Taking The Fear Out of Patchwork Math,
She teaches us Precision,
Using the Right Tools for The Job,
Fabric Selection and so much more!
All with that patented Lynn Wilder warmth, grace & smile!

Congratulations Lynn!
You've Always Been A Star...
Now the rest of the World Knows It Too!
We're So Excited We Can Bearly Contain Ourselves!
Boop The Bears Nose To Read Lynn's Blog Entry About her Appearance on
The Quilt Show, Just Released Today!

~Nancie Anne

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day ~ A.D.D.

So I gets outta bed this morning, and I stretches and I yawns...
And I thinks about finishing this

for my Valentine...

But FIRST, I gots to feeds this... (Snuggly Valentine)
And then I goes to here...Sew'n Wild Oaks Quilting Blog
and I sees a pretty...
which makes me think of this...
but First I gots to do THIS...
& then I winds up doing this...
after that I does this... 
for my lubbed wuns...
and then I looks at some of these
On this...

but now, so I don't's time for me to do this...

  Cuz' Some Days Are Just Like This...
Wishing you a Happy...and hopefully not Too Distracted, Valentines Day!
~Nancie Anne


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Calamity Nancie Rides Again!!!!!

Yes...I'm still here!  Morning Foo-Foo coffee in my cute snowman mug and all!
Love my mug!  We found the "one-and-only-we-could-find" little guy at Cracker Barrel one night in December.  His nose and scarf are silicone and both remove for thorough washings!  That bright orange carrot nose actually pushes onto an appendage that resembles a doorknob!  We tried to find a second one to appease our left handed daughter who insisted he was made just for success...I guess we'll have to add him to her inheritance!  Provided he survives long enough.  I seem to have the gift for dropping things lately!  I was really upset with myself when I broke one of my favorite Christmas bowls during the holidays and then my husband informed me that I seem to be dropping everything these days!  That made for a pleasant evening...

Perhaps we should change my moniker from Naughty Nancie to Calamity Nancie! 
That's kinda the story of my life in quilts these days too!

I received a little email from Quilt Sue this morning inquiring as to "where I went?"!  She was actually referring to my little PSA post about the copy of Primitive Gathering I had seen available at an affordable price that I left up for a couple of days in the event someone was interested, then I deleted it.  Sorry for any confusion or concern this may have caused.  She also inquired about how the un-sewing on Country Charmer was coming along...I think she may have had a vision of me choking to death on a thread ball!  Not so...many, many wads of removed variegated threads are still landing in my wastebasket...none have found their way into my throat!  I wonder if kitty hairball remover would work on that should I accidently ingest one?  I'm still making progress and still picking my way toward the center of the quilt.  All of the birdies and pumpkins on the outer circumference have been freed as has almost all of the sashing that surrounds them.  Only one little birdie has suffered any significant injury due to the threads that crossed over him in too many layers.  I will probably replace him...but, he may still wind up on the quilt...just in the label on the back, to remind me that losing one fight doesn't mean you have to lose them all!

I've also been remodeling my hubby's Housewarming Quilt.  I was inspired to work on it due to the fact that we just celebrated our 36th Anniversary in January and he just celebrated a significant birthday over the weekend!  Guess who now has a new Traeger Grill & and bag of Apple wood pellets to play with!  AND!...Alert the media!  Last week we saw all but our California kids and had all three Grandkidlets over for visits!  That's an amazing accomplishment!  Baby girl is going through that, "nobody can touch me but my Mommy & Daddy phase" and she has all the tears & lower lip to go with it...but she will grin from ear to ear watching Gramma make a fool of herself talking to her and making silly noises!  Her hair is amazing!  At 4 months they are able to put it up in a little Cindy Lou Who topknot, and it's getting more and more auburn.  When the light hit it the other night it shined like a copper penny! 

So, back to Calamity Nancie & the Housewarming Quilt!  That's the quilt that hangs above the cutting table at  Quilt House in Gardnerville, Nevada, where my husband first saw it as we traveled through on our way to visit our daughter in 2011, when she was there for that one year internship thing, that turned into love and marriage.                                      
 I'm not gonna say anything frilly, like he was in-love, but he did stand there for the longest time repeating how he really liked the colors and the little pointy mean those little tulip blocks in the corners.  This design was published in the Best Of Quilt Sampler in 2007 when Quilt House was selected one of the Editors Choice shops.  

My poor rendition has had its challenges! 
And that's without telling you about burning my thumb and then getting the nastiest paper cuts ever on the same thumb in a 2 day span! 
You will be relieved to know that stayed away from all quilts for several hours that day and no fabric was harmed!
I began taking it apart to fix what resembled a boob by the center block,
 that no way would one be able to quilt into submission...
then it got a spill on it...
then when I put it in the bathroom sink to rinse the spill and one of the dark blue houses bled...
not just a little, but a dark, dark blue bleed on cream
that resembled something like this...
 Just Darker!
One attempt at a gentle hand wash and three exasperated super hot machine washings later, all with Synthrapol, the quake bleed was finally chased away forever!  During these washings, with little else to distract me, I cut and assembled the checkerboard borders according to directions.   With some creative piecing on the center star and a lot of head scratching, readjusting & holding my mouth just right, I was finally able to get the blocks reassembled in an acceptable fashion, although I'm still trimming away frayed strings and balled up wads from the back.  After all this trauma, I began to lose sleep over whether the thing was going to really be salvageable or should I just chuck it and start over.  I woke up and looked at it again with semi-fresh eyes and decided to move forward.  Of course with all this extracurricular washing and disassembling and reassembling, the measurement of the pieced interior was off  & those pieced checkerboards were too long...and how do you cut a checkerboard border down to the right length and get it to look decent? don't.  I did a little clandestine math & added 3/4 of an inch to the width of my first red border and measured through the centers of the top for the correct length.  

Not the clearest picture...can't seem to put my hands on my favorite camera this morning...but, yes, that red border is a Nancy Halvorsen Christmas holly print & it works perfectly to pull out the golds and the muted teal in the centers of the log cabin blocks. I'm also loving that green homespun. 
Nervously, I laid the top out, thinking that I hadn't added enough extra width to the red border to accommodate the checkerboard and figured I'd be adding another narrow border of something, kind of a fake flange to get it right, but then I found my centers, and began pinning and lo' and behold, it fit like a glove!
So today,  the big plan is to go stash diving to see what I come up with for the outer border.  I'm also planning to change the corners up a bit.  That little angle thing (see magazine photo above) reminds me of those silver metal hardware brackets you use to attach a bookshelf to the wall... & we can't have that thought every time we look at it, so I'm going to do a little more math and audition a couple of options for those corners.

~singed...I mean, signed,
Calamity Nancie!!!

and true to form...right after I published this post I looked down by my keyboard and there sat the camera I couldn't find earlier this morning!  Go Figure!