Sunday, February 23, 2020

Planting Bed Surprise

Our beautiful weather last week tempted us to our local nurseries. I've been eager to finish planting the bed under the black walnut.
Most of these plants from Xera Plants are for the planting bed beneath the black walnut.
Portland Nursery had these for $2.50 so we bought some to spread around the yard.
I tried to plant them on Saturday and had an unexpected surprise when I started digging down into the soil. About four inches down I hit something hard. I was surprised to find cement that had been buried under the soil. Obviously, Jeff and Aaron hadn't double dug this area last year or it would have already been found and removed.
These concrete chunks are really thick. I assume they were put in place to make the driveway wider, but we almost never pull into the driveway beyond the porte cochère and I'd rather have the space for plants.

This bed is going to need a little more work before we can get the plants in the ground.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Friday Night Sew In

I decided to join Sugarlane Designs for the Friday Night Sew In last night. I'm doing anything I can to find the motivation to work on my many unfinished projects.

I had already prepped my lap quilt for tying and decided to try quilting it instead. I got about halfway finished last night.
Then I finished up this morning/afternoon.
I think it needed more pins in it because the fabric shifted a bit, especially around the outside edge, but overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I still need to finish binding it to call this one complete.

My Pfaff sewing machine is not well suited to machine quilting. The throat is too small and it was a significant hassle to wrestle this quilt to rotate it. I might consider getting a machine that has more space so I can finish more of my own quilts.

Friday, February 21, 2020

2020 Project Planning

I'm amused when I look back at old To-Do lists. Apparently, the last one I posted was in 2017. We did nothing on it during 2018. Here was my list:

To Do List:
  1. Finish sewing room curtains
  2. Finish master bedroom closet cubes
  3. Repair the garden shed broken windows
  4. Paint the garden shed exterior
  5. Finish the interior of the shed with a chicken apartment (no longer needed)
Wouldn't it Be Nice List (the list I admit I probably won't get to, but I want to keep track of them):
  1. Stencil the living room frieze
  2. Stencil the dining room frieze
  3. Stencil the basement bathroom
  4. Make the leaded glass for the front door
  5. Install the hybrid charging station
The garden shed painting didn't happen until late last summer.

The sewing room curtains finally got finished in February 2020.

I doubt we'll ever get the master bedroom closet cubes built, but I'll keep it on the list. Here is my list for 2020 with hopes we'll have better motivation than earlier years (in no particular order).

To-Do List:
  1. Recover the living room furniture
  2. Stencil the living room frieze
  3. Weed and maintain the hidden garden
  4. Fix the water flow in the front yard rain garden (currently slopes the wrong way).
  5. Finish the back patio furniture set
  6. Build shelves for garage
  7. Sift and organize garage
  8. Repair broken leaded glass panel in the parlor
Wouldn't it Be Nice List:
  1. Finish master bedroom closet cubes
  2. Make the leaded glass for the front door
  3. Stencil the dining room frieze

WOOFA Challenge

I guess I need to get this list posted because I've already finished several items on it. When I cleaned my sewing room I inventoried all the in-progress projects. This is the list of projects I'd like to try and finish this year. I'm leaving a few items off the list because I'm not sure I still want to finish them.

Once summer arrives, I probably won't get much done because I'll be distracted by all the pretties outside, but since I got a late start I am likely going to extend this challenge beyond December when it presumably ends for everyone else. I'm thinking it will be a miracle if I can get through half these projects this year, but Habitica has really helped focus my efforts so maybe I'll do better than I expect.

Bind Dinosaur Lap Quilt (when returned from quilter)
Bind Batik Quilt (when returned from quilter)
Canvas Bag Repair (replace handles)
Denim Circle Quilt (started)
Denim Circle Tote Bag
Halloween Monster Wreath (started)
Harvest Placemats
Harvest Quilt
Jeff’s Georgian Coat
Jeff’s Lumbar Pillow
Log Cabin Quilt (started decades ago)
Louisa’s Dress Batik
Louisa’s Dress Y-P
Louisa’s Dress: Remodel sq. dance skirt to Louisa Dress
Mug Rugs
Navy/Gold Placemats
Rag Quilt Country Print (ex-square dance skirt)
Rag Quilt Floral Y-G-R-P
Rag Quilt Grey
Rag Quilt Solar System
Rag Quilt Xmas
Recover Living Room Furniture
Sea Swept Quilt
Sharon’s Lumbar Pillow
Square Dance Skirt (elastic, eyelet)
Stack & Whack Quilt
Stenciled Pillow (panel stenciled already)
Summer Placemats
Tie Large Disaster Quilt (or just ditch it)
Tie/Quilt Scrap Lap Quilt
White Brocade Napkins
Woven Denim Tote Bag
Xmas Placemats
Xmas Quilt

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Finished Lumbar Pillows

Another finish from my WOOFA list. I finished the quilted lumbar pillows I started back in 2012. The Pythagorean Theorem pillow is Jeff's. He designed the block for me. (He's a math nerd.) The flowers are for me.
The backing. Quatrefoil batik for Jeff's pillow.
The backing. A funky batik with the right colors.
Next time I make lumbar pillows, I will buy the pillow inserts before I start. I found some pillows that were a little too big and I was able to stuff them in there, but I don't like how overstuffed they look. Hopefully, the pillows will flatten with use and they'll look better in a few weeks.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Denim Totes Finished

I finished two denim tote bags made from old jeans for my WOOFA Challenge.

I finished the circle denim tote I started last month. Since I didn't trust the strength of the bag itself, I made a second bag from trigger fabric to line the interior. I made the handles out of waistbands removed from jeans. At Jeff's request, I made them long enough so he can wear them over his shoulder.

Then I finished a funky woven denim tote I started probably 3 years ago. At the time, I was on a tote bag sewing binge and I decided to get creative with strips of denim. I couldn't decide how to finish this tote so I just set it aside to finish later. Later finally came.

I'm not sure it will be very durable, because I didn't sew down those strips. I used wonder under to adhere them to a backing fabric.

I made the handles out of 6"-wide strips and folded them into quarters, with the edges on the inside.

I spent another day cleaning and organizing my sewing room. I went through every container and every drawer and sifted them. I reorganized all the Sterilite tubs and labeled them. I believe I have all my in-progress projects currently in my sewing room added to a spreadsheet. (I likely have more unfinished projects squirreled away in our basement storage; those I am not including right now.)

I did not make a list of every project I bought materials for but never got around to starting.



Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sewing Room Tidied

Yesterday afternoon I went into my sewing room planning to spend 40 minutes tidying so I could check off my daily tidying task in Habitica. I had a new pile of clear file tubs to replace the opaque boxes and I figured I may as well get started. That 40 minutes turned into about six hours yesterday and then another couple today.

Regrettably, I don't have any before photos. It was an embarrassing mess. Every horizontal surface was covered with fabrics and other misc. projects. There was a mound of fabrics and boxes under the table that poured out the sides making it hard to walk around the table.
I opened every box and took everything out and made a list of all my projects in progress. The list is staggering. I'm not going to list them all, but I was amused by more than a few of them. I had a square dance skirt that only needed elastic. I also had at least three square dance skirt projects that I had started but not finished. They were diverted into the scrap cotton bin. I'm not even dancing right now and I've heard most people don't wear cute skirts and petticoats anymore. (This makes me sad.)

I still have not finished those two lumbar pillows I made in 2012. There's a potholder that needs the bias tape edge. I never finished the lampas robe from 2013 plus a bunch of medieval clothing projects that pre-dated the blog. (Yes, before 2008.)

I also opened up my sewing table drawers and sifted them. I couldn't believe some of the stuff I had squirreled away. I had the hardware to make at least thirty (probably more) Roman shades. Yes, I liked making them and I might make more, but holy cow, I do not need 40 shade pulleys. My first instinct was to get rid of all of it, but then my family hoarding gene clicked in and I decided to pull out just enough to make Roman shades for our bedrooms. At least now it only takes up one shoebox-sized tub. I also decided I could get rid of the hardware I bought to make triple pleat drapes for Redwood City. Yes, Redwood City. We moved from there in 2010.

So now that I have this absolutely humungous list of already started projects, I've decided to do something drastic and stage my own intervention. One of the blogs I follow, Threadhead, mentioned she joined a 2020 WOOFA Challenge and I think I will too. I'm getting a late start and I'm prone to get distracted during the summer when it gets so hot, but even if I don't manage to make it through the whole year, getting several of these projects finished will be a huge win.
I haven't made my list for the challenge yet but I will soon. Right now, the hardest part is prioritizing them. I may just start with the projects that will take less than an hour to finish and get them out of there.

Already Spring

We've had some really pleasant weather over the past couple weeks and our yard is already waking up. We had a squirrel problem over the winter (as in he was digging up bulbs for food), so I expected there to be no bulbs left. I'm pleased to see some survived.
Mammoth Yellow Crocus from Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Woodburn, OR.
We only planted one bulb in each spot, they divided over the winter.
These are hellebores of unknown variety from our neighbor, donaleen. I think this is their second year.
The flowering maple in the hidden garden survived the winter and is putting on new growth.
Our flowering currant in the front yard rain garden is about to explode into flowers.
Really looking forward to that.

I'm not sure what this shrub is at the back fence. Jeff had to prune it way back so we could paint the shed last summer. The flowers are starting to come in. (My latest guess is Flowering Quince.)

Friday, February 7, 2020

Sewing Room Curtains Finally

Habitica has finally gotten me to work on several way-past-due projects. One of them was to make curtains for my sewing room. I was originally going to make pieced panels, but I failed to find the motivation to do that. Finally, when I decided to just use a plain cafe curtain, the project made it back into my queue.

Despite having a whole wall of fabrics, I either didn't have enough of the fabrics I liked, or didn't like the fabrics I had enough of, so I purchased a new piece of fabric. I wanted something that would look good with the stencil in that room.
I settled on this little herb fabric and I think looks quite nice. There were only 5 yards left and I needed 6 yards, so I bought the 5 yards and added a coordinating color at the hemline. I like it.
I discovered while working on this project, that some of the fabrics on the wall are really quite damaged from the sun. I knew most had a bit of fading, but I discovered when I unwound that purple that fabrics can fade on more than just their outer layer. Oh well. Hopefully, this will reduce the problem in the future.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Fire Dance Finished

And it's finally done.
I probably should have cleaned up the threads before I took a photo, but here it is.
The plan is to take this one, with the Batik Flower Quilt and quilt them together so I'll have a reversible quilt.
I already have the denim circles cut out for the next project. I'm feeling rather pleased with myself because I posted to our neighborhood free list and asked for old jeans and I got about a dozen pairs to use for this project.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Is It Spring Yet?

My brain is already slipping into spring. Yesterday, I was in my sewing room and I looked out my window and saw sun so I dropped everything and went outside. I am already finding myself looking at plant websites rather than writing.
Since the color scheme of the hidden garden is the yellow to burgundy color wheel, I was pretty excited yesterday to find yellow bleeding hearts. I saw them last year for a truly astonishing price at Breck's, but they were already sold out so even if I had been willing to pay their price, they were not available. This year, I found them at Easy to Grow Bulbs for $17/each. This is still more than I like to spend on mail order plants since they so frequently die, but I really want them for the hidden garden, so I just ordered two of them.
Last summer, I ordered a bunch of bareroot hosta from Easy to Grow Bulbs and that went well, so I am hopeful this order will also go well. You can be sure I will report back if it doesn't. They gave me a $5/off referral code if anyone else is interested in ordering from them.

Because you can never have enough purple plants in your garden, I chose a color scheme of purple and white for under the black walnut. There are already some orange daylilies over there, so I won't be strict about it, but I'd like the new plants to be in the purple range. I may eventually replace the orange daylilies with purple, but right now I'm focusing on filling the empty dirt before I start digging up established plants.

I've been studying lists of plants that survive under black walnuts and tolerate shade, but I've found quite a few conflicts, so I'll just have to try some plants and see which make it. I ordered some blue blanda anemones which are new plants to me, but they're supposed to survive under black walnuts so I'm giving them a try.
I also ordered a white bleeding heart and a white astilbe (also new to me).

I'm seriously considering ordering more irises from Schreiner's. Irises are another flower that can grow under black walnuts, but I'm not sure they'll get enough sun. I should probably wait until plants reemerge in spring and see how much space we have left before I order any more. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

January Yard

We have had a really mild winter this year and our yard is already waking up. As I recall, we really only had one day with snow and it didn't even last through the day. I fear what this will mean for our summer weather. We really should have gotten in some rain barrels to save some of the rain.

I have been paying close attention to the yard this year. I've been outside taking photos every few days. I'm curious to know what survived our neglect and destruction and I'm hoping I'll be able to use the photos to locate bulbs next fall so we can dig them up and spread them out. There are quite a few bulbs popping up in places where we didn't plant them so it appears we didn't manage to kill everything.
This is the planter next to the patio. There is a lenton rose (hellebore) from our neighbor, donaleen. She gave us two plants a couple years ago and they are both in flower this year. The bulbs next to it we may have planted in 2017. I think I ordered them for the front yard parking strip but when we didn't prep it in time, I just put them in the backyard instead.
This is the other lenton rose in the planter next to the back patio.  There's lots of columbine coming back too.
This is under the black walnut. I actually planted the mini irises (Botanical Iris Reticulata) last fall, but the other bulbs are likely bluebells leftover from a prior resident. There used to be tons of them, but now they're just in a few spots. If we're here long enough, I'm going to try and dig them and spread them out again.
Not everything survived in the parking strip, but the plants that lived look quite nice.
This is a lenton rose of unknown variety in the front yard that was planted by a prior resident. It's very pretty. I need to watch and see if it makes seeds/seedlings.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Time Consuming

I can't believe how long this little tote bag is taking. I really thought I could finish it in a day, but I've already spent two days (more than eight hours) on it and it's still not finished. I still need to add a handle, and I think I'll line it to add some strength. I doubt I'll be making any more of this particular design.
I will still make the denim lap quilt. I've already cut out the denim circles.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

More Progress

I'm trying to have a healthier life balance this year so my quilting projects take me longer these days. Rather than losing an entire day in my sewing room, I have been trying to spend at least half my day doing cleaning, writing and exercise.

I finished assembling the Fire Dance quilt.
I have the border left to do, but I need Jeff's help to lay it out and measure it accurately. Sadly, it is now too big to do a fancy border so I'm just going to put a plain border on it. I could have finished it today, but I got distracted by a little tote bag project.

I found this project when I was googling how to make the denim circle quilt and I decided it would be good to make a little project first so I could get some practice on the technique.
This is what I got finished today before I had to go downstairs and work on my daily task list. It is made with little 4" denim circles cut from the scraps of denim I had leftover after I finished cutting out the 6" circles for the larger lap quilt. I had actually thrown all this away before I decided to do a second pass and cut the smaller circles. The cotton print fabrics are from my scrap bin.