Busy, Busy

I feel like I'm utterly behind at life this week and am overwhelmed with things I need to do and pay for.  Truly, most of them are no big deal, I just need more hours in my day. I spent a lot of time at appointments with my family last week.  It took almost a full day for my Windows-based tablet that runs my quilting software to update. 😒 I was also tinkering with my long arm because I felt like something wasn't quite right.  The tinkering took a lot of time, but I felt that it was necessary.  My husband ended up tightening my encoders, which helped.  I still felt like something was off with the tension and looked at external bobbin winders--the Juki has a built in one that is kind of testy.

Saturday we ran a few errands and then went to pick apples.  Our "local" orchard is over an hour away. Coming from Michigan, where orchards are abundant, it's really difficult to find anything similar here in south central Indiana. So once a year we drive and pick apples.  

After we finished at the orchard, we drove another hour to the north side of Indianapolis so that I could buy an external bobbin winder.  The cost was hard to swallow, but I tried quilting with bobbins wound on it yesterday, and wow!  What a huge difference.  Testing with the Towa gauge was very even.  A quilt that I would normally have planned using 4-6 bobbins on only took a little more than two.  Just wow.

Here is the winder I bought.  In case you wondered, I chose this one simply because I didn't have to pay shipping and could get it right away.  Well, other than the lengthy drive to get it.  Plus, I could double-check that my bobbins actually worked with it prior to purchase.  We did run into a bit of an issue during assembly--the screws very easily stripped out the threads, so my husband changed out the screws and added some nuts since the threads were trashed.  That was a pain, but otherwise things went well.

So.  I have been busy working on projects and have completed some of them.  But I cannot yet share.

Here are a few sneak peeks.

I'm working on a binding tutorial and that should be available next week.  I'll try to set it up as a download as well as a post.

In other news, we finally got to replanting the garden.  The peas came up right away.  The lettuce is just starting to sprout.  It's planted underneath the structure for the peas. You can also see our very large "cool-a-peno" jalapeño plant that is still going strong.

I did manage to get the applesauce made.
Funny story--I added a bit of cinnamon, decided it wasn't enough, opened the cinnamon container to add more, looked down, and realized that I opened the wrong side of the lid.  It wasn't the side with the little holes.  It was the gaping hole side (aka the side to put a measuring spoon in).  I think I added about 1/4-1/2 cup.  Oops.  The finished applesauce has a decidedly brown appearance.  Also, I think my immersion blender is dying.  I could only use it on the slow setting and it was getting really hot and not really doing a good job at breaking down the apples.  That is sad because it's not that old and I only use it to make applesauce once a year, and maybe a soup once or twice a year.
I'm bogged down with figuring out all the things being a senior in high school requires.  It seems to be lots of time, money, and deadlines.  I don't remember it being that big of a deal when I was a senior myself, but maybe it's just because I was only responsible for myself, not an entire family.  Of course, my school was very small and we didn't have to sign up to participate in commencement; it was a given.  We didn't have to sign up for AP tests because there weren't any AP classes offered.  FAFSA?  Well, we did have that, but my parents did that for me.  

Meanwhile, I am trying to teach my son beginning algebra.  He's picking it up quickly, but it's hard to find time right now to fit it in. The other morning he announced that I should quiz him on the two letter state abbreviations.  I asked him if they were studying that in school.  His reply was, "No.  It just seems like fun."  I find it weird that they haven't studied states and capitals.  Apparently that, like cursive, has gone by the wayside.  :(

I still need to do a lot of work on finally finishing off my quilting service website.  My father in law is coming down this weekend to bring our Murphy bed frame.  We are not even close to being ready.  And it's FLL season and our team is not yet prepared for competition, which is about six weeks out. I know it will all get done, maybe not perfectly, but at least finished.  It can still be overwhelming and stressful until that point though.

Oh, I finally finished the John Urschel book.  It was really interesting and made me feel unintelligent at times.  But that's okay.  I learned a lot and also ruminated on how much math I've forgotten.  I was never anywhere near Urschel's level, but I sure was a lot better in my 20s than I am now.  If you don't use it, you lose it, for sure.
I am currently reading this classic.  It's hard to adjust to the older writing style.  I got about 1/3 of the way through during fencing practice the other night. Do you know the differences between mean, median, and mode and how they affect reporting?
And I just finished this one that my friend lent me.  So many interesting ideas.  We could do so much more.
I really enjoy reading.  I usually read several books a week, along with a few newspapers a day and some magazines.  Most of the time I prefer light-hearted romances or mysteries that I can get for free on my Kindle.  Things that I can read for enjoyment that I don't have to think hard about. Sometimes I switch it up and read more serious things.  :)  What do you like to read?

We're heading into gift season. Do you need something quilted?  Head over to my sister website, Quilting by Anne-Marie, for convenient online ordering.  I take quilts in person and via mail. Sign up for my newsletter for special savings.  Facebook your thing?  I'll be honest, it's not really mine, but I do have a Quilting by Anne-Marie page there.  It even has photos.  Stop by and like my page.  Love Instagram?  Follow me @just_anne_marie.  It's a mishmash of both my blog and my business.

As always, thanks for reading.

Lots of Secret Sewing

I can't really share a whole lot this week, though I've been spending a lot of time in my sewing room.  Maybe a few sneak peeks.

Here's a bit of quilting to show you.
Here's something in progress that I can share in a few weeks.
Remember these blocks from last week?  
I was contemplating spending a lot of time and effort on Y-seam piecing to make them into a top.  Denise at For the love of geese suggested appliquéing them onto background fabric.  I had thought of that initially, but I seriously hate sewing by hand (with the exception of binding).  But when she mentioned it, I thought maybe I could use Lori Holt's interfacing method and then tack them down to the background by machine.  Now I just need to buy a ton of interfacing and background fabric.  And finish my secret sewing projects, which all have deadlines within the next month.

We finally harvested the last of the beets that had been neglected in the garden.  I decided to try to make beet chips with them using this recipe.  I could not get the beets to slice thin enough with the slicer I had, and also I feel like I had way too much olive oil.  I had to bake them significantly longer than the recipe directed, probably due to their thickness, and they looked nothing like the picture.  However, my kids stood and finished off both trays in about five minutes.  I tried a few, and they tasted better than the other methods of cooking we've tried so far.  I may try growing beets again next year and give this method another try.  

You can see by the outlines on the tray how much they shrunk.  Also, red beets are by far the best.

Let's end on a super happy note.  My quilt guild raised $1876 for the local Dolly Parton Imagination Library with this quilt that my guild mates pieced and I quilted and bound. This is the quilt that also won 1st place in its category at the fair.  :)
Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Funny Things #48

I can't even.  Why on earth would one feel the need to paint this?

Lack of Focus

Where does the time go?  I'm not even sure what I have been spending my time on over the past week, but it sure hasn't been sewing.

My sole sewing accomplishment last week was sewing these flamingo napkins using fabric a friend brought me.
I am considering piecing this pile of stars into a quilt.  I purchased these years ago from an elderly neighbor.  I'm guessing his wife sewed them, but she had passed before we even moved to the area. Many of them appear to be sewn from feed sacks.  Most of the stars are hand sewn.  A few have one or two seams sewn by machine.  The construction for most of the blocks seems to be: sew strips into a diamond shape. Baste/hand-sew a muslin/feed sack diamond to the back.  Assemble diamonds into star shapes.
I'm not sure I'm really able to commit the time and brainpower to finish these at the moment. They are all slightly different in size and it would involve a lot of set-in seams.  Some of the fabric isn't the greatest.  On the other hand, they don't really deserve to sit in a box for the rest of time and they are mostly bright, cheerful colors.  If I am able to figure out a reliable, somewhat quick method, I could enter the finished quilt into a show in the spring that has a specific category for found items.

Does anyone out there in blogger land have any suggestions for how to proceed with these?

I recently purchased EQ8 and I'm participating in a block-drawing challenge with Kari Schell of On Point Quilter.  Here's what I drew following her instructions yesterday, recolored to suit my taste.  What do you think?
Also, JoAnn was having a reasonable sale on Kona yesterday, so I bought a bunch of yardage with the idea of stitching out small samples of my available edge-to-edge designs.  I'd love to get this done sooner than later, but I clearly am having trouble managing my time lately.  
My to-do list is getting out of hand.  Send help! I need to focus! :)

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Funny Things #47

So that's what it is!

NASA quilt

I've managed to get most of a quilt done in the last week.  I started piecing it on August 27 and attached the binding to the front yesterday.  I mentioned last week that the top was a Riley Blake kit that we switched fabrics on.  My son chose the fabric arrangement and I think he did a great job!  I like his version a lot better than the original.
For the backing, we purchased another panel in the same line of fabric and used one of the fabrics in the kit plus some additional to make the backing large enough. I pre-washed the fabrics and they had a good bit of shrinkage.  Maybe as a result, I had a hard time getting the backing to lie flat, so I had to rip the top and bottom seams, re-square everything, and reattach them.  It still wasn't great, but it mostly worked out.  No tucks or folds, so we'll call it a win.

I may have mentioned before that it is really, really hard to get a pieced backing to be exactly even and centered during the long arm process.  I thought I had this one fairly close, but it's far from perfect.  Good enough for who it's for.  😏
Overall, I'm pleased with how this one is coming out.  We chose the quilting design "Sweep" from Urban Elementz and I used a coordinating gray So Fine thread.
In other news, we have added a new-to-us 2010 Prius to our silver fleet (our other cars are silver too, and of a similar vintage).  The intention is to entice my daughter to finish her driver's training hours and get her license before she starts college, at which point she will be able to have this as her commuter car.  She's not exactly happy that her dad will probably be driving this to and from work in the meantime. He tells me it's not good to leave hybrids sitting undriven, something to do with the battery.  I'll take his word on that since he's the car guy.  I guess she just needs to get motivated and finish the hours.

Speaking of cars, we went to the local car show on Labor Day and I finally got a picture of this Mystery Machine.  We used to see it parked in our community all the time, but we were never able to get a good photo.  We finally saw it again, and up close.  They really have a theme going on.  
I started reading the John Urschel book.  I'm not that far in, but it's good so far.  

We weeded one of the flower beds.  We need to finish harvesting beets and potatoes and replant peas and lettuce soon.

Come back and visit Friday for another edition of Funny Things.

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.