Thursday, July 30, 2009

Talking about the old rocker I put it all together today and took a pic of it on our porch. She looks quite royal and spiffed up again. Wouldn't it be nice to know the history of this old chair and wonder how many people sat and rocked in it. I also bought a new planter for the front. I bought a large fern for it as I have too much trouble with the chipmunks digging in any flower pot I put together. All my pots on the deck have stones placed strategically to stop them digging. I figured the fern was so full they would have a hard time getting into that. Also took a pic of the whole porch and the front door was open behind the storm. It was funny to see my reflection in the door and the interior items at the same time. I should mention that the little beaver near the door is a boot scraper - not a real live animal. Also poor froggy had a little plant in his pot but the chipmunks knocked it over and broke the pot. So now he has another one but I haven;t put anything in it yet. He may just stay with an empty pot.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nothing new to show as I am slowly working on my butterfly quilt squares but until a square is finished I think you wouldn't be very interested. I am going to show a few of the things I have made in the past. Today is a needlecase I made for a swap. I used 2 co-ordinating fabrics and I used the embellisher on the fabric. I made little silk ribbon flowers wherever there was a flower on the fabric on the front.. On the back I did some more embellishing on the machine with gold ribbon, angelica fibers, beads and silk ribbon.
The third picture is the middle where the needles go. I used felt as I was in Florida when I made this. When in Chicago I would have used some of my wonderful stash of Australian doctors flannel I believe they call it but felt will also do the job. Now I see this I am thinking I should make a couple and just have on hand for little thank you gifts. Also looking at it it could be turned around and either side could be the front or back. Your choice.
The weather is gorgeous here today. It is 76 in the shade with a dry cool breeze. I taped a large plastic painters plastic between two trees and gave my front wicker rocking chair a new coat of paint. I washed the seat fabric
and it is in the dryer now. The original chair was white and was covered in a white with tiny pink & blue flowers that was the fabric in my daughters room. It is still in good shape. I made cording and made it like an upholstered cushion. Now I just wrap the fabric around it and fold the fabric like an envelope and close it with large safety pins. Looks just as good. This chair has some history to it. A very good friend and I used to live a couple of blocks from each other and we both liked the flea market so we would head out to St. Charles, IL to the Kane county Flea Market. It was about a 1 hour pleasant drive. It is often written up in the country mags as one of the largest in the US. Well this Sun. it was near the end of the day and I saw this black rocker and it had a broken runner but the wicker was in good shape. The owner did not want to take it home again so sold it to me for $15.00. Well home we went and good old hubby fixed the runner. I sprayed it white, made the cushion and it spent a good many years in my dauhter's room. When we moved into this house 13 years ago I did not have room inside for it so decided it would look good on the porch but not in white. Out came the black paint and new fabric and the chair had another life. Today was just a little cosmetic facelift as it looked a little droopy. Now it looks good as new just needs its cushion. Don't you just love flea market stories.
I should also mention that this friend retired many years ago to Sarasota, FL and we still remain friends. She just emailed yesterday that they are arriving in Chicago July 31 and staying with her daughter who lives right in St. Charles. She mentioned she will be going to the flea market. I can't meet her there because we have a birthday party for our 14 year old grandson. It would have been like old times.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I decided to get the box finished as soon as possible as I am 1) having cataract surgery on Aug. 2 and again on Aug. 17 plus 2) it is our 50th. anniversery on the 15th. Aug and our children are having a party weekend for us and the Canadians are arriving enmasse.
I spent a good part of today making the box and the directions were perfect.
The only thing I questioned was I had to take out the stitching line as it hit at the edge of the block and you were to trim the block to about 1/2" over the front of the lid and glue it down. Well it is actually 2 pieces of fabric.and if you glued it down it would only be the muslin unless the glue would come through to the top and I wasn't sure. To be safe I took a thread and sewed both pieces together about a scant 1/8" from the edges making it more 1 piece of fabric. I then glued it down over the lid and it worked well then of course the beautiful edging was glued over it so that would hold it down also.

Lisa said to use Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue in the purple bottle. Well I went to JoAnnes and found a small bottle of it. I see why she recommends this for the project as it is very thick and sure does grab and hold the fabric.

You are working with layers glued to layers and it sure did hold. The only thing is because it is very thick by the time I was about halfway through my hand was hurting from trying to squeeze it out. I gave up and got an old small artist's brush and put it on and spread it with the brush.
Hand relief. I would do this on the next one I make. Just a little hint for old hands or arthritic hands.

Sat. night is always pizza night for us so no cooking tonight - hurrah.
Also a new chinese restaurant opened up up the street and my hubby said we should try it out tomorrow night to see if it is good. I certainly didn't argue with that. May need to order one night when our company are here in town. Some are coming for a 3 day weekend and some are in no hurry so could be a week. Most are staying with us, my son and my daughter who live near us and my son and his wife from Minneapolis are staying in a hotel so the relatives can have my 2 spare bedrooms. Nice of them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The first class I took in Omaha on the Friday was with Lisa Caryl and was a Victorian Box. I finished about half of the square in class and have worked on it since and last night I finally finished it. I have a couple of pics to post of the top and then I will start constructing the box. This piece is the top of the box. I will post the finished box when done.

I must say that Lisa is a very good teacher and is very generous in her kits so you never have to worry about running out of anything and her directions are well done. I have taken classes with her before and it was the same.

Life has been very busy lately but I don;t know what I have done except finally finished working in the yard. Imagine still planting in July. I have one more perennial I bought the other day to dig in tomorrow. I was without my shovels since my neighbour had the flood and got them back this afternoon. The plant is called Arctic Orchid - Toad Lily and is called a mounding perennial. The flower is like a small orchid and is used in woodland settings - says it likes shade with just morning sunlight. Perfect for my shady part of the garden. When I get it planted I will take a photo of the little flowers. I may go back and pick up a couple more and put them in places where things are not doing too well.
I bought a bunch of my initial charms and like to include them on a piece that I make. I believe you can find them on here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Finally took some pics of the very pretty 4 block wall hanging that I won in the raffle. Come to think of it I have been very lucky in Omaha. I have won something every year. The first time I won one of the large ones and it is hanging upstairs in my hallway. Never thought or would have taken a pic of that. Harv actually took them as I held it up.

With a few days of dry weather I finally got the stain on the bottom part of the deck. It now looks a different color from the other decks because they were done back in May. It will fade eventually. It is still drying and I am hoping no rain until at least tomorrow to let it dry good. Our weather has been the strangest I can remember in Chicago. I am enjoying the 70's but know for swimming, etc. this cloudy, rainy weather is not good. Even the garden. I did not think you could get too much rain but the flowers are not growing as well as they should but the trees (which we have a lot of ) are benefiting. 3 years ago we had the opposite. A terrible drought and 2 years later we lost a couple of very old large trees and they said it was from the drought. You can;t win with Mother Nature. Take what she gives us and be happy to be here.

To get back to the quilt the label has the names of 3 makers of a block but the 4th. was not known. I thank you all for your beautiful work and if the unidentified person reads this please contact me and let me know.

Friday, July 17, 2009

When we were in New Zealand I absolutely fell in love with the hydrangea bushes. They were massive and covered in colorful blooms. They were like weeds all along thesides of the roads. Well I came home and the next summer planted 2 out in our back in a shaded area that gets some sun. Lots of green leaves but no flowers. 3 years ago I bought one of the Endless Summer ones for the front flower bed and when it was put in it had flowers on it from the nursersy. 2 years ago no flowers - last year none. The bush has grown huge and what to my surprise but one very large flower bright pink on the left bottom side. I looked all around and found 2 small ones on the right bottom. I heard somewhere that it can take a few years after planting for it to start flowering again. Hopefully if I have 3 flowers this year maybe 4 or 5 next. What an optomist. We planted the carefree rose bushes and they are blooming well except the Japanese beetles are after the leaves. I am going to the nursery tomorrow and buy traps. My daughter did and she said within hours they had hundreds of beetles in the bag. We have 2 window boxes in front of our dining room window and this year I went with pale pink impatience with darker pink centers so they wouldn't clash with the roses (and the 1 big flower) but I think they are too pale. Here are a few pics.

This has not been a good gardening summer here. It has poured almost every second day and the temps are cool. One week of hot weather then down again. My flowers have rotted in the pots with too much rain and the ones in the ground are just not spreading out like they usually do. Well there is always another summer - we hope.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I am back from the Crazy Quilt conference in Omaha, NB. I arrived thurs. and met my friend Carol from Claremont, FL at the airport and we travelled via their shuttle to the Doubletree Inn & suites. We were roomates also. It is a very nice venue for a 3 day conference. We had both signed up for the same classes. The first on Fri. was with Lisa Caryl from Iowa and was a Victorian themed cq covered box. Lisa is always a great teacher and her kits are always very generous. You never run out of anything. We got about half way through our cq pieces and will finish it at home and then make the box. She demonstrated the covering of it and it looked fairly simple. Hopefully I can handle it.

Sat. we took a fun class from Mary Anne Griffin who I have met before and really like. She has to be the most talented gal I have ever met. She has won many awards for her various work including a first prize in cross stitch magazine for her christmas stocking plus she won a first prize trip to France to Sophie Gelfi's first European CQ retreat.

Our class was to introduce us to various new methods to make things we can add to cq. One of the great things she did for us was to put the lessons on a cd for us to take home so we could just replay it to refresh our memories and mine sure needs refreshing. I always find I do not do my best work in a class. when I come home and relax then I can do better.

Sunday was with Mary Anne again and it was a lesson on the Babylock new 12 needle Embellisher machine. I have the first model the 7 needle one. The 12 allows you to cover more fabric at a time and has a ribbon feed for adding ribbon or cording right to the fabric. We made a beautiful felted picture with a basket of flowers made from felted rods and various fabrics. I also need to finish this one at home and then will post it.

This was a fun course and the gals really seemed to like it. Mary Anne is also an excellent teacher. I would highly recommend both Lisa and MA if you ever get to take one of their classes. The Babylock gal was there and was giving a very good price on the 12 needle model if anyone was interested. I believe a few of the gals bought them. There was not enough difference between the 2 models to tempt me.

Every evening there is something going on and we were up at 7 and not into bed until 11 or 11.30. I admit I was exhausted by Sunday and am just recouping now after a few good nights sleep. We retired people are not used to running non stop but it sure was fun. If you get a chance to go some year you will enjoy it.

Nancy Kirk is stepping down from the board and being co-ordinator of the retreat along with help from many of our cq gals like Willa, Kate, Mona and many others whose names I can't remember. You did a great job again ladies. A new gal whose name I do not know is taking over and will have the help of many of our cq gals like in the past. They have some great ideas to make this even bigger and better so start saving your pennies now.

I took our old camera with me and had not used it for months. I was clicking away and not really checking them until I put them into the computer and found out I had only a few. I will post one each of Mona and Kate because they are the queens of our group. They are the ones that take the donated blocks from all over the world and make them into the quilts that are auctioned or won with the raffle. I was a lucky winner and won a pretty 4 square yellow one that will go nice in my yellow and blue guest/sewing room in Florida. Also there is a fun pic of Mary Anne and her great helper in classes - our own Karen South from Louisville.

I will take a pic of my winning wallhanging tomorrow with our good camera.
It is good to be back gals.
ps - I assume you all know these gals which is not true so the first pic is Kate, 2nd. Mona and third the 2 good friends Mary Anne & Karen.
I should have added Karen is on the left and Mary Anne joking around on the right.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Every summer since we have lived in Chicago we would go home to Toronto and visit with my sister Dorothy or Do as I called her and her husband Bill and their 3 children. They had a beautiful backyard with an inground pool so in those days this was a real luxury for our children. They always had a great time and then we would head north to Alcona Beach on Lake Simcoe to visit Grandma & Grandpa Butler. The kids could just run around, go swimming, exploring, etc. They are very good memories.

Thee years ago in July we went up to visit my sister as she was very ill. We had planned on going down to the old neighbourhood where we grew up but Do wasn't up to it. Harv and I did go and for anyone who knows Toronto we lived in the west end near Queen St. We were within walking distance of the Exhibition albeit a long walk but in those days we walked everywhere. We did not have a car so it was either walking or taking a streetcar. Well Harv and I found the old house that I lived in from 5 years old until 13 and went to Alexander Muir Public School. I was so pleased to see the little houses were still there and the family who lived in it were taking good care of it. Flowers in the front and a pretty glass door. It looked much smaller to me now as I am sure it always does when you go back. We also drove past my school and I couldn't believe it was the same school. They had added a new addition on to it back in the 50's. A couple of teachers came out as I was standing there with my camera. They asked could they help me and I said no I was just looking as I had gone there back in the 40-50's. The one gal told the other to go to lunch without her as she wanted to ask me questions. She took me on a tour and asked me questions about what I remembered. Not much except it was a 3 story brick building with steps going up and a lion on either side of the steps. Boys went in one side and girls in the other.She told me that Frank Geary the renowned architect had gone there ahead of me and my sisters and had just been back for a visit. He is world famous and at that time was working on the Royal Art Gallery in downtown Toronto. He did the Cleveland Rcck and Roll museum, plus had just finished the Jay Pritzger open air auditorium in Millenium Park Chicago. He did the Balboa in spain (if I spelled that right). I took some pics and she took one of me near one of the lions. I have also posted an old pic of me in my classroom I am the 3rd girl in the middle in the front. It looks like I had a blouse with a bow on it and a sweater. I imagine this was probably grade 7 or 8.
My sister was so happy to see the little house looking so good with flowers and all. My BIL is an avid gardener but Do wasn't yet certainly appreciated the beauty of what he did. they entertained extensively and always outside in the summer. My sister passed away that Sept. so it was the last time I saw her. Her husband Bill is dear to our hearts as he and my husband were good friends and Harv. was their best man. We see him either in Florida or he will come down here. He is coming down in August for our anniversery. He is still in the house and still gardening extensivley but is finally getting help with some of it like opening and closing the pool and mowing the lawn. Thought you may like some of my old memories.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I am leaving thurs. for the crazy quilt retreat in Omaha, NB. and returning home Sun. night. I decided I was getting no where on my butterfly quilt so packed it away for awhile. I find that helps me get back in the groove sometimes. In order to have things to show I decided I would go back in my files and show you some of my heirloom sewing and smocked items.

My 14 year old grandaughter was such a gift to me as a sewer who loved all that stuff. It ended up she is my only one as we have 5 boys and 1 girl.

I used to make all her birthday, Christmas and special occasion dresses, like first day of school. I did show the Christening dress I made for her in a past post. Today I will show you what I consider one of my favorite of all I made. It is a little bishop dress and was made for her second birthday and I also made a matching one for what was probably her first real baby doll. I bought her a different American Girl doll every Christmas until they decided she had enough. We were so fortunate living right here where the store was right downtown. Jenny and I went down for lunch and the play one year and then for the Christmas tea another year. Good memories. She has kept all her dolls and clothes for maybe a future little girl someday.
I just discovered the doll dress came through first and sideways. I will try and fix that or re-send. I actually had 2 but blogger will only let me post 5 at a time. Will try and straighten this out later.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The day my daughter and I went to the book signing we stopped on the way home at a couple of antique and upscale resale shops in Barrington IL. Right outside the door in a flower stand was this large birdcage. I aleady have 2 regular ones, each different in style. One in the family room in a dark green with a pagoda style top and a white one upstairs in a guest bedroom with a flat roof that I decorated with flowers and ribbon. Well when I saw this one I knew I liked it and so did my daughter. We went into the store and she had just opened 6 weeks ago and had such an eclectic collection of things. Part pricey boutique, part resale items and jewellery and reasonable priced little skirts made out of ties that some local high school girls are making. My daughter bought a great dress that fit her perfectly and I of course bought the bird cage. Well I came home and put it in the garage for a couple of days and then I thought well why not on the fireplace ledge which is quite deep. It has feet so stands alone or could hang. It is about 2 feet high and I really thought of my sunroom in Florida. I took out a basket of logs to the garage and brought in the birdcage. Well it has been there one week now and my husband has sat in front of it everynight to watch tv and has never noticed it. I am just going to see if he ever sees it. It is in good shape except the bottom shelf needs re-painting. The label from the company that made it is on the front. I paid $35.00 for it and considered that a bargain. Cage only did not include the stand that was actually for a hanging basket.

My daughter had her cq purse that I made her a couple of years ago and she tried to talk me into making some for her shop. She said she could sell them in 1 day. She even said I will trade the birdcage for one. People just have no idea how long they take. I paid for the birdcage.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This summer is turning into one of those medical Christmas card letters that you receive detailing someone's health. I plan for all the things we can do and things with the kids then the doctor, dentist visits begin and there goes the summer. Last week I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my face. from the side of my face into the hairline. 8 stitches. Monday I went back and had them removed then that afternoon a 3 hour dentist appt. for a new crown. He has a wonderful machine ($100,000 cost) that actually makes the crown from a mold that they make. 2 1/2 hours later I walked out with a new crown, no temporary and no more trips except for the second crown in a few weeks. Someone has to pay for that machine. The eye doctor decided I need cataract surgery so that is scheduled for late July and 2 weeks later the other eye. I tripped going UP the stairs Monday and landed on the landing with a very big thud. My butt got the worst of it until that night when my ankle was all swollen and sore. Now I am wearing a support ankle bandage and a removeable support cast I had left from when I fractured my ankle (same one) a few years ago. I am really looking forward to going back to Florida already. 1 floor looks enticing.

I am also going to show you a pic of the pond my daughter actually dug and built herself 2 summers ago. A neighbour was getting new carpeting and Sue took all their old padding and lined the hole then I helped her drag in and lay out the thick black liner. She went down about 2 feet. She hauled all the rocks home from the quarry and with the boys helping carry them around and laid them. She has fish in there and has a large aquarium she keeps in the basement and they live there all winter. She also is a gardener and has quite a green thumb. I told her she was her Grandpa Butler's grandaughter for sure. Harv 's dad was a gardener and people used to drive from miles around to see his garden. He also was a wonderful man. I loved him.

Sunday we celebrated Fathers Day, Sean's birthday and Grandpa Phil's birthday. It was at my daughters and was all the extended family plus some friends. All summer she has about 1 birthday or party every month.

I will post a pic of Sean and his birthday cake. Fathers Day was a week late because she picked up the 13 year old on a Sat. in Wisconsin then had to turn around and drive Sean up on the Sun for his week. He just got back Sat. Both boys had a great time. 1 week seems to be perfect for them.