Feline Friday is hosted every friday and HELP for Hexie-aholics is hosted on the 17th of each month. We hope you'll join us!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Reading Challenges

As some of you have probably noticed, I'm not really great at follow thru. Oh I make progress but I like too much variety to stick to a solid plan. That means I don't really make annual goals, I just work week to week at what I would like to accomplish. Heck, sometimes, it's just day to day...

The one area that I do set a goal is with my reading. I know, go figure   =^..^=

I regularly track my books on Shelfari and my general goal is just to read more books than last year. I accomplished that goal again this year; finishing 74 books compared to 71 last year.

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I have previously done what I now call an alphabet soup challenge where I had to read titles that started with A thru Z. I have also seen that challenge using author names starting with A to Z. I was hoping to find another challenge for 2014 and after some searching yesterday, came up with 2 challenges. One of them is going to take quite a while but should be lots of fun.

Challenge #1 is the Color Coded Challenge from My Readers Block. Basically, over the next year I'll have to read 9 books that have colors in the titles. Please check the link for specifics but basically one book will have to have blue (or some shade of blue) in the title. The others are red, yellow, green, brown, black, white, any other color, and a word that implies color. There is a linky party to sign up for the challenge so I encourage you to join up.

I am renaming challenge #2 to the Calendar Challenge since I just found it and it actually started last April. It was originally called Monthly Mix-up Mania and it's also from My Readers Block. This is a doozy of a challenge lasting 2 years but the goal is to read 74 (!!) books that begin with the letters that spell out the months of the year. You know - books that start with J-A-N-U-A-R-Y, etc. I suppose I could back track thru the books that I have read in the last year but I want to start with a clean slate. Be sure to check the link for specifics. I might tweak some of the rules since I already changed the name, haven't made up my mind yet.

To keep track of my challenges this year I'll be creating a tab at the top of my blog later this week. (Yikes, another goal)

Would anyone be interested in joining me in either of these challenges or any other reading challenge? I could host another monthly linky party where everyone could check in on their challenge or even just the last (quilting?) book you read?!

Have an awesome New Year and I'll see all y'all again next year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Design Wall Monday - 12/30/13

What you can't see is the Christmas cookies, choco and Pepsi keeping me going :)

After spending nearly 20 hours of my "free time" working on Town Taxes over the last 4 days, I finally got some me time yesterday afternoon to work on Celtic Solstice:

Yipper, I'm still behind and I don't care cuz I'm having fun sewing...

And Midgie was having fun photo bombing ^..^

Friday, December 27, 2013

Feline Friday - 12/27/13

Was Santy Paws good to you?

Grandmomma sent treats - some of them are even catnip flavored!

Grandpoppa made a bench to put in front of the window without blocking the heat vent. Now Momma can have her dining room chair back. Don't know why that's so exciting - she eats at the coffee table in front of the boobtube.

I like the bench but someone else likes it more. Momma even put a little quilt over him last night. Silly Momma.

Poor Zorro - Santy Paws didn't bring him the one thing on his list but I guess we girls can share some of our treats...

See all y'all felines next year!!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Well here it is noon on the day before the night before and I still haven't done a post this week. We are closing for the day so let me just tell you that I have worked on some hexies and Celtic Solstice and also some gifts. I'm going to wish all y'all a Merry Christmas and I'll be back for Feline Friday. Enjoy your week!

PS - All our snow melted over the weekend - it was nearly 60F and there was tons of flooding - but it's snowing again. There is still hope for a White Christmas ^..^

Friday, December 20, 2013

Feline Friday - 12/20/13

Hey there - Momma is still letting me in the house. Sometimes. She puts me outside pretty fast if I even think about using her ottoman as a scratching post, get on the counters or put my burlap undies on.

Earlier this week I was trying my usual trick to eat out of sissies bowl instead of my own. Momma caught me and tried to move me away from the bowl. I fell to the table in a grumpy tantrum but it didn't work - she wouldn't let me eat Midgie's kibbies. She did let me stay on the table tho so I stretched out my paws and just touched the bowl. Mine!

I then started rolling about on the table, knocking her fabrics here and there. She was getting frustrated - maybe SHE had burlap undies on?! Anyway, then I spotted the treat bag and did my best to look adorable. Eventually she stopped laughing and gave me a couple.

Momma's are so easy to train! What have you trained your Momma to do?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The REAL Studio Tour

I know I'm a day early for the tour but I am taking tomorrow off for my annual shopping day in the city so I'm hoping I will be able to add my link to the Tour party via my cell phone. Keep your fingers crossed.

Today's topic on the Tour is the final reveal of our studios in all their lived in glory and boy is mine lived in. LOL!

As you come in from the side porch (all (blog) friends enter from the back door, right?!) take a left from the dining room into the living room and this is the view of the studio you'll see.

Before walking into the studio look to the left and you'll see my Great Aunt Bernadine's round table with hexie parts. The bottom layer is 5 twisted hexie rosettes, topped by 12 rose stars.

To the right you'll see an old chair topped with 4 different hexie projects.

Step up to the studio door frame and this is what you would have seen about a month ago:

Told you it was lived in :)
Of course, this morning this is what it looked like:

It's the same but different. Midgie is in the same spot, Design Wall has changed but there is still stuff every where!
It's just different stuff.
Great Great Aunt Katie's laundry basket sits right outside my studio and is filled with finished tops, fabric, mending (Yuck), jeans to recycle, etc.

Next in the room is the curio cabinet that holds hexie, leader/ender and other projects either in baskets or boxes to keep them sorta organized. More baskets are on the floor.

Dad made me this sewing table. We bought the laminate for the top but then he found the drawer units on clearance some where and surprised me. The single drawer immediately to the left of my chair pulls out and houses a cutting mat but I also pull it and the regular drawer out while quilting to gain more table space with big quilts. The space behind the drawers houses plastic drawer units with my rubber stamps - haven't touched them in 5 years tho. The piles and black baskets are current projects/gifts (Yikes, only 5 days left!!). The white basket is my Celtic Solstice fabric. And Midgie is my ever present companion in the studio :)

The shelves to the left of the windows hold strip and orphan bins as well as my stereo and audiobook pile. The white drawers on the bottom shelf are empty - what a waste of space. The cardboard box is full of patterns - need to clean some of them out too.

Shelves to the right of the window hold EPP papers, quilting books (in color order!), markers and colored pencils, quilting stencils and tatting and beading books on the bottom.

The oversized design wall is always chuck full of projects or ideas. The crock still has the pile on top and who knows what is in that blue trug.

The elfa drawers were my entire studio space back when I lived in Miami and first started quilting. I had taken the doors off a closet and there was just enough room for the drawers and my old sewing machine table. I've kinda expanded since then. The top holds boxes of tatted hankies and old sewing baskets. My chain stitch machine from Vicki also sits there on the top :^) The drawers are filled by UFOs or supplies.

This is the left side of the cutting table that Dad made. Oh look there is the other crock with wrapping paper that I mentioned last week. The back left corner is a pile of patterns to try (they are from before I started pinning on The Evil Website) and EQ7 books. Then my laptop and some piles of current projects. The cupboards are full of unknown treasures and need a real deep cleaning. Under the table on this side are boxes with tops waiting to be quilted.

And of course, here is the right side of my table where you can kinda see my cutting mat and ironing board - both are covered in Celtic Solstice stuff. Under the table on this side are plastic boxes with my FQs sorted by color and a big bag of selvages. The top drawer is misc rulers and the other 2 drawers are full of neutral colored FQs. Oh check it out - I forgot this other non-quilting tool. Based on the way Dad made the table top, I can hang groups of blocks on the side of the drawer unit using pants hangers.

And one final view of my studio via the Christmas Balls hanging in the window. I hope y'all enjoyed the tour of my REAL life, lived in studio. Merry Christmas and I hope y'all will stop back soon!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

HeLP for Hexie-aholics, day 2

Hello and Welcome to HeLP for Hexie-aholics
the monthly linky party for anything and everything EPP!!

Sorry about yesterday. I blogged about the fire but as soon as I got home from that and had a shower the rescue squad siren went off. As soon as I was done with a call, the siren would go off again and again and again! Basically, I was out of the house from 730am to 915pm. By the end of the day I wasn't quite sure *what* day it was. I think I only managed to baste 2 hexies the whole day so I am really lacking in progress and photos today.

Why 2 partial twisted hexies you ask? Well I had 1 at home and 1 at work so I wasn't carting them back and forth when they don't fit in my kit. That stay at work hexie kit is working well!

I have 18 of these single twisted hexies done and just a few more papers. When I finish basting these papers I'll join the hexies into rosettes. I already have 5 rosettes done and this batch will give me 5 more so I'll then join the rosettes - all this to free up and reuse the papers since I don't feel like ordering more until after Christmas. I'm sure I'll have to at some point but lets stall and see what Santa brings first. wink wink.

Did you make any hexie gifts this year? I didn't :(

Ok folks, now its your turn to share! I want to see your hexie projects of any shape, size or vintage. Hexie dream projects are more than welcome.

Please be sure to link to a specific post...links to your blog in general will be deleted. Please let me know if you need help with linking to just a post.

PS - Make sure you come back for January's HeLP because it's going to be a trifecta!!! Not only will it be HeLP for Hexie-aholics, but it will be Feline Friday and the best of all, it will be my birthday!!!! There will be giveaways!!!

PPS - Ain't it pirty??! I know some of my Aussie friends need a cool off while some of my local friends are sick of shoveling...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

HeLP for Hexie-aholics, day 1

Yipper ... It's HeLP for Hexie-aholics but i have been EMT/Ladies Auxiliary at a house fire (homeowner ok!) since 7:30am. Not sure how much longer we will be here. If no HeLP today we will do it tomorrow...sorry 😞

Monday, December 16, 2013

Design Wall Monday & Celtic Solstice

This past weekend was Cookie Day at my house Saturday. No pictures but Mom and I spent 10 hours baking and glazing 11 batches of cookies. Sunday was Candy Day at my SIL's house where we made about 20 kinds of candy. I was only there 7 hours and Mom 5 hours, but Kristie put in 12 and she still has more candy to make...

Truffles and brittle and sponge candy and jellies and caramels and choco covered peanuts.
Oh My!!!
Saturday I shoveled probably 5" so Mom could get in the driveway. Sunday I didn't bother to shovel since I was walking to my brother's house but then he offered to take his snowblower over to my house. Neither day did I bother to clean off my car. And that was why I had to clean 10" off it this morning!

All this to say I didn't get much sewing done this weekend (not even a single hexie!) cuz I never want to see another cookie or piece of choco and had to clear the car and another 6" from the drive again this morning!! (Don't believe me - I had a ginger krinkle for breakfast!) Please don't think I'm complaining - it's great exercise and it's still the fluffy snow that I like to shovel. I can also wave to the neighbors as they do their drives or cross country ski up the street. It was a brisk 18F (or -10C!) but I can still break a sweat. :^)

I just need to finish ironing that pile to complete Step #1.
This week should be a little slower and I can work on Steps 2 and 3.

Current total in my yard is 14" altho I am not sure how accurate this is since the wind has been blowing and the sun was actually out for a few minutes. It is supposed to continue snowing all week until Friday when it will be 43F and raining. Double Yuck! since it's my annual road trip to the city for Xmas shopping and a non-LQS.

Instead of "Where's Waldo" ...
Let's play "Where's Zorro"????

Friday, December 13, 2013

Feline Friday & the REAL Studio Tour

The kids were all excited to host today's post for the The REAL Studio Tour but they are still frozen after their little adventure this morning!

Hmm...maybe it's time to take the bunting down.
It was snowing faster than I could shovel this morning.

I still don't let Zorro stay in the house if I'm not there so he was very ceremoniously taken to the porch while I went out to shovel. Apparently the porch was lonely tho cuz he followed me up and down the driveway as I dug my way out. It was very cute as he would sit near me for a while and get covered in snow flakes and then run back to the porch for a few minutes. He would be back soon enough. Sadly, I couldn't get him to play in the snow.

LOVE YOU, Momma!

After shoveling was done, every one came outside:
Squeaky wanted outside.
Zorro wanted inside.
Midgie didn't really want outside so I carried her and then she really didn't want to go back inside either so I carried her again :)

Sew, today's topic on The REAL Studio Tour is all about storage ideas.

As a certifiable crock-aholic, there are several crocks very prominent in my studio.

I didn't get the 3rd crock in this picture but there are 3 at the corners of my cutting mat and ironing board. The largest holds my most often used rulers and the two-colored crock you see is a trash bin. The hidden crock holds ... wait ... can you guess? ... Chocolate! And for those of you who stopped by last week, YES, that is 3 containers for choco in my studio. LOL.

This 20 gallon crock is just as it was this morning when I was taking pictures - a dumping ground from when I cleaned something else off. If I had taken the time to clean, the bottom of the crock holds packages of batting and a trug full of scraps waiting to be trimmed sits on the packages. It has the appearance of being 20 gallons of scraps and I assure you it is not!

I forgot the 7(?) gallon crock that is the perfect height to hold rolls of wrapping paper, interfacing, etc.

This curio cabinet was a hand-me-down from my sis-in-law. I've filled it with baskets and boxes of UFOs. Yipper, probably half of the projects in the top section are hexie related.

Ok, you've probably been waiting for this on pins and needles - this here is hexie central!!! It got to the point that I couldn't keep all the slippery little bags of hexie papers neat and tidy in a basket so I got these drawer units at Dollar General and created a chart in Excel of all the shapes and templates I own. Each drawer holds a specific size and then there are a few drawers left for random sizes or supplies. It's so easy to pull out what I need or want to play with.

Don't forget to stop by next Tuesday for HeLP for Hexie-aholics and again next Friday for the big reveal of our REAL studios!!!

I hope all your pussy cats are warm and dry!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dear Santa...

I just wanted to let you know that I am trying to be a good girl!

Even tho I really want to work on my Salt & Pepper project...

5 more stars paired with their orange diamonds

I am trying to work on my Twisted Hexies UFO. I will admit that I have ulterior motives because if/when I finish this UFO I can use the 2" half hexie papers with the lime and purple fabrics I asked Mrs Claus to bring me for Christmas!

This is my new leave at work kit (still tweaking a few details).
The purple bag was a gift from my secret sister :^)

Dear Santa, I would also like to ask you to bring me the hexie papers kit to make a tree skirt. They are at my LQS but you can also shop at paperpieces.com. I think they probably know me there...

I've even been a good girl and granted Zorro visitation rights.
He only stays inside for a couple hours at a time and everyone but Midgie is ok with it. He's a much different kitty now - no jumping on the tables and counters or going thru the garbage. He just likes to cuddle or snuggle in a kitty bed, eventually asking to go back outside to do his business or wander the neighborhood. He often smells like smoke so he is also hanging out with someone with a woodstove or fireplace.

Thank you Santa and Merry Christmas!
Say hi to Rudolph and the reindeer for me!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Not so Wordless Wednesday

The bank was part of the Holiday DeLights festival this year and asked to hang one of my quilts. Not having actual Christmas quilts, those chose to hang Obsession!!!

Neither clerk would agree to be in the photo :^(

Apparently, a number of people have had nice things to say and several have wanted to know how much I would sell it for. Knowing that they are expecting Wal-Mart pricing and have no idea how much work it took to hand piece almost 2,000 hexies, I (half) jokingly told the girls it was $10,000. They snickered and knew I wasn't really interested in selling.

Now if someone really comes up with anything half way near $10,000 we can talk!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Well I'll be Deviled!

Do you have a signature dish? You know, the one *everyone* asks you to bring for potluck?!

Mine is deviled eggs - and they aren't just your run of the mill eggs either. It started when I bought Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy. Some of these recipes call for shrimp or avocado or pineapple or even choco!!

When I moved back to NYS I joined the Castile Historical Society which has a quarterly pot luck meeting - I can barely get in the door now and people already want to know which recipe I've made. It's fun to look for a different recipe each time, some with new ingredients and some with old standards.

Providing the snow doesn't cancel, we have our Guild Christmas Party tonight and I made eggs, of course! I never seem to measure anymore, basically using the recipe as a guideline for proportions. Today's eggs have Miracle Whip/salad dressing, stone ground mustard, cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, minced onion and Nature's Seasoning. YUMMO!!! They are sweet and tangy all at once.

I have yet to get thru the entire book yet but I am always on the look out for more recipes and I even started a board on Pinterest (aka the evil site).  What's your favorite deviled egg recipe?

Monday, December 09, 2013

Design Wall Monday & Celtic Solstice

I can't say that much sewing was done this past weekend.

I did sew a few more blue triangles for Clue #1 and I pressed open more blue triangles too but wanting to get a tiny start on Clue #2, I started cutting. I have all 200 yellow squares cut. I have 100 green rectangles in the pile topped by a button and need just about 30 more for the second pile. I pulled neutral strips out the bins so those might be easy to cut tonight after a quick pressing of the strips.

I really ought to organize my strip bins so they aren't all thrown in there and need pressing every time I want to actually use them...

Friday, December 06, 2013

Feline Friday and The REAL Studio Tour#1

Sew don't tell but Momma almost forgot TRST started today. Ackckck! For anyone that is new here, WELCOME!! Today is Feline Friday and my name is Midgie - I'll be your host today. Be sure to come back every Friday to see what my sissy, half-brother and I are up to.

Today is the first installment of  The REAL Studio Tour being hosted by Vicki at Field Trips in Fiber. Vicki was a little dismayed by the way magazines always portray studios and wondered how/if people actually work in them. They were always spotless in the magazines and didn't look the least bit used so Vicki wanted to see our real, used (really used?!) studios and planned a three week tour for December.

Now let me tell you, Momma really uses her studio and I've had to climb my way over some pretty big piles in order to beg for snackies. Recently tho she's been picking up. She knows she wasn't supposed to pick up for this tour but when she is gonna host a party in just 2 more days, she kinda had to. Don't worry tho, knowing Momma, when she gets back in to sewing (10 minutes after the party is over!) it will be messy again just in time for the final studio tour post.

Without further delay...Today's theme is a favorite non-traditional tool. Ever the indecisive, Momma had some problems with this one but I think she came up with some goodies.

This is Momma's ironing board - it's really plywood covered in batting, that silvery stuff and green duck cloth, providing a nice firm ironing surface. You can tell by how dirty it is that she uses it all the time. It's about the only place I am not allowed to sit at the cutting table cuz it stays hot. Well yeah, I know that!
You can also see Momma uses a water bottle and funnel to fill the iron so no spilling!
What is hard to see in the background are the 2 jars of candy. That girl likes her choco!
This cute birdie thing holds 10 antique thimbles. You might say that these are quilting related but not really for the way that Momma uses them. When she has to count lots of Bonnie's mysterious parts she sets one thimble on the shelf for every 10 pieces. She lays a thimble on it's side for 5 if she has to stop and feed me or something.

As some of you might just be aware, Momma likes her hexies.
Not sure what she likes more, hexies or choco. I'm serious!!
This box of micro-binder clips from the office department at WallyWorld holds her fabric to the papers and makes it easier to stitch or even stop if she has to give me more snackies.
The bigger binder clip is usually clipped to the end of a stack of fabric strips to make it easier to pull the stack away from the mysterious subcut pieces. Kinda silly to me but it makes Momma happy.

Momma's last favorite tool is kinda her library card. See the stack of audiobooks next to her stereo? She listens to books while she quilts. Something about 2 birdies with 1 stone but I haven't seen any birdies other than that birdie thing with the thimbles. Come to think of it, no stones either.

Now then, get ye over to The REAL Studio Tour and check out every else's fav non-traditional tools but then don't forget to get ye back HERE to link up your favorite felines.

Momma here - Midgie didn't mention that she and her sister are my favorite tools for keeping me company in my studio :^)

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Thursday Mashup

As the Everlasting Queen of UFOs and the Last Minute, I'm finally working on the "lunch bag challenge" that is due for our Guild meeting this month. Of course it didn't dawn on me until this week that the meeting is a week early for our annual Christmas party. Ackckckckck. I have to have something to show by next Tuesday. And this couldn't come at a busier time... tonight is Historical Society pot luck, tomorrow night is Hexie Club cookie exchange, Saturday night is Holiday Lights, Sunday is Town Clerk party at my house and I still need to decorate, Tuesday is fire meeting and the Guild party, Wednesday is Board Meeting that I need to bake something for. I won't even mention cookie and candy days next weekend - ok so I mentioned them. Can I collapse in a heap now? Or do I need to wait?

Each lunchbag was supposed to have 3 to 5 FQs and we could add anything else to it. Mine came with 3 but I need to get another WOW FQ so I can make the red blocks. I have 2 choices at this point - finish what I have (12 blocks) and make a table runner or get another set of RWB to make 12 more blocks for more of a topper or picnic quilt. Heck, 24 blocks would even match my RWB bed quilt as a bed runner and would be smaller/easier to wash off the cat hair than the full quilt. LOL. Of course it might cover the half-nekked firemen and that would be a tragedy.

I've made a bit more progress on my Celtic Solstice mystery blocks, using them as leader/enders this week. Of course, this morning I just wanted to get all the right sides done since another clue will be posted tomorrow so I just sewed and sewed until I ran out of blue. Uh, hello? I guess I can't count. I'll do the left sides and see how far off that side is before I cut more...

So remember yesterday when I showed you my tower of audiobooks waiting to be listened to? Well today I have a question! Several years ago I challenged myself to read books that the titles and the authors followed the alphabet. Not in order mind you, just A thru Z by the end of the year. I'm thinking I would like to do another challenge next year and I am looking for suggestions.

I already read lots of series and yes I am OCD enough to track them in a binder and with Shelfari. I also use Shelfari to track how many books I read a year. The site has you set an annual reading goal and this year it was to read 71 books which is how many I read last year - I've finished the 70th book this morning so I am pretty confident I can meet that goal. I would like to find something challenging yet possible given the number of audiobooks I go thru a year. TIA for all your suggestions.

PS - it's already 63F today! The snow is mostly melted already and everything is a sopping mess. Don't worry, another cold front is coming this weekend...you know, in time for the party at my house...