Friday, May 17, 2019

Before and after.......

The kitchen remodel is almost finished.  I've got some before and after photos.....

BEFORE - Looking at the kitchen from the kitchen nook (computer nook). It's not evident in the photos but these cabinets were below builder grade quality, many of the drawers falling apart, shelves bowing and very short uppers. Countertops were granite tile - I hate grout in kitchens. The sink was scarred. We had already removed one light fixture - it was a sight to behold - a huge ornate dining room chandelier which we replaced with the fan - that light over the sink came down later. There's my sweet Bailey in this picture taken right before kitchen demo - brings tears to my eyes.

AFTER - Here's the after from the same angle.  The faucet isn't in yet as the epoxy or whatever it is needs to cure on the under mount sink - faucet, garbage disposal and dishwasher hookup be finished today by Sam. The new lighting over the sink is up. We kept all the same appliances as they are practically new. That horrible carpet will be going eventually - it's nasty.

BEFORE - Here's looking toward the fridge.

AFTER - So much better - the fridge now looks like it belongs. We haven't decided on a backsplash yet - I have a feeling it will take a while to figure that one out. I just know I want something relatively simple and not busy/fussy. Our new granite is mostly black with white running through it like a reverse marble - just a tiny bit of sparkle. What a pleasure to have knobs and drawer pulls - the old cabinets had none and were a pain to open.

BEFORE - Looking toward the sink.

AFTER: Now looking toward the sink - so much nicer. This house has high ceilings throughout except the kitchen nook where there's a dropped coffered ceiling - see it to the left in the photo. It's a monstrosity - it's horrible - it's might be the next project, there's also the gas fireplace reno before next winter, it's very old and puts out no heat plus the mantle is weird made out of drywall - it's far in the background.

BEFORE - And here's the stove wall. So, why in the world didn't they extend those cabinets all the way to the top???  The builder was being cheap is my thought. And look at that cord coming from the back of the gas stove to plug it in. Why in the world wasn't there a plug behind the stove??? There is now.

AFTER - This picture is pretty dramatic. So much better........and no cord coming up from behind the stove. After we do all the other work involving drywall, the drop ceiling and fireplace, and walls will be painted a light gray, baseboards white. I hate painting anymore so not looking forward to that.

We generally do all reno work ourselves to save money but the kitchen was a place we had to rely on others like KA Designs for our locally made cabinets and Umpqua Stone for our granite. But Sam did do all the drywall repair work from where the old backsplash was removed and tore up the walls, he also did electrical and plumbing work and built up the floors to match the wood floor height underneath the cabinets as that wasn't done before which makes it impossible to remove/replace appliances. We'll do the backsplash ourselves once we have time to explore tile options and audition them.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

How does your garden grow.........

 My garden is doing great - we've been eating lettuce out of it for a few weeks now, I think I can pick kale and swiss chard this week - everything else is growing gangbusters but not ready to pick other than a few strawberries here and there.

 I think this is a lilac, does anyone know for sure?  it doesn't look like the lilacs I'm used to but does look like a variety of them. There were two scrawny bushes that I didn't want to get rid of last fall since the birds liked to sit in them while resting from feeding at the birdfeeders.  I'm so glad we didn't pull them up - two lilacs...or something similar to a lilac.

And does anyone know, is this a honeysuckle?  The flower looks like one but the honeysuckles I grew up with back east didn't have a cluster of flowers like this, they were just individual flowers on the vines. This was also a scrawny looking bush on the side yard, I cut it back this spring and it's doing incredible now, nice and full and loaded with flowers.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there whether it's to two legged or four legged critters.

Update - friends Teresa & Jon from the coast said that is a lilac and a lonicera honeysuckle - I'll be marking them with metal tags....many thanks

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Eye candy.....

 I decided to start knitting an asymmetrical shawl using the Inglenook Fibers 12 Days of Christmas fiber that I spun. You can check out the progress of the spinning starting Christmas day 2018 here on the blog. I'm now into knitting color #3, soon I'll be knitting color #4. The progression will be moving to golds, greens and even black. This ball will just get into the gold, then I have another huge ball that continues with the golds and others.

My roses are covered with hundreds & hundreds of buds, some blooming. Yesterday I cut a vase full to bring inside. I am so excited to have roses - never could have them at past homes as the deer loved to eat them. I snapped a few outside pix this morning......enjoy.

Thursday, May 2, 2019


I've been sampling with free motion quilting for the gingko wall hanging. I got pretty discouraged the other day thinking I bit off more than I can chew, not just thinking, knowing that it's beyond me without a lot of time spent getting over the learning curve. I'm not sure what I was thinking as everything takes time to learn.

So here are some samples (not the actual fabric) of free motion quilting, it's easier using small pieces and still looks bad. The wall hanging will be 38"x53" - not as easy to maneuver at the machine.  I've gotten a lot of advise from friends & quilters and think I'm going with quilter/spinner/weavers friend Diane from Idaho's advise......

.....I'm going to hand quilt it. Here's a sample where I did just a bit of hand quilting and I already like it better. I may go with gray thread in the gingko instead of gold like I was originally thinking - will stitch a few lines with gold thread before deciding. I'm going to quilt gingko silhouettes in the background - I started on one on the right hand side although it difficult to see in this photo. If I had ever thought I'd hand quilt this I wouldn't have fused down the gingkoes but too late now, will just be a bit harder to stitch on the leaves. So, this is now turning into a time consuming project but in the end I'll be happier......and now I need to go out and get myself a quilting frame, not a big expensive one, just one of those hoops on a stand. Next up I need to check if I have a piece of batting big enough, get to the fabric store for backing fabric and buy a thimble - I have a small thimble collection but they aren't the kind I'd actually use.

But first I'm going to put things away in my new upper kitchen cabinets. They've finally been installed and we're now awaiting granite installation on the 15th. I can load up the uppers but will wait on the lowers as granite dust may get into the lower cabinets during install day. We've been living many more weeks than anticipated without a kitchen. Before and after pictures once it's done.

The garden is growing - I picked my first lettuce yesterday, so exciting.  The rose bushes are covered with hundreds of buds, there are many very close to opening up. I've never had roses before so this is also exciting.

It's a beautiful day here in SW Oregon - hoping for many more before 'smoke season' aka fire season arrives. Keeping fingers crossed that it's not as bad this year and we aren't socked in by smoke all summer.

Now it's time to put on my current audio book and work on the kitchen - A Breath of Snow & Ashes - book #6 in the Outlander series.  It's a big commitment at something like 38 discs.....I had been away from it for almost 2 weeks until yesterday when I listened to 4 discs while stitching.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Lovely day......

It's been a lovely day - 70's with a stiff breeze...perfect for working outside and never feeling hot.  A lot of weeding happened today along the rose bushes, grapes, fruit trees and all the abundance of gravel we have in the side yards. We also hung old plates in the rose garden, and outside art on the house at the deck. Below is the garden as of this afternoon. Sam built the pvc structure recently to hold bird netting since I watched the birds eat every single seed and starter plant I put out there. Now they can't get them. We've got lettuces, strawberries and the tiny starts of radishes, beets, kale, spinach and green beans. There's space for tomato & pepper plants which I may pick up this week, maybe a cucumber, maybe not.......

Yesterday I was invited to ride up to the Umpqua Valley Quilt Show with 3 other fiber fans.  It's a much bigger quilt show than those down here - lovely exhibit, more vendors and they've even got full fledged classes over the 3 days.

Yes, this pic is turned sideways - not sure why when I take pictures with my camera if I don't hold it right the photos are sideways and there's nothing I can do about it.  I work on them in a photo editing program, they look correct but when they load onto the blog they're still sideways. Still kicking myself for not taking my camera. Always love a good Dresden plate...........

....and here's another......

....loved this, photo doesn't do it justice.....

....this was impressive, not sure how many pieces there are but they're teeny tiny......

....wool applique, something I want to learn......on a small scale......

Today I was sampling free motion quilting of gingkos for my wall quilt......very discouraged thinking I bit off more than I can chew since the only free motion quilting I've ever done was in a 1 1/2 hour beginner class. I'll do more sampling but I'm not sure if I'll be able to pull off the project - I may have to come up with a Plan B......

Sunday, April 21, 2019


 New toddlers behind us and are they ever vocal looking for their moms. We were on the coast for a few days and came back to find them yesterday. Older cows are being very patient and trying to show them the ropes but I did see what looked like a look of disgust from one at the constant moo'ing. One of the older cows did shoo away a tom turkey that was causing the toddlers distress - they haven't figured out yet that they're much bigger than the turkeys. I need to think up names for them - right now I just call them sweet boys when I talk to them - they are very interested in me talking to them but it only last for a minute or so before they're back to crying for momma.

 The gingko tree we planted last fall has leaves emerging - they're only around 1/4" right now, all over the tree, so glad it's doing so well, was worried about it during the winter.

I spotted this bleeding heart with thanks to another weaving for identifying it even without a photo. Around 2 weeks ago I almost pulled the plant out of the ground - it looked like a weed, only a few inches tall. I'm so glad I didn't pull it up, now it's around a foot tall and has many of these heart shaped blooms. From reading about them it sounds like it will go dormant come the heat of summer so I need to enjoy it now. I'll mark where it is so I don't accidently plant over top it.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019

This and that........

 I finished the table runners from the ASG Make-It-Take-It day. The purple one was quilted stitch in the ditch and then binding sewn on - wasn't as happy with the odd angle mitered corners on my binding as I wanted.  When I got to the gray/teal runners (buffet & table) I was using different directions for the mitered corners and I'm much more pleased.........still not perfect but much better. These runners were also quilted by stitching in the ditch.  I had some 4 patch squares left so I made 6 quick and easy quilted mug rugs/coasters.

Now I'm back to working on the wall quilt for over the couch. It doesn't quite fit on my work table but not too much hanging over the front & back for the photo. Yesterday morning I just decided I had to quit designing and re-designing and just go for it so I started cutting out 8" squares. I  laid them on the floor and played with moving them around, some I never used. So now the background is sewn and is around 45" x 52", give or take. I had Sam hold it up over the couch to see if this size is good and it's perfect. Of course this is over the old couch - we're still waiting for the new sectional in a charcoal gray - looks to be another 2 months. 

Yesterday afternoon I drew out gingko leaves, some using stencils. This morning I scanned them in the computer to make larger patterns, printed and cut them out. Here the paper pieces are sitting on top of the pieced background - When I'm happy with the layout I'll use these paper pieces as patterns to cut out the gold fabric for the gingkoes. A couple posts ago you can see the gold fabric that will be the gingko leaves. I'm thinking I'll fuse them to the background and then do a narrow zig-zag around the edges, or maybe even just straight stitching - I haven't decided. I'll be doing some sampling before I get to that stage.

Originally I thought I might also do some stenciling with shiva paintstiks but I'm thinking not, I don't want it to be too busy, it's already got a lot going on with all the different fabric squares. I have no clue what type of quilting I'll do - maybe free motion???  I'll need to practice that if I go that way. Maybe in the free motion some gingko shapes???  I definitely need to get some feedback before I go any further.

In the midst of the sewing the kitchen was torn out on Monday. The fridge, stove and a folding table are sitting in it at the moment, dishwasher is in the garage. Much work by Sam this week replacing drywall where the old backsplash was removed and most of the wall came with it. Plywood to bring the floor up to the wood floor height under the cabinets as that was never done when the house was originally built, electrical work and plumbing work. There's still a little bit of texturing to be done on the walls, then we're ready for the new cabinets which we're hoping will be finished this week. After that the granite guy will be out to do a final measurement to cut the granite. We still need to pick out backsplash but we'll do that once cabinets & granite are installed - will bring home samples to audition when the time comes. In the meantime we're eating very simple meals, take-out or going out.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

ASG fun

Yesterday was our local ASG (American Sewing Guild) chapter's Make-It-Take-It day. For a very nominal fee of $15 I could take 3 classes and it included lunch, not to mention getting to visit with other sewers/quilters in our region that I wouldn't normally see.

I pieced this runner. It's really long and will just fit on the buffet. I've already cut out more pieces to make a smaller runner for the table. It will still need to be layered with batting and a backing fabric and then I'll need to quilt it......most probably stitch in the ditch.

Here is the pieced runner top from another class. It's pretty small, not sure where I'll use it, maybe I'll make another one larger and use this one for a gift. This was called the easy peasy runner because it's ironed onto a grid stabilizer and then folded to do the stitching - very quick piecing technique. This one also needs batting, backing and quilting. The instructor for this project was the president of our local ASG chapter - big thanks to her for all her organizing skills and work in our region.

My third class was making these Swedish stars out of fabric strips.  A bit fiddly on the first one but then once over the learning curve it was easy. The instructor made over 80 of these for gifts - yikes - that's a lot of stars.

I haven't gotten back to that gingko quilted wallhanging I want to make - there just hasn't been time and I don't see much free time this week to work on that or finishing up the table runners. I did buy a few more pieces of mostly black fabrics that may replace a few of the others that I wasn't happy with in the mock up.

We've emptied out all the kitchen cabinets and are ready for kitchen cabinet demolition tomorrow morning. They have to be removed to get final measurements for the peninsula. 'Hopefully' the following week new cabinets will be in and the granite guy will be out to make the template for our countertops.  It's going to be a disaster in here for several weeks and probably some eating out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Fretting over nothing???

I feel like I've been at a standstill trying to design a quilted wall hanging for over the couch. We have a big blank space that needs something. In our last house the couches were not up against walls and the major walls were all glass windows in the living area so nothing huge needed.

Today I decided I must start designing. I had looked at many gingko quilts online as inspiration.......I would have been really thrilled to have found a perfect pattern I could buy but nothing out there.


So, I bought the fabrics - all the blacks, grays with bits of light teal and gold. I just bought on speculation not knowing what I was going to actually end up using. I made color copies of the fabrics to work from and started cutting them up into 2 1/2" squares. I then arranged them on quadrille paper I had already marked out to represent 50" x 60". I tacked the photocopies down with a bit of glue stick.

My original thought was to use black for the gingkos which would then be embellished later with gold thread......but they were totally lost. I went to my stash of gingko fabrics, way too big stash, and found this gold so I photo copied it and cut out gingko leaves. This is now starting to look somewhat ok to me. Of course it will look totally different in real life as the 2 1/2" squares will actually be 10" squares so more of each fabric pattern will be showing. I won't know if I'll like that until I actually cut and lay them out.

Picture this over a charcoal gray sectional. The accent pillows that come with the couch have gold in them plus I've bought fabric to make more pillows that are in grays with golds, rusts and light teal. Hopefully the couch will be here in the not too distant future. We ordered it back in January but a month into waiting we were told the fabric had been backordered by the furniture manufacturer. It supposedly will be in sometime next month, we'll have the sectional in May......I hope the furniture store is correct about this.  It took us forever to pick out the fabric so we're willing to wait for it.

Should I just go for it???  The quilting I've done in the past has always been from patterns/instructions so I'm fretting over this. What's the worst that could happen??? I lose some hours and material - it's not the end of the world.  But I'll think on this for a bit and move on to something else. I want to weave another warp of rag table runners but these for our house - grey print fabric already bought, cones of yarn sitting on top of it to think about what I'll use for warp.  So, on to designing that - designing weaving comes much more naturally to me. And back to listening to the next in the Outlander series audio books - A Breath of Snow and Ashes - this one is 48 discs, I'm ready to start disc #3.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Finally finished.......

Finally finished the tote bags for the head start kids. Some have appliques, some have pockets. I'm so excited to be ahead of the game with my charity/community sewing this year. I'm looking forward to working on some of my own projects next.

May your blessings out number
The shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Hats for......

Fleece hats for the Head Start kids. In our neighborhood group of the American Sewing Guild we make little tote bags for the Head Start kids for the holidays. We fill the bags with a coloring book, crayons, pencils, sharpeners, tissues, toothpaste and brushes and candy/treats. This year we're adding fleece hats to the totes. I've decided to get my portion sewn early in the year rather than doing it later when I'm trying to do my own gift making. 14 hats sewn. Hoping to finish up tote bags soon.

Monday, March 11, 2019

This and that......

 I finally got back to this towel warp, a dornick twill. But imagine my surprise as I took this photo and saw a little shadow on the wood of the front beam, see it to the left there. At first I figured there was something on the top of my loom creating a shadow.......

 ....but no, here it is again in this photo - see it along the left side - it looks like a spot on the towel. Then I held the camera up to the wall and yep, it was still there. We looked at the lens with a loop and could see something but no matter how hard we tried to clean it, it was still there. I have no clue what happened between last week and this to the camera, it was just sitting in its case right where I left it.

This photo had the spot cropped out of it.  I need to take photos of 5 colors of towels but have no clue if I can manage to take them all so I can edit out that spot. A new camera is on the horizon which doesn't make me happy as I love the one I have - it's small and takes nice pictures.

The AVL is still warped up for scarves, the loom at the beach cottage has a towel warp beamed awaiting threading of heddles & time over there. I want to start work on an art quilt for over our couch but I realized this month is when I take my machine in for cleaning/service so that will be put off for a few weeks - machine will go in this week. I do have an inexpensive Brother I use for classes that I can sew on if need be but I love my Bernina and how exact it sews so I'll wait until I have it back.

Although 27 when we got up this morning it will get up to 60 by afternoon. It's time to get a trailer load of garden soil for the raised beds we've put in. I can't wait to have a little garden again. It's just two small 3x8 raised beds but it's enough for right now. If I feel like I want another couple beds I'll add them next year. I pruned the 2 plum and 2 apple trees last month in addition to the grape vines. I can't believe how much we have in this city lot. We put in a fig tree last fall and I can see a few leaf buds so it looks like it's made it through its first winter. The gingko tree we put in last fall also has buds all over it. So much yard work to do out front but that will come in time, a previous owner got the idea that half the front yard being gravel was a good thing - not!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Yesterday a friend came over for our occasional lunch/Netflix/knitting get together.  We were to binge watch the second half of the new season of Grace & Frankie but I had gotten Book Club movie DVD via Netflix by mail so we watched that instead. Lots of laughs. With what's going on in the world and our country it's so nice to watch something that's light and entertaining.

I made a sausage, kale & potato soup.  It's based on Zuppa Toscano at Olive Garden, my favorite soup there.  I've made this recipe several times and it's a winner - it's from The Pioneer Woman's website.  And I had enough leftovers to send some home with my friend and for our dinner tonight. It's not a heavy soup but it's also not a low-cal soup as it's loaded with whole milk, half & half and a splash of cream - but it's oh, so worth it.

I've seen several recipes lately for roasted chick-peas. I've had a recipe from Two Peas and their Pod's blog along with a can of chickpeas sitting on the counter for a week so I decided to make those yesterday too for us to critic and snack on. Another winner recipe. I had some Moroccan spice blend in my pantry so that's what I used on these. The entire can of them is gone as of 5 minutes ago.  Next time I make them I'll have to try a different spice blend.

Have had no time for weaving for a few days - maybe tomorrow afternoon. I really need to get back to weaving or sewing so I can settle in to listen to my current audio book which is book 5 in the Outlander series - The Fiery Cross. I'm halfway through the 47 discs.  Is anyone else hooked on Outlander?  I know the books have been out forever but it really gained popularity again when Starz started airing an original series based on the books. The 4th season recently ended, it was based on book 4.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Spring towels

New spring towel warp on the loom........first two in teal (underneath), next two this coral......thinking about a cherry yellow, aqua and lavender for the remainder of the warp.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Auditioning wefts......

I've got the first warp on the AVL since moving.......which means since taking it apart piece by piece, all 40 harnesses off, all 80 cables off, all 80 springs off in addition to all the wooden and steel parts. I had run it through a straight draw without anything on it just to make sure it still worked but hadn't woven on it yet. Although I'm not in the mood to weave scarves it seemed like a good time to do some to make sure all is well with the AVL. In threading heddles harness 18 stuck the first time it was raised, spring went flying off leaving the harness cock-eyed.....then harness 31 stuck.  I ran it through it's paces a few more times and continued to thread, all seemed ok. I had a bit of time this afternoon to tie on and really give it a test - all looks ok as I was auditioning wefts in this sample. I'm thinking I'll go with the lavender, 2nd color from the bottom, then the teal, 4th from the bottom and the rust right above the teal. Three scarves, three different colorways. Of course, I may change my mind before I start weaving.........

For those who may ask - this draft was originally horizontal ribbons by Amy Norris published in the Complex Weavers Compilation book, I think it was 20 shaft but I could be remembering wrong so don't hold me to that - I took the draft and turned it so I have vertical ribbons, it's now 32 shaft.

I'm going to get a towel warp on the Macomber this week too. But alas, I think my last statement is in the mail today so taxes loom on the horizon. Somehow I let myself get talked into buying Turbo Tax Home & Business once again.......all along I was thinking dropping them off at a local accountant's office was sounding much more 'fun' but I guess since we dropped $79 on TT at Costco I need to use it.......

Monday, February 18, 2019

Table runners ready for new homes......

Handwoven rag table runners for sale in my etsy shop - look for these in the table runner section of my shop. Calling these 'rag' runners is a bit misleading as they are made from high quality cotton quilt fabric cut 1" wide for the weft.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

New towels in the shop

I needed to stitch up a special order towel so decided to stitch a few more - love this lavender wreath......

.....and I decided to stitch up the country sheep on a seafoam green towel - love this for spring or easter.......also stitched up some more bunny towels.  All are in my etsy shop ready to find new homes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Rag weaving fini

 This is the last of the rag weaving for quite a while...........'s been really fun........ to hem them all and wait for a brighter day for good photo taking......