Friday, February 28, 2014

Donating quilts etc

Not much quilt was accomplished this week.  At least not as much as was planned.  Between the on line course from the library and sorting through a lot of slides there hasn't been much time.

The slides belong to my parents and it's been a while since any of us have viewed them.  So I'm going through them one by one.  Mom and Dad had them well organized but a bit more sorting never hurts.  Hopefully I'll be finished this weekend.

A welcome phone call from a friend that I haven't met - yet - came earlier this week.  A few years ago Deb was looking for items to be donated for a women's mission.  A mutual friend suggested she contact me.  I did have something that I was happy to donate.  Deb's husband picked the items up on his way from work so I didn't even have to worry about how to get it to her.

This year Deb is gathering items for a silent auction benefiting Alberta AdaptAbilities Association.  I had a small table topper and a crochet/embroidered bed spread to donate.  My friend Joan quickly finished up four children's quilts complete with applique teddy bears.  She delivered them to me just before Deb's husband came to pick up the donations.  I hope that these items will bring in some much needed funds for the association.  Now both Joan and I can get back to making some more items to donate for the next time there is a need.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Two different scrappy blocks and a mirror or two

I have this bundle of 10" square fabrics that I would like to do something fun with.  After seeing a demo at a quilt shop I decided to give the techniques a try with some scrappy fabric.  I'm not happy with the results but it is a learning experience.

So here they are:

With right sides together, sew two squares together.  1/4" seam on all four sides.
Then slice on the diagonal both directions to make four half square triangles.

 Press open.
Make a pin wheel block.
Next cut the block 1 1/2" from centre on all four sides.  Trim the left over rectangles to the length of the centre pinwheel block and half square triangles to the width of the rectangles.

Play around with the blocks until you like the end result.  This is what I came up with.
Using fabrics with more contrast would have made the block come out so much better, but here's what it looks like in the corner mirror tool.

Next I sewed a scrappy four patch.
Cut 2" from the centre seams in all four directions.
Now it's time to play.

After playing this is what I decided on.
What if I made more blocks like this. 

 While these were fun to play with, I'm not thrilled with them.  So it's back to the the books, net, magazines etc to see what else I can come up with for that layer cake bundle.

In the mean time.....

My husband has been playing with his solar oven.  The cinnamon bun dough came from one of those Pillsbury cans you find at the grocery store.  Since they are not gluten free I won't be having any.  But I really do think it's neat that he baked them -19 degree weather!  His solar oven warmed up to 350 degrees in about 20 minutes.  With no hot spots in the oven there is no need to worry about burning.  Added plus...he cleans up everything!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In the sewing room...


Made it into the sewing room this weekend.  I managed to start and finish a tote bag using up the last of the Pop Century bed spread fabric.  Hope Mom likes it!

The tote bag has 6 outside pockets, zippered closure and 5 inside pockets.  As I couldn't get to the fabric store I pulled out a dollar store polyester table cloth.  It frays something terrible, so I closed all the seams with an extra zig zag and the inside seams are encased in left over binding from quilting projects. 

Now on to the long arm.  I'm determined to figure out how to quilt feathers.  After many a session with the seam ripper I purchased a stencil.  Then I found that the only pen that shows up on the fabric is a black Crayola washable.  I'm really hoping it does wash out as advertised. 

Even with the stencil lines guiding the stitches the result still isn't great.  Deb from hearts2hands quilt group suggested visualizing half hearts.  Sew the stem of the feather, then stitch half a heart all the way on one side then stitch the other half.  I haven't tried it yet, but really believe this will help.  I can free motion hearts with no problem at all!  Finishing this quilt is my project for today and tomorrow.


Well I can't really call it a work out, but I made a promise to myself on Feb 10 to get at least 10,000 steps on my FitBit every day until at least April 10.  On April 10 I'll decide what's next.

So far I've managed to get the steps in.  To make sure I do it, I joined a FitBit group.  The Be Our Guest group has a challenge to get 17 million steps in the month of February.  We have over 60 members so you wouldn't think it would be difficult.  Especially since some of the members are runners.  They get in 30,000 steps a day.  So what's with the rest of us?  Its going to be a challenge to get those 17 million steps in.


I finished the Linux course with 89%  Not great when one considers it was an open book test.  No excuse.  Just misunderstood three of the questions.  My darling husband has declared that the questions were poorly worded.  What a sweetie.

Now I'm on to a cooking class.  No gasps please.  I know I don't cook.  But I'm enjoying the instructor's take.  Think about why different cultures use different flavours and spices.  Loads of history lessons.  And that's what I'm enjoying.  The cooking...not so much.  Not having all the groceries required is a pain.  We don't grocery shop often so I use what I have on hand.

Plus few of the recipes are gluten free.  Today was Greek pizza so I used chickpea flour pizza crust.  Not great.  It's all eaten but I'll be looking for a different gluten free recipe if I make it again.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sewing-MP3 cases and help on the Kobo Arc

MP3 Cases:

Don't you hate it when you have a favourite device that you cannot find a protective case for!  Well my son has one device that he just cannot find anything to fit.  He does have a draw string bag that is made for MP3 players but it's an inch too short.  So here's the basic draw string bag he bought next to a Star Trek one that I made.

 I wasn't sure if the little bag I made was wide enough so I quickly threw together a second larger one.  All he has to do is insert the leather lacing for the draw strings.

But....I have to go one further.  The next photos are of a wallet style MP3 case that I made with a pocket for ear plugs as well.

 These are the easiest cases to make.  First take a strip of fabric cut to the length of the MP3 plus 1".  For this one I used a 5" strip the width of the fabric (42").

Fold the fabric in half right sides facing.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along both long sides.

Turn right side out.  Make a fold approximately 4" up from the bottom of the tube and bring up until the bottom of the tube rests on top, forming a 4" pocket.  Stitch across the bottom to hold in place.

Next take that pocket and bring it up again along the tube creating a second pocket with enough fabric at the top to fold over for a flap.

Now use a decorative stitch along the sides and across the bottom, leaving the flap open.  Add Velcro to keep the flap closed if you want.

If this sounds confusing think of how you make a paper fan.  Only with more space between the folds.  These fold and sew cases are the easiest to make.  So quick and a great use for novelty fabrics that you have just a few strips left over.
Try making a tube with different front and back for a different look.

Podcasts on the Kobo Arc

Now on to the tech stuff.  I'm always promoting listening to podcasts and managed to convince a number of friends and family to give them a try.  And they are hooked.

Those that bought a Kobo Arc because I wouldn't shut up about the device wanted to know how to get new episodes onto their device.  Here we go.

First make sure your Wi-Fi is turned on!

You MUST have your device connected to your Wi-Fi.  There are several ways to do this with the Kobo Arc.  Here is the easiest way for those that may have problems with touch screens.

1)  Click on the circle with the six dots in it located top right hand of the screen.  This will show all the apps on your Kobo Arc.

Apps show up in alphabetical order.  The one you are looking for is "Settings".  (Note:  this is NOT the Google Settings" - look for "Settings")

2)  When you click on the Settings app it opens up the following screen.  Check to make sure that Wi-Fi is on.  (Try to take a clear shot of a screen...good luck.  It's not easy.)

3)  Click where it says Wi-Fi and make sure the screen shows that you are connected.

4)  If you are not connected then select the Wi-Fi you are looking for.  You may have to type in your password (hope you have it written down.)

5)  Now that you have your Wi-Fi turned on go back to the home screen (pressing the centre bottom icon to get there).

6)   Open the Tapestry that has your podcast catcher located.  I recommend (and have it loaded on a few devices) the free app called "Podder".

7)  Open Podder.

8)  At the top right hand side of the screen you will see the plus sign (which is where you go to subscribe to a new podcast).  Next to that is a symbol with two arrows with the word "Refresh".  Click on "Refresh to get the listing of the new episodes that are available for the podcasts you have subscribed to.  Like the Vinyl Cafe. 

This just takes a few seconds.

9)  Next click on the podcast name and a list of available episodes will show up.  New ones will be noted on the left hand side.  Remember you can listen to them without downloading if the Wi-Fi is on.

10)  If you don't want to keep the Wi-Fi turned on, or you think you may want to listen to the podcasts when you are away from home, you can download them so they are saved to your tablet.

11)  Click on the episodes you want to download.  At the top of the screen the word download will appear.  Click on that and the podcast will be saved onto your Kobo Arc.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Tote Bag and setting up email for my Linux course

My last post showed a photo of a quilt made for my son.  He had purchased a bed spread off an eBay store that came from a favourite vacation resort.  It was way too heavy to use and he's not really into bed spreads.  Loves quilts though.  So I separated the three layers and used the top with a light bat and a sheet for backing and the result was a light queen size quilt.

There were left overs from the top so I decided to make a tote bag.  After getting some ideas from books and Internet sites, the bag was made.  It has a zipper (I hate any bags that don't close to prevent spillage if you drop them), 6 outside pockets and 3 inside ones.   I now have a request for a bag just like it but smaller.  So hopefully I'll be able to gather enough small scraps to make another one.  There's not much of this fabric left so here's hoping!

I did finish the embellishments on this months two blocks from the "Welcome to the North Pole" block of the month quilt.  I'm beginning to realize that I'm depending way too much on glitter as an embellishment.  What can I's an easy go to.

Today's Linux lesson was setting up the e-mail program.  I'm using an old laptop for this lesson.  I log in to the course from my desktop and follow instructions on the laptop.

For the life of me I could not find the settings our e-mail provider uses.  I needed these settings to set up the e-mail on the laptop.  Checking on the net where Ubuntu (the operating system I use on the desktop) stores these settings was a frustrating exercise.

Every single so called "help" forum wanted the user to go into the "root" and typing "commands" etc.  Like the average home user is going to know how to do that!  Besides, what are the odds that I'd understand what gibberish the results from the "commands" would say.

 I found the settings by opening the e-mail program on my desktop, going into "Edit" on the tool bar, select preferences, highlight my name and select modify.  That showed me what the settings currently are and I entered them in on the laptop.  Then I closed the window on the desktop - making no changes. And the lap top e-mail was set up!  Why couldn't the "help" forums just say, "open your email program, click on Edit, select preferences, your settings can be found there"?   I guess all that matters is that email is now set up and working.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February's "Welcome to the Northh Pole" Blocks

This month's blocks went together with no problems.  All that is left is is to add the embellishments. 

On the January blocks I tried to use a permanent pen to letter the signs.  There were "issues" so I've decided to make something different from the suggestions shown in the book.   Maybe make my own buttons and sew them on where the building signs go.  There are a lot of materials I could use.  Balsa wood, clay, foam..... the list goes on.  Once the decision is made the signs will be added. 

Any embellishment decisions on the two blocks below will have to wait for inspiration.  They can sit on the table for a few days.  In the mean time I have some quilts to get onto the long arm.  They've been sitting long enough.

Besides getting some quilts tops onto the frame, there is another project to get started.  And hopefully finish by next week.  More on that later.

There will be a few hours will be spent on the Linux course as well.  If only I had as much fun exercising as I do quilting and computing.....

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Block of the Month fabric and a finished quilt!

A quick stop at Sew Divine Quilt Shop yesterday and the fabric for this month's two blocks are at home, ready to be used.  February's blocks from the Welcome to the North Pole quilt are "Welcome" and "The Marble Shop".

Hope there are no special instructions as I'm not going to be able to make it to this month's meeting at the shop.

I have the templates traced out on the plastic and about half of the shapes traced onto the fusible web.  Hopefully I can get the tracing finished by this evening.

Further on the quilting front.....I finished a quilt this morning!  My son had purchased a bedspread from eBay.  It's from one of our favourite vacation resorts.  The resort sells their extra items when ever they do a refresh to their rooms. 

This bedspread was so heavy.  I would never want to take on a housekeeper that developed the muscles to handle hundreds of these spreads on a daily basis. 

To make the spread usable, I separated the backing, bat and top.  Even then the top was really heavy.  Next I purchased a light queen size flat sheet to use as the backing along with a very light weight bat. 

The actual quilting on my long arm went well.  Then came the binding.  I've put on binding on a lot of quilts.  And never with as much problem as I had with this one.  Not sure what the issue was.  Maybe it was the weight of the quilt.  But it's on now.  Not quite as nice as I would have wished.  But it's done!

Tomorrow is the next Linux lesson.  I should do a review of the previous lessons before I start the next.  It's going to be a busy evening!