Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Day The Technology Died

Did you ever have one of those days, when you are convinced some outside force is causing chaos in your world? That was Wednesday.

I started off, trying to return something I had purchased online. No problem, I had checked before I placed my order and found that they had free returns. They sent me a return postage label, all I needed to do was print it out. The printer decided to not print the bar code on the label completely. I used the function that is suppose to clean the print heads, and it stopped printed black ink altogether.

Okay, on to the next job. I was setting up a new computer for one of my computer clients. The computer decided to get itself stuck in an endless loop of trying to install software and failing.

My sweetie, meanwhile, tried to get the old laser printer we have working, except both of the older computers that might be able to drive it wouldn't boot.

In the midst of all this, the router for the house wifi lost its mind, and we no longer had wifi.

By this point, I was ready to embrace a simpler life, and move off the grid! However, since that wasn't an immediate option, we started solving the problems, one by one. By the end of the day, we had  wifi with a temporary fix, and I had a solution for the new computer. I decided a new printer might be in order.

Yesterday, I did a curbside pick up of a budget printer (chosen mostly because they had it in stock). My sweetie continues to tinker with the non-functional printer. If he can't get it working again, I'll look for a similar one to replace it. (The bargain printer doesn't photocopy.)

Humourously, I started a slow stitching project, at the beginning of June. It kind of fits the off the grid sentiment, except that the pattern arrives weekly, by email, and I have to print one page, to do the block of the week. So, I started this week's block, today, four days later than usual.

It is called the Summer Reading Stitching Club, and it is from Mollie of Wild Olive.

The first block celebrates Wind in the Willows.

The second block represents Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This is a popular children's book in the US but I am not familiar with it. I have it reserved from the library.

The third block, that I just started, is Alice in Wonderland.

I am having fun, using stash fabrics and flosses that I already owned. The pattern suggested black floss for all, but I am having fun with the colours.

The blocks will be hand pieced using English Paper Piecing, after a press, to get the hoop mark out.  I figured I might as well pull out all my skills I haven't used in awhile. Handwork seems to suit hot weather, and we are back to hot weather, again.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Mask Making and Other Entertainment

As I have said before, I don't enjoy mask making. So I have been trying to balance the mask making with some other more entertaining activities. I finished five masks this week from the "Valami" pattern,

Bear isn't sure he enjoys masks, either.

He says he can't see.  He would like to go back to modelling baby sweaters, please.

No elastics on these masks, Just ties, that don't get in the way of glasses or hearing aids.

This also allows an easier removal, without touching the mask.

As a change from the masks, I have been doing some paper piecing. The first section is finished. Now that I have it figured out, I hope the rest will go faster.

I have been doing this on my vintage Singer machine. I like how it is coming.

I have also started an embroidery and EPP project, hopefully I'll have some of it to show, next time.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

No Job Too Big, No Pup Too Small

A certain young man told me, the other day, "Nana, I need shorts with POCKETS." It seems that this essential element is missing from all his shorts, and since it has been warm lately, he has been wearing a lot of shorts.

I had a pair of shorts cut out for him, but I had used the last of the fabric, so I had to think of a work around.

Last fall, while I was at quilt retreat, I picked up this fabric. So I cut two six inch squares to make cargo pockets for the shorts I had already cut out.

I learned when my own boys were little that the serger is your friend in making kids clothes, fast. One trick I learned and still use, is how to pin pieces that are going to be seamed on the serger.

If you place the pin about 1.5 inches from the cut edge, the fabric stays where you want it, and the pins stay away from the blade.

In a fairly short time, I had a finished pair of shorts. I believe these will fit his requirements.

I have a complaint for the fabric companies. Skye and Everest only appear on a separate fabric, which comes in pink or lavender, and the rest of the characters are on red or blue. If you don't know the characters, Skye and Everest are the "girls" and the rest of the gang, Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Rocky and Zuma, are "boys".  I can't think of any reason that all the characters can't be on all the backgrounds. (It is also scary that I know the character names.)

Meanwhile, the socks keep piling up.

These are tiny socks from leftovers.

I started a new sock, in spring colours.

They will cheer someones sock drawer, next winter.

And, of course, masks.

The pattern is called the Valami mask and you make them in batches of 5. I do find the process of making masks kind of depressing. I don't need one at the moment, because I am hiding at home. However, stores are starting to require them, so I am making a few for friends and family.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Catching Up

Since the world has been closed down, I have been trying to blog every week, to help remind myself that I am still managing to do good things. However, I seemed to have missed a week. So, I will try to catch up.

First, the weather has suddenly changed to summer. Today it is 28C, with clear skies, Not a snowflake in sight. My garden, that had snow two weeks ago, decided to do spring, in a hurry.

The daffodils don't like the heat.

The hyacinths are less particular.

The forget-me-nots like to travel around the yard, and pop up in the most surprising places. The dandelions show up where ever they like.

The tulips are having their own Tulip Festival.

Did you ever see something on Instagram or Facebook, and think, "I have to try that." ?  While I saw a picture a couple of weeks ago, and just had to try it. I looked at the tutorial, and decided that the piecing could be achieved with foundation paper piecing, even though the designer suggested EPP. So, I printed out the pattern, and dug into my scraps. I have been working away at it, slowly.

It is rather purple, so far, but that is about to change.

I am doing the piecing on my old Singer machine, and I had to add a light, one dull day. I decided that I loved the look. 1939 meets 2019.

The futuristic OTT desk lamp on the table next to the Singer. The Singer does great straight stitch, and the OTT light makes it much easier to see. The light on the machine isn't enough for me. I suspect it is what you get used to.

I had an AHA moment, last night. I was making some masks and blindly following the pattern. When I got to the ties, I carefully sewed the ties together, on the sewing machine. Then, I realized that it would be much quicker on the serger. I think I did 4 in the time it took me to do the first tie by sewing machine. They may even look neater.

Monday, May 11, 2020

It is Trying

Spring is trying, but I would like to have a word with someone about the snow on Friday and Saturday. It was beautiful and balmy in western Canada, while in the east we got cold and snow.

Today, we are cool (+10) but it is mostly sunny and the birds are out. I took a walk to see if the flowers had survived the cold.

I have little surprises in some spots of my yard.

My tulips need a few more days.

One of my neighbours has some open.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Holland and the end of the war in Europe. The Canadian Tulip Festival was going all out, to put on a show. The Dutch Royal Family sent thousands of tulip bulbs and Princess Margriet, who was born at Ottawa Civic Hospital was planning to visit. Of course, the visit and most of the festival has been cancelled, except on line. If you would like to visit the Festival, you can go here.

I was exploring my "stuff" and found some blocks. these were made by my quilting friends, a few years ago, as a year long project. I brought them home and never did anything with them. So, I was looking through my stash for some sashing for them.

The colours aren't right. Try to ignore the bright blue comforter.

Too dark, and not enough purple.

Not perfect, but I think I can live with it. It isn't like I can spend an afternoon in a quilt shop, pulling out all the bolts to find the perfect sashing. I think I might need to change the border on the block in the top left. It looks to dark with this fabric.

I will see how it goes.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Spring, Maybe?

We had a beautiful weekend. Temperatures were warm enough to sit outside with my coffee.

Suddenly, the forsythia is blooming.

It is covered with golden flowers.

Little surprises are popping up, everywhere. Thanks to the neighbourhood squirrels, there are things in new places from where I thought they were. From top to bottom: hepatica, scilla, and bloodroot. Hepatica and bloodroot are native to this part of Ontario.

I did a little sewing.

A Star Wars bib for Star Wars day, the bib will go to a baby coming soon who has Star Wars fans for parents.

All the lovely sunshine meant knitting outside.

 These socks are now finished.  Somehow, I managed to end up out by one row on the pattern for the foot of the sock, so I used some red left from another pair of Turtlepurl Sock Yarn to knit the toe red, instead of green. Now, the socks will remind the owner of what foot the go on, since they have port and starboard toes. Since their intended owner used to work on a cruise ship, it seemed appropriate.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Is it Spring, Yet?

We woke up two mornings, last week, to snow. I'm seriously over winter. I want to sit in my sunroom and knit, but it is still too cold. We are still in self isolation, with no news of any loosening of the restrictions. I miss my time with friends and family. Video just isn't the same. So, I guess I need to find more things I can control.

The sourdough experiments continue.

Pizza was less than successful. The crust was way too thin.

Raisin buns were much better. I made a half batch, so we didn't have to eat them all week.

I decided that I needed to finish this pair of socks.

I have the first sock finished and the second one is just at the heel, so they should be done in a few more days. More Turtlepurl Yarn.

And as a hopeful sign, the hepatica in the front garden is in flower.

I need a new sewing project, I think.

This week, I had to say good bye to Dolly Dog. She has been my companion and sewing room supervisor for 16 years.

This was from an adventure we took to the East Coast.