Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shelf life?

What is the shelf life of thread? I've read and heard that you shouldn't use old thread on a new project, but what about using old thread on old fabric? I have some fabric that I know is from the 70's. Is it ok to use thread from the 70's?

The reason I ask is because I have more thread than I could possibly use in my lifetime. I'm going to try...don't get me wrong! Today I got to sew for quite some time. It felt good!
I actually got some string blocks done! And more started. I have a bunch of foundation squares cut (thanks Carla-from like a year ago) and am going to keep working on that bucket of strings.
I looked on the internet and found a recipe for making my own spray starch 3 tsp of cornstarch and some water (great, I forgot how much) and put it in a spray bottle-on my list to buy next time I'm at the store, and I am going to try to make the blocks without a foundation and see how they turn out.
In the goodies I got last weekend, there were two drawers full of thread like this...
and one plastic box of thread like this.
I am using up the bits and pieces and going to give the empty spools to my son's first grade class. They will be great for sorting, counting, classifying or maybe an art project. I used to teach first grade and loved it when people would save and send in things for the kids to play with and sort.
There are quite a few hand quilting spools here. Either I am going to learn to hand quilt, or find someone who does :)
So, what do you safe is it to use up the thread on the wooden spools? They don't sell it like that anymore so how old do you think it is?
And how do you store your thread? In boxes and buckets in the dark, or on display like this? I have one more thread holder, plus one bobbin holder with about 100 bobbins on it too. Yeah, I have a lot of thread!

600th post

Wow, I can't believe I've had that much to say.

I'm doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that today. It is 11am and I'm still in my pj's! Loving that part of the day.

So far I've cleaned the kitchen--needed it badly after the week I've had, not much time to do much around here.

I tried to fix my friend's OLD sewing machine. It was stuck and I oiled and oiled it and got it moving, but it won't pick up the bobbin thread. She didn't have a bobbin and both bobbin's I've got don't seem to be the right one for it. I'm going to let it sit with the oil for a while until she can either find another bobbin or I can pick one up at the sewing machine shop the next time I'm in there.

I'm going to tackle the goodies I got last weekend and sort them and put them away. I plan to finish up the string blocks I started last week and start some new ones.

I love the look of string blocks, but they sure are slow going. At that rate, I would sew for 1,000 years and never use up that bucket of strings. There has to be a faster or easier way of making string blocks. I'm going to do a little research and see what I can come up with. I've seen people make string blocks without using foundations and I've seen people use old phone books as foundations. I tried making them without foundations and didn't have much luck. When I press, they get all wonky and crooked. I need to learn to press better I guess.

I have to clean up the front room too. That is the dumping room when we come in the house, everything gets dumped there and it amazes me how quickly things pile up.

Plus, today is laundry day. How can 5 people go through so much clothes in a week???

Yesterday my daughter played in the high school doubles tournament and they won! She has never played doubles before and it was really fun watching her. They finished off the night playing in the rain. It was going back and forth from drizzling to sprinkling to stopping and they were almost done. I'm just glad nobody slipped. The girls were having fun and wanted to finish, they were so close!

She was very excited.

She goes on to the next level next Thursday, another day off from school :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

another phone call

I got another phone call yesterday to come and pick up some fabric. The lady on the phone, Jane, said her mother had passed away in May and she was ready to find a home for all of her mother's fabric. Her mother was a quilter and had a lot of fabric and projects in progress.
Today is a VERY rainy day, but I can never say no to more fabric, especially when I know a quilter's legacy will be carried on through the fabric.
I haven't had a chance to unpack the car yet because the rain is coming down hard. I will probably drive around for a couple of days with my trunk full of these treasures! I did bring in the hat boxes and they have projects started, embroidery floss and binding inside. They will be emptied and repurposed quickly :)
Every time I get a phone call like this it makes me think about when it is my time to leave this earth and what my children are going to do with all of my leftover fabric and projects and it makes me want to get in the sewing room. Unfortunately, today I have 90 lab books waiting for me. This is grade weekend and I have to get these things graded and entered before tomorrow. No more procrastinating. I-Must-Get-Back-To-Work.
Wish me luck and if you don't hear from me in a week or two, send out the search party. The lab books may have collapsed on me and killed me. In that case, feel free to take any fabric you find a use for!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do something more

Yesterday was another trip to the doctor for my headaches. I had another really bad on on Tuesday, after visiting the chiropractor on Monday. The doctor doubled my antidepressants. He prescribed them for my stomach aches last year and figures they will work on the nerves in my head just as well. I'm thinking he just thinks I'm crazy, which could be true :)
I will try this for a while and see if it gets me anywhere.
Then, it was home for some fabric therapy.
More work on the string blocks. Another row or two added to the blocks. Slowly, they will get done.
This is my current bucket of strings. I think I have 2 more buckets just like this in the garage or shed. I'm wondering how many string blocks I can get out of this bucket. I am currently working on 12 blocks. I'm betting I can get over 200 blocks out of this box. Maybe 500. The more I pull, the more the fabric puffs up and it seems like the more fabric grows in the bucket. There is a lot of fabric in there! That's a lot of quilt tops, waiting to be done.
I have TA (student teaching assistant) at school and she said she loves to sew. I think I am going to take a sewing machine and iron to school. This would be a perfect project for those days when I don't have papers to grade or labs to set up. Normally she sits around and plays solitare. How much better would it be for her to be sewing string blocks :)
I'm going to talk to her today and see if she is up for the task!
Off to work. Today is the end of the first quarter. That means minimum day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Do Something!

I couldn't take it anymore. Too much time, wishing, wanting, waiting and doing nothing. So, today, I decided I had to do something. No matter how little or how much I got done, I had to get back to the sewing machine and touching fabric. Nothing quite heals like touching fabric.

I went to the chiropractor again today and he cracked my neck again and this time it didn't hurt as much. After picking up kids, I started some string blocks. I LOVE string blocks. I don't LOVE making them. They take too long for my tastes. I like things that I can make in one hour. But, today I needed to work on something that didn't matter if it got finished or not. Today, I just needed to sit and sew and see colors and feel the fabric move between my fingers.

I started 11 string blocks.

Then after dinner and homework, I started cutting scraps. I'm working on building up my 2 1/2 inch strips. I'm finding more and more great patterns for using these and it is a great way to cut up scraps quickly and easily without having to think much.

I'm working on doll quilts for my son's class. I have one done and am not too pleased with how it turned out. I quilted it on my regular machine and it puckered a little bit because I didn't use a walking foot to do the quilting. Live and learn. I have a second top done and am waiting to get a couple more done before throwing them on the quilting machine to practice some fancy stitches.

It felt good to do something today. I worked for about an hour in total and got a lot done.

No more waiting. No more wishing. No more stalling. Time to get back to work.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I tried the chiropractor today. I've never been to one, but the headach was so bad and nothing else is helping so I'm desperate. The guy came in just for me on a Saturday and adjusted my neck. My headach is better, but not all the way gone, but my neck hurts really bad now. It feels like whiplash, like when I was in the car accident. Traded one pain for another. He said there is a second spot that might have to be adjusted to get real relief, but I'm not so sure I want to go back.

Anybody have good luck with a chiropractor?

Friday, October 15, 2010

headaches and brain scans

My headache has continued for the past two weeks. Today was the first day I haven't been in extreme pain. I saw the doctor on Monday and tried Midrin which didn't work. I had a CT scan today and now must wait to see if they found anything.

UPDATE: the CT scan was read and they found nothing abnormal. What's next?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Here's the article

Here's the link to the article. You have to sign into the website to read it, but I think they let you sign on as a guest a couple times. We have a subscription to the paper, so I'm not sure if the online subscription is free or not. But, they did a good job comparing the girls without comparing the girls if you know what I mean! It is always hard having two kids who do the same thing and not comparing them. My younger daughter compares herself enough to her older sister so I was a little worried when they started asking questions about her older sister.
Now I'm off to buy 20 papers :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

2 color quilts

I'm on the lookout for 2 color quilts. Here's what I've found, thanks to fellow quilters out there!
This one is called Disappearing 4 patch

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Binky Sunday

I was feeling better today. Still dizzy. Probably has something to do with the fact that I'm a natural blonde :)
Will call the doctor again tomorrow and see if I can get in sometime soon.
Today was Binky Sunday. We have meetings every other month, even months on the 2nd Sunday of the month from 1-4pm. I've only missed once in the last 6 years and that was last year due to the swine flu. Not bad :)
Today I took a full bucket of fabric and there were 4 of us cutting and putting together quilt kids. One lady took all of them home so I'm not sure how many we did, but I'm guessing about 20 of them. Not bad for about 2 hours worth of work. We ran out of matching fabric before we ran out of time and packed up a little early.
So, I came home and decided to pull almost all of the fabric off my shelf and have my daughter help me sort it for the next work day. My friend Carla is hosting a Binky day at her house in November and I wanted to be ready. I always wait until the last minute to get my stuff together, but not this time.
I am terrible about putting colors together so my daughter helps me. We laugh a lot when pulling fabrics that go together. I pulled two asian fabrics and said, here, find something that goes with this 'asian fusion'. She thought that was the weirdest thing ever.
This snake fabric she thinks is so ugly! I love it. Just goes to show that what one person likes another can hate. Today at the quilt shop, all four of us 'older' ladies picked out a safari print that had big animals on it. The picture was nice, but the colors looked like puke. It was UGLY. I brought it home, thinking it was going to be the next dog bed. All three of my kids loved it! My daughter found the perfect fabrics to go with it to make a cute quilt. Hmmm. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder I guess. And that is why she doesn't let me buy clothes for her anymore either.
We picked out another full bucket of fabrics that went together and bundled them together. They are ready to go to the next Binky day. Problem is, when we put the rest of the fabrics back on the shelf, there doesn't look like anything is missing. How can that be? I pulled at least 100 yards off the shelf and nothing is gone?
I'll be going into the shed or garage this week to bring in two more buckets of fabrics and we will do the sorting all over again.
I'm also looking for a two color quilt pattern to make the process a little easier. I love the quick stripie pattern that uses three colors and makes up really quickly, but sometimes it is a real stretch to pull three colors that go together. Having a different pattern that only uses two colors will really be a blessing. Can you share your favorite online two color quilt pattern with me?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Still alive

I've had a migraine every day this past week. I've been working and keeping up with getting the kids where they need to be, but haven't felt like doing much else. I did sew a bit on the Christmas stockings one morning before school and hope to have some time today to work more on that.

I won a contest this week with 2 1/2 inch squares and am waiting for their arrival. I'm going to use them to make doll quilts for my son's class. His teacher asked for things for a 'store' so the kids can spend the money they earn by doing class chores. I picked up some frisbies and bubbles at the store last week and thought I could make some little doll quilts too. But, not feeling well, I haven't worked on anything.

To leave you with a picture, this is daughter #2. She is the #1 tennis player this year on the high school team. The newspaper called this week and did an interview with her. They came to the school on Thursday and took pictures for a feature story. I figured they were going to save it until Sunday when the paper costs $2 because they need money. They know that I buy 20 papers when they feature my kid in the paper :) Especially if they put a good picture in there! She wasn't in there yesterday or today, and they said it was going to be one of these three days.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Great White Hunter

I know I am a bit pasty, but I'm referring to my clothes! Do not wear a white shirt when hunting fish. No, not fishing, but actually hunting.

Last weekend I went snail hunting because we do a lab in science where we look at how snails and plants work together in an ecosystem.

Well, my normal hunting grounds turned up only 4 snails. I went back twice and the second time, I saw 4 river otters. No wonder the snails were gone. I hear they are yummy treat!

Today, I decided that little tiny fish would be a good substitute for the snails. Last week, there were zillions of the fish just waiting to be caught.

Today, I searched for over an hour and only caught about 100 of them. It was rough going and hard work and I came out covered in mud.

I sure hope the kids appreciate what I do on my weekends so they can have some hands on learning.

I smell like dead fish now too! YUCK>

Won't you join me?

Thanks for the advice yesterday on how you deal with migraines. I have tried Imitrix and Excedrine Migraine meds and neither one seems to help much. Imitrix makes me nauseous and Excedrine makes me really jittery without taking the headache away. I woke up this morning and still had a bit of a headach so took more ibuprofen and seem to be feeling a little better so far. I don't have TIME for a headache today :)

Won't you join me in making Christmas stockings for our troops? Here's a couple of templates, taken from coloring pages off the net.

Christmas stocking #1

Christmas stocking #2

Just print, cut out from fabric-I use one side Christmas and one side 'ugly' fabric that isn't going into my quilts and sew them together. I use some fancy stuff that also isn't going into quilts for the cuff at the top and put a loop of ribbon at the top and they take about 5 minutes each to make.

I will post some pictures along the way, but I have a project for the next few weeks.

I plan to send mine to Operation Holiday Stockings. They want them about 6 x 9 inches so they don't cost too much to ship. I bet they would appreciate a couple of dollars to help with shipping if you can spare it too.

Eventhough the war is 'over' in Iraq there are still troops overseas and they will be there for Christmas. Let's say THANKS for serving and protecting our freedoms, no matter what you believe about the war. I live close to an air force base and see the affects on the children of these military families every day. Many of my students have a parent serving away from home and they really need to know that we appreciate their efforts and sacrifices.

Who is going to join me this year in making a few Christmas Stockings?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Anybody else out there...

suffer from migraines? I get them less often now that I'm on a daily med, but when I get them they sure do suck the life out of me. This one started yesterday and has been building all day today. I've tried every trick in the books, ibuprofen, caffeine, tylenol, psuedefed, exercise, hot bath, nap, dark room, folding fabric :) washing dishes, cooking dinner and am about to resort to the most dreaded thing, the migraine meds that knock me out.

I hate migraines! But if I had to pick a thorn in my side, there are a lot worse things to deal with. I just really have better things to do than sit around all day in pain.

What other things have you tried if you suffer from migraines?

They asked me back

That must be a good sign :) Stash manicure asked me to write another post and I'm back again, this time writing about some of the things I do with the really ugly fabrics that are donated. Check it out and see if you aren't inspired to make some Christmas stockings, pet beds or even a garden quilt.

Watch out at your next Quilt Guild meeting and keep an eye on your purse!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Phone call

When the phone rings around here, 99% of the time it is a political call, one of my kids' schools calling with an update on the activities or someone trying to sell us something.

We very rarely answer the home phone. With caller ID, you can tell who is calling and I don't know anyone in Idaho or Washington DC and I certainly don't know somone with the phone number 000-000-0000. Yeah, we get those calls :)

But, my cell phone almost always brings the voice of a friend. If I'm not driving or working, I will answer my cell phone.

The other day, my phone rang at work and it was A Quilted Heart calling. They usually call to let me know someone has dropped of blankets for Binky Patrol. They have been so great and helpful, allowing people to drop things off at their shop for the past almost 7 years. I try my best to get over there within a day of their phone calls because I know they don't have a lot of storage space.

Well, this time the phone call was a bit different. Michelle asked if I could please come over to the shop and pick out some fabric to help with the quilts for San Bruno. This was a really rough week at school, so finally today I was able to make it in to the shop. I asked my friend Carla to come with me. I have a horrible color sense and cannot pick colors that go together.

We got there and were told to go in the back and pick out 10 BOLTS of the clearance fabric. Yeah, you read that right 10 bolts :)

We had the best time picking fabrics. We had to laugh as we picked out things we thought went together when we looked on the end of the bolt and they had the same names. Good job!

Here's what I came home with and I bet Carla posts her haul on her blog too. We tried to pick out stuff for boys. We have a lot of girl prints already and need to focus on making more boy quilts. I brought home 6 of the bolts and Carla took home 4. Yes, we will share! Next Sunday is Binky Sunday, where we get together and cut fabric for 3 hours. By the end of the time, most of this fabric will be cut into quilt kits and ready to sew, or pass along to people who are ready to help make quilts for kids in crisis!
Thanks A Quilted Heart! Call me anytime :)