Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summertime flowers, Bread & Butter Pickles and Simply Squared Quilt

It's nearing the end of August and after such a hot summer many of the flowers and plants in the yard are starting to look a bit sun worn. And just as I was lamenting the burned out look I noticed one of the bushes along the property line has come into full bloom. Oh, how it made me smile. Between the blooming bush, the beautiful sunflowers,15lbs of fresh picked cucumbers and happy dogs, the day way destined to be a good one!

And then out of the blue... Another great surprise! We had a hummingbird show up at our back deck. PERFECTLY lovely! I have not seen a hummingbird in our yard for years. I promptly filled one of my hummingbird feeders in hopes that the sweet little hummingbird will hang around. Now we have an American Toad and a hummingbird. I know... Kind of geeky.

With the 15lbs of cucumbers my husband helped me make 2 batches of bread and butter pickles. It was so great to have my hubby helping! 4 quarts of pickles from the regular green skinned cukes and another 4 quart jars from the lemon cukes.

Yesterday evening I got to spend a couple hours in my sewing room and did some more work on my 'Simply Squared' quilt. (I figured I should record the name of it!) Here is another sneak peak.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crankiness rules the day! Overcome with some of my favorite things. :)

Or maybe I should say hormones rule the day. Oh well, I won't go into it, I'm sure you get the idea.

Despite my crankiness, I endeavored to be productive and find enjoyment in my day at home. The sunflowers made me happy!

I spent some time outside this morning before the heat got to bad. It was quite a beautiful morning and took the time to tend my flowers and my garden.

Delicate white flowers from the flat chives.

Cucumbers growing through the chicken wire fencing.

Spicy hot Serrano peppers.

The Dr Seuss seed heads. These make me smile.

The African margarita daisies are still blooming!

Feathery grass on the deck. The dogs really like the taste of this grass, they are always munching on it!

This afternoon I took an hour and worked on quilt project. I got 3 blocks finished. This is an actual pattern from one of the many books that I own. I usually just make up my quilt patterns as I go, however this time I decided to be a little more organized and I really liked the look of this project. It fit well into the vision that I have.

I also took a little time to take a nap. I did not sleep well last night...hence the crankiness. Holly and Blue cuddled up with me and all was good until I was woken by Holly thoughtfully cleaning the inside of my nose with her ridiculously long tongue. That was enjoyable. Ick.

Turn around is fair play, what a dirty look I'm getting for waking Holly up! And no, I did not lick her nose. :)

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hot pepper jelly

I finally got around to trying to make hot pepper jelly. I've never made jelly or jam before so this was my first try and I'm honestly not sure if it was done correctly. Is it supposed to set immediately? Does it take time? Do you put it in the fridge to set? Oh well, no more worrying about it! If it works awesome, if not then too bad.

I have 4 half pints of hot pepper jelly sitting in my fridge and hopefully, keeping my fingers crossed, in the morning when i check it it will have set.

I also made a batch of zucchini bread and muffins, yummy!

The garden is doing well, although most of the cucumber plants have had enough and are done fruiting, except for the lemon cucumbers. They are going strong.

The sunflowers have finally started flowering and have now reached an estimated 15 feet!

The girls enjoyed the nice weather today:)

And goodies came in the mail, I love when goodies come in the mail! Now I finally have enough 1 inch hexagon paper pieces for my multi year project. I also got a small pack of 1/2 inch hexagon paper pieces to use for making Christmas ornaments.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, il

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Home from the hospital, finished picnic quilt and the toad.

After 5 days in the hospital my daughter was released. The steroids injected into her spine took a couple days to start working but once they did she had rapid improvement.

She is going to go back to work tomorrow and start the car shopping business later this week. Soon the worst part will start, the part of having to deal with multiple insurance companies all wanting the other to pay the mounting medical bills. Ugh, not looking forward to that!

Anyway, I was able to get some time to finish some sewing projects and work on some others, which was well needed mentally for me.

I finished the project from my babylock serger class that I took the weekend before last. I am happy to report that my serger is back and working great and best part was they did not charge me a dime to fix it!

Sunday I spent the day hanging with my daughter watching TV and movies. She worked on a crochet project and I worked on my English Paper Piecing hexagon flowers. I finally figured that for the size quilt I want I will need over 500 flowers. This is certainly a long term project. :)

Yesterday, I sewed the binding onto the picnic quilt. It looks great, I am very happy with it. Now I need to go on a picnic or to a concert in the park or maybe fireworks.

The quilt on the garden fence with the 10 foot plus tall sunflowers in the background!

We found the toad again on our deck, this time in one of the planters. I thought maybe last night that he was just out hunting insects but when I looked closely this morning I found him hidden in the dirt. He dug himself a hides hole. All this time I was blaming the chipmunks for digging up that planter and it has been an American Toad!

I have started thinking of holiday gift sewing... Here is a little sneak peak of one project.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, IL

Friday, August 17, 2012

Just when life is going great.... BAMN!

My daughter was in a car accident.

The past 4 days have been very stressful. As I was cooking dinner on Tuesday and getting things ready to try making hot pepper jelly we got one of those awful phone calls.

The one where they tell you where the ambulance is transporting your loved one because they were in a car accident on the highway. What a sickening feeling.

We have been keeping round the clock vigil, I am a firm believer in family and love fostering better care and faster healing.

She is doing well, sustained some low back injury causing swelling and spinal bruising. Those swollen nerves cause huge amounts of pain, numbness and weakness. They injected steroids into her spine and things are slowly improving. Keeping our fingers crossed that tomorrow she can walk and then we get to go home.

Pet Therapy, made her happy :)

Flowers from all of her friends!

Bear went to the OR with her for her procedure.

The smashed car...

Hug your loved ones every day and tell them how much you love them! You never know what may happen.

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Elmhurst Memorial Hospital

Sunday, August 12, 2012

R Larry Touchette seminars at Linda Z's

Friday and yesterday I attended a sewing,embroidery and serger hands on seminar held at Linda Z's in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Each day we worked on a different project. The primary purpose of both of these projects was to learn many different techniques that we don't normally use in our everyday sewing as well as to try out techniques that we can't do on sewing machines that we own. For example on Friday we got to use an embroidery machine and I don't have one so that was fun to try.

Friday was an all day seminar where we created a project from Babylock called 'Hip to be Square' it is a nice little accessory holder to be used in the sewing workroom.

I got to use the Babylock Elegante 3 all Friday.

This side is appliqué done on the embroidery machine. Holy cow was this easy to do! And FUN.

This side has an invisible zipper and couched threads.

This is an embroidery design done with pearl crown in the bobbin. I have the ability to do this on my Symphony but have never tried it. Now I sure will!

This side has a bound pocket.

The inside with all the pockets and the bound top edge.

R Larry Touchette teaching invisible zipper techniques.

The Saturday seminar was an afternoon class for owners of Evolution Sergers. We had to bring our machines with us and the project was to make an evening bag/satchel.

Saturday was fun. However, I broke my serger 45 minutes into the seminar. At least I was at the dealer and I checked her into the hospital to be looked at. It seems that I pulled the lower looper out of whack and my left needle was hitting it and breaking. I was seriously bummed but since there were 17 other lovely women with the same serger I was invited to share with several of my neighbors!

This is the example of the finished project from Saturdays project. We ran out of time on Saturday to complete the project so mine is still in pieces but ready for the final step of completion as soon as I get my serger back from the hospital.

Saturday's Evolution Owners seminar ladies hard at work!

- Posted by Steph from my iPad

Location:Lisle, Il