Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hula Hoops?

 Many of us might remember
this craze.
The hula hoop fad started.

It took some waist and hip action
to get the plastic hoop rotating, but

once you got the momentum going
just a slight movement of the body 
kept the hoop going round and round.

A couple of  months ago this project
came into my sewing room.
The fabrics were in pristine yet fragile condition.
It was just that the sewing was way off
and the pieces would never fit together happily.

It was like stepping into a hula hoop,
gripping the hoop firmly with two hands
and starting it spinning around my body. 
The momentum has gotten faster and faster.

That's what's happened with these
innocent vintage blocks.
I can't seem to stop.
It's pushed it's way to the top of the pile,
and I haven't been able to work on anything else. 
I knew if I put them away in a cupboard,
there they would stay until someone else had
the chance to figure out what to do.

So, I've just gone with the flow.
Taking 60 blocks apart...

laying out the triangles and

getting them all pressed.

With no consistent seam allowances
I knew it would have to be a hand stitching project.
That has required marking the sewing line 
 on each triangle piece.

The real trick comes now

Keep up the momentum and
all the hoops spinning.
I'm ready to start hand piecing.
Until Next Time-

Thursday, October 20, 2016

When In Florida...Watch Out for Hurricanes

This week I've asked my daughter Kate,
who lives in south Florida, to share 
her Matthew experience.  
Being a Hurricane Rookie  and 
watching a category 4 hurricane approaching 
 is nothing to take lightly.

Growing up in Colorado 
the only storms I was familiar with were
 the occasional tornadoes that swept across the plains during the summer 
or the winter blizzards that would dump tons of sparkling snow
 and turn our yard into a winter wonderland.  

When I made the move to Florida 7 years ago,
 I remember trading weather "war" stories with my co-workers 
and soon realized that my snow storms didn't seem so daunting 
compared to the Florida hurricanes.

I've counted myself lucky
 with just one Tropical Storm under my belt, 
and even that storm was nothing compared to the daily thunderstorms 
I encounter on my way home through the Everglades on July afternoons.

Summer storm over the Everglades

Starting in June,
 I begin checking the National Hurricane Center on a daily basis, 
wondering which small disturbance off the coast of Africa 
might angrily hurl itself towards Florida.  

And then, 
on the week of October 2nd, a little storm called Matthew 
appeared on my computer screen.  
Usually the predictive models shift dramatically and
 you can't put too much stock in its path.  
However, the next few days the storm strengthened and
 the path became more focused and seemed to be heading our way.

Storms a 'comin

I spent the earlier part of the week at the beach 
with my older sister and nephew 
who were visiting from Colorado.  
(And yes, she left for home two days before!)
We watched as dark clouds loomed over the ocean and
 I knew what was brewing out there: a Category 4 hurricane.

A hurricane kit is an essential part of becoming a Floridian. 
 It's equipped with nonperishable food, candles, matches, flashlights, 
duct tape, plastic, and other emergency gear. 
 I double checked our kit and 
found that we were missing the most important item:  Peanut butter. 

So on Wednesday morning, 
before work I naively went to the local Walmart at 6am thinking
 I would have the aisles to myself and 
browse the 100 different types of peanut butter. 
 However, the  parking lot was pure chaos. 
It was like Black Friday only worse 
with people literally running into the store. 
Entire shelves were empty and
as I grabbed the very last jar of creamy peanut butter 
I really expected to have to fight someone off!

6am at Walmart the day before a hurricane...never again.

Wednesday morning sunrise on my way to work

As I finally headed out to work,
 I felt nervous and unsettled.  
The sunrise, although peaceful, seemed out of place. 
 Matthew was strong and powerful and headed straight for Haiti,
the Bahamas and then Florida. 
 I spent the day with my staff, de-installing our Museum
and moving all of the fragile and priceless objects 
into the safety of the vaults.

We were sent home early 
so everyone could do last minute preparations.
Gas stations were running out of gas and
 those that had gas had at least an hour wait in line. 
I can't imagine what Walmart was 
like then.

Thursday was D-Day.  
I spent the morning watching the news in a panic.  
The storm was heading straight for us, 
after devastating Haiti.
(my heart breaks for the estimated 1000 people who have  lost their lives).

Last minute preparations
included finally closing the hurricane shutters.

Making last minute preparations

All morning we continued waiting...

Snuggled under my Florida quilt, made especially for me by my mom, made me feel comforted.

Someone wasn't too concerned

The storm continued to come closer and finally
 the bands of rain began making landfall.
The whole county had shut down and
a 3pm curfew was now put in place.
We hadn't been under any mandatory evacuations
so it was important to stay put and stay safe.

And then over the course of a few hours,
 the storm shifted.
 Its path moved a little bit more north instead of northwest
 and that was it.
  We were left with some rain and gusts of wind
as we watched the storm move away from us,
 praying for those in its angry path.  

That evening my husband and I listened to the lessening bands of rain,
 watched CSI: Miami and
 indulged ourselves with some of our hurricane kit treats.
  We felt oddly tired from the anticipation and stress.
I had never experienced anything like this before,
 waiting for a Category 4 hurricane storm to hit.
 With the slightest change in course,
this horrific storm missed us and
we were oh so thankful!
 The worst thing that happened to me the entire day
 was that my cookie didn't fit into my cup of milk...but
I think I count that a blessing!


Thanks, Kate for
sharing your perspective.

I'm glad your first experience wasn't
as bad as it could have been.
So many others have
 terrible stories to tell.

Now that you've gone through your first real hurricane experience,
many of us here in Colorado
feel that it might be time for you to move back
and play in the snow!
Until Next Time-

Thursday, October 13, 2016


This week has been all about opposites.

 These guys really are the opposites.
Don't you think?

I've worked on two projects this week.
One was "putting together"
and one was "taking apart".

Earlier this year,
began a series of little fusible wool baskets,
which were super cute.
 This week I finally got all the stitching done,
 and began putting them together,

into a table runner.

I used a Robert Kaufman
yarn dyed cotton called Manchester
as the sashing.
It worked perfectly with the Kaufman
Essex I had used for the background of the baskets.

 I know the runner looks a little weird like this,
but I wanted all the baskets facing in.
It does look good on the table.

And it is all "put together".

Then I was also doing the opposite 
on my second project,
which is a big job of "take apart".

A couple of months ago I was given
60 antique 30's blocks
put together like this.

Now I've begun the labor intensive
job of taking them all apart so

 they'll eventually fit together.

The challenge has come from the fact
the original sewer
set her machine for about 16 - 20 stitches per inch
and when the needle came to multiple seams,
it stayed put, but kept on sewing.  

Here's what the back looks like on most blocks.
So I've been slowing taking everything apart,

pressing and remarking the seams for
hand piecing.

I had to make the blocks a bit smaller 
because the sewing machine needle
 caused the fabric to be perforated and fragile.
This original block actually came together 
surprising well.  It just isn't the same size as 
my do over blocks.

I'm hoping soon, I'll be at the fun part of
"putting together" rather than the
"taking apart".

Until Next Time-