Cheri Chatter

Cheri Chatter

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Color Class

Last night we finished Session 2 of our Color Basics class at Glad Creations.  Our first session was all about the many aspects and terms of color theory which we applied this week to fabric selection.  We've talked value, intensity, temperature.  We've explored what happens to color with the addition of black, white and gray.  We discussed scale, style, directionality, and color recipes.  We're ready to pick fabrics for our next quilts!

What a fun, smart group of learners these quilters are to work with.  We're looking forward to getting back together in the fall for Color Club!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Geez . . .

So with the hosta garden organized, I decided to put my garden clothes into the washing machine to soak out the ground-in dirt.  They were a mess.  I settled back on the couch to rest a bit, but within a few minutes I began hearing an intermittent banging that got alarmingly louder and louder.

Occasionally, my washing machine gets an unbalanced load which sets up a terrible racket.  This time it sounded like the machine was bouncing across the laundry room floor and about to tear itself apart.  I raced to the kitchen only to find that the noise wasn't coming from the basement at all; it was coming from outside the house.  I looked out the window, and there was Bosca . . . dismantling the downspout.  Bless her little, pea-pickin' heart.

As you can see, she's quite proud of her work.  Bosca's job in life, apparently, is to rid the world of woosels (her word for any four-legged, furry varmint known to you and I as a squirrel, chipmunk, rabbit, vole, mole, etc. ).  Woosels take their lives in their paws just entering our backyard.  I don't even dare say the word around her lest she get that crazed, serial murderer look in her eyes.

But I do have some fabric picked out for her with woosels on it that I just know she will love as a bandanna when her birthday rolls around this fall!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Organizing the Hostas

Today, I really wanted to be spending my time diving back in to organizing the basement.  I'll have to save that for a rainy day, because I need to plant the hostas that Amy and her husband, Dan, carefully bagged up and delivered to my back yard last week.

Before I could plant them though, I had to dig up the spot where they will live.  I call it my hosta bed because that's what I envisioned for it, not because it had achieved that status yet!

It used to be a pond that was lined with hostas.  Then the rabbits built a warren under it, chewed a hole in the expensive liner, and drained it like a bathtub.  My neighbor and I filled it in with dirt. Other things grew in place of the pond while I mused about what to plant. Every time I thought of planting more hostas, I made a quilt instead.  And then the moment of truth (aka the hostas) arrived.

It took several hours to dig out little trees, grapevines, and other volunteers.  My neighbor, Don, kept offering to help and finally came over to dig a few shovels full.  I don't know if he felt sorry for me or if it looked like I was having too much fun!  Once I finished digging, planting the new hostas took hardly any time at all.  They're beautiful.  Thanks, Amy and Dan!  I've got lots of space in the middle for other plantings.

I would have kept going, but I blew out a tennis shoe.  It was a great reason to stop and, also, to throw something away.  I am getting excited about tossing stuff these days!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Rainy Day

We've had a few rainy days in a row in fact. It's been cloudy, interspersed with the occasional downpour, which means I can put off planting hostas a little longer and sew instead.  I'll take it!

The Twin Cities Shop Hop is over, so I'm continuing my 30's project and have completed my first block.  I really like it.  Since there's lots of snowballing involved, I have a pile of leaders and enders.  When sewn together, I will have a bunch of 3/4"  finished half-square triangle units.

They're really small!  Maybe I'll use them as the centers for crumb blocks?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Taking a Break

I have definitely got my eight hours of organizing in this week.  I just have to take a break and sew.  I've been to the chiropractor this morning, so all my kinks have been worked out.  I'm raring to go!

The weather is beautiful, so I've decided to sew on the porch.  It's all set up.  I wish I didn't have to leave to get my hair done, but that will be a nice break, too.

I plan to start a new little quilt for our block-of-the-month project at South Minneapolis Quilters.  Nathan has his May quilt done, and I will do this one for our June meeting.  I can't show you what it will look like yet, but as you can see, I'm using 30's reproduction fabrics.  It's going to be fun to work on.

The Twin Cities Shop Hop starts tomorrow, so I may not be posting for a while.  Later, gator.

I Can't Get Away From It!

After finishing my laundry room, I went to Little Earth and helped organize our sewing circle's storage closet.    We'll be able to find what we need now.

I can't show you the before picture because I forgot to take one.  I was just too excited to dig in and get it organized, I guess!  Our looked something like this one though.  Scary, huh?

One of our Tuesday friends stopped by to show us the shawl she completed after months of work.  It was so beautiful, I had to get a picture.  She is very proud of her work and will be even prouder when she dances in it.

Another One Down

The laundry room is DONE!! It took longer than I thought it would. I ended up scrubbing the floor and painstakingly vacuuming dog hair off of two red rugs that may end up in the large basement area when it gets finished off. If they are not a fit, then bye-bye!  In the meantime they have a home on top of the stove.

I now have two complete areas done and fourteen to go. Sheesh. It may take me until October to finish!

Monday, April 30, 2012


This organizing stuff is hard work. After four or five hours (I've lost track), the laundry room is almost done. I started with this mess. It includes cleaning supplies and tools, my fabric dyeing supplies, clothes I'm planning to donate, fabric for my Little Earth friends,and lots of miscellany.
I emptied the room, vacuumed, dusted, and scrubbed. Then I started moving stuff back in. All the laundry supplies are on one shelf. Other cleaning supplies have their own shelf. I used a cardboard box I was planning to recycle to store light bulbs and batteries for quick access. I like how the laundry room is looking already even though I have more work ahead of me. I'll dig back in tomorrow.
Yes, that is an old stove in my laundry room! It has been in that spot since before I bought the house. I think it may be the original kitchen stove because I've already replaced the one that was in the kitchen when I moved here. My guess is that they used it for canning because it was still hooked up to a gas line until a couple years ago. Yikes!!

Baby on the Way

No, it's not my baby. Yesterday, we had a baby shower for my niece who is due in a little over a month. One of my tasks was to prepare name tags for the guests. I made them out of construction paper and little muslin diapers. At the end of the shower, the guest who had the "dirty" diaper won a door prize. I used stone-ground, brown mustard which was a bit too realistic. Yuk!
And of course, my gift was a baby quilt (Yellow Brick Road by Terri Atkinson) that I finished binding on Saturday. There's nothing like a deadline to get me moving! I really like how the combination of homespuns and polka dots turned out. I used a cotton batt and didn't prewash anything. When I rinsed and dried the quilt, it got all old-fashioned crinkly and was so soft.
Between organizing and taking Bosca to the vet, that binding has been the extent of my sewing for at least a week. I'm getting antsy, but I really don't think I'll be able to relax and enjoy sewing until my basement organizing is done. I'm off to the laundry room. See 'ya later!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Back in the Game

No more back spasm! As fast as it came, it's gone and I'm back to organizing. I haven't had a lot of time to devote to my house, but I have organizing on the brain. At work (Glad Creations) on Thursday I organized the greens, blues, reds, pinks, and purples. I would have moved on to the Jo Morton's and solids had 5:00 quitting time not rolled around. At home the cataloguing of books continues. (More on that in a later post.)
I rewarded myself at work on Thursday, by purchasing a few yards of half-price fabric from the "basicgrey/max and whiskers" line from Moda. I valiantly resisted buying this adorable fabric when it came in. But when I turned the lights on Thursday morning and spotted it in the discount area, I caved. What's the book doing there? That's the other thing I've been up to. Bosca's been sick, so we have been taking shorter walks around the neighborhood. I have discovered four Little Free Libraries in the front yards of people's houses and the local hardware store. (More on that later, too. I have to go and do something I haven't done all week . . . sew!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I think I overdid it. Today I'm dealing with a back spasm of the first order. I get them occasionally, but this is the worst I've ever had. I tried to take Bosca for a walk, and only made it to the end of the block before I had to turn around. It felt like broken ribs. I could hardly breathe. I took some pills, got out the ice pack, and started cancelling plans. But then my friend, Amy, came to the rescue. Off we went to the chiropractor. After a lot of snap, crackle and pop, I'm feeling better. This will slow me down, but it's not going to stop my forward progress!
I've decided to use this "down time" to catalogue my books. My friend, Dee, turned me on to a great app that allows me to scan the bar code on the backs of my books with my Droid phone. I'll end up with a catalogue that shows the book cover and basic info. I can place books on shelves (scrappy, applique, machine quilting, etc.) or sort my library by title or author. My library catalogue will come with me everywhere I go. No more duplicate books! And I think I can do this task without heavy lifting.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Can't Stop

I had to do something with the "tea box" I pulled out of the cupboard to get at the serving things I was moving to the pantry. It was full of smaller boxes of tea that I will never drink.

 So, I dumped the tea overboard. How freeing!  I was left with a cute wooden box that I thought might work well for fat quarter storage. I decided that the box is perfect for my little florals that have always reminded me of teacups. Isn't it cute?

One Down, Fifteen To Go

I did it! Take a look. After three hours, I completed one full area. My pantry/seasonal storage area is complete. It feels great to have it done. It is looking so much better, and on top of that, it's totally usable space. Those old storm windows that you could see in my last post will eventually go to the reuse center, and when they do, I'll have even more space.
I was able to move some stuff into this room that had been sitting in the main room of my unfinished basement. That area is now clear of my coolers, Bosca's dog food, and my little (albeit crude) wine rack. I even moved a few serving pieces that I rarely used out of my kitchen cupboards and into the pantry shelves. I'm hanging on to (for now) the bread maker I haven't used in years, but getting rid of my canner, a large cake server, and my large roasting pan. I'll keep my grandmother's.
Near the end of my efforts, I found a strange contraption shoved to the back of a shelf. When I first moved to my house, I found all kinds of "vintage" things on shelves in the basement. Apparently, I missed this one. After cleaning it up and examining it, I realized that it is a cord holder that attaches to an ironing board. I need one of those! What a nice reward for my efforts.
I think the laundry room is next on my list, but for now, I'm off to read a good book!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Big Sort

Yikes!! Like most everyone else, I have too much stuff. Sewing stuff, book stuff, paper stuff, household stuff . . .you name it. I feel like I'm smothering, even though I've managed to stuff most of my stuff out of the way. Every time I think about dealing with the stuff, I make another quilt instead. I've been prolific in my sewing, but stuff keeps piling up! Here's my basement pantry/storage room, for instance.

Yesterday, I attended a class at my friend, Debbie's, on how to get organized. The teacher was Mary Fisher of Sort N' Release. She's a sweetheart and a huge inspiration on how to get organized. I went home with a head full of ideas. Although I wanted to dig right in, I started last night by planning my strategy (90 minutes).

 Mary's "TACKLE" approach is great for those of us who love to make lists, so for each room and storage area in my house, I listed: current use, goal use, challenges, and opportunities. Then I made a commitment to spend 4 - 8 hours each week getting organized. I can spread it out over the week or get it all done in one day. The rest of my time can be guilt-free sewing. Yippee!

I'm going to keep myself on track by blogging about my progress. This morning I started the "Big Sort" in my basement pantry/storage room. I discovered boxes of books, tapes, CDs, and sewing/craft things that I had been wondering about. After 2 hours of work, here's what my new space looks like now. That's my decorated Christmas tree in the garbage bag, the fans that will head to my bedroom when the weather heats up, and the garden hose that goes outside soon.

The stuff I hauled out of there is sitting in the middle of my basement floor in categories. I'm feeling energized to do more tomorrow. My goal is to finish the pantry end of the storage room I worked on today.

 Mary will be presenting her approach at the South Minneapolis Quilters Guild in October, so my plan is to be totally reorganized by then. More later!

My Project Runway Challenge

I love Project Runway and have always wanted to do a challenge of my own. I thought it would have to do with quilts, of course, but the challenge I took on related to fashion. My sister, Nancy, is active in Habitat for Humanity and asked me to doctor up her little red dress for their annual dinner. It needed to relate to construction yet be sexy, chic, and danceable.
Nathan and I went to my local hardware store, Settergren's, and settled on several sizes of stainless steel washers. I attached them to the front of her dress with silver metalic thread. Turned out to be easier than I thought, but it was still putzy.
The final result was surprisingly beautiful. Someone would have to tell you that the embellishments are hardware. For her clutch handbag, Nathan suggested spray painting a couple of air filter masks and attaching a chain. Very cool. It opens like one of those little coinpurses that you have to squeeze open. We added other embellishments: a bracelet made from stainless steel links used for key chains and a hose clamp posing as a ring. And earrings. I almost forgot the dangly earrings made of more washers and little stainless key rings. I'm taking orders for those!
Nancy says that out of 900 or so attendees, she had the best dress. And that was according to the other guests. Score one for this Project Runway devotee!