An Ugly Patch

I had some fat quarters with interesting designs. I elected to make some flying geese using the 4 at a time method.  You can read about this method by many sources.  There are many great tutorials.  Frankly it is an ingenious method!

So I made my flying geese.  While the fabrics matched, I just didn't like them. I mastered a technique, but my resulting blocks left me underwhelmed.  I stabbed them through with a pin and put them on my design board so they would taunt me to giving them a purpose.

I have a wonderful bamboo bed cover that I bought several years ago at Tuesday Morning.  It is much used.  It is the perfect summer weight that gives you a cover, but does not make you hot.  Over the years, there have been some worn spots in it.  I had bought some linen/cotton fabric to make a large patch to cover up several, but ended up using this to cover my ironing surface.

As I was at my sewing machine looking at my board, it occurred to me that these 3x6 ugly geese were in a complementary color scheme to my holey-coverlet.   So I affixed the patches with wonderful results.  My orphaned patches found a home, and I really like how they look on my comforter.  I affixed them with a blanket stitch, and frankly did not exercise all that much care given the high utility of the coverlet, and its generally shabbiness!

I can see that more undesirables will make it to this coverlet.  I also had some ugly fabric in a 2.5" strip.  While ugly on its own, I used it to fix a raveling edge of a towel.

So for ugly fabrics, strips, blocks, etc....consider them as a means to upgrade 'stuff' around your house that is shabby but with a little repair, can keep their utility with possibly an improved aesthetic you didn't think possible.


Bladder Cancer in Dogs

My English Setter, Ella, has been experiencing urgency and frequency in her urination patterns.  It was noticeable, then tapered, to somewhat normal, then back to noticeable.  I took her to the vet.  They took urine samples.  Lots of red/white blood cells; no bacteria.  It is possible that the abundance of the red/white blood cells occulted the bacteria, so she was placed on a course of antibiotics for 14 days.

The antibiotics have not helped the urgency/frequency.  She went back yesterday to see if they can grow a culture in her urine sample.  If not, then this means that she likely has bladder cancer.  While the incidence rate is reportedly low (2% of all cancers), this will mark my second English Setter with the disease.  English Setters are not a high risk breed, and I don't engage in any of the high risk environmental factors (herbicide/insecticide use) in my home. Further, I limit the use of insecticides (flea/tick control) on my dogs. 

While there are treatments for bladder cancer (surgery/drugs), none with much efficacy that gives a dog much more than 6 months to live.  Ella is 13-14 years old.  She is still active and happy, but f/u of urination a problem.  It is also hard to know how much discomfort a dog is in given their high tolerances for pain. 

Greta, a prior English Setter, had inoperable bladder cancer.  Her pain level could not be effectively controlled, and I made the decision to euthanize her, sparing her further discomfort.  That decision is likely in my future with my beloved Ella.  She has been one of the sweetest dogs I have ever owned.

As Ella's med treatment did not abate her symptoms, I'm not hopeful.  I've been lucky that my dogs have been able to lead a full and happy life. But the end times are hard to part with a devoted friend.

Baby Quilt with Baby!

I received a lovely pic with one of my recipients enjoying the quilt that I made for her!

My girlfriend (the grandmother) sent this along.  It made my day

I found the fabrics in a fat quarter bundle at Tuesday Morning.  I supplemented with other fabrics that matched.  I really like the pink, red, gray and white melange of colors.  The white fabric is a dot on white that I got from Hancock's of Paducah (my fav place to buy fabric). Their discounted fabrics cannot be beat.  Big difference in the looser woven 'stuff' than the tightly woven "stuff".  

Charm Pack "Squares"


I had purchased at Tuesday Morning some 5" charm pack "squares".  I was making a simple baby quilt, that sashed each block in a row on the right and left sides. See note below on Jenny Doan's method.   What I found with my "squares," which you can guess already as they are presented in quotes, is that they were not quite square.  In fact, they were out of square somewhere between 1/4 and 1/8 inch.  Uncool.

I realized this after I had sewn my blocks to sashing and then sewed all of the blocks in the row together.  I attached top and bottom sashing strips.  When adding additional row units, and matching the right/left seams of the next sewn row to the one above, I was horrified to find that I was pretty off more than a reasonable amount.This of course happened because I had changed the orientation of  the squares from the original packaging.  Otherwise, I would have not noticed, as all would have been out of square but perfectly oriented.  But when turning one that is a wee bit longer than the heighth, it shows up.


Bill the Cat exemplifies my reaction.

 Did I unpick seam.  NO.  I simply 'eased' them  in.  It will still make a lovely baby quilt, and none will notice once quilted and laundered.  And, it was a valuable lesson--one I think that I'm on my second iteration of learning.  I'd like not to have a third.

 I so miss Bloom County. 





(1) Jenny Doan of Missouri Quilt demonstrated (forget which vid but will update when I find it) an easy sashing technique in one of her many high quality videos. Rather than cut the sashing strips individually and sew to EACH block, sew the blocks to a continuous sashing strip of your desired width (length = WOF).  When doing so, it is important to not turn your piece so that the orientation of the bottom or top now becomes either right or left.  It's surprising how easy that is!  You can nestle your blocks together on the sash to have one cut line in between, or you can leave more space, but you'll need to make two cut lines for.   AFter you chain piece the blocks to your strip, simply cut the sashing strip flush to your block.  A huge timesaver.   As I've become a serial gluer, I glue my blocks to the strip and then sew away with no risk of shifting.

Palladio Field Trip

My old KPMG pals and I did our annual jaunt to Palladio Restaurant (14 years now).  It was a beautiful Indian Summer day, and the humidity was low--a welcome relief from Richmond's humid pall. We continue to be amazed that they have not placed us on a do not serve list...we manage a few laughing jags (replete with tears and aching throats and stomachs) from our irreverant senses of humor.  We do try not to rise to the level of irritant as a crying baby, but stop just short.  We've not notice any leaving on our account.  Though there have been a few askance, disapproving glances in the past.

I was designated driver, allowing companions to enjoy the 4 course lunch with wine pairings.  It is a lunch to give some time and money toward...a three hour lunch with a price tag north of $100 with tip and tax.  Nevertheless, it is a splurge not done often, and to be friends known for so long, it was cheap fare indeed.

I took each of my friends a snack mat and my Haiku (with caveat) creation.  Oh, I'm not good, but that does not deter my trying!  Here's my verse.  If you like it, use it, but do use the attribution.


Friendship is like gold.
Lustrous, durable, priceless.
Sharing it brings joy.

Enjoy using this (insert your gift name here) and remember that Haiku, like friendship, is an art form that gets better with practice.   tidingsfromtheuniverse@gmail.com

Feel free to use it if you like it, but please include the email address.  Do something nice for your friends...they tolerate more from us than anyone else, including our family members.


Pinwheels Baby Quilt

I still continue to work on my quilting skills.  Free motion quilting is definitely something that needs improvement.  But, I'm being intrepid and forging ahead anyway.  Less than perfect results, but practice...well, I need I lot more!

I started this quilt with a fat quarter bundle that I purchased at either Walmart or Tuesday Morning.  I added in some other fabrics to get the size that I needed.  My goal was simply to practice making pinwheels.  So I made as many pinwheels as I could with the fabrick that I had.  I'm a sucker for gray, and I loved the gray and turquoise fabric.   

I used a 5 x 4 block arrangement with sashing and cornerstones. I made all of this up as I went along muttering frequently that having a design intention would have been a good strategy.  But I liked how it came together with what was on hand. But, in hindsight, I should have made my borders a scoush (sp?) thinner--but in fairness, I did audition a bit on sizes, and felt that this would be okay.

Though I have a design board, alot of good it did me.  My mind wandered, and I ended up having sashing upside down.  How did I know?  The cornerstones are directional.  (!#$^@$%&^$^&).  The idea was to have a print and solid every other block.  That is how I had it laid out on the design wall.  After ripping out two rows of seams I said #uck it!, and accepted that I had a new interpretation of the original design.  Just when I thought I had conquered my newbie mistakes, I made two collosal ones.

After having the quilt top made, I found out that a family friend had a new son.  This goes to newly-arrived Cameron.

Though I have many bumps and jiggles in my free motion quilting, once a quilt is laundered it looks less noticeable.  This marks my 7th baby quilt that I've made.  Now that I've improved (but am far from proficient), I have labeled my last two quilts.



A Rad Iron

My son needed to be outfitted with a coat and tie. As he is in his late twenties, his need for such attire has been limited.  I suggested to him that it is time for him to get a suit.  He decided that he did not want to spend money on a suit (though he can well-afford it).  Rather, we would look at the thrift store.

I did not know what size jacket that he needed.  I found a video on line (fully expecting that we would have to BUY from retail outlet a suit).   We determined that he was a 44R.  I grabbed my box of stuff to go to the thrift store (I keep an empty box, purposely fill it and shuttle out the door).  Our first destination was CHKD (Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters).  I suggested to him that we would be looking for a non-suit jacket (sport coat) that he could mix and match with navy, gray or khaki pants.  That would give him a classic look that would never go out of style.

He pulled out the first 44R that fit and said, "We're done; let's go."  I said, "You have a suit jacket that looks like a suit jacket, and it will not go with any other pants without looking goofy."  So we went through the racks.  He walked out with 3 sport coats and spent a total of $16:  One Calvin Klein, 100% Wool, one  Pronto Uomo Navy Worsted Wool Jacket, and one Ralph Lauren Chaps Polyster/Rayon.  All three can be serve our purpose.  The first two did not even have the pocket interiors clipped.

Of course, I needed to make my rounds.  I did my sweep, and I found a vintage iron ("as is") for $8.98.  It was made by the RADIRON Corp of Miamisburg OH.  Patent Pending.  It was classic old iron that had the middle dial (like a sun dial that would take you through the fabric types stamped on aluminum dial), it was compact and HEAVY.  I brought it home, and it works just fine. I cleaned it up with some metal polish.  The sole of the iron is in perfect condition.  There were a couple of rust spots on the top of the iron, but they cleaned away though the finish is pocked. It is 1lb heavier at 4.9 lbs than  heavier than my Rowenta which is almost 2x as large.

I proceeded to see what I could find out about this iron.  I couldn't find anything but a listing of the company's patent listing (2,496,746, Feb 7) in the 1950 catalog of US patents for that year. It was filed by Ray Opperman.  (I downloaded the patent application!)  Not a one for sale anywhere that I could see.  Not one in the 963 listings on Ebay...or anywhere else.

In addition to not finding any irons, I did not find anything on RADIRON Corp (aside from the patent listing).  So I have an iron made by a company both of which have escaped the indexing of Google.

So, I'll create my own listing with this post--

It really is a RAD-iron!