Friday, April 21, 2017

I Can Do It

Jenny wrote the neatest post - you'll have to go read it.  I've been feeling very melancholy lately, and she reminded me how much exercise will do for you - not just physically, but mentally.  You know, in the last year of moving and taking care of mum, I'd forgotten!

I've developed some bad habits.


Made a chocolate cake last night [no, I didn't eat that much by myself], and spend far too much time doing this - 



especially late at night.  No wonder I feel like a slug, and am depressed!!

Last week, when we moved mum home, we moved my exercise bike into the sewing room.



Where it's gathering dust.  Along with my dumbbells, [little ones], I'm determined to start releasing endorphins and getting in shape.

I'm 5'8, and can carry a bit of extra, but I don't feel good when I do.  I especially carry it in my belly, and that's dangerous for diabetes risk.  Mum has diabetes, I sure don't want it!

For some reason, when we bought this house, I thought for sure I'd lose weight just cleaning it - it's double the size of the old one.  Ahem, that didn't happen.

So if I'm going to sit a lot stitching [and reading], then I need to get more active somehow.  I can't walk very well, or very far, so the bike it is.  I have no idea how much I weigh, nor do I care, it's how my clothes fit that I go by.  And how I feel. I've pulled out my Lucy dvd's, I'll work my way to fitness one episode at a time!

I've made a start on my Postcards From Heaven, trimming them up in preparation for turning them into a wall quilt.  I hope I have enough red fabric.


Ooh I can't wait to see this one on the wall!!!!  I didn't leave much room for error, I'm cutting them 3/8th inch away from the stitched outer line.  That's because I used too small of a piece for the first few - sigh.  OOPS.

Ok, time to go ride like the wind Bullseye [we used to love Toy Story].  Actually, I'll be more like creaking in the wind.....*snort*  See ya soon!

Love,
Allie

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tonight's The Night

Yep, it is.  Tonight I'm getting caught up on blogs.  I never made it last week - mom, during her first week home, fell 3 times, and we ended up at the emergency room Friday night.  I think they CT scanned every inch of her.  We were there til 4am.  She's fine, quite bruised and swollen, and has a cut on her back where she slid against a nail or something...but she's fine.

All weekend I planned on reading blogs.  However, it was "do the taxes!" weekend, and although hubby finally unearthed his computer, it wouldn't boot up.  Of course.  He used mine.

I was so busy catching up on sleep, I didn't get much done - but today I got up at (gasp) 5:30am, and finished my "Bluebell" quilt!


I think mom's going to really love it.  Well, it's not a surprise, she already does, lol....but she doesn't know it's for her.  If you'd like to make one too, you can get it here:


I used a facing instead of a binding, which I love doing for wall quilts - the link to the tutorial is on my "Useful Links" page.

I also made a start on a new pattern - 


This one's going on my fridge - wall space is at a premium in my kitchen.

Tonight, I found out my neighbor has ducks nesting in their lawn.


I have no idea how they're going to mow.  I think we should get together and have the land back there declared a national wetlands.

Another thing that's been taking all my time - my boys got me a new phone for my birthday.  My old Samsung is getting very hot when I talk on it, makes me nervous, so they got me a new Moto G or something.  I LOVE IT.


Goodness, it's big, I get a hand cramp when I play too much Solitaire.  The really awesome part is that I can have all my apps!!  It has so much storage.  My Samsung only has 2 gigs, and I had to delete an app to download another.  Plus, I can read my Kindle very easily on it.  And it takes great pictures, even has professional mode [which I'll never use, lol] so you can do your own settings!  Oh I'm in heaven.  Or I will be, when we activate it - I had pre-paid on my Samsung until May 14th, and they won't give you your money back.  Meanwhile, I have a small device with really fast wi-fi for in the house (giggle).

Ok, that's it - I'm going to go read blogs until I get sleepy.  I think I had too much coffee today.  Can you tell????

Love,
Allie


Monday, April 10, 2017

Ketchup

I've been offline for a bit, so now it's time to catch up...but I'm not sure I'll be able to catch up with all your blogs!  My reader is exploding.  

It's been a busy couple of weeks.  We've had visitors, who really enjoyed our flowers - 


These two especially are very naughty.


All the crocuses are gone, I have no hope for the daffodils that popped out today.  We don't even know what else might be in those flowerbeds, and may never know.

We've also been getting mum ready to move back home, it's been six months since she's stayed home more than overnight.  She was ready.  She had her last day at cardiac rehab on Friday, got her graduation certificate, and we moved her home on Saturday.


See?  She was ready.  I miss her so much....I have to call her every few hours.

There's even been a bit of sewing.  This - 


became this.


Mom's favorite color of blue - so she's getting it for Mother's Day.  I got it partially quilted today, so it should be done in time!

I've also finished the first block of my longest-running project....


I love it.  Do you know whose address that is??  It's quite a famous one.

Hermione continues to recover, she's back to her old self, and loves the new arrangement in the sewing room.  Feels so OPEN in here now!


We've had a couple of very warm days, 77F today, she was laying in front of the doorwall letting the wind blow through her hair fur.  She did fall off the windowsill yesterday, watching the deer - I'll be discouraging her from getting up there.  

I think that's all the news from here, I have to re-charge my laptop battery and then catch up on all of your blogs - may take awhile, be patient with me!  See ya soon....

Love,
Allie


Sunday, March 19, 2017

My What A Productive Day!

Well, I wasn't expecting it, but the sun came out today...so I got busy, and had a photo-shoot of my 2 latest patterns.  The forecast said cloudy until Wednesday, so I wasn't prepared, lol!!!  But I got 'em.

Both are older patterns that I've re-made.  First up is Lemon Tree....




Now Jenny and I can be twins - she has the original!  I love this pattern and want to make it in pinks next time, so I can have Pink Lemonade, lol!  The pattern for this includes a complete layout diagram.  It measures 17" x 19 1/2".

Then, as the sun was still cooperating, I got pics of my completed Portholes!




I LOVE them in the hoops!  Not sure why I didn't think of that the first two times I made them...  And of course the crayons just add the perfect touch.  All instructions are included - these measure 7"!

Both are available in my shop, Allie-Oops Designs.

I had quite a scare late Friday night.  My precious kitty, Hermione, started shaking, twisting her back end, it was pitiful - she had a stroke.



She came out of it ok, and I stayed up almost all night, keeping an eye on her and cuddling her.  Normally, she follows me upstairs at bedtime, that night she did not.  She stayed downstairs on her quilt all night.
Saturday she slept most of the day, and seemed a little confused, but she did come upstairs that night and now she seems fine!  I guess she still has 8 lives left...she's back to playing, eating, and all the rest.


I may never recover, lol, but she seems ok....babies and animals, I hate when they're sick, they can't tell you where it hurts!

I think I'll go relax, as I sit here mum is in her chair sleeping, making me sleepy too....have a great week ahead, everyone!

Love,
Allie

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I Found Spring!!


It may be cold but it's warm in my sewing room - and happy now, lol!  I finished my Tiptoe Through The Tulips!

You may remember I was torn between a red or black border - well, Vicki Knight and Julie suggested on facebook that I use a green one.  I hadn't even considered that!!!   When I auditioned it, it knocked my socks off.  Thank you Vicki and Julie!!!

I've uploaded to craftsy and you can get the instant download here:

What else - we had those high winds yesterday, a million people here lost power, and some won't get it back til Sunday.  We lost our internet for awhile, but thankfully the lights stayed on!  Our neigbor's very large tree came down, JUST missing their house.  They brought in the large equipment and the tree is back upright, with lots of ropes!

I got bored the other day and cut my hair off.  It kept getting stitched into my quilting, and finally I'd had enough.  For some reason, I always forget I have curly hair, so a shoulder-length cut will end up at chin level.  Lesson learned every time, and clean forgotten as well.

I think that's all the news from here.....not a whole lot going on, just waiting [and waiting and waiting] for warm weather.  Oh - one thing I wanted to tell you - you may notice a new picture on my sidebar - 


the Christmas Caroling Row Along!!!  Just like the Road Home Row Along, Marian is putting together this one, and I can't wait.  Lots of give-aways, and free patterns that you can make for Christmas!!!  I'm still deciding on which Christmas carol I'll be depicting, but if you click on the link, you can see several gals have already picked theirs.  This will be SO FUN!!!  I hope you join us!

That's it from me this week, my next goal I've set for myself is to finish my Lemon Tree.  I was hand quilting it, but honestly, hand quilting doesn't love me anymore - my hands are too bad.  I'm going to pull out the small bit of stitching already in it, and take it to the machine.  Can't wait to get it done, it's summery too, and I need that, lol!!!!

See ya soon!
Love,
Allie

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Who Took Spring?

Well, after my last post, we had a week of very warm weather - Friday it was 70F, and then the bottom dropped out - the next day was in the 20's!  Lots of rain, and more coming tonight - so much that my neighbor's yard looks like wetlands.  They now have ducks.


They do not have a pond - just low spots where the water pools.  The deer like it too.

Today is Fat Tuesday.  Around here, we celebrate with Paczkis, pronounced "punch-key".  They're a Polish donut made with lots of sugar, lard, and filling - to use up all the good stuff before Lent.  I'm not Catholic, but I do like paczki's.  When I got up this morning, there was one red raspberry left.


It didn't last long.

I've almost finished my spring tulips pattern - but I need your help!!  I've been staring at it so long my eyes are going crossed.


Forgive the abominable picture - it's raining [again] and my design wall is in the darkest corner.  Sashing is on, I ended up buying some Michael Miller Clown Stripe from Fabric.com, see how much smaller it is compared to the stripe I was putting together?  I like it much better.  Now, borders - maybe?  What do you think?  Does it need a border?  Red or black?  I'm thinking I just might call it done and bind it, but again, red or black?  The plan was to put a red border with black binding, or black border with red binding, but like I said, I'm going cross-eyed.  

Decisions decisions.  Please weigh in with your thoughts!!!  

I'm going to go find some chocolate and hide in a corner.  And then I'm going to go visit some blogs before the storms kick in tonight!

Love,
Allie

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dullsville

Welcome to Dullsville - the view out my sewing room windows every day, all day.


Just that unbright, all the time here lately.  Oh it makes me want to cry.  Today the sun actually came out though, I opened the blinds and mum got a laser beam of sun smack in the eye.  We pulled up chairs and sat in it, like cats.

Since it's been so dreary here, I've had to pull out all my bright scraps to play with.  One can only take so much of brown and grey before sanity reasserts itself.


Sashing is too wide at the moment, easy fix.  I'm having some issues trying to stitch it down with my machine - I usually use my walking foot for machine applique, it has a wide opening so that I can see the blanket stitch, but it's leaving a scratch in the fabric all along where I'm stitching.

I'm trying to avoid doing it by hand....I'm hand quilting my Lemon Tree, plus doing embroidery, and for some reason my chest is killing me.  I know what it is, it's the joints in my breastbone - just not sure what to do to make it better except rest.  That means no stitching by hand, *sob*, so my machine had better behave.

So, what are you working on - brights?  Pastels?  Prim colors?  Whatever it is, I hope it's lifting your spirits like my brights are for me!!



See ya soon - 
Love,
Allie


Friday, February 10, 2017

Favorite New Author and Give-Away

Mum and I have been doing a lot of reading - a LOT of reading.   And today I'm going to share with you a couple of my favorite new books, by my favorite new author.

In November 2015, I introduced you to a quilter that I met online on a Christian homeschooling site in 1999 - we think.  That post is HERE.  Her name is Cathe, her website is GloryQuilts, and she is an amazing quilter and teacher.  Well guess what - now she's an amazing new author!!


Snow Angels [available at amazon] was her Christmas novella.  I was blessed to be part of the launch team, and I ended up buying 2 paperbacks for Christmas gifts.  My mom and my mother-in-law loved the books.  From the Amazon.com description:

When Lisa Marsh is roped into serving Thanksgiving dinner at the local community center, she encounters hundreds of children, lively teenagers, stubbornly independent veterans, eccentric elderly people, and a particularly rude and scruffy homeless man named Pete. The evening ends in disaster, but when her best friend challenges her to reach out and help other people, Lisa decides to take on the project of reforming Pete – whether he likes it or not.

Snow Angels is part of Cathe's Great Lakes Collection, and her new book in the series, Baggage Claim, is coming out February 14th!


Available for pre-order now!  I was blessed to be on the launch team for this one as well, and I LOVED it.  From the Amazon.com website:

Ben Taylor, widower and father of four lively children, enjoys his easy, uncomplicated life. He likes his work and has a competent nanny to manage his household. Everything is good until he decides to seek out his biological parents and discovers a family tree with tangled roots and broken branches.
His comfortable life crumbles when he gets caught up in a criminal network of fraud and conspiracy at his new job. When Ben is forced into a dangerous alliance, he scrambles to find a safe situation and protection for his children before setting out to clear his name—all without getting himself killed in the process.

It's GOOD.  I'm going to be buying mum a copy of this one too.  I can't wait!

So - the giveaway?  Well, Cathe is giving away 3 copies of Snow Angels, on February 14, the launch date for Baggage Claim!  Go to her website and enter!  From her website:

Win one of three paperback copies of Snow Angels - the companion novella in the Great Lakes series, including the new novel, Baggage Claim! The winners will be selected on Valentine's Day! Winners can opt to receive a kindle version of the book if they prefer. International entries are welcome, but winners outside the United States will receive a digital copy instead of a paperback copy.

See? International winners as well!  If you don't have a kindle, like me, you can use the kindle app on your smartphone - something I use a lot, especially with all the hospital and doctor visits with mum over the past several months.


Now - the disclaimer - I receive no compensation for this, I just love sharing new authors with you.  I'm always on the lookout for new ones, and most new books I can't stand to read - so much language, if you know what I mean.  I also don't read a lot of Christian fiction, but Cathe's books are a treat, with lovable characters.  I think you'll love her too.

I'll see you soon with something new I'm working on - enjoying it so much!
Love,
Allie

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy Days [Or Hours] & Free Pattern

We here in Michigan got to see the sun today!!!  It's been awhile.  Like, since October.  Well, it feels that way, anyhow...and this afternoon, the clouds have rolled back in, and I believe snow is in the forecast. But it WAS here, honest.



I'm making my own sunshine as well.


I got my machine cleaned out, and was able to finish the applique for Lemon Tree.  Trimmed it up, and then....


The border went on!!!!  [I must say, I'm loving my yellow cutting mat with my yellow chairs and yellow lemons....]  I think I'm going to do a knife-edge facing instead of regular binding.

So, what next??  Well, I've uploaded a free scripture pattern for you - sorry for the bad pic - 



I'm probably going to make it part of a larger quilt.  I've been thinking about making a couple of scripture quilts for awhile - I'd love to make one for each of my boys.  So, maybe not in redwork?  What color do you think I should do?  Navy, for one, but the other one's favorite color is a coppery orange...don't think that would show up too well, not to mention it might be hard to find it in fabric, lol.  Suggestions?

Oh, if you'd like to stitch this as well, the file is in my shop for free, here:


Well, mum just got back from rehab, so I guess I need to feed her...ah, she lost 2 more lbs, yay!  Wish I could stop finding them....

See ya soon!
Love,
Allie

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Day Late, Dollar Short

Yep, that's how I live anymore.  Always playing catch-up...I used to have a sign hanging in my office, "I'm so far behind, I think I'm first."

Let's see - first, I received a couple of gorgeous Christmas gifties that I haven't blogged about.  First was my darling O'faigh, who blesses me always.  Look at this dear little package she sent...


Aren't those the sweetest buttons?  And that red floss was the exact color I needed, saving me a trip to the fabric store!

And then Debbie from Woolen Sails knocked my socks off - 


Pic is a little off color, thanks to the grey days we have this time of year, but isn't that little kitty adorable?????  And the little balsam pillow smells SO GOOD.  Thank you ladies, you sure know how to raise someone's spirits!!!!

I don't know if I've posted about this or not, but my best friend just got a new house - one of these days I have to get over there and take pics, it's darling, lots of vintage 50's features, including a Martha Washington stovetop and oven...anyway, she had to downsize, and gave me a china cabinet and corner cabinet...


The drawers in the china cabinet hold all my thread, so I was able to get rid of the white plastic 3-drawer bin, yay!  And that, ladies, is my fabric stash - also where I hide my best snacks, *grin*.

I've just realized that the sun is shining in those last two pics, I took them on the 10th of January, and I believe it's been that long since I've seen it.  Wow.

So, since I'm really missing sunshine and color in these grey and brown months, I started remaking my Lemon Tree pattern.  The original lives in Australia, with Jenny.


I was finishing up the applique today, and my machine had a hissy fit, wouldn't stop making bird's nests underneath, and the needle assembly kept freezing.  I'll try again tomorrow.

I've also been stitching on my longest running project...


I'm trying to remember when I started this, it's at least 3 years.  I tried it with crayon, didn't like it, have changed things over the years, I think I've stitched the four balcony windows 3 times.  It's going to look like an apartment building when it's done - with a very special address.  I have some awesome brick fabric to frame the blocks in.  

So I think that's it from me - mum is doing well, she's in cardiac rehab now, they send a bus to pick her up!  She goes 3 days a week, and will until April 7th.  That's a loooooong time to be away from home - her surgery was last October!  I finally got around to catching up on blogs, there were almost 1000 posts in my reader....I will not let that happen again.  Now that mum is doing more for herself, I have a little more time for me, and I want to visit you on a regular basis.  I've missed you.

I'll see you soon - 
Love,
Allie


Friday, January 13, 2017

Beloved - A New Design, And A Tutorial


Just in time for Valentine's Day!  My newest design, "Beloved".  Combining simple embroidery and sewing, making a gift for a loved one couldn't be simpler!  I've included a tag with directions for use, ready to print and attach.  Pattern is now available in my Craftsy shop, here:



But if you don't want to embroider on your rice bag cover, I'm going to show you how I make a plain one!  Microwave rice bags are something we use around here all year long.  I have terrible arthritis in my neck - and after a day of stitching, it hurts!  The rice bag gives off a lovely moist heat, and boy does it help.  For myself, I make it without a cover, but when I want to get fancy and make one for a gift, I definitely make a cover!   (All directions for the embroidered cover are in the pattern.)

You'll need two 6" x 15" pieces of fabric for the rice bag itself.  Stitch around 3 sides, leaving one short side open.


Turn right side out, and press.  Fold under about a half inch hem on the open side, and press.

Cut a corner in your bag of rice, and pour into the open end of the bag.  You'll need three hands.  It can get a little tricky to keep it off the floor!  Fill it up to about 4 inches from the top.  If you'd like, you can hold the bag closed while laying it on your neck, to see how heavy it is - too heavy, let some rice out.  This amount works fine for me.


Keeping the rice away from the opening, topstitch the opening closed.


And there you go, your rice bag is done!  Microwave for about two minutes on high.  Do a test - my microwave is small, and not terribly powerful.  I suggest 30 second increments to find the proper time.

To make a washable cover, cut two pieces 6.5" x 17".  You'll make it the same way, but make sure to fold your hem under twice, and don't stitch it closed - use your free arm to stitch around it.  If you don't have a free arm on your sewing machine, you can stitch the hem first, before sewing up the sides.


Now how easy-peasy is that!  I made this one for my mum, and boy does she love it.  I had purchased this fabric years ago, knowing she'd love it, but never found just the right thing to make for her.  Well, this was it!   Pretty, right?

Now for you ladies down under, you may not want to make a rice bag, as I believe it's pretty warm down there right now - but how about stuffing with polyfill and making a pretty little neck pillow?  You could even add some lace around the outside.  I'd love to see that!



That's it for me today - I'll be posting again soon, I have some things to show you!  Right now I need to borrow mum's rice bag and put it on my neck, lol...writing patterns all day also makes my neck ache!  See you soon, 

Love,
Allie



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