Monday, June 26, 2017

Glorious Summer



So far, this getting up before the crack of dawn is working quite well for me.  The only other time I can remember being able to rise so early is when I was in the military.  I'm thoroughly enjoying it this time!  Not so much then.....as it meant getting dressed and running 5 miles before breakfast.

Not much happening here lately, I must admit that with the 4th of July coming it's getting hard to sleep - everyone around here seems to buy their fireworks in advance, and party every night.  Don't they work???

I've been stitching a new little series of country designs, apt as I'm now living in the country in the city.  I'm falling asleep to the smell of bonfires every night (in addition to the sound of fireworks), and enjoying the bird song every morning.  So peaceful, mostly.

Sweet Country Welcome is the first in the series. (click on title to go to my shop]


The pattern is for the stitchery only - it measures 8" x 5".  I think there will be four of them.  I have three drawn up, and a solid idea of what the fourth will be.  The additional themes will be home, love and faith.  I have to run out today and get a new pigma pen for tracing onto copier paper, some fusible interfacing, and a new box of rubber finger cots - they really help my arthritic fingers pull the needle through.  The one I've been using is falling apart, and I'm constantly stitching bits of rubber into my design.  Not a good look.

I haven't decided whether or not I'll make a small quilt, four little pillows, or what.  Whichever I decide, I'll do a tutorial on the blog when the four designs are done.

I'll be around to see you soon - we're gearing up for a party on the 4th, we'll be celebrating my oldest son turning (gasp) 25 years old!  His birthday is this Friday, but everybody is working.  I need to go start cleaning......

Love,
Allie

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Free Design

It dawned on me the other day that it's been a very long time since I shared a free design....so I decided to rectify that.  Here's a little design I drew up, haven't stitched yet, but will probably make into a postcard or put on a tea towel.


You can get it in my craftsy shop, Allie-oops Designs.  The best way to find a new design there is to click on "newest", up on the right-hand side, where you can sort the order.  I have no control over how my designs come up on that page - wish I did!

I'm having fun with a new little series, born out of frustration over not having the right fabric for my applique design.  Here's a peek - 


I've been seeing all the fawns together, all three, with one of the mums.  I think she's the new Designated Babysitter.  I've named them Larry, Curly and Mo.  They're so comical with their long awkward legs, dancing and prancing, I don't envy her trying to keep them out of trouble!

See ya soon - 
Love,
Allie

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Weekend Report With Allie-Oops

Hello, and welcome to the Weekend Report.  It's been a busy week here in Allie-land, apparently I'm the neighborhood Designated Babysitter for Wildlife.


This baby robin stayed on the step of the shed all day long Thursday.  Mama and Daddy would come with food.  At one point, it wasn't moving at all, and I thought it was dead.....then Mama showed up with a nice juicy worm.


Never did get a picture of that, she was too quick.  I thought maybe it was injured, but 12 hours later it finally hopped down, went over to the biggest tree, hopped up the trunk and flew off several times....little stinker.  Just a slow learner I guess.

On Friday, in the very early morning, one of the fawns came to lay by our shed.


  Every now and then, he'd look around for Mama, then go back to sleep.


She finally showed up for a mid-morning snack, baby was happy.


Then she took off again.  My friend Shirley came over for a visit, and we just sat in the sewing room, watching baby.  The sun finally got hot and he got up and moved to the thicket, where he stayed and stayed and stayed....



Later in the day, the young bucks came back, running across my patio and giving me heart failure.  The does have been keeping them away, as they'll kill the fawns.  One of the bucks came over to the peach tree there in the picture, and was eating the leaves, saw the fawn and charged him - so yours truly DB [designated babysitter] went charging out after the buck to keep him away from the fawn.  Not recommended, but he ran off.

The fawn went back to sleep, and I stayed up after my bedtime to make sure Mama came back.  She never did.  It finally got too dark to see, so I went to bed, praying for baby.  He was gone in the morning, so I'm believing mom came back. 

And this, my friends, is partly why I'm a city girl.  Nature is stressful.

And now for the flower report.  We have no idea what all is in our flowerbeds, except poison ivy, which hubby thought he was immune to - he's not.  He's covered head to toe.  Friday, when Shirley was here, we stopped to try to figure out what's growing in the island in our driveway.  


It's JASMINE!!!!  My driveway smells heavenly!!  I had no idea it would grow in Michigan.


It's thriving, growing up through our burning bush and our lilac bush.

News about Mom.  She's doing well, and is no longer trapped in her house.  She couldn't manage her steps off the porch, they're too high, so I could only take her out if the boys went with me or my brother was home.  My wonderful brother put in a railing so she can get out now on her own.

She's so happy!  And so am I.  I can't hold her up, she takes me right to the ground - she's unbelievably strong!

There has been some sewing going on, I drew up a new pattern and started a background for it, using all my light-colored scraps.


And - I don't have enough of them.  Not only that, I have nothing that looks good for the applique.  I'm re-drawing the pattern for stitchery.  Sometimes, designing can be frustrating!

As I mentioned earlier, the bucks are back, and we're not seeing the fawns or the does.  These bucks are juvenile delinquents, bold as brass.  We're currently having a heat wave, temps in the 90's all week, so they're hanging close to the shade.  I believe these are last year's fawns, not sure...



Forgive the pictures, taken through my dirty windows - I guess I need to clean them!

So, that's the weather, wildlife, floral, sewing, and mom report.  I hope you're all keeping comfortable, no matter your weather, and that you're finding plenty to keep your hands busy.  I'll see you soon!

Love,
Allie


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hanging Small Quilts

I had a some inquiries as to how I hang my small quilts - Glenise, you came up as a no-reply comment and I have no way to email you, so I'm answering here.

I always have great plans to make those triangle corners on my small quilts, before adding the binding, but usually forget.  I first learned of this method from Ami Simms, but now I see it everywhere - here's a link from Quilts By Jen.  For some reason she has you use a triangle in each corner, but I only use two, at the top.

So how do I hang mine??  Well, I save all my old sewing machine needles, and just tap them into the wall to hold my quilts.


Not very deeply, just enough to hold.  This leaves a small hole that is easily covered if you move them, which I do frequently.  Be gentle as you tap them, they will break if you whack them too hard.  Forgive the terrible picture, we're having thunderstorms today and it's dark in here.

Works great for really small ones, but the larger ones tend to droop in the middle.  The triangle method is really cool for adding a dowel - the triangles are added before the binding is attached, so it's all by machine, no hand stitching.  I'll add the link to my Useful Links page so you can find it easily anytime.

I hope you're all having a great Sunday, we're going tropical today [88F] with thunderstorms - much cooler this coming week!

Love,
Allie

Friday, June 2, 2017

Summer

Well, it's not quite summer yet - but it sure feels like it!  I must say, this new house stays nice and cool, it was 80F outside but I had my hoodie on all day in the house.  Nice!

Got a shock this morning - I saw a very large hawk swooping down behind our shed, and a few minutes later, a tiny fawn went running to the trees in my neighbor's backyard.  I had no idea hawks would go after fawns!


Isn't he/she the cutest?


He kept looking around, I think for mama, and finally went trotting off into the woods.

We're having more scheduling changes, now that hubby and my oldest and I get up at 5am, my youngest just got promoted and works from 9pm to 8am.  (insert shocked face)  We go to bed, just as he's starting work!  You can imagine what that's doing to his state of mind at the moment, lol.  It's four days a week, and that's bad too, as it's Thursday - Sunday.  No garage sales for this young man this summer.

What else - ah - my youngest went to the auto store the other day to get windshield wiper fluid, and came home with two wrapped parcels for me from the florist - he bought me two African Violets!


The only plant I can't kill.  


Seriously - I do not have a green thumb - I'm a plant assassin.  A foliage exterminator.  But for some reason, these plants love me.  They're cheering up my sewing room so much!

I do have a new pattern in the shop, I'm incredibly proud of the binding...stripes!!!  On the bias!!!  And it matched up!!!!


I have no idea how that happened, I couldn't repeat it to save my life, I'm just glad it worked.  This is a fairly quick pattern, all one color [my fave] and mostly backstitch.  You can get it here:


I think that's all for now, I'll leave you with a picture of my very strange kitty on her favorite table - heaven forbid I put a sewing machine on it.....


Love,
Allie



Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Neighbor

I had quite a treat today.  I was putting together a small quilt, lost the plot and made hst's instead of pinwheels - the border was already cut and the pinwheels were going to be the cornerstones.  I set it aside to regroup, looked out the window, and I'm so glad!!!


I had noticed this doe laying near the bushes all morning, and was sort of keeping an eye on her, hoping she wasn't in distress.  

Pretty soon, she got up and came closer, to our peach [or is it pear] tree.


City girl that I am, I couldn't figure out why she kept her head at her back end.


She was in labor!!!!


Suddenly, there were two!!!!


And they trotted happily off to the woods.

Then I realized - if I had kept the plot, and made the pinwheels like I had designed, I would have missed this whole thing.  I would have been so focused on my quilt, I never would have looked up.  What a shame that would have been.  Thank you Lord, for this precious gift!

I pray the Lord gives you gifts today too - don't forget to look for them!

Love,
Allie


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Under Cover

mum's day flowers from my boys

Well I've been missing in action around here - it's been a week, I'll tell you.  After so many years of working afternoons and nights, hubby is finally on the day shift!!!  Which means we get up at 5am.  Which I love, actually, but that's usually my bedtime!  What an adjustment.

On the plus side, I have showered, made dinner, and done all the housework by roughly 9am.  Giving me the whole day to do whatever!  This week, it mostly meant stumbling around in a fog after the first coffee wore off.

But on Friday, after two days of wicked winds, I took a good look at my sewing room.  DIRT.  DIRT EVERYWHERE.  Not normal dust, mind you, or a little dirt [that I can live with, I'll be buried in it someday after all], this was appalling.  Turns out, the dirt pile next door at the new construction has been blowing right in my windows and doorwall.



You know what?  Computers, sewing machines, fabric and paper don't like dirt.  I kept the windows closed while I cleaned, then covered everything up with sheets....


Do you know how hard it is to find anything when it's all covered up???  I also put some pieces of sheets on the windows...it may help, it may not.  I was thinking of maybe getting some cheap furnace filters to put there, to see if that would help, might work better than the sheets.  It's summer, in Michigan, nobody keeps their windows closed!  We could use the a/c, but the unit is also on that side of the house, and full of dirt.  I hope they get a lawn soon!

I did spend one day drawing up a new design.


I've been stitching when I can keep my eyes open.  Hopefully this coming week will be easier.  Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, lol!

I'm planning on coming around to visit you all this week as well, I know you've been up to stuff, can't wait to see!!!

Love,
Allie




Monday, May 1, 2017

What If

I read the most interesting article the other day, one I wish I'd written.  You can read it here:  What If All I Want Is A Mediocre Life?  It got me thinking, let me tell you....

Our apple trees are blooming

I've been feeling a bit down, because pattern sales have not been doing well.  So I've been thinking a lot about what I want out of this whole designing thing, why I started it, why I continue.

And I've come to the conclusion that the reason I do it is because I love it, I'm not trying to become some superstar of the design world, I don't want book deals or all the other hype that seems to hit so many bloggers that I've been reading over the years.  That's not me.  I don't have that kind of energy, I'm not motivated that way, I just want to quietly create and enjoy the slow process of bringing a picture to fruition in fabric.  

It's so easy to forget that, when I'm scrolling through the many forms of social media, seeing all the frantic activity of producing more and more and more.  I see the success of others, and forget who I am.  Is there coveting?  I think there might be....and yet, if I had that kind of success, it would wear me clean out!

Robin's nest right outside our garage

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE to see others succeed.  I applaud what they do, I buy their fabric and books and patterns.  It's just that sometimes, I forget myself, and what I want.  

I started designing because I wanted to earn a little money to keep buying quilting supplies.  And I've done that.  And I'm very thankful!!!  Thankful that folks like my designs enough to purchase them, thankful that I can keep creating, thankful for a humble, quiet life.  This is my corner, and I love it here.

Ok, enough of that - I wanted to show you how my little corner is coming along.  My best friend Cathy moved house, she gave me her china and corner cabinet, and this weekend she also gave me a couch and chair that had belonged to her grandmother.

Hermione approves

That is THE perfect stitching chair, and the couch is wonderful for relaxing and watching a movie.  They're already covered with quilts, as Hermione thinks I got them for a scratching post for her.  She's getting re-acquainted with the spritzer bottle.  I love vintage furniture [as you well know] and I couldn't be happier - thank you Cathy!!!

I'm still working on my apartment building, it's coming along, I've got three blocks done  - here are two, with the sashing fabric.


I'll be starting the first apartment window tomorrow, yay!  I'm having so much fun doing these, no pressure and I keep adding things, and that's ok.

I hope you're keeping well my friends, I'll be around for a visit, keep the kettle warm for me.....

Love,
Allie

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


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