Monday, August 17, 2020

Puzzles (1 + 2)

August 17 2020,

I have not done a puzzle since forever. This puzzle was picked up at a yard sale many moons ago. Took me a few days to finish. 

When I was doing this I swore that there must be a few missing pieces. Even till the very end, when I had 15 pieces left, I kept on saying to myself that there must be at least one missing piece. Surprisingly, it all came together.

Manufacturer: According to Hoyle, Hoyle Products, Cincinnati, OH
Name: Elvis Presley (#5601)
Number of pieces: 1000
Size 19 1//4" x 26 3/4"

Verdict: It was fun to do. The colors in the puzzles made sorting easy. With the black and white areas, the patterns made the sorting possible. You would have thought that the words "Elvis Presley" in the puzzle would have been easy to do, but I found this part to be hard. The pieces were well made and clicked in well.  

I don't think the company is around any longer. After a little bit of research, it maybe that The Hoyle company is now a registered trademark of "The United States Playing Card Company". I didn't see any puzzles on their website.

Here's another one I really enjoyed.

Manufacturer: Buffalo Games
Name: Charles Wysocki - Labor Day In Bungalowville
Number of pieces: 1000
Size: 26.75" x 19.75"

This came with a poster which was helpful. I found the trees on this puzzle was difficult. At first putting together the houses was overwhelming, but because each house had different shingles, house color, walkways, windows, pathways, chimney, it made it not as overwhelming.

On to the next one.

Quilt & Bitch

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Show + Tell :: X's & O's

August 9 2020,

This is a king size bed quilt for friends of ours who got married last July. We gave it to them shy of their one year anniversary. I am so glad that they actually use it.

This was suppose to go to Vermont Quilt Festival 2020, but it was cancelled.

It was made with the fine line piecing method, and the splashes of oranges / yellows are all pieced. I think I have my fill of fine line piecing for a bit.

Yes that's me trying to do an action shot, utter fail.

Here's the back of the quilt. It says, "Marriage is about communication and compromise. She'll be doing the communicating, and you will be doing the compromising."

Title: X's & O's
Dimension: 110" x 100"
Materials: Hoffman Batik M2721-61 (Turquoise), Orange tiny pieces are a variety of orange batiks, Aurifil 50 weight piecing and quilting thread, Hoffman silk batting
Method: Machine pieced + Hand Quilted
Date completed: 07.2020

Quilt & Bitch

Monday, August 3, 2020

Summer in the times of COVID

August 3 2020,

So the last time I wrote was in April and I was working on masks. That's all done now.

I then started working on scrub hats for a friend's daughter who is a nurse. So I made her 24ish to share with her nursing friends.

Below is Bear Bear (she's approximately 23 years old) showing off the scrub hat.

On April 29th we had squirrels in the fireplace, again. We had a case of squirrels in late October where we caught 5 squirrels.

This time it was the same thing. We caught each of them one by one, these were baby squirrels, I am not sure if it was the same squirrel or they were 5 separate squirrels. Again they came in through the chimney.

Hubby thought there was no way they could get into it through the chimney caps, but when he was outside, he noticed that mama squirrel lifted the chimney cap up and jumped into the flue. So what might be happening was that when we caught the baby squirrel, mama squirrel might have taken the same squirrel back into the chimney flue.

Hubby ended up fixing the chimney cap properly. We bought chicken wire and repaired the caps. Hopefully there will be no more squirrels in the near future.

The last squirrel was interesting. So the squirrel fell into the fireplace and would not go into the trap. So we tried to coax it into the trap. We opened the gate to wide, and it ran out into the living room. OMG. It ran and I got a broom and hubby guided it out while I stood at the door holding the door open.

Below is the fireplace with the trap. We put a medium size box in there so that when the squirrel fell into the pit, it didn't have much space to move around. That humane trap is worth every penny. I am so glad we have it.

Below are the books that we checked out that we were able to get before lock down. I am so thankful that we had all these books to keep us company. The first set are my husband's books that he finished, and the second set are my books.

We bought Remington clippers on Amazon. We really wanted to buy Wahl clippers, but everything was so expensive. Hubby used the clippers on my hair, and then he did his. Success. The clippers cost us $33.00, and it paid for itself it just 2 clippings. Viola. I don't think we ever need to go anywhere to get our hair cut. Three weeks later I was at BJs, and Wahl clippers was available for sale at a reasonable price. Oh well.

What else?

I hung quilts outside.

Below are a collection of hand quilted small quilts. Some are pictured already and documented, but not all. I have to take the time to do that... it was fun to hang the quilts out.

I have also gotten hooked on puzzles, thanks to my quilting friend RoseMary. I got jealous when she started sharing all the puzzles she was doing. In a week and a half, I acquired 36 puzzles for approximately $100.00. They are largely older puzzles. I am getting ready for another lock down. I have also taken pictures of where I have stashed them. Just in case I forget that I have a few in the dishwasher that we don't use.

So what have I been doing lately?

Hockey is back on this week, so I am focusing my energy on hockey and also puzzles and audiobooks.

Below is the first puzzle that I bought, from Better Co. called "Spaceman Floating Astronaut Puzzle" 1000 pieces. Note that I have not done a puzzle in a long time, and of course I'm doing one that is just about as difficult as one can get. If you want a challenge, this one is surely one that will be a challenge.

Quilt & Bitch

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Explorations :: In Masks :: An Update

April 14 2020,

Buenos Dias todos. Today is a good day, I can feel it. I'm sitting here listening to Andrea Bocelli Mixes on youtube. Did you know that Andrea Bocelli has a son, Matteo Bocelli that can sing? If only I was a few decades younger.

I have stopped trying to finish my quilt when Vermont Quilt Festival said that they were cancelling their show that was to happen in June. Since the cancellation, I have focused my energy on making masks.

Below is the first reiteration of the mask. This mask has three pleats. At the time, I did not have elastic so I made ties. For me, the pleats were difficult, even though most people were doing this pattern.

This is the second reiteration. This came from a youtube video that I stumbled upon on my first day of investigation. It is a pattern from Sewing with Sara. This one I made it with a filter pocket and ties.

This is the third reiteration. This was also from the same pattern from Sewing with Sara, but without a filter pocket and with elastic bands. I was able to get 10 yards of elastic from a local quilt shop. It didn't go as well. Hubby said it hurt too much. 

Here is Paula the Koala, that's really her name, showing off the final result of the first finish of the masks. What that means is, after I made a bunch of these and gave them away, I perfected them further.

The first picture of Paula the Koala, is a fabric called, Mi Familia by Jesus Cruz by Andover Fabric created in 2013. I don't have a lot of that, it was an impulse by from way long ago. If anyone wants to buy me a present, there is some on ebay. Just Kidding.

Paula the Koala, below is wearing a fabric by Cranston Cotton Salamander Chamelion Gecko Lizard Iguana. I didn't fuzzy cut it properly, so you can't see the freakin' animals. This I bought in 2008.

Here is the pattern. The top one is the outside, and the bottom is the lining.

The first finished batch, I made the ties by hand, without a bias tape maker. I mentioned it to one of my girlfriend, and she went on a hunt looking for a bias tape maker locally. She was able to find one, and purchased and delivered it to the house. We had a hard time figuring out what size to use. Single fold, double fold... ugh, it hurt my head too much. She couldn't figure it out. The explanation on the websites didn't make sense, and finally I found one with an actual picture. So the final result was I needed the Bias Tape Maker 25mm, which makes a 1" single fold or a 1/2" double fold strip. Note that I am not cutting it on the bias, I am cutting it on the width of the fabric. So it's 2" x 40" or 42" (depending on the width of the fabric).

I also figured out that if I notch the inside of the strip, when I fold it in at the ends, I have less bulk and it makes it easier to sew through.

Below is the strip that is attached to face mask.

A week ago, I read a blog post by Kathleen Loomis, Art With A Needle, and adapted a few of her ideas onto "my version".

She writes that she puts interfacing into the mask. After researching more about interfacing, I learned that it is a good extra layer, and still making it breathable. The key was to make sure that it was non-woven. As I was researching, I stumbled upon a youtube channel called "The Fabric Patch". It talks about interfacing and the different type of masks to make. It was very informative.

From Kathleen Loomis' rendition, she says to turn the top ties 45 degrees, and the bottom ties 90 degrees. I asked hubby to try it, and he said it was much better.

I zig zagged this portion. I gave a finished one to my friend who was also making masks and told her to make this version and she did. She said she was not going to turn the ties. A few days later, her husband said the ones that were angled were better. Now she is doing it this way. She was also doing the pleat version and since then, have changed to making this version.

I think I have the final version of a mask that I am very happy with and that I will be mass producing, I meant making. I can only make 10 a day, so it's mass producing. There's only one me, and many stuffed animals who want to model.

Below Paula the Koala is modeling off more masks. 

This one is all black, at a request of a friend, who's husband needed it for his uniform. I think Paula the Koala liked it, because she felt like she was a Ninja. 

Here's Paula the Koala peeking.

Besides sewing masks, I have been cooking. I go out once a week, usually when it is raining, either on Sunday or Monday to the grocery. My thinking is, if it is raining, less people will be inclined to go out. I did go yesterday morning, just before the monsoon. I have been cooking a lot. I cook three big meals over the week, and then eat leftovers when I really don't feel like cooking.

Below is Beef and Broccoli from The Woks of Life. I think I use skirt steak for the recipe below, but I have used flank steak before. Their recipes are to die for. I have tried a bunch of their recipes, and it has never failed. Some are recipes that I grew up with, so it hits home and is a home run.

This, my friends, is another to die for. So my friend and I went to Bon Chon in Salem, MA for lunch a few months ago, before the whole lock down. On the menu was fried chicken. Bon Chon is well known for their fried chicken. For years I have heard about it, but never had the opportunity to try it.

OMG, to die for. I dream about it.

On television the other day, they were saying that there was a surplus of chicken wings because there is no basketball, I'm assuming it is March Madness .

Back to chicken wings. So I put chicken wings on my list of things to purchase. Got to BJs, and bought BJs size chicken wings. It was messy, with the frying, but worth everything. I also bought BJs size canola oil, to make sure I don't run out of oil. Below is the result, it won't disappoint. The recipe is from, and I didn't change a thing, except I didn't strain the garlic and ginger from the sauce. For the next 3 days for lunch, we will be having chicken wings. Hubby doesn't like messy food, but he ate this one!

Our dishwasher is also running on overdrive. Usually we run it once a week, but now it's once every five days. Again, plenty of dish washing tablets.

Okie, so below is a preview of the quilt that I am trying to finish. The new deadline is end of July, plenty of time, plenty of time. It is going to be a king size, and I can make it as big as I want, because there is no restrictions now since Vermont Quilt Festival is kapot temporarily.

My pajamas and sweat pants are overused, and the jeans and "go-out-clothes" are currently going on time-out, I meant hiatus. When I do curb side pickup, I'm in my hello kitty or seven up Old Navy pajama pants.

I still have a days where I absolutely do nothing. Tears still flow. Fear has taken over. One day last week I said to myself, "Will we see the other side? Will we ever come out of this? What if we don't?" I can't even talk to people without crying. It is so hard. Keeping busy is hard, there is only so much busy one can do. So doing nothing is a good thing.

So thank you for reading, be safe, be well.

Quilt & Bitch

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Exploration :: Carving Stamp Workshop

April 7 2020,

In February 2020, before all this crap started happening, my quilt guild had a workshop  with Liz Shepherd on stamp carving and printing.  Awesome class. The seed pod below is from a book called "Print, Pattern, Sew: block-Printing Basics + Simple Sewing Projects for an Inspired Wardrobe" by Jen Hewett. It's a great beginner book.

We learned how to carve a stamp out of rubber (Speedy Carve Block). She has really nice carving tools that we were allowed to borrow. The really nice ones are really expensive. I have my eye on Flexcut Carving Tools, Deluxe Palm Gouges which is currently going for $125.00.  During times like this, I think I will stick to the ones that my niece gave me a few years ago which I have not used.

On the left is Liz Shepherd. I thought the class was wonderful and informative. 

This is my seedpod.

I love blue. So I used blue to stamp. We had a choice whether to use the Speedball fabric ink or the Dick Blick Screen Printing Ink, and I used the Dick Blick.

Below is a rubber stamp that was carved out by somebody. I love it so I used it.

Below are the results that my classmates and I did. Mine is the one all the way on the right side.

If you are interested in screen printing, silk screening, Cyanotype and in the Massachusetts area, I highly recommend that you check out Shepherd Mausleigh Studio.

How are you all holding up?

Quilt & Bitch