Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, August 1, 2014

Blogger Unfriendly

For the last few months blogger hasn't been working the way we knew and loved. Some of us have became aware that we weren't receiving our comments.
This is how I found out. My good friend Jo private messaged me and said "Hey, none of my messages are getting through to your blog". So I looked and looked, changed a few things in my settings. Googled it and found no answers. I even posted a question on bloggers/goolges forum. No answers. Then I found something that said "awaiting modderation" in the design area of my blog. I clicked on it and lo and behold I had a bunch of messages! But only a few were actually emailed to me after I approved them on the "awaiting modderation" page. Why?
Then I get a private message from Heather and she says, "I have tried commenting on your blog and my email is bumping them back. And I now see that I have comments on my blog but no emails. Hmm, not sure what is up with that!"
(Now I will try to explain all this tech stuff, which I don't understand) So with her help and my Husbands (because I don't know the first thing about computers), we discovered that Yahoo has changed their way of accepting messages. They have improved their spam filter, which is really a great thing for all of us. These safeguards are to keep "spammers/phishers" from saying that they are from Bank of America (example) when they are actually in a coffee shop (example) trying to get into your bank account to spend your hard earned money. All good, but in this new upgrade it interfers with blogger and our comments. Which is where another problem arises. Yahoo is sending back error messages saying that our messages aren't "verified' and that's why we aren't getting them. Unfortunately there isn't anything we can do. It looks as if blogger has to figure out a new way to forward our messages because this is the new and improved way that our email servers will be accepting emails. I may be wrong about all of this but this is what we think is happening. If you have any more ideas or help, we'd all be glad to hear, Assuming your mesaage is posted! Take care, Brandie

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blogger Problems

Am I the only one not receiving my comments? Is there anyone else out there not getting their emails from blogger? If so, did you fix it and how?

Four Equals One

I ended the weekend by finishing all four nestled churn dashes and  connected them as one. 
As I look at the picture, I'm still undecided about those blue centers. I thought I liked them but now I'm thinking they need to be replaced with the red. That will give me something to do today, along with adding borders. 
I appliquéd one of my mistakes down to the middle. I need to make one more wrong block and then add them all around the border. 

Leela has been getting use to her new home. She's a bit shy but I would be too after her horrific adventure. We are positive that she use to be a house cat. Most of the day she hides under the aquarium but she comes running when she hears food hit her bowl. We stopped giving her the expensive moist food. She feels more plump and her coat is looking and feeling great too. Now she just gets the expensive dry food from the vet, which I need to replace with something just as good but less expensive. 
She has some crazy fur. All different lengths, all different colors. I call her a beauty school dropout model. 
I'm hoping to have a bit of "normal" from here on out. Taking care of all these cats cuts into my creative time. Of course having 8 cats in the house alone will probably decrease my sewing space too! I think of the three blind mice song and imagine I will accidentally cut off a kitty tail at some point. Or rock over a tail in the rocking chair. So far the only one to sustain injury is me. My legs and hands have kitty love scratches. They are learning to soft paw but I sometimes get in the way of their playful attacks on each other. It doesn't stop me from loving them!

Wishing you a happy Monday!
Take care, Brandie

Friday, July 25, 2014

Measure Twice

Don't you hate running out of fabric? I thought I'd have enough blue scraps to make the bigger churn dash. But when it came down to it I only had enough for one block. I even looked in my stash but there wasn't an appropriate blue there either. 
After a quick trip to my LQS I came home with a few more blues but no spray starch which I needed. Looks like I might have to make another trip!

My sewing buddy Gail came over and we spent the afternoon sewing. It's been a long while since we've sewn together! 
While she was here I worked on our groups new quilt. This time it's Freddy's Houses. 
They had to make me up a kit for these blocks because these colors didn't come from my house! But I've been thinking I do need some (more shopping at my LQS).
Now don't tell Carol our organizer, I made a mistake on my first block. I cut, yes CUT my first angle piece the wrong direction. 
Thank goodness there was a big enough matching piece from the other angled piece! Which I checked, re-checked and asked Gail!
If you can't see it, well I did a good job covering my mistake!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Something New and Blue

After I finished the "Bald Porcupine" I was still feeling like I needed to sew. 
Than I spied two fabrics on my "need to sort" pile. I really liked these two fabrics together and my mind started thinking up ideas. 
I finally settled on the "Nestled Churn Dash" pattern that has been spread through the blog world like a virus. 
Just like a virus I tried to avoid it but it took hold and I feel under it power. 
I added a few scraps and set to work. Cutting and sewing, boy did it feel good! I needed this purge! 
But than I realized those little blue diamonds in my "background" go in every direction. Did it bother me? Yes! 
Am I being OCD about? Probably
These centers are only 4 1/2 inches as you see here. From a slight distance you can't tell that those blue diamonds are wonky. (I hope!)
So I'm keeping them as they are and I'm going to ignore the voices in my head. 
After construction these four little cuties, I  came to the conclusion that I did them wrong, according to my own notes. If I'm going to use an alternate red, blue color scheme and I want that red in the first picture to be the outside churn dash, well that means those cuties above are wrong. Darn! They were so cute! 
So back to the cutting table and here are the corrected one. But which middle do I like best? I just can't decide. Maybe I should use both?
No worries about those first three, I think they may make a beautiful corner stones. Or if that fails, they can go on the back!

Enjoy your day!
Take care, Brandie

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bald Porcupine

A whole week (or more) went by without my hands touching a sewing machine or thread. 
Maybe it was the heat? Maybe it was just the distraction of 19 cats? 
Whatever it was I hope I'm back on track or have a routine that gives me a craft release. 

So anyhow, I did finish up a project. And if course I had to iron it and the backing on a pretty hot day, Murphy's Law!
I detest ironing on a cool day. I would rather throw it in the dryer or go wrinkly but this isn't my quilt. This quilt will be gifted to someone so I had to do things correctly. 
If only I had pressed those rows when I was done instead of waiting till I quilted it. 
After all that pressing, I sandwiched it. All while being watched over by furry babies. There may be a few cat hairs in the batting but that will just make the quilt softer, right?
Simple straight line quilting. This was a beast to move under the needle! It would have been easier with straight rows but I had to pick a diamond shape and twist the quilt with every new angle.
But no more complaining because its done!
And only I know how may points were lost in the seams of this quilt. How bald the porcupine quilt really is. 
Being up close and personal while quilting sure doesn't  elevate my sewing self-esteem. 
Then I look at this picture and think, it's not too bad. 
So there is my weekend finish. 
P.S.  I machine stitched the binding to keep myself from sweating anymore than I had to. We are in a drought situation here in California!

After this finish I rewarded myself with a new project. I cut up a few fabrics. Used up a few scraps. Sewed a whole bobbins worth of thread. It felt good! 

Take care, Brandie
(I promise I'll be back soon!)

Monday, July 7, 2014

It's Official

... I'm the crazy cat lady.
The latest count in 19, eight of them are kittens.
What happened? 
We discovered this lovely lady with four of her own kittens. But before we could trap them we were trying to get my other four kitties tame and to their forever homes. 
But nature isn't always kind. 
Friday night we found new mama cat (whom we were calling Raggedy Ann) under the house with a serious eye problem. 
We immediately set out the traps and caught this family of five. 
At the same time I started constructing a cage made from wire cube shelving and zip-ties. We had to get creative! We are even using an old bird aviary. 17 feral cats is all we can handle and we need to nip this in the bud!
Unfortunately mama cat ended up having to have surgery to remove her eye. So sad because she was a gorgeous cat as you an see in the top photos. She had beautiful peridot green eyes.
After this tragedy, she will be an inside cat. I can't seriously let this poor cat fend for herself with only one eye! Not to mention all the $$$$ it cost to help her. I'm pretty sure the emergency vet saw us coming and thought they needed to fund a luxury vacation! 
If you are looking for a new career that makes lots of cash, might I recommend going into the vet business?
I'm just a bit hot under the collar after this experience. I still feel I did the right thing by this poor cat but my future of luxury vacations isn't anywhere near the horizon. I'm not saying they shouldn't be paid for their services.  I'm saying don't charge double what my local vet does and don't play on people's emotions and inflate your estimate.
Anyway, these are Raggedy Ann's kitties and now they are in queue for taming. Step one is getting use to people being near and feeding them. 
Step two is handling them as much as possible. 
Raggedy Ann (who may become Leela, like from Futurama) is allowing us to pet her. In fact we suspect that she was once someone's kitty. 
She's severely malnourished but loves moist food. Anything to get her healthy again even if that stuff stinks and makes me want to vomit!
These four are my littlest ones and they are almost ready to find homes. I'm hoping someone will love them and give them safe forever homes.
This little sweetie came wandering into the yard a couple of weeks ago. She was trying to get into my kitties mamas cage. She wanted so much to be part of a family. Little Nala is a sweetheart! She hasn't taken long to tame. She's a quick convert, it's that stinky moist food!
Speaking of my kitties mama, she won't leave! We planned on letting her go back to her corner of our yard but she doesn't seem to want to leave her cage. It's the moist food! 

So there is my story of how I've become the crazy cat lady. I'm just a push over and our yard attracts cats. But boy am I hoping this is it!  19 it enough!
This is where I should put in a service announcement about spaying and nurturing your animals. Please do,there isn't  any more room in my yard or pocketbook. 

Take care, Brandie

Friday, June 27, 2014

Quick Finish

I meet my deadline, goody! 
It was a quick quilt and not to difficult to complete once I set my mind to it. I even had some healthy competition from Shay. Though I don't think it was fair for her for a couple of reasons. 
1. Shay is quilting her complicated appliquéd orange peels. I was doing a big grid. 
2. We both wanted our quilts done by Saturday. But Shay is a day ahead of us as she lives Down Under.  
3. Shay is unpacking her parents into their new house. Me, I'm just sitting around eating chocolates and feeding kittens.
See its just not fair but I did like the challenge. Thank you Shay!
I did say that there wouldn't be any fancy quilting but I wanted to slow down and give Shay a chance to catch up. Also I think that area around the name needed some more color. If I did anything fancy anywhere else it would have been lost in the fabric patterns. 
Just a few swirly feathers to fill the space. 
Hot pink backing was a bold choice but I wanted a plain backing because I FM quilted her name all over the back. If anyone steals this quilt from my SIL, they will have a @"*+ of a time removing all the tight stitched words from the quilt!
I'll try to get pictures tomorrow hopefully with a BIG smile! 

Shay, I'm looking forward to seeing your finish! I know you can do it! I'd send you some chocolates for energy but they'd never get there in time. 
Grab some Cadbury bars with fruit and nuts and send me the bill. And throw in a couple packs of Tim Tams!

Take care and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flimsy Excuse

I just finished putting the flimsy together! This was yesterday's goal but I got busy (season 4 of Downton Abbey) and didn't meet my goal till this morning. 
Today's goal is it layer it and get started quilting. My plan is to have this done by Saturday so I can hand deliver it to my SIL. 
There will be no fancy quilting. I spent that time machine satin stitching the letters. Boy are they imperfect! This is why I hand appliqué!
Back to work! No more TV till I finish... at least the sandwiching. 

Take care, Brandie

Monday, June 23, 2014


This weekend I decided to take a quick pause from my appliqué-dresden quilt. 
I had just returned from seeing my SIL at the care home she lives in and I had an epiphany. Why haven't I made her a bright happy quilt?! 
Many of you know of Libby Lehman. She had a similar stroke and has had many of the same happenings as my SIL. 
We are starting to see more improvement with my SIL but it has been a long slow heart breaking journey. 
When I read about other quilters making Libby quilts, I should have connected the dots but I'm slow and it took me much longer.  
(The instant fabric hits the floor, cats come from nowhere to claim it!)
So I came home and I ransacked my fabric stash to find that swan fabric, one that I bought years ago with my SIL in mind. Than I grabbed all my hot pink (we use to call that slut pink!) fabrics. Not enough of them so I threw in purples and melons. 
I needed something bright and happy but not childish. 
(Are you looking at me? Is this my quilt?)
I'm going to add big bright letters, her name, to keep this quilt in her possession, hopefully.
I'm just hoping to reach her, to reconnect  with the girl I grew up with. 

Take care!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Moving Right Along

I think I'm on the right path. I'm excited to see borders added to my little dresdens. 
Right now this is my favorite quilt!

Take care, Brandie

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An Idea

Just a little idea that may or may not work. The only way I'll know for sure is to stitch down a side and see.  
Those who know me are probably laughing at my small toe dipped in the Kaffe pond. But we all have to start somewhere! And don't forget, it takes all kinds of quilters!

Back to my favorite form of quilting, appliqué. Wish me luck!

Take care, Brandie

Friday, June 13, 2014

Slow Days

It seems that with the heat and the kittens, I'm not as productive as usual. Last week the heat was so bad I was sweating just to walk into another room. Thank goodness that's passed! Now it so chilly in the mornings I have to close up the house before bed. What kind of crazy weather is this!?
The centers were finally finished Tuesday while waiting for an appointment. Though I think it took me two more days just to get them to my sewing room. 
As you can see, I needed help to hold them down. 
I really need a design wall! Cats just can't resist anything laying on the floor. Anything! It's like a cat trap. Just lay fabric or paper on the floor and soon every cat in the house will act as a weight to hold them down for you. 
I did manage to attach every dresden and complete the main part of the quilt. Now that I'm done with that its time for me to think about the appliquéd border. I've run out of all but a fat quarter of the black so I'm thinking maybe its time to introduce another black for the border. But I think that will be decide IF I can find said fabric. 

Mama cat had her surgery and we took that opportunity to separate the babies from her. I bathed them and brought them into the house. The first few days they seemed as if they were adjusting. Then they escaped their cage and we had to re-catch them. My hands suffered a few bites, good thing I'm not doing my appliqué yet! This morning my hands seem to feel better not stinging like they were all day yesterday. Lots of ointments and lotion!
Our intention is to hand feed the kitties till they are comfortable with our hands. Then to hold them as much as possible. 
Yesterday we let mama out of her cage so she could go back to her outside home. But she didn't want to leave. She sat on the porch in front of the door howling for her babies! It was so sad! This is a feral cat that we've been feeding for about two years and assumed was a male. There is no denying that animals don't feel affection or love. Unfortunately they seem more affectionate than my BIL! But that's another heart breaking story that I'm not sure I can say out loud. Please just keep my Sister-In-Law in you thoughts and prayers. She needs all the support and love she can get. 

Thank you!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Surprise Package

Quilters are the nicest people!
Imagine my surprise when I received a package from fellow blogger Lindi. 
She's so sweet, she was sending out gifts on HER birthday. Not only is she sweet, she's creative and master glass maker. 
She stuffed the package full of goodies! 
 Do you see those bundles of fabric? It's wool! Now I have no excuse to not try out a wool pattern. No more excuse, Lindi has made sure I catch the wool bug!
Than I saw these glittery threads. Than I instantly thought they'd be perfect with my little dresdens! I'm looking forward to playing with them. 
Lindi also stuck a few of her glass creations in the box. That snowflake is absolutely gorgeous! It's so delicate.  I careful hung in in my kitchen window. I don't like snow but I love this single snowflake!
Thank you Lindi for the lovely gifts and the surprise of winning a giveaway!

Last night was our annual guild sew night. We all get together and make quilts tops for the community. Ours will be for a boy who is aging out of foster care. 
We started with a basic 9-patch in mostly browns. 
Then our leader cut up those 9-patches into these blocks. It's still a mystery to me how they do this! All I know is that it turns out much nicer than the blocks we started with. 
We are still working on putting the blocks back together. Maybe next month we will have them done. 
But we finally finished or HST quilt and now I've got to get it quilted. That's my weekend job. I need to get it sandwiched, with several layers of cat hair!

Have a Great weekend!
Take care, Brandie

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekend Work

 I wanted you all to see the finished quilt. It's a new favorite and I'm so glad I copied Jo's idea! If she hadn't started a tree of life quilt, this quilt may not have existed. I'm sew glad she did because this is in my top favorite, even though hers is sooo much better!
 The simple quilting add to this quilt and give it an antique look (MHO) which I really love.
It took several mouths to make, but it sew was worth it!

Now lets talk about the dresdens!
 As you can see I have a layout. The color isn't showing to its true brilliance so just believe me when I say it's soft and colorful.
 I added a periwinkle flag (Thanks Lynn) around each dresden and then a small border of more black. I auditioned several fabrics to be a border and none of them fit the bill. So I just went back to my trusty black fabric.
I'm thinking maybe I'll have to quilt it with a colored thread? That kind of scares me but maybe this is what this quilt needs. I'm not going to worry about this now, I've got months to think. And maybe if I put it away like the trees it will just age beautifully and the quilting idea will just pop into my head. I'm liking this idea of aging quilts!
 Besides the sewing going on this weekend, we also found 4 more kitties.
The only kitty who wasn't scared of the camera
We trapped mommy and her babies, after several hours and several attempts.
This is a new cat and we suspect that she was dropped off. She isn't as feral as many we've caught.
There are two little striped ones, a gray one with 4 white boots and nose and a very fuzzy gray calico.
My guess is that they are around 4-5 weeks. They are eating solid food and mom seems to have dried up. These poor little guys were so hungry that Hubby scruffed one and picked it up. The poor kitty was caught unawares! But we will tame them and find them good homes.
In about a month they'll be adoptable, If you are local and would like a kitty, let me know!

Have a wonderful Monday!
Take care, Brandie

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Return to the Green

This weekend I pulled a UFO off the pile. First I had to assess the damage. One of the reasons I put this quilt away was that I had started quilting it and I didn't like it. But as I've discovered in the past, some things aren't as bad now as I imagined them then. 
Not so in this case, it was still bad! There was a lot of unsewing to be done but it was made easier by listening to the TV. 
I unpicked one entire side but the good news is that I couldn't find it this morning. But I sure could see it will I was marking and quilting! That just means there aren't any serious needle holes that I'm going to have to worry about (OCD).
I marked and marked. I felt guilty for taking the easy way out. Grid work isn't fancy but I admit I do like it. I just feel lazy doing it. 
But I love the look of it now! I think it really sets those tiny little trees. And an added bonus (in my humble opinion) is that it makes the quilt look antique. So that makes me happy!
I should be able to have this UFO finished by the end of the week. Then maybe I'll have more of a plan for my tiny dresdens. 

Have a happy Wednesday!
Take care, Brandie