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Time to Get Busy

 Time to get busy.  I want this tree trunk coffee table in my living room before my company comes for New Year’s!
One side of the slab was 6 3/4 of an inch and the other was 7 1/2 inches so I had some evening up to do.  I went to the good old ReStore and bought some 1/4 inch thick flooring pieces.  Putting the pieces on three of the four corners seemed to level it well enough. 
This is level enough for me. 
 So I gathered my tools and went to work.  First I carpenter glued the flooring pieces to the trunk. 
I used the wheels as weights for the 30 minutes the glue needed to set.  That way I could gawk at what was to come.
(A quickish digression: My husband actually helped a ton with this project.  He cut the wood flooring for me and got the screws and did all the heavy lifting.  It made sense that he should come along to the Woodcraft Store – the guy there had been really helpful before – to help pick out the wheels and just so we could hang out together.  We like hanging out together.
But the guy at Woodcraft only talked to my husband when we were in there trying to figure out which screws to use and what to look out for and whatever other details an experienced woodworker could help with.  I felt practically invisible.  My husband didn’t really notice as this has never happened to us before.  It was exceedingly frustrating and added so much tension to our day.  I have a little sour taste left over still.)  
Back to business.  The evil dude at the wood store recommended these fancy 4 inch screws.  We also had to buy (Not from the wood store, mind you, they don’t sell them there) a special drill bit because we needed more torque to get them into the hard wood.
 First pilot hole drilled!  There’s no going back now!  Every step felt that way a little. 
Then I hit a snag.  The drill couldn’t handle the length of the screws.  It actually started smoking before I gave up.  I had drilled the pilot holes as deep as I could go and the screws were still sticking out at least an inch and a half. 
So we switched to 2 1/2 inch screws and yet another fancy drill bit.  Problem solved.  It added a day to the project but that kind of stuff is bound to come up. And when you procrastinate as well as I do, a little delay is no big deal.
The only thing left do was lug that beast up a flight of stairs!  We used a dolly and didn’t swear at all.
 Now for the gratuitous finished project shots.

This is my living room.  Just to brag a bit:  That’s my jeans couch with a scarf pillow and two stuffed woollies and a linen quilt, all of which I made. To the right you can see a bit of the chair I reupholstered.  And my antenna is perched on an antique toolbox I cleaned up.  A pretty handmade home for my patchwork life. 
I’ve been waiting to do exactly this for months!  My company is due in an hour…Happy New Year!
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Trying to Spread a Little Holiday Shopping Cheer

Hobby Lobby
Old Navy
Blockbuster Video
All affixed with scotch tape, no stores were harmed.
Have a great holiday! 
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Kind of Like Doodling

I’ve been wondering about how I was going to quilt together those squares for my denim/corduroy quilt.
These are the strips hanging over a rail.
 There’s really no way to do it that isn’t a bit weird because some of the squares are embroidered already but the rest of the quilt isn’t.  What will that do to the over all look of the stitching?  I don’t know.
  So I started thinking about it while quilting and embroidering at the same time.  Kind of like doodling using a needle and thread.
This is was an old linen shirt.  It’s really fun to stitch on.  It’s portable and colorful.  I do feel a little odd when people ask me what it is and I don’t have an answer for them.
I sort of think of it as a test square but the other quilt is already at a point where this testing is not useful so that’s not really the right term.
I love the look of running stitch.  I don’t know why.  It’s primitive and versatile.  In this it’s really colorful but look at what this woman does with her’s (She’s really incredible).  Because I’m just bopping along with it, it’s never perfectly straight and I love that.
I’m sure it could be perfectly straight but that’s just not something I’m interested in doing or looking at.  I unconsciously follow the other stitched lines that are already there so it feels very intuitive.  I also love how it makes that cloth ripple like water.  I’m pretty sure that’s something I’m supposed to try to avoid but again, this is more interesting to me.
So, it’s a doodle/test/probable short table runner/thingy.  
Yeah, that’ll work.
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I’m Not Done Monkeying Around

So, Matt flipped this over to the non oiled side for me.  It’s pretty light in color but after one coat of oil:
Oh yeah, it’s darker but so much more wood grain detail shows up.  I measured the thickness and it’s about 7.5 inches on one side and just under 7 inches on the other side.  Matt thinks that it will just be uneven on the top and we don’t have to worry about it being tippy because it’s so heavy.  I really hope he’s right. 

On to sewing stuff.  Here’s the progress I made on my quilt after I climbed down off of the dining room table (Notice, the quilt’s on the floor now).  I sewed the denim squares into the long strips of corduroy.  I really had an image of lots of squares sewn together when the design of this quilt popped into my head though (Not just the place where the fabric is different) so I decided to sew fake seams into the strips.  Here’s how I did it:
That’s right.  It’s another tutorial for a thing I’ve only done once.  What the hell, why not?  OK, here’s the wrong side of the corduroy fabric.
I folded the end over so that the right sides were together.  I only folded over about 5 or 6 inches of it.
Then I just sewed along the edge.
Halfway down*
Here is it on the right side and it totally looks like two squares sewn together.  Hardly worth a tutorial because it’s so simple.  I kept on going at uneven intervals to make it look patchier.  I did make a few real seams to add interest.  Those are the spots where I changed the direction of some of the squares because I like the way the corduroy looks going in different directionsI even cut a denim strip in half to try that interrupted path thing I mentioned in the last post and …meh…not that exciting.  Worth a try.
There it is.  I have more strips to do but ran out of steam. 
Close up.  I’m not done monkeying around with the strips.  I might shorten some and changes some widths and directions.  For me, that’s part of the fun of patchwork.
*This is where I hit a snag. What had I done?  Threaded the needle wrong?  I guess so.  It looks like only half of the thread went through the needle so one half got wound around the other half and made a mess.  Of course this had to happen while I was trying to get some ‘how to’ pictures.  Sheesh
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I Had to Stand on the Table to get a Decent Picture.

 Early the other morning I figured out how I want to make the quilt that I have been procrastinating on since September.  
I had just finished writing my morning pages when 
this quilt idea jumped into my head.  
It’s really simple but that’s the kind of quilt that appeals to me.
 I don’t think it will be quite like this but it’s a general map.  
It at least got me started.  
I know it looks like just a jumble of scribbles but trust me, that’s a quilt there.  🙂
 I decided the background should be mostly red with some beige and just a little green.
I finally took the leap and cut the corduroy into strips.
Here’s a pile of the selvedges.  I just thought it looked kind of cool.  
It’s trash can bound….maybe…
I sorted the embroidered squares by size and ended up with seven piles though I think I’ll cut some of the squares into smaller shapes.  That might be pretty cool.  I like the idea of the embroidered path being interrupted by a patch of color only to start up right where it left off on the next square.  Hmmm.  I may be giving this a little too much thought.
General concept.  
I had to stand on the table to get a decent picture.  
I like the nap going in different directions.  The second red strip from the top looks darker because I reversed the nap there.  
I think I’ll keep that going  randomly throughout the quilt.
Now, that’s what I call a process post.  I haven’t even started sewing yet.  
But I am about to.  
Riiiiiight NOW! 
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Because That’s My Pace

 The tree trunk table is moving slowly only because that’s my pace.  
It’s in the basement and so I keep forgetting to work on it.
 I’m calling this side finished.  It probably has eight or nine coats of Tung Oil.  The Tung Oil did darken the wood but I don’t mind.  I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out and can’t wait to put my feet up on it.
You can see the marks from the chain saw but it feels smooth.  This will be the underside.  I’ll need help flipping it and then I’ll start the other side.  I’ll try to remember to take a picture of it before I start oiling it.
In lieu of actually sewing content, I thought I’d show off my sewing machines.  I have a few and really love them all.  
What looks like an unassuming side table, turns out to be…
 A beautiful vintage Necchi Mira BU from 1954.  I love me some old machines.  They are sturdy and much prettier than newer machines.
Yes, that is denim thread on there.  Perfect for sewing old jeans into new things.
I could tell you all sorts of details about Necchi machines but this person does a much better job of it.  Also, she has a really cute Springer Spaniel who looks like the one we had when I was a kid, but I digress as usual. 
I found this machine on Craig’s List.  A woman had been given it by her Grandmother and was done sewing and so was passing it on.  At least, that was her story.  It came with all sorts of awesome paperwork including a guarantee and catalog.  Very fun.
 I can’t get over the weird way the threading directions are lettered.  Italians have the same alphabet as we do, right?  So how are we supposed to follow this?  S to E to U to D and wha???  There must be a good reason.  I’m just glad there are pictures
How cute is that?
 It came with a Wonder Wheel for fancy stitching and a ruffler foot along with many other feet and accessories in a Bakelite box. 
 It’s a heavy duty, dependable machine and I love using it.  More pictures of my other sewing machines coming in the future.
I also need to organize my corner of the basement.  
It seems to need attention every few months as I keep finding the greatest stuff that I just really need.  
Surely, you understand.
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Spice of Life

That would be variety.  It’s the spice of life.  Anyway, I guess that’s my awkward way of saying that this post is not about sewing or knitting or any other craft that I do on a typical day.  It’s about WOOD!
A family friend brought me a slab of elm from a tree that was cut down.  He figured I’d come up with something to do with it.  
He was right 
(Coffee Table.  Duh.)
but first it sat in my garage for over a year.
It had to dry plus I just didn’t know where to start.  
So much advice out there but so many of the finishing options were just too toxic for me.
My husband brought home some heavy duty caster wheels but still…it sat.  
Finally, I lost my patience with myself. I started yapping about it to anyone who would listen (all part of my process).  
A co-worker told me about a woodworking store in town – I must have passed it a million times but never thought of going in.  I’m so glad I finally did, all my good free advice came from there.  
They were very helpful and told me that Tung Oil is the goo for me.  It’s really good for porous surfaces – which, I learned, Elm, totally is, and it is petroleum distillate free.  It actually hardens the wood from the inside – whatever that means.  It lets you see the wood as it actually looks, not darkened and it’s water and alcohol resistant.  It’s advertised as  “one of the first ‘Green’ finishes” on the website.  
Oh, Tung Oil, you had me at petroleum distillate free. 
I wish I had some ‘before’ pictures.  Bad blogger.  
I do have a couple of progress pictures.  
This is right as I started when I finally thought of taking a slightly before picture.  I spent two days removing the bark (that part was easy) and sanding (that part was soooo time consuming).  I was ready to move on.
That’s it, though.  I took these picture only moments ago.  I’ve got coat one done and and will move on to coat 2 in…40 minutes.  I’ll keep going every hour till I get tired and then get back to it tomorrow.  I’m a little nervous about the wheels being even.  Do I need to be?  I guess this would be learning by doing.
I’ll post some more pictures as I get further along.  
Sometimes it’s nice to be easily distracted. 
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Process Post

It doesn’t look that different, does it?  But I did spend a fair amount of my yesterday making this second curtain panel the right size for my window.  I expanded it along two sides so that it would fit my kitchen window.  Now I just need to figure out how to mount it.  I need to be able to open it.  I have a pretty good idea, I’ve done this before.  I need to buy some dowel rods and rings so I’m at a stopping point for now.
There is something so satisfying about freshly ironed linen.  It can really stand up to a super hot, super steamy iron.  That kind of ironing brings out the best in linen – though when I wear linen clothes, I just embrace the wrinkles.  It’s one of my favorite fabrics.
I sewed the two squares together in a long chain to preserve thread but also to be more efficient with my time.  It still took me hours and hours.  
Fun hours but still…hours.
Before and After
 That’s right.  My before on this quilt is the exact same as my after.  I still can’t commit to the background fabric for this quilt.  I did lay them out a couple of times to see that they may end up looking like.  I sometimes think that I’d like a quilt made only of the corduroy.   PS – Check out the stuffed animal on the couch.  I made her out of an old wool coat about a year ago.
I did steal away one square to patch a worn spot on the sofa.  
Apparently, denim wears out whether the ass is inside or outside of the pants. 
 I picked the patch I did because it just had a few lines of embroidery.  That way I could add some more while attaching it to the cushion.  I extended some lines beyond the edge of the patch just for fun.  
I also used some thread made just for sewing denim – it ends up being relatively invisible – around the edges in the hopes that it stays on well.  I’m tempted to add some fray check around the edges just to be safe.  
We do get a lot of asses on this spot.
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Scenic Route

 Almost every morning I take an hour or so to drink my coffee and look at my favorite blogs to get some inspiration and catch up with the virtual world.  I follow friends’ blogs about their lives and families, a scientific illustration blog, and way too many craft blogs.  And then there’s pinterest, which I just started using and am really enjoying. 
I had planned a day of working on my denim square quilt when I ran across a picture of pojagi.  Not really a quilt, though pieced like one, a pojagi is a Korean wrapping cloth.  I was suddenly struck with how ugly the curtain on the door to the garage was. It’s been there as long as we’ve owned the house and has always escaped my notice.  So scrapping everything else I had planned for that day,  I made a pile of old linen clothes that I had thrifted. 
Notice the aluminum square to the left of the pile.  I cut it up with scissors every now and then to sharpen the blades.  It worked for a short time and was helpful because my scissors are overdue for a sharpening.  But I digress – Check out those orange pants.
 They were at my local thrift shop and I had to have them.  They were 100% linen, Ralph Lauren and PINK.  I thought I could dye them brown but stupidly picked up the terra cotta dye (WHY?) and they went horribly orange and – even if I had grabbed brown – fatally splotchy.   Easy come, easy go.  I can always cut things up and make them into something else.
 So, I cut up several linen pieces (5 pairs pants, 1 red dress, 1 white shirt, 1 orange top) and ironed the bejeebers out of them.  I then cut them into smaller squares without giving it too much thought.  I wanted random sizes for a crazy quilt look.
Here’s my attempt at a tutorial of how to make a thing I’ve only made once:
 One of the cool things about pojagi‘s is that they have no wrong side.  I think this kind of seam is called  a flat felled seam but feel free to correct me.  I layered the square on top about 1/2 inch lower than the edge of the bottom square.
 I sewed the seam down at about 1/4 down from the edge of the top square.
 There is a whole lot of ironing involved with this process but linen is happy to be ironed.  I ironed the overlap from the bottom square into the seam allowance.
 Like so.
 Then I sewed along the ironed under edge and voila!  A completely enclosed seam.  For consistency’s sake, I call this the wrong side
 Here’s the right side.  Time to iron it again to give it a clean look.  I actually messed that up once or twice so I have some wrong side seams on my right side and vice versa but it’s a very forgiving process.  I made several panels and then sewed all those together using the same seam.  It was time consuming but I love the result:
Tada!  Curtain.  I rushed the end – it was dinner time – so the top is messy.  I should, and one day will, redo it but I’m just going to leave it for now.  It makes me happy.
 Here’s one of the other cool things about pojagi, because they are not quilted – they don’t have to be because the seams are totally enclosed – they are as sheer as the fabric used and look amazing with the light behind them.  Perfect for curtains in a place where privacy isn’t important.  I have the best view from inside my garage.  Since that view just isn’t observed by everyone, I plan on making another for the kitchen window that looks out to the yard.
I feel like the colors have a similar ’70’s vibe as the denim squares quilt will have when I get back on track with that.  I like being able to follow my nose and make things in an intuitive way. They tend to relate to each other without me even noticing right away.  I try to give myself a creating day every week or so so should get back to the other quilt soon…unless something else catches my eye…
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In the name of that process pledge I took…

…here’s where I am with the latest quilt.  I went back and forth to JoAnn’s several times.  Man, they can be so annoying.  I settled on this thin wale corduroy.  It’s soft but thick enough to stand it’s own with the denim.  Also I love the colors.   Very fall.
So now to decide what to use where. 
I really thought that the red would be the background for sure.  I bought the most of it; I could easily use it for the back of the quilt.
But I like the green a ton, too.
Definitely not the blue.
I may even cut squares and just make the whole top of the quilt patchwork-y.  It looks sort of funky and ’70’s to me.  But I don’t want to lost the impact of the embroidery.  So I’m gonna cogitate for a bit on this.
In the meantime, I’ve almost finished the baby quilt I’m making for one of my husband’s co-workers.  I used a remnant from IKEA.  It was a panel and a half of a little scene so I put them together in a way that looks sort of cubist-ish.  I hope it doesn’t freak the baby out to have a chopped up fox on a blanket.

I quilted it using a running stitch with different pinks.  I got bored at the end and changed them up a little bit.  I just have to finish the mitered corners and it’s done.
I took the pictures in my kitchen in order to get the best light.  Have you ever seen such an ugly floor?  We hope to replace it in the next year or so.