Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Porch Sofa -- LARGE cushions

After sewing the three small cushions for the porch sofa -- I was kinda burned out.

And, too -- it's summertime, I'm doing a lot of things with Lilly and Warren, and moving on to the three BIG cushions seemed like a really big job.

So, there was a fair bit of procrastination going on.  THEN I had two funerals in one week...and it was time for me to GET BACK TO THE SOFA.

That's how it works for me.  When I am happy, I sew.  When I am sad, I sew.  As it turns out -- it can be serger dishrags -- or it can be a porch sofa....that's how I roll...

However -- I was running low on fabric.  So, when I started on the three big cushions, I laid out little bits of fabric to plan the design before I actually cut anything. There were three main fabrics, so I decided the best solution would be to do two sides yellow, two sides squiggle dot, and two sides big circles...This would give me the MOST OPTIONS -- right??
Cushion #1 has a yellow side --
The other side of Cushion #1 is the big circles fabric...get it??
Cushion #2 has one side of squiggly dots -- except I didn't have enough fabric...
So, I did the best I could to match the pattern to add the 2" I needed...
Cushion #3 would have had one side of squiggle dots...but I only had a small piece left...so I did a patchwork design...
The biggest lesson of sewing these cushions was that I made the pattern first -- then went SLOW...fitting each cushion as I went.  Here's the general order of things...
  1. First, I did the zipper/cheat...ironing the zebra fabric on top of the old flower fabric. 
  2. Then I made a pattern and cut out the top piece. 
  3. I marked the center point on all four sides, and basted the top to the zebra side panel, right sides together. 
  4. At that point, the "fitting"on the cushion was critical. It is always better to start a little too big, then snug it up...or trim it down as required. (ask me how I know this)
  5. Each seam was sewn three times. First, a basting stitch (so I could do the fitting) -- the second round was with my serer to clean up the edges. And, finally, I did a three step straight stitch to make it as strong as possible...
Then, to do the flip side, repeat steps 3-5.  This is the point where you will really be glad you marked the center point on all four sides...

NEXT MONDAY -- I will do the official "REVEAL".  It really did all come together....

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The OLD Porch Glider

This summer has been the story of my own, personal slow stitching project (Mark Lipinski would be so proud!). I've spent two months remodeling and restyling my Salvation Army porch sofa.

 I cannot remember the last time I tackled such a big job.

There was buying and then HAULING the new sofa to my house...then, loading up an again HAULING the old glider back to the same thrift store...

I loved the way the porch looked in 2009. I made new slipcovers for the aluminum glider set from the 50's (these are old fashioned cushions with metal springs)...
A week after taking the glider to the Salvation Army -- it was the new favorite break spot for employees. I drove by three times before I could get this picture...(with nobody sitting there, smoking)

As a part of the porch project, I am also rethinking the tables....
And after three years of sitting outside, totally ignored and useless...this cement sculpture may finally find a home on the porch...
THE PORCH LOOKS STUNNING....I AM SO PROUD OF ME...all the work I did, all the mistakes I made, all the patience it required...then, actually letting GO of so many things I used to treasure...

This is Tuesday, July 22,  and I have invited my book clubbers to come for breakfast on the porch for the actual UNVEILING. 

Carrie came yesterday and, as always, cleaned the house and helped me finish up the final details on the porch.   She moved the table, put the zebra rug in place...and, well....honestly...it's the best work I've ever done. 

AND I CAN'T WAIT TO SHOW YOU...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Concerts

Bettendorf, Iowa is a beautiful little city that sits on the bank of the Mississippi River. It has excellent public schools and an amazing library. Also, a world class Children's Museum and a fair-to-middling Goodwill store.

My Tuesday morning breakfast is in Bettendorf every week because the other three members live there. They are plugged in to the benefits of their little city...the bike paths, literary events, and -- best of all -- THE FREE SUMMER CONCERTS...

This summer, because I have both Lilly and Warren for an overnight on Thursday nights -- I started taking them to the outdoor concert at Faye's Field -- adjacent to the library
I spread out a blanket for Warren...Linda is playing with him here...

On this night, Lilly fell on the sidewalk and badly skinned her knee...
Sandy was very sympathetic...and I was enjoying the tag-team Grandma action...
Warren is ALWAYS looking for some attention from the men...I told Karl and Gary they should take turns chasing him...
The first week, he actually stayed on the blanket. But the next week, he scooted to many different groups...eating their food, giving strangers little gifts he picked up along the way...Cheetos, dog biscuits...
These weekly concerts are free, they only last an hour, and I am ALWAYS glad when I make the effort to go.

So I can be "spontaneous" -- I have a blanket in my trunk at all times -- along with an old folding hair for me, an umbrella stroller for Warren and a bag of activities for Lilly.

Some people bring snacks or games...Lilly has made two new friends. She is not all that interested in the music...but she LOVES going to the concerts and finding another little girl her age who might enjoy a game of Crazy Eights.

The people running your nearby small town are probably doing the same thing...and YOU SHOULD GO.  Be supportive.  Get lost in the music.  Take a child, or your neighbor or your aunt....pick up your Uncle from assisted living....

YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer Switch-R-OO

This week, the middle of July -- the weather in Iowa has been unusually mild. Gorgeous, even. Clear blue skies and cool temps. 50 degrees at night, and 70's during the day....??? WHAT'S UP WITH THAT??

Meanwhile -- the people living in the Seattle/Tacoma area (where I have many wonderful friends) -- have been enduring (and non-stop bitching about) some sweltering 100+ temperatures...
Linda B. posted this on her Facebook page...outside temp 109????

Which only proves what I have long suspected. If there is a God -- he has a wacko sense of humor.

He sent the hot humid Iowa summer weather to Washington State. And we got what you people were planning on....

I've gotta take another look at this religious thing...


Friday, July 18, 2014

Movies We Both Enjoy

Also -- having a DVR has changed my television viewing habits. I cannot remember NOT having a DVR...

Right now, I have 9 movies in the que.  Lilly calls these, "movies we would both enjoy".  My rule is, no cartoons or Princess movies. We watched Parent Trap last weekend, and we both loved Goonies,
In this movie, Lillian learned that even though a person may look scary and abnormal, they could still be good and kind...and it's what's on the INSIDE that counts...

Pretty in Pink, (there was sewing! remember that classic from the 80's?), Matilda, Black Beauty, Fly Away Home...anything where the kids are the hero's, or they have to think their way out of a situation.
And, of course, we love ANY STORY ABOUT DOGS...this one was a winner!
Even though Lillian is only 5 years old, she and I both enjoyed Akeelah and the Bee...
Lilly and I had a lot to talk about after watching this movie.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Am Grateful for....

Thinking about what I'm grateful for...on a daily basis -- hummm....how can I not mention -- Television!!

Who am I kidding?? Nobody enjoys the vast television wasteland more than me. Please don't send me an email telling me I should be ashamed of myself. I am not. As a matter of fact -- I refuse to be judged.

I am addicted to crappy television shows -- here is my 2014 summer short list:
  • Sister Wives (I think polygamy should be legal everywhere...maybe even required in some places -- except it would be one wife with multiple husbands in Alaska)
  • American Ninja Warrior (who comes up with these obstacles?? Soooo weird...)
  • Breaking Amish (you've gotta love 350 lb. Mary slinging back vodka shots in all her Amish garb...including the white linen bonnet...)
  • America's Got Talent (is having a great year!)
  • The Goldbergs (the BEST show on television right now -- I feel like I am living a parallel life)
  • Real Housewives of New York City (I am totally a Heather fan)
  • Fixer Upper (on HGTV -- I love these Texans)
  • Hoarding (this show makes me feel good about my housekeeping) 
  • Real Housewives of Orange County (What do you think Shannon's husband does for a living?)
  • Naked and Afraid (one very odd show -- I cannot believe it is BACK for a new season...hey, if some woman is willing to get naked in front of a strange man and walk into the wilderness, it is my job to watch)...

Writing this post made me happy...is that a bad thing?

OR -- maybe it just proves something I have long believed....the real key to happiness is lowered expectations...

Because the way I figure it, I also love Downton Abby -- but if I waited for THAT kind of television, I'd only be happy 8 days out of the whole year.... 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is Today Tomorrow?

Okay, okay...I wrote a post saying I was going to blog tomorrow...which should have been Tuesday. Then, I didn't do it...so the big question was, "Is today tomorrow?"

I've been thinking about that all day. Like most questions, there is not one exact right answer. It's a matter of opinion...or perspective....

On one hand, of course today is not tomorrow. They are two very different things. But, on the other hand -- every today used to be a tomorrow. And, obviously, every tomorrow will grow up to become a today.

You can see why I haven't been blogging....

My thoughts keep getting wrapped around the axle (Sandy used that phrase at breakfast, and I've been wanting to use it all day...)

So, what have I been doing with all the time I've NOT been spending on my blog? Well -- there's Pinterest, of course. Hours of mindless entertainment...some pins are funny, some tasty, some are even wise...AND SOME EVEN MAKE YOU THINK...
Here is my list of simple things that make me happy....

  • The smell of my coffee, brewing first thing in the morning...
  • White, crispy cotton sheets, dried on the line...
  • Having a project to sew.
  • Having somebody to cook a meal for.
  • The pubic library.
  • Books on tape.
  • Having my own car...which I can drive aimlessly around, listening to a good book on tape...eating BBQ potato chips and Casey's bacon pizza...
  • Monday is my Carrie Day....and she cleans my house.
  • Tuesday I wake up in my clean house, and go to breakfast with my clubbers.
  • Local music theater...more about that later...
  • Having a puzzle table set up in the living room ALL THE TIME...
On Thursday and Friday I have Lillian and Warren. We cook, play, go to concerts with my friends, work on art projects, make things, do puzzles...they think I hung the moon...one smile can carry me for a whole day...
Before starting any baking or cooking, Lily says, "WE CAN'T FORGET OUR APRONS, Grandma!"...