Friday, June 30, 2017

A Quilter's Memorial Service

Recently, a woman we knew died from cancer.  I knew her from the quilting guild and Hubby knew her through her husband.  This was what we saw when we entered the santuary:  every pew draped with quilts she had made.  I knew she made a lot of quilts, but thought she gave most of them away. During the service, someone said that this is a fraction of the quilts she made in her lifetime, because she did indeed give most of them away.

It was a lovely service, with readings from a story she wrote of her life for her family, and personal stories from her family.  Most of all, they talked about her rough childhood and how she overcame it and formed a lifelong desire to help other people.  One of the ways she helped was to make and donate quilts to women's groups, veterans groups, and her church.  An amazing lady, and I wish I had known her better.  She will be missed.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Outdoor Sink Table

This is my finished table, and it turned out just the way I wanted it, with a galvanized tub sink and a hand pump.  At least it finally turned out just the way I wanted it.

When I first thought of this idea, I planned on doing a tutorial, but then I found that someone (or several someones) not only had the idea before me (Rats!), but had already done tutorials.  So I won't waste your time with another one.

Crafty Staci has one on how to put the drain in the tub.

Click on picture for tutorial. (Photo used with permission by Crafty Staci.)

 Be sure to read all the comments for more detail.  I used a 17 inch round tub where she used a 22 inch oval tub and because of that, I had to use a smaller strainer.  I found a 3 inch bar sink strainer at Lowes.  The larger kitchen sink strainer overlapped the rounded ribs of the tub and would have been difficult to seal.  I got the tub at Tractor Supply but I noticed that Home Depot also has a similar tub.

There are also hundreds of tutorials on building the sink table. I found one similar to the one I made at Ryobi Tools but it was really an Ana White plan. The differences between hers and mine is that I didn't make a tall back (a 2x4 just fit the gap after the last deck board and made a nice backsplash) and didn't put the bracing on the back. I built my back just like the front.  And I had to add two support boards (identical to the side aprons but 2x2 instead of 2x4) on either side of the sink. I also made mine wider (it's 48 inches) and it is about an inch deeper.

Click on picture for tutorial.  (Photo used with permission from Ana White.)

So while I won't waste your time with another tutorial, what I will do for those who might want to make one of these someday is to show you some of my oops moments so you can avoid making them.

1.  Drilling the hole in the tub.  That is the scary part, and for good reason.  When I bought the strainer and told the plumbing department man what I was going to do, he said I needed a 1-3/4 inch hole saw for metal.  Not true.  After Hubby made the second hole with me holding the tub to keep it from spinning with the drill, I attempted to insert the strainer and found that it was about a quarter inch too small so I had to use a metal file to enlarge the hole.  What's a hole saw, you ask? This.  It fits on a drill.

Staci said her husband put a piece of wood and pounded on the center of the tub to make an area for the drain.  We did that also, not necessarily to make an area for the drain, but to make sure the bottom of the tub was solidly on that surface to drill into.  You can see that the bottom of the tub has a rim that holds it up about a quarter of an inch.

With my first attempt, I didn't do that, and after the bit cut through the final metal, it bounced, spun the tub, and made a jagged cut.  Rats again!

2.  Draining the sink.  Notice in Staci's picture that her tub has a flat bottom.  Mine has round, corrugated ridges, and those ridges keep the water from completely draining from the tub.  What I wish I had done was to pound the entire bottom of the tub so it had a concave shape.  If it really bugs me, I might try to go back and do that.  I put some suds in the sink so you can see how much doesn't drain completely.

3.  Drain pipe or not?  The man in the plumbing department also told me I needed a drain pipe attached to the strainer or the water would splatter into my bucket.  But that isn't true the way I built the table.  I use a five gallon bucket which just fits under the sink.  If I had a drain pipe, I wouldn't be able to get the bucket under the sink at all.

4.  Attaching the tub.  When I was trying to design this table, I thought I would just put the tub on a shelf under the counter.  But when I began building, I could see that that would make the table way too heavy and it would actually be in the way.  So I took a cue from my kitchen sink and attached straps to the 2x2s on either side of the sink.  Somewhere around here is some metal strapping, but it's probably packed in box under twenty other boxes, so I had to improvise.  I used the plastic strapping that held our lumber delivery together.  In this picture, I just have one strap on.  When finished, I had two straps, crossed under the sink.  When I find the metal strapping, I will change it out.

5.  Plan ahead.  Goes without saying, right?  Well I had this bright idea to hide my screws with wood plugs.  After I had the plugs glued in, I realized that we haven't found the sander yet.  Packed in one of those piles of boxes still in storage probably.  So, someday, when I find the sander, I'll sand off all those plugs.

I called this an outdoor sink table in my title, and someday it will be outside.  For now, it's beside my travel trailer to give me a big tub for washing dishes.  If you have ever washed a casserole dish in a tiny travel trailer sink, you know why I wanted a bigger sink.  I am not using the hand pump right now, but later, when the sink is outside, I'll put a bucket of water under it so kids can pump water.  This is a cistern pump that was handed down to us from Hubby's parents.  My kids loved pumping water when they were little and I hope it can be enjoyed again here.  You may remember it being in my galvanized tank pond at our last house.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

In Case You Were Wondering, I'm Still Here

The building is progressing slowly. Very slowly. We have just about finished framing in the barn, and are living out here in our trailer. Not ideal, and I have had a meltdown, but we'll make it. Hubby started building the stairs to the attic last night so I won't have to risk life and limb climbing the ladder in order to get up here to use the computer. Once we get real internet instead of this hotspot, I hope to start posting again regularly.

Several weeks ago I decided it was time to move the galvanized stock tank pond down to the barn.  It was stuck off in the trees to keep it out of the way while they were building the barn, and I want it in place before they start backfilling around the barn.

After I got it in place and leveled, or as level as a slightly bowed metal tank can get, I decided to climb inside it to clean it before adding water.  That was easy, but when climbing out, I must have forgotten that I'm not as young as I used to be, and couldn't quite lift my left leg high enough to clear the rim.  My foot hung on the rim but the rest of me kept going over and I hit my right side on top of the rim before hitting the ground.  At first I thought I had broken ribs, but looks like I just cracked one or two.

Needless to say, I haven't been lifting too much unless I absolutely had to.  I'm almost 100% again and will try to remember my age in future projects.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Another Blogger (Blogspot) Glitch? Or Something Else?

I've been noticing lately that some comments come from people with no profile and the accompanying email is a no-reply. I thought it was just one of those things that come in waves, comments from strangers who are passing through. But then, I noticed on another blog I read that she replied to someone in her blog because the commenter had nothing on her profile and a no-reply email. Now I wonder if it is a blogger glitch or maybe a new option I haven't heard about - a way to comment anonymously to blogs that don't allow anonymous comments maybe.

Have you noticed this?

My blog roll widget is no longer in alphabetical order in the edit mode. They don't seem to be in any particular order. I thought it might be some kind of glitch where the edit mode had them in the same sort order as they appeared posted, which is latest updated, but they aren't in that order either. I asked about this on the google forums, but no one there has an answer. There were a couple of people with the same question, so I know it's not just me. If you have Blogger, have you noticed this?

I read something last night that Wordpress has the best software, more SEO compatible. And no, I don't know what SEO is, but it is mentioned a lot in blogs and websites that talk about how to get your blog higher in google searches. I almost wish I hadn't moved back to blogger from wordpress. Almost.

And since I'm asking questions, I have another one for you.

Would you rather read blog posts that have the entire post on the main blog page, or do you prefer to have a snippet of the blog post with a "Read More" link to the entire post? I haven't looked at this type in a blog reader and wonder if the "Read More" divider makes it harder there. When I read blogs on my phone (not often), they seem to be put into the snippet format automatically.

That's it for the questions. I haven't been doing much to blog about. Driving to and from our build every day, agonizing over decisions, and starting to pack up this duplex for our next move into our trailer.

As bad as that might sound, I'll be glad to get out of this duplex. We have become so used to the sound of sirens that the occasional silence seems unnatural. A man was kidnapped and robbed a few blocks away, and our landlord had already told me never to leave the front door unlocked, even if I just went into the backyard. I thought he was just being over-cautious, but one day last week as I was sitting in my chair on the computer, I heard the front door creak like weight was pressed against it. It sometimes does that when the wind blows, but I looked up to see if it was Hubby trying to put his key in the lock, and I saw the doorknob moving back and forth, so figured it was him. I waited a minute because usually I jump up and get to the door just in time for him to open it. But the door didn't open this time, and the doorknob had quit moving, so I got up to let him in. When I looked out the peephole, no one was there. Still, I wasn't alarmed because I thought Hubby was about to come in and then got a call and had to leave before coming in. That has happened before too. It was when I called him to see if he had come home and left before coming in that I got alarmed because he had not been here. Just someone trying doorknobs to see if one was unlocked. Then, night before last, Hubby woke up in the middle of the night because it sounded like someone was trying to break into the outside storage closet, which is right behind our bedroom. He jumped up and turned on the porch light, but didn't go outside to check in case there was someone out there with a gun. Not worth dying over a couple of shovels and weedeater that only holds a charge for ten minutes.

So as bad as it might be living in a twenty-one foot travel trailer, at least we'll feel safe.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Slow Stitching and a Quilting Dilemma

Even though I brought my sewing machine with me to our rented home, I packed all my accessories and tools, so it has made quilting a little difficult. I did bring my English Paper Piecing box that I usually take on trips, so I finished piecing a hexie quilt. As much as I hated to buy duplicate tools, I needed a long ruler and rotary cutter to finish the quilt. I did have a regular sewing foot on the machine and managed to move the needle enough to use it as a quarter foot, and machine sewed the borders. Then I began hand quilting a simple outline of each flower and scalloped border. Then I really regretted packing away the sewing machine accessories - I didn't have a walking foot to put on the binding. I used my regular foot instead and managed to get it done with just a few puckers.

After the binding was on, I decided it needed more quilting and found that it is much easier, or make that less worrisome, to do it after the binding is on. Since the edge was already quilted, I didn't have to worry about the border raveling with so much handling. I've been experimenting with marking methods and right now I really love the Frixon pens.

Now that the quilt is together, it's not a trip project, so I started a version of a Jack's chain and got a good start on it last month when both my mother-in-law and my mother spent time in the hospital. My mother-in-law went in on the day we began building our new home, and my mother went in a week later. Since she is 350 miles away and I am an only child, we took off a few days to go see her.

Speaking of the building, it is almost closed in. Another month, and we should be out of this duplex. The cat and I are more than ready to move. It appears that we are both stress eaters and have both gained four pounds since moving here. For some reason, it looks better on him than on me. too. He's ready to have a little freedom and I'm ready to quit driving forty miles every day to check the building progress and take my daily pictures.

Now for my quilting dilemma. Have you ever been asked by someone to make a quilt? Not just any quilt, but a recreation of a quilt? No? Well, be careful when you answer if you are ever asked. I was asked to make a Sunbonnet Sue quilt. I thought, ok, I can fuse the pieces on the blocks and use a blanket stitch on my sewing machine. Easy, right? No. After I agreed to make it, she said she wants needle turn applique which I have never done. AND, she wants it to look like a quilt made by her grandmother that she hasn't seen in over sixty years. But she thought she would recognize the pattern when she saw it. Uh huh. We went to a couple of quilt shops and she found two patterns of Sue that looked like it and one pattern of Overall Sam. So is it Sunbonnet Sue or Overall Sam? She thought it had both. I thought I'd take a class, brush up on my hand stitching and make one. A few months later, she called and excitedly told me that she had a picture of her grandmother's quilt. Great, says I, send it to me. She'll give it to me the next time I come to visit because she doesn't know how to get the picture to me. It's on a slide. For those of you youngsters, a slide is a transparent image of a photograph which could be viewed on a large screen using a projector. They were popular when I was young, when people took scads of photos of themselves on vacation, turned them into slides, popped them into a remote control carousel, and bored their friends with a verbal description of each and every one. Kind of like facebook and blogs today, except in person.

Anywhoo, mom had this slide, and no way to make it into a photo except to project it onto the wall and take a picture of that. She tried that, except it was too grainy to see, especially with the wall texture distorting it. So my husband held the slide (they are about two inches by two inches) and I held a light over it and took a picture with my phone. Still very grainy, and part of it may be that it never was in focus in the first place.

So here we have it, a picture of THE quilt, and could I please duplicate it? Duplicate it? I can barely tell what it is. If I didn't know it was either Sunbonnet Sue or Overall Sam, there is no way I would have guessed that was the pattern. But now that I do know, I am trying to decide if Sunbonnet Sue is even on there. I see the outline of what appears to be overalls on one block. And the other visible blocks seem to have the same big shape (the overalls) which means it is just an Overall Sam quilt. Or maybe the same blue is part of a Sunbonnet Sue pattern? I dunno. What do you see, if anything? Any idea what the borders may look like? Ay yi yi.

Linking to Slow Stitching Sunday 39 at Kathy's Quilts.