Thursday, November 8, 2012

Help for Sandy Survivors!

Help for Sandy Survivors! 

I am copying this post from Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville's Quips & Snips almost verbatim.  I have been so busy lately with the move and now with unpacking and Master's Studies that I have done very little blogging, but if you read this and you have an afternoon free to sew up a quilt, please do so.  If not, and you are in a Walmart, or Meijer, or Target, or where ever you shop and you can pick up a blanket, it will be used and appreciated.

A friend of mine lives in a neighborhood devastated by Sandy.  His neighborhood lost two young boys when a tree smashed the home in which they were sleeping.  There is great need.


Bonnie's Post...

This is an urgent post.

I’ve been emailing back and forth with Victoria Findlay Wolfe of over the past several days trying to line up something that we can do to help those left in the wake of Super- Storm Sandy’s destruction.

So many are still without power, having lost their homes or having experienced severe damage ---

So much is needed!

As quilters, what do we do best?  We Quilt!

Here is what V sent me to pass on to you:

Super Storm Sandy and my area of the world.
Having missed the entire storm, by being in Houston for Market, I felt helpless as my family were in NYC without me. I started to organize a quilt drive for our area while I was still in Houston.
Once home, I realized how seriously the storm affected my neighborhood, my friends, and fellow New Yorkers, CT, PA and NJ... Homes have been wiped off the face of the earth, people are cold, and wet, and we have rain and snow coming. I need to be able to help NOW.
I just had a call from Raul Russi, Head of the Acacia Network, whom I had previously partnered with on Quilt Drive for homeless families being taken out of shelters and put into transitional housing.
He said, "We have 150-200 quilts here, right now. And since the rest of my families are INSIDE already, can we deliver these quilts in our medical trucks to the people in the Rockaways, NOW?"  I said, "YES! Let's go!" 
Once we have more quilts, we will continue to set up more distribution points around our area including Staten Island, Long Island, NJ, CT.

Home-made or Store Bought QUILTS AND BLANKETS: ANY SIZE.

Quilts will be accepted, and handed out as quickly as they come in.

Give Selflessly.

Thank you cards will not be sent out due to the urgency of the events of SANDY.


LABEL YOUR QUILTS, Name, address and email.

The person who receives your quilt may want to thank you themselves.

Send Quilts & Blankets to:
Basic Housing, Inc.
Attn: Robert Gonzalez / H.SANDY
540 East 180th Street, Bronx, NY 10457
your name, email & address & Phone

Please ship them with delivery confirmation.

Any questions, Please email:

Lane Falcon:


Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Me Again...
While I have not done Bonnie's Trip Around the World quilt, I have done a few of her quilts and her instructions are well written and easy to follow.  I may just abandon my unpacking for a day this weekend and spend some time sewing... I've been wanting to do that for some time anyway, now I have a "Good" excuse.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, October 4, 2012

We're Moving...

We finally closed on a new house!  I haven't been posting because I haven't been sewing.  I posted about a house where I was going to have a sewing room on the main floor with big windows, but that fixer upper deal fell through. :-(

BUT, we found an even BIGGER house and with a little wheeling and dealing we were able to buy a 2 year old home with more space than the fixer upper we were looking at (and more than twice the space we currently have!) and our monthly payment went up only $110!!

I am SO excited to get moved in... Oh, and while I won't be getting a main floor 11x12 foot sewing room with big windows, I will be getting a 14x16 foot mancave (also known as a sewing room) in the basement!  The basement is unfinished, so initially my mancave will have only two concrete walls, but it'll be mine!  I can leave Betsy and the Queen out all the time.  The Treadle will have a home and the Red Eye can come out of her table and see the light, and my unnamed Featherweight (Yup... I got one!) will be able to be on display and used as well.  And of course Leonidas, who is still naked with parts in boxes will be out where I can see him again.  It'll probably be Christmas break before I can really work on him again, but I'll finish him before 2013...

I have also been VERY busy with school.  For those who may have missed it, I have gone back to school to get my Masters of Divinity, and I'll earn a Masters of Ministry along the way!  This has been a complete exercise of faith for me, and if you'd like to know more, click on the bible on the right side of the page near the top to read my other blog.  (You could follow it too if you'd like to see all of my updates on that front.)

Pictures of the new house and mancave will come soon.  First we are going to clean the carpet, and finish painting a room, and then we'll move in!

Exciting Times!!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back To School...

Well, it's that time of the year again... Back To School.  This past Sunday at church Pastor asked everyone who is going back to school to stand and come to the front of the church so he could pray over everyone.

3 of my 4 kids were with me and as pastor called up "Middle Shoolers, High Schoolers", they got up and headed to the front as pastor continued, "We have some starting college, and some returning, and we have two Graduate Students who need to come up here too", I started looking around to see who he was speaking of when my friend sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "that would be YOU!"

Oh, Yeah... That IS me!  I don't know how I forgot considering I spent 4 hours Saturday night reading from "Introduction to Biblical Interpretation", my textbook for my Biblical Hermeneutics class which starts next week, but I did forget.  I was seriously looking around to see who was going to Graduate School.  I guess it still hasn't really hit me that I am going back to school.

I am still a little short on my funding for the first semester, but I am 100% confident that God will provide.  He has thus far, I have no reason to doubt that He will continue.

If you would like to read more about my schooling adventure, or if God is leading you to contribute you can find instructions for donating online as well as by directly sending funds to MVNU (Mount Vernon Nazarene University) on my other blog Paul's Ramblings.

I know this is my "quilting blog", and there has been very little quilting lately, but that will change soon.  Once I have settled into a new routine in a new environment (hint, hint...) I will be able to get back to sewing on a more regular basis.

And I will definitely be sewing this weekend, as my daughter needs a new Dance Bag.  She signed up for 3 dance classes this year and she needs a bigger bag to carry all of her gear.  We could have bought one, but she actually asked if I would make one for her.  Well, how long do you think it took me to say "YES, I'll make one for you!"?  So Friday night we're off to the LQS to pick out some fabric and then I'll be spending a few hours at the sewing machine!  Woo Hoo!  I can't wait!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm Back... Kind Of...

Wow, I can't believe July 4th was the last time I posted anything here!  Life has taken a few crazy turns since last I posted... So here is a brief run down of all that is happening...

My wife and I listed our house.  We have had several lookers, but no offers yet.  We find it funny that the feedback we are receiving is all positive, but they didn't like one thing or another about the house that they could have seen on the listing.  For example, one couple indicated that they loved the house, but they would have to spend to much money carpeting the house because they really don't like hardwood floors.  Then WHY did you come look at a house which clearly states, "Laminate Wood Floors Throughout!"  Did they think we were kidding?

Another family came through and decided it was too small for their growing family of 5... Well DUH!  1,500 sq feet and 3 bedrooms should have told you that.  Did they really need to come walk through the house?

Frustration aside, we are having an open house this weekend and we should see some traffic...

We also made an offer on a house!  Woo Hoo!  I am too excited, but we are dealing with a bank so response could take some time.  This house has been on the market for a LONG time, it is in need of some pretty major repair, but if we get it, we will contract out most of the repairs and have it completely done by the time we move in.

Which brings me to my reason for posting today... I need some advice.  When we move (whenever and wherever that may be) I will be getting a sewing space.  It may be large, it may be small, but having a space where I can keep a sewing machine, iron board, and cutting table set up at all times was my only requirement for any house we looked at.  If we get this house, the room will be 145 square feet, on the main floor of the house, with two large windows!  (Now you all understand my excitement for THIS house!)

Here's my question.  What color should I paint it?  It will have an Oak Hard Wood floor and it will be open to the rest of the house, so it will be fully visible, which means I will have to keep it neat and somewhat clean, but I'll display my machines, etc. in there and our desk will reside in the room as well.  It is also Oak.  Oh, and I bought a white sewing machine table for "Lolita", my big Singer.

So, Give me ideas, help me design my sewing room... First step, Paint It.  And if you have links or Pinterest Boards for Sewing Space Ideas, PLEASE SHARE!!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July.  May you all have a fun and SAFE day...

Until next time...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fire! Come HELP!!

I was in the back yard building new doors for our shed last night when the dogs started barking like crazy...  When I walked up to the back door I saw our neighbor waving her arms at the front door and she looked very scared.

I ran through the house and I began to understand her request... "There's a fire.. Please come help!!"
I grabbed a fire extinguisher, yelled to my daughter to go grab the other one, and out I went.

It was a grass fire, a very small one, and ironically it was the Fire Chief's lawn ( from the next town ) that was ablaze.  I doused the flames with the extinguisher I had, and right on cue, just as it ran out, Chyenne ran up with the second one.  We managed to put out the flames, but just as we did the smouldering dry grass jumped to life and new flames appeared.

The fire department showed up and did the job right, spraying hundreds of gallons of water on all the dry grass and trees to insure we had no more flare ups. 

It made for an exciting evening!!  I was glad I knew How to operate the extinguishers.  There was no time for reading then...  If you have extinguishers in your home, read the label today and refresh your memory on how to use it.

Until Next Time...

My two spent extinguishers... After this experience I think I'll buy larger ones next time!

The fire truck... We wondered how much water they can carry in that truck...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I'm NOT going to catch the bug...

I'm not going to catch the bug...
I'm not going to catch the bug...
I'm not going to catch the bug...

Oh, WHO do I think I am kidding??  I have the Antique Sewing Machine Bug, and I've got it so bad, I had a friend GIVE me a 1910 Singer 66 Treadle today!

My son said, "So, is this your 'new' thing now, you go find old sewing machines, fix 'em up and sell 'em"?  Which led to a nice discussion about how sometimes we do things because we enjoy doing them.  Some things are worth keeping, not replacing.  We discussed the fact that this machine is 102 years old AND STILL WORKS! to which he quipped, "I guess it's true when they say, 'They don't make things like they used to', isn't it"?

My wife rolled her eyes, and my daughter said, "Dad, I'm glad you have your hobbies and all, that you enjoy a lot, but Quilting? and Sewing Machines?"

The machine has been in Dave's family since it was purchased new by Great Grandma "in the early 1900s".  As often happens, Great Grandma passed it down to her daughter, Dave's Grandmother, who sewed her last project on it two years ago.  Dave said Grandma made all of his father's clothes in the 40s and 50s and most recently she made doll clothes and dresses for missionary's kids.  I asked if she ever quilted and he wasn't sure, but "Grandma was always sewing something, as was Great-Grandma when she was alive, so I imagine one of them made a quilt at some point, but I couldn't be sure..."

Grandma died a few months ago and when they went to auction off all of her stuff, the auctioneer told them they'd be lucky to get $50 for it.  They decided for $50 they would rather give it to someone who would cherish the machine like Grandma did.  None of them sew, and they knew Grandma would rather it be used than just sit and collect dust, so they began a quest to find someone to give the machine to.  I am the chosen one.  I get the honor of keeping this beauty sewing stitches for many more years to come.

It's obvious that this machine has been cherished and cared for and used often.  The decals in front of the feed dogs are worn away.  The "Singer" on the arm of the machine is worn in the middle, probably where someone grabbed it to lower it into the table hundreds and hundreds of times.  It is obvious that it has now sat for a few years too.  There is some dust grime and there is a nice sized water stain on the cabinet where somebody set something wet upon it.

I will not be doing a full restoration on this machine, at least not right away.  I may do it someday, but for now, I will clean it up and as soon as I can, I will start putting it to use.  That was the only condition that I was given.  "If we give this to you, you need to promise it will be used."  I clarified that I wouldn't be replacing my usual full time machine, but that I would definitely clean it up and use it often enough to keep it in good working order... And Dave was happy with that.

I only shot a few photos, I'll do a proper photo shoot when I have a little more time on my hands... Monday's coming fast.  But I had to brag share with you all... I am SO excited about this machine!  I am going to have to do some research... I don't think the cabinet is the original cabinet, it just seems to not be "as old" as the machine itself.  But darn is she a beauty!  And I'll have to shoot a video as well... One grab of that wheel, one quick pull and she'll breeze through 6-8 cycles before slowing down, and she'll get 8-10 in before she stops.

Until Next time...

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Have I Been Up To?

Scott asked about Leonidas after my last post... Leonidas is now naked and waiting for his new paint job.  I have not worked on him at all in over a week.

My wife and I have decided to put our house on the market and buy a bigger home.  As a result, we have been doing a bunch of projects around the house preparing it for sale.  The biggest project has been our Master Bedroom and Bath.

We have also been cleaning up and clearing out.  Every storage space in the house will be emptied so prospective buyers see open storage space, which there is a LOT of.  And of course, I still have to go to work every day...

So, here's what I've Been Doing...

I don't know what happened to the "BEFORE" pics,
but here I have already removed the toilet, the door,
and the carpet...

The Door needed patching... The corners of the wall needed repair...
the light fixture needed to be replaced, and the wall around the shower
needed repair.
When I pulled up the carpet and found linoleum, I'll admit, I swore under my breath.  I HATE pulling up Linoleum.  You can see on the right side of the Pic where I started to remove the linoleum, but while doing so, I found a few tacks and realized the linoleum was attached to an 1/8 inch piece of plywood which had been stapled to the real subfloor.  My son suggested just yanking it up.  I agreed, so I could prove to him what a SILLY idea that was... and then in three yanks, we had the whole floor leaning on the wall!!!   (I also have to admit... I hate it when one of my kids outsmarts me...)

Floor completely removed, nails all securely nailed down...
Vanity, Sink and Medicine Cabinet removed...

The hole from the medicine cabinet...
Also known as THE GREAT CAT MAGNET!!!
So I had to cover it up....

My wife and daughters hard at work refinishing the
cabinet.  First they sanded it down, and then they
stained it.  It looks very nice.

I laid tile in the bathroom and the grout was rather stubborn and left "grout stains" (actually just a very fine layer of grout, but VERY obvious, see photo on the left).

BEFORE Excess Grout Remover....  And AFTER Excess Grout Remover....  I didn't want to spend almost $20 for a bottle of stuff to remove the excess grout, so I scrubbed and I scrubbed and after two hours, it still looked like the picture on the left all over the whole bathroom.  After I finally broke down and bought the stuff, it took 30 minutes!  and look how much better it looks!

I would show you "After" pics of the whole bathroom and master bedroom, except that I'm still not done...  Apparently while re-attaching the faucet, I over torqued something and I busted a pipe INSIDE the wall.  About 30 minutes after I attached the faucet, and luckily BEFORE I reattached the cabinet to the wall, counter top, etc. I heard water dripping and found it coming through the ceiling directly under the sink in the entryway to the house!  That discovery of course, brought a halt to all other work as we had to deal with the leak immediately!

I had to cut open a hole so it would drain and not ruin the entire ceiling in the entry way to my house, but now I have a hole in my ceiling to repair, and I have to have a plumber come in and repair the broken pipe, which somehow stopped leaking, although that is only temporary I am sure...

SO, that is what I've been up to.  We meet with a Realtor on Monday to put the house on the market (hopefully everything will be done by then).  We have a few more things to do, so there will still be no sewing or working on Leonidas for a while, but that is OK,  When we move, I have already secured the right to claim a "Sewing Space"... So I'll be able to make up for lost time!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This is a test post

This is a test post with my new phone.   If you see this, I was successful.  if not, I wasn't.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bonnie Hunter "My Blue Heaven" Class

This past Tuesday I got to participate in Bonnie Hunter's "My Blue Heaven" Class, and I had an absolute blast!

The ladies I sat and sewed with all day were a riot, and they were fabulous quilters to boot!  On this trip to Dayton I got to meet an "On-Line Friend", Ed.  Ed and I met on-line about two years ago and he has held a special place in my quilting world, as he was the first other male quilter I met.  Tuesday, I met him face to face, and while he wasn't quilting (he had to work), I did get to quilt with his wife, Janice all day long.  We then met for dinner and went to quilt guild meeting together.

I spent the weekend in Denver on business and decided to take some fabric, a small cutting board, and my rotary cutter with me to make useful use of my down time while in Denver.  So, I took the fabric I was going to need for the "My Blue Heaven" class, as well as some other fabric that needed to be cut up for another quilt and I watched the Heat beat the Celtics while cutting fabric in my hotel room!

My Setup... The bed is to the right where I have the fabric all laid out...
All of the fabric I brought with me.  The Tangerine and Teal in the middle
is the fabric I used (am using) for my "My Blue Heaven".  This fabric all
came from a fabric Swap with other Male Quilters from all over the world.
The Tangerine All cut into 2.5" Strips.  I finished by halftime, enjoyed a short
break and then attacked the Teals...

All of the Tangerine and Teals Cut, Baggied, and ready to quilt!
Next I de-boned several shirts.  This is the waste pile.  I was in "Production
Mode" and didn't think to take "Before, During and After" shots...

All of my cutting work for the evening.  A rather productive Basketball
game, Tennis Match, and Soccer Game!

I found it funny that while I was cutting fabric in my hotel room, I thought
"This is what Bonnie would do in her hotel room"... Then when I got home
I found that TSA had searched my bag, something that happens to Bonnie
all the time.  It just made me laugh because I have NEVER had my bag
searched before...

I forgot to take photos of Step One... This is Step Two, Hourglass Squares.
There's my Step one, HSTs next to the first part of my Step Two QSTs.
My Classroom Setup.  Leonidas is not ready for sewing yet, let alone
traveling, so I had to take Queen Luise with me.
Bonnie doing a Demo.  We learned how to use the Easy Angle and
Companion Angle Rulers for this class.  I had used the Easy Angle
ruler before, but not the Companion Angle Ruler, so this was new to me.
Here's Bonnie at our table using Debbie's Flame Throwing Featherweight.

My Companion Angle Ruler at work...

Half of a Day's work.  (I actually got a LOT more piecing done, enough for
probably 10-12 blocks, but only assembled four blocks.)  These are the
Star Blocks.
And the Star Blocks with the Alternate Blocks.
Love seeing iPads being lifted to take photos...
That's Janice, Ed's wife, on the right, talking about her hexie quilt.  This is a
HAND Pieced, and HAND Quilted project with over 900 Hexie Rosettes!
That's 6,300 Hexies in the flowers ALONE, then there are black Hexies
around all of those!
And as if the shear number of hexies in this quilt isn't impressive enough,
EVERY flower is fussy cut.  Look at the symmetry in those flowers...
The little angels...
And Horses, and Leaves...
And Rubber Duckies, Elephants, and the Dachshunds...
The Dachshunds wouldn't fit on ONE Hexie so she cut them to span TWO!
And Rainbows...
Stars, different Rubber Duckies, a few plaids, and geometric shapes...
And more but completely different rainbows...
10 years in the making, and still not completely done, but stunningly
Beautiful Nonetheless... Almost makes me want to take up hand stitching...

Well, I had a great time in class, and I could go on and on, but 20 something photos is enough for one post!

Thanks for Reading!

Until Next Time,

Monday, June 11, 2012

The De-Robing of Leonidas…

My inactivity here lately is directly related to our preparation for putting our home on the market as we have decided to move this summer to a neighborhood about 5-8 miles north of where we are now.  Not a big move in distance, but we expect to add about 30-40% more space.

So, work on Leonidas has been somewhat stalled (I still work on him almost daily, but only for 10 or 15 minutes) and quilting has completely stopped for now...

Once the dis-assembly was complete, it was time to start stripping him down to bare metal in preparation of adorning him with some new Regal Attire.

Once again, This is not intended to be a tutorial, nor am I encouraging you to do to your machine what I have done to mine.  This is simply me sharing my experience.

I started by stripping all of the parts I had removed that were not chromed.  The Motor Housing, the Foot Pedal, the fly wheel and the belt guard.  I used Jasco Premium Paint and Epoxy Remover and Odorless Mineral Spirits to do the job.

As you can see, the Jasco starts working immediately.  It makes the paint and the finish just bubble up.  After about 5 minutes this is what it looked like..

The Foot Pedal is made with black metal so stripping wasn't much more
than removing a glossy layer.  I then hit the slight surface
rust with a fine grinder and sand paper.

For those small curved spaces I had to use a brass brush, but when all was
said and done... the pieces cleaned up nicely.
Then after cleaning with the Mineral Spirits and some fine grade Steel wool, he was looking rather nice all silvery and shiny.

Once the removed parts were all cleaned up it was time to start on Leonidas’ body.

Before Starting with the Jasco, I had to fill holes in Leonidas' Body so as
to not allow stripper into holes that don't need to be stripped.  I used Q-Tips...
Rolled paper...
Blue Painter's Tape...
And paper...
Then, after he was all properly covered and plugged, it was time to paint on the Stripper.  Due to the fine layer of gook that was all over  him, the Jasco bubbled up differently than on the other parts.  

For the first pass, I completely covered him in the Finish remover.  I’ll never do that again!  It turns out that between 15 and 40 minutes after you apply the Jasco, it NEEDS to be removed.  The first quarter of the removal was smooth and easy, after that, it started to get harder and harder and less and less effective…

So, for the second coat, I only applied to about small part of the machine each time and then scraped that section clean.  I will do a thorough cleaning with Mineral Spirits when I have completed the paint removal.

After two sections of the second coat...
And after a third section...
And then I did another small section, and another, and another, and now I have only one small section left...

Almost Done... One more little patch of Black, and then a thorough cleaning
with the Mineral Spirits, and then it's time to start finishing.
One thing the Spartan didn't come with, but should have, is a light.  I could have simply purchased a light from a 99, and finished it to match Leonidas, but I decided I wanted to do something different.  So I talked to a co-worker of mine who builds custom Themed PC cases, and he gave me a strip of 21 little tiny Super Bright LED lights on a flexible strip...

 So, how bright is Super bright?

And THIS gives you an idea of what they will look like on Leonidas...

 I don't think I will EVER have trouble seeing what I am doing!

Thanks for Reading!

Until Next Time,