Monday, January 13, 2020

Technology and my old Bernina 180 .....!

I remember buying an embroidery machine many many moons ago thinking I wanted to get into machine embroidery. So I purchased a Bernina Artista 180 ..... Yea, this is going way back.

I even purchased the fancy dandy Bernina Embroidery software Designer Plus Version 5. I mean ... I was going to get into it.

Well, I didn't. I found I needed to babysit the machine because .... every time I walked away something happened and a mess needed to be fixed. So, I started to use it mainly for making labels.

This fancy dandy embroidery software was back in the days of Microsoft XP. We're going way back and since I only use it for labels, why upgrade to the latest version .... Right?

Fast forward to today, this technology is considered archaic .... ancient .... but I still would like to use it. My old Compaq Evo N800C laptop that is programed to function with this machine is also archaic ... We're talking like ..... over 18 years old ... but it still functions well and has an amazing screen resolution. It was "top of the line" way back when I purchased it.

As you might have guessed, things are starting to fall apart ... like the USB ports. Back then it was all parallel ports .... so I need to use a USB to parallel port adapter.

I only have two (2) USB ports in the back of the laptop. And now, one of the USB ports on old faithful no longer works. I need two (2) ports for machine embroidery ... one for the USB to parallel mechanism and one for the software dongle.

I tried figuring the COM port on another newer laptop that still runs on XP but I could not get it to work. The driver software was no longer available for the Belkin USB to parallel port mechanism.

I seriously thought I would need to say goodby to machine embroidery .... I could not justify buying a new embroidery machine just for labels ....

I did a search for a USB hub that would work with Microsoft XP. Found this little baby ....

Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub .... why not give it a try. Seriously, what do I have to lose?

Well, wouldn't you know it it works!

Now I have access to four (4) USB ports .... and check this out! It's in direct communication with the machine!

OMG ... I'm stitching

I am such an happy camper .... I can still use my old Bernina 180 for embroidery along with Old Faithful.

Thanks for stopping by my little corner in cyberspace and I do hope this post helps someone in the same situation I was in.

Catch you all later!  Cheers!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A new project .....

A colleague at work became a grand mother for the first time. What better excuse to get the creative quilting juices flowing?!

I gathered all of my 1930's (feedsack) reproduction fabrics and became inspired to create ... the friendship star.

Which then turned into this ....

Time to fire up Penelope for the first time. I was a bit nervous not having played with her for so long ....  It was like riding a bicycle lol

It all came back to me.

What a great day it was! The quilt is all machine quilted and the binding is being hand stitched.

So glad Penelope is back in my life.

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

I've been looking for my mojo ....

I had lost my quilting mojo .... Along with my blogging mojo! I just could not get into the mood. In other words, I was in a funk. There had been so many changes in my life; I was overwhelmed with it all.

Oh, don't get me wrong .... they were all necessary changes, but as you all know, just because it is a wanted change it does not always make it easier to deal with the new. Thankfully, I have some wonderful supportive friends. 

Penelope had been sitting in a box for the past seven (7) months .... un-assembled. As a matter of fact, her room had become one big dumping station. 

It was my friend Nancy who said "We need to put Penelope up." 

You see, given that everything in my life is pretty much "up in the air" for now, I didn't feel it was practical to assemble my longarm, only to dismantle it a bit later. What if I move again? Let's face it, I've moved twice already in the space of six (6) months.

But Nancy insisted, "Even if Penelope is up just for a month, she still needs to be set up. You need to have a playdate with her" ... and she was right.

So, I got busy cleaning out/organizing the dumping room.

Once done, Nancy and her DH came over to help me assemble Penelope. She was up in no time.

Although I had nothing to machine quilt, somehow my mojo was awaken and my creative juices started to flow. I had the desire to work on some quilting UFO.

Thank you Nancy ... you are right ... with Penelope up, it makes all the difference.

Stay tune as I channel my new found mojo!

Catch you all later! 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

I Believe ....!

I love the month of December .... I love Christmas .... I love Santa! I'm one of his biggest fan.

In honour of Santa, I'm reposting a blog post from a few years ago. It's such a great story ... reminding us of the importance of compassion and kindness.

The story was published in The Country Register, Nov.-Dec., 2005 issue (page 27). I do not know the author. It is a story that no matter how often I re-read it, it always warms my heart.

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her “world-famous” cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus?” she snorted. “Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

Off we went to Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days.

“Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me and Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he had no coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

“Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied shyly. “It’s for Bobby.”

The nice lady smiled at me. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons. A little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible. She helped me write “To Bobby From Santa Claus” on a tag.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa’s helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.

Than Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby. Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes.

That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have Grandma’s Bible, with the coat’s tag tucked inside: $19.95.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Road trip .....!

I haven't been much in the mood to do any quilting. It's been so hot here in way Upstate New York. Last Monday I decided that I needed to get out of the house ... so I went on a road trip.

Given that I am not much in the "quilting mood", I thought ... why not visit some yarn shops, get some inspiration. Made a list of four (4) shops I wanted to visit and took off for Vermont.

The first shop I visited was Northeast Fiber Art Center in Williston, Vermont. She had a wonderful selection a yarn.

I had mentioned a while back (May 2014) that I was only going to knit sock, I was NOT going into more complex projects .... Seriously, between quilting, embroidery, EPP and knitting, how many hand projects do I want to juggle at the same time? It was only a matter of time that I'd cave in.

Janet Claire (Moda Fabric Designer) posted on Instagram a Cardigan she had finished and, I caved in! I was looking for wool for this gorgeous project Willapa by Annie Rowden

Unfortunately she did not have enough skein in a lot for me to purchase. At $30.00 a skein, I was not going to compromise on the colour. I do love to support local shops and since I seem to have an obsession for sock yarn, I walked out with a skein of ... you guessed it sock yarn and ....

I learned of a shop hop that was going on. The Great Northern Yarn Haul ....

Sign me up!

I received the wonder bag with some goodies in it. It even has a zipper!

The goodies in the bag ....

Oh my, what a great way to take off into the unknown. Although I had made a list of the shops I wanted to visit, I added a couple more!

My day was spent on winding Vermont Country roads, visiting various shops ... six (6) in total.

My haul ....

Came home inspired and ready to start Christmas gifts ...

Stay tune for Show & Tell!

Thanks for stopping by. Catch you all later.

Monday, June 17, 2019

When life gives you soon to expire cream ...

Make butter!

I've always wanted to make my own butter. I don't know, there's something about being self sufficient that entices me, peaks my curiosity.

I had a container of Organic heavy cream in my fridge that did not have a purpose within the near future.

Hum .... what do I have to lose? If it doesn't work out, I get to throw it out and if it does, I have delicious butter. 

I pulled out my stand mixer and started whipping. Make sure you have a splash guard ... it does get messy towards the end.

What an experience! 

It is so strange to see it going from a thick whipping cream to something that looks like cottage cheese ...

And as you keep going, it liquifies and then you have this ... 

Empty out the buttermilk in a different container and reserve for your favourite recipe ...

The fresh buttermilk will keep in your fridge for approximately two (2) weeks. 

Using your mixer, rinse your butter with cold/ice water by whipping it. It is important to continue mixing it with fresh cold water, discarding the water and adding fresh water until the water is fairly clear. If you skip this step, you butter will not have a long shelf life, and will sour.

Once you're done, mix in a pinch of salt. I used a fine sea salt. I shaped it using wax paper ...


The butter is delicious .... I will most definitely make more!

Thanks for stopping by ... Catch you all later!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Sew it is ...!

Due to various personal circumstances in my life, I have not been able to quilt much. It might explain why I have been feeling so much out of sort. Quilting is my sanity ... my creative outlet. And although I have other creative outlets, quilting is my number one.

As I was vacuuming the cat hairs off a bed quilt ....

I realized how much I miss quilting in my life. It's really not the same. I don't feel the same.

I read on blogs about relatives and friends being unable to comprehend a quilter's need to create and would ask, "how many more quilts do you need? Don't you think you have enough ... You can't even use them all ... Oh, and ... You have way too much fabric. You can't possibly use it all in this life time" etc ....

In my mind, does it really matter how many quilts you have? Does it really matter that you have a gazillion more quilt projects you want to make? Who cares? And ... why don't you mind your own bees wax!

All that matters is that you are doing something that you love and that love is expressed via a quilt that will not only keep someone warm but also serve as a reminder that they are loved ... that someone cared enough to make them a quilt.

I have told my little Pumpkin, when I am no longer on this earth, keep the quilts you want and stand on a street corner and give the rest away!

What's your take on the subject? Have you had people express their lack of understanding regarding your hobbies?

Thanks for stopping by my little corner in cyber space. Catch you all later!
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