Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wheelchair Bags - Updated

A couple of weeks ago the Once Upon a Time Bee made wheelchair bags for the local V. A. Hospital.  See here for that post. 

It was a good cause but we found a better use for them right in our community.

Two of them went to a friend who uses a wheelchair.  She is a member of the Kingwood Yarn it, Darn it! knitting group that meets at the local library.  She had been using canvas totes that just weren't workng right.  See how one of them looks on her travel chair -

We were happy to see that they fit and were more than happy for her to test drive a couple for us.

The rest of the bags went to a local assissted living/nursing home.  One of our friends at the knitting group has a mother who lives there.  She noted that people spend most of their income on the fees and little left over for extras like a wheelchair bag to hold their books or personal care items.  She took the bags over and apparently almost caused a riot as the ladies and, maybe, some gentlemen, jockied for position to get a bag.

So here's the deal.  I will be taking some that I made th other night with us when we visit the children at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center tomorrow for those who would like one.  Any left over will be funnelled to the local assistedliving/nursing homes in the area.  If we exhaust the need at the local homes, then the balance can go to the V. A. hospital.

The need is not where I thought it would be and I am so glad we can try to meet it.

I wonder if we can exhaust the local need?  With all the fabric people have donated to this project, we'll might make a dent in the need.

Running Away From Home Tote... again

This past Saturday the Satruday Strippers, aka Strip Club, met to construct a huge tote bag.  See here for the original blog entry.

There were only three of us in the end, fewer than expected, but very congenial.

We laughed alot and solved all the problems of the world.

Here are the bags:

This is a shot of my original bag on the left, with my new bag on the right.  Since I had fewer than needed five inch square blocks for the second bag, I used some yardage for the sides and bottom.  I love the fabric from this series and I have some more yardage to make up a couple of kid quilts sometime.

This is a shot of our photographer's bag.  She loves block and white and this bag is very chic. 

 Our other participant went for bright, hand-dyed style fabrics.  I love it, especially the red she used for the straps and lining.

We all need to construct hard inserts for our bags because they look so much better swith a stiff butt.

Next time I think we are going to do a lap quilt designed by someone who works with Sunflower Quilts.  Its a lovely little quilt with ruffles down the front.  Check it out at the Moda Bakeshop

I wonder what fabric I will use?

Alex's Perfect Morning

Alex's perfect morning began the night before when The Girls went with Paul for a sleep over.

Not that Alex doesn't like The Girls or Paul but it meant that he could sleep with me that night and wake up the next morning on his own terms.

If he wanted to get up early or late, it was his choce.

He chose to get up late, at about 7:30 am, rather than the 6:00 am or earlier wake-up time that The Girls and I like,

After a leisurely stroll through the back yard and a quick nutrition break he went for a walk with me.

It was a beautful morning... not too hot... not too cold.... and I intended that we would take the long route for our walk.

As we proceeded down the street I noticed a large green garbage bag in the middle of the road.

I immeadiatley thought that it contained human body parts while Alex (I think) saw it as a new source of food.

We trotted up to it, Alex peed on it and  he discovered that it did not contain something edible.

No body parts either, thank heaven, so I moved it off the road onto a vacant piece of grass.

He was happy and I was very relieved (or should that be vise versa?).

Then we turned the corner and before us was the most magnificent sight to behold.

Somebody, probably another dog, had left a HUGE rawhide bone on the side of the road.

Alex's eyes almost bugged out of his skull when he took it's pristine form into his mouth.

From then on all I could do was try to keep up as he power walked home.

When I un-harnassed him he immeadiately took his new prize to the backyard
 to bury it and he spent the next two hours guarding it from all bone thieves.

He eventualy realized that I had found it so he dug it up again and hid it upstairs in a bin of netting that I had out by the sewing machine.

There it stayed until The Girls came home today when he pulled it from the netting and has been searching for a new hiding place ever since.

It was a perfect morning for Alex.

A reastful night, good food, a new thing to pee on and, miracles of miracles, a rawhide bone the size on Kansas just waiting for him on the side of the road.

If only we could experience the joy that he had in finding a new treat.

I think I better start looking at the $1.00 a yard bin at the fabric store for the perfect raw silk I have been needing.

 I can only hope that some of Alex's good fortune will rub off on me!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wheelchair Bags Revisited

Last year, for the Quilt Guild, I got into using excess upholstery weight and quilting fabrics to make wheelchair bags for the local VA hospital.  The bags hang from the handles on the back of the chair and are used by caregivers and others to store stuff while pushing the chair around.

Today we made a bunch more and I seemed to have revised the instructions from what we used before.

The original directions are just fine but the way we are doing them now is a lot faster.

Here are the original directions and below are the ones I am using now. 

Wheelchair Bags - revised July 16, 2010

Finished Size: 18” wide by 15” deep


Using Quilting Cottons:

5 pieces approximately 19” x 16” – for the body – 2 for the exterior, 2 for the interior and 1 for the pocket (only three needed for heavier weight fabrics)

2 pieces approximately 13” by 5” – for the straps

Sewing – ½” seam allowances

Pocket – Fold pockect fabric in half, right sides out, lengthwise and attach to one exterior piece by sewing a divider line to make two or more outside pockets.  Press if necessary.

Layer fabrics as follows, carefully lining up the edges:

One lining piece right side up
One lining piece wrong sde up
The pocketed exterior piece right side up
The unpockected exterior piece wrong side up

Serge the sides and the bottom of the bag being sure to catch the pocket in your seams.

Turn right side out by turning the exterior unpocketed piece to the outside.

Press if necessary.

Serge around the top making sure that the exterior and interior fabrics are caught in your seam.

Make the straps by folding the pieces lengthwise, wrong sides together then fold the raw edges into the center.  Press if necessary.  Sew the straps together along the ong sides twice.

Fold the serged upper edge to the inside and pin the straps close to the corners. 

Sew around the top edge twice securely fastening the straps to the top.

Optional - top stitch the side and bottom seams for extra security.

Press, if necessary, add a label and distribute to all those that could use this useful little bag. 

I believe these can also be used as walker bags but I have not tested them for this use. 

Here is a shot of some of what we did today:

And here is the view outside our workroom:

I wonder how we get anything done!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why I Have a Big Car

The reason I have a big car is that my Father gifted me with it, a couple of years before he passed away, because he could no longer drive safely. 

It was quite an admission on his part that he was a danger to other drivers but every once in a while he forgot his problems and would still drive. 

No car = no driving.

My taking his car was also an effort on his part to get me out of my little red pick-up truck.  Most men have trouble with women having their own pick-up trucks though I have no idea why.

Although he had the means and opportunity to buy another car he never did... for which I am eternally grateful.

So now I have a big ass 2001 Mercury Grand Marquis.

The gas mileage is not horrible and it is so comfortable to drive.  The back seat is big enough so that when we evacuated for Hurricane Rita, I was able to nap comfortably on the back seat with three dogs (Lady Jane, Kelis and Kemora) while Paul drove. 

The real bonus with this car is that the trunk is big enough for a small family to live in with room for a full bathroom....

not really but it is big.

When I came home on the last day from teaching the Fashion Design Course at Kingwood College, the size of the interior and the trunk were invaluable.

Here's what the trunk looked like as I was unloading it from the class.

Both the front and back seats were full of stuff as well and nothing blocked my vision.

It took me a couple of days to get everything out of the car with lots of 'help' from Alex and the Girls.  Their help consisted of sitting by the storm door whining and trying to sneak out while my arms were fully of classroom materials.

I really need to get rid of this albatross.  Things are beginning to break and I have dripped enough coffee init that the carpet and seats are beginning to get nasty.

For years I drove small fuel efficient cars. 

Heck, my first car was one of the original Honda Civics that got about 40MPG on the highway.

Here's what I need...great carrying capacity, smooth ride, good gas mileage, comfortable seats and a cast iron interior.

Any ideas?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Road Trip

Yesterday I woke up feeling a little antsy.  I just knew I had to do something different or go stark raving mad.

Walking the dogs backwards or changing the font on my blog were not going to cut it.

I had a piece of paper on my bed side table with the address of W. C.Mercantile on it and I knew what I had to do... Road Trip!

W. C. Mercantile is yarn shop that donated some marvellous yarns to the World Wide Knit in Public Day last year and I have been curious about them since then.

I put the dogs to bed, stopped for gas and suitable sacks and headed out at about  11:00 AM to the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

It was a pleasant drive and Navasota has some beautiful homes.  Main Street is a little run down but you can see that the community is trying to offset the Wal-Mart shopping mentality that has taken over America.

The yarn store has a small but selective group of yarns and I was able to snag some great sock yarns, one of which I had never seen in other stores.  What sets them apart from other yarn stores is that they have an extensive selection of locally processed wool.  Some is in the raw roving state, ready to spin, while some of it is ready to cast on the needles.  They also have a small selection of pint sized wheels and looms that looked very intriguing.. 

There were two groups of women knitting while I was there.  They represent the whole range of yarn lovers... one group was of friends my age and older while the other was teen girls.  The former group was making teeny tiny baby clothes while the latter one was playing with florescent yarns, crochet hooks and knitting needles.

I hope they get a chance to expand the shop into all the space that they have available to them because they really have a great shop... with most of it closed of from active use.  There is even a second floor.

If you need to get away for the day, Navasota is a good destination.  I warn you, however, that you just may fall in love with it. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sock Club #3 Again

I finally figured out the Maelstrom Sock pattern by Cookie and my second pair actually fits and looks almost like the picture on the patten.

Here's a crappy picture:

I did learn a few things knitting the second pair that I did not figure out knitting the first pair.  My first pair looked awful because I completely misread the sock chart.  I checked my gauge to figure out how many rows would equal two inches and knit just what I needed.  I finally got the toes small enough in the alloted rows so that they will fit snuggly.

I am learning a lot doing the Twisted Yarns Sock club and I believe I will not use the fancy yarn in the kit for the first pair of socks knit from the distributed pattern.  By using cheaper yarn the first time errors won't bother me as much.  A failed $5.00 investment in trying a pattern is a whole  lot more palitable than a $25.00 investment.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lazy Girl! Part the Next

I am naturally a really lazy person. 

If I can put it off until tomorrow, I will put it off until next week.

If I have a deadline, I will accomplish the task required just in time... by the skin of my teeth.

Because I hate being late but will not go out of my way to ensure that I won't be late.

Make sense?

So imagine my dismay this morning when I discoverd that the only clean shorts in my closet, that would go with the T-shirt and shoes I had chosen to wear today, had no buttons on them to close them up.

I had to get out of the house to meet a friend and did not want to spend another 15 mnutes figuring out a whole new look.

Did I mention that these shorts had been without buttons for about a year?

I have a zillion buttons and a sewing machine that sews them on in about 10 seconds.

Off I go upstairs to find buttons and sew them on my shorts.

From the many black, white, grey and clear buttons I have saved over the years I chose two bright yellow ones that happened to be sitting next to my sewing machine awaiting some forgotten project.

From my extensive collection of sewing threads that encompass all hues of the natural and unnatural universe, I chose to continue using the grey thread already on the machine.

Here's how it all turned out:

This either represents the height of fashionable embellishment or the height of laziness.

I would like to think it is the former but I fear it is the latter.

Have a good week!