Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quilting Mojo

Ack!  Its been months again since I last posted.  How does that happen?

It seems that I've lost my quilting mojo as of late.  The past few months I've had little desire to go and quilt (which is highly unusual).  I sometimes wonder whether its lack of enthusiasm in the projects I'm working or just plain not wanting to spend more time inside than outside.

I tend to have the later problem when its summer time.  My office at work is buried in a large manufacturing building, so I don't see daylight unless I have specific meetings near the front of the building.  As such, by the time I get home (or on weekends), the last thing I want to do is be inside.

The up-side to that is that I've been doing a lot of running outdoors.  Earlier this year, I participated in a 5k at work (which didn't go as well as I wanted), a 3.5 mile corporate challenge, and then another 5k in my hometown.  Between the 1st and 2nd 5k, a month of training passed and I was able to decrease my time by 3 minutes, which is pretty significant considering the races are 3.1 miles.  I was able to drop my time by 1 minute per mile.

I've still been training, but haven't selected my next race.  I keep telling myself... sign up for the next race when the weather is cooler on a Saturday... but the weather hasn't cooled off yet! :)  I will sign up for one soon and hopefully I'll finish around the 30 minute mark for the race.

I have gotten some quilting done, but no photos to show for it.  Its been slow going with two kids quilts that I was supposed to have done in June.  Oops.... I'm a bit late with them.  They are surprise gifts, so at least the recipient doesn't know its coming.. or how late it is.  LOL.

I will try to post some more on here... it has felt like each week goes by really quickly and I just never seem to get around to quilting (or posting).  Its been a crazy year so far and will probably continue to be.

I hope everyone is keeping up with their quilting (or other crafts)!


Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Heat Wave Continued and Water Update

Its been quite a while since I last posted... life definitely seems to get in the way these days!

The past few months have been hectic to say the least with a lot of things going on both at home and at work.  The company I work for (a very large one) acquired a competitor last year and we've been struggling for the past 4 months to try to integrate the two businesses.  For years we built up walls to prevent knowledge transfer, and now we're trying to figure out how to take down all those walls.

The water issue is semi-resolved.  From a standpoint of clean water, it is resolved.  The well system that we had put in is doing the job and we've had the water tested a few times to make sure it is doing what it is supposed to be doing.  We have clean, drinkable water that we don't really have to worry about.  However, we don't know the long-term effects on the well and whether we will have water in a dry-spell or not.  We are trying to remain hopeful that the aquifer is good and we won't have any water issues.

On the non-resolved side, we are still fighting with the well driller's insurance company.  I swear these people are the dumbest folks I've run into in a very long time.  They tried to get us to sign a form to release water tests results from a consulting company that we never worked with.  Come to find out, the well driller had used that consulting company...not us.  We couldn't sign a release form for a company that we never even contacted (but the insurance company couldn't figure that out on their own without us explicitly telling them...TWICE).  Then when they did send us the form to sign for our own water testing, it was riddled with mistakes.  We had to mark it up to them and send it back (unsigned) so they can fix it before we will sign it.  I have a feeling this is going to be a very drawn out event and maybe...eventually... we will get something out of them.

On the quilty front, I made progress on the Heat Wave quilt and started (ahem) two other quilts.  Oops! :)

Here's where I left off the last time, with my paper-piecing blocks.  I was able to get all of them done in fairly short order once I got the rhythm of it.

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Then it was on to assembling all the pieces into the blocks that make up the center of the quilt.

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Overall, three different blocks with the green corner squares in different places depending upon the final placement in the quilt.

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Here is one set of blocks completely sewn.

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I do have them now all sewn into the center section of the quilt, but I'll save that for another day as well as pictures of the two new quilts that I'm making.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ready for Spring

While this winter has been fairly mild as far as winters go, I was a bit sad to not receive a lot of snow this year.  Most of the first part of winter, we were above freezing temperatures and received rain for every storm that came through.  There have only been a handful of times that we had actual snow come down and stay for more than a day or two.  I think total, we're only at about 10 inches of snow so far this year (normally we are around 40 inches of snow).

That being said... we did have a weekend where the temperatures were absolutely brutal.  I LOVED my fireplace that weekend and had it roaring all weekend.  Our overnight lows for two days was -20F and the high was barely above 0F.  There was a nasty wind, too, so our windchill values were down around -40F.

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The only thing that came close to being as good as that fire that weekend was this:

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My oldest brother's girlfriend found out that I was into tea and that I loved an old tea pot that my parents had.  She found one and sent it to me as a post-Christmas gift.  I love it!

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It is one of those old ceramic pots that have a metal tea-cozy that is the exact size of the pot.  The cozy is lined with wool to help keep the teapot warm.  And since it has slots for the handle and spout, you don't have to take the cozy off in order to pour the tea!  Bonus!!

I'm ready for spring though at this point.  Its the end of February and I'm ready for it to start getting nice so I can enjoy being outside again!

How about all of you?  Ready for spring or wishing for some "real" winter?

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Heat Wave - Paper Piecing

The Heat Wave quilt that I started a few weeks back is in full swing for creating blocks.  One of the larger block assemblies uses paper pieced corners.  I did one block with paper piecing many years ago and haven't done it in a while.  While you end up with accurate seams, it does take a while to get the blocks made.

I didn't take pictures for the first seam that I sewed on these blocks, but thought I'd give a little tutorial on what I found worked for me while making these simple blocks.

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This is the paper side of the block that I needed to make.  The solid, angled lines are the stitching lines (one is already stitched) and I drew 1/4 lines to help with my fabric placement.

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After sewing the first seam with fabric in place, flip your block over so you have the fabric facing up.

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Fold the paper back along the stitched line and line up your ruler leaving a quarter inch between the sewn line and the edge of the ruler.


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Cut along this line to remove the excess fabric that isn't needed.

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Flip everything over again and press your sewn fabric open so it all lays flat.

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This is where I made my own little trick for getting the fabric placed correctly for the next sewing line.  On the paper side, place pins at the intersection points of your drawn line and the outer edge of the block.  I use the pin placement to guide where I want my fabric to be.

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When I flip it over, I can see the pins sticking up and I place the edge of my next piece of fabric right next to those pins.  This makes sure that I have at least a quarter inch of fabric for my seam.  I then carefully full out the pins without shifting placement of the loosen fabric.  This gets placed under the pressure foot of my machine and I start sewing.

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Line up your needle with the edge of the block and approximately in line with your sewing line.  Some people start right at the edge of the final block, but I found starting in the seam allowance made pressing easier for me afterwards.

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Sew down the solid line with your needle JUST to the right of the sewing line (towards to the seam allowance).  Sewing just off the line will allow space for your fabric to fold over the sewn line when you press it.

Similar to the initial steps, fold back the paper, trim your seam allowance and then press your block open.

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The cream/green block above is the final result of my paper piecing.  I had 48 of these blocks to make, which took a while, but they look great in the end.


Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, February 15, 2016

Organizing and Cold

This year has been cold, but sadly, non-snowy for upstate NY.  If its going to be cold, it might as well snow and be done with it!  I think we've had a total of maybe...and that's a BIG maybe... ten inches of snow this year.  Its downright pathetic.

However, we have had cold, which makes it perfect sewing weather as there's no way I'm going outside when its well below freezing!  With all that cold weather, I did do a bit of organizing in the sewing room.  I realized that my various strips (ranging from 1.5" to 3.5" wide) were just all over the place and not organized in any fashion.  Its very difficult to get yourself to use your own pre-cut strips if you have a mis-mash of colors.

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So I spent a little time one weekend to organize my strips by color and make an attempt to be able to use them better in the future.  My 2" wide strips were able to fit into a smaller shoe-box sized bin.

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But my 2.5" strips are still piled up in the big bin.  Since this picture was taken, I did sort them by color as well, so they're all "prepped" and ready to be used in some pattern in the future.

I also was able to make some decent progress on the next quilt (Heat Wave), but that will be for another post.

This past weekend was just all about trying to stay warm.  Saturday night/Sunday morning we bottomed out at about -25F....and that was without the windchill.  I don't know the exact windchill values we had, but the forecast was for values around -35 to -40F.

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You can bet I spent my weekend by the fire as much as I could!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, January 25, 2016

Water...The Next Gold

You never realize how important something really is until you don't have access to it.  I think most people take it for granted that they have clean drinking water at their disposal anytime you need or want it.  Growing up, I had public water all the time and never really thought twice about not having water, or I should say clean water.  My parents' summer home had questionable water when I was very little, but we always brought drinking water over from the main house and used the tap water there only for washing and showering.  The water there eventually got upgraded to water from the county (versus the small village) and its been clean ever since.

Over the past few weeks of dealing with our water issues, I've become more aware of how precious water can be.  I also look at what is happening in Flint, Michigan, and it makes me grateful that I do have my own water supply that I can control (to some extent).  I don't have to wait for some town to figure out that the water is bad and to eventually fix it.  I can do the testing myself and fix it.

Which is where this post is going....

We got news just over a week ago that our water was not suitable for drinking.  The water appeared clean, but I think that's where people sometimes get tripped up.  After the well drilling company next door messed up our well, we drank the water for two days before I said I wasn't comfortable doing it and we switched over to drinking bottled water until we could get test results back.  We knew ahead of time that our well had sulfur, iron and a bit of methane.  Our original water "system" had a chlorination system (sulfur, iron and chlorine bond and can be filtered out in something like a Brita filter) to take care of the sulfur and iron.

With the changes caused by the hydrofracking, we have a significant increase in the amount of methane in our water.  The hydrofracking also introduced coliform (bacteria) into the water.  Thankfully, the chlorination system is killing the bacteria; however, with the huge amount of methane we have now, there are two major problems.  First, we have a tremendous amount of water hammering now (i.e. gas buildup that causes pipes to rattle).  Long-term water hammering actually damages pipes and appliances and can cause major water issues as the pipes can break from the change in pressure.

The second issue...due to the insane amount of methane (and the fact that we chlorinate the water for sulfur and iron), we now have a chemical in our water called chloromethane (chlorine and methane bonding).  Chloromethane is toxic for humans.  It causes nervous system problems and if ingested by someone who is pregnant, will cause severe birth defects in the fetus.  I'm very glad that I made the cautious decision not to drink the water until the tests came back, as this is BAD STUFF!

We had three companies come to the house last week to quote water systems to fix our new issues.  We ended up picking one of them and they are installing a system this week.  Thankfully it is all fixable.....for a price.  Due to the cost of it, we also sent a letter to the well drilling company explaining everything (including all of our water test results) and that we expect them to cover our expenses for the new water treatment system since it is a direct result of their poor decision to hydrofrack.  We are not sure whether we will get anywhere with them, but we have to try.

So at this point, its at least another 4 weeks of using bottled water until we can get a new set of water tests back.  While the new system is designed to take care of these problems, we want to make sure that it does before we start drinking the water again.  It will be nice to be able to drink water straight from the tap again.

On the crafty side though (and because I want to include a picture), I've started a new cross-stitch pattern.  I've temporarily given up on the last one and put it aside as it was just REALLY slow going.  This one will be faster to sew (a bit smaller) and I'm more excited about this one.  Here is the next project:


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I'm really liking the reds, golds and oranges in this one, which is a nice change after doing just blues and greens.

Hope everyone is doing OK after the storm that came up the coast this past weekend.  We didn't get a single snowflake, but I know other areas got hit really hard.


Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, January 11, 2016

Water Saga

Another post without pictures... but a post nonetheless.  :c)

For anyone who is new, just prior to Christmas, we had some problems with our well water.  All the gory details, and a few pictures, are posted here.

The well driller did put in a filter to catch the sediment and we're waiting for our water tests to come back at this phase to make sure we still have clean water to drink.  However, the water straight out of the well (non-filtered) is still cloudy.  It is definitely better, but not crystal clear like it used to be.

This is where it has gotten a little annoying.  The well driller calls us once every week or two and says "I've sold that filter and I'm going to need it back".  Our response all along, and they agreed when they put it in, was that it will stay until we have clear water.  Thankfully, our neighbor (who is ultimately paying this guy) is on our side and has also called the well driller to tell him no, he can't take the filter yet.

The good thing... the filter is inside the house.  They can't come and get it without us letting them in to take it.  :D

The bad side... we're getting tired of the phone calls.  AND.... we found out the neighbor's well is only producing 2.5 gallons per minute.  Code in our area is a minimum of 3 gallons per minute.  So we don't think he's done messing with his well yet since he needs to get at least another 1/2 gallon out of it in order to put a house there.

We are truly hoping that there hasn't been any major damage to the quality of our well, but we really won't know until we have clean water and we go through a hot and dry summer.  Then we will know if our well is truly stable again.

I do have some crafting/quilting stuff to post again.  I've been doing a lot of clean-up of boxes of scraps.  Eventually I will use all my extra fabric for some scrap quilts!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

At the start of a new year, I typically do not feel different or invigorated to try something new.  No New Year's resolutions for this girl!  I usually try to make it a point not to do something "special" for the new year as I want the things that I choose to do to be things that I want to do regardless of what time of year it is.

That being said....

This year I do want to be better with blogging.  I got out of the habit of regularly posting last year, and I'd like to try and change that this year.  I may not have pictures to show on every post, but I'm going to try to share a little more of what goes on here in my little world.

The last two weeks of the year were busy to say the least, but I'm glad I was fortunate enough to have two full weeks off from work.  I used the time to visit with family, spend time with my spouse, and in general just unwind for a hectic work schedule.

I was able to get a few quilting/crafty things done over the break, but most of my time was spent visiting with family and just generally enjoying life.  I'll be sure to share some more of our winter-break adventures this week.  :c)

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations