Saturday, February 7, 2015

Progress

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb. 
Sir Winston Churchill


I am finally able to report a little progress in the studio.  Where did January go? I had way too many days that I was not able to get into my studio.  I don't know that February will be any better since I will be taking a trip for about 11 days.  That's almost half of the month.  I will be taking my machine and computer with me so I may actually make more progress while away than I have been at home.

So what has been demanding my attention?  Well, I got to spend a little time with this little cutie.  She is seven months old now but still not too big.  She's only about 16 lbs.


She has learned how to sit up now and is very pleased with her achievement.

Speaking of achievements.  I have enrolled in a few online classes.  I'll be telling you more about them soon.  The one that I am most excited about is a photography class.  It will also be. and already has, taking some of my time away from quilting.



I got the remaining 5 checkerboard blocks finished for my quilt.  Last night I even got them pressed.  Now all I need to do is play on the design wall for a while.  There is an obvious reminder of what happens when you sew with black fabric here.  It grabs every loose thread and piece of lint it comes in contact with.  Sigh....  I do love the look of quilts with black backgrounds but I was asking myself last night if I really wanted to have a black quilt on my bed.  What do you think?  You can read a little more about this quilt HERE.




I have so many projects that I have started sitting around in my studio.  I've decided that I want to get some of them finished and out of the way this year.  This is one of them.  The Scrappy Trips Around the World blocks that I started a couple of years ago.  I had paired the strips for about 6 more blocks and had these three sliced up and ready to sew into blocks.  I got them done and pressed.  I can't say that I am all that thrilled with them.  individually I like them but together they are very busy.  I have tried to place a lighter strip in the center diagonal in each block.


The novelty prints in this one are fun!  That is a very old calico in the center from the 60s or 70s.  I think I made a blouse from it when I was in school.


The cat faces peeking out at you are fun in this one.  You can see the other blocks that I have made in THIS POST.  The link to Bonnie Hunter's Free pattern is there too.

I also came across a selection of black and white strips and strip units.  Some of them are from a guild auction a few years ago.  I was browsing through the quilting books in JoAnn a few months ago and saw a black and white quilt I liked.  It was the only quilt in the book I liked so I didn't buy it.  I don't remember who the author was but it was triangles cut from strip units like this.  A narrow bright solid strip was inserted in the center seam.

I think I will try a few of the blocks from these before I commit to a large quilt.  Maybe I should make a small project for a change.  I hear they are faster. ;-)  I seldom make anything smaller than lap size.



I have made some progress on the RSC 2015 blocks.  I have made some decisions about what to work on and got a number of blocks cut out.  I'm hoping so get some of them sewn this weekend.  DH just came home and is saying something about the movies so that may not happen either.

I also got a quilt loaded on the longarm last night that I want to get done.  Do you think I have too many things going on?  I think I either need a clone or a maid.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Do Over

Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find tomorrow on the calendars of fools. Forget yesterday's defeats and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, If I had my life to live over again. Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day! Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. 
Og Mandino


Sometimes in life we get the chance to do things over again.  Not very often. Perhaps as quilters and sewists we do.  The seam ripper is a great tool sometimes for eradicating mistakes.  Sometimes things turn out better the second or third time around.  Words and actions in relationships are a bit harder to correct.  Hopefully you don't have to correct many of those situations in your life.

This week I changed the hem on a pair of pillowcases.  I made these for my Mother a few years before she died and gave them to her with a new set of pillows.  After she died they came back home to me.  They are made of a wonderfully silky feeling lawn.  It might be a Liberty print, I don't remember.  Since I have a king size bed I decided to take the hem out and add an eyelet edging that I had in my stash so they would be long enough for king size pillows.

  
There are still a few creases that would not iron out but that will disappear in the wash.  They will be a nice memory for me when I use them.

I was so excited that the hand dyed fabrics I ordered from Vicki Welsh arrived.  They will be used in part for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2015.  I spent some time yesterday looking at the patterns I had planned to work on for the year.  Now to get up the courage to actually cut into these beauties.  There will be no chance of a do over when that happens so I want to be sure of what I want them to become.


I also figured out that I need 5 more of the checkerboard blocks I showed in the last post.  I got the strips sewn for them and now just need to make the blocks.  Then I can play with the layout on the design wall.

Guess I need to get on with it.  Hope things are going well for you without the need for a do over.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rainbows and Fun

Walk in the rain, jump in mud puddles, collect rocks, rainbows and roses, smell flowers, blow bubbles, stop along the way, build sandcastles, say hello to everyone, go barefoot, go on adventures, act silly, fly kites, have a merry heart, talk with animals, sing in the shower, read childrens' books, take bubble baths, get new sneakers, hold hands and hug and kiss, dance, laugh and cry for the health of it, wonder and wander around, feel happy and precious and innocent, feel scared, feel sad, feel mad, give up worry and guilt and shame, say yes, say no, say the magic words, ask lots of questions, ride bicycles, draw and paint, see things differently, fall down and get up again, look at the sky, watch the sun rise and sun set, watch clouds and name their shapes, watch the moon and stars come out, trust the universe, stay up late, climb trees, daydream, do nothing and do it very well, learn new stuff, be excited about everything, be a clown, enjoy having a body, listen to music, find out how things work, make up new rules, tell stories, save the world, make friends with the other kids on the block, and do anything else that brings more happiness, celebration, health, love, joy, creativity, pleasure, abundance, grace, self-esteem, courage, balance, spontaneity, passion, beauty, peace, relaxation, communication and life energy to...all living beings on this planet. 
Bruce Williamson

Doesn't this list look like a great one for New Year's Resolutions?  I have already done the first one a few times and a few others.  Our year has been pretty soggy so far with more rain coming today.  That's OK you need the rain to get flowers and rainbows but I hope it stops before I get too blue.

I started the year off with a trip to the movies with my two younger children.  We had been trying to find a day when we were free to see The Hobbit and finally did.  Dear husband wasn't feeling up to it.  He has been a little under the weather the last few weeks but is finally feeling a little better and is planning to go see it today.

The movie of course was great.  I was a little sad when it was over because I have enjoyed all of Peter Jackson's journeys into Middle Earth so much and they are over now.  They have made me want to take a trip to New Zealand too.  If only it weren't so far away.

I will just have to focus on trips I can make for now.  This year I plan to make a trip around the Rainbow again by joining the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again.


I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a hand dyed packet of fabrics from Vicki Welsh to use in my monthly blocks.  I will also try to make some progress on two of the other projects that I had planned to work on last year.  Here are some pictures in case you have forgotten what they were.


A Storm at Sea variation and this Amish Batik Beauty.



You may remember that I made blocks for this one.  I still need to add the corner triangles and work on the border units.



Here is what they were looking like one of the last times they were on my design wall.  Just in case you need to refresh your memory.  I made more including some green ones but I don't know if I got a picture of them all together before I took them down.


Right now I have the whole set of the ones below on my design wall.  I need to get of picture as soon as I am done swapping them about for the final layout.  I made a total of 31 blocks.


I was surprised that my husband said he really liked them.  They are very bold and modern.  I think I am almost over my solid fabric faze for a while.

Of course the top I did get finished was my Soul Searching one.  I had so much fun with that one that I might have to make another one this year.  Do you think I should?


I know you probably aren't interested in the clothes I wear.  Honestly, I think it would be a little strange if you were.  However I wanted to share this fun shirt I found while I was Christmas shopping a few weeks ago.  If you have been reading my blog for very long you know I have a thing about owls.  This one just flew into my hands and had to come home with me especially since it was the right size.


Isn't it a Hoot!  Love the glasses!  By the way it is laying on my bed.  I'm not that flat.  LOL

I'll be back with more to tell soon.  I need to get to my studio and work on something to share with you.  I haven't even made it down there yet this year.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Back

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 
Mark Twain


Welcome 2015!  Whether I'm ready for it or not it is here!  2014 in now just a sweet memory so I thought I would reflect on some of the things I got done in the last few weeks as it drew to a close.  This  is a picture heavy post to make up for not posting much lately.

We had a very nice Christmas getting to spend some time with all of our children and grandchildren.  Here is what the decorations were like.


The Tree


The Stockings and Presents


I found a cute snowman to sit on the mantle.  I have a Santa collection but I didn't put it out this season.  Maybe next time.



I found some Snowflakes to add to the tree.  They were cheap but I liked the way they sparkled so much I went back for some more.  $4 for 20 of them but they added a lot to the tree especially at night.  This little tree won't hold my Hallmark ornaments so we haven't even unpacked them for several years now.  I used to do 2 big trees in our old house but there just isn't room in this one.  I miss having separate living and dining rooms.

Moving on to what projects I managed to finish.  I made my younger daughter 2 pair of pj pants.  One long and one short pants from the same fabric.  I am going to try to use up more of my older fabrics.  This was a piece of T-shirt knit that I had for years.  If I'm not going to use these garment fabrics up I need to get rid of them.  With my serger it doesn't take very long to make a pair of pull on pants.  That used up a several yards and made her happy too.
No picture, I didn't think about it soon enough.

I finished up a bib for Maggie Rose.  I had it embroidered for a few weeks before I sewed it up.  Bibs are a good item to stitch off a design.  It was made from another scrap of knit.  I learned that I need to lighten my tension a bit on knits by making it.


That info helped me get this onesie to turn out pretty good.



I thought this design was just prefect for little Miss Maggie.  It is one of the designs that came in my Brother Dreamweaver machine.  Here is a close up.




I had hoped to get a couple of quilts finished for gifts but that didn't happen.  After spending some time looking for a backing I knew I had pieced I have been trying to put away some things in my studio.  I found it after a couple of days in the 'to be ironed' bin.  I seldom lose backings because I keep them on the same hanger as the top along with the binding fabric.

One of the things that surfaced in my search for that backing was this class sampler from when I took a class with Pam Clarke.  I wrote about it here.  She had finished hers off with rick rack and since I have quite a bit of it I decided to try that also.  I played around with different stitches to attach it.  Some I liked and some I didn't.  I also put some at the edge to be caught in the binding.  It didn't turn out too straight.  This is just a sampler of free motion stitches for me to look at in my studio and jog my brain.  It will not be used for anything else.  If you have seen a tutorial on how to get that to turn out neatly please let me know.  I was not satisfied with the look at all.


Sorry about the shadows from the window but the quilting shows up really well.  The rick rack covers lines that were printed on the fabric to divide the sections to stitch in.  No they were not evenly divided.



Of course it is impossible to achieve perfection in a 3 or 4 inch square when stitching something out for the first time.  Added to that is the fact that it was purple thread on brown fabric.  The backing fabric is the green and white the bib above is on and the bobbin thread was white.  



In a group class like that you learn a lot but you are working on a machine you are not familiar with and you are usually sharing it with one or two other people.  Some of the squares turned out well while on others I can still use some more practice.


The best way to practice is to draw the design over and over.  Then I like to fill a baby quilt with it.  I keep some pre-printed panels that work well for this.  I donate them to the local crisis pregnancy center.

Regardless of the level of perfection this sampler is finished and bound.  Yeah!!!

Well, if you have made it this far how about one more?  This one is an almost finished.  I made this top back when I had my shop.  I quilted the center several years ago but could not decide what to do on the borders.  It surfaced as I was trying to put away some things and I decided to get it done.


I was going for a glamour shot but I had not trimmed it yet.  



Misty wanted to inspect it for flaws.  She might have found a few. ;-)



The print is saddles, boots, ropes etc.  Great for a little cowboy.



I just went with a piano key border stitching.  I quilted this on my domestic machine with a walking foot.  I'm glad I don't have to do all that twisting and turning on my longarm.  Yes, I'm spoiled but I can still stitch in the ditch better on my domestic machine.  Ruler work on the longarm is still not something I have mastered yet.



If you use a large buffalo check gingham flannel on the back like this don't expect the quilting lines to align with the plaids.  I thought the flannel fit the cowboy theme of the quilt but the crooked lines bother the perfectionist in me.  Yes, I know, I am trying to just be happy it is done.  It is trimmed and awaiting the binding.  I know I have it, it just hasn't surfaced lately.

I'll be back soon.  I'm trying to decide how much planning I want to do for this year.  I'll share what I decide soon.

Linking with: Crazy Mom Quilts and Richard and Tanya Quilts and
 Confessions of a Fabric  Addict and Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Finish, A Mystery & Winners

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
 Albert Einstein


I wanted to get my finished project blogged about yesterday but I spent most of the past two days in the road running errands.  I didn't get everything done Thursday so I had more to do yesterday.  I had an appointments to keep both days so I was afraid to try to start anything in the studio for fear of being late.  Christmas shopping is almost done but I have a stack of projects for gifts that need my attention.  Hopefully next week and this weekend will allow studio time.

A Finish

My finish is one you have seen before.  It is a charity quilt.  I decided to finish it although there are some ladies who like to stitch the binding down in the group.  That is a good project for some older ladies who don't or can't sew much any more.


Here is a good shot of the quilting.  I used a variegated YLI thread that went from blue to orange so it was perfect for this quilt.  I tried for some glamour shots.  Misty wasn't impressed by the quilt at all.



I did a scrappy binding with the leftover fabrics.  It turned out fine.



I think this shot was after washing.  The fabrics weren't prewashed before piecing.  It shrank some and the color catcher turned blue but there was no bleeding of color.



I tried something new and attempted to center the X on the back.  This is hard to do on the longarm as the layers shift as they are rolled up.  The tension put on the fabric is never exactly the same each time it is rolled either.  I think I did pretty good however it was only about an inch off when finished.  Not enough to be noticed visually.



Misty was one of the reasons for so many errands.  The groomer and the vet.  I'll have to get a picture of her new haircut.  You can see she was a little scruffy here.  She is 10 years old and has been suffering from skin problems this fall.  This is common with her breed but she has shown a little improvement this week.

A Mystery

Last Saturday I had a spike in page views here on my blog, over 2200 in one day.  I'm thinking that someone must have mentioned my blog on Instagram or Twitter because many used Google to find me.  Any of you wonderful readers out there know where this sudden interest come from?  Maybe some of my new readers found me that way.  I'm just curious.  It's nice to get some unexpected hits.

A Christmas Hang Out?

Welcome to ALL my NEW READERS!!!  Even while I've been delinquent in posting my numbers have been crawling upwards.  Thanks for having faith in my imparting something you want to read about.  I am about to hit 400 on Bloglovin.  I haven't check my other numbers lately but that is by far the largest one.  I know others use Feedly, GFC or email to get my posts too.  I'm thinking another drawing will be due soon to celebrate.  How about one to start off the New Year.

Most of my traffic lately, especially while I wasn't posting, was to check out my posts about Christmas projects and the Christmas Hang Out Linkys that I did the past two years.  I have not done any promotion for one this year.  I have been running them the week before Christmas.  If you are interested in having one this year I will be glad to do it.  I was thinking that a theme of Table Toppers would be nice.  This could be anything from Table Runners to Mug Rugs or Placemats.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LINKING UP PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.  The dates would be December 18 - January 1
If I have at least 10 people who want to participate I will do it.  I think I would leave it open until New Years.  That way the Christmas Rush will be OVER and you will have time to think blog again.  If you have a tutorial for anything that will fit the theme let me know and I can feature it one day.

As I have done in the past I would have a Giveaway for those who participate.  I will make a decision Monday according to those who comment this weekend.  If I don't have at least 10 who are interested in linking up I will just skip this year and do one next year.

The Winners!

Thanks to all who commented on the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway.  I used Random. org to select the winners this morning.  Here are the Lucky Numbers that came up.  I will get the gifts on their way to you when I have your snail mail addresses.

#51 Cindy Dahlgren
#55 Debbie
#47 Lisa
#45 Crickets Corner

Congratulations!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Zip It Up

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch on fire or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one cares. Why should you? 
Erma Bombeck


As I said I have been exploring what I can do with my embroidery machine.  These zipper bags are from one of the design discs that caught my eye.  The zipper was stitched on in the hoop and the backing can be too.  I decided that I would prefer to have them lined so I didn't do that step and added the lining.  




I used a quilting design from another design disc to quilt thimbles all over the backing.  They would show up better on a more solid fabric.



Here is the second one I made.  I just quilted the back of it with straight lines, I forgot to get a picture.  I got the corners to turn out a little sharper on this one.  I love the saying it fits me to a T.  LOL



I love the swirling thread and needles.  It takes most of an hour to stitch this out.




I thought you might like a close up of the iron and spray bottle.  

The other saying on the disc are all ones I want to stitch out.  I might want to make something other than the bags with them though.  This is another Anita Goodesign creation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving Projects

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. 

Henry Van Dyke

We had a great Thanksgiving gathering!  All my kids and grandkids were there.  The turkey was beautiful (sometimes they look a little sad) and the food was all good.

When I was shopping at JoAnn a few weeks before Thanksgiving I saw this fun fabric and it just jumped into my hands.  I had to use it for something.  I also have been exploring my embroidery machine and trying to get comfortable with using it.  Here is what I made.



The fabric says Gobble, Gobble, Gobble and Gobble till you Wobble.  I had some brown rick rack in my stash of assorted trims that I used in the edge.  The turkey is from Anita Goodesign.  I used batting in the middle and quilted around the turkey and around the inserted square.


This one was ready for a nap and not too happy when I remembered to get the camera.  
The bib was a little big for her but she will be able to use it next year too.  She is 6 months old now and they both have blue eyes.  Cute little cousins don't you think?

I also made a nice tablecloth for my odd sized dining table but I forgot to get a picture of it.  I even drafted the pattern so it would fit well.  With the leaf in the table measures 56" x 76" and you can't find a one to fit in the store.  Round ones to use without the leaf are either a little short or a little long.  I use some of them anyway but need to make one that fits better.  I have the fabric that I bought about 5 years ago but haven't made it yet.  Now that I have the circle drafted I should be able to get it done.

Don't miss the Giveaway on yesterday's post if you haven't read it yet.  I'll be back to share some more of my finishes soon.



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