Jan 31, 2012

WIP Tuesday

After spending the better part of three days cleaning house, I was ready to sew last night.  We finally received a phone call from DJ's golfing buddy who says he should be here by Wednesday noon.

I just need to try not to track strings throughout the house.  Who am I kidding, LOL?  Everyone who knows me and has any business in my house, knows I sew.  There will be strings.  Let 'em fall where they may.

I finished up up the upper and middle hearts button hole applique.  The smaller ones at top and bottom were prepped over freezer paper.  The larger ones have that rick rack in place and steam a seam 2.  I honestly did not know how to that rick rack down over the larger hearts prepped over freezer paper but arrived at a solution by basting the rick rack to the heart edge and then fusing it down.  I had pulled the paper out of these---or as much as I could.

That plan worked but when I needed to button hole applique it down, that made it almost impossible to pull out the basting threads.  On the subsequent ones, I had to loosen up the heart to get the thread out while the rick rack is fused to the base.  Most of the heart stayed in place and the edges just needed some strategic pinning.  I have most of the letters to do---just did the F and E before I had to make lunch.  I hope to pin this today and quilt it up tomorrow while the guys are hopefully off to the golf course.

Up in the left corner of the picture is what I plan to use for the backing even it IS going to be on there sideways.  Lipstick on the collar----good plan for a Valentine's Day theme, right?

I switched out the wall hangings this morning---snowmen are gone from the decorating scheme and hearts are in.  I would like to hang another small wall hanging on my bedroom door but I cannot get into the closet where it is hanging.  That pile of quilts is still in the corner near the armoire as I am waiting for one from one the Belles to go with it.  By then, some more may have the binding finished up.

Well back to stitching------

Jan 28, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

It was two days ago actually---and our 13th one.  We have been a couple since 1978. We both knew what we were getting but tied the knot anyway back in 1999.

Look what greeted me when I got home from the quilt meeting on Tuesday.  When I first walked in the door loaded down with stuff, I gasped as it looked like he had bought a whole bush of plants.  Two days early after all and that wasn't sitting on the table when I had left. He had not cut the stems down to fit the vase better and it looked even larger.  I am told these are Peruvian lilies, quite hardy and more "bang for your buck" for cut flowers.  They are still holding up well and brightening our kitchen..  THX, Honey!

He had gotten me an "anniversary" present a couple weeks and something that I truly did need----a squeegie/sponge thing like you see at the gas station for washing your windshield.  The one I/we had completely sheared off at the wooden handle since we stick it on the fence to dry out.  The one he found at the automotive store has a nice heavy molded plastic handle so no wood to rot off.  THX, Honey!

Present number two:  a new set of car floor mats.  A couple months back I had finally had it with the crumpled up, would not stay put one on the drivers side and tossed it out.  They were not standard Ford issue when we bought the car and just never seemed to fit right.  Good riddance!  He replaced them---can you tell he is the Car Fleet Guy around here, LOL??  My car has that ubiquitous grayish tan Ford interior but he went with gray. THX, Honey!

Not very romantic but definitely not something I would have gone out to get even if I do go by one automotive place with some degree of regularity.  He is a practical man, one of his more admirable traits actually.  My Mr. Fix-it.  He is paying attention.    You can barely see Skyler in the recliner with DJ but there are my two boys.  With those black slacks and white socks, black shoes and mix in a tuxedo cat, Skyler is almost camouflaged, LOL.

Car Fleet Guy was not done yet though.  For some time I have had a hole in the back tail light lens--someone, somewhere must have tapped it just right in a parking lot because I didn't do it.  Well, come to find out, the rain must have been coming down at just the right angle the other day as there was water standing in there!  DJ thought it might short out or be rendered totally inoperable.  He had called ahead to an   automobile selvage/parts store just north of here and they did have one available.  The guy at the automotive place where he gets the oil changes done had said they would put it on for him if he tracked one down for 30 minutes labor.  Well, Chris didn't charge him anything for the job after all and worked him into the schedule after lunch yesterday.  I had gone with him as we were not entirely sure where the auto yard was and then ran a grocery errand.

We had gone out to dinner at our favorite catfish place Top of the River for dinner Thursday night.  Mostly we go there when we have friends or family visiting from out of town and our anniversary.  They run a January special, Monday through Thursday where you get their half pound catfish filet dinner for two bucks less than the normal price.   We have a gift card for Outback Steakhouse from his son and his family for Christmas to spend as well but we can use that for some lunches out.  He gave me a choice or I could have picked somewhere else as well.  We had leftovers, re-heated for lunch yesterday.  I was a cheaper date but also practical!

And speaking of cars, LOL.  I had misplaced my car keys earlier in the week and was using the spare set.  I try to make a habit of either sticking my keys back in my purse or they are in my coat pocket if I forget.  I do NOT leave them laying around if I can help it.  When they still had not turned up in spite of my searching, he told me to go get some keys made up and slipped a few of the ones I needed to duplicate off his key ring.  The guys at the hardware store said they could cut the Ford Key but it would only open the door---there is a chip in it. It would be a good idea to keep looking for my lost set as the replacement from the dealership would be pricey.  Finally two heads being better than one, DJ recalled that I had left with my raincoat on when I had gotten groceries-----had I checked that pocket?  It was mild weather, I had gone two days in a row and thought sure I had just worn a sweater.  I hate wearing that raincoat but I hate carrying an umbrella more. Yep, they turned up--thank heavens!  Now we have a few backups for the other doors in the house---not a bad thing.

I think today will be PopStix cutting day. My plan is that I can make my giant mess of the floor in here BEFORE I dial it back to keep things clean.  DJ's guest's stopover is coming up Tuesday or Wednesday so we will hit the cleaning thing Sunday and Monday.  Once he is here and they head out to the golf course, I am back to messing it up again.  They just need me to cook, not entertain anyway.  I hide out in the sewing/computer room (nothing new there!) and let them visit

Off to start my day---hope you have a wonderful weekend in whatever you have planned.

Jan 26, 2012

Meeting wrap up

 LOL, we met on Tuesday so I am a little late in getting this post written but I was a little tied up yesterday trying to back up my computer.  I was late in getting started on it, decided to make a whole new set of discs since it had been so long since I had officially done that with the Windows deal.  BIG mistake!  It took from 1030 Wednesday morning til 0413 this morning.  Since I had tried to do this on Monday and lost like 7 discs worth I was going to see it through no matter how long it took, by golly.  One thing though---I slept very, very well for 5 straight hours.  Trust me, that does not happen often.  I think I am in the market for an external hard drive rather than babysit the discs for hours and hours.

So want to see some quilts?  At left, and probably above, you have Linda C's watermelon "Just Can't Cut It".   I quilted it either late 2011 or early 2012.   Jane had finished the binding on three of Linda's quilts that she left behind when she relocated.  We may have taken this before I laundered it to get the blue marks out.  I do NOT free motion and I never have any clue how to quilt these things so I kept it as simple as possible.

Next up, Bev is hiding behind her wild Pineapple Blossom quilt.  I was happy to hear that she located her other pineapple blossom top after she had made 2 and could only find 1.  I don't know how well it will show up but she "hid" some cool things on the top.  Up in the upper left of the photo she has a yo yo with a folded ribbon flower.  I would have asked her if she made it had I noticed it.  I honestly did not spot it till I was logging it into my quilt document.  There is also an applique butterfly motif and a little thing that read "this is the life".  Bev and the gals pinned a large wolf panel quilt top that she will be giving as a gift as well.

At left, Brenda shared her very feminine bow quilt.   The bow blocks end up looking like a pieced spool block but that is not how it was pieced, she said.  The dimensional ruffle part is just plain cute.   She said the pattern was from McCall's Quilting magazine and she'll update the issue for me later.

I wish I had gotten a picture of her pieced, just it all up back too but the camera was giving me a "no remaining memory on the internal memory card" message that I had never seen before.  As it was I had to have DJ hold up a few quilts just to be sure I had indeed gotten the job done, LOL. 

Here is another one of Linda C's quilt that I quilted as above.  Jane is hiding behind it.  I called it Snuggle Up variation though I don't know if she used that time honored pro bono quilt or not to make it.   Seriously nothing could be easier to make if you need a quick quilt. Adjustable and you can use as many colors as you like from 2 to whatever if it gets to the length you want.  PLUS quick zoom lines to quilt it!!

Not sure I took this one before or after I laundered it either but here is Linda C's Scrappy Disappearing Nine Patch.  Another of the late 2011-early 2012 bunch.  Poor Jane got these three done and 3 others to take their place.  She was also busily working on the binding for a comfort quilt for someone in need related to a JOY group activity. 

Bev said that she has been quilting for about 3 years and took classes at the local quilt shop before it closed but no one had actually shown her how to sew down binding.   She asked for help.  I noticed that both Bev and Linda do what I call "skirt hemming"  working from right to left with a tacking stitch and two strands of thread.  If the shop never showed them the basics of how to hid their stitches, then no wonder they both adopted this method!   When I said you use a blind hem stitch similar to what you do when you hand applique and work left to right, Bev said she had not tried hand applique yet.   Aha!  Teachable moment.
Brenda and I used Aline's quilt for an impromptu lesson on this.  Of course, when you do that hemming stitch, all the thread shows up along the edge.   It holds it together all right but it just doesn't make for a nice neat finish to your quilt.  The other thing, it is usually spaced too far apart so a little finger can get caught in there or it won't hold up to a child's use for something other than cuddling with and covering up.  It appeared to me that she had done a great job on her corners as far as the mitering thing went and she had matched her thread to the binding, not the backing color.  Kudos for that!    Our next meeting we do not get to use the big fellowship hall of the church as another group is setting up for a function the next day.  We'll be down in one of the classrooms and I have suggested the girls bring some hand work.  Binding help would be a good thing to touch base on. 

It was a busy meeting for me.  I had two tops to pin with the girls help but my primary assignment for the day was to measure off a large roll of batting that Marilyn was going to sell back to the group.  I had ordered her a roll the last time we placed a batting order back in 08 or 09 but she had found that she didn't have to have it anymore.  Some of it was gone from the original 60 some yards but how much?  Teresa, Bev and I took it back to the 6 ft tables that were set up end to end and rolled it off onto an old cardboard roll.   I know what it cost us per roll including the shipping so will pro-rate it.  Marilyn and Roger had dropped it off at the meeting place last week when they were headed out that direction,  for which I thank them. 

The other thing I had on the list:  get that stuff in the donation bins sorted through and get rid of the stuff I knew we were not going to use.  Some had not seen the light of day for a couple of years, therefore we probably did not need it.  Teresa was a great help though I had Beverly help with some of the measuring.  Some of it the fabrics went home with her---in particular, the flannel that none of us wants to work with but she makes rag quilts.  And yes, some came home with me but some of it had originated thru here in the first place, LOL.    (Not much but some and I have ideas in mind for some of it!)   Brenda took some with her for a beginning quilter friend who had said that quilting was an expensive hobby to have---she had a different way of phrasing it but that was the gist of it.  What she may not want, off to Salvation Army. 

Teresa and I measured off what kind of yardage was on each piece so we would know at a glance if it would work on our quilt tops.  If there was a lot of yardage then we knew it could be seamed without routing through the whole length of it.  We found some things that could be paired up for whole cloth tops and a small baby sized quilt hiding in there as well.  That is hanging with some of the other tops now.   All in all, a productive day.  Once I got home I had some numbering and logging into the quilt document to do along with some other tasks to follow up on----like what the heck was the matter with my camera, LOL!!

I got a little of the machine button hole work done on the February Button Up---the last row of hearts but have not touched it since Monday evening.   Not likely to happen today either at this late stage of the game.  This might just be a stitchery evening if I do anything at all.  I was looking at cat themed patterns for something else and may continue on that kernel of an idea I have floating around upstairs. 

We received a call from DJ's golfing friend from IL who plans on being down here either Tuesday or Weds next week.  Translation:  house needs to be cleaned up sometime between now and then but what also needs to be done between now and then is some cutting for the upcoming FAB Par-Tay.  Norma is finally going to get to celebrate her November bday with her FAB pals a week from Saturday!  She picked Atkinson Designs Popsicle Sticks as her sewing project for us.  It will take a whole pile of 2 1/2 inch strips to do a full-queen sized quilt but I have stuff for it-- see THIS POST for some of the fabrics that will be included.   I need to get some of the strip sets seamed so I can keep up with the gals.  Some days/weeks there is just too much going on to keep up.

I have another post to  make probably tomorrow---stay tuned, LOL.

Jan 22, 2012

this and that on a Sunday

 For all of you who think I get "so much done"  I slowed down a lot in the last two weeks time.  Actually stopped would probably be a more apt description.

The sum total of my output for that time frame has been as follows----
  • Binding cut, seamed, pressed and applied to a 60 x 90 ish QOV for the veterans home.  See THIS  post
  • Binding pressed for February----see the same post
  • 2-55 x 72 ish batts pieced from batting scraps.  See THIS post
  • a minute amount of embroidery on my basket block.
  • Those 4- 3 inch finished courthouse steps blocks you see on the design wall.  That was yesterday's project.   Wish I had made the center a darker color but it is too late now!  Not much of stashbuster with those itty bitty strips, LOL.
The flying geese and pine tree block you see on the design wall are some sections that I managed to get done a long time back.  Unfortunately the geese will no longer work in the spot I made them for and will be re-done---possibly today.  Possibly not as I want to try a suggestion I had received about quilting my redwork Santa quilt.  OR I may use the machine to anchor down the February hearts in some manner so I can pin it Tuesday, seeing as I have the right machine out for that. 

If you wanted to count all the time I spent designing on the Christmas quilt plus printing and re-organizing the notebook for the patterns and printouts, then yeah, maybe I did get a little bit more done.  My view is that I spent a whole lot of time thinking about sewing and planning to sew but  not much actual sewing,  hands on time.

My pal Norma were talking this weekend and as we often do, start sharing websites we have seen.   We can and do lead each other astray----and do it often!  But I love bouncing ideas off of her.  When you are slumpy and not really motivated, it helps get that creativity going again.

Turns out The Quilt Patch shop that she had visited in Moose Jaw, SK will be coming to her area to do a trunk show soon.  She loved the shop in person and they had some patterns she had not seen in other places.  She linked me to their kit page.  I asked her which one appealed to her most.   She replied Happy Trails with the strip pieced sections but added applique interest---the flower stems are made from rick rack for a whimsical touch. She is right---it is CUTE!

Norma felt that they were probably going to focus on promoting their new book Urban Country Quilts which had been released by Martingale Press this past fall.  I commented on the cover quilt called Market Fresh wondering whether it was made in the manner similar to a circle quilt I had started as a donation quilt way back in 2001 or so.  Possibly but maybe not as she said they were doing a workshop on it and the melons were appliqued in some manner.  What I was describing sounded like something she had done called "bread and butter plate"  as you actually used a plate for the template--about 7 inches in diameter.  

HMMMMM  Sounds similar to me what I have tucked in the project box.  I told her I would pull out so she could see it.  I don't know if mine really has a name for this technique.  Mine is the Orange Peel set versus a Rob Peter to Pay Paul, two color deal.  I did use a Quilter's Rule International Sew and Fold Circled Patchwork template set to cut the 8 inch circles.  There are three sizes nested for 4, 6, and 8 inch circles which I cut from a bunch of birthday fabric exchange squares.  This was all destined to one day be a WTIL donation quilt that would not need any batting.  Easy to get it this far, LOL.  The circles are all faced by fabric, a small slit made and the pieces turned.    I counted up what was in the box----You see 2 rows of 4 that are not joined, 14 circles are turned and 38 need to be turned plus a few more cut white squares and a few odd fats that I must have planned to include.  Will I ever finish it?   I don't know but turning those circles would be an easy, front of the TV project.    Having said that, there are 8 other project boxes stacked up in there that I would more likely to do first, including a masculine looking Hopscotch quilt designed by one of my fav designers Terry Atkinson.

RE:   hand quilting on my redwork Santa.  Caron from Celebrate Hand Quilting and MIquilts had commented on one of my recent blog posts.  Since she hand quilts, beautifully I might add, I posed a question about how one might address quilting on a redwork quilt.   I am cross hatching it but do I go straight on thru, like I marked it initially?  Or is it best to go around the design elements?  I may not be the only one wondering about this!  Caron posted it to her group HERE and you may be interested in the replies.  Still no clear cut answer----always two sides to any question, right?  I feel I am on the right track and decide as I work on the blocks.  Is the Santa poufing up too much with the absence of anchoring stitches?   I can certainly go back and quilt around some of the larger design elements.  The beauty of hand quilting means you can go back and add more!  Thanks, Caron!

And one last picture-------look at what is up in our yard!  Ironically, I had just commented on Facebook to a pal in Maine about crocuses and spring coming soon.  DJ came in soon after and told me to get my camera--the yellow ones are up.  Nearby I think I saw the starts of the daffodil stems coming up as well.   It seems too early for this.  Mid February maybe but not late January.   I know winter is not done yet.   PSSST tell that to that weird budding out camellia bush----frost is going to get you!

 Now that I have this post completed do I sew or hunt for my missing set of car keys?????   Have a good day in whatever you have chosen to do and thanks for stopping by.

Jan 19, 2012

thank heavens for leftovers!

As you know I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes---most of the time.  I DO collect cookbooks and read them like novels, after all.  I think you can tell by reading the ingredient list if it will work for your needs and flag it.

Other times, when I am busy with something in the sewing room, I could care less about cooking and will throw together anything as quick as I can.  DJ would refer to my actions in the kitchen on those days a bull in the china shop--- in, out and back to sewing.  Come on, we all do it or just give up and order pizza or run through the closest drive thru burger joint.

I also consider myself lucky that my husband is NOT a picky eater or one that will NOT eat leftovers.  Lord, I would hate to see what our food budget would have to be in that case!  We do not waste food around here.  We are retired so that means most of the time BOTH of us are here for lunch.  Last night's supper is often lunch the next day.  If there is still some leftover, then it is off to the freezer to be "born again" in another form.  When we need some soup to round out a sandwich  meal, I usually have a couple kinds on hand in the freezer.

Last night I did what I call "spoil your husband" meal and fixed his all time favorite of turkey breast and most of the trimmings.  Obviously that is NOT what you are looking at, LOL.  This was my Tuesday efforts.  I tried my hand at replicating Olive Garden's Roasted Chicken Potato Florentine soup.    Ever since the Belles' Christmas luncheon and we tried a sample of it, I knew I was going to have to come up with my own version of it!   They are only going to serve it for a limited time at the restaurant and I only get down there every two--three months or so.  I liked it enough to make a stab at it.   I also made a pan of King Arthur Flour's No Knead Garlic Cheese Flat Bread since we were not going to have access to those yummy Olive Garden Bread Sticks.  This is all that is left for the freezer after two meals.   My 5 qt. Dutch oven was full to about 3 inches from the top.

OH, this bread recipe is very good as well and would be great for panini sandwiches if you cut into squares and half it.  Blitz Bread: No Fuss Focaccia.  The other recipe gives a tip for using the leftover bread and turning it into crispy breadsticks.

So if you want to try making a batch here's what I came up with--------

* Exported from MasterCook *

   My version of Olive Garden's Roasted Chicken Potato Florentine Soup

Recipe By     :  Linda J
Serving Size  : 12  
Categories    : soup

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2                                 carrots -- peeled and cut into match stick pieces
  1          medium           onion -- diced
  1         tablespoon       olive oil
  2       14.5 oz cans      chicken broth  (or more)
  1                cup           water
  3                                 potatoes -- diced small  (NOTE:  see below if you want the slices of potatoes)
  1       10.75 oz. can     condensed tomato soup
  1          8 oz. can         tomato sauce
  1/2       jar                   RagĂș Alfredo Classic Pasta Sauce
  1/2  9-10 oz. pkg.       frozen chopped spinach -- thawed
  8             ounces         cooked chicken -- cubed
                                    salt to taste
  1           teaspoon       sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes
  1           teaspoon       prepared minced garlic
  1           teaspoon       Italian herb seasoning
  1/4        teaspoon       black pepper

Prep the carrots and onion and saute in a 5 qt. Dutch oven till softened.

If you plan on using diced potatoes in the soup, prep them and add to the pot along with 2 cans of broth and water.  Bring to a boil and cook about 8-10 minutes till the potato cubes are fork tender, not mushy.

Add the pasta sauce, tomato sauce  and condensed tomato soup adding more broth or water if needed to thin the soup to the consistency you like it.

I used slightly less than half a box of Green Giant chopped spinach left from another use.  It looked to be more than what we were served at the restaurant but I like my soup substantial.

Cooked Chicken:  as I had no leftover chicken on hand and did not want to spring for a rotisserie one,  I used a prepared package of grilled chicken pieces from the meat case.  Tyson and John Soule brands are at Walmart.  Any other time I would have poached a breast or two or used some leftover chicken from another meal.

NOTES : If you want to use the sliced potatoes like they do in the restaurant, I think I would get a package of the microwaveable red potatoes.  Let them cool enough to peel and cut into small slices adding just at the end to heat through.  I used cubes as I would for regular potato soup.

ENJOY!  LOL, we did.

Jan 18, 2012

at it again--edited

It seems that I cannot quite quit tinkering with my Re-vamped Oxmoor House quilt.  I'm at it again!  I am playing in EQ with the design.

Oh I did the boring stuff yesterday with the binding but it didn't get sewn on the quilt yet.   I still need to study up on how to program the sewing machine to do lettering for the QOV label if I go that route.  I didn't get the Prairie Window top marked yet either.   What's another day??

I have been thinking about this re-design for about a week and may have mentioned it as being a hold up to actually sewing on this thing.  I decided to bump up the width to 64 inches so maybe I could come closer to being able to use this on my bed.  I played around with it last night till almost 9:45.   Other than filling a 4 x 27 inch space with "something" I was satisfied with the arrangement when I went to bed.

Because I want to include a previously made redwork piece and a feathered star, I needed to add another 16 inches to the length.  The feathered star was made for a round robin but I set it aside when the moderator was not sharing my vision that it be set on point by the person who followed me, LOL. I eventually substituted with a fall theme that I DID put on point to start with.. The redwork was for a small wall hanging but I totally messed up the quarter square triangle that were to frame it.  Too pretty NOT to put somewhere, right??   It will also fit the bed a bit better to get up to 80 inches of length before borders are added.  This also gives me an opportunity to include some other blocks I had considered and did not have room for.

 EQ does NOT make it entirely easy to just adjust the the center rectangle and retain the sizing of the blocks that are in the rows above it in custom set.  The width might stay the same but the blocks elongate to fill the space meaning it ALL has to be adjusted and re-positioned on the worktable.  You might as well just start over which I did.  The photo above shows my progress in that regard and represents about an hour's work.

Before I actually get started back piecing/appliquing the sampler blocks, I need to know what size blocks I need, even an idea about coloration is helpful.   I have some of the foundation pieced sections printed off already but the sizes may have changed as I try to get the puzzle all put together.  Since I have a mixed bag of tricks going on here, it should be fun to work on this.  It contains some of  my favorite quilt elements all in one quilt plus it is Christmas!

So it would appear that seaming some binding is all the sewing I will get done at least part of this week too.  Oh you all know that won't last too much longer, LOL.   Hope you are having a good day in whatever you chose to do--------

ED. NOTE:   And here is what I am going with---ignore the wrong colored square in square feather star block.  Too lazy to try to replicate what it really is.  Blank spots are appliqued blocks and the lines on some of the blocks are to help me know what size to print the motifs.

Jan 16, 2012

all in a day's work

Who would of thought that piecing two batts would take the better part of a day??  But it did.

The first one wasn't too bad since I had a fairly wide piece from the extra length of batting cut for a "wider than 48 inches" top from last week.   That probably had about 5 seams total.    The 2nd one?  14 seams total as I was essentially dealing with long strips anywhere from 7.5 to 11.5 inches wide to build it up to about 58 wide.   Even that little bit marked 9 x 56 has 6 seams in it as I was down to the last bits of batting.  Now, I may be handed a bag of cutaways when I get to the meeting site next meeting OR worse, there are some hiding in the closet.

These batts are for two of the tops in the closet here at home.  Dec 2010 on this one.  Prairie Window Romance Challenge.   Pattern source:  Quiltwoman.com.   I still need to mark the top in a wide grid or that WAS my plan once upon a time.

The other slightly smaller one is for the Picnic  BQ 1.   More recent flimsy completion on it though  Sept. 2011.  Pattern source:  Maple Island Quilts.  The edges look a little blah but it will have that red dot binding

Well, cross one thing off this weeks' short term goals.  Tomorrow's plan will be:

  • Cut, sew and press some navy binding for Disappearing Nine Patch.  Apply it if I have time.
  • Press the binding for February
  • Mark the grid on Prairie Window
See how I make out since I have a couple home tasks that need tending as well.  

Jan 15, 2012

wasted week?

 Would you believe it if I told you have not touched my machine, not once, all week?  I just plain have not had time.  Oh by Friday I had pulled out my embroidery to put a few stitches in my green basket block but that is it.  No sewing!  For all the gals that ask me how I get so much done in the sewing department, I didn't this week!

Maybe it was just time to take a short break?  There is not shortage of things that could be done in here.

Let's start with ugh, seaming batting.  No fun but necessary esp if I am going to make tops that don't fit on 48 inches wide. 

Then we have February----waiting and waiting for the needed button hole applique to be done.  January is half over, after all.  It won't take long to quilt or bind it but do you think it will be hanging in time for Valentine's Day??

Then we have the Christmas quilt.  I seriously intended to be working this by now.  I got only as far as looking at the foundation pieced flying geese part and trying to figure out what I had possibly done with the background pieces. They turned up but my opportunity for sewing that day was gone.

The more I look at it, the more I wonder if I need to be making it 12 inches wider. It would fit the bed better. I don't like that tree block in that position in the last row and want the star that WAS in there back.    If I add another row to the side then I can move it elsewhere in the top.  I could include a few more blocks that got left out of the design.  Back to the drawing board again?

This tub is full of Christmas fabric---well some isn't but there are greens and reds that could be used in it..   The pizza box contains the little bit of the quilt that is finished.  I vowed NOT to put either of them back where they belong till the top is done.  I'm already tired of looking at it.  I set up to quilt and have to push it around the room.  I guess there is a reason why it normally resides under the cutting table, LOL.

And then there is quilting and binding that could be addressed.  Two of mine and one of Linda C's from the last meeting.  On top is my disappearing 4 patch last seen HERE in mid-August.  The long arm quilter who is also the QOV AL contact person and  member of Friendship Quilters spearheading the efforts for the Veteran's Home quilts gave it back to me yesterday for binding.  I may need to make some first but it goes on my this week list.  I may need to try out the embroidery stitching elements of the machine to make a label too.

The stack of quilts is still piled up.  Betsy went off without the one she had and I told her I would wait till next meeting.  Hopefully I can get it to dovetail to the day I am already down in Oxford OR I could have DJ go with me and we can go out to lunch on the way.

I knew it was going to be a busy week.  Starting with Sunday, I had an executive board meeting so that shot a chunk of Sunday afternoon.  Bama Belles met on Tuesday----that shoots most of the day or at the very least, I am too tired to want to do much once I get home and unpacked.  Yesterday, regular guild meeting and a grocery errand so there went 0830 to about 1530.  Thank heavens for Friday leftovers and no cooking.  In between a whole lot of paperwork----for both quilt groups, meeting minutes to write up for executive board and regular quilt meeting.  That one kept me busy all afternoon.  I also organized my files and email on the computer so I could back up my files.  Good thing too since my cooking software would not open right after.  Getting it back to about where it was took most of Friday evening to straighten it out, thanks to the vagaries of Mastercook 11.

Machine, I'll be back----I promise, LOL.  Just not today.  Today is pretty much gone.  Think I'll get the paper and call it a day.

Jan 11, 2012

meeting wrap

We had a good group yesterday at our Bama Belles meeting. With the holiday layoff it seemed as though some of us had not been together in ages! A few that have had schedule conflicts in recent months WERE with us including one gal who had moved up to TN. She and her husband were back in the area for a few days (house has not sold yet) and their visit coincided with our meeting.

We pinned up 7 quilts and 7 are about to be turned in---3 need labels so Beverly is taking care of two of them and Betsy will do the honors on her own. I realized when I was posting the following pictures that I didn't get a picture of her cowboy quilt but I will! Meanwhile the stack of ready to be delivered ones has grown a bit higher.  Said pile, last seen HERE, is even with the top of the armoire from the floor on up!  Lois had 3, I had two while Bev and Linda C has one.  Thanks to Teresa for seaming up the back for that last one!  I was helping someone square up some embroidery blocks and explaining how to do pre-sashing so I was no help in pinning the larger of my two tops.  The girls didn't care as there was plenty of help and went ahead with out me----thanks for that too!  Jane always is such a help as a binding volunteer so I can move on to the next quilt.  I appreciate them all.

Linda C brought several totes of scrap fabrics with her to share along with some patterns and such.  It was pretty much spread out over two of the 5 foot tables at the meeting spot so several of the girls were going "shopping" over there.  I guess the tote is staying with the remainders.  Marilyn also had some backing yardage to share as she is in the process of cleaning and organizing her sewing space.  I told the girls that at the next meeting I intend for us to go through the two fabric bins and decide what goes and what stays as we  just don't have room to store too much of it.  We just keep piling on more!!  It might help to know what sizes pieces we have and label it with a tag and hang it in some cases.  Other smaller bits can probably be used for blocks or cut into charms/strips etc.    What we don't want/won't use can go to another quilt group, someone in the group or the Salvation Army.  To be truthful, I am not even sure what exactly is in the bottom bin that is hard to get at in the stack.   That just tells me we don't need it if it hasn't seen the light of day for a couple years.

I have more group related tasks on my list, meaning probably no sewing again but that's okay.   We are almost out of batting and I have several piles of cutaways to seam which will be fine for some of my tops wider than the standard 48 width we buy.  Some paper pushing duties too.  Once I get that room clutter out of here then I can entertain the idea of doing something more creative.

So you probably are more interested in seeing the quilts than reading my prattling on, LOL.  Here we go!

Bev S.  Pineapple Blossom----I think she likes that block!  This was one of two tops she has made with it plus a pile of blocks at the sew-in too.  One top did not come with her this trip.

Linda C's Square in a Square.   One that I quilted in December during the quilting blitz.  Jane had finished the binding.

Linda C  not sure what I called this for the document----Double 4 patch Strippie maybe???  Again, another of the tops I quilted during the December blitz.  Jane did the binding.

Beverly H---Scrappy Rails.  Isn't it happy and bright?  Love the scrappy binding too.

Beverly H.  Romance Challenge.  I may have taken the picture of this before but it went back home with her to finish the labeling (and binding?).  Block is Patience Corner and Beverly took care not to decapitate any of the little figures from the challenge fabric.

Linda C.  Jacob's Elevator  (Trudie Hughes pattern).  She has this one professional quilted.

Linda C.  This one goes by several names but when it came on my horizon back in 99-00,  it was called Rainy Day Satisfaction.  No pattern really needed.  You can cut the center squares any size you want them to be.  Good two color quilt that is not labor intensive.

That's it for now------hope you have a good day.

Jan 9, 2012

one of THOSE nights

I don't think that today is going to be a sewing day around here. I have a feeling that my efforts would lead to more "reverse sewing" or I would be primed for a rotary cutter nick or an attempt at sewing through my finger. Oh, tell me that doesn't happen at YOUR house too!

I am definitely not at the top of my game since I could neither get to sleep till after 1 a.m. and have been awake since 4: 15. Finally I bailed at 5 and fired up the computer. It is NOT that I have a lot on my mind and that was interfering with my sleep. I certainly was tired enough at 9 or so to have gone to sleep if it had been dark, cool and quiet around here. Well, cool and dark I could manage---quiet, no. Not with a small house and a husband who is a candidate for a hearing aid. I see a nap on the horizon later today.

So what is on the horizon for me?  Well, I want to back up my computer files but first all these saved files---and that is not near all of them----need to be put into their basic categories before I do that.   It also helps to remind me of just what is in there or delete any dupes or the ones that no longer have as much appeal.  Some will  just go in that big catch all "misc, uncategorized" for later sorting if they are mixed patterned quilt.

I am sorta looking for a few things as I do this:

First off,  I am considering a Bama Belles challenge consisting of me picking a pattern and then asking them to interpret it with their own fabric this year.  That would be a new twist.  We have done the all the same fabric ones several times.  We did a scrappy challenge last year.   Lord knows,  THAT could be explored some more and some new ideas on how to use those cut strips and squares is always good.    I have a few ideas tucked away if we go that route or it could be a choice for the spring sew date.

Second, my dear FAB pal Pam and her husband lost their long time Kitty Companion around Thanksgiving.  They had taken Akira in when he could no longer stay with his kitty daddy (their son) Ryan  .I know how hard that is to go through losing a long time treasured furry family member. when our Pippi passed away almost 4 years ago. It still hurts. Pam and I made memorial quilts for her; mine is seen in THIS POST.   I had pulled some possible fabrics the other day for this purpose but am not quite sure of a pattern.  I know I have a copy of that Rose Garden or whatever I used but still cannot come up with its proper name!!   Yeah there are two grouping there.  One would also be in honor of Chico the neighborhood cat who has gone missing.  While we are still hopeful that Skyler's kitty buddy may show up, it is also possible that he won't after this much time passing.  (Glynda said they had looked everywhere on the property as they have about 30 acres, some timber with a creek running through it.)    

Lastly, some time back Cher had sent a packet to each of the FABS  with this panel from the 2011 Sister's Quilt show and some of the go with's.  The fabric line is "My Sunshine" by Kathy Deggendorfer for "In the Beginning".  No date has been firmed up for us to work on this but she was issuing a challenge for the 5 of us to make a quilt from at least the panel piece.  I was teasing her recently that this might just be what we do for her THIS year birthday since we didn't sew last year on her FAB PAR-TAY date.  

I had bought some of the fabric line with my birthday money from the Belles. I have a good idea of what I am going to do.  However, as I so often say "I reserve the right to change my mind, LOL".  I am a quilter, after all and have one friend  in particular who sends me pattern idea links to tempt me.  Since she gave this to us, I have been looking at things that feature panels or large focus pieces and considering them as possibilities.  That project has an idea folder set up too!  And some of those files in my huge "quilt files and pdfs" folder go in said folder.

To the right:  what I do when I cannot sleep.   I own two very similar patterns----Criss-Cross Quilt from the free quilt patterns info site (not free) and Prairie Window from QuiltWoman and designer Anne Wiens.  I have done a couple tops using the Prairie Window. Easiest way to find them would probably be to look in the 2011 flimsies and finishes tabs on my blog site proper, not a feed.    Okay, I own the patterns so why did I draw it up, you might ask?    Well, neither pattern is perfect for WTIL needs.  We shoot for around 40 x 60 though kids come in all sizes.  Prairie Window has wider rail sections and just looks a bit "clunky" to me.  The lap size is too big and the baby quilt finishes at the odd (to me) size of 44 x 51---too wide and too short, for WTIL range.    Criss-Cross?  It is shown as a square quilt and I prefer rectangular ones when possible.  I drew it up in EQ, did the calculations and then wrote up some cutting instructions for me.  

I also have some other paper piddling to do today. Primarily I need to write up some minutes for the executive board meeting from guild before my notes get cold but there is some other set aside mail to deal with as well.  I get busy sewing and if something does not require my immediate attention, it stacks for a few days, LOL.  

It has already been a busy week and it just got started!   Tonight, of course, we will be rooting on Alabama in the BCS championship football game.  ROLL TIDE!   Let's have a good game and no injuries, boys.  Tomorrow is Bama Belles day.  Some packing up involved there.  I'll need to be sure to pack my camera (and spare battery this time!!)  That stack of quilts needs to be delivered at some point.  Saturday I am back over to Pell City for regular guild meeting.  Something tells me I am not going to get a whole lot of sewing done this week----but that's okay too.  I outdid myself last week, LOL.

It is staying fairly warm today with a lot of cloud cover but I can toss some burgers on the grill for lunch. Best get off the computer and take care of that!  Thanks for stopping by----------

Jan 7, 2012


Hubbers was out working on the front bed area that got suspended due to his bilateral cataract surgeries.  We still need to get several more bags of the white rock but he has been driving around for months with this black trim stuff in the back seat of his car.  The weather warmed up enough and there was sufficient cloud cover for him to get out with his spade.

Look at what he unearthed out there!  Kept hitting it with the spade as he had rounded the bend near the down spout.  Yikes!  Big 2 x 6 length, half rotted out.

As I write this, he has gotten to the halfway point, looks like.  Glad it is him and not me.  I don't "do" outside, LOL if I can help it.

another donation flimsy

I stitched and stitched yesterday afternoon and evening till I had enough blocks made to complete half of this top.  This morning, I joined the two halves and corralled Quilt  Holder to "do the honors."  Think I might be on a 12 in 12 plan as far as tops go??   How about quilting up the ones from last year and keeping their 11 in 11 label??  HMMM

I have no plan for where my creative muse may take me today. Right now I need to clean up the mess of strings on the floor from the past days of sewing.

I'm guessing it is time to get serious about that my adapted Oxmoor Christmas quilt thing but that is a sampler type thing.   Sketch link HERE.  I am going to include that Quilter's Cache Christmas 2003 block that I recently stitched up for Friendship Quilters in it so will revise it slightly before printing up my road map of what goes where.

Jan 6, 2012

donation flimsy

Thanks to the Bama Belles' group sewing date in October----and a pile of leftover 2 inch strips this made for a fairly quick "finish to flimsy".  You never know when you are working on a group project as there can be a bit of variance in one's machines 1/4 inch seam allowance.

I made sure to square the blocks up which I don't normally do on my own, "all me" generated on the same machine blocks.  Also if the cornerstones did not fit the strip I verified and/or slivered trimmed the sashing strips.  If I knew the sashing was correctly length and width and found the block was a tad undersized, I could fudge it in a bit.

This should be a fun quilt for a youngster.  There are enough novelty bits in there to make it be a treasure hunt, or use it for a matching game.  I have one block leftover which happens to be one that I made.  I pulled them out of the bag just as I had picked them up and tried not to get too "matchy-matchy" with the sashing.  I also did NOT look at the row ahead of it to make sure two of the same colors were near each other.  IIWII, no fussing allowed.

It is early in the day---earlier than I usually find myself at the machine.  I've been awake since about 5 a.m. and up since 545, thanks to a little black and white kitty boy.  I only had one row to assemble this morning.  I had done one on New Year's Day and the middle 4 rows yesterday.  What's next??  It is Friday and I just met my week's sewing goals, after all.  

I  left off with this half finished 3-D bowtie quilt in mid November as the last of the Belles Scrappy Challenge.  My notes got cold, LOL.  Where was I headed with it?
I am guessing  I need 35 more bowties if I don't want to do borders on it.  It would finish up at 42 x 60 and right in WTIL range.  OR 6 x 9 with 3 inch borders would accomplish the same thing.   HMMMMM -- 19 more or 35 more blocks minus the two on the design wall.  Stay tuned for this momentous decision, LOL.  I may get lucky and find that I left a pile in the project tote that just need to be seamed in the middle. 

ED. NOTE:  no such luck on a pile of blocks but what I did find was a pile of 33 blocks worth of groups of three and a big stack of 3.5 inch muslin squares.  Yep,  7 x 10 set after all.   I must have been thinking of the pile I have started for a QOV quilt, with that "only need to be seamed" thing.  I do love 3-D bowties and often consider them an on-going project. 

Jan 4, 2012

2011 accounting

(Mostly I do not want to lose the lists I maintained last year and want to set up the same thing for 2012, LOL.  Ignore it if you want to)


  • Hot Mess flimsy
  • PIC flimsy
  • 4 patch diagonal chain 8-21-11
  • Triple Rail 8-22-11
  • Diagonal Strings 8-31-11
  • Beachy Prairie Window
  • Faux Log Cabin 10-27
  • WIP bowties

PIF CHALLENGE---this remains as I have more to make with the donation fabric

  • Craftsman Sports World--to HQ as flimsy
  • Right Angles Sports World--to HQ as flimsy
  • RR Crossing top
  • BQ 1 Picnic print 9-14-11

QOV’s---tops to the long arm quilter volunteer
  • Line Art
  • Disappearing 4 patch
  • JATH base 1-6
  • January JATH 1-6
  • In Seasons's Winter 1-6
  • Christmas Log Cabin 1-21ish
  • Kitty Leap Frog 3-5
  • Pam's Bday Button Up 2-17ish
  • Veronica's Bday Button Up 3-26
  • Welcome Button Up 3-28
  • FB Medallion 3-30
  • Daisy Chain 4-1
  • In Season Spring 4-1
  • Cher Gordian Knot 6 late May
  • Pat's bday Autumn Blessings 10-12
  • In Seasons Summer--10-15
  • Pumpkins 4 sale 10-18
  • July Button Up--10-21
  • Habitat BQ2--11-7
  • In Seasons Autumn 11-25
  • Merry Christmas BU #21 11-27
  • Gordian Knot 1 11-28
  • Norma Bday Button Up 12-15
  • Pioneer Sampler Plus 12-17
  • Give Thanks Button Up 12-13 pinned/completed 1-4-2012

the year's first flimsy and finish

Hot off the press 1-4 with binding completion.  Yeah mostly a Dec 2011 project with the piecing, button hole appliquing and machine quilting.  It still goes on the 2012 list.  Woohoo!  Scratch off one of the week's goals.

And, except for the button appliquing or some sort of edge finishing,  "February" Button Up is a flimsy.  By the 5th heart I prepped yesterday I knew that it was better to cut off small sections of the ric rac and overlap it then try to make it bend around the corners, especially on that pointy tip!   It looked like I might be running short on the ric rac as well but of two packages, I have about 6 inches of it left.

I ended up basting the ric rac down and then removing the freezer paper from the back that I had used to turn the raw edges.  Then I had to use a whole sheet of steam a seam 2 to stick the thing down.  I am not fond of the stiffness behind the hearts but it could not be helped on this one.   I am counting this as almost reaching the week's goal, LOL but that might be close enough!

After two days of hand stitching I am most definitely ready to give my fingers a break and do some sewing.   My plans are to prep the binding and hanging loops for February. Then I am moving back to the Pineapple Blossom WTIL top.    And sew it goes---------

Jan 3, 2012

What I have so far.........

After all that quilting lately, I was so ready for a reward project.  I had posted that this was my personal project of choice on New Year's Day.   It got moved along on Monday to this point when I "closed up shop".

I decided that it might be best to baste the ric rac to the heart and then secure down the whole deal.  It does soften the edges of that angular shaped heart.  Of course, stitching thru all those layers was not without peril, LOL.  Between the pins, the glue, sticking myself a couple times I was happy to put it away and start fresh this morning-------with a heavier, longer milliner's needle.

Here is a closeup of the one I have basted and secured.  The pattern suggests using bright yellow ric rac and then over-dying it with tan dye.  I could not find bright yellow jumbo ric rac here in town on my cursory look but I didn't want to order any either.   I have since found out that they do have a selection of ric rac at Wilson's up in Boaz and I will remember that should I need any again.   Anyway, I found plain old white so I dyed the green stripe and the red dot fabric along with it.  The texture is subtle but I think it will still work.

Now we see Skyler wanting to lend his hand to the preceedings.  I have to wonder which he wants more---the thread on the cone, the thread he sees flashing in and out on the needle or that weird looking snake stuff.  He wanted me to go to the kitchen to give him his "treat bite"but will be back.  Too nosy not to, LOL.

This being the start of the New Year I have been thinking about what projects I might like to work on, what my goals are.  I have done well setting short term goals for the day, or the week.  I mention them here and that keeps me accountable.  I have pictures for blog fodder too, LOL.    Mulling all that over--something from several categories?  Personal, Pro Bono, QOV, UFO?  I told Norma we can make plans but we reserve the right to change our minds and add something totally new to the mix----go where our heart is leading us.  Sometimes that is exactly what is needed to rev up the creative fires.

But for now some short term goals for this week are----------

  • finish prepping February button up
  • finish assembling Pineapple Blossom top
  • finish the binding on Give Thanks button up

Jan 1, 2012

what you do on New Years Day.........

.............you will do throughout the year.  Ordinarily I make a special point to work on something pro bono.  Today was no exception but I also decided I was going to focus on a little bit of several aspects of quiltmaking.

First out was my green Bee Tree Designs basket block.  I haven't touched this since early November but I have been busy with other things!  Normally I drag this with me to the quilt guild meeting but that is going to be out since I am the incoming guild secretary, LOL.   I stitched for a little over an hour so get it moved forward a little bit.

Next, I turned to hand quilting.  Bird Brain  Designs "Here Comes Santa".  5th block of 12 in progress.  I stuck with it long enough to finish this particular block.  I would dearly love for this to be up on the wall NEXT holiday season.   Maybe if I set aside one day of the week to hand quilt I will get there.
I told Norma that I didn't want to do any housework, laundry or binding today, that being my least favorite part of quilting.  She asked if I was going to leave it off all my quilts this year.   NO!   I relented.  I had quilted up the Give Thanks Button Up on New Year's Eve.  If I had been willing to push the hand finishing, I could have counted it as my last finish for 2011.  I am no glutton for punishment, I was tired and it could wait.    I got to just past the corner and the label till I set it aside.   I DID do a tad of embroidery on this one too----the turkey's legs and sewed on a button for his eye.

Next I moved on to the pro bono quilt.  I have 24 blocks from the fall sew-in to assemble along with a pile of strips from Jane, Lois, Bev and others to use for the sashing.  Some is cut to size and some isn't.   One row is done.  5 more to go.   I will finish it up sometime this week so we can pin it at our first January meeting.

Lastly,  I chose a personal project sewing.  I was working BEHIND on these Button Up projects last year a  good bit of the time.  Well, perfect example was the "Give Thanks" piece---pieced in December and quilted on New Years Eve!  I thought maybe I would get a jump start on February's heart piece.  I had it all cut out last year but got stumped about how to add the jumbo rick rack when I have the hearts prepped over freezer paper.  Actually I am STILL stumped but figured I could at least prep the base unit.   If any one has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.  To see a picture of where I am headed try this Joined at the Hip---#BU2.

I hate working with strips 1 1/2 inch and smaller.  The red strip finishes at 1/2 inch.  Ugh, fumble fingers territory.  I had drawn the sashing sections up in EQ last year so I could  more accurately piece it to a foundation.   That's the point I was at when I took the picture.  Before I quit for the night I had the blocks sashed.  The vertical sections are joined and awaiting the band between the block area that says "February".  I'll get that part done tomorrow and the borders on the base----maybe the appliqued basted and/or fused.   I prepped all that last year.

All in all, a productive day---