Monday, December 31, 2007

Quilted Postcards Part Two - Quilting the Collage

All right, I get to finish part two before the end of 2007! My previous batches I went directly to quilting the collage, but this time I wanted to add some Angelina Fiber embellishment. I chose a blue and pink Angelina to coordinate with my theme - "Fire and Ice". I simply cut pieces out of a square of pressed fibers and tossed them onto my collage whever I liked.

I then pinned them all down.

Then I used my sewing machine with quilting foot to stitch them down around the edges. I did this because I wanted to just quilt over them, putting them in the background rather than making them pop off the top of the completed design.

When they were all stitched down I started quilting my piece. I used a pretty Madeira thread in the colors of my fabrics on the top and for the back I simply used up different bobbins that don't have a lot of thread on them. As long as its not going to show this works very well, though you do have to deal with changing bobbins more often!

As far as quilting designs go its all just doodling on the fabric. Right now I am really into using spirals so I've done a lot of those, some sunbursts, practice feathers, circles, clamshells. It really doesn't matter, and it makes the finished postcards a lot of fun because you never know what you are going to have on each card. It's a terrific way to just practice free motion, and let your imagination run wild.

After quilting I press the collage flat - on this one I had to press from the backside so I wouldn't mess up my Angelina embellishments. The next step is cutting. I put the quilted piece on the cutting board and measure it top to bottom and side to side, using this measurement to guide my choice on how to cut. This one was a little shorter than 18 inches across on one side, so I decided to start by cutting a 4 inch strip off the other side, and divided that into three six inch sections.
Then I rotated my piece and cut off another 4 inch strip and divided that into three more pieces:

Then another strip with three:

Coming up to the shorter side, I cut a 6 inch strip and divided that into four 4 inch pieces, and the last section is a 4 inch strip with only two cuts possible.

I got fifteen 4 x 6 inch postcards, plus a couple of smaller scraps out of this piece.

I then cut fifteen 4 x 6 pieces of fusible web, and fifteen pieces of 4 x 6 card stock. I had purchased a bad batch of fusible web, if you iron it on to fabric, it sticks to the paper and doesn't release. It works well, however, if you peel it from the paper first, then sandwich it between the postcard top and the card stock. It really is a bit of a pain, but at least it allows me to use this fusible web.

After cutting, the card stock is fused to the back of the quilts. I pressed these from the card stock side to avoid ruining the Angelina and to insure a good bond.

Next step, finishing the edges!

A very Blessed and Happy New Year to one and all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

As usual, I can have all the good intentions in the world, but not the time! I will finish up the post cards next week, but did want to pop in to say Merry Christmas. I have two of my daughters home this weekend, and am looking forward to a fun week of family, but probably no quilting or blogging.

As you exchange gifts with your loved ones this week, don't forget the greatest gift of all, and the reason for Christmas - Jesus Christ.

God Bless us every one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How I make fabric collage postcards - part one:

Finally I get to get this going! I'm not finished yet, but here is part one - making the fabric collage. I think it's a lot of fun. For this set I am using leftovers from a strips and curves quilt I made. I saved all the bits and pieces because they are so pretty! First I find a piece of leftover batting that is about 19 x 21 inches. This size will make 15 postcards.

Then I start layering my scraps - I just lay them out however I think they look good!

I rearrange a lot as I sort through all of my bits. I like to limit the bigger pieces because I like each card to have some piecing in it. The strip pieces are nice because they are already pieced, so I can use the bigger pieces of those with no worries. I love the way the curves look in the postcards, so put in plenty of those, even freehand cutting them with my rotary cutter when needed.
After everything is arranged I pin the edges down, double checking to make sure all the batting is covered up.

I then pull out my pretty threads and pick something that goes with the quilt. I start stitching the raw edges down in no particular order, just picking different stitches, and changing threads every 3 or 4 seams. I lay my piece out flat every once in a while to make sure nothing has shifted position.

Now it's finished! Here is what the back looks like:

And this is the top:

Next step is the quilting, I'll talk about that tomorrow. I don't usually back my piece for postcards, but if you will be using this to make something that needs backing you can back it with something that enhances the top and pin baste it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My lucky night at quilt guild!

Last night was our Coos Sand & Sea Christmas Party. It was quite a lot of fun - pot luck, gift exchange and show and tell. One of the things our guild does is our raffle table. It started out as a way to pump some much needed cash into our show fund, but has continued as a fun and profitable tradition. Everyone brings stuff to donate that they no longer want: patterns magazines, books, fabric.... The wonderful ladies who are now in charge of our raffle table take all the donations from the current month, bring them home and package them up into attractive and organized bundles. Last night they were all beautifully gift wrapped for Christmas. I hardly ever buy raffle tickets, but last night I was in a charitable mood because I sold a book from my stash on, so I bought four tickets. My 13 year old came with me, so she gave me the two even numbered tickets and she kept the odd ones. Well both of my tickets were called, and one of hers! So I came out with a stack of goodies a foot high - lots of magazines, some old, and some from this year, a couple of books, and some lovely green and yellow fabrics for me, and my daughter is keeping her stack of blue fabric. I'm going to bundle up the magazines I already have to pass through my thursday afternoon sewing circle.

Totally changing the topic, but I sure hope the weather clears up this afternoon so the satellite guy can put up our hd dish. We've been washed out twice due to the weather. It is supposed to be sunny this afternoon, but I hear rain outside right now. Of course we always say if you don't like the weather here wait 5 minutes, it could be totally different!

My quilting mission today is to make some more pot holders! I've sold 4 of the coffee ones this week, and have a bunch more to make so I'd better get on it. I want to get at least 4 done this morning, but have to squeeze in a grocery store run also. I also plan on putting up a tutorial of how I've been making my fabric collage post cards. It's a lot of fun, and maybe someone else would be interested in how to make a whole batch at once (tried one at a time and quilting those little 4 x 6 squares is challenging - I need more room to maneuver!). Of course I need to clean up the studio first, all the flat surfaces are covered with stuff!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Shopping from my couch!

I love it! I am all cozily snuggled under my favorite blue and white quilt on my couch doing most of my Christmas shopping. I am truly addicted to Etsy! I did not have to drive to the mall and find a parking spot, walk through the rain, trudge through stores, stand in lines, and carry my stuff out to the car. I had hot chocolate, watched tv, and had a ball going through all the goodies I could find looking for that perfect gift! I found wonderful gifts for everybody, even the man of the house who is so hard to shop for. He is going to be thrilled with his gift! I even got myself a treat for doing such a good job with my shopping!

Now I get to look forward to having the mailman deliver all the goods to my front door so I can wrap them up and put them under the tree (that I need to get busy and put up!). I have my wrapping paper and tape all ready, I may go out to get some ribbon so I can make my neato handmade gifts even prettier! Can you tell I am giddy with happiness?

Another happy thing is that the four new windows for the upstairs were installed yesterday. I have been waiting forever it seems like to get this done. I'll bet we save enough on our electric bill to pay for them in just a few years. Little by little we are whipping this poor old house into shape. All in all a fine day, and I am looking forward to another good one tomorrow - it's quilting day, always fun. We'll see what the ladies are up to, and have a good afternoon!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Down One storm window, but still standing!

Well, it is bedtime, but we are still standing, and the lights are on! We did lose our electricity for a couple of hours, but we have lights, heat, and a roof with all the shingles still on it. Tomorrow is supposed to be a better day, but the wind is still raging tonight.

On the other hand, I finished quilting a collage of scraps and cut it into a set of post cards. Will take pictures tomorrow and show you all of the fun!

Windy afternoon

Not as rainy, but the wind is picking up now. The lights have flickered a couple of times, but I've got the dress hemmed, and just have to convert the gloves into gauntlets and I will be done. I got a call from the interior designer I sew for from time to time and she has a couple of jobs for me so I am happy about that! I like to keep busy, but not be overwhelmed and this last month has been perfect for that. Now that I've had my lunch I'll go back to the sewing room and get those gloves done, then on to some quilting!

Rain, rain and wind...

It's 9:00 am on Monday morning, and that promised storm is here. The winds aren't bad, but the rain is pouring down. We have flood watches, flood warnings, and wind warnings in effect. What a nice day to be cozy in my house. I don't think I need to go anywhere today, so I will hem the wedding dress, then do some quilting! As long as we have our power I'm a happy camper in the storm. Just hope everything goes ok for my hubby, he's out making sure the mail gets to where it needs to go (wish they could send him home, but you know the postal service!). I'll update later with more pictures, but for now, here is our soggy day:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

There's a Big Wind Coming!

Hopefully we won't all blow away - they've even cancelled school for tomorrow! Hopefully the electricity will stay on because I have just been goofing off today and have not even touched the wedding dress I am supposed to be hemming. I think it will be all right because I don't think the bride will want to come out to pick it up tomorrow anyway! I just wish my poor husband didn't have to go out in this mess tomorrow, but neither wind nor rain....

This is that lovely pastel quilt I was so happy with this week. It's really hard to take a good picture of a pastel quilt - they look really washed out. I just did a nice stipple on it, using a soft green thread, and it looks absolutely awesome. I plan to list it on Etsy this week. I am also having a special sale -25% off the featured items in my shop. Don't know if it will help, but I sure have a lot of quilts that I want to get re-homed before the end of the year!

I have been doing a lot of thinking about Etsy, and I think I have been spending way too much time trying to come up with lower priced items, and promoting, and just generally worrying over it. I have decided that I will just continue to put my finished quilts on there, but no more totes or bag tags or checkbook covers. It's not that much fun to work at making all this stuff just so I can have a variety of prices and new stuff to list all the time. Plus that I am having to store and take care of all of it. Not really what I want to do. I want to make quilts. I like making postcards, too. I may check out some other places for selling my quilts. I plan to spend some time promoting my patterns this month, and hopefully get some wholesale going on with quilt shops on the west coast here.

Hopefully I'll be checking in tomorrow evening and letting you know how the big storm goes!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Successful Souping

Hurrah! The soup was a grand success, had lots left over - but was able to give most of it away. The tea was wonderful - the decorations were fabulous, the gift bags went over well, and the food was great. Several ladies said it was the best ever (but they say that every year!). It's a lot of work, but very rewarding and even though there are always minor glitches things just manage to turn out just fine. It's a nice start to the Christmas season, and it always puts me in the holiday spirit!

Our theme was Winter Wonderland, we decorated with blue and white and snowmen. We had a very gifted lady named Valerie who cut out tons of snowflakes by hand for us and we hung those all over the dining room, and she also made a wonderful snowman cake that tasted just as good as it looked!

We had a harpist, sang Christmas Carols, and enjoyed my friend Brenda as our special speaker. A great time was had by all. Now we are settling in for a big storm tomorrow - hopefully our power won't go out and I can finish hemming up a wedding dress!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Soup for 50?!

As most people know, I am a lot more comfortable in my sewing studio that I am in the kitchen. So how in the world did I get roped into making soup for 50 ladies at our Winter Wonderland Brunch? I suppose it all started at Bunco a couple of years ago. I made a Pistou Vegetable soup from a recipe on the internet and it was a huge hit with my friend Brenda. Everytime the subject of what to make for something comes up she mentions this soup! We are both on the Women's Ministry Board and in the planning for the December event it is decided to make soups. So I volunteered to make this soup (and Brenda is making chicken corn chowder). We have to feed 100 so we are both making soup for 50 at the church this afternoon. I spent all evening yesterday cooking the beans, chopping the vegetables, and thinking "I sure hope this soup comes out all right!" Of course if it doesn't, I will never be asked to do it again! The other thing I hope is that we don't have so much soup left over that I have to eat it all next week - too much of a good thing you know!

I am officially caught up on my sewing for hire. The only project left is a wedding gown to hem and I will be getting that finished this weekend. (after the brunch!). I even finished the latest quilt I was working on. An absolutely wonderful pastel quilt with scalloped edges. It is really a beauty. I forgot how long it takes to hand sew a binding, I have done all of my binding strictly by machine lately. It does make a very nice finish though to do them by hand. The scallops weren't too bad to do. I think the hardest part was figuring out how large to make them. Once I had that figured (kind of a lowest common denominator type of figuring - good thing I remember a bit of algebra!) all I had to do was find a curve that fit the measurement. A dinner plate fit the bill quite nicely.

I have some pot holders to finish up, then I'll pull another quilt top out and get busy. I'm glad that I have got backs for the next couple, then I think I'll have to dig a little deeper in the UFO pile and finish up a top that needs a couple more borders. I'll need to buy some fabric for this one, but that's always fun!

Here's another quilt I finished recently. I call it Northern Lights and it is for sale in my Esty shop. I had a lot of fun trying out a new quilting design on this, and was very happy with the results. I think for Christmas I am going to make my friends a little design book of quilting designs. Two of them got a new Bernina machine with a stitch regulator and one just bought a Juki like mine to quilt on! I think they would enjoy it, especially if I do a binder that they can add their own designs to. See how one thing just leads into another! This is how we are in this house - start talking about one thing and end up in a whole other topic.

Got to get ready to cook soup - wish me luck!

Monday, November 26, 2007


So many things to be thankful for, even through the ups and downs of life. I am thankful for all 5 of my lovely daughters. Thankful that they are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. They are considerate and kind. They love God, and are (mostly) respectful of their parents. They are wonderful!

I am thankful for Buster who seems to be doing quite well with only one eye. We had a bit of a set-back when he developed and abscess in his eye socket. He has been off antibiotics since Friday, and I am keeping an eagle eye out for any swelling, and so far so good.

I am thankful for my house. It is looking better than it has in years, and we hope to have our new upstairs windows installed very soon, which will make it much warmer, and hopefully put a dent in our electric bill.

I am thankful that despite the fact that my work hours have been cut, I have been getting enough work doing alterations to make up the difference. It's not easy being in the middle class, and truly we do live hand to mouth, but God provides for all our needs, and a lot of the wants, too!

I am thankful for my life. It's interesting, not overly stressful, and full of love and laughter and goodness. I don't want ever to take for granted the fact that I feel well most days, my kids are healthy, and I am surrounded by beauty every day! God is good to me, that is all I can say right now!

This is Christmas Rose. It is one of the samples I have made for the quilt shop that I quilted, and have listed for sale in my Etsy shop. I am working on a pretty yellow, green, and pink quilt with scalloped edges right now. I love the edges, but have to sew the binding by hand which isn't quite as quick as my usual machined bindings. After that I have two more quilts to quilt and I think I will be pretty much caught up on my tops! I am going through my quilt magazines lookig for quilting ideas for them. A basic meander is a nice quick finish, but it gets a little boring if you do that all the time.

My next quilt project will be a Roman Shade for my sewing room window. The sunny afternoons are nice, but the sun glares off my sewing machine and desk, leaving me half blind for quilting. A Roman shade would allow me to have the view out my window, but block the sun when I need to also. I have an inspiration for it, a quilt I have had on the edges of my mind for some time now. Actually I'm not sure I want to use this great idea for a window shade, but maybe the window shade will be the trial run and I will make a second quilt after I get that done. We'll see!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today we pick up our One-Eyed Cat

Buster gets to come home from the vet's today. I'm a little worried about his care, but I know we will get through this all right. After the surgery the vet said that it looks like it was a puncture, not an impact. The eye was horribly abcessed, and there is not bone damage. So that is a good thing. I am working on finishing up my painting today and putting the house in order to help him get around better when he gets home. I am also making him up a bed on the floor just in case he doesn't feel like jumping up in his chair.

I did do a little sewing yesterday just to keep my sanity! I made some cute checkbook covers out of a lakehouse Print with sewing notions on it. I love how they came out. I'm going to make some more with different pocket colors, and hope to sell them at the open house at the quilt shop next week.

I suppose I'd better get busy and get to painting. Actually taping is the first job, the trip is what I'm working on at the moment. Almost finished, and am I ever glad - painting seems to take a lot out of me!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Sad Day

I let my Buster Kitty out Friday morning with his sister. I was a little concerned because he hadn't come home by Friday night, but he does spend the night out occasionally. When he hadn't shown by Saturday night I was definitely worried. We called and called, husband and daughter walked the area looking for him, but we never saw any sign of him. My husband saw a cat he thought might be Buster, though.

Sunday afternoon my daughter came in saying Buster is under the car and his eye looks really bad. We went out to see, and poor Buster's face was a mess. His right eye was protruding, and his nose and mouth were bloody. I called the vet, and we got Buster to come in the house - he walked just fine, he was slow, though. We settled him into the crate and I went to meet the vet at the hospital. When she saw him she said she was very sure that he had been hit by a car.

She said his palate wasn't damaged, but his eye does not look functional. So he is staying overnight at the vets and will have surgery in the morning to remove his eye. I am so sad that he is hurt. We wonder what his life will be like, but we can't bear to put him down either. He will definitely have to be an indoor cat now, and he probably won't be that happy about it, but it is for his own good.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wallpaper is not fun..

to scrape off your walls. When we bought this house 13 years ago it had hideous wallpaper in several rooms. The first room I tackled was the upstairs room with bright pink, yellow, orange, and lime green parasol ladies. We kindly refer to it still as the ugliest wallpaper known to man. It was put up with about three buckets of wallpaper paste, so I spent days and days scrubbing the paste off. Then I spent a day painting it a nice clean white and stenciling ivy around the top. It was lovely, but it totally killed my ambition of dealing with the wallpaper in the front room. Fortunately for me, my husband covered the walls of this room with his music collection and other goodies, so it was a good excuse not to have to do anything about the ugliness of it. Well, now that he has officially gained his own room to have his stuff in, this room is empty and needs to be spruced up before we refurnish it. This week has been filled with buckets of water, scrapers and deciding on paint colors. I have to fill some holes this morning, and hopefully this afternoon I will transform the first room people see when they come into my house into a thing of beauty. I hope! Before and after pictures will happen next week.

Needless to say, not a lot of quilting happened this week, but I did get borders on two of my tops, prepared the backs, and best of all made the binding! I discovered last week what a lovely thing it is to do the binding when you finish the top, instead of waiting until you finish the quilting. When I finish quilting a quilt I am always bummed out because I have to get the binding made before I can finish. If you do the binding before you do the quilting it makes it great, all you have to do is trim the edges of the top and sew it on. I highly recommend doing it this way! Plus that it makes me plan ahead. Often I don't even think about the binding until after I quilt, then I am scrambling for the right fabric. This way you have to actually pick it out and have it on hand so you are less likely to have to "make do" on the binding, which is the frame for your quilt. Not really the time to use whatever you can find.

This is the quilt I put borders on yesterday. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the pattern I used. I made it for a shop sample, so I don't have the patten anymore, and the shop isn't carrying it (which is why I got the sample back). Hopefully I can remember so I can give credit to the designer when it is quilted. The pattern didn't include the border, but I really think it needed the border to frame it. I got a nice blue green color to put on the back. I am thinking about quilting it with a pastel variegated thread I have, but I'm not too sure what I am going to quilt on it yet. Still in the thinking mode!

This is the sunrise I saw last week. It was absolutely spectacular! What followed it up was an equally spectacular rainstorm - so I guess there is truth to the saying, Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. This beauty makes me think of the Glory of God - as awesome as the beauty of this sunrise is, it is nothing compared to the beauty of our Creator! And with that thought I will exit and start working on the transformation of my now unwallpapered room.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I spent way too much money today!

At the fabric stores - buying backs for the quilt tops I want to get quilted! I will be busy this week getting quilts basted and quilting. I am excited to get started, but of course have some other things to do before I can get started on that project.

One of my ongoing projects is Jockey Silks. We have a thoroughbred race horse, and I would like to make our silks. I cannot find any kind of a pattern to make them anywhere. I have no clue as to what size they should be, or I would simply alter a regular shirt pattern. If anyone reading this has any ideas, please let me know. This is something I am really enthusiastic about doing, but really have no clue how to get started. I know my sewing skills are up to par, but I am not really good at making my own patterns so I am stumped at this point.

I also have a quilt that needs to be hand quilted that I need to baste and get going on. I should have had this done months ago, so I really need to get on it - I am not to sure why I have procrastinated so badly on this project, but I need to get over whatever is holding me back and get to work.

I suppose it's more fun to start a new project than finish an old one!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Volleyball gives you a flatter bottom.

Especially if you are a spectator! I spent the last two days at my daughter's volleyball tournament, and I am pretty sure mine is flatter - those hard benches are the worst on a person's backside. But I'm glad to be able to spend the time with her, I know that before I know it she will be grown and gone.

I spent the afternoon working on a sample that I am writing a pattern for. It is going to be called Grandma's Baskets. I think it is lovely, and it is a very versatile pattern - with just the right fabrics it can be used for any season. The first quilt I made would be lovely for spring with blue, green and yellow. The one I worked on tonight is a fall piece with browns and beiges. I just have to re-write the instructions, then finish and photograph my sample and it will be ready to go! I am really excited, and have been thinking of some other designs. I need to figure out more about how to market my patterns, but I am excited about the idea of being able to share my ideas with other quilters.

I am devoting my quiting time this week to finishing up the shop samples that are hanging around my sewing room. Plus I need to continue working on the t-shirt quilt and get that out of my hair. I am getting tired of the guilt they produce every time I see these projects, and every time I have to move them somewhere else. Time to finish them off and get them out of my hair. I almost have the t-shirts all fused to the interfacing, so the trimming and sewing should go quickly.

This is what I made this week, just for the fun of it. It was inspired by a walk this week - such a lovely day with a clear blue sky and beautiful fall colors! It is also for sale, I think I may make a few others reflecting the different weather that I experience in my walking times.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

I am very happy to say that I completed the Sampler Quilt I was working on last week, and it is now for sale in my Etsy shop. As usual, I had a couple of down days after getting it done, though I was really excited to finish it. I'm not sure exactly what is up with the let down after completing a project. I have another and another lined up afterwards, so it's not like I will never get to make another one! I am very happy with how this quilt came out - it was a pleasure I cannot describe to bring those forgotten pieces to life and come up with something beautiful and functional. Not to mention that this is one of the cuddliest quilts I have ever finished. Something about that old fabric makes it so nice to the touch. Or maybe it's just the fact that it was basted for a couple of years but not yet quilted making the batting relax? At any rate it's a wonderful quilt to touch and snuggle.
The current project is finishing up the gift quilt for my friend. We are supposed to put the borders on it, get the back finished and baste it this afternoon. I will be doing the quilting on it over the next couple of days and binding it. Then we will present it to them on Sunday. It's a little scary taking on this project with such a short time frame, but God willing it will all come together. I am just going to do a large stipple on it, which I should be able to do in 4 - 6 hours of quilting. The binding will be my usual machine work on both sides, so that will be done in an hour or two. Oh, we can get the binding cut, pieced and pressed today also. I need to let the other ladies do as much of the labor as they can, because the finishing looks like it will be all me!
Time to get busy and do my house cleaning, take a shower and get ready for the rest of my day - it'll be a busy one for sure!
P.S The third appraisal went well, we signed our loan, and hopefully the new windows will be in by the end of the month!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Time to Relax!

I am really ready for the week-end! After going through a whole week of getting up at 6:00 to get the girl ready for volleyball, three days of Ladies Retreat, then another whole week of 6:00 a.m., I am ready for a day to sleep in. I may even sleep until (gasp!) 8:00. Who knows? Not to mention that I worked all day today at the quilt shop. All I have to do tomorrow is hem a skirt. After that the day is mine. I had an idea for a little art quilt while walking yesterday, so I am eager to try that out.

Yesterday was quilting day - on Thursday afternoon I get together with a group of friends to sew and chat. We are working on a quilt to give to a friend of ours who is leaving. We actually only had the idea a couple of weeks ago, so we haven't had a lot of time to work on it. We decided to do a simple 9-patch set on point with sashing and cornerstones. The back has signature blocks so that more people can participate in the project since we didn't have enough time for a group sewing project. We actually got the top together yesterday. It took five of us - two sewers, an organizer (and ripper!), an ironer, and a fetcher! It was fun, and the top is very pretty - nice and cheerful. I think it's fun to work on a project like this, just quick sewing with very little thinking. We are planning to get the top and backing together on tuesday, then I will have a couple of days to get it quilted and bound, and it will be presented next weekend! I do love a challenge, and I will try to be graceful and not gripe about it next week when I want to do something else, but have to finish the quilt!

This is the quilt I finished last week. It has a story - but then again, don't they all! A man came down to the quilt shop, interested in having a nautical quilt made. After speaking to him, I told him that I would come up with a design, then we could discuss it the next week. I got so excited about my design, that I decided to go ahead and make the quilt, and if he wanted it that would be great, and if not I could hopefully sell it or use it as a gift. I talked to the man, and he decided that what he really wanted is for me to sew a cover onto his down blanket.

At this point I decided that I was going to try to get out of this job because it was definitely not going as I had planned, but I got talked into seeing it through. In the end it was a bit of a pain, but the look on this man's face when he saw what I had done was entirely worth it! He was grinning ear to ear at his recovered duvet with lighthouses on it and the matching pillow shams - it made me glad to be able to make his day! And now I have a lovely nautical quilt for sale in my Etsy shop! I'm sure it will end up in the right home for it also.

Happy week-end everyone - get some rest!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Quilting, Stress, and Denial!

This past month has been quite stressful, and as a result, though I have been quilting, I have not had the emotional reserves to write about it! All I want to say about the stress is that if you ever want to get a loan that has anything to do with your home check with me. If we are not getting one, you should be ok! Of course the summer we decide to refinance the old homestead so we can fix it up a bit is the summer that the housing bubble bursts and all the finance companies decide to go under! We had our third, yes third, appraisal this week. We have had two loans not work out for various reasons, and if this one is a problem I am calling it quits. We'll just have to put the new windows in and paint later. I am tired of dealing with loan people, tired of sending in just one more document, and really tired of underwriters.

Now that that is out of the way on the the great quilting stuff! My Hawaiian Star quilt won Best of Show at the Sand 'N Sea Quilt Show, and a blue ribbon at the fair! I have finished quilting two queen sized quilts, and have caught up on a lot of other sewing projects. I am currently obsessed with the idea of buying a Grace Pinnacle Quilting Frame. I booted the twin bed out of my sewing room, and it is officially now only a sewing room!!! (And I have room for the frame when I can get it.)

I have a ton of samples that came back from the quilt shop, but I can only quilt so much at a time, I am currently working on a Sampler Quilt that I finished from someone else's stash. Yes indeed, I am a Foster Quilter. Or maybe you would call it a Rescue Quilter. I take these poor unloved and abused projects into my home and make them into lovable quilts before adopting them out to deserving families. Hey, that could make a cute article if I would make the time to write it up! Another future project, among the many that I currently don't have time for. Yes I am in total denial about how much I can really get done in a day, and am driving myself into the ground. But I did get a walk in today, and am going to go relax and catch up on my quilting magazines tonight. I have three unread magazines! And I am the type that reads them as soon as they go throught the front door usually. I just want to get all these quilts done so I can get on to the next project, and there are not enough hours in the day for me to get it all done!

At least I feel like I am making progress, and I'm inspired and have plenty to do. I suppose that's better than spending hours playing Solitaire instead of getting anything done. Time to get off the computer and clean up the kitchen, then check out those magazines!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Diamonds and Apples

I finished a wall-hanging today - it is actually leftover from the project I finished last weekend as a shop sample. It was made from a jelly-roll. No, not the pastry! Jelly-rolls are rolled bundles of 2.5 inch strips of fabric from an entire line of fabric. What fun - I love scrap quilts so these are right up my alley as far as quilting goes. I really enjoyed working with the variety, and best of all it saves a ton of time as far as cutting the strips. The original quilt came out beautifully, and I had five diamonds left over, so I made them into a smaller version of the larger quilt. It is only 25 x 44 so it hardly took any time at all to quilt and bind this afternoon.

Didn't it come out pretty? The first quilt used all the same color of sashing, but I didn't have enough, so I used all the other greens left from the first quilt and made a scrappy sashing. It worked out quite well.

Next on my list is a sample I made for a pattern I wrote that didn't come out quite as well as I wanted it too. I ended up re-making the quilt for the pattern, but this one is perfectly acceptable - I just didn't like the lack of contrast. So, I plan to finish that one up tomorrow, and get started on that UFO pile. I need a big sale on batting, though - I'm almost out! We have some great fabrics on sale at the shop for backs so I'm ok there. Once I get the pile at the back of my table quilted it will be time to dive into the drawer again - it got filled up with various shop samples, plus a round robin in progress that I really want to get going on. It feels good to clean up these odds and ends, then I'll be ready for some new creations.

I really think that September would be a good month to make resolutions. It seems like I get energized this time of year as the nights get cooler and the days start to get shorter. Life seems a little less rushed for a while and I have time to think and dream and plan. Right now I am enjoying looking out my window at the trees and the blue sky. I know soon the rain will start and the sky will often be gray and stormy, but now as the summer hangs on it is a beautiful day and I appreciate it!

I am off to pick up some groceries, and maybe some more quilt batting (got to find that sale flyer from the fabric store!).

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Getting Ready for the Quilt Show

Yes, I've actually been doing some quilty sewing as I prepare for the big Sand 'N Sea Quilt Show. I have eight entries this year, and would it sound big headed if I say I really do want Hawaiian Star to win best of show? I am so hoping to accomplish that! The only issue is that I have entered several quilts that have fallen into the same category, so I hope I don't end up splitting all my votes up so much that I don't win anything. That would be a shame, and I will have learned my lesson (I hope!).
I was really excited yesterday to see that my picture of Hawaiian Star is now up on Judy Neimeyer's website. They did a wonderful job of editing out the edge of the shelf that was in my original picture! I really need to learn how to do some of that awesome photoshop stuff to make my pictures better myself. Anyway, check out the rest of her website: I think her patterns are terrific, and I'm sure anyone would enjoy making one of her beautiful quilts!
For the quilt show I made this adorable miniature:

Can you guess how big it is? I'll tell you at the end of my post today - I'm pretty sure you will be surprised!
I made a vest for my challenge entry. Actually it's the vest I made in a workshop with Linda Mason that fits the guidelines for the challenge! The rules were that it had to be such and such a size and have a New York Beauty Block. Which my vest features! So it works, and I didn't have to make another quilt to enter into the challenge. I'm thrilled!
Another entry is the string quilt I made last winter for the upcycle contest on Etsy. It got a blue ribbon in the fair this year, which I was really happy about. I think that if it does not sell by this winter that I will use it on my own bed. It's a nice and heavy quilt, perfect for keeping warm on cold nights. I eventually plan to make more of these quilts, my string can in overflowing, but I have so many other projects to work on that it hasn't been a priority this summer.
I've also entered Ruby Tulips, and Where Your Heart Is, and a quilted purse. They will be for sale at the show also, so perhaps I will be able to sell those soon. My cupboard is getting full of finished quilts!
I finally finished Shining Stars! This is a quilt made from blocks made in a block exchange many years ago. I completed the top several years ago when I found a layout in EQ5 that I really liked to set them off. I bought the backing for it a short time later, but it's been sitting in my drawer waiting for my machine quilting skills to catch up with my ideas for the quilting. I decided that there is no time like the present and finally got it quilted. I still need to work on my feathers, but I really like how it came out. It ended up being a lovely quilt - and I am very happy to have finished it up after all this time. It will go for sale also, I have plenty of quilts, but my refrigerator is desparately in need of a replacement. So that is my hope for this quilt!

A little bit about the quilting - I found the perfect blue thread at the quilt shop a couple of weeks ago and bought it. When I got ready to quilt I realized that it was too dark to use on the blocks themselves and the pink squares. So I ended up using pink thread on those sections and the pretty blue thread on the rest, including the black - which it is stunning on!

I did a feather and swirl circle on the blocks, flowes and swirls on the pink and blue, swirls and looks on the black, and just loops on the border. By then I had realized that the thread didn't show up enough to make a feathered border worth all of the work involved. At any rate, it is bound and almost ready to display in the show - I just have to add the label and it is officially finished! Yeah! If you really want to know the miniature quilt is only 4 and 3/4 inches square! It is so small that the tag that will be displayed with it in the show will be bigger that it is. I really is cute, isn't it?

Time to make pancakes for breakfast - have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another day at work

Sorry for the lag in posts - even though my boss at the quilt shop talked to us about the possibility that we would be working less hours, I find I have been working more hours! This week will be a 20 hour week for me - the norm is 8 - 10 hours. I keep saying it means a better paycheck, but I'm having a bit of a hard time pumping myself up to be at the shop for 8 hours today. Plus that it's the next to last week of summer and I feel like I am neglecting the 13 year old. Well, I suppose we will all get through this, and there really aren't that many 8 hour days left to work in the year. I really do love my job, I just don't like doing anything for more than a few hours (I have a very short attention span!)

I finished all of my bags - they came out really great! I have four of the panels left, so I thought I would make them into nice pillows and take them to Rita and see if she will give me a couple more sample books. Don't you think that would be nice? Then I could make even more bags! What am I thinking? I am also a wee bit compulsive! Sometimes when I get going on something I definitely don't know when to quilt.

This week besides work I am on a mending kick. No, not my own mending, why would I do that? No one pays me to do that - I only do mending when I get something for it. Seriously. I have a perfectly good shirt hanging in my studio. I popped the hem on it when I tried it on after buying it. I just need to sew around the hem so it doesn't fall down when I wash it. It's been there for at least 6 months. It's a long sleeve shirt, though, so I might do it when the leaves start falling so I'll have something new to wear. That's a pretty good incentive. You know how it is when the season changes and you have nothing left to wear!

Spelling laugh of the day - this is a good one! When my friend brought me her mending to do, she also brought a stack of clothes that me or the 13 yo might like. There is a really cut little dress with a criss-cross front. (It even makes me look really thin! But it needs taken up a bit in the shoulders because it shows more of me than anyone other than the husband gets to see.) I looked at the tag - my goodness, she only paid $1.50 for this dress! What an awesome buy! (I never find deals like that, good thing my friends do!) I read the tag a little more - it is labeled as a surplus dress! What they really meant is a surplice dress. Don't these people ever watch What Not To Wear? I don't know if it's as funny to anyone else as it is to me, but I got a really good giggle from that one! There's a big difference - but then again maybe it really is a surplus dress and that is why it only cost $1.50.

I suppose instead of entertaining myself with all of these witty thought I ought to go get ready for work - have a blessed day!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

I had a lovely birthday yesterday. Hubby and I spent the day driving up the Oregon Coast, having a delicious lunch at Bliss' Hot Rod Grill, and ending up at the Aquarium in Newport. It was a beautiful August day - blue sky, sunshine, and a nice gentle breeze keeping the temperature just right. We had a wonderful time chatting and remembering our last trip there - we couldn't believe that it's been 15 years! How the time goes by when you are busy raising your children. The only down spot was that I totally forgot to bring my camera! I am so bad at that, I just guess I need to start keeping it in my purse when I'm not using it.

I didn't do any sewing yesterday, but on Wednesday I finished sewing the bodies of the rest of the bags and finished half of the handles. So today's agenda is to finish the bags and the luggage tags to go with them. I also got a call yesterday to hem a dress, so that will be on the list also. Isn't it funny how when I'm busy, I just get busier. That's a good thing, though!

I ordered my saddle shoes and cat eye glasses to complete my look for the ladies retreat last night! I can't wait. Wish I had an excuse to dress up more often, I really love costumes! I've been buying a pattern every time they are on sale at Jo-Ann's lately. I figure I might as well start doing some of the things that really make me smile instead of what is expected all the time. When I'm an old lady I won't be wearing purple, I'll be wearing my dress up box!

Pamela - off to finish the bags so she can have some fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Doing The Work

Last week I was pretty excited about the opportunity that presented itself - this week I am in the middle of the reality of making all those bags! Believe me, it's not free money, I will have earned that paycheck when I am finished, and while I do love sewing and creating, I also get tired and would rather play than work - just like any other human being. Not to mention I have a stack of quilts that I'd really rather work on!

I have all the outside panels cut and sewn for the bags, so right now I am working on constructing the bag bodies with lining. I am binding the seams of the bag because it's a nicer finish than just zig-zag stitching them. I have 7 of these done, so I have to do 9 more, then I'll make all the handles and attach them to the top of the bag. At that point they will be ready for the lining strip that goes on the top, a little top stitching and the bags will be done. I am also making matching tags, so those will need to be done also. I have to go get some grosgrain ribbon for those. I have made each tag different, to match it's bag as much as possible. These will make really nice gifts, I think

I also have a home project today. I bought my husband two 6 foot bookshelves from Staples yesterday and have to put those together today so he can get going on moving his music stuff to the upstairs room. He is really having a time with it because he likes to know how everything is going to fit and look before he gets it done. I keep telling him to think of it as a work in progress and he can always move things around later if he doesn't like it the first time around! So far I haven't had to do too much of the moving stuff (hurray!), but when he gets ready to move the stereo equipment I will probably be called into service. It's fun to see him excited about having his own space. I remember how thrilled I was two years ago when I got to have my own sewing space. I rearrange my room quite often, still haven't found the perfect arrangement, but it doesn't bother me so much. I got an area rug for my floor and it is fantastic - lot's nicer to stand on that the old linoleum that is in there, and really lightens up the room a lot.

Pamela - getting busy on those bags!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day of Rest

I am officially taking today off as a day of rest. I worked all day Friday and Saturday at the shop as Sharan is off at a Quilt Show. I have 16 tote bags to make next week, and two sets of quilt blocks to sash and border, as well as a small stack of jeans to hem. Plus I have to work a half day tomorrow and go to the dermatologist to get a mole checked out. So I figure I really need a day to not be busy.

I was excited to hear that two of the Hawaiian Star kits we made have sold already! Looks like we will have to get some more of the background fabric so we can make up some more kits. Either that or I will be getting to take my top home sooner that I thought. That would be nice! I do have all my pictures up in my webshots album so you can see how the star all came together. I need to get better at documenting as I go - I get excited about sewing, and forget everything else.

I've been cleaning up my studio a bit today, and inventoried my stuff from my Etsy shop - I had given out a few of my little wallets and not taken them down from the site, so now it's all cleaned up and back in order again. It's nice to just putter around and not be pushed to accomplish anything. I did a little reading and made a to-do list for tomorrow. And spent way too much time fooling around on-line!

I really need to re-organize my studio, I'm still not totally happy with the layout, but really cannot think of anyway to make it better. I just need another room, that's all there is to it! Actually I probably just need to get rid of all the stuff I'm really not using, but we all know how that goes. After I get this next set of projects done I think I want to work on getting some tops quilted. I have two queen sized quilts that are basted and just need to be quilted. One of them is for the quilt show in september, so that will have to be a priority. I need to figure out what in the world I want to quilt on it. It is a block swap, and I've sewn the blocks into a large star design so there are some fairly large areas to quilt in, plus the blocks and borders to do also. I really want to do something custom, and not just an overall, but I can't think of what will work. Maybe I should get it out and stare at it for a while to get inspired - sometimes that works.

Pamela - who is happy to have a quiet day!

Friday, August 10, 2007

You Never Know

One of the great things about life is that when you wake up in the morning you just never know what that day will bring - when you think about that it's pretty exciting! What yesterday brought for me is an opportunity to make 20 patchwork tote bags - and as luck would have it I only have to do one day at the quit shop next week, so it was perfect timing. I just finished 2 big sewing projects so I'm on a roll anyway. I got about half of the piecing done last night and if I have time will do some more tonight, then on to actual bag construction. I am really pleased to get to use up the rest of the fabric I had from the sample books, though I was thinking of asking if she has anymore now! The tote bags come out so cute - I know my friends have really enjoyed the ones I have made for them.

The nice thing is I will be able to get my rainy day fund back up a bit, I had depleted it for my vacation. Who knows, if I can get ahead enough maybe I can take another trip next summer! I am really happy, and can't wait to see what today brings - it may not be as exciting as yesterday, but I know God has a blessing in store for me in some small way - He always does!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Why Machine Quilting Is So Hard

I had a revelation yesterday when I was working on that quilt about why it is so difficult to machine quilt. First of all you have the mechanical issues - you have to have a machine that has the right capabilities and is fit for that type of sewing. You have thread to consider, and the accompanying issues - what in the world am I going to quilt on this. After that you have to either mark your design on your quilt or be able to free-motion with no markings (my preferred method). At this point you get into the actual quilting.

As an example I was quilting spirals. Up around and over, up around and over is what my brain tells my fingers and arms. Shoulders down! That comes up every so often when I feel my neck getting tight, about the time I have my shoulders up around my ears. Breath! Ok, I need to relax more, Up, around, and over! Watch out, you're getting close to that pin, better stop and take it out! Up, around, and over! Sit up straight! Wonder if the bobbin is about to run out? Shoulders Down! Up, around, and over. Up, around, and over. Another Pin! Breath! Not so fast, you're stitches are getting too small, oops, slow down your hands, stitches are too big. Shoulders Down! Up, around and over - uh - oh, time to change the bobbin. Do you see what I mean - there is too much to think about all at the same time!

That's why I like to spend some serious time quilting and do several quilts all together, by the time I get to the end is when I've really got it all down and can just quilt! Anyway, I did get the quit finished yesterday and it came out quite well, except for a couple of tucks on the back. I'll check and see if my client wants them taken out or not. They are not that noticable, but it is an imperfection. I also bound the quit, using my machine to finish it on the top. This is the way I have been doing all of my machine quilted quilts. I figure that they have machine quilting on the top, why not finish the binding by machine also? The judge at the fair always gives me good comments on my binding technique, but I'm not sure it would be as accepted at a larger show. I must say, I like the way it looks, and it is so fast to finish - I can bind a queen sized quilt in a little over an hour and a half this way. Try doing that by hand!

The next quilt on the list for quilting is one I made from a block swap. I'm looking at thread today, and trying to get some idea of how I want to quilt it. Hopefully will have some time to start it this afternoon after work. I'm also working on finishing up a sample for a new pattern. This one is a basket pattern, and I hope to pick out some fabrics for a fall version of the quilt today. I fell behind in my pattern a month plan and need to get going again!

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Pretty Toile Slipcover

Delivered the slipcover today, any my client loved it. It really is pretty, and I bought the remaining 2 yards of toile from her, so I'll have to make something for my Etsy shop from it! I had forgotten how tedious a slipcover for a wing chair is to make. Funny thing is that I had 2 other people call me about slipcovers this spring, but nothing ever came from either one of them. Wonder if they're waiting for fall to come?


I started quilting on the commissioned quilt I've been working on. I'm doing spirals all over it. I'll bet I'm going to have to buy another spool of thread because I'll run out with one side border left to go - isn't that how it always works out! I quilted for about 2 hours this weekend, and my shoulders and neck are definitely tight. I forgot that I had lowered my chair so I could see to piece all the points more accurately and ended up quilting that way for about an hour. What a difference that few inches make for me. Hopefully I'll be able to finish up the quilt tomorrow if I take enough breaks and stretch.

This is part of the quilt stretched out on the table while I was basting itThe blocks are all 9 inches and both blocks required piecing in a square in a square fashion. If I was designing the quit I would have made it as blocks with pieced sashing. Probably a little trickier to make sure all the sashings go on correctly, but the blocks would have been a piece of cake to piece!

This is the quilting design. I've got a really pretty King Tut thread to use for the quilting. It echoses the colors in the batik with the leaf design. I thought a curvy quilting design would be nice because there are so many straight lines in the piecing.

I'm going to have to trim about an inch off of both sides because my border wasn't as wide as my quilt top, I think I made an error in my calculations because I was making the quilt larger than the pattern called for. I probably added too much to the borders. The binding will be the darkest blue in the corners of the star block. It's a queen sized quilt, should be about 88 x 102.