Thursday, December 27, 2012

Home Again!

We had a fun visit in Portland with our kids and grandkids - lots of fun and noise with those two rambuctious little boys!  They sure are fun.  We had a long drive home today, but I was looking forward to getting back.  We got home early enough for me to sneak in a little sewing tonight!
I won a Kindle earlier this month at a Christmas party - so exciting!  I was thrilled because I have wanted one for some time now.  I took it on our trip and it was really nice to read in the car.  But it lacked a nice padded case to keep it safe in my bag.

Now it has a lovely case.  There are triangles on the front so there it can sit on the cover and be nice and soft for holding.  And then there is a pocket it can be stored in so it is safe and sound for traveling. 
And I got to use some fun fabric that I've been saving for something special!  Tomorrow, I'll work on my quilts (well, after a walk with my hubby, a trip to the library and the grocery store).  It's nice to be back home and sewing again!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week I turned this stack of cute flannels into Pajama pants and Night Shirts for my girls.  (oops - I forgot to take pictures of the finished goodies!)  The top fabric was for my oldest who works in a lab - she was so excited about her sciency pants!  So much fun, and everyone was happy with the fit of their new PJ's!
I also made a pattern for the pillow I showed last week.  That's available for only $2.00 from my Craftsy pattern store - it includes a template so you don't have to have the special ruler to make it (but it really does make it easier if you have one).  Twisted Christmas Pillow is what I called it, but I'll probably make more in non-Christmas fabrics this spring!

That's about all the sewing I've done this week - my husband retired on Friday and we have had some of the girls visiting for Christmas and traveled to see the rest of our family yesterday.  I'm looking forward to getting home and back to sewing - hopefully will have some fun projects to show next week, there are two quilts basted and ready to quilt as soon as I get back (yippee!). 

Merry Christmas, and hope you have a wonderful week!

Quiltsy WiP

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I'm enjoying working on some random projects this week.  It's about time to put away the Christmas Projects, but I couldn't resist making a pillow using my June Tailor Twist n Stitch ruler. 
I made a block for a Quiltsy Team member who lost her home in Hurricane Sandy - we hope this will bring her a little comfort and joy knowing her fellow quilters were thinking of her and her family.

I've had a good time sorting through my Christmas Fabrics, and think I might work on a queen size quilt using that fabric with the poinsettias and teddy bears!  (The feathered star is my kitty's quilt to nap on - it's a badly faded quilt from years ago)

And some other fun projects I'm working on that I can't talk about yet....

and did I mention that I'm so happy I can save a post as a draft from my cell phone so I can add the pictures, then go back and type the text on my computer?  Life is good!

Go check out the Quiltsy team blog for more WIP's and post your own!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Anniversary Quilt

I've spent a lot of time the last month working on a special quilt for a friend and her husband.  Patti commissioned me to make a quilt that she designed - we did quite a bit of back and forth to get all the details just right and ended up with a lovely quilt.  I started out with a basic design in EQ7.  After looking at it, Patti asked for no rings across the top and pillow shams. 

We wanted the rings to be the height of the bed (24 inches)  and 3 inches wide so I ended up using a tool I had to create my own pattern.   In the process I discovered why I see so many wedding ring quilts that aren't actual circles, but more like rounded squares - it's just not physically possible to have squares at the intersections and keep your circles round. 

I also had to draft the center hearts.  That was quite a trick - what I ended up doing was joining a line of 3 1/2 inch squares, then started taking darts out of the seams to create the curve of the hearts.  It took a bit of time and trial and error, but eventually came up with some nice looking hearts!  I started out with just the burgundy and green, but Patti choose 6 prints to add, and they looked wonderful.

After piecing all the hearts and rings it was time to put it all together to make the top.  I had purchased the cream fabric in a wide width so there would be no seams on the top and decided to applique the hearts on that, then applique the rings around the sided and bottom.  I really wasn't sure how I was going to get everything to stay in place so I could stitch it with the machine, but ended up having a great idea at the last minute - fusible thread! 

I simply pressed the 1/4 inch seam allowance under, wound a bobbin with fusible thread and stitched a seam just outside the pressed line on the wrong side of the pieces.  I then used my large pressing mat on my folding table and laid the center panel on it.  I arranged the double hearts then pressed them down to the center panel - it worked like a charm!  I then topstitched the hearts in place.

Placing the rings on the center panel was a little trickier.  For that I ended up laying the center panel on my bed and pinning the rings in place around the two sides and bottom.  I then used my table to get the rings straightened up, pressed them down and topstitched in place.  After that, it was just baste the top, batting, and backing and getting the quilting finished.  Oh yeah, and I had to make the pillow shams - because pillow shams are only 20 inches tall I had to re-design the rings to 18 inches, but that wasn't hard, since I had already figured out the details. 

I quilted the hearts by outlining hearts with stippling to give a trapunto effect.  They came out really well!  The background was meandered - simple, but effective.  I added a bit of stitch in the ditch to help define the rings on the edges.  The edges were finished with bias binding around the curves.  Patti was very happy with her quilt, and I was pleased as well with the results - that's me on the left presenting the quilt!
Happy Anniversary to Patti and her Husband - Congratulations and may you celebrate many more!

My Quilting Journey

A lot of people are surprised to learn that I quilt on a DSM (Domestic Sewing Machine) and not a long arm machine.  I think that's partially because they see that I do quilt really large quilts!  I though I would share my journey as a machine quilter and encourage those of you that are thinking of taking your first steps to go ahead and jump in!  The sooner you start learning the sooner you will master the skills you need to be a good machine quilter.

I started quilting back in the day.  Back in the day when we cut out our templates out of cereal boxes and hand drew around every stinking piece, then sewed them together (luckily machine piecing was quite acceptible then...)  As a teenager my mom and I pieced simple tops, layered them with two layers of fluffy poly batting and tied them with embroidery floss to make wonderful warm comforters.  I made a couple of similar quilts after being married, but when my children were born I ventured out into my first steps of machine quilting by finishing their "big girl" twin quilts using stitch in the ditch.  Without a walking foot!  Not so much fun, there was a lot of puckering and it took forever, but it made their quilts hold up better for the frequent washing a childs bed quilt requires.

My true journey in quilting I count as starting in 1986 when I was pregnant with my fourth child.  My friend Cheryl got me hooked into the world of quilting - oh the glorious fun of piecing intricate patterns and hand quilting them to be heirlooms!  I found a pattern in a Woman's Day magazine for a Double Irish Chain quilt with hearts appliqued in the centers and prairie point edges and decided THIS was going to be my first "real" quilt.  (Yes, I was brainwashed by the quilt police for a while, but I have recovered...)  I chose red and green fabrics for the chain, and a cute little calico with blue flowers for the background since we were hoping for a boy.  My color sense has also developed quite a bit since then! 

That quilt was lovingly stitched on my sewing machine (each 2 1/2 inch block cut by hand), then laboriously hand quilted over the course of the next several months.  It wasn't done for the birth of my daughter :) but I did finish it for her first Christmas three months later.  It was all stitched in a lap hoop, using two strands of regular sewing thread.  Stab stitched up and down because I hadn't learned to use a thimble or "rock" my needle yet.  A labor of love.  Not my best quilt, but my first and I was so proud of it! 

Continuing on, I took a class and learned how to use a rotary cutter and ruler - wow, now I could cut out those pieces so much faster!  Though I enjoyed the quilting, the piecing was truly my passion and though I worked on one or two projects at a time for a while, soon I was starting to accumulate tops faster than I could quilt them.  I hand quilted a queen size quilt for my bed, several twin size quilts and many wall hangings.  All the while piecing more and more tops, and accumulating lots of PIG's and WIP's (Projects in Grocery bags, Works In Progress).  Machine quilting started to become more and more acceptible and we all started rejecting the idea that a quilt wasn't a quilt unless it was done by hand. 

In 2002 I made a list of all the projects that I had in boxes, bags and piles.  I counted 28 tops of various sizes.  Then and there I determined that if I was going to continue to piece quilts by machine I was going to have to start quilting at least some of them by machine or be buried under tops in the next 10 years!  So, I picked a miniature quilt as my starting point, figuring that would be easy to handle.  I put the darning foot (never used before in all my years of sewing...) on the machine, and refering to the single book I could find on machine quilting attempted a stipple on that little quilt.  I used a clear poly thread and quilted the daylights out of that little quilt.  My stitches are awful - so inconsistent, there are points and cross overs.  It ended up being stiff as a board, but I did it!  From 5 or 6 feet away it looks awesome, and beginning quilters are always impressed at it because they don't see the faults - they see the small, tight quilting and love it!  I love it, too, because it started me on this marvelous journey!

I looked at my list found another quilt I wanted to get finished, and quilted it - it was better because it was a bigger quilt and I could make my shapes bigger.  I watched a video and figured out that I needed to go faster with my foot pedal and slow my hands down a bit.  I did another quilt and realized that the batting and thread made a difference.  I did another one and discovered I could add hearts to my stippling and it looked nice (though I did use a contact paper template because I was afraid to free hand the heart).  I quilted a flannel panel and traced the design.  It didn't come out perfect either, but I loved the effect and realized that no one else notices the imperfections.  

After quilting a queen size quilt on my Kenmore I realized that if I wanted to do large quilts, it was time for a new machine.  I thought about trying to purchase a Long-arm, but realized that if I did I would have to quilt for other people mostly to pay for it and that would take a lot of the fun out of my quilting. So I did some research and purchased a Juki TL98E for $700.00.  That was a huge price tag for a person that had never paid more than $200.00 for a machine in her life!  It was the best investment I could ever make - this machine has been a workhorse and I love it.

I started working at my local quilt shop, where the owner does long-arm quilting.  She exposed me to a whole new world of different shapes and quilting designs.  In 2005 DD4 graduated from high school and left home.  I gained a sewing room and some free time to do even more quilting.  I took a class from a professional quilter that used a DSM and learned to make up my own designs.  Well, by the time 2006 rolled around I no longer has such a big stash of tops and projects, but now I had a whole new problem.  I had such a pile of finished quilts that it was getting to be a I opened my Etsy shop!  Now I am happily making quilts for myself and my family along with shop samples, and selling the extra ones.  I'm fortunate to get to play with fabric to my hearts content, and love to keep learning and growing in the art of quilting. 

If you would like advice on free-motion quilting, feel free to ask me and I will answer, but I don't intend to go into great depths here on my blog.   Go to Leah Day's blog - The Free Motion Quilting Project.  She has detailed information, videos and tutorials on machine quiting that I could never even come close to recreating, and seriously - why should I when she has done it so well? 

I hope this helps encourage you to try some machine quilting.  You don't need a fancy machine or a lot of equipment.  You just need a darning (or free-motion) foot for your sewing machine and a little determination!  I started out on my dining room table, and you can as well.  My best advice is not to start out on that heirloom quilt that you've spent years working on.  Make a baby quilt, a charity quilt, or a wall-hanging for Christmas.  You probably won't love your first results, but you've got to make the mistakes to grow and learn.  Enjoy the process and try something new.  Feel free to go to my facebook page and show me a picture of your work - I'd love to see how you are progressing in your quilting journey

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lost and Found

This year I have taught two classes for the Beginners Sampler Quilt I designed.  This is the quilt I started as a demonstration for the first class.  At first I did a good job at keeping up with the class, but due to running short on the background fabric I ended up not finishing all the blocks.  Then I started teaching the second class and started a second quilt and things really got confusing!  I lost the center block as well as the remaining background fabric and despaired of ever finishing my quilt.

I had three blocks to finish from the paper piecing lesson, and two of these blocks from the templates lesson to finish.  The shortage of bakground fabric was the big issue as the fabric had been given to me and was purchased out of town. Yesterday while I was looking for a folder, I came across my little baggie of leftover pieces and my missing block!  I was able to finish up the paper piecing with the small pieces of background I had left, then was able to cut out enough pieces to finish these!  As you can see it was quite close and I ended up piecing two of the corners on the bottom block.  But now I'll be able to finish the top - Hurray!  (Well, first, I'll have to remove that one corner on the top block that ended up turned the wrong way.  How did I do that?)

Here are the first three rows sewn together with the sashing.  Wild, isn't it?  I absolutely love it, though I feel like I really should think it's hideous.  Definitely a throwback to my childhood, I think!

It's going to have an inner border of the same green in the cornerstones, then the final border is supposed to be that stripe.  I think I'll have to make sure it looks all right.  I'm kind of thinking the dotted fabric might work better.  Or maybe that wavy stripe.  I guess we'll have to see what looks best.  That's one of my favorite parts of quilting, how the quilt will end up dictating to you what it wants to be!  I really like how the stripe worked up in the blocks.  Especially those dresden plate - I think the stripe gives them a great effect.
Did I mention that this quilt was made totally out of stash?  Stash I acquired at half off the red-tag clearance price making it only $2.00 a yard!  Oh Yeah!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday WIP

This week I've been working on several projects, but my favorite is the Twister Lap Quilt I started two weeks ago! The twister ruler is really kind of fun to use, but I was a bit challenged in how I wanted to finish my quilt off. I thought I would just sew borders on, but realized that it would look much nicer if I sewed the border to the edges of the blocks before using the ruler so that I could have complete twister blocks around the edges. Of couse, because I did this after I cut out the center I mistakenly figured my yardage for the already cut center and I actually needed to sew it to the outside edges of the uncut squares.

Luckily I bought an extra yard, but I discovered that I was a bit short. I was only about 7 inches short, and had noticed that the seams didn't show much in the busy fabric, so I pieced the last bit out of the left-over 3 1/2 inch strip I did have. It worked out marvelously and the border looks awesome. I pieced the back today, and hope to be able to get it quilted over the weekend. I've got lots of quilts lined up - can't wait to get busy and get them all done!
For more great projects check out the WIP Wednesday post on the Quiltsy Team Blog! 

Monday, November 26, 2012


Nothing but frustration today. Had a long list of things to do, but still thought I could fit some sewing in. No such luck. At least I got the toilet fixed, though. Hopefully sewing will take place tomorrow, I've got projects to get going!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Trunk Show, Thanksgiving, and Seattle

What a busy week! Not much sewing going on, but a whole lot of driving, cooking, and networking!

My husband and I drove to Seattle to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of our engagement! We had a lovely time at the Space Needle, enjoyed a romantic dinner and I received a lovely new ring :). He is definitely a keeper, by the way...

We then drove back home, stopping to pick up the Dancer to come home for Thanksgiving. The usual 7 hour trip took several extra hours due to the horrid traffic :(. Then when I hot home I had to finish thawing the turkey and doing some meal prep. Up early the next dinner with a whole lot of cooking, eating, and hanging out with Two of our girls. Fun, but I was worn out by the time I finished all the clean up!

Friday was last minute prep for the trunk show, then Saturday was setting up, manning the booth, and tearing down. Unfortunately the show was not well attended, but I did all right. I had fun visiting with my neighboring vendor, Hannah, and admiring her wares!

Today was another trip to return our Dancer to school. Two more weeks and she will be home for a month! Yay! I'm looking forward to more sewing this week - I have a very special project that is almost finished and can't wait to show it to my friend/customer!

When did we start looking like old folks?  I never do like looking at myself in pictures...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Well, I've been quite the absentee blogger, lately, haven't I?  I've been thinking lately about why in the world has it been so hard for me to keep up on this lately.  Frankly, I think it's the pressure.  Pressure to have good pictures.  Pressure to be relevant, build links, have good content.  Be funny.  Be serious.  Post tutorials.  Don't offend anyone, but be interesting.  Wow. 

There is a lot of advice out there about how to build a wonderful blog.  And there are a ton of great blogs out there about quilting - (I would know because I follow a lot of them!)  And I think I got a little too caught up in the obsession of making my blog be another beautiful, informative blog, then became discouraged at the work and my own limitations on time, energy and equipment.  I started using a different camera, and the process of getting my pictures to the blog has become an ordeal in itself.  I have to use a card reader, then absolutely must do everything in a certain order or my computer will freeze up and throw a large tantrum.  Not fun. 

But I still love my blog.  It's a wonderful record of what I am working on, how I am feeling and what is inspiring me.  So I am going back to just writing.  Adding pictures when I have them, but not feeling like I have to have at least 3 beautifully edited and perfectly formatted pictures for every single post.  My pictures probably will include the bad lighting, messy sewing room, and definitely lots of the cute kitty that has joined our family.  I will write about working on boring projects, wonderful projects, and the things I make for other people.  I won't feel guilty about working on a dozen projects at once, because that's how I roll - I always meet my deadlines and sometimes I have to work on something that I want to play with just for sanity's sake.

I will also write about the weather, the everyday ups and downs of life, and my opinions on it all.  I want to share more of who I really am, and not just the painted pretty picture of an obsessed quilter.  Not everything in life is sweet and charming and pretty.  There are worries, struggles, and hurdles to jump.  My faith in God is strong, but yes, I struggle, too.  I want to be open about all of these things and not worry about what the world at large will think about me.  I think so often we feel like we have to have a facade up so that people don't think less of us, but I want to be honest about my life and the struggles I face, because I know that everyone struggles.  And we don't have to do it alone, even though we deceive ourselves that it's easier that way.  But it's really not.

Thanks to all of my followers, some of you are dear friends, some are my loving family, and some are the wonderful people who don't even know me, but enjoy seeing what I put up here!  Thank you to all of you who support me in what I do - good, bad, ugly, pretty.  Success, failure, always reaching for more, trying to find my way, my voice.  I love you all and hope that you will still enjoy my blog as I do a little restructuring.  As Pop-Eye says, I Yam what I Yam! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Monkey Around Baby Quilt

Yay, it's time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival again!  I've enjoyed participating in this in the past (so many neat quilts!) and even won a prize once - one of these days I'll actually get my quilt made from the fabric I purchased with that gift certificate.  I get it out and pet it from time to time, but haven't found the perfect pattern yet.  The quilt I am sharing today would be best for the Baby Quilt category - or maybe Lap Quilt, after all it's not just for babies!

I've finished quite a few quilts this year, some for me and some for other people.  My favorite of them all so far is my Monkey Around Baby Quilt.  This was a project that was on the back burner for quite a while and started out as a custom quilt I made for a customer at Threads That Bind (the quilt shop I work at one day a week).  She came in, wanting a baby quilt made, we picked out a block pattern she liked and fabrics, then I made a quilt for her.  I had in mind to write up a pattern for this quilt, but every time I came back to it I just wasn't inspired. 

Part of what I do at the shop is come up with new shop samples using current fabrics.  We got in some super cute little monkey fabric, so I knew I had to make this quilt with it since the blocks were Monkey Wrench blocks.  I threw the old idea out the window and started fresh, just the blocks set in a more modern way for a more original, fun look.  Then, inspiration hit and I thought, why not add blocks that are half size?  So I ended up redrafting the block a bit so I could add the half size one in the center of one of the block, and ended up with a quilt idea that I really loved!  (I used EQ7 to design the quilt - I love being able to import the fabrics I have available and see the quilt come to life before I even take one stitch.)

The finished quilt measures 47 x 47 and features 12 inch and 6 inch blocks.  I think the 6 inch ones are so cute!

I really enjoyed making the actual quilt and was very pleased with the way it looked, and the process of putting it together.  I quilted it in a swirly design, though I think it would be neat to do a more custom quilting on it as well.  Maybe next time! 
If you like this quilt pattern it is available for purchase in my Etsy Shop

Now go over and check out the rest of the great quilts that are posted!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rainy Days and Quilting

I just love fall - the trees are so pretty with leaves turning, the cooler nights, even the coming of the rainy days.  I find myself contendedly humming and working on quilts again - seems like it's been a long stretch of over-busy days.  It feels good to start sorting piles of fabric and working on some random projects! 
Since we moved the girl up to college it seems like I've been super busy - working extra hours at the quilt shop because of shows, taking care of our animals (ugh - we had a super bad flea infestation!), and a short, but very nice visit from my parents!  We even got to take them up to meet their great-grandsons and got the bonus news that we will have another grandchild in June - yay!  We stopped by to see our Dancer/College student and took a few quick pictures with her - love this you can see, it was a beautiful day.
The following weekend I had a booth at a craft show.  I did fairly well, and have decided to do one more this fall.  I am planning on making more buntings as those were popular, as well as more selvage bins.  The selvage bins I had didn't actually sell, but drew a lot of attention.  I think if I have a larger selection they might sell better.  I'm also working on a pattern for making these.  I took photos today, so just need to do the writing now - so hopefully can get that pattern finished up this week and to the testers!  (Drop me a comment if you would be interested in trying it out for me - you'd have to commit to getting it done quickly, though!)  
I sure like how they look hanging up on my wall!
I finished a table runner today and quilted a fun quilt I made with left-over fabrics from other projects.  I plan on binding that tomorrow, so I know I'll more progress to put up here - I'm charging the batteries on my camera and looking forward to sharing more.  I've missed blogging almost as much as I've missed quilting! 
Let's just say - hurray for fall, for quilting, and for blogging!

Friday, September 07, 2012

Some Meatballs and a Kitten

I suppose you are wondering what do those things have in common, and what might they have to do with quilting? The answer is that they don't!
My Hubby suggested meatballs for dinner.  The last ones I made were on the dry side, so I googled up the words BBQ Meatballs and the first recipe was by The Pioneer Woman so I figured it was worth a try, since she is so famous (at least in blogland!).   They were delicious - so if you want to make some go here.
The kitten was being cute with his mousie.   He brings it and expects us to throw it for him.  So cute.  He even growls while he carries it around.  He can be a bit of a pest, but it's a lot of fun having such a cute little guy around.
Still no quilting today, but hopefully tomorrow!  Thosse black, white and red fabrics are really calling out to me...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Good Intentions

I had the best of intentions today - I wanted to get out some of my fall decorations and start putting them out.  I didn't exactly get that far, but I guess it's good that I am starting to think of it - I might actually get it done by the time it is really fall!  Instead I spent the day finishing up some alterations and doing some work around the house. 

I took in a wedding gown at the zipper, added pockets to three skirts, hemmed a dress and shortened the front on two of those popular sweaters that drape in the front.  I changed thread on my serger four times, used the rolled hem plate and the blindhem foot.  I used my seam ripper a lot, but only a couple times for something I stitched.  I only had to shut Scamper out of my room once, so I could pin a hem for a dress (good thing my customer likes kittens - he was really being a pest!).  And I even took a few minutes to clean up all the thread when I was done before I shut the door - pretty nice!

Now I am relaxing in front of the tv now with hubby and catching up on my blog reading before bed.  I've missed this so much over the summer.  It will be nice to spend quiet evenings at home for a change instead of running like a crazy person.  Well, except for Wednesday nights.  I'm teaching a beginners class for the next 11 weeks.  I have 7 students and I think we are going to have a fabulous time!  I like everyone already, this will be a very boisterous group, I think.  Should be interesting.....

Hopefully tomorrow I can do some quilting - I brought home a new shop- sample to make yesterday.  Black, red and white - can't wait to play with the fabric! 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

MMM - Pie

We had a good labor day weekend - we traveled up to celebrate my youngest grandson's birthday (and his Papa's which is the same day!)  I worked hard all day saturday to finish a sewing job so I wouldn't have to worry about it over the weekend and we enjoyed our Sunday and Monday trip.  The boys are getting big so fast, next year Asher will be old enough to go to kindergarden!

Joellen, Tracy and I went to the big sale at Value Village on Monday - I found a new copper mold for my collection (haven't bought one in years!), a couple of books and a Nike windbreaker for walking.  Driving home we had to detour around a fire, luckily I saw the warning on Facebook before we got stuck waiting on the highway for a couple of hours.  See, facebook can be a good thing once in a while!

Today was a busy day, lots of work to be done plus some errands.  But I made time tonight to make this yummy pie: 

I haven't actually made a pie in years and am so happy it looks so yummy and smells....mmmm. Guess I'll have to do some extra walking to make up for it, though.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Next New Adventure

That's how we are trying to look at it.  Funny how earlier this spring we were talking about how fun it would be to experience the "Empty Nest".  And I know it will be - hubby and I are looking forward to having the house just to the two of us and enjoying his upcoming retirement.  But Thursday was a little harder than we admitted it was going to be.  We had to get up bright and early to get the girl to her destination and were all running on little sleep - there is always a lot to be done at the last minute.

She had to be primped and pretty "game ready" for her 10:00 meeting.  The Dance team only had a couple days to prepare for their first performance tonight - wish we could be there, but hopefully someone will video for us so we can see it later!  The ride up was filled with good music that her Daddy picked out and a surprise of a box of photos - pictures from when we brought her home from the hospital all the way up to now.  We laughed so much - this kid has always been a ham!  So many pictures of her with her eyes bugged out and her mouth wide open.  My favorite is one of her in a blond wig - so cute and funny.  It was good to see all those fun pictures, the memories they represent are precious to all of us.  Since she is the youngest and the last 7 years she has been our "only" child at home full time we have been able to enjoy doing a lot of things with her alone.  We miss having our large clan of girls around us all the time, but it's been sweet raising this last one, too.

Dropping her off was pretty anti-climatic.  The rushing around, trying to find the apartment we needed to drop her off at, then unloading her stuff into a new friends car seemed a bit surreal and not like "good-bye" at all.  I think it will be a little different when we come up in three weeks to move her into her dorm room.  Maybe a little less heart-wrenching and more of a fun time.  I can't wait to work on her quilt, buy her sheets and some fun stuff to make her room more homey.  I'm sure she will miss us, but I know we will miss her more!

I am looking forward to more quilting this month - there are some UFO's that need to get quilted and my boss at the quilt shop says we need some new samples - so I am looking forward to playing with some pretty new fabrics as well.

Happy Labor Day Weekend to all of you - enjoy this end of summer celebration and look forward to the cooler days and beautiful colors of fall!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Scamper at 4 months

We've been having a great time with our newest member of the family.  His name sure suits him - he scampers here and there all day long (and at night - well let's just say it doesn't make sleeping out in the living room much fun according to my daughter and her friend!).  Last week we took him to the clinic to be neutered.  Poor husband was pretty sad about it, but both he and the cat bounced back just fine.

Since it's a low cost clinic we all showed up at four to pick up our pets and the clinic manager gave us all one big speech about after care.  The main things I gleaned were to keep him in his crate for an hour after getting home to let some of the drugs leave his system and help him calm down.  Then to keep him in an enclosed space for a couple days to keep him from running around and jumping.  Finally to wear his e-collar for two weeks to keep him from licking at his incisions.  What follows is what really happened.

We arrived home and I left Scamper in the crate to help settle him down.  He proceeded to bang that silly cone against the front and sides of the cage.  I covered the cage to encourage him to rest.  Finally it got quiet.  Then I saw the bottom of the blanket moving around.  I lifted the blanket to see him - without the cone of shame, poking his front legs through the wires.  Well, we made it about 25 minutes so I took him out and re-tied the cone on.  We put him in the bathroom with his litter box and a comfy blanket and shut the door.  More banging and meowing.  He did not want to be left in there alone at all!  The banging got louder and we suddenly heard the squeek of the medicine cabinet door opening.

The little mischief had jumped up on the cabinet and was making a mess!  I put things away, set the laundry basket on the toilet to discourage him from jumping up again and left him alone.  5 minutes later we heard the laundry basket hit the floor.  Obviously, he did not get the memo about warm, safe, dry and clean because he wanted out of there.  I decided that maybe some dinner would settle him down.  I gave him a quarter can of wet cat food and he quickly downed that and wanted more.  He ended up eating the entire can of food!  Since the plastic cone was making him miserable I created a softer one out of timtex and fabric.  He seemed to struggle against that one less, so we let him stay out and he proceeded to go about his usual evening routine of terrorizing us and attacking our hands and arms and feet.  Finally he went to sleep in a chair.  We all went to bed and hoped he would behave during the night.  We were very happy to find him with his lovely new cone on in the morning!

Frankly, I don't think he ever really realized that he had any reason to slow down.  After three days he outsmarted the cone and we retired it.  He's been a normal happy cat ever since and is healing up well.  He sure has grown a lot since we first got him and is becoming quite the handsome young man.  We sure enjoy having his mischievous self around and look forward to lots of playing and cuddling with our Scamper!  He's hard to get a good picture of because he's always moving - that camera loop is so tempting...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Goodbye, August

This month has flown by.  Actually it has driven by - I think we've made a trip at least once each week to Eugene, where my daughter will be attending college in a few short weeks.  We are excited that she's got a job teaching at a dance studio, but we've had three trips just for that alone!  That's really been cutting into my productivity, as well as the fact that it is quilt show season and I've had to work extra days at the quilt shop.  Plus I think I've got a touch of the blues as the girl is leaving soon (Thursday!!!).  She'll be doing "Daily Doubles" for the Dance team.  Then we go up September 20 to move her into the dorm.  In the meantime, we need to order her textbooks, laptop, and attend to a few other details.

I have been doing a bit of shoveling out in my sewing room (partly because of that little Scamper cat, who is growing like a weed).  I'm to the point of finding piles of fabric that were supposed to make a project, but I don't remember the project!  Time to start making notes about these things I guess!  I've found some pretty things to play with, for sure.

There are also some projects at home that need to start getting worked on because they involve painting, and the paint dries much better when it's not pouring down rain outside - I'm sure those days are just around the corner, too.  I think it's time to make a list and get down to business - I have so many ideas and plans in my head, I feel paralyzed.  And I want to take more pictures, haven't really done much of that lately either.  Well, fall has always been my favorite season.  Getting the kids back to school always has spurred me to be more organized, and get things done, so I am hoping I can keep that trend going, even though the school thing makes me feel a little more sad than glad this year.

Enjoy these last few days of August - it's a wonderful time of year!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Making Clothing from Scratch

Have you ever made clothing from a pattern?  I used to do it a lot more than I do now.  It just seems easier to go to the department store and buy a top or pants from the rack than it is to make them from scratch.  I just made what I thought would be a really cute top.  It's a peasant style top with ruffle sleeves, out of a cute fabric that looks like bandana fabric.  When I tried it on my daughter looked awe-struck.  Not in a good way.  "Why are those ruffles so big?" she asks.  Then she suggests that I could make clothes for Lady Gaga.  Nice.  I know my taste can be a little questionable at times, but when I looked in the mirror I had to say that I probably would not be wearing this much.  At least not out in public!

I think that's the biggest problem with making clothes from patterns is being able to not only match the proper fabric type with the requirements of the pattern, but being able to visualize what it will look on your body.  Not to mention choosing the right size, which is always waaayyy larger than the size you buy in the ready made department.  Sigh.  No one likes that at all!  Not to mention the amount of ease they add into the patterns is generally quite a bit more than I've ever seen anyone wear in real life.  Usually not entirely flattering.

I think I will probably make another top out of this pattern, but make the regular sleeve.  And maybe I'll look up Lady Gaga on twitter and see if she can use a red, white and blue top for her next music video.  Who knows, maybe she needs a seamstress?!

Which is why I like making quilts.  You don't have to worry about how it's going to fit, and there is always someone who absolutely loves it even if you don't!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Cat days of Summer

 We have a new member of our household - and he is quite the character.  We only had him for a couple days before we figured out the right name for him -

Oh, he may look sweet and innocent.  His sweet little head bumps, leg rubs and purring ways may totally mislead the average person, but once he has had his nap and is ready for action, he lives up to his name in spades.  This sweet looking little guy has totally destroyed my sewing room. My once halfway neat piles of projects are now scattered around on the floor, thread is draped everywhere and anything halfway sharp or dangerous has been stashed where it is not accessable to this little bundle of energy.

I have had to rearrange the storage shelves in the dining room because they made the bar accessable to this little tornado and he quickly found a comfy perch in the middle of my potted plot.  The little plant stick is a left-over from our ladies retreat.  It says forgive.  I really needed that.

"What's the big deal, Mom?  You really don't want me to lay in your plants?  Or get in the silverware drawer?  Or dump the garbage can over?  You really are no fun at all.  How about if I just climb up your leg, or try to bite your fingers while you are typing?"

Besides me, his favorite toy is a little furry mouse that he carries around the house.  He plays fetch with it, and growls when he gets it in a death hold!  Too funny!  All in all we are enjoying having a cat again, even though he is a lot of work.  It does make quilting a little hard, though!  I guess I'll just have to learn to sew during naps for now.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Back to Work

Whoosh.  That's the sound of the summer going by!  We had a wonderful vacation, now it's back to work for me, and the sewing is piling up like there's no tomorrow.  I was so happy to get all the alterations done before I left, now I'm back and another lot has plopped itself right in the middle of my sewing room.   I'd complain, but then again, I've got a daughter starting college in two months, so the extra income is quite welcome.  Even if I'd rather be quilting!

I have added a couple of new patterns to my Etsy Shop.  They are both samples I made for Threads That Bind - so far I've had a lot of positive comments on both projects.  The first one is Monkey Around.  This quilt actually started off looking very different than the finished version.  I really like this a lot, I like using two different sizes of the same block and playing with different combinations of colors.

The second new pattern is SpinFlower Strips.  This is an old idea that I unearthed and loved it the way it the way it was from the start.  My quilt pictures didn't come out so great, so here are the EQ7 illustrations.  This is really fast to make and there are two design options!  Great for using a panel, or for using with a pretty fabric that you don't want to cut into little pieces.

Instant download, so you can start working on your project right now with no waiting!

Thanks for supporting me!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Post - Grad Sewing

Hooray!  We made it through Graduation and life is slowly, but surely moving back to a little less of a frantic rush kind of a state.  Phew.
Last week I put togeth this top from a pile of blocks that I've been shuffling around my sewing room for ages.  Rather it was several piles of blocks.  I had a many 11 inch, some 11 1/2 inch, a few 12 inch and even some 12 1/2 blocks.  I decided that that instead of trying to make up enough of the different sizes to make four different quilts I would trim them all down to 11 inches and make one quilt right away. 

This week I quilted it up and added it to my Etsy shop!  My favorite part is the scrappy binding.  I have quite a large roll of it, so I guess I'd better work on more scrappy quilts. 

It's so nice to get back to quilting!

But it was also fun to hang out with all my girls and see the baby graduate from High School.  And I had such a good time I didn't even was a wonderful time and I could only rejoice at my blessings, my girls.  They are all special and I love seeing where they are going in life.
And I even remembered to get a picture with me in front of the camera instead of behind it!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Friday

What a fun day it's been!  I got to sleep in (yeah!) then it was off to play Bunco with my friends!  What a great time we have with lots of laughing, teasing, and fabulous food.  If you've never played Bunco, I highly recommend it!  It takes 12 people and it a totally silly, mindless game, but it is so fun to get together with a group of girlfriends and just have a grand time doing something joyful.  This is a daytime group, the hostess serves lunch, so we really look forward to some good fellowship and food.  I was on a lucky streak today and was the big winner.  This lovely bouquet was part of my prize and I LOVE it!

It was also fun today to draw the winner for my Giveaway!  Michell was comment number 50 - so my little selvage tote will be making it's way to New Zealand!  Wish I could go for a visit, too - wouldn't that be fun?  I always enjoy these large giveaways because I get the chance to check out a lot of different blogs - so many creative and talented people out there.  Anyway, it was sure fun, and I enjoyed participating!

Now it's off to bed early - we are getting up early to drive up to Eugene to watch my daughter in her last Track meet!  Hopefully she is feeling well and is up to a big jump tomorrow - we can't wait!  Hope you all have a good weekend - enjoy some time with your family, and take a few minutes to remember those who have given their lives in service to the United States. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Best Ideas

Sometimes the best ideas come to you in the most unlikely places. I had been thinking of an idea for a baby quilt, but hadn't started it because I wasn't really happy with the way it was laid out. So one day while I'm taking a shower, the quilt pops into my mind and BAM - the solution presents itself! I was so excited that I hardly wanted to go to work - I wanted to start right in on the quilt.  (And I work at a Quilt Shop, so it's a rare day that I really don't want to go to work!)

I was so happy to get home and start cutting and sewing the cute fabrics that I picked out for this project!  Isn't this cute so far?  Wait till you see the whole thing - it really is super sweet!   I just love the polka dots - and the monkeys are just adorable.  Such a fun quilt, I can't wait to share the pattern with you - it shouldn't be too much longer before it's ready!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gotta Love Technology

Oh, the joys of technology!  That's my standard line whenever I am in line, at a Dr. office, or anywhere when the wonders of technology leave us standing and waiting...for whatever reason.  Yes, we do have a love/hate relationship with all of the gadgets and gizmos that supposedly make life simpler, easier, and yes - more entertaining.

We may not have any 8-track tapes around here, but we do have quite a collection of cassette tapes that my husband has gathered over the years.  Many of these tapes have songs that are not available on i-tunes or on a cd.  This year he has been on a mission to convert these cassette tapes into mp3's.  (This is the part where I come in!)  After doing some research I decided the best way to do this was to buy a cable to connect the cassette deck with the computer and use a free program (Audacity) to record and convert the files.  Sounds pretty simple, right?  Need I say that the whole reason I didn't get any sewing done today is that we were working on this project.  Now my husband has about 15 more songs on his computer.  Only about 99,000 left to go.  No, I'm not joking!

Actually it didn't go all that badly considering we are both type A, firstborn people who don't work well together.  There were only a few times we got a little intense (we know when that happens because the dog slinks out of the room, so we laugh and try to cool off a little!).  I had to work really hard to talk in a nice tone of voice and not say things that were not nice.  He had to slow down and listen to my instructions.  We got through it, laughed a little and gave each other a high five when we got the first one done!  It was a good day, even if I didn't get to do any quilting.  I did get to sit in a comfy chair and play on my laptop and hang out with my hubby.  Not too bad!  Maybe I'll get to quilt tomorrow...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway Day - Selvage Bucket Scrap Bag

*****Thanks for all your comments!  The winner of this Giveaway is Michell!  Congratulations, and I hope you love the little Selvage Bucket!***

Hi and welcome to my blog for those of you that are new! I hope you will take a look around, and don't judge me by the past month - my baby is getting ready to graduate from high school so I've been a little distracted from my usual quilting and sewing lately.

I almost missed Giveaway Day - but was reminded as I was catching up on my blog reading this weekend (thank goodness for Quilt Market - I didn't fall too far behind over the last few days!)  I had lots of fun last year with my guessing game of buttons, but since I've been so busy this month don't have a similar challenge for you this time.  I guess we'll just have to do the random drawing thing this time - hope you don't mind!  Leave a comment telling us what your favorite color is - I think mine changes with the seasons, but right now I am loving yellow.

I will be giving away this fun little selvage bucket - perfect for keeping on your sewing table to throw your selvages in.  Or you can hang it on the wall to store whatever you like - they really are handy and oh-so-cute!  (It does have a little loop for hanging, though it doesn't show in these pictures.)

If you'd like to have an extra chance, go like my facebook page and let me know in a separate comment.  I will ship internationally, so everyone is eligible to participate - thanks for dropping by and good luck to you!

For more Giveaway fun go to SewMamaSew - lots of fun, and so many opportunities to win some neat items!