At Plum Loco Ranch, Door County, WI.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A day to myself... chores, no cooking.  Well, no chores after I did about an hour's worth this morning.  DH gave me a free afternoon!  

He picked DS up from preschool and took him to see "Puss in Boots" at the cheap theatre and then to ToysRUs to spend more of his Christmas money.  Then, we had pizza for dinner.

Sew, after picking up one of my machines that went in for a cleaning (and, boy!, does that bobbin case look clean now), and buying this cute mug on clearance at Joann's, I got to sew.  

Here's my two Civil War blocks for the January meeting, "Blockade."

I'm about done with HST's for a while!

And here's last month's Civil War block - all fixed!

Here's "Aunt Caroline's Garden."  I squared up the blocks, cut the sashing and cornerstones, and put it all together today.  

I used the Baby to cut the 2.5" sashing strips and binding - what a time saver.

The best part is that it was so enjoyable with no interruptions, no schedule to keep, just sewing along at my own pace, which is kinda slow.  It was like my own little retreat - and I enjoyed it! 

This is project number 3 for the guild's show in March.  So, this may be my last piecing project for a few months. I've got to get quilting!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday wrap up (last 2011 stash report)

I must apologize for being MIA.  The week of Christmas took it out of me: cleaning the house, DS's birthday party, arrival of in-laws, arrival of SIL's family, arrival of my mom....all while poor ol' DH was under the weather in bed for 2 days and then sluggish, well, he's still that way.  Ugghh!

After my in-laws left on Monday morning, I had hoped to get some time to decompress.  And I did to a degree.  However, DH spent Monday in bed so I took DS to Target.

DS had been fascinated by the nutcrackers so he bought one himself with some of the birthday and Christmas money while they were on sale. There were only a few left, luckily one of them was green, his favorite color.

I told you how I had to rearrange the house for the holidays.  Well, now that they are over, it has to be put back - another uggh!  Of course, I started with my sewing area.  I figure DH can take care of the rest - after I remind him of it a few times, of course.

From this:

I got two more GO! dies as gifts - a 3.5" square and 4.5" hst. We had a little cutting demo on Sunday.

Everything is crammed under the window and stacked on top of my cabinet, which is behind the table.

To this, so far:

The design wall is back up and I've decided to do a quick quilt with my Aunt Caroline's embroidery blocks for our guild's quilt show in March.  The blocks aren't completely spot free.  A soak in OxiClean helped tremendously but there are still a few brown spots here and there. Any advice on getting rid of the last brown spots?

So, I bought 2 yards of brown floral, which I'm sure is too much, for sashing and binding and 1/4 yd of green for cornerstones.

Can't let those LQS coupons go to waste!

There's my Dresden plate, too.  Need to quilt that for the show as well.

I realized last week that I do not have a holiday table runner for my little credenza behind the sofa.  So, the snow man panel would work nicely for a quickie table runner.

I even cut some fabric for my last Civil War BOM blocks for the guild.  I just might get a machine out and sew those together this afternoon.

Here's the biggy  ---  my mom brought more of that fabric with her, that she bought at an estate sale.  I just took most of it and may use a few pieces to make some drawstring bags for DS's new marbles, a geometric building set, and his dice.

In toto, there are about 29.5 yards!  At least I didn't buy it, right?  I intend to cut up what won't work for backings or bags and then give it away.

Once I looked at it all I've found that one large piece is 65% poly and has some flaws.  Two of the prints are actually home dec weight and width - good bag candidates.  Two more of the florals are sheets.  There's almost 8 yards of the brown floral on the right, which would be perfect for a queen size back.

Remember what I said about the LQS coupons?  I think part of my decompression activities will be to go get 10 FQs for $15 this week.  What's 3 more yards, right?! Stash reports start with a clean slate on Sunday.

Used this Week: 0
Used year to Date: 70.72
Added this Week: 31.75
Added Year to Date: 167.945
Net Used for 2011:   -97.225
Check out more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's quiet....

We are in between guests atm so here I am on the computer, feet propped up and the news on.  DS is still asleep and may be for a few more hours.  He had a ball with his cousins the past two days.

It's been a tough 2 days b/c DH got sick.  All plans really hinge on the two of us playing host.  He was sidelined by an ear infection with pain so bad that we had to go to the urgent care center Tuesday morning.  He then spent the whole day in bed.  The crockpot was full but gifts had to be wrapped, a few groceries picked up, bread baked... I think I brushed my teeth around noon!

He was still in bed all day yesterday while we were all out being tourists at the St. Louis Science Center and going up in the Arch.  Now he's up and seems to be better this morning now that SIL and her family, including Kiko the dog, are on the road home.

I'm pooped and have shoulder pain that I am sure is totally stress-related. I don't even have any photos to show you - didn't even think of grabbing the camera - no time.  My plans today include a yoga class this evening and maybe even some time in the hot tub at the gym!

How are your holiday plans going?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Almost done cleaning (stash report week 51)


Well, my house is almost all clean, cleaner than it has been in a long time.  I've been climbing on the step ladder so much to reach and clean shelves and put up decorations that my knees hurt. DH took pity and cleaned the frig last night - I mean took everything out and washed it down while I went to the gym to regain my balance!  I think I will keep him!!!

Here's our first house guest, Kiko (in the foreground).  He's a labradoodle - we think with more "doodle" than "labra."  DH's sister and her family dropped him by on their way to Indiana.  They will be back here in a few days.

As you can see he and Ruby are about the same height.  They run and chase and play and Ruby reminds him that DS is her boy.  However, Kiko has a problem that I've never encountered in a dog - he's underweight!

We've gotten him to eat while he's here but we either have to feed him from our hand or drop his food on the floor.  We think it's his food bowl - so small it looks like a cat's dish.  We're going to try letting him use Ruby's bowl or a maybe a plate.

Yesterday we had DS's birthday party at Chuck E Cheese.   The kids had Fun and I got to sit at the table and watch jackets and things - just to sit in one place for more than 5 minutes - it was so nice.

This week I had a fun package arrive.  Vanessa from Whirling Butterfly was my partner in the Holiday Fabric Swap at Leona's Quilting Adventure.  It was meant to be a little swap - 3 fat eighths of holiday fabric and some tea and/or chocolate.

Isn't that fabric pretty? In my big bag of scraps and 1/2 drawer of yardage, I don't have any like it.  See that chocolate bar? Well, I opened the package after I had been running errands and wanted a cup of coffee. So, I had chocolate with my coffee!  I love milk chocolate made in other counties, the formula is slightly different than it is here.

And Leona sent a Christmas card with a couple of eye spy squares in it. Thank you, Leona!

DS loved this fabric!

I have been too pooped to do anything in the evenings but Monday or Tuesday I still had energy to do one little hexie. Maybe next week I can make another - we'll see.

We still have all of our gifts to wrap and we both agreed that we were too tired to do it last night.

Used this Week: 0
Used year to Date: 70.72
Added this Week: 0.125
Added Year to Date: 136.195
Net Used for 2011:   -65.475
Check out more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times

Have a great week!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A busy week...(stash report week 50)

Cleaning has been the word in our house.  For the first time in two years we are having all of our family, on two different days, in next week for Christmas.  Since we don't live near any of our family - the closest are 4 hours away, everyone stays overnight.  We go from no guests to 24 hour guests for 7 days - quite an adjustment!

I knew I needed to clean the kitchen and since I was busy this spring with a consulting job, spring cleaning did not happen.  When I looked around the room I noticed how dusty everything was that was on top of the cabinets.  In our little house, with no dining room, that is the only place I have to display anything (doesn't seem so little now that I'm in cleaning mode).  So yesterday I climbed on top of the countertop and cleaned everything.  Rearranged a few of the top cabinets while I was up there. Boy! did my legs and knees ache last night.

Oh yeah - and there are now 2 pans of lasagna in the freezer.  Loving my freezer!! Gonna put a couple quiche in there today.

I posted about my guild's Christmas party on Tuesday.  Once again, here are the blocks in the groups as I arranged them for our lottery drawing.

I failed to take my camera to the meeting.  They looked much prettier hanging in the meeting room pinned onto the big pieces of background fabric that went with each group.

...and the final group.

Here is one of the finished Green Bag Lady bags that I made for our winners to carry their loot in.  I counted this fabric "out" last week.

Here are my Civil War blocks for our BOM program.

While eating my dessert, I noticed that my block didn't look like the other four hanging on the board.  See it, top right?

Our BOM coordinator didn't notice either.  Oops! - so I decided I would have to get it back from whoever own the block and fix it for her.

Well, I won the blocks!

Then, I won the Civil War FQ!

Then our president handed those of us on committees a little gift - scissors.  Aren't they cute?

Let me explain, we have two BOM drawings.  One for people who make a block from fabric of their choice which they will keep.  The other for members who made a block out of CW fabric and wish to put in the "pot" to win more blocks.  I've been entering both this year.

After all the drawings, we played a sewing trivia game.  Do you know who invented the sewing machine?  Well, luckily we had one of the guild's founders at our table who was also a whiz at trivia.

We answered 20 out of 24 questions correctly and each won a FQ.  Each table was decorated with rolls of 12" fabric squares that we could take home, too.  Surprised that I selected the batiks?

Today I pack up my Viking that I use for quilting so that it can go in for an overdue cleaning.  What are your plans for today?

Used this Week: 0
Used year to Date: 70.72
Added this Week: 0.5
Added Year to Date: 136.07
Net Used for 2011:   -65.35
Check out more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times

Have a great week!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A busy little elf.


It has been a busy, busy, busy morning in my basement sewing corner.  Our guild's Christmas party is tonight - and I still need to get my appetizer in the crock pot (love my crockpot, check out A Year of Slow Cooking).

I had to get the holidays blocks grouped together for the big drawing tonight.  We had about 24 members turn in one or more blocks for a total of 29.  I put them into 3 groups and each winner will get an equal share of the remaining background fabric, 2.3 yards each.

Here's 9 blocks that work on-point.

Sorry for the picture quality. It's cloudy so my basement windows are no help today.  Although, we did get some teensy snowflakes - hurray!

Here's the first group of 10.

Here's the second group of 10.

Remember all that fabric my mom bought at an estate sale?  Well, I finished making 4 Green Bag Lady shopping bags today.  I thought these 3 could go to our winners tonight so they would have something to carry their spoils in.

Just in case they would like to make some of their own.

It's only been 2 weeks since our last guild meeting so tonight kind of snuck up on me.  Last night I put together my Civil War BOM blocks.  This is one is called Yankee Puzzle.

I almost forgot to share my latest win. These variety packs came from an Aurifil Facebook giveaway.  I guessed that one of their 20 boxes was empty and they sent these as a "consolation" prize.  Some consolation, huh?!

Tomorrow I must focus on cleaning the house and taking my machines in for a good cleaning!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Christmas Finish (stash report week 49)

WooHoo - a finish!  And it only took about 3 years!

This is the panel that I showed you a few days ago.  All that fretting about free motion quilting!  It measures about 36x55 so there's about 3.3 yards all together.  I had hoped to hang it on DS's bedroom door but it's too wide.  Hopefully I can find a spot upstairs since we put our real Christmas tree downstairs. Check more great home decor ideas at the Sew Darn Crafty party at Sew Many Ways.

Here's "Nells' New World" also all finished.  It was completed a couple weeks ago .

Here are some in-progress Green Bag Lady shopping bags.  I have now used all the green and gold print and some of the green solid that I brought from my mom's house.

That adds up to about 2 yards.  Only a few more days 'til I pack up my sewing space so I've been trying to get a few things out of the way.

What is about the holidays that makes me want to watch these cheesy Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark?  Yes, that's what I'm doing right now.  I should probably be stitching up my Civil War blocks for our guild meeting Tuesday night but you can't sew all the time!

Used this Week: 5.3
Used year to Date: 70.72
Added this Week: 0
Added Year to Date: 135.57
Net Used for 2011:   -64.85
Check out more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times

Have a great week!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fitting it in....

Since my sewing corner has to be packed away soon, 'til after Christmas, I have been trying to finish up a few things.  I decided after last year that I would not be sewing Christmas presents this year.  Turns out that we are hosting the DH's family this year a few days before Christmas, dog sitting, and then will be hosting the big day meal with both sets of parents.

Sewing deadlines are not looming, however, I have to get the house in order, etc.  All that stuff stresses me out.  Well, this afternoon DS gets his birthday pictures taken and we usually do a couple family shots, too.  After running around yesterday getting everything in order and hemming DS's black pants, he and I are taking it easy.  DS is watching Curious George on Netflix and I cut out some stuff for one last sewing stint this Sunday.

Here's a panel that I bought years ago from Hancock's.  It's a door hanging. Then I realized that I didn't know how to free motion quilt and I knew it wouldn't look as good if I just straight lined it.  Sew, it sat on the shelf - for another year, maybe two.  I know it was basted last year and I just didn't get to it with all the other projects and holiday traveling. I need to put some loops on with the binding for hanging - better go cut those before I forget!

The secret to getting started on FMQ project seems to be if I tell myself, "it's OK, it doesn't have to be perfect, just get going, it will look fine."

This one was lots of fun to quilt trying to make things stand out a little bit more.  My stitches aren't noticeable since the print is the focus and it isn't a quilt so it won't fall apart.  I'll put up a better picture when it's done.  Why didn't I do this earlier?!


This morning I got the binding cut and ready. 

Also on the table are the pieces for 4 Green Bag Lady shopping bags that I cut from some of that fabric I brought home from my mom. 

On the right are strips cut from 5 FQs for the Clover & Violet Tote.  I am so behind! I decided that rather than cutting 4" squares from the strips, I will leave mine as strips.  Fewer pieces, fewer seams, faster project!

For the body of the bag I need a 20x44 pieced top. Yes, I am going to use pre-made binding for the ties and the binding.  It matches.  And, it is a market tote bag, about the size of a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods paper shopping bag. 

It's like I read on another blog a few weeks ago, "who told us we have to make our binding?"  My grandma didn't make binding, she usually folded her backing over.  Or, she used this premade stuff.  Now, don't get me wrong, I usually do make my binding, like for the door hanging, but I could just as easily have purchased some premade in red.  It's just the point, we don't have to make it for every project. The quilt police will not come knocking.

Well, I'm off to cut those hanging strips! Check out some more great Whoop Whoop! projects at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tried something new...

I finally tried a bit of the wool batting that I have had lying around the house since purchasing it at last year's Black Friday sale at Joanns.  Well, actually I used one of the 18" square samples that I bought in Paducah at the Hobbs booth.

This pretty pillow top measured 16.5" before quilting.  The blocks were made by quilty friend Joyce - aren't they pretty?  They are leftovers from a pattern that used charm squares and turnovers.

I love the feel of the wool - talk about light!  What a nice difference from the weight of 100% cotton Warm & Natural.  I have 4 yards waiting to go into our first bed size quilt which will be backed in flannel, another reason to love the weight difference.

This is the first time I used the waffle muslin from Joanns.  I have always wanted to try it and I'm glad I did on a small project.  It won't be going on the back of my quilts.

The pillow is also the first time I've done free motion meandering without a template.  Yes, there are templates and I am quite attached to my templates. The pretty little rose is from a template that should be in every beginning free motion quilter's library.

I've spent my day selling old toddler toys at the children's resale shop and then buying a shirt and sweater vest for DS's birthday pictures tomorrow.  I paid 57 cents!  Then off to Target for a pair of black dress shoes (there were none at the resale shop).  As soon as I take a break, then it's off to the sewing machine to hem DS's black pants.  Really, I'm not usually so unprepared!

I am linking up with Happy Quilting for TNT Thursday.  Check out the cute bag tutorial while you're there.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving shopping (stash report week 48)

(channeling Minnie Pearl, Tonya over at Hillbilly Handiworks has me remembering my childhood by watching HeeHaw reruns on Sunday evenings - lol)

Hope ya'll had a Happy Thanksgiving.  We had a nice, uneventful road trip and DS had fun playing games with "Papa and the two grammies," as he calls my mom, grandma and step dad.  Even Ruby had a good time running at top speed around Grandma's house - it's a big yard.

It was nice to get home and sleep in our own beds.  And DH and I both went to the gym yesterday. That is after I went to Joanns and picked up a few things.

Sorry for the pix quality - very cloudy here today.

I am making a pillow from the blocks that quilty friend Joyce gave me -  may even bind it to give it that extra pizzazz!  So I got a pillow form and 1 yard of waffle weave muslin, which I've not worked with before, for the back. 

Then, I got the two rulers that Bonnie Hunter swears by for working with strips - the Easy Angle and the Companion Angle.

There's also 10 yds of fusbile interfacing and a bit of  wonder under.  All at 50% off, thanks to the flyer and my iPod app, plus 25% off the eligible total.

I didn't feel the need to brave any stores on Friday. Especially after my mom shared some of her buys with me Thursday.  At an estate sale she picked up 2 bundles of fabric with mostly  huge cuts.  None of them are quilt shop quality and one was really bad, but most of them are okay - they're from the box stores - even some old sheets like that blue floral on the right.

The pink floral I thought would make two nice panels for charity kids quilts.  I'm sorry that you see the colors well.  The polka dot is navy. and the solid on the left is dark green.  The burgundy in the middle is a good backing candidate while the light  will probably be cut p into strips for scrap quilts.

With everything I've brought into my house this year, there just isn't much that I needed.  Some of the pieces had been cut lengthwise so there's was this great long piece about 18" wide by 10 feet!  I really don't know what my mom will do with it.  She mentioned that there's a group in the county that makes quilts for the homeless so she may take it there.

These are some pieces I took for bags.  The red, white, and blue is ugly but it's already cut to about shopping bag size.  All I have to do is stitch up the sides and cut a couple strips for the handles - voila!

The green and gold isn't all cotton.  It was the longest piece of the day!  Maybe it was used to make drapes.  I thought it would also make nice Green Bag Lady shopping bags.

The brown floral was practically an entire bolt.  I took about 1 yard. 

Not to be outdone, my grandma gave me some blocks that her sister had embroidered.  Aunt Caroline passed away over 15 years ago and these were with my Aunt Mary for some years.  Then Aunt Mary gave them to Grandma. 

Anyway, they were quite brown and bit musty so I soaked them on OxiClean.  That brightened them up but there are still some spots.

I may some simple sashing and cornerstones so they can finally be finished.

Oh - and my mom is always picking up quilting books.  Doesn't matter what they are as long as they aren't torn, musty, or falling apart. They are still fun to look at.

Yesterday was a busy day!  The crockpot is working overtime this weekend and will be for the next 2 weeks while I clean and maybe sew before I have to dismantle my sewing corner to make way for the Christmas tree and guests.  I made some cranberry relish and put it in the freezer.  Also made some bread dough that will eventually go to the freezer.  I really do like my freezer!!  Love planning ahead and being able to take some action rather than just think about it, you know what I mean?

Oh - here are some things I worked on while we were away.

First, I finally started embroidering the pocket for the Clover & Violet tote sew along.  Got a lot done while DS watched "Horton Hears a Who" Thursday night.

Then I did hexies, of course, while in the car.

However, I had only two white centers.  Sew, I did lots of basting.

The larger one uses pieces leftover from making flowers for the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap a couple months ago.

Well, the numbers took a big hit and on some of these pieces I am guess-timating, on the low side, of course. LOL!!!

Used this Week: 0
Used year to Date: 65.42
Added this Week: 20
Added Year to Date: 135.57
Net Used for 2011:   -70.15
Check out more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Best wishes for a safe holiday

Sending good thoughts out to you all for a Happy Thanksgiving!  

We are celebrating at my grandma's this year and I thought I would take along a few books I picked up at last night's guild meeting.  The price was right - they were on the "Free" table!

The Jinny Beyer book is from 1979 but she deconstructs the blocks so you can make your own patterns.  I love that - I love understanding how my quilts go together.

Look what I found in the scrap book - a possibility for my hexie flowers. While I love doing the flowers, I have never kidded myself about making a traditional grandmother's flower garden - too many white pieces for me!  Plus, it's always nice to be a little bit different.

This book is from 1985 but it actually a book with text - a product of the author's research - a bit of history.  I may leave this one with Grandma 'til Christmas so she can read it.

How many of you are braving the crowds to hit Joanns doorbuster sales?  There's nothing on their list that cannot wait til later in the day for me.

Have a great holiday!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nell's New World and my space (stash report week 47)

Here's what I've done this week:

approx 12x15 inches

It's called Nell's New World and it is based on the first book we read (Lover's Knot by Clare O'Donahue) at the Quilters, Books, and Bindings blog.  You can read more details here.

It isn't finished.  Still needs quilting and some embellishing but with our holiday schedule, well, things may not get done 'til New Year's. To keep my sanity this holiday season, I will be making more trips to the gym rather than sitting on my duff at the sewing machine trying to meet deadlines that I've made up in my head.

Why Blogger?  It is saved in the correct orientation!!
Speaking of the holidays, we are expecting my husband's family. Our closest relatives are two states away. They will all be here together for 2 nights about 3 days before Christmas - 5 adults and 2 kiddos under 8 - in our 3 bedroom ranch.  We go from having no visitors to being filled to the rafters!

To make it easier, well to make life easier, we got a chest freezer this week.  I mentioned cleaning the basement in anticipation of it s deliver last week. It has arrived! It holds a turkey and a ham and soon will have a couple trays of lasagna that I can pull out when we are filled with guests.

That is all I have accomplished this week.  Yesterday was DH's birthday so I made him a chocolate cake from scratch.  I once thought "from scratch" meant it was difficult.  I have everything here to make a cake from scratch. When was the last time you read the ingredients on a cake mix box?  I couldn't find one without partially hydrogenated oil, i.e. trans fat, in it.  Unless of course, it was organic and cost from $4 to $7 - then we're back to using what's already in the pantry.

We went out Friday night to a steak dinner and a comedy club with friends.  So, after our fun and paying the babysitter, a cake from scratch made sense - LOL!!

Here's why I won't be getting anything done as the holidays approach, in addition to just being busy cleaning and planning DS's birthday party and fretting (yes, a visit from my MIL does that to me - can we say "Marie Baronne?").  My sewing space is a corner of our basement family room.  I have two machines set up, the 2nd one is under the dresden plate that I had to move from the design wall.

To make room for the Christmas tree, which we put down here so we can set up my 6 foot table upstairs for family meals, I have to condense all this stuff.  The old computer armoire that makes a great storage cabinet must be closed, the ironing board comes down and gets tucked away, the machine in the cabinet gets closed and pushed under the window, and the table gets pushed in front of it.  The machine on the table will be stored in the armoire in the space where the CPU sat, bottom right. Oh and the design wall will be taken down.

This is the view from the design wall.  The tree goes where the train table is - who knows where that will go.  Maybe the loveseat will be put in front of my smushed sewing table so the train table can be pushed toward the patio door.

There's my 6 foot table all folded up behind the loveseat.  Even when I have it up, it's in the way!

When I started sewing down here the space was just right.  Now that I've become addicted, well, it's a little cramped.  It doesn't help that when the machine cabinet is open, I cannot walk around the table from the ironing board to the armoire - about 4 steps.  Instead I walk around the other side of the table.  Hhhmm...will have to come up with a s lightly better arrangement for the New Year.

On to the numbers - no change for me!  I would like to increase the "out" column but keeping the "in" column from growing is a good reason to celebrate as well.

Used this Week: 0
Used year to Date: 65.42
Added this Week: 0
Added Year to Date: 115.57
Net Used for 2011:   -50.15
Check out more Stash Reports at Patchwork Times

Have a great week!!