At Plum Loco Ranch, Door County, WI.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Illness humor

As I sit here, rather than lying here which I have done for the better part of the past 2 days, watching Netflix this line from The Dick Van Dyke Show caught my attention and I just have to share it with you:

Buddy: Do you know how to keep a head cold form moving to your chest?

Sally: No

Buddy: Tie a knot in your throat.

Now, why didn't he tell me that yesterday?!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And the winner is.....

#2 - BillieBee!  A new follower - welcome!

Please check out BillieBee's blog and give her a hearty "congrats."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cool nights and perfect days! (stash report week 39)

What a great week!  The temps are below-normal-cool in the daytime and overnight.  The sun has been out most of the time - perfect weather for being out walking the dog and watching the little ones play soccer.  Which, by the way,is one of the most entertaining ways to spend an hour on a Saturday morning - I laugh so much!

All this wonderful weather means that it is very difficult to sit in the house and quilt those quilts that need to be quilted.  The hot, hot, hot weather kept me in the house for so long this summer that I cannot ignore mother nature trying to make amends!

That leads to feelings of frustration for not being more productive in finishing projects.  And that, to feeling overwhelmed with how much I have to do!  Arrgghh -- then, I remind myself that this a hobby.  I am allowed to have other interests.  I do not have to churn out quilts like a one woman assembly line.  After all, I'm not sewing for any reason other than my own enjoyment and it is supposed to be fun!  Whew!  That felt good!! (now, to remember it)

Sew, that is why I've not been doing too much handwork.  Daytimes outside enjoying the weather and evenings spent at the machine trying to finish up things.  However, I did get one lonely little hexie done this week.

Head over the Pigtales & Quilts for more Garden additions. There are some lovelies to check out.

It's not like I've not gotten anything done.  While watching, well listening actually, to a Rolling Stones documentary by Martin Scorcese called Shine the Light,  I cut 43 blocks for the guild's holiday block exchange.  There's still lots of fabric left on that bolt!

Then I thought, "Gee, what am I going to carry all this in?"  I have the baggies of squares and directions, a money pouch, a member list.  Hhmm, "oh yeah," DH had a Sam Adams 12 pack box with handles that was slated for the recycling bin.

So, a little Joann's fabric and some mod podge and here's my new box, with handles!  Thanks to Karen at Sew Many Ways for the intro to mod podge and it's versatility. Had to use black to cover the colors on the box.  The fabric is easier to work with than wrapping paper, less creasing and fewer air bubbles.  Check out all the pretty stuff at this week's Crafty Party.

This just might be handy when members turn in completed blocks next month.  A little muslin and we're good to go.

Off Topic Aside -- Speaking of versatile,  Stray Stitches and Hilachas passed along the Versatile Blogger Award to me this week.  If you want to learn 7 things about me, well, check out this post. Linda and Irene have fun blogs - click the links to check them out.

Then, I figured it might help to have some sample blocks to show members what we're doing.  Most of the members are old hats at this stuff by now, but we do have a few new members who have never done this before.

Here's a dark colorway, very traditional, not too Christmas-y.

oops - you get the idea
This one is a lesson on why we are told to read all directions before we begin.  See, I cut my two 7" squares for the center and looked at the picture and, after making the Ohio Star, thought, "oh, another quarter square triangle block." And proceeded on.

HA!!  WRONG! The center square, starting with 7" squares, isn't big enough, you see.  I was supposed to cut each square in half and then use the four pieces to create a 9" center.  Two orphan blocks.

Now, what I love about this exchange is the opportunity to use some scraps.  Our LQS that got us the bolt has coordinating fabric but I'm not going to buy more fabric to make one 12" block (note how much new fabric has come into the house so far this year)!

I have made three lap size Christmas quilts and have another to finish but somehow I have a bag full of Christmas fabric scraps from friends and scrap bag purchases.

However, when you mess up, there is not always enough scrap fabric for a do-over.  I do not have another 7" piece of light blue.  I used the darker blue and, of course, it doesn't offer enough contrast - another orphan block.

Sew, I got out my binder and found an Ohio Star variation pattern from the spring shop hop that will work with my smaller scraps of the light blue so that the other block will be brighter and have some blue in it.  A project for this afternoon.

A mini tutorial:

Here's mine!
Here's a little thing I made to try out the "no binding" method that Ricky Tims explained on The Quilt Show (this particular episode was free via Fairfield).  You do not have to pay to enjoy The Quilt Show, they have free episodes and a blog,  just sign up if you haven't already done so. This weekend there is a free episode of Why Quilts Matter - hurry, it ends tonight!

I've made a mug rug and hope to do more wall hangings and I do not like putting a bulky binding on things so small.  So, I made myself a mug rug using a 4.5" square and my scraps and selvedges.

Then, I grabbed a piece of flannel, also from a scrap bag purchase, and cut a rectangle for the back.  Then, cut about 3" off one end.  Here's the goofy part - sew the ends back together!  LOL!

However, it's also the ingenious part. This is where you leave a hole in the center for turning when sewing the ends back together.  Use a seam allowance slightly larger than 1/4".

Press the seam open.

With right sides together and using a 1/4" seam sew the back to the top,  after baste stitching the batting to the top piece or fusing/spraying it to the top.

Trim. Turn it, and then quilt.

As you can see, there's a teeny gap on mine - put some fabric glue on the batting to hold it together while quilting.

You can see where this would be great for wall hangings or for pieces that you might frame, as the back will never be seen.  Ricky also suggested putting a border around the edge that makes the lack of binding less obvious.  For my mug rug - i.e. a "glorified coaster"- this will do - I really like it, fast and simple!

If you would like to give this method a try - leave me a comment by Tuesday evening (9/27/11), 9PM CST, and Mr. Random Number Generator will choose one person to whom I will send a Lapel Stick and a scrappy mug rug (another project for this afternoon).

1. You must leave me way to contact you either in your comment or in your blogger profile.  No-reply bloggers will be disqualified.
2. You do not have to be a follower - my own blog list is way too long from this requirement.
3. One comment, one entry.  Multiple comments will not be considered.

The Stash Numbers:

Used this Week: 0.375
Used year to Date: 47.625
Added this Week: 0
Added Year to Date: 93.15
Net Used for 2011:   -45.525

Head over the Judy's at Patchwork Times for more stash numbers.
Have a great week!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Linda at Stray Stitches and Irene at Hilachas passed the Versatile Blogger award to me.  Finally, I have some quiet time to sit down and thank them for the award!

There are rules to this award...
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself on the post.
3. Pass the award to fifteen bloggers that you think deserve it.
4. Lastly, contact all of the bloggers that you've picked for the award.

Hhhmmm...7 things, huh?  Well, here goes:
1. I love blues music.  Before DS came along I could talk my husband into taking a long weekend and attending a midwest blues festival.  We've travelled to Kalamazoo, MI, and Henderson, KY.
2.  Yoga keeps me centered.  Well, all kinds of workouts keep me centered, but it only takes a few yoga poses to put me back on course and help me get a good night's sleep.  I've had a gym membership for about 14 years and have attended classes at yoga studios off and on.
3.  Biggest pet peeve is improper grammar, especially placing prepositions at the end of sentences and using adjectives in place of adverbs.  TV personalities, esp in sports, do it ALL THE TIME! 
4.  I don't mind doing routine housework but I need a little help to get motivated, so, I listen to Ray Stevens' Greatest Hits.  You know, "The Streak," "It's Me Again Margaret."  A little laughter goes a long way. 
5.  Love taking my 4 yr old to the park and pointing out nature to him - like the grasshopper that stayed on our SUV a few days ago, despite driving to and from pre school twice and running errands.  While we live here in metro land, I try to instill in him an appreciation for nature that I got growing up in the country with a pond to swim and fish in, horses, cattle, and...
6.  a pet pig named Sally.  She really liked to have her ears scratched.  She was the runt of the litter but she grew to be a big ol' sow.  Eventually, she wanted to be with other pigs so she went to live with our neighbor's hogs.
7.  Part of living on the farm, I have milked a cow, helped churn homemade butter, and helped clean the pasteurizer after the milk came out. I never did like whole milk, however.    

Now, here are the bloggers to whom I am passing the award:

I hope you have time to click over and visit them. Thanks again to Stray Stitches and Hilachas!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A jacket?!! (stash report week 38)

Hello, hello, hello!

Now I understand why people talk so much about the weather.  Since that nasty heat has left us and been replaced by cooler nights/days, I have more energy, I'm a nicer person - not so crabby, and I am getting a bit more done inside and especially outside!  Hhhmmm...maybe I should start playing the lotto again so we can get a summer house in a cool climate - lol!

Isn't it funny how we decide what we feel inspired to do?  For example, in my free evening time, rather than quilt the quilts that are ready to quilt - 3 of them!, I chose to make more hexie flowers!  Check out more pretty flowers at Pigtales & Quilts.

I also did not choose to start my next Clover & Violet QAL embroidery block after I'd caught up a couple weeks ago.  I did not choose to square up all those hand pieced 9 patch blocks that I finally finished.  I did not choose to cut my setting kit for the Victory quilt.

I did choose to work with my scraps and selvedges this week and make a few gifties, that, unfortunately, I cannot show you atm.  I spent about one hour making my first ever crumb blocks, which I talked about yesterday.

Here's a bolt of fabric that is in my house.  Never had a brand new bolt in my house before.  It is not mine!

It's for my guild's Christmas block exchange.  I am in charge this year and must cut who-knows-how-many 13.5" squares that members purchase for $1, they use it to make a block, then their name goes into a drawing to win a selection of blocks. The more blocks we get, the more names we can draw.  Guess I should make up a sample block, huh?

It was late night at the LQS last night and I had plans to start cutting there.  It was 9pm and thought to myself, "maybe now's not a good time to wield a rotary cutter."

Since it was late night, I did my guild Civil War BOM block in a 6" and 12" version.

It's called Clay's Choice.

I also did two X's and O's blocks for the guild charity committee.  Taking the time to draw the diagonal lines might have helped because these did not come out well for being such a simple block - thank goodness for starch.  When I picked them up the lady at the table told me that people either love 'em of hate 'em, so I'm not the only that doesn't like the way they sew up!

The handles for my larger Green Lady bag are on - it is really nice to sling this one over my shoulder.  It's what I carried my projects in last night.  I put some batting scraps in there because no matter what some pattern may tell you, you always want a little padding in your shoulder straps.

(can you see the rain on the patio?  we've gotten a nice amount this week. that's my diffenbachia creating the shadow - had to bring in the house plants)

Oh-I had a little win from Amy Bradley.

Isn't this pattern cute? I just happened to be on Google reader when her birthday post came up.  This would mighty cute to do for my son's birthday.

This week I made one run to a LQS and bought 1/2 yd of this Hoffman batik - rasberry, I believe - at 20% off.

I also bought some more Heat Press Batting Together - love that stuff.  And two more spools of Isacord thread, one of which matched this quilt perfectly.

Since Isacord is thinner than 40 wt cotton, it really shows when I flatten a heart! practice, practice, practice.....

And a little story about presentation.  This LQS has been in business for over 20 years.  I had no idea it had this thread.  You see, the spools hang on posts on the wall - when you look at the wall you see the ends of the spools.  I happened to be walking along the wall and needing thread.

In contrast, the newest quilt shop displays the spools sitting upright against the wall.  This gives the viewer a wall of color that really catches the eye.  Quite a difference!

Used this Week:  0.25
Used year to Date: 47.25
Added this Week: 0.5
Added Year to Date: 93.15
Net Used for 2011:   -45.9

Head over the Judy's at Patchwork Times for more stash numbers.
Have a great week!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Crumbing along

As if I need one more thing to do, right?  I have 3 UFO's waiting to be quilted - all sandwiched, quilting started - and here I am playing with my scraps.  Well, I couldn't resist.  I always talk about how it's my mom's genes to keep everything - well, after paying what we pay for fabric I hate to throw any of it away.

Sew, when Jo of Jo's Country Junction decided to host a crumb along.  Well, I have to try it!  I mean, this isn't something I'm gonna learn at my LQS!!!

I was tired last night after doing some rearranging in my son's room (which, btw, moved all of his art supplies, shelf, and table into his room and OUT of the living room/great room - what a difference less clutter makes - I can breathe deeply again.  Oh - and I have enough space to lay out my yoga mat - lol!) and did not feel like sitting at the sewing machine.  Sew, I rested a while with a nice cider and a couple cookies while DH and DS played outside, watched a Masterpiece Mystery episode on Netflix, and decided to grab some scraps.

6.5" blocks
I have plenty of green, blue, and khaki solid strips left over from the bean bag quilts.  I decided that the green might be a better zinger than the blue - maybe, maybe not.  Definitely need to make the green geese bigger as they get a little lost in there.  I can see how these are like potato chips, as Jo says, very addicting to sit and play with all those scraps!

Check out more projects at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Have a great day!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall, is that you? (stash report week 37)

Taking a turn at goalie in his first soccer game.

Our windows have been open for days now!  It's cool at night, comfortable during the day, some trees are losing their leaves (though this might be due to drought stress), and we had a bit of rain.  Fall seems to have arrived.

After the last two, I can say that summer is my least favorite season.  I get so tired of being so hot and sticky ALL the TIME.  Remember, I'm one of the crazy people that loves snow, too!

With the wether came lots of time outdoors. It just is not the time to be siting at the sewing machine.  Sew, no new finishes for me.
That may change a bit today. Because this is the first of 16 NFL Sundays.  Yes, our weekends have now been dwindled down to one free day as we must watch the Sunday Ticket (after all, we're paying for it!).  During the season we spend our afternoons in the basement family room where I have my sewing corner.  I can sort of watch along as I quilt or if I'm not interested in the game, I can turn off the ceiling speaker above my head.

Usually I am excited, too.  My team has had a set back.  Peyton Manning had surgery this week so he won't be starting QB for the Colts. I also get much more excited about football when it's a bit colder - think about the games late in the season in Chicago and Green Bay - now there's some football!

Last weekend I was a bit under the weather with some sinus issues.  Lots of Advil and Aleve and my ears and throat felt better.  However, in my horizontal position I could still stitch up a hexie!

Then, once I got one done, why not do two more? Check out more flowers at How Does Your Graden Grow.

The quilts I showed you last week are all stabilized by stitching in the ditch (SID) between the blocks and are ready for some FMQ.  I always SID between the blocks since I read Harriet Hargrave's books about how important it is to anchor the layers to prevent shifting while quilting on your domestic machine.  She suggests that if you don't want the quilting to remain there, well, just use the wash away thread.  I L-O-V-E this book - it's my go-to reference book for quilting.

Sew, that's it for me on the sewing front.  I went to one new LQS and bought thread, Isacord thread as Leah Day mentioned on her blog.  The other LQS that our guild newsletter said was supposed to be opening on the 10th, was not quite ready.  Quilt friend Karen and I did see some pretty fabric and lots of solids up on the wall.

I bought 1/4 yard of canvas to make some longer handles for my latest Green Lady bag.  It's such a nice large bag, I can see myself carrying it to quilt shows to put my purchases in but it needs some shoulder straps.

Used this Week:  0

Used year to Date: 47
Added this Week: 0.25
Added Year to Date: 92.65
Net Used for 2011:   -45.675

Head over the Judy's at Patchwork Times for more stash numbers.
Have a great week!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Binding for wall hangings/art quilts


A quicky little post to share something fun.  On episode #905 of The Quilt Show, which is free this week from Fairfield, Ricky Tims shows a great alternative to binding those small art quilts and wall hangings - LOVE IT!  And, it's at the very beginning of the show.

Check it out if you have the time.  You can sign up as a free member and watch a handful of shows and see what else the site has to offer.  When you click the link above you will have to login to The Quilt Show website.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Embroidery 101 Quilt Along

Two posts in one crazy as the weather and having 2 new quilt shops open in the same week!

The embroidery quilt along at Clover & Violet has been a lot of fun.  We move rather slowly - a new block about every 2 weeks.  For me, it's just about the right amount of time to get blocks done without feeling rushed.

Here all six of my blocks.  Please pardon the quality but it is very cloudy here so the flash has to be on.

If you would like to join in, please see the index link on the sidebar.  All the block patterns are there as are links to all the stitch tutorials.

A little heat wave (stash report week 36)



How was your week?  Mine was mostly slow.  I took the week off from intense, catch up housework and just did the daily chores.  Tuesday morning was mine - Pandora playing, the boys out of the house,  and me crawling around on the floor with my tailor's mat measuring quilt backs.  I got 2 backs together and one small topper spray basted.

Then I hit my usual snag.  I stabilized my quilts with some SID.  It has been so long, since early June, I think, since I did any FMQ.  Once I get started I will be fine but it's the getting started that is difficult.

Then, the heat came back, highs hit 102, and my time was spent watering - uggh.  We had a break from the humidity but the hot breeze just dried out my shrubs and plants.  Even the ornamental grass looks pathetic.  Good news is that it is currently cooler and cloudy so I am keeping my fingers crossed for some much needed rain.

I did not get too much hand work done this week.  No hexies added to my garden but here's a shot of what it looks like so far.

There are more than I thought.  If you would like to give English paper piecing a try head over to Paper Pieces.  They are celebrating National Sewing Month with free shipping this week.  Check out more flower gardens at Pigtales & Quilts.

I am now all caught with with the Embroidery 101 QAL hosted by Clover & Violet.  Here are blocks #5 and #6.  Three more to go.

With an allergy headache all day yesterday, nothing was better than sitting in the recliner and stitching.

I forgot to show you the pretty bag I won a couple weeks ago from the Green Bag Lady blog.  It's home dec weight fabric and the bag is larger than most GBL bags.

It is number 17, 177!  Isn't that something?! Teresa has given away more than 17,000 bags to help save the environment.  I love my little shopping bags.  It seems that those plastic bags multiply overnight.  I never remember to take them to the grocery store with me to put them in the recycle bin so we have bunches of them in the garage.

Here are my in progress quilting projects.

This one is a disappearing 9 patch from Moda Bake Shop that I pieced at retreat back in January.  I will use it as a table topper in my living room.

This one is a simple pattern that used 9 FQs.  I was planning to make it for charity but my mom gushed over the fabric so I figured it will be her birthday present.

This is the first time I've used flannel as a back and it seems to be fine so far.  I have a larger quilt in the queue that will also have a flannel back.

This week it wasn't fabric that got my attention.  It was a sale on these McKenna Ryan "In Full Bloom" patterns that was just too good to pass up.  They usually sell for $11 each.  I got them as a set from Dakota Cabin Quilts for $37 - eight patterns - that's less than $5 each!

Don't look for these on my work table any time soon.  I have to many UFOs to finish up.  Maybe after the holidays I can play with the pretty flowers.

That's it for my week!  I haven't been in a shop for a couple weeks.  We'll see about next week.  One LQS is having a sale to celebrate 24 years in business while the first of two new area shops opens Tuesday.  The second new shop, a modern quilt shop, opens on Saturday.  It will be a high risk week!

My numbers remain the same.

Used this Week:  0
Used year to Date: 47
Added this Week: 9.25
Added Year to Date: 92.425
Net Used for 2011:   -45.425

Head over the Judy's at Patchwork Times for more stash numbers.
Have a great week!!!