Friday, December 28, 2012

Quilt for sale

I'm going to try something different today.  I recently finished a quilt, and my husband asked me what I was going to do with it, cause he could see nothing we had that it went with.  I had no one in mind when I started the quilt... I just wanted to use a batik fat quarter bundle that I had bought a couple years ago in Arizona. Also, I saw a different technique I wanted to try... so I pulled this "Enchanted Journey" bundle out and went shopping for a suitable batik backing.

The quilt really turned out cool, and I will definitely use the technique to make another one, but meanwhile I thought I would see if anyone was interested in buying this quilt.  It measures 36" wide by 50" long.  My price for this quilt is $75.  If you are interested, leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Four Dresses Done

I have figured how to deal with my "house" issue on those pillowcases.  I opened the side seam above the ruffle, then I cut an 18" square out on the house side.   After I reoriented the houses, I used my serger to stitch the houses back into the pillowcase.
Sugar gave them his approval.

I finished more than a couple quilts in the past few weeks. I don't have pictures of all of them, but I have included a couple here.  The Dresden Plate quilt was mostly all hand appliqued.  I don't usually quilt over hand applique, but I knew it would not be possible to leave that plate with no stitching. I didn't want to go with stitch in the ditch, so I came up with the idea to make little swirls in each blade of the plate. 
It think it really turned out very nicely.

       Now on to something totally different...

How many people listen to your children ask for something that they just have to have right now… and you turn around and go get it for them?  I think that is what they call instant gratification.  A short time ago I read an article that I should have bookmarked.  Besides I don’t have children living at home, and none of our children live within 800 miles… so it was not something I thought would come into play for me.  I  have learned a long time ago, that no matter what advice I might have to offer, my “technology” is out of date, so it doesn’t matter what I think, they are going to do it their own way regardless.  This means I pretty much keep my mouth shut when it comes to my opinion of how I would handle a situation.  I know silence is one step away from giving consent… but if I offer my thoughts, I am likely to be blasted or shut out, which means I keep quiet… sometimes with a very sore tongue.

Anyhow the article I am referring to suggested a wish list for your kids.  Whenever they see something they want, you instantly put it on their wish list.  Then when some important event comes along that would suggest a gift is appropriate, they get to pick from their wish list.  Of course it might not require a real important event, but something worthy of a reward.  So in actuality they might have decided something that looked really cool to start with, by the time they get to look at the list to make a choice, it may not be so important that they have that item.  This would teach them a little about waiting and appreciation.  The article did not include this thought, but I’m thinking that the wish list could be split to include little events and big events… like a bicycle would go on the big event side of the list and a video would go on the little event list.  That way if they did something really great… like a birthday, you would tell them they could choose anything off either list, but if they bring a paper home from school with an A on it, you could tell them to pick something from the little event list.  Maybe sometimes you could let them pick two items.  No matter… they are making a choice after waiting, which means it is likely they will appreciate the item that much more.

Basically I’m seeing so much “It’s all about me” attitude in our young people… of course most have inherited that from their parents… or it has been taught that it was OK to act that way by the instant gratification that they receive from their actions.  As many adults can attest to, it is much harder to get ahead in this world if all your credit cards are maxed out… which can easily happen if you have to have everything right now.  Wouldn’t it be nice to learn the benefit of waiting at an early age?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pillowcase dress question

 Recently in a church periodical there was an article about making dresses from pillowcases for children in Africa.  We have a group going on a mission trip in April... not to Africa, but a place where the little girls would love to have a new dress.  Word has got out and I received a call from an elderly lady who had lots of pillowcases, so I went to pick up a whole bag of gently used pillowcases with the hope that our quilting group could convert them into cute little dresses.

My problem arose when I pulled out 4 of these "house" pillowcases with a great ruffle on the bottom.  They would make real cute girly dresses with that ruffle, but the houses are sideways.  I have thought of cutting a square out and turning the house, and stitching it back in place in the correct orientation, but I'm not sure it would turn out OK.  Does anyone have any ideas on how I should deal with this house issue?  Is there something I could add, or cover up, or should I cut the front off and sew the backs from two to the front of the other two... if that makes any sense.  We will tackle this project after the first of the year, so I do have some time to think on it... but in the meantime I thought someone might have a good alternative.
On another totally different note, the other day I was looking for something in my sewing room. In the process of my search, I uncovered a few UFOs.  Not all of my UFOs are quilting related.  I had a few knitting projects and a cro-knit afghan among those that I discovered. I have already finished 3 of those UFOs... two scarves and the afghan.  I have alot more knitting needles than I remembered having. There are many quilting projects as well, hiding in my sewing room, and I think I need to make a list and add to it when I make these discoveries... so they don't stay lost too long.

I finished one of my own quilts that will be a Christmas present.  This has been an ongoing project for more than a couple years... the pieced blocks anyhow.  Originally it was for one grandson who is now too old to appreciate John Deere... at least not a quilted one.  The panel was a great find on eBay.

I have a couple grand-daughters that will be receiving their first sewing machines this Christmas.  I have decided to put together a sewing kit for each of them.  One of my additions to their boxes I finished in one afternoon... these cute little pincushions.  I asked my husband which chicken was the cutest... I didn't take the time to make the new ones from 2 little log cabin squares .  Even though the beak and comb on the new ones are cuter... he thought the original one I made a couple years ago was much cuter. Quicker is not always better.

I lost my directions and did a Google search and found some pretty good instructions.  The part I liked the best was the filling.  I had previously used sand.  This lady used rice.  Now I'm thinking rice was too coarse and would look pokey.  She used a little coffee grinder to run the rice through.  What a great idea... I never would have considered that... but it worked beautifully. There are still bits of rice, but most of it is almost the consistency of coarse salt.  I think the girls will like these... they won't have my original to compare it to.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo Op Day Trip

A photo op can appear when you least expect it, but sometimes you wake up and know that it is a great day to find some of those photo ops... intentionally.  A few years back, when we first moved here to South Texas, a couple friends took us on a mission tour.  There are a few missions along the Mission Trail in  San Antonio. We have been to a couple of the missions since then, but a couple weeks ago Ron and I decided we would try to recreate that day's adventure again.  Of course the Alamo is the start if you want to hit them all, but we started at Mission Concepcion.

The missions have lots of history and the architecture and structures are typically in varying stages of reconstruction.  There is always signs of refurbishing going on, but they have done a fabulous job of preserving these buildings and grounds.  Concepcion was not hard to find, but we kind of stumbled on it because we forgot to check out a map first.  Once you get to one of the missions, there is alot of information available to show you how to find the others.

 The second mission we visited was San Juan.  I was very disappointed that I had not brought my camera bag with me.  I hung the camera around my neck and left the bag in the car.  About half way around the perimeter I discovered that my camera battery was out.  I had a fresh battery in my bag, but I guess I learned that I should at least put my backup battery in a more accessible location... like my pocket. It was too far to go for my battery.  Ron got to take lots of great shots of the grist mill that was at the far end of this mission.  I will have to wait till next time.  Ron and I see things slightly different sometimes,  so when we are taking pictures, it is interesting to see the diverse perspectives.

 I really enjoy taking pictures at Mission Espada, specifically this church.  I often find doors to be very interesting.  Mission Espada even has a mission kitty.

I have quilted a few quilts lately, but somehow my camera wasn't handy, because it seems I am missing all those pictures.  This is the last one I quilted.  It was only a baby size quilt, but sometimes they are the most fun because I can finish them quickly.  This one has giraffes and lions and elephants.  I often like to piece the back... it adds character to the quilt, and usually it is because the backing was a little short.

This quilt is for a lady at church that really doesn't sew.  The quilt was pieced by a family member and it has been waiting for quite some time to be quilted.  When I received the top, there was no backing with it, which meant that it would be a whole lot easier for me to find something in my stash than it would be to try to explain what type and size the fabric needed to be for the back.  I found a piece that had many of the colors, but it was just shy of being large enough to work.  I matched it up with another fabric and I thought it made a perfect addition to the character of the back. 

I will have to get busy in the next couple of weeks so that I can finish a quilt or two before Christmas.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is pretty quiet here at home.  Up until a couple days ago, we were going to be heading to Arizona for a Thanksgiving dinner with family.  It was going to be a combined Thanksgiving/Christmas type of celebration.  On Sunday evening we received a call from son number two advising us that the whole family was not doing too good.  Everyone was at varying stages of a cold/flu type virus. They had hoped things would start to turn around, but he figured it was best to give us enough notice to change our plans, and he was definitely sounding pretty bad himself.  I went to the store on Monday to buy a turkey... I don't think I have ever waited to buy my turkey that close to the big day.  One benefit is that I didn't need to find room in the freezer.  I haven't cooked a Thanksgiving dinner in quite a while, so I was actually looking pretty forward to it... and this one was just the two of us.

I finished a quilt the other day, and before I could get a picture taken, Boston stepped in to give her approval.  She likes to be first on the scene.  Now this is not a quilt that I pieced, but one that I quilted for a friend.

I finished a second quilt this week.  It was a Christmas quilt that I had planned to finish last year, but I didn't get the piecing done until March.  It has been sitting in the closet since.  After this pictured quilt came off the frame, I determined it was time to put that Christmas quilt on the frame.  Every once in a while it is good to quilt one of your own quilts.  I am in the process of putting the binding on, so I'm waiting to take pictures of that completed quilt.

One of my recent projects is a pretty hot item around here.  Everyone is either making these scarves, or trying to find someone to make one for them.  I have lost count on the number I have made.  There is alot of variation in the net/mesh type yarn that is available out there, but I like the Starbella Flash that I have bought several colors of at Joann's.  There are just plain Starbella colors, but the Flash does just that... it makes the scarf FLASH.  Different brands of the yarn have more in one skein, so there are scarves of a wide range of lengths.  You can get more creative with the longer lengths.... but any length... they are just FUN to wear.  Age doesn't seem to be a factor.  I have seen ladies of all ages wearing them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Houston is but a blur...

Last week at this time we were on a bus for our return trip from the Houston Quilt Festival.  Five of my quilting buddies and I boarded the bus shortly after 7am and it was close to 11pm before I arrived back home.  It was one very long day, but worth every minute.  Although we had until 6pm to get back to the bus... we were all so exhausted, I think we were sitting in the chairs by the door at least 1/2 hour before.

 We all brought back many treasures.  These bright yellow string backpacks helped us spot each other in the sea of people.  I had embroidered each of my friends names on their bags.  It is very important to have your hands free, and it helps to have a place to keep your purse safe from being left behind.  Now next time, I'm going to look for a pair of bionic legs.

I think the people who lived in our house before must have hung a few stockings above the fireplace... there were hooks left behind that haven't had anything hanging from them in a while. I  finished this kitty block back, maybe a year ago or so.  For a couple months the block was on my design wall.  I was going to make a whole quilt with various kitty blocks, but after I finished this one, I started the second one and I didn't like how it was turning out... so I set the project aside.  I thought I would get inspired to pick it back up and run with it at a later date.  Well, when I got it out again, I couldn't make a decision for the next block, so I hung it on the design wall.  A couple weeks ago I had an idea pop into my head.  Out in the shop I found a piece of foam board that I cut down to fit the block.  I used spray adhesive to adhere the block to the foam board, then I used a piece of ribbon that I attached with 2 pins. Couldn't get much simpler than that. I hung it on two of the mantel hooks.  So now my kitty cat block is suspended over the fireplace, and it looks like I planned it that way from the very start.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October is going to speed by

I didn't get any quilts completed in the month of September... but then I didn't post anything here either, so I have to stop and think whether I got anything done.  For one thing, I did go to Rockport for a quilt retreat.  I worked on a couple quilts, but the only items I completed had little to do with quilting.  The purse here was my first project completed while at the retreat.  I really like how it turned out.  I buy fabric in lots of places, but I found this combination at my local WalMart.  Hooray for the fabric department at WalMart.  They took it out of the old store, but I think there was enough feedback from the local customer base, that it must have had an impact, because when the new WalMart opened, they had a fabric department, and nicely stocked most of the time.
The only other items I completed at the retreat was 3 pillowcases.

  Now that I think about it, in September I did finish the quilt that my sister and I started in August when I was in North Carolina.  This looked like a pretty easy quilt to get done, but I couldn't get it to lay flat as I was trying to prepare it for quilting.  Ended up taking the middle seam out and reversing the ends before I could get it squared with minimal distortion.

I put a name for the quilt on the front, and I made another label for the back before I sent it to my sister.  She had kept the scraps from the jelly roll strips to piece together for the binding.  She says the finished quilt looks awesome.

It finally got cooled down a little so that we could consider installing the new storm door that we bought about 3 months ago.  It is the kind of job you really can't do in extreme heat, which a good part of our summer was.  Anyhow, I'm really really liking our new door.  I didn't remember to take a picture of the old storm door, that was really sadly looking like it needed to be replaced, but after we put in the new storm door, we just had to paint the inside door to go with the house trim.  The old door knocker had been painted over and was the same color as the door.  We have a new brass door knocker and the door looks so cool being red with that bright brass knocker.  Tomorrow we are going to buy a new brass door kicker plate.  Who would have thought one could get so excited over a new look for an old door?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Have a seat... and a tip to share

It has almost been a month since I picked up my new sewing machine... a Baby Lock Symphony.  I have been busy trying to find all the neat things this machine can do.  I first made a purse that turned out awesome... no picture at this time...  Camera battery is on the charger.  I have been doing some piecing and other quilting almost every day since I brought the machine home.  For right now I have this new toy set up on a table in the living room.  If I moved it into the sewing room, my husband would have to come looking for me too often.  Gotta have it out where I can play with it.  I will eventually move it to the sewing room, but for now I need to make a chair work for me in the living room.
My sewing room chair is really a good chair, but it doesn't do well on a carpet.  I decided to make a cushion set to make an ordinary chair actually be useful as a sewing chair. I used fabric I had in my stash, and I covered 20 buttons. I even had a pattern in my stash of patterns.  I thought the cushions dressed up the chair pretty nicely, and it really makes the chair quite comfortable.  I used alot of polyester fiberfill... no foam at all.

With my longarm and all the quilts that I do, I have lots of batting scraps.  If I have a small quilt and a batting scrap that is just a little short, I piece my batting.  Before I discovered I could do it on my sewing machine, I used to butt up the batting pieces and whip them together with a needle and thread.  
Even if you lengthen your zigzag stitch, a typical zigzag stitch just makes a bunched up line.  I discovered on my last sewing machine that I could piece my batting very successfully using a 3-step zigzag.  My new machine also has this really neat zigzag stitch.  Q-10 is the designation on my new machine for the proper zigzag. 
This stitch leaves the butted edges nice and flat.  I have separated the edges in the image to the right here to show how the batting is positioned.  Keeping the edges together as you guide the batting centered as it stitches.
It would have been easier to see if I had used a contrasting color thread in the image to the left, but this was a batting I was going to use.  You can see the joined seam of the batting if you know it is there, but once it is in the quilt, no one would know.  It doesn't get any easier than this.  If I had the time, I could piece alot more of my batting scraps and I could save alot more money.  I really like how this works on Warm 'n Natural, which is the first type of batting I tried this on, but I find it works just fine on other types of batting as well.
Last, but certainly not least....

My camera battery quit when I was in the middle of taking pictures of my Clothesline Quilt that I completed yesterday.
       Yeah... a quilt completed!!!
The backing on this quilt is really cool... a large 9-patch.  I had fun doing this quilt, but it was alot of work for a quilt that hasn't been designated for any particular purpose.  For now this quilt will join my finished quilt stack.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ruffles Anyone?

I thought I'd get adventurous with my last project.  I have seen a number of ruffled bags and decided it might be fun to make one.  Somehow I didn't think ruffles would look too good on my arm. That is when I decided to send a message to a couple of my grand-daughters.  I got an immediate response from one.  I have already finished her bag and sent it on its way. 

I just got word that another grand-daughter wants one.  Looks like I will have to document the pattern I created so that I won't forget.  I was thinking I might just make the one, and really didn't make as many notes as I should have.  I've made a number of bags over time, and most I have not used a pattern... but usually they are for me, and I only need one, so no need to create a pattern.  One good thing on this one... I took alot of pictures... it's the measurements I will have to figure out.  I showed the ladies at my quilting group, and a couple of the ladies wanted to know where to get the pattern... Guess I will have to create a tutorial, because I didn't use a pattern.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quilt show Friday

Friday was a fun day.  A few of my quilting buddies and I met at my house and we all got in my van and we went to New Braunfels to the semi-annual Quilt Show.  The show is big enough to fill a day, but small enough keep from being overwhelming.  My biggest purchase I will not pick up until September. I paid a deposit on a quilt kit that is themed on the Quilt Across Texas a statewide shop hop.  Now anyone that could get their card stamped at all of the 90 shops would accomplish quite a feat.  I would not even begin to think about trying it, but one of the shops involved is local for me and they have put together a quilt that looks awesome.  They cannot release the kit until September when the QAT ends.  I will be anxiously awaiting.

I have been to this show in New Braunfels before, and I have a favorite restaurant just down the street, so I lured my friends to lunch at the Huisache Grill and we all had a delicious lunch in an awesome atmosphere. This is probably one of my favorite restaurants and I know all the food is good, but I always order the same thing so I can have my "shrimp Louis" salad.  I have posted about the Huisache before.

The next show that I will be attending with my quilting friends is in Houston in November.  It is the BIG one.  I have limited stamina for being on my feet, so even though it is a mind-boggling experience... one day is just fine for me.  We are going on a bus that has been chartered by a local quilt shop.  There are seven in our group and this is the second time we will be doing this.  There are a couple different ladies going this time, so I had to get some more bags labeled with their names.  These backpacks help us to be hands-free as we walk the floor of the show, and the yellow color helps us to stand out in the crowd so we can spot each other at a distance.  There are literally thousands of people at this show, so anything to help find a comrade is helpful.  We did it last time and it worked nicely.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Clothesline update

This clothesline quilt is taking a fair amount of time.  It isn't hard to do, but it does require me to be pretty precise with stitching. and cutting if I want everything to go together nicely. 

This is the first row of the three needed to complete the piecing. Once the other two rows are done, adding the sashing and the outside borders will be a piece of cake.  The backing and binding have already been cut from the original nine 3/4 yard cuts, so no decision will have to be made regarding what to use for the backing.  The binding is pieced from the 9 fabrics also.

This quilt has an unknown origination.  At our church quilt group we have lots of people that bring in a box to donate to our stash, and in these boxes there are remnants from a mother's or grandmother's sewing room.  In the boxes we sometimes find pieces of  fabric, thread, notions, patterns, blocks and partially pieced blocks, or as in this case... a quilt top that was partially put together.  This quilt top had all the pieces, I just had to make some adjustments and finish the top.  The fabric I brought home to use for the backing wasn't enough, so I pieced the backing and I really like how it turned out. I  quite often intentionally piece the backing because I think it gives the quilt a little more character. This quilt will be a gift to a new baby at our church from the quilting ladies.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vermont in June

It surely is a long drive to get to Vermont from here.  There really are no shortcuts, it is just a long long way away.  Our first day in Vermont was beautiful.  The weather was favorable and five of my grandchildren were able to join us on the island.  I think all five really enjoyed the boats and the water in general.  All, except for little Benj, took a turn at paddling around in the one man kayak.  Even I paddled around a bit.

Have you ever seen a sunset over Lake Champlain?  It is quite an experience to view.  This picture hardly does it justice.

Now on the homefront I needed to find a project that I could work on in the living room while we are watching TV in the evening.  I like to have something to keep my hands busy.  I found a pattern a while back for a quilt called a Clothes Line quilt that I found online after doing a search.

 What makes this quilt different than the average is how the pieces are organized.  There are 9 groups of 9 - 9 patches.  After cutting 9 strips from 9 fabrics, there are organizer cards that mix up the layout so that no two blocks are the same in each subset (large block).  Each stripset makes 9 identical blocks, and these smaller blocks are then mixed up for the big blocks.

This project is spread around in space available in the living room.  I have a table set in front of the window which gives me lots of light during the daytime, but my lighting is not so great in the evening.  I don't want to make my corner too bright to over power the TV.  Husband doesn't complain about the noise, so I don't want to infringe on his TV any more than necessary.

I have not been real good about posting lately.  It seems that alot has been going on.  I will make an effort to post my progress on this project so what I have described so far will make more sense.