Thursday, July 28, 2016

Still Kicking Plus a Scrappy Trips Quilt

It has been a long time since I blogged....seems like forever.  I've had some health issues that have caused me to make several changes.  Don't worry, I won't bore you with the details. :) :)  I just wanted to give you an explanation (although simple) as to why you've not heard from me in awhile.  I've given up my part-time job at the local quilt shop and now stay home all the time.  I've continued quilting over the past months, just at a slower pace.  Slow and steady wins the race...right?  :) :)

Here is what I've been working on lately.  In an attempt to clean out a few scrap 2 1/2" strips, I decided to work on a Scrappy Trips quilt using Bonnie Hunter's free pattern from her Quiltville.com website.  

Using her method, each block ends up being 12 1/2" unfinished.  That means I only needed to make 64 blocks total to end up with a 96" x 96" quilt (requiring NO borders).

Because I was TRULY going all SCRAPPY....another thing I decided to do was to assemble my quilt top in fourths.  So whenever I had finished piecing 16 different blocks, I then pieced them together into a 48 1/2" x 48 1/2" unfinished quarter section.


This started out as a "work on it as I feel like it in between other projects" item.

Before I knew it, I had another 16 blocks completed.....TA DA.....the top half is complete.  96 1/2" wide x 48 1/2" long.

Next, the lower half of the quilt.  I'm not sure how it happened, but this time I had completed 32 blocks and laid them out to see what it would look like.

Scrappy LOVE!  (Please ignore the mess surrounding the quilt top!)

Just another angle....

Instead of folding it up and putting it away to finish the quilting, etc., at a later date.  THIS time I decided to just throw it on the long arm frame immediately and "get her done". :)

As of this blog post, I'm got over half of it quilted.  To take it easy on my hips and knees, I'm only quilting a couple of rows across each day....so it will take a few days to complete. :)

When I took a break from blogging months ago, you may recall I was in the middle of much needed remodeling, etc.  We still are no where near finished....but we're closer than we were!!!!!

We decided to remodel my daughter Emily's old bedroom and make it our temporary master bedroom.  Our home was built in the early 80's, a split-level design, with very small windows that don't allow enough sunlight into ANY room of the house.  As you can see, I chose a paint color called "Butter Up" for the walls.  The old, yukky hunter green carpet was removed and new flooring was put in it's place.  A new ceiling fan took the place of an ugly light fixture.  Now the room makes me smile.  I still need to decorate, hang things on the walls, etc., but I move slow...it will happen.


I'm thinking about hanging my Bordered Periwinkle lap quilt over the bed.  The photo below was taken when it was hanging as a sample in the quilt shop.

Before closing this post, I thought I'd share with you an idea for a meal I experimented with a few days ago.  It has been so hot lately, and I hate heating up the kitchen.  I try to use my slow cooker as often as I can.

This time I had some thick cut boneless pork chops.  I sprayed the crock pot with PAM, then placed the pork chops flat on the bottom.  No water was added, just sprinkled seasonings that our family enjoys on top.

Next I wrapped a few potatoes in aluminum foil and laid on top of the pork chops.  Half of us likes white potatoes and the other half prefers sweet potatoes.  Doing this allows me to fix both varieties.

Then I wrapped a few fresh ears of corn in aluminum foil and placed them on top of the potatoes.

I cooked everything on high for 6 hours.  It worked beautifully!  Everything was DELICIOUS!  This will be something I do frequently when it is just Ray and I for dinner (since Kirsten will be leaving for college in 3 weeks).

It's felt good to sit down and type out this blog post.  I've missed doing it.  Hope you enjoyed it and I hope you welcome me and my life adventures back into your lives.

Take care!


Monday, February 8, 2016

Cleaning Chaos and Valentine Fun

Man, oh man have I been a busy little bee!  As you can see below, I was able to get the Giraffe Baby quilt top pieced together that I first shared with you in a previous post.  I'm working on the instructions and will post them for you very soon! 


Along with sewing, etc., I've been spending a portion of each day trying to clean out, get rid of (through donations to a local ministry) and rearrange my house.  With my not so cooperative hip and back, progress is SLOW at best....but I keep plugging away.  Let's face it...no one else is going to do it! :) :) :)

My dear hubby has finished painting one of our daughter's old bedrooms and is currently installing a new ceiling fan.  With the help of adult children, all of the old carpet was pulled up and removed from the room last week.  New flooring was purchased Saturday (to match what we are slowly but surely putting throughout the house) and Ray will begin installation of the new floor one day this week (I HOPE!)

We intend to move our master bedroom into the bedroom we are now remodeling.  It is a much smaller room but plenty big enough to put a queen size bed and basic furniture.  We plan to switch rooms and convert our larger master bedroom into a combination longarm quilting/sewing room.  For the past couple of years my Handiquilter Avante' has taken up my entire front living room and I'm hoping to turn that space BACK into a living room.  There are other plans, changing of rooms, etc., in the grand plan but let's face it.....change doesn't happen very quickly around here so I will just wait and fill you in AS something actually gets done! ha ha ha ha

While sorting through some of my stash aka "black hole of anything fabric/craft related", I came across a new set of khaki potholders.  Hummmmm.....what could I do with them to go ahead and move them out of the house?   I think I'll embroider some cute Valentine designs on them and mail them off to family members.

Here's a close up of one that I quickly embroidered to send to my younger brother to give to his "friend that's a girl" that isn't a "girlfriend" but I think SHE wouldn't mind being his "girlfriend".  It's so much fun being the big sister who enjoys sticking her nose in her baby brother's life!  Just in case you are wondering....she has a thing for honeybees.  Isn't this just perfect then?

This next one I made to send to my 5 year old grandson to give to his mother (my oldest daughter) for Valentines.  Liam LOVES penguins and this design is actually named "Penguins Wearing Valentine Pajamas!"  I kid you not!!!  If you look closely, you will see the tiny little cupid/angels in white robes, with tiny black bows and arrows that are even tinier, little lavender hearts!  Again...the perfect design!!

As I continued cleaning and sorting, I came across my stack of leftover pieces/strips of cotton batting from past quilts.  It's too expensive to toss....especially when there are smaller projects I will need it for at some time or another.  For now, I looked at the rather large stack and decided to make use of as much as I possibly can now before I have to come up with an orderly way to save such a large quantity of oddly shaped pieces.

Why not use some of it to make more fabric books?  The book below is one of my more recent purchases.....

This book panel has been around in my stash for a year or so....time to get it made!

This book panel I've had for at least five years!  It is so adorable, I'm now wishing I had purchased more when I had the chance!!

I came to a couple of wider, left over pieces of batting so I decided to piece them together to make batting large enough to quilt some smaller quilt tops I have laying around and need to finish.....zig zag stitching my way to a huge financial savings! 

I was able to piece together enough larger chunks of batting to quilt a couple of baby quilts.  Does this picture ring any bells?  I'll show you the finished project soon!

I'm feeling pretty good about cleaning/sorting my house and still yet finishing up some needed projects.

What have YOU been up to this past week or so?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Giraffes, Babies, Smiling Faces and Birthdays

My goodness!  Tons of things can happen in a short amount of time!

My niece on my hubby's side of the family just announced that she and her husband are expecting their first child in August.  How EXCITING!  When they got married, their ceremony was performed at the Pittsburgh Zoo in front of the Giraffe exhibit.  She LOVES Giraffes, what can I say?!?!

Of course, once I heard the baby news, my brain started twirling with ideas of all the adorable things I can make with Giraffes as the main theme.  She hasn't exactly said she plans to decorate with Giraffes, but oh well....that's what I want to make. hahaha

In my most recent Quiltmaker Magazine, there happens to be a precious pieced quilt with a family of three giraffes as the focal center.  It truly is precious but once I started trying to match my fabric stash with the fabrics and amounts needed for that pattern, unfortunately it quickly become obvious that I really didn't have the right colors and types of fabrics required to make it. 

Never fear, I will just design my own!  Gotta love quilt design software!  EQ7 is so fun to play around with and I'm just as pleased with my results as I am with the adorable quilt in the magazine.

Rather than a family of three giraffes as the focal point, this quilt will spotlight one baby giraffe.  Within the software there was already a quilt block with a giraffe.  Why not enlarge the squares and triangles so that instead of creating a 12" quilt block, we could just "biggie size" the block and create an entire quilt center using one quilt "monster sized block".  Sounds good to me!

The colors in the example below are just something for me to go by as I search through my stash.  I know for a fact that I have at least 4 FQ's (fat quarters) that I purchased during one of my trips home to Tennessee that reminds me of giraffe skin somewhat in deep orange/gold tones.  I plan to find those FQ's and that will be what I use to coordinate other oranges, browns, etc., from my stash to complete what is needed for this quilt top.  Along with needing some pretty blues for the background/sky and some scrappy green selections for the leaves, for the most part I should be able to shop my stash for the majority of what will be needed.  I can't wait to get started.  The design is straight forward enough that I'm sure you can probably make your own pattern based solely on the diagram below, but once I get ready to start and begin piecing the top together, I will share the true pattern with you that will include fabric amounts required, etc.

Prior to my nieces announcement, I had treated myself and ordered a new Baby Quilt pattern book from connectingthreads.com while they were having a sale of 40% off all books.  I've had my eye on this book ever since reading a review on it when it was first released several months ago.  It has 20 unique and fun looking patterns/themes and I was especially intrigued with the fact each pattern was designed to use a handful of FQ's.  FQ's and fabric stashes go together hand and hand so I thought they would be perfect patterns for someone trying to buy as little new fabric as possible this year.  Plus, there are babies popping up everywhere!  My cousin just gave birth six weeks ago, and there are several co-workers of a couple of my daughters who are expecting and the girls have asked me to make some quilts for them to give as gifts.

In my previous blog post, I shared the pillowcase and soft fabric baby book I had made for my cousin's new baby boy and his older brother.  The gifts were mailed the end of last week and arrived in Virginia two days ago!  The gifts were a huge hit.  Just look at the smile on Lane's face.  He really appears to be happy with his new pillowcase!

Baby Levi seems to be as happy as any 6 week old baby would be with his new book and the smile is still on Lane's face for this pose!  I'm SO glad I thought to make him the pillowcase at the last minute!  It's such a good feeling to know you did something right! :) :)

One gift that I had NOT shared on the blog yet was something I was making for my mom's birthday.  I couldn't share it earlier because she follows the blog and would have seen her gift before I could get it mailed to her in Tennessee.  Her birthday was January 8th (same day as Elvis, but not the same year as his birth!).  I was a tad bit late getting it finished and sent to her but it was mailed the end of last week also and she received it earlier this week.

I decided to embroider a fleece jacket for her after the one I made for my granddaughter was such a hit last month.  Mom has been a seamstress her entire life and when I spotted these coordinating, sewing themed embroidery designs, I knew they would be perfect for her.

Here is the back of the jacket.....

And this was embroidered on the front, down the right side of the jacket....

Mom did take a couple of "selfies" of her wearing the jacket and sent them to me but I know she would wring my neck if I shared them on this blog for the world to see!  I'm very proud to say that she loves her jacket and it arrived at the perfect time since there is a huge winter storm hitting their area of Tennessee right now!

On a different subject, I thought you may like to see the progress slowly being made in my dining room.  Dear Hubby finished cutting in the new paint and I am now finally able to start putting the room back together and do some new decorating.  I still need to purchase some new outlet covers, but overall this room is slowly coming together.  I also plan to hang a wall hanging sized quilt to the right of the display hutch.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.  I have the quilt but need to get the correct sized hanger.

Well, I think I've caught you up on most things.  I do have a few more things to share but will wait and do that in the next post.  It's past my bedtime and my eyes are getting very heavy.

Take care and stay warm....especially if you live in an area that will be hit by this winter storm coming up the East coast.

Until next time!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Quick Gifts for Baby and Big Brother

Just wanted to share with you these two quick, easy yet adorable gifts I just made. 

One of my cousins gave birth last month to her second little boy, Levi.  I made this fabric soft book to send to him.....


Big brother Lane just turned 5 years old.  I purchased just enough fabric from two coordinating pieces from the same collection as the book to make a standard sized pillow case.  Didn't it turn out just precious?!!?

My goal this year is to have fun and shop from my stash of fabric for projects....but my stash doesn't really have many cute, novelty, little boy fabrics choices.  For these two gifts I did have to shop my local fabric store...and I had a lot of fun doing it! :) :) :) 

I realize that every tutorial or set of directions for making pillowcases will call for different amounts of fabric.  Personally, I use 27 inches (or 3/4 yds) of the main focal fabric (big trucks in photo) for the body of the pillowcase.  For the contrast band (solid red in the photo) I use whatever WOF (Width Of Fabric) scrap strip of fabric I find in my stash....more often than not I use a 2 1/2 inch wide strip (sometimes 3 inches).  For the edge band, I use a 9 inch (or 1/4 yd) piece (small tools on bright green background in photo).


This fabric collection is called "From The Ground Up" by Wilmington Prints.

Now I just need to get these two cuties packaged and mailed.

What is under your needle today?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Few Embroidery Projects for a Change

Just thought I'd take a few minutes and share some of the recent projects I made with my embroidery machine.  I've not done any embroidery in quite some time but decided to reacquaint myself and knock out a few gifts at the same time. 

Each of the designs used in the following projects were all obtained through the online shop at www.emblibrary.com 

I must say that I'm very impressed with the quality of designs at this online shop.  They stitch out beautifully and the stitch density, etc., is perfect.  They have weekly sales that make their designs truly affordable, even to super frugal shoppers like myself.

The tote below was made for my boss at our local quilt/fabric shop....


This tote was made for my friend and co-worker Carolyn.....


These monogrammed hand towels were requested by one of my daughters.....


I stumbled upon this precious embroidery design of a clarinet.  My granddaughter plays clarinet in her middle school band.  I purchased a pre-made fleece jacket and put the design on the back.  The actual design had a large red bow wrapped around the bottom end of the clarinet and was considered a Christmas design.  After everything had stitched out, leaving the bow as the last item to embroider, I decided to leave it off in the hopes she would like to wear it more often than just at Christmas.


Close-up.....


Surprise, Surprise!!!!  She actually loves it!  My daughter sent this photo of Abbi modeling it and I guess my youngest grandson Liam approved of it as well.


I'm still having fun in my sewing room and will share an update soon!

Until next time!

Monday, January 4, 2016

FUN Is My Word for 2016

Have you noticed that people have slowed down on making New Year's Resolutions, but instead everyone now chooses a "WORD" that will be their theme for a particular year?

The reason I didn't write this blog post on January 1st is simply because I had not come up with my "WORD" yet. :)  I knew I wanted to see lots of changes in 2016....much less stress....more doing what makes me happy rather than what I feel obligated to do (then isn't appreciated by the ones I did it for to begin with)....more smiles and less frustration, etc., etc.

While texting last night with my quilting buddy Ethel (in real life known as Marianne), we both decided that for the year 2016, our "WORD" will be "FUN"!!!! 


I intend to have "FUN" playing with my fabric stash this year and seeing just how much I can make using it!  I refuse to feel obligated to buy new fabrics to make others happy - they can like what I make using MY fabrics that I bought at bargain prices - or not, it's their choice. :) :) :)  (And by the way....I'm not referring to any friends or family members when I made the previous statement!)  I look forward to the challenge of buying what is needed to finish a project (IF anything is needed that is) and even if I splurge once in a blue moon, it will be because I find something irresistible that I want to add to my stash, not because I'm expected to use certain fabrics!  I'm thankful and blessed to have the stash I have....and I'm going to have FUN playing in it this coming year!

***Plus, my new attitude is a great one to have at this point in life since my youngest daughter will be starting college this fall!! :) :)

Although I'm not making 2016 Resolutions, I couldn't resist sharing this hilarious item with you that I saw on the internet this week.....it's SO me!!!!!!
 
Over the long New Year's weekend, two of my daughters decided they would start painting my dining area.  My dear hubby was away visiting his parents in PA for a couple of days so it was perfect timing.  We've ONLY lived in this house 8 years, and the house has ONLY needed to be repainted since the day we moved in. :)  The only way I can describe the d├ęcor of the previous owners is "tacky 1980's" and their favorite technique must have been "sponge-painting".  The previous owners also enjoyed painting every single piece of wood trim work some dark, hard to cover, hideous color.  In the living room, dining, kitchen, hallway and den....their color of choice was Robin's Egg blue.  This is also the color of my kitchen cabinets that no one wants to tackle....yet, anyways.  Even with primer, it took 4 to 5 coats of white paint to cover the ugly blue woodwork.  THANKS girls!!!!


I'm only 4 ft. 11 inches tall so I don't really concentrate on the ceiling or other high things, but once the trim work started brightening the room up, we realized that the ceiling needed fresh paint as well!  (I'm also very thankful that all of my daughters are much taller than me!)


Now to add some up-to-date color to the walls!  OOOOOOoooooooo, I'm really liking this!!!!  Dear hubby is great with the cutting in work and my girls were pretty tired at this point....so this is still how my kitchen looks until hubby does his thing.  He is usually pretty good about finishing up a project like this (when someone else initiates and does most of the hard work for him in advance). :)


While the girls worked in the dining area, and because I didn't want to open my mouth and upset anyone with any critiques, etc., due to my perfectionist tendencies, I retreated and hid in my sewing room.  It's taken me a few years, but I've finally learned to keep my mouth shut when others are doing something for you that you can't do for yourself.  I've learned to take what I get and be thankful! :) :) :)

I needed to work on something that only required half a brain (since one half of my brain was thinking about what was going on in the dining room).  I pulled out my container of dark colored
2 1/2" strips and also the lighter 2 1/2" strips and decided to work on putting together a Scrappy Trips Around The World using Bonnie Hunter's free pattern

When I make just two more blocks I'll have 1/4 of what I will need to make a 96" x 96" quilt!  Not bad for "half-brain" sewing day projects!!!!  (Plus it is a very fun pattern to make!)

As my Leader/Ender project, using the cast away pieces from above, I'm making the Scrappy Dresden Plates.  I'm not sure what I intend to do with them but I think they are just adorable and they are very addictive!  I can't seem to stop wanting to make them.


Another happy thing happened....I used up another spool of thread!!!!  My friend Ethel (Marianne) said, "Isn't it funny that when we run out of most things we're bummed but for some reason running out of thread seems exciting?"  She is SO RIGHT!  The only thing I could come up with is that when we use up thread, it is our proof that we have been working hard and getting quite a bit accomplished!!!!

So now you know what I've been up to lately.  Have you chosen a word for 2016?  Do you want to jump in the boat with me and Ethel and strive to have more FUN in 2016?  You certainly are welcome to do so!!!!  The more the merrier!

Until next time.....have some FUN in your sewing spaces!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Needed a Blue Christmas Table Runner and other things

One of our daughters recently moved back home.  We renovated and remodeled our downstairs into an apartment for her (everything except a kitchen for now).  Just a few short weeks ago there was nothing but studs and concrete floors. A ton of work has been accomplished and there is still lots to do but it is liveable and she moved in two weeks ago.

She asked for a Christmas Table Runner but everything in my stash was traditional colors and they wouldn't work for her decor. While at work this week, I spotted one of our newer Stonehenge fabric lines and decided to make a super easy 10 minute table runner. I purchased 1/3 yard of the center focal fabric and 1/2 yard of the contrast fabric. I've made so many of these table runners that I can really make it in 10 minutes. Haha

She loved it and it is the perfect colors for her new apartment.  If you need a reminder on how to make these, click this link to read a previous post with tutorial.




After completing the table runner, I was still in the mood to experiment with some new projects I've been wanting to try....

The fabric "box".  This was very easy and turned out super cute. I can think of several uses for this project.  If you would like to give it a try, this is the video tutorial I watched by the Crafty Gemini.  

Not sure what got into me, but I'm on a roll now.  Next I experimented and made these precious, super easy Christmas ornaments.  I used scrap fabric first just to make sure I could make them before using my good Christmas fabric.  If you want to give them a whirl, here is the link to the video tutorial I watched.
Back of ornament......
The video tutorial suggests you use a pot lid as a template for the circle. Just thought I'd share that a large Folger's coffee lid works great as well. :)


I'm planning to make some Christmas bed pillowcases but thought I'd go ahead and share with you the ones I made for my grandchildren this past Halloween.

If you haven't made these yet you ought to try one. Click this link to view one of the several video tutorials available online.

My silly grandchildren with their pillowcases....


Even teenage boys like it when grandma makes them something....

My goodness, I really accomplished quite a bit in one day.  Sometimes I impress myself. :)

You still have time to make these simple projects before Christmas.

Until next time.....get busy!!