Wednesday, August 24, 2016

College Days and Quilt Project Updates

Quilting was put on hold last week as I was knee deep in preparing to take our youngest child, our baby girl to college 11 hours away from home.  Not only are we officially empty nesters now but I am now retired from 20 years of being a homeschool mom! It feels really strange to NOT order curriculum or complete required legal papers to homeschool in this state.  After 20 years I am excited to end this career but I'm not so excited to have an empty house!  Oh well, I AM excited to watch my daughter spread her wings and fly.

Packing up.....what to take?

Believe it or not, she did not want me to make her a college quilt!  Oh my heart!! Instead she wanted to take her Bat man comforter that has been on her bed a couple of years.  She did take a lap quilt that I made for her about 6 years ago.  She loves her familiar and well loved possessions more than new things.

The only item she wanted me to make was a set of microwaveable  potholders using superhero fabric.

Once I gave her the set, she then sweetly asked if she could also take two of our red soup bowls with her to college.  Of course she can!!!!!!!

Not only will my home be minus any children now but I no longer have a vehicle of my own.  We gave my Ford Escape to Kirsten to take to college.  So now I'm stuck in this empty house all day.  We almost forgot to put her new parking sticker on the back before heading off on that very long road trip.

This was taken the morning she left....arms loaded with last minute items.

I rode with Kirsten to keep her company and let dear hubby drive by himself in the Jeep.

Ready to say goodbye.  I had strict orders from Kirsten that I was not allowed to cry in front of her.  I held it together.

Watching her walk back to her dorm, alone, in the rain......

During our trip we were able to visit and spend an evening with our grandchildren before moving Kirsten into her dorm.

We drove back home on Saturday.  Since then I've been cleaning and sewing a little. Got the last strip pieced to the top of the 42 Halloween quilt top.

Since we are in the middle of home updates and remodeling, my design wall can not be reached at the moment so back to using the floor to lay out all the blocks.

A few adjustments and now we have this.....

That's my progress update this far.  Tomorrow I hope to start putting the top together....after a little more cleaning.

Hope you have a wonderful and productive day!

Until next time!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Steady Progress on Intersection T Block

As always, I'm working on two projects at once.  The main project is the first of three (I hope),  Halloween themed quilts. In my last post the pieces were all cut from the layer cake (10" squares) and the solid color jelly roll (2 1/2" WOF strips) to start the Intersection T Quilt design by Missouri Star Quilt Company.

To begin I  sewed 42 strips of solid to 42 larger rectangle cuts from the layer cake collection.  Gotta love chain piecing.

All 42 sewn sections pooled together on the floor.....

Press the seams towards the solid strip......

Next, sew these 42 sections to a smaller sized rectangle from the layer cake collection.

Another pool from chain piecing has formed on the floor....

Once again, press seam toward the solid strip......

At this point my hips were telling me I had sewed long enough for the day.  Time to stand up and do something else.

Remember the Scrappy Trips quilt that was finished with the long arm quilting part?

All trimmed, squared, and draped over the long arm....

This thing is huge and requires approximately 400" of binding.  I looked for fabric to make the binding but wasn't thrilled with anything I was finding in my stash.  Then I thought about doing a scrappy binding.  Why not?  I pulled  10 different 2 1/2" x WOF strips from my box....

Sat back down at the sewing machine just long enough to sew all these strips together end to end.  Then took that mile long continuous strip to the ironing board and pressed it double....

I'm really loving this scrappy binding. :)  Now I will need to sew the binding to the quilt to finish it....but that won't happen for a few days at least!

On a side note, I've been crocheting some during the nights I hurt too bad to lay in bed and sleep.

I've been making 100% cotton dish cloths recently to use as future gifts.  I gave two as a birthday gift just last week.  My daughter Amanda (who is claiming this Scrappy Trips quilt) spotted one of the dish cloths recently made and realized it matches the quilt backing perfectly.  Plus, the yellow will look nice with her butter yellow bedroom walls.  Guess who claimed the dish cloth?  She plans to use it as a doily on her bedside table once the quilt is on her bed. Haha

Well, now you know what I've been up to recently?  What's keeping you busy?  I'd love to know!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Thinking October in August

As you can see, I'm almost finished with the quilting of the Scrappy Trips quilt which means I can start on my next project guilt-free.  Another couple of rows and I will be able to trim it up and apply the binding.

A year ago, or was it two(?), I saw this Halloween collection  called "Witch Hazel" by Riley Blake.  I thought it was so adorably cute with a vintage vibe.  Feeling confident that my three youngest daughters would enjoy a quilt to display during the month of October, I purchased three layer cakes.

Just look at the great color combination and precious prints.....

I would like to use three different patterns so all the quilts will be different, yet similar.  I also prefer not to cut these adorable prints into teeny, tiny pieces so I'm searching for patterns allowing large pieces.

For the first quilt, I've decided to make "Intersection T Block" by Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Watch the video tutorial HERE.

In addition to needing a layer cake with 42 - 10" squares, the design also calls for a total of 33 - 2 1/2" WOF strips of a neutral/solid.

This may be hard to believe but it's the my stash I found an opened, partially used jelly roll of a Kona solid called Ash.  I counted the strips and found 33....exactly what I need to make this quilt.

Cutting the required pieces was very easy and didn't take much time.  As far as the layer cake goes, only one cut is needed on each piece.

It didn't take long before the entire 42 squares were cut.

For the jelly roll, we just need two lengths for each block and the remaining strips will be an inner border.

All cut and ready to begin sewing....

Physically, I can't stand or sit and do one certain thing non-stop, I must take breaks and do other things.  During my breaks from quilting and cutting I've been cleaning out my clothes closet and FINALLY getting rid of things that no longer fit.  Let's face it, if I ever truly lose any weight it will be so far into the future that my clothes will not be in style. Plus I will deserve some new clothes if and when I actually drop any sizes.

Am I the only person who puts off cleaning out closets for as long as possible? ;)

Let the purging begin!!!!!  Success!!!  A basket full of emptied hangers....

Bags filled and ready to donate to a local ministry that will sell them and use the funds made to feed families in the local county where we live.

After so much work I didn't have energy enough to do anything more except get my sewing machine ready to start on the new quilt.  I'm using one of my vintage machines.  It requires a Class 66 bobbin and only came with one bobbin when I got it.  At this point, it's the only machine I own that uses a Class 66 bobbin.  I bought a package since you always need more than one bobbin.

But strangely enough, the new 66's are not identical to the vintage 66 bobbin.  They won't fit. :/

 Thank goodness for friends who collect vintage machines.  After hearing about my dilemma, my good friend Marianne is sharing a few vintage Class 66 bobbins with me.  Friends are wonderful!!!!!

Well,  I better get busy.  What are you working on now?  Are any of you starting any "holiday specific" projects?

Until next time!

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 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 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 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 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?