Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Just Because Gifts

Before I get started on today's true post let me update you by saying the Panic Quilt (1st Anniversary signature quilt) was a huge hit.  I simply had the couple unwrap the quilt top center as it was (without borders, etc.) and told them that they had the option of having me finish it as a lap quilt or a bed size quilt....totally their decision.  They are thinking about it currently but I believe that are leaning towards a lap quilt.  I'll keep you posted and share a photo of the finished project once their decision is made and I get going on it again.

Now, back to today's post.  Do you find yourselves at times just wanting to make someone a gift "just because"....it could be just a simple gift that will let the other person know that you are thinking of them?

That's just what I did.  I wanted to let my college daughter know that I think about her on a day to day basis.  She loves lots of things....and one of those things is Scooby Dooby Doo!!!!!!!  As a young child she would sit for hours and watch back to back episodes of this cartoon and to this day will still do that! 

Camelot Fabrics came out with an adorable Scooby line and I've been looking for it for ages.  My local fabric shop does not carry novelty fabrics...at least very rarely will they and Scooby was certainly not in their stock.  The only other fabric shop in our area that is known to carry lots of novelty fabrics did not care this line either.  I KNOW I'm trying not to spend money on fabrics etc., but I did say that I wasn't buying stuff unless it was special and was needed!! :) :) :)  This is special and it was needed!  hahahaha

I ordered 1 yard of this precious piece......

I didn't want to leave out my daughter's room mate so I searched for something extra special for Delaney.  She is a long distance, marathon runner and religiously gets up every single morning and runs a few miles (while my daughter continues to get her beauty sleep!)  I searched for fabrics having anything to do with "runners".  I came across this fabric that was PERFECT by Timeless Treasures but it is no longer printed.  As a last resort I search on Ebay and was able to buy 1 yard of this wonderful piece.......

Simple and quick was on my mind....something I could whip up and put in the mail.  PILLOWCASES!!!!!  I was able to find fabrics within my stash to coordinate with the focal fabrics.

Pillowcases are so fun to make....I love the "roll" part, then pulling it out one end then sewing the sides together.

Nicely folded and ready to mail to the two college girls.....

Before I was able to mail them off, my daughter was telling me one evening over the phone that she had pulled out her "Marvel Comics" microwaveable bowl holders and made Ramen noodles for a few of her friends the night before....when they were all starving but the cafeteria had already closed for the night.  She told me how "cool" her friends thought they were, especially when she told them her mom had made them. :) :)

You can probably guess what happened next, I pulled out the leftover runner fabric and made Delaney a set of two bowl holders to go with her pillowcase....my tutorial can be found HERE.

The next day I stuffed a medium flat rate box with these little gifts, along with chapstick, lotion, chewing gum, granola bars and microwavable popcorn.  I made sure to get my moneys worth out of that flat rate price!  The box was filled to the brim!!!! 

While I was still in the "just because" gift making mood, one of my other daughters had recently told me that she really needed a fall table runner for her coffee table.

I've been wanting to use one of my new Accuquilt Go dies, the Kite block die.  Ideas were brewing in my head.  The focal fabric I found in my stash (a burgundy background with greens, salmons, creams, golds, etc.) was the leftovers from when I pieced a backing for a dear friend's lap quilt about six years ago.  The neutral beige fabric from my stash was leftovers from another quilt backing.

Using the Accuquilt Go, I had all the pieces to make 32 - 4 1/2" unfinished blocks cut in less than an hour and ready to sew.  The pieces are all notched and go together beautifully.  It was so relaxing to sit and chain sew.....

I quickly had the table topper assembled and ready to quilt.  It would take too much time (in my opinion) to load such a small project onto the long arm to quilt so I decided to use one of my domestic machines to do the quilting.  I truly enjoy my Pfaff with the built in IDT system (Integrated Dual Transportation)....simply put....the built in walking foot.

When I pulled out my Pfaff machine, I decided to experiment with this new (to me) vintage sewing cabinet that I bought from a friend for $25.00 ....  YES....only $25.00!!!!!!!!!  Unlike vintage sewing cabinets where you must screw in the sewing machine, this is just a drop in with a hole cut out of the top.  The Pfaff fit perfectly (the only problem will be if I need to put in a new bobbin.  When that happens I will have to lift the machine up and set it on the front, change bobbins, then move it back in place.)  This was a small project, so I wasn't worried about the bobbin running out.  I was just SUPER THRILLED with having a flat, large surface to quilt on.  As you can see from the photo...the storage is remarkable inside the cabinet as well. I'll have to show you a picture of it all closed up and tidy on another day because I forgot to take a picture earlier.  :)

Just because I was experimenting....look how beautifully a Singer Featherweight fits in the same cut out!!!!!  I did place a small children's book underneath which raised the Featherweight to the perfect height to sit even with the cabinet.  The BEST $25.00 I've ever spent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to the quilting....just 1/4" seam outlining the dominant shapes....

Quilting is finished....now the binding.....

It's taken me long enough but I think I've just about mastered the machine binding technique.  Again, using the PFAFF with built in walking foot, along with a bi-level pressure foot, allows perfect machine binding......

Ta Da........

Although my daughter only requested a table runner for her living room, I remembered two fall themed machine embroidery pieces I had made last year (too late in the year to complete and use as decorations last fall).  I had JUST enough of the focal fabric to turn these two embroidery pieces into pillows for her sofa! 

I'm feeling happy inside.  Not only was I able to make some cute little gifts "just because", but I was also able to use up yet more of my stash and get it out of here. :)

Happy quilting!  Strive to put a smile on someone else's face today!  By doing so, you will find a big smile settled on your own face!! :) :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trained Husbands

I just have to share this little tidbit of a day in our life.

I asked my husband to stop at a new furniture consignment shop that was advertising a set of six dining room chairs  at a very low price.  Let's just say that over the last "almost 28 years" of  our marriage our everyday dining chairs have dwindled in number and are currently mismatched.

When he came home I could tell he was carrying something....as he came into view it was evident he wasn't bringing me new chairs.  He said I wouldn't have been happy with the chairs as they were not in good shape.  Then he explained that as he was walking through the store to leave, he spotted something.

A Singer 401A....


And a Singer 237 Fashionmate


He got them both for a total of $35.00. Haha

Oh well, I may not be able to sit and eat one day but I have two more vintage machines that I really didn't need this week.

Gotta love him!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Quilt Top Center and Porkchops

Wow!  It took longer than anticipated to get all the blocks pressed and then pieced together.  Finally I can say the center portion is complete!


The Anniversay deadline is this weekend.  Obviously this quilt will not be completely finished in time to present to the couple.....so.....I've now decided to allow them some input concerning size.  Had I been able to piece, quilt and bind it in time, I would have made it a lap size.  Now I will simply ask them what they prefer. Lap size or bed size.  So now I will put this center section in a gift bag, let them open and see it, then tell them to hand it back over so I can finish it. :)

This about sums up how I've been feeling lately.

Now that Ray and I have an empty nest, I'm having to rethink the way I cook and plan our meals.

I bought two thick, bone in pork chops and couldn't figure out what to do with them. When all else fails, use Google!  I found this simple recipe for a rub to use.  They were delicious, tender and moist.  Truly yummy!

EASY BONE-IN PORK CHOPS FOR TWO

2 thick cut, bone in pork chops
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Rinse porkchops, pat dry.

Line a baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with Pam.

Mix the salt, pepper and brown sugar together. Rub really good on both sides of each pork chop.

Bake 15 minutes, turn pork chops over and bake another 15 - 20 minutes until cooked through and juices run clear.

Let pork chops rest  5 minutes before serving.

As you can see from the picture, I served the pork chops with a Caesar Salad and loaded mashed potatoes.

Ray was extremely complimentary of the entire meal.  

Until next time!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Update, College and Recipe

The updates for days 4, 5, and 6 concerning the panic quilt is not much to brag about. I purposely have been taking it easy because unfortunately, sitting at the sewing machine doesn't make my bad hip, knee and foot feel great.

I think I've decided to stop at 25 blocks rather than the original plan for 30.  All of the blocks are pieced at this point but they still need to be pressed before putting it all together.

I thought you may like to know how my daughter is doing in college.  She LOVES it! My family and friends find it hard to believe that I've not shed the first tear since leaving her at college 12 hours away. The truth is, how can I cry when she is so happy! Of course I miss her like crazy and its very lonely in the house all day with her away....BUT....she's having the time of her life and I'm thrilled for her to experience life and spread her wings and fly!

She loves photography and has assignments requiring her to take pictures. She and her new classmates have found a local scenic spot that is only a couple minutes from the college campus called Buffalo Mountain lookout.  They tend to go there and hike several times a week.

The picture below was taken by one of her friends....look closely on the right and you will see her red hair.  A picture of her taking a picture of a beautiful sunset.

A couple weeks ago she mentioned that she and her roommate really needed some furniture because other students gather in their room for games and to watch Netflix. Knowing she is on the six floor of her dorm building, I couldn't imagine having to carry a futon, etc up six flights of stairs. I started researching and found an inflatable sofa and surprised her by ordering it and having it shipped there, along with an air pump.  She says that everyone flipped over it and that it is extremely comfortable.

She even said that they pick it up and take it to whatever room is hosting the game night, etc.  It's a hit....I did a good job!  Haha

To prove how happy she was, she sent this photo after getting it all set up for an evening of Netflix.

Before closing today's post, I wanted to share a recipe that I've been making for ten years or more and is one of our family favorites.  We invited a houseful to watch the Steeler vs Redskins football game last night.  This is super easy and delicious.  You can make as much or as little as you need.  I needed a huge pot!

SLOW COOKER SOUTHWESTERN CHICKEN
SERVES 8 - 10

5 or 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
3 cans corn
2 cans black beans
1 large economy size container (or 4 small jars) Salsa

(To serve 2-4 people, just use 2 or 3 chicken breasts, 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans and 1 jar of Salsa.)

Mix together the corn, black beans and salsa in the slow cooker.


Arrange the chicken breasts cut in half on top of mixture.


Cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4 hours).

Serve over white rice.

Additional toppings to have on hand:  Sour cream and Shredded Cheddar Cheese

This is a hearty and filling meal!

If you have leftovers, it heats up great for lunches, etc.

Until next time....Happy sewing and quilting!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Panic Quilt Day 3

I believe all the chain piecing accomplished yesterday was not the best thing for my feet and legs.  Climbing into bed last night my ankles were so swollen that it looked like smoked sausages wrapped around them. Haha. They didn't look that much better this morning.

I figured I better pace myself today and take it easy.

Laying out the pieces of the first block....

Now to start sewing a few together.  Yes, I believe I'm going to like how this is turning out....

The pops of color add enough interest and the secondary design of diamonds that develops as the taupe/beige portion on each side meets with the same piece in the next block is nice as well.

I wish my body would cooperate and allow me to get more accomplished today but I'm thankful for what little did get completed.

How was your Saturday?

Panic Quilt Day 2

I just wanted to share my progress this first true day of attempting to make a wedding anniversary quilt in less than two weeks...more like 10 days!

Yesterday was the "pull fabric and design the quilt" day.  Today was dedicated to cutting it out.

The quilt will consist of one block only.

Since the  center squares are the signature blocks from the wedding, and I plan to use the rest off the 4 1/2" squares that were cut but not written on by the guests for the four corner squares, the only cutting needing done today was the quarter square triangles.  My quilt design calls for 30 total 12 1/2" unfinished blocks...5 across and 6 down.  To be honest, I may decide to make it square and use  25 blocks....5 across and 5 down.  Since I'm not totally 100% sure what I will decide later, I'm going to cut out enough for 30 blocks and decide later how many I truly need 30 or 25 blocks.

The EQ7 software calculated that I needed 7/8 " off each of the four fabrics used to construct the 120 QST units (if making the 30 blocks), or 100 QST units (if making  25 blocks).

To use the Accuquilt Die, I cut a total of 8 strips from each of the four fabrics needed measuring 3 1/2" x WOF.  I was able to get 120 QST's from each fabric with very few extras.  As you can see by the photo, the stack of sliver string scraps isn't very large.  I had very little waste by using the die.

Time to start piecing.  First I sewed 120 Brown QST's to 120 Cranberry QST's.....

Then 120 green QST's to 120 cream QST's.....nice tall stacks....

Time to press all of them....

Pretty, pretty....now to sew the two sets together to form a square...

All pieced and pressed....

The picture below just shows how many extra pieces I had after making the needed 120 units....not many extras at all...

All of this took some time and energy, now I'm tired.  Tomorrow I hope to start piecing the entire blocks together.

Goodnight.....Tomorrow is a brand new day to keep sewing.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Praise Then Panic

I titled this post "Praise Then Panic".  Let me explain the praise part first since it will only take a second to do so.  As I was scrolling through my Facebook page, looking at pictures more than reading, I spotted a quilt that looked like mine. :) :)  Lo and behold, it WAS mine!  Accuquilt had spotlighted my Scrappy Trips quilt on their FB page.  They provided a link for anyone interested in getting further information about the quilt.  To see my quilt on Accuquilt, click HERE.

The photo below is just a screenshot of what I saw on my own FB page. 
I must admit, it made my day to receive this praise and recognition from the Accuquilt company for my Scrappy Trips quilt.

Now for the PANIC part of this post.  I've just been puttering along, happy and content to work on projects feeling no rush or push to finish by a certain deadline.  I have one Halloween quilt top complete and was getting ready to cut pieces for the second one.  I've also been able to work on other little odd projects in between and having fun!

Then PANIC hit BIG TIME!!!  I'm not sure what even made me think of it (although I'm very glad I did)!  I attended a wedding almost one year ago.  I provided a stack of 4 1/2" squares of fabric at a reception table for those attending to write their best wishes, or words of wisdom on, intending to put them together in a quilt for the couple afterwards.

I remember coming home after the wedding, putting the fabric squares away....and then completely forgetting about them....UNTIL THIS WEEK!    On September 19th, the couple will celebrate their 1st Anniversary and I need to get something made by then if at all possible!!!!!!

There has been so much remodeling, sewing room upheaval, etc., I was afraid I wouldn't find anything especially since my fabric stash and everything else is currently scattered between 3 different rooms in my house!!!! After about an hour of searching I found the box with the 4 1/2" squares.  I'm thinking that I cut approximately 150 to take to the wedding but there were only 23 or 24 squares actually written on by guests.

I also have more yardage that the squares were cut from, just in case it's needed......

I continued digging through my fabrics and brought out these pieces....batiks...in cranberry, beige, green and brown.
I realize that most normal quilters probably design their next project, or buy a pattern and then purchase the correct amounts of fabric needed or pull from their stash.

I've never been normal!  I tend to measure my fabric to determine how much I have, THEN I design a quilt around what's on hand. The cranberry piece was the smallest at 7/8 of a yard.  The other pieces were not much bigger.

Next comes playing around using my EQ7 design software.  I quickly chose a simple block that has a 4 1/2" center square (perfect for the signatures squares).  Then started playing with color placement that would work with the amounts of fabric I had pulled.  This is what I came up with....
Because I'm in a hurry, I also made sure to choose a block design that could be cut out with dies that I own. 

This particular design only requires a 4 1/2" unfinished square die...Accuquilt Die #55060
And a quarter square 4" finished triangle ...Accuquilt Die #55316

I've never used the quarter square triangle die so when I opened it to take a look, it was clear that my die is an older version.  The newer ones use different colors of foam so you can clearly see the blades and where to lay your fabric when preparing to cut.

That problem can be fixed quickly, simply by using a white or silver marker and outlining the blade shapes.  Now I'll know that as long as this white outline is covered by my fabric, my cuts will be accurate and I won't have any oops, or partially cutout shapes.

Just getting to this point has taken the bulk of my day, so I'll start the actually cutting after a good nights rest.  Check back with me to follow my progress.  Can I do it?  Only time will tell.  The upside of this is an unplanned, newly designed lap quilt that I'll be able to share.

Am I the only one that get's myself into these jams????

Until next time!  Keep sewing!