Saturday, June 30, 2012

Busy Little Beaver

I've been keeping busy the past couple of days preparing for an uncoming quilt workshop I will be attending.  I'm so excited!  The class will be taught by Bonnie Hunter from North Carolina (YES...a good ol' southern girl traveling up north for a 2 day workshop...YEEEHAWWW!)  I've been a big fan of hers for several years now and can't wait to finally meet her in person. 

You can check out her website at:

I'm going to keep some of the information secret until my "big reveal" after the workshop....but just to get you going, I'll tell you bits and pieces of what I'm doing. LOL

First of all, Bonnie Hunter is a huge advocate for "scrap quilting".  I'm having a hard time getting comfortable with this concept because I've always been a "matchy-matchy" kind of girl.  I want to learn to be more carefree with my color choices because I truly do love the look of scrap quilts.  I just feel that other people's scraps are prettier than mine! LOLOL

Thankfully, there are "just enough opportunities" in this quilt top design to allow us to be a tad matchy in order to tie the entire look together and still use up tons of scraps.

In preparation for the class, I've lost count of all the 2 1/2 inch strips of fabrics I have cut over the past few weeks.  (I have to do a little at a time or it will kill my back!)

First, I will need 696 quarter square triangles using scraps of all colors......

Then I will need 90 - 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles cut from neutral fabric....

To make one section of the piecing easier....I need to cut 6 strips of neutral fabric - 4 1/2" wide  (selvage to selvage) and 12 strips of dark fabric - 2 1/2" wide....then sew a dark strip to each side of the neutral strip, then subcut into 90 sections that will look like this.....

If I didn't take advantage of the above "quicker method" then I would have needed to cut out 90 more neutral rectangles and 180 - 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" dark squares (no thank you! LOL)

Next I will need 180 flying geese center triangles from neutral fabric...

Then I will need 360 - 2 1/2" half-square triangles cut from my TOP SECRET color choice to complete the 180 flying geese blocks.  You will just have to wait and see my special "pop of color" choice after the workshop.

Next I will need 180 - 2 1/2" half-square triangles cut from neutral fabric....

And last, but not least, I will need 180 - 2 1/2" half-square triangles cut from dark fabric....

All color choices are left up to the individual quilter taking the class so the color combinations will be endless and certainly beautiful.  I'm sure there will be some quilters that use even more "matchy" fabric choices than I have done, and then there will be some that are much braver than I am (I'm working on it!) and will use only scraps....ending up with a true beautiful scrap quilt.

The class will take place July 24th, so you'll have to wait until then for any further updates concerning this project.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just Another Day in Paradise

I'm starting to feel withdrawals from quilting and sewing.  I started to set up my sewing machine again on the kitchen table to work more on Amanda's quilt...but then learned that everyone would be home again tonight for dinner.  (This is rare so I appreciate every chance I get to have a table full of people sitting around it.) 

Everyone asked for meatloaf, Amanda asked for "macaroni and tomatoes" (using Grandma Babb's home canned tomatoes), and everyone voted for a big bowl of peas to complete the meal.  Supper was extremely tasty if I do say so myself!) :)
A little bird told me yesterday that my earlier posts concerning Ray's current home improvement project is causing quite a few belly laughs....bless his heart! :)  I thought you'd enjoy an update.

1)  As you know, on Sunday Ray removed the carpet and padding from the center of the den only. 

2)  On Monday he played a double header softball game after work (on his company team).  I gently reminded him that he isn't as young as he used to be, plus the fact we now have a den with carpet removed from the center of the room could possibly mean he ought to "pass" on the ballgames and work on the den instead.  He assured me that he was still young enough to play ball AND still work on the den.  After returning home from the ball field around 7:30 p.m. (moving mighty slow in my humble opinion), he ate supper then entered the den and removed a 3 ft. x 6 ft. strip of carpet and padding from one side of the room.  By doing so, he proved that he was still capable of playing two softball games and working around the house.....of course, he never said how MUCH he would work on the den...simply that he WOULD do something to the den after the ballgame.  LOLOL

3)  Last night (Tuesday), he comes home after work limping.  He explained "I must have twisted my ankle when that runner slid into my leg on 2nd base...but I did get him OUT."  I then told him about an article on Yahoo that said over 90% of all sports injuries were reported from "middle aged weekend warriors".  He grunted some type of response but I didn't quite catch what he said and he wouldn't repeat it! LOLOLOL 

Having said all of this, somehow he DID manage to remove an additional strip of carpet and padding approximately 3 ft. x 9 ft. before calling it quits for the day.

Now there are only two walls left in the room needing the carpet removed....except for that one little area that the fish tank is sitting on.  He's not quite figured out how he is going to move the fish tank.

Even though my day was filled with routine chores (cooking, laundry, bill paying, etc.), I did manage to experiment with a new crochet pattern for making a preemie sized dress/gown that is completely open down the back and closes using 2 buttons.  I finished it in one evening and plan to make several more for donating through Grandma's Promise.

Until the next chapter....

Monday, June 25, 2012

No Sew Weekend, Rain & Crochet Instead

Since we had a big family (and teenage friends) dinner on Saturday, I had no choice but clean off the kitchen table.  A clean kitchen table is nice, EXCEPT when that is the only space you have to place your sewing machine!!!!!  I was on a "roll" working on Amanda's quilt, but in order to have a place to sit down and eat, I had to remove the sewing machine (after taking apart the embroidery unit), remove all my odds and ends (scissors, pins, bobbins, etc., etc.) and last but not least, fold up the partially completed quilt and put it away.  My goodness, that takes precious time!

At least we DID have a nice meal together. :)

On Sunday I just didn't have the energy to tote everything back to the kitchen table.  My ol' bones was telling me that rain was on it's way so I decided to work on my crochet items.  I first worked on a baby afghan for donation through Grandma's Promise.  When my legs started getting cold and achy I then pulled out a larger afghan I've been working on....the one that I needed to purchase that one lonely skein of Montana Skies from JoAnn's Fabrics the other day in order to finish.  The project kept my legs warm and comfy and I was able to accomplish something in the process.'s finished!

While I was finishing the afghan, Ray was on the other end of the house removing the carpet.  We had been to Home Depot earlier in the day and picked up enough new flooring to do the first room (the end goal is to do the entire house).  There is a relatively new flooring option available now that is 100% waterproof, lifetime warranty, looks like wood floors, similar to and installs like laminate but is actually made from vinyl.  Even the seams (when locked into place) are waterproof and will not allow moisture to seep between the boards.  This type of flooring is the "Pet Lover's Dream Floor"!!!!

While walking through the store, pushing our 200 sq. ft. of new flooring boxes, there were at least 3 different complete strangers stop us and comment that they had put the same flooring down and it was AWESOME!!!!  One husband and wife duo even commented that they had a house full of dogs and this flooring was the best stuff EVER!!  In fact, they were there to purchase more to do another room in their own home. :)

After completing my afghan, I walked down the hall to see how much Ray had accomplished.  I don't know if I can type and laugh this hard at the same time.  I took a picture of it, but Ray would probably have a cow if I posted it (so I won't)....but try to imagine this.  Not one piece of furniture had been moved....sofa, chair, desk, fish tank, etc. was all in place, BUT the ENTIRE CENTER of the wall-to-wall carpet had been removed.  He had literally taken a utility knife and cut AROUND the pieces of furniture and removed the carpet and padding from the center.  That section now has the bare plywood sub-flooring only....while any carpet under furniture and around the walls still has carpet!!!!  LOLOLOLOLOL  He was finished for the night.

The next few days have the potential to be VERY interesting!!! :) 

Until next time,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Auction Finds and other savings

My dear hubby has become obsessed with Auctions...yes, Auctions.  I think it may be a mid-life thing! LOL  For at least a year now, he LOVES to sit for hours and watch antique shows, pawn shop reality shows, vintage car goodness....I even catch him watching CATTLE auctions on TV!!! 

I'm afraid that my new found love of vintage Singer Featherweights was a good enough reason to push him over the edge!!!  (Yes, somehow, someway, everything is always my fault! LOL)

He has always had a love of pocket watches and old clocks for as long as I've known him, but that's all it was....a love for, not a hobby.  I'm not sure how it happened, but in the blink of an eye...(and I do mean it happened that quickly)....Ray had a "light bulb moment"!

My love for vintage Featherweights + his love of old clocks + all the information he has learned from watching all the auction TV shows = Ray is ready to morph into an obsessed, auction attendee and bidder.

He called me from work yesterday afternoon to tell me that he had heard of an auction taking place about an hour away.  There was supposed to be old clocks galore, handfuls of pocket watches and a Singer Featherweight.  He HAD to go and check it out.

He left the house at 4:30 p.m. and returned at 11:45 p.m.  I should mention that I did offer to go with him this time, but he was afraid this particular auction would take hours (which it did) and that I wouldn't be happy sitting in a hard chair for so long.  (He was right!)

Sadly, he didn't win any of the clocks or pocket watches that he bid on.  I am frugal, but Ray is CHEAP!!!!  If he can't get it for "next to nothing", he won't buy it. 

BUT...he did come home with not one, but two surprises for me. 

First was this 1952 Singer Featherweight....

It's dusty and dirty, but the gold decals are still beautiful and intact.  There was no case, nor accessories, but it works (so the message written on a piece of masking tape on the back of the machine says) and he was so proud of himself for winning the auction for this piece. 

The last surprise was a Commemorative Centennial Singer lamp/music box....

This piece was made in 1951.  He thought it was perfect when he bid on it, but on closer inspection, it does have a small piece broken off the sewing machine part of the figurine.  The music box still works and plays "The Anniversary Waltz".   What is it truly worth?  I have no clue, but after some research online this morning.  I did find that there was an anniversary music box made to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Singer and there were only 75 made.  It didn't mention lamps...but as we inspect the lamp, it looks more like someone took the porcelain music box and glued it to the top of a plastic lamp base.  There's actually a hole cut out of the bottom of the plastic base so you can stick your hand through and wind the music box.  So...we possibly have something very rare and of value OR we may not! LOL  We'll have to continuing doing some research on this item.

In the looks like I have a new lamp that I need to figure out where to put! :)

Before ending this post, I should say that Ray wasn't the only one who bargain shopped today.  I took a trip to our local Joann's Fabrics.  I had to....I had no choice....I couldn't say no!  When you have that rare 30% off EVERYTHING (sale, clearance, & regular priced items) coupon....a girl has to do what a girl has to do!!!!!

Everything was on sale...most of the items I ended up getting 90% off!  Now THAT'S a deal!!!  A friend recently told me how wonderful Warm & Natural batting was....and since I have a few quilt tops in the making...well, you get my drift! ;)  There was Bernat baby yarn on sale and some on clearance.  Most of the choices were already sold out, but I did find 6 skeins I can use for Grandma's Promise items.  The storage containers were on sale 60% off with an additional 30% off using my coupon.  These are wonderful for storing completed quilt squares, etc.  The only thing that I purchased that WASN'T on sale was that lonely one skein of Montana Sky Homespun yarn....but I did use a separate 40% off one regular priced item coupon.  I'm finishing up a sofa sized afghan and needed just a little more of the Montana Sky to finish it up.  Don't you just hate it when that happens!

Oh well....I felt very satisfied with my "extreme couponing" shopping expedition.

Now I'm tired....until next time,

Friday, June 22, 2012

Amanda's Quilt

So much for all the "I'm going to be selfish and make things for me" attitude.  It lasted all of one whole day! :) 

To be completely honest, I had pieced and finished a quilt top for Amanda two years ago in honor of her high school graduation and before I could finish it, I fell and broke my elbow!

Here I sit, two years later and Amanda just graduated from college with an Associate's in Health Information Technology and I haven't finished her quilt.  I MUST finish it!!!

Thankfully, she still loves the fabrics...she better, since she is the one who chose them.  Amanda has a fun, quirky personality and her fabric choices prove it.  Her favorite color is orange of all things! :)

Even though she is a fun loving girl, the fabrics are 1930's replica (my personal fav!).   It's a giant windmill block.

A couple of weeks ago I took the plunge and sandwiched the top, batting and backing together.  I used a white muslin for the back (not sure it was the perfect choice, but Amanda likes white over natural tan muslin).

Today is the day I start machine quilting it.

I set up my trusty Pfaff Creative 2134...I am so happy I purchased this machine all those years ago.  I have really put to use the embroidery functions.  I located a embroidery/quilt design in the shape of a windmill so I thought that machine quilting a windmill in each of the four blocks that make up the one giant windmill on top would be kind of cute and unique. 

Can you see that I'm using Orange quilting thread?  I've never been this brave before....we'll have to wait and see if it turns out okay.  Too late now.....

Not too bad I guess....

3 finished, only approx. 77 more to go.  After all the windmill outlines are quilted I do intend to go back and quilt in the ditch around the actual blocks before calling it complete.

I'm using a white thread for the bobbin, but it appears that the orange top thread is peeking though the bottom of the quilt.  At first I was really upset but the more I look at it, the more I think that Amanda will love it just the way it is....and I just probably won't use orange thread to quilt many more quilt tops!!! :)

Sadly my back won't let me do this non-stop, so I have no idea how many days it will take me to finish this part of the work.

Until next time,

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Time for Me

This should be fun.  I've created this blog to keep track of my quilting accomplishments (once I have some that is)! LOL  Actually, I've been a quilter for about 20 years but unfortunately, I tend to be one of those people who gives away everything I make and never keep anything for myself.  It's time for a change!!!  I intend to become a tad bit selfish and intend to make beautiful quilts for my own home (along with continuing to make things for my daughters, grandchildren and friends).

Since my memory isn't what it used to be, I also figure that this blog will also act as my sewing/quilting diary. 

I've signed up for quilting workshops, looked through countless quilt books and magazines and have a list of "to-do" projects just waiting to start.

We recently celebrated Mother's Day a few weeks ago.  My husband started my "new found hobby" by giving me a vintage 1953 Singer Featherweight.  I can't believe I didn't really know anything about these wonderful machines until fairly recently....but I'm now HOOKED!  I can't wait to add to my collection.

Actually, I really was spoiled this Mother's Day.  Emily gave me a Willow Tree Twins figurine (symbolizing Emily and her twin sister Amanda), Amanda gave me yarn, balloon, flowers and cute little notepads.  Kirsten gave me a lovely green leather wallet...and of course, the Featherweight!! :) :)

I hope to get it serviced, purring like a kitten and take it to a future quilt workshop coming up in July. 

So....jump on board and keep me accountable!  I'll keep you posted as the excitement unrolls!