Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day


Last night after dinner, I realized that one of my daughters didn't have a valentine this year.  I didn't want her to be too sad so after cleaning up the kitchen I went to the sewing room for some serious work!

Beginning around 7:45pm, I searched for fabric, looked for a cute embroidery design, got my sewing/embroidery machine going and started cutting the borders and backing for a pillow.

The last stitch was completed about 10:45pm and by 11:00pm, a pillow insert was placed inside the pillow cover!!!  Sometimes I amaze myself.  I propped the finished pillow up on the kitchen countertop because I knew she would be coming upstairs very early this morning before leaving for work.

If you like the embroidery design, it can be purchased and downloaded from emblibrary.com 

This pillowcover was made to fit over an 18" x 18" square pillow form.

Last weekend I was asked to make a valentine gift for someone special.  The requester provided a thick sports hoodie and asked that I put the words 'MAMA BEAR' on the front.  They left the decision up to me as to whether I wanted to embroider the words with my machine or applique.  Because the hoodie was SO THICK and heavy, I decided to go the applique route.  Using my Accuquilt GO system and the Alphabet die, I applied heat-n-bond light to the back of some grey fabric and cut out the letters needed with the GO .

This turned out to be a very time-consuming project.  I sewed the edges of each letter to the hoodie using a buttonhole stitch on my sewing machine.  It ended up taking approximately 30 minutes per letter to do the applique stitching.  The thickness and weight of the hoodie made it difficult to do all the twisting and turning required to sew around each letter.

Finally finished!  It looks great if I do say so myself.

I was also asked to put the words 'BABY BEAR' on a 9-month sized infant onesie.  This time I had no choice but use my embroidery machine.

When working with such a small sized piece of clothing, I had to use my seam ripper and rip out both side seams of the onesie just so I could hoop it.

After embroidering the words, I then ironed on the soft stuff I have on a huge roll that covers all the rough feeling threads so that baby's skin is not irritated.  I use the same stuff on all shirts, regardless of the size.

Now to put the onesie back together.  I carefully pinned down the sides so neither the front or the back would slip and slide around on me as I sewed.  Also, I strongly recommend using a walking foot when working with stretchy fabric such as this.

Sewing the side seams back together.....

My work wasn't finished.  My dear hubby, Ray asked me to make something special for him to give Ava Jean for Valentine's.  I scavenged through my stash and found just a few items I purchased over 5 years ago and never used....including the pink, plush, snuggly blankie toy. 

Because of the plushness of the top of the fabric, I placed a piece of water soluble stabilizer on TOP of the bunny before embroidering.

Ray picked out the design and the colors to use....

I'm so pleased with the final product......... 

I played around and folded it like this, then placed it in a gift box.....

Since I already had the different embroidery threads out and my machine was cooperating, I decided to make Ava Jean a Valentine's burp cloth. :) :)

Again, this design can be purchased from emblibrary.com

Several years ago I purchased (in bulk) a huge box of cotton, 3 fold baby diapers just to have on hand for making quick baby gifts for showers, etc.

That completes my Valentine's craft projects.....thank goodness.

On a different note, my youngest daughter (attending college in Tennessee) shared these photos with me on Sunday.  Her boyfriend took her out to a very classy restaurant for dinner.

Don't worry....she DID wear shoes on her date. :)

They are so cute!!!!

She also shared that he had given her a huge stuffed elephant and a "crown ring" because he calls her his princess.  She assured me that it WASN'T a promise ring.   Whew..............

Well, it's time for me to head to the kitchen and start preparing my Valentine's dinner for my hard working hubby.  He should be coming home any time now.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Quilting Progress in Small Steps

This will be a short post just to keep you up on my progress with the quilting of the wedding signature quilt. 

The pantograph design I chose to use is called P.S. I Love You, designed by Patricia Ritter of Urban Elementz.  It is available both in a paper version and a digital version.

As for the thread, I chose to use a SO FINE 40wt thread in a variegated green.  I purchase my quilting threads from Superior Threads.  The color is a little brave for me but I wanted the quilting to truly show up in the many open neutral spaces....plus, I don't have tons of color choices in my longarm thread collection.  Simply put, I'm using what I have since I'm on my self-imposed spending freeze.

Oh boy...I love the feeling you get when you see that the end is near!!!

Another angle....

Just had to share a couple of pictures that were texted to me of Ava Jean.  The message I received with this first picture was that Ava's favorite afghan is the one I crocheted for her.

Her first blanket fort....

Keep quilting!  Until next time....

Friday, February 3, 2017

Cold Days and A Quick Project


If I'm not mistaken, the temperature only reached 21 degrees today in my little area of Upstate New York.  Even if the house is warm inside, my bones certainly make sure I'm aware of how cold and damp it is outside.

Prior to my trip to Tennessee, I had loaded the backing fabric on my longarm for the late wedding signature quilt gift.  It's only been about 1 1/2 years since the wedding.

The backing stayed loaded, ready and waiting for only a couple of months....that's all. :) :)

As we were driving back home earlier this week, I made the decision to prioritize this project to the #1 slot and get the batting measured, cut and loaded along with the quilt top so that quilting could begin FINALLY!!

Not only did everything get loaded, I even got a couple of rows of quilting done.  I'll give more details on this in my next post.  Due to my bad hip, I'm not able to quilt more than a couple of rows each day....not even sitting on the saddle chair helps.

After I'd finished quilting for the day, I started searching for a quick and easy project.  The decision was made to make some much needed bibs for my Ava Jean.  She is teething, which means we can't keep up with the amount of drool this kid produces on a daily basis.  I've lost count of how many bibs she can go through in a single day.

Ray is madly in love with her and whenever she is here when he gets home from work he can't change out of his work clothes fast enough to get in the floor and play with her.

I've been excited to try out this Sizzix Bib Die.....

I'm always trying to figure out the easiest and quickest way to get something done. Just like in quilting when cutting out half-square triangles to sew together...the idea popped into my head that if I placed the flannel bib fabric face to face on the die...the pieces would be cut, and would automatically be face to face and ready to sew around the edges.

Second piece of flannel placed on die facing the first piece......

I went ahead and placed 6 layers of flannel on the die to produce 3 bibs in one cut.....

Don't they look cute?  This is so much easier on my partially torn rotator cuffs than having to cut them out myself.

Because of all the curves, I thought it best to use several pins to keep everything in place.  I decided to leave about a 3 inch wide opening on the left side since that was really the only straight place to do it.

In my excitement, I forgot to take a picture of the bibs sewn together before turning them inside out. 

After turning them inside out, I pressed them really good with the iron, then simply did a straight top stitch to close up the side opening and give them a nice finished look.

This project also gave me the perfect opportunity to experiment with using snaps put into place with this handy dandy snap plier set.

Wow!!!  That certainly was fast and fairly easy (once I put the right parts in the right sections of the pliers that is)!! :) :)

This will be so much nicer than the Velcro that's on all her store bought bibs.

There's actually a second bib made from the Sesame Street Flannel.  I now know that 1/2 yard of 44" wide flannel will produce 3 bibs using this Sizzix die.  I only had an odd piece of the Sesame Street...just enough for 2.

Not too bad for a day's crafting....a total of 5 new bibs.  This has been a good day indeed!

Until next time!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

New Year, New Goals

Hello friends!  It's been awhile since you last heard from me.  Sometimes life is hard, and sometimes it gets harder before the sun starts to shine again.  The last few months have been rather dark but I do believe I'm beginning to see some sunlight starting to peek through the haze.

The loss of my 37 year old son-in-law back in late September, 2016 has taken a toll on all of us but especially his wife, my daughter Shannon.

She has dealt with health issues of her own for many years and they just seemed to multiply combined with deep depression after the truly unexpected loss of the love of her life.  Just coping with every day life has been difficult for her and she has had to rely on family quite a bit.

Since I live approximately 12 hours (by car) away from her, helping her has somewhat turned my own life upside down during the past few months.

Shannon had surgery on January 6th and is doing very well now with that particular health issue.  I've just returned this week to New York and am hoping that life will settle down now and we ALL can get back to at least a semi-normal life.

While I was in Tennessee caring for her and my three grandchildren, believe it or not, I actually got some sewing accomplished.  The only spot I could claim as "mine" while staying in her home was a portion of her kitchen table. :)

Where there is a will, there is always a way. :)  Sewing and quilting has always been my "therapy" and I knew that I would NEED some of this therapy to cope while being away from my own home, husband and family in New York.  Before leaving New York I packed up my double decker Stanley Tool Box with one of my Singer Featherweights, iron, rotary cutter and mat, fabric and tons of notions.  Sewing at her house reminded me of all the years that I had no designated sewing space to call my own and had to use my own kitchen table.  This experience has made me truly thankful for the space I have now. :)

My youngest grandson kept me entertained as I sewed.  (Oh to be young and nimble enough to fold my body inside a remote control truck box!!!!!

During my time in Tennessee, my oldest grandson (facing the camera) celebrated his 16th birthday! It's truly hard to believe all the years that have gone by since I witnessed his birth in the delivery room.  Being in Tennessee also allowed me to be near my youngest daughter, and her new boyfriend as they attend college near by.

After looking through the photos I snapped I realized I never got a good photo of my granddaughter.  That is her red hair between my youngest daughter and her boyfriend. :)

Being with my grandchildren during this time also allowed me to be a part of special school days....like "Senior Adult Day" when my youngest grandson had to dress up as a senior adult!  Isn't he the cutest "old man" with that gray hair, glasses, button up shirt and vest!!!!!!

Being in Tennessee also gave me the opportunity to visit my Aunt Brenda and her Miniature Schnauzer Sophia Loren (aka Sophie).  This dog is very special to me because she was sired by our own Scamp back in the day when we bred Miniature Schnauzers.  We lost Scamp to cancer over a year ago and his daughter Sophie is the "spitting image" of her daddy.  Sophie is getting up in age herself and I just pray she remains healthy and has many more years to give companionship to my Aunt.

The sewing project I worked on was Bonnie Hunter's 2016 Mystery quilt.

One of the clues finished.....

Another clue finished.....

And another.....

And another.....

There are a few more clues finished that I must have forgotten to take photos of as they were sewn together.  I was able to complete all of the clues while there but didn't attempt to start assembling the top together.  It would be less stressful to do that part once I was back in my own sewing space and could make use of my wonderful design wall.

It's truly awesome being back home....even if it is snowing and much colder here!!!!  Hopefully, life will settle down now and I can get back to quilting and blogging on a more routine basis.

Blessings everyone!!!!!