Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fun Find

I spent most of Tuesday helping clean and reorganize Sunday school rooms at church. In one pile of crafting/fabric supplies, I found this.

Isn't it cool? The blocks are all sewn together just like this. I washed them and dried in the dryer, and they held up well. I wonder when they were made? Did you notice the two at the top are the same fabrics, but made as opposites? I also brought home a broken doll bed and a yard of brown flannel. So the doll bed will be repaired and a new quilt will be made! I'm excited about it.

I also got my Mod Sampler on the frame and started quilting it! Finally.

"Studio" Tour

Sewing table and part of closet on a neat day.
My fabrics.
Organized supplies and tools in ziplocks and bins.
New method of folding and arranging small pieces.
Typically messy area.

I decided to participate in the Sew Domestic Studio Blog Tour, but I'm too late to be an official member. I thought you might like to see my space anyway.

My answers to these FIVE questions....
a. What do you use your space for? Sewing and quilting; sewing, crafting and quilting supply storage. It used to be a spare bedroom but we moved out the hideabed couch and a dresser to make room for the quilting machine. YAY.

b. What is your favorite thing about your space? It's Mine. All Mine.

c. What struggles do you have with your space? It's kind of small so I have to move my ironing board (the only moveable furnishing) around a lot to get to what I need. Also, I let the mess get away from me too often.

d. When do you use your space? Now I am using it almost every day, after work, and on my days off. For a long time it went unused because I wasn't sewing much for a few years.

e. Share an organizational technique that works for you. A few of my organizational techniques: I hang my scissors on a hook rack. I use lots of zip lock bags, which are easy to see into, to sort and store threads, notions, and other doo-dads. I use plastic storage bins to keep categories of fabrics to manageable sizes, and under my quilting frame to replace the dresser drawers I used to have. Other baskets and containers store frequently used small items. I TRY to put things back where they belong after I use them.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekend Report

We went to a resort near Branson, MO, for our nephew Joel's wedding to beautiful Sarah. And we had a lot of fun eating, boating, swimming, playing with the baby, and of course, going to the wedding. Isn't my family beautiful?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First Quilt Parade

The First Quilt Parade is on at Camille's blog and Carrie's.

This is not my first quilt, but the third, and the first one I took or saved a picture of. I had to scan a photograph to get this, so the quality isn't that great. I made this in 1988 and called it Ronnie's Sunshine Quilt. It was for a friend's new baby boy. It was cut with scissors from cardboard templates. I did a good job of that, and it made the piecing very accurate. Then I hand quilted it. It took a LONG time, and I didn't really like the quilting process, even though I enjoyed embroidery and cross stitching at the time.

My real first quilt was made from flannel and was a quilt as you go log cabin pattern for another friend's baby. It was kind of mushy and lumpy. But as a handmade gift, you couldn't beat it. The second quilt I made was for my own first baby in 1980, and was simply squares made from scraps of clothes and things I had made over the years in high school and college, with mostly pinks, blues, yellows and purples. I still remember many of the pieces even though the quilt is long gone. I stitched in the ditch on every square. Then after a couple of washings, the batting came apart at the stitching lines and wadded into lumpy, unpleasant balls in each square. I was quite disappointed in it, which is why I was willing to give hand quilting a try later.

After I made the Sunshine quilt, I made two more similar ones for my niece and nephew, my sisters' babies. Then I made a couple more things when I belonged to a quilt guild, and drh bought me a large frame for hand quilting. I'm sad to say the first quilt I put on that frame was never finished and I sold the frame a few years later. I guess kid activities, making family clothing, and volunteer work kept me busy enough through those years.

My most recent quilt is the blue/white/black table runner I just finished. I also have my Mod Sampler ready to put on the quilting frame, hopefully today, and then that will be my most recent quilt.

I've learned that I don't like hand quilting, and using templates isn't something I'd do again. Rotary cutting is wonderful. I don't like triangles; I don't like doing the math to work out a pattern, but I also would rather do that than buy a pattern. I really like fabrics - shopping for them, washing and pressing them, arranging them, enjoying them as I work the piecing and quilting, making sure I have good quality materials. I decided I have to not fret so much over the designs and colors, and just go with my instincts so I can start and finish things. I learned that it's okay to work a few minutes at a time if that's all I can do that day. I love my long arm quilting machine even more than I thought I would. I really like looking at others' work for inspiration and just entertainment. So those are lots of things I've learned over the years.

Random Thoughts

Outside my window…sunny, green, summer, still early enough to make the day seem promising.

I am thinking…about whether I should get dressed before I start my to-do list for the day.

I am thankful for…my husband, my family, my comfortable home.

From the kitchen…leftover cajun rice/sausage/veggies; or leftover spaghetti tonight. No cooking today!

I am wearing…pjs and bare feet.

I am creating…ideas in my head for new quilts and sewing projects.

I am going…to the DMV, Hobby Lobby and thrift shop today.

I am reading…the newspaper daily, but not much time for more lately (besides blog reading, that is).

I am hoping…that we have a relaxing weekend with family at the wedding.

I am hearing…a lawn mower in the distance.

Around the house…things are a bit messy, but not an emergency yet.

One of my favorite things…is summer food - fresh fruit, sweet corn, grilled pork chops... mmm!

A few plans for the rest of the week…wrap wedding gifts, pack for trip, laze around in between wedding festivities, get home on time Sunday to wash undies for the following week.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekend Finishes

I am happy my weekends continue to bring me enough time, energy and motivation to keep on finishing things! This weekend was a long one, since I took off Friday to go to the races with my family and some friends. We ate, waited out a rain storm, read the paper, did crosswords, talked, ate again, walked around the vendor displays, ate again! But the weather cleared up and the evening was very nice to be outside, even though the race itself was kind of boring.

After a late night Friday, I slept late while drh went back to the race track for Saturday's event. Trying to miss more rain, I went to a local art festival early to find bowls or table accessories to go with the table runner/wedding gift. I had success, purchasing two beautiful bowls from a former teacher of my brother, who also is a potter! And I found two more bowls and a nice tote bag for myself, resisted tempting earrings, and enjoyed viewing some gorgeous paintings and other artists' displays.
I went to the sewing machine shop to get more thread, had a nice chat with the friendly owner, did a couple more errands and headed home. I finished sewing the runner top and back, and cut and pressed the binding, just on time to change and head out to the lake for the Dog Days 5K race! The weather once again changed to allow for a great evening - the humidity and rain showers of early in the day were gone, and a fresh breeze helped keep the runners "cool." I finished 4/4 in my age group this time, but it was a fun race.

Sunday after church I practiced some drawings of my quilting pattern for the table runner, put it on the frame, and did the quilting. I can't say as it turned out exactly as I had imagined, or hoped, but it looks fine and with the bowls will make a good gift.

I haven't started my July S.T.U.D. mini yet, but I have the fabrics and know what I'm going to make. Hopefully I can work on it tomorrow, since I do have the day off. Later in the week, we'll go out of town for the wedding, so I must squeeze in laundry, pre-packing and gift wrapping, too. Have a great Tuesday!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shopped, Scored

I had the day off and after doing a few chores around the house, paying bills and vacuuming the upstairs, I took off for two quilt shops, each about 20 miles away in slightly different directions with about 15 miles between them (a triangle with my home). It was fun! I hadn't ever been to the first one, but I will definitely go back. They had some $9 bags of fabrics which appear to be buyer's samples. I am ignorant of the designer labels, so I don't know what line or company they are from. The one bag I chose had two pieces of purple and brown print, one purple and brown pre-quilted piece, and four sets of buyer samples. Each sample set has 7 or 8 pieces of companion designs - two sets of pink/red/aqua blue, and two sets of green/gold/tan. I'm sure that I or one of my daughters can make something with them.
I also bought two books on free motion quilting, with design ideas which are fun and beautiful looking. Two more necessities: hot iron cleaner (great when you gunk up the iron with batting or interfacing adhesive) and a NEW rotary cutter blade. The one I've been using must be ancient - can't remember when I actually bought it. But the new one cuts like... NEW! Amazing how a sharp blade can slice so easily.
And a couple more pieces of fabric - a couple of sale pieces, some lemon print for a summer project, and a big piece of green and white geometric print with which I hope to make some dust covers for my quilting machine and bobbin winder.
A very fun day. Hope yours was, too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Weekend Report

The weekend was pretty good. Friday was a holiday, so we were able to get lots of chores done around the house. Drh trimmed all the bushes and mowed the yard - it looks great. I did laundry, put away a bunch of laundry and clutter, changed sheets on one of the guest beds, and dusted the bedrooms. I think I did more, but I can't remember now! I did get started cutting out pieces for a table runner I'm making for a wedding gift, since our boss let us off early Thursday and I took advantage of that to stop at the quilt shop for fabric before going to the lake for the Thursday night run.
I fixed leftover country ribs shredded with added bbq sauce for dinner. After dinner I cut the backing and batting to the proper sizes, and put the Star quilt on the frame (see above). It took a lot less time than previous projects - maybe I'm learning how to do it.

Saturday we woke up to drizzle, which became a steady, all-day rain. I had half-planned to run a 5-mile 4th of July race, but since I hadn't signed up in advance, decided to delay my Saturday run until the rain quit. We fixed eggs, hash brown patties and toast with jelly for breakfast, and lingered over coffee. Then we worked on our church's new website until about 1 p.m.
After lunch I decided that if it quit raining by 3:00, I'd still have time for 5 miles and a shower before we went to friends' for dinner and the fireworks. I started quilting the Star quilt. By 3 it hadn't stopped raining, so I made the salad for the dinner contribution and kept on quilting. It was only 5 times across, and the last time was only 5 inches deep (?). I took it off the frame, changed my clothes and we left for our friends' house. They fixed great chicken shishkabobs, mashed potatoes, and corn bread, which went great with my apple/walnut/raisin/celery salad. They made chocolate caramel ice cream pie for dessert. MMMM. Unfortunately the weather never improved, so the fireworks were postponed until tonight.

Today after church, I did run my 5 mile goal run. It was beautiful out today - sunny and breezy. Everything is still so green and pretty since we've had a wet enough spring and summer. Had lunch, read the paper, and trimmed the Star quilt so the maker can now add the binding.

I finished all that I can on the table runner, since I need MORE fabric. The missing areas are due to inattention to the rule of "calculate 3 times, measure twice, cut once." The calculations were sloppy, so I cut one of the black strips to make the black and white units in the missing areas 1/2 inch too short. DUH. That meant I had an inch extra fabric left, so it would have been JUST RIGHT amount if I'd paid attention earlier. But not enough left for the re-do.

I took more photos of the Star quilt out on the deck so I have a good record of the project including the back, and helped drh wash and wax my car this afternoon. Made rhubarb pudding, talked on the phone. Now we're going to go back to our friends' for the delayed fireworks show - hope your weekend was just as fun and productive!

Friday, July 3, 2009

STUD Swap Mini Arrives

YAY, I got my first swap mini in the mail today (actually it arrived on Wednesday, but I wasn't able to get to the post office during open hours until today.) Jennie-Sunflowerquilt has made the most perfect mini Irish Chain quilt with lovely, soft cherry red and green and buttery beige fabrics. The tiny 1-inch squares all match up so perfectly. She included some fat 1/4's, candy, notepads, and embroidery scissors! I hope to make matching placemats with the fabric - the colors look great in my kitchen/living area.

On another subject, I haven't posted about yet, I was able to go visit my daughter A and baby all day Tuesday. Baby G is growing and is so cute - smiling, cooing, and we had a great tongue-clicking conversation going. The picture is from later in the day when she was getting a bit cranky, but generally she's a laid-back, happy girl.
I even accomplished stuff while I was there. I took along a pillowcase project to make, and a swim suit top to alter (A had volunteered a long time ago, but she turned it over to me because of the stretchy fabric), and some embroidery designs to trace. So I hauled out her sewing machine and supplies, reorganized her thread totebag, and took over the dining table. I was happy I was able to complete the pillow cases. The tracing didn't go so well, so I need to use a different method altogether. A took time to fill up the jars in her new spice rack, and Baby G got to sit and watch us be productive. A successful day!