Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some Quilt History

I think I could title this one, What Have I Been Doing Besides Blogging? ...or I better put this info on my blog before it becomes like Ancient History!

The photos are displaying in the reverse order as I uploaded them, so you get most recent news first. This top layout is made from 12 of the blocks I received in April 2010 (1.5 yrs. ago - maybe it is ancient already!) The flickr group is called
Bee Pieceful. I finally figured out a setting design and made the setting pieces the last couple of days. It should go together fast from this point. Sometimes the thinking takes up a lot more time than the actual sewing. I will not include the table legs in the final construction.

This is a top I finished putting together a few days ago (my co-worker is inspiring or shaming me into getting busy on my projects, hence the high output in the last weeks or two). The centers of wonky log cabins are fussy-cut out of some old scraps I found in my ancient 4-H sewing workshop materials (I was the teacher, not the student - so they aren't prehistorically old.) I started putting together the blocks about 5 months ago. A picture in a book inspired me to go for the black stripey sashing, and that was motivation to find fabric, cut sashing, decide on borders, and finish up the top.

This is a finished quilt I made for DD#1. The nine patches are made from a charm pack I received as a birthday gift on my last birthday one year ago, so that was fairly quick - less than one year from pieces to finished!

The next two pictures are the back and front of a baby quilt made for my first great niece. She was born in March and I sent it to her in July, so at least she was still a baby! The pattern is simple and these prints were fun to work with. The back has a pretty, girly print of butterflies.

I hope I haven't repeated old news here. I definitely need to keep track of this blog a lot better than I have been. It is a good record of my projects, finished or not!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hot, But It's Friday!

Linking to Susanne's Living to Tell the Story, for another Fave Five. A nice way to remember my gratitudes each week, and just about the only blog posts I'm doing right now.

This week's five favorite things:
1. Had the BEST time with our granddaughter and also spent time with her mommy, daddy and baby brother when we took her home on Sunday. She stole our hearts once more by declaring all the way to her home, "I need to go Gramma Grampa's house!"
2. Pretty weather early in the week. Ran Monday and Tuesday since I skipped the weekend. Enjoyed sitting on the deck in th evenings and quiet companionship of Drh. I did crosswords and he read.
3. Helped clean out and organize the church library one evening. We filled a big garbage barrel and some smaller trash cans, but ended up with shiny shelves of useable, attractive books for reading, and ministry resources. I like our church to look modern, inviting and homey to anyone who enters.
4. For some reason I have been efficient and productive this week. One morning I washed windows before work, and kept up with the dishes, laundry and other tidying chores. Home feels welcoming when it's neat and fresh.
5. Multi-item Fave: I have today off, so a four-day weekend. Drh always has Friday off. Today instead of sleeping late, I convinced him to beat the heat and we got outside early, trimmed all the bushes, borrowed a tree trimmer from a friend and trimmed trees, loaded up all the trimmings on the friend's trailer and served ice tea to ourselves and two helpers, all before 10 a.m., and it was still nice out!

Have a good weekend, Happy 4th of July, stay cool!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday, Sweet Summer

Fave Five for a sweet summer Friday (not necessarily in chronological or any other order this week!):

1. G has come for the weekend! I'll spare you the cute stories of 2-year-old amazingness!

2. Saturday I ran in a race and was amazed at the consistency of my pace recorded by my Garmin! It's not the fastest I've ever run that course, but certainly the most consistently. It was a fun time with friends, always a great start to the weekend to run early Saturday.

3. Sunday turned out so nice that we took a motorcycle ride again, spent some lazy, quiet minutes just watching people take their boats in and out of the Illinois River, ate out before we headed home.

4. Enjoyed some summer food this week: grilled ham, cheese and tomatoes; BLT's; wonderful melon new to me called canary melon; strawberries; rhubarb pudding. MMMM. And since I'm upping my fruit/veggie intake and really cutting out sweets esp. at work, I think I've dropped the 3 lbs. I wanted to.

5. Took one morning off to help a church friend clean out the office. We are on the trustees committee, which is responsible for the care of the building. We both like to organize and update records, so it was good to declutter some old supplies and outdated catalogs which won't be used, put some stuff away where it belongs in other parts of the building, and review what records were in the desk. A good job done!

Have a great weekend, enjoy the weather and the summer food, and check out Fave Fives of other grateful ladies at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story. Thanks for hosting, Susanne.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday, a Quiet Day

I've had today and yesterday off work. It has been quiet since Drh is out of town. Time to think, take a nap, sew, eat on my own hours. I miss him, but a little time alone doesn't bother me either.

Today I looked back on the week for five favorites, and I'm grateful for:

1. Had a nice time and perfect weather for the family reunion on Sunday, as well as celebrating my in-laws 62nd wedding anniversary (see earlier post on celebrations.)
2. My sweet grandchildren, ages 2-yrs., and 3-months. Both are healthy, growing, happy, and the 2-yr.-old is a total hoot. Funny, smart and cute as a button. (I know, I know, so are your grandkids... :-))
3. Got some shopping done for myself and for birthday gifts, and had time to do it in a leisurely fashion. Dang, I forgot to get a father's day card for my f-i-l!
4. Ran both Tuesday and Thursday evenings. We're having continued good weather!
5. Stopped at the farmers' market Tuesday after work and bought fresh veggies, which I made into a delicious ragout and served with leftover corn casserole which I pretended was polenta. Today I went to get groceries and bought crab salad, which I had with a fresh tomato, broccoli and rosemary potato bread for supper. I hope those two yummy, healthy meals overcome the effects of the McDonald's hamburger and fries I had Wednesday!

and just have to add #6. Did some sewing and made my hubby some boxers for summer pjs. Aren't they cute?

As usual, visit Susanne at Living to Tell the Story for other Fave Fives on Friday!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fave Five, Friday Again!

Fave Five of this week, though I know I'm a couple days late. But the attitude of gratitude is theraputic, so I will write my faves anyway - it's good for the soul.

1. Celebrated our 35th (!!!) wedding anniversary on Sunday by having a quiet day at home, and then going for a motorcycle ride and eating supper and a piece of pie at a local family diner.
2. My older daughter turned 31 this week - she's the happy, healthy, smart and funny, stay-at-home mom of two sweeties, and wife of a fine man.
3. The weather was kind by turning cool at the end of the week so we were able to turn off the air and sleep with the windows open.
4. Saturday morning I got up early and left home at 6:15, drove to a lake, ran 5 miles which was around it and then some on a side road, and then helped at a small 5K race with the finish line team from my run club. I hadn't helped with a finish line before, but now I've learned something new, and it was fun. AND while I was running, I saw bluebirds, wild turkeys and chicks, a deer, a beautiful black and blue butterfly (dead on the road, but sparkling - also a dead frog-ick), and a pair of cedar waxwings collecting grass for a nest.
5. Enjoyed going with Drh and a friend to hear a western swing band at a free outside concert downtown Saturday evening. The music and company were entertaining, and I always love to "people watch."

Hope you had a good week filled with happy times worth celebrating, enjoying nature and friendships. Check out the other Faves on Living to Tell the Story by Susanne.

Pentecost and Other Celebrations

Today I went to my in-law's "cousins reunion." This is a gathering of about 50-60 of the kids and grandkids, and now great grandkids of my father-in-law's side (his two brothers and one sister, plus one deceased brother). We gather every year to enjoy our family friendships. Drh left this morning right after church on a mission trip to Tennessee with a group from church, so he didn't go this year. He had mixed feelings about missing it, of course, but decided he should travel with the group. The picture is of my in-laws with their branch who attended today. On the left are our two daughters and their husbands, one holding my 3-mo. old grandson; then my m-i-l; then my brother-in-law and his wife (their daughters and families couldn't come since they live out of the state); then me with my 2 yr.-old granddaughter; then my f-i-l.

This is my father and mother-in-law. They celebrated their 62nd anniversary today, and also we talked of their anniversary 2 years ago, when my f-i-l was in the hospital recovering from a very serious heart attack, which happened in the restroom at the hospital right before he was supposed to check in for a stress test. We know he wouldn't have made it if medical help was not immediately given. Fortunately he recovered well, and we celebrated with cake and milk in his hospital room.

The church celebrates its birthday on Pentecost. According to Acts 2, this is when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given and continues today to empower the people of the church to carry out God's work in his kingdom here on earth. The color of Pentecost and the liturgical season is red, and below are pictures showing the pulpit and altar cloths I made after the design of the stained glass window. The quilting stitch pattern is meant to look like flames.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Fave Five - I'm Back!

Above is the window in our church above the altar. I've been making altar and pulpit paraments inspired by the design, so check back later for photos of them.

I've posted before on my Fave Five, but it's been a long time! Due to work and family busy times, I took a break from my blog for several months, and missed it. Not that many people read it and missed it, but to me it's a good journal and record of my days, thoughts, and home and sewing projects. So if no one reads it, that's okay with me!

This week I had some favorite times:
1. Got to eat supper with and spend time with friends on Sunday. They cooked chicken on the grill, and we also had potato salad, broccoli salad, and lemon cake. MMM - the tastes of summer!

2. Memorial Day off and a quiet day at home finishing up some sewing projects. It was nice to not have to be somewhere or do something on a time schedule for a whole day.

3. It didn't storm/rain either Tuesday or Thursday after work, so I could run as planned. Keeping up with my running always makes me happy.

4. New tshirts from the sale table at Old Navy with fabric to match for pj bottoms in the works - I'll be extremely cute and comfy when no one can even see me!

5. Drinking morning coffee with my hubby on our days off recently, including today. In the busyness of the last several months, we have missed this time to converse and connect at the beginning of the day.

Enjoy the day, and some other Fave Fives at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story today!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Finished Quilting a Fun Quilt

This quilt started out as an idea to simply use up some of my fabric abundance (overstock). I pulled out several fat quarters that coordinated in color, and started cutting them. My inspiration was the book Rule-Breaking Quilts by Kathryn Schmidt. I was making blocks and they turned out to be odd sizes - 9x8.5, 10.5x9, 8.5 in. square, etc. None were really uniform.

Then L saw my beginnings and claimed the quilt. She pulled out more fabrics, I made some wonky 9-patches to add more variety, and used various strips and scraps to make some of the little checkerboard areas. Then I put all the separate blocks and pieces away until she came to visit again - I just didn't know what to do with them.

She stepped up to the challenge to arrange them, and used some of the bigger leftover pieces to fill in between blocks. I sewed them all together into the center of the top while she was still here to correct any mistakes.

Then I made the spiky border following Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking II. I used up all the rest of the scraps to make some blocks and pieced the back. When I quilted it, my goal was to use different quilting designs in different areas and blocks. Maybe this can be seen in the picture of the back.

This was a really fun project to use up all the scraps and I would like to do this type of quilt again, with L's help, of course!

Confining the Pile

The fact is, a small, organized pile still looks like a messy, unorganized mess. So I found the perfect little basket at Target to contain my notepads for grocery and to-do lists, pens, crossword books, Bible, coupons and ads, etc. on my end table. Everything I need, within easy sight and reach, and much less messy.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Scrap Management

I've been lucky to have a few hours of spare time lately, and my coworker and I took our cutting tools and mats to work for a few lunch time cutting sessions. We both managed to make big dents in our scrap piles - well, the piles are still there, but the scraps are cut into usable pieces now. She has an Accu-Go cutter, which was fun to try. I just used my ol' (dull) rotary cutter mostly. I've found I like having random strips, not necessarily with parallel sides, so I cut lots of them. The wonky log cabins were fun to make, so maybe having a bag of strips will inspire me to make more.

When I put up the new shelves, I went to Dollar Tree for a few small storage containers. One find was these three green baskets. A few days ago, they were full of wadded up big and small fabric pieces. Some of them were ironed before cutting and that made it easier.

Now I have just two baskets full, many squares in marked baggies, as well as a couple of bags labeled "Misc not sized" and "almost square" which will be good for points on wonky stars, etc. These baggies only take up two of the three baskets, so I have an empty one for more scraps!

For your viewing pleasure:

Check out some more empty spaces and decluttering ideas at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wonky Log Cabins

I was reading blogs tonight and Vicki at Sew Inspired wrote about some log cabin blocks she is making.

She asked about how others make improv log cabins.

As she does, I also have felt that maybe I was putting too much effort into fabric placement, which fabrics to use, etc.

I made a baby quilt with wonky log cabins with fussy cut centers, and got so tired of making them that I stopped at 5 and made the alternate blocks as wonky 9-patches instead. I made each block individually, which meant even though I started with a pile of strips/scraps, I got up from the sewing machine after each seam, pressed it and cut the next side straight, and then often had to cut a strip or scrap to use as the next piece. That was time consuming and tiring.

Recently I found a bunch of odd scraps from old 4-H workshops I taught, and wanted to use them as the centers of wonky log cabins. This time I allowed myself to be much more random.

First I fussy cut the center pieces. Then I chose all the strips and scraps that were the colors I wanted to use. Then I started sewing them chain style, by sewing a piece on the right of each center.

I had 15 center pieces, so I didn't have to stop to press and trim until I had 15 sides on. I kept adding more pieces in the same way, pressing and trimming after every 15 seams. I purposely chose the shorter scraps and strips for the first rounds, leaving the longer ones for the end. And I did try to select fabrics to contrast with the previous piece on that block, such as using a green print after brown or red, etc., so one block wouldn't be too monotone. Even though it felt really random as I worked, it was fast and fun!

The blocks are coming out great. I am adding a last round of beige with white dots. After that I may put sashing between the blocks - not sure yet. They are set aside while I finish up a couple of other projects.

Sewing Closet Heaven

Above you see the results of a big project that has made me very happy! In the past few weeks I have been able to clean out and totally reorganize my sewing closet, including putting up new Elfa shelves. Major improvement!!! I love the shelves. They are wonderful! Below: you might not want to look at it, but it's the embarrassingly messy before picture.

Laura at Organizing Junkie talks about labels this week in her 52 weeks of organizing project. I have used lots of labels for a long time. You can see the colored labels on my fabric bins - they either note which color family is inside, or note other items such as elastic, notions, fabric type or pattern category. Sometimes labels help to know where to put things away more than where to find them later.

I've even taken on the role of Label Police at work to label bins and drawers in our storage areas, so even when the containers are empty due to the items are out for their intended use, everyone knows where to put them back, and knows if we need to purchase more consumables.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Some Of the Quilts

I've worked on the past few months. In order from the top down: a top made for DD#1's new bedroom. It is not yet quilted.

A top in progress made for DD#2 - it has been added to and is now on the quilting machine and about half quilted.

A quilt I made for DRH - the saw blade pattern worked out well to use up fabrics I'd been collecting for him for the past couple years. You can't see much but it has all his favorite things - tools, guitars, airplanes, wood textures, International Harvester logos, the moon, typewriter keys, baseballs, bikes and pretzels, and more.

A quilt I made for my little granddaughter's toddler bed. DD#1 then made matching curtains with the leftover fabrics.

What Have I Been Doing?

Just working, sewing, quilting, running, going to the gym, cleaning, having a new grandson, and being so busy I can't remember what else, except NOT blogging. But I think I might be starting up again.

Today I spent making a man's thrifted shirt into a cute toddler dress and bloomers. I should've been cleaning and doing laundry, but I am tired of housework! And it rained all day so I couldn't go running either. I used all but the collar and a few scraps, so I added a little cotton print to make the bloomers.