Sewing with the Seniors

Monday was my first day back “sewing with the seniors” at the assisted living facility. I have not been there on a regular basis since last fall due to physical limitations on my part.

I have to say, I could not have managed without the participation of my husband. He was my “saving grace” getting the ladies machines plugged in; machines “reassembled” etc. Honestly; only one lady had the ability to thread her machine and needle on her own. The rest needed assistance with getting the thread through the guides and tension discs; and through the needle; winding bobbins etc.  Two ladies “brought” their machines to our workshop. The other two ladies were using machines that were “donated” to the facility.  Sadly the facility did not set up enough machines, so some ladies just got to “watch” and talk.  I know there are other machines in a closet somewhere, but…..no staff to go find them.  (This is a $15K/month facility and some things just make me scratch my head.)

I decided the project for the next few sessions will be “Quilt as you go” placemats. I chose this project because our local quilt shop has a charity drive going on. Here are the details from Serendipity Quilt Shop, https://www.serendipityquiltshop.com/ Dagsboro DE website —” Studies have shown that persons receiving home bound meals (similar to Meals on Wheel) feel motivated to eat meals on a more regular basis if they have an attractive place setting.

CHEER has been serving Sussex County since 1971 and provides over 230,000 meals annually to eligible home bound seniors in Sussex County. This vital service ensures that no senior in Sussex County goes hungry. 

As quilters, we can support the meal program and these seniors. Use up your scraps or other fabrics that you often wondered why you purchased and make placemats!   Perhaps you’d like to attend a free Sit & Sew and make placemats!  60% of home bound meals are delivered to men so please keep this in mind while sewing the placemats.

Our goal is to provide 1200 placemats this year. Please join us in our effort to make our seniors feel remembered and cared for by making placemats that are approximately 12” x 16” or 14” x 18”.  

To prep for the day of sewing with the seniors, I cut backing fabric 15″ x 19″ and prepared batting of the same size. My batting was what I called “Frankenbatting”….scraps of batting cut and fused together with Pellon easy-knit tape (EK150), looking a bit like a mad scientist creation when done, but highly functional. I use this often and had to order a new  package this week.

I really like this product; quick and easy to use. Just straighten the edge and butt the join together and press the tape down. I have BAGS of cut-off scraps of batting that are just “too big” to cut up for dog bed filler!  This is a great way to use them.  Anyway….once I had my fabric and batting ready; I used a bit of ODIF 505 spray baste and affixed the backing to the batting.  I gave it a little press with the iron and in no time had 10 placemat sets ready for sewing.

The ladies were given direction and assistance as they sewed the precut strips I provided to the batting and backing.  We assisted with finger pressing in between strips.

Working on placemats

 

Over the course of an hour and 1/2 we played with a lot of strips.  Trish got one finished and started a second one.  The other ladies will no doubt finish next week!

I trimmed down the only finished placemat when I got home and added the binding.  Trish had picked the placemat intended for a man. It has bold colorful stripes on the back and she worked with “non” floral fabrics.

Quilt as you go placemat by Trish

Off & on all week I have been trimming my friend June’s stash of blue & green fabric and setting aside “more strips” for next week; and selecting other fabrics that will make pretty placemat backs.  Since I have all her fabric, and she is part of the group, I thought it was a great way to use her fabric. She enjoyed seeing “familiar” pieces. I enjoy that she is back to sewing after almost 2 years.

The ladies seemed to enjoy the project, doing something for someone else.  They just “want to sew” and I hope that sewing for someone else will give them some personal satisfaction too.  Honestly, the residents at this facility live in 1 or 2 room apartments and don’t have room for any “stuff”; so anything they make gets given away.

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Taking care of some odds and ends

A few years ago, I made a project, called a Beatle Bag.  I wrote about it here – beatle bag .

This bag is my “take it with me” sewing kit full of all those essentials you need when you are “away” from your home sewing room. The pattern information is in the post  above from 2014.   This was a pattern I picked up at a quilt show and paid $20 for the pattern and the vinyl pockets. Note; not just any vinyl pocket – double ended with spots in the center for securing them in the beatle bag.  The “BASICS” of the bag are worth doing!  I have used the bag below for 5 years straight, so it is looking worn.

Well used beatle bag

I learned a lot about sewing through multiple layers and fighting with poor stitches when I had a needle that was TOO small during this project.  I learned that sewing through velcro required a #16 / heavy duty / denim needle, as did putting the binding on this project, after the fact. (Oh, the stitching is ugly).  Oh, yes, I used a twill fabric for the outside, not a quilters cotton as suggested. Could explain some of my issues I suppose, but it has held up quite well!

I take this sewing bag with me EVERY time I leave the house to go to a guild sewing event, a bee, a sit & sew etc.  It did serve the purpose for which I made it. So, my $20 was not a bad investment….except….. I have spent the LAST 5 years swearing under my breath everytime I unzipped one of those vinyl pockets and came away with the slider in my hand.  I figured that I could carry on; with clips from the office supply store keeping the pockets closed. Bulldog clips; jumbo paper clips, anything I could find to keep the pockets closed.

My dear husband could get the slides back on, but not me.  He said – “Don’t over fill the pockets“.  Ok; I admit it….I put a few tools in the pockets, but not ALL the stuff that was on page 9 of the pattern.  No kleenex, breath mints; chocolate or aspirin.

Ok; I know…I should have had chocolate in there, but because I keep my sewing in the garage, I didn’t want to attract any bugs etc. Anyway, as you see in the photo below; the bags are an unusual configuration and you can see the “off tabs” inside one of the bags!

OLD beatle bag inserts

Anyway…. fast forward 4 years….and I decided enough is enough, and went to Walmart and bought a yard of vinyl.  I sew better now than I did than when I first made the Beatle Bag.  I was pretty convinced one day last year that I could “remake” those pockets. Then, as you know, I got busy. Vinyl sat on the top shelf in the sewing room, gathering dust. 😦

Well….this week I got inspired when I saw a You-Tube video with Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop making a  Project bag  with a vinyl “window”.  Then I watched another You Tube “project bag” maker, taking a bit different approach  Another Project bag  .  ( You have to Fast forward to 3:00 mins to get to the project in the 2nd video.)

I had all the supplies on hand to “re-engineer” my pockets.  I had a yard of medium weight vinyl, lots of zippers, and 1/2 yard of 2 really cute “sewing” fabrics that would be fun to use.  I also know when to use a bigger needle when sewing through weird stuff.  (Or at least I thought I did….note – don’t use a 75/11 when going through multiple layers of fabric and vinyl…..upgrade to at least a 90/14.)

I layered up a fabric for the outside and one for the inside with batting; and quilted the entire 1/2 yard in a cross hatch (3″) pattern.  Then I measured out the size I wanted and cut the quilted yardage into 4 pieces.  I marked where the button holes should go, and was desperate for an hour looking for my owners manual for my sewing machine….and how to attach the buttonhole foot. After purging a supply of 2015 -18 fabric sales catalogues from my shelf, I suddenly realized I was putting the buttonhole foot on backwards. I never found my user manual …but I filled a waste basket full of stuff for the recycle bin. (Now that I am finished the book will reappear I am certain).

And, you would have thought I’d remember to put in a bigger needle after I did the quilting…but I didn’t until I had 2 done with some “crummy” stitches in the binding. Don’t zoom in…..(The life story of this bag!)

Beatle bag inserts reinvented

I made them with a zipper at both ends; and buttonholes (2) down the center. The vinyl pocket holds a lot of stuff!

Replacing the vinyl inserts

After I did 2 with RED edges I realized how silly that looked with the purple and green bag, so I went “SCRAPPY” with the remaining 2.

The picture below shows the reason I needed the button holes –

4 new inserts made

The sections are held in bag with velcro tabs that come up the center.

Hindsight – I probably should have “rounded off the corners and just done the binding all the way around; but I didn’t think of that until I realized that the “corners pop out” when the bag is rolled closed.

Beatle bag reinvented

Oh well; what are you going to do?  I think “leave it alone” at this point.  In another 5 years; maybe I will make a new one from scratch and modify the whole project at that point.  (And if you look at the post I first linked to , you will see where my hubby said to “square up the project, not cut it rounded”…lol).

I have “filled” the project pages with my supplies, and there is still room.  And the zippers work, so that is that! For now anyway~!~

Speaking of “odds & ends”, I finished Bird # 3; and got an eye on #2 & #3!  They are all seated politely on the sofa for a photo shoot….then they are “going in the Christmas bin” in the linen closet!

(A look back at this project here – A week of Finishes and Fun  

and here – Cardinal block pattern ) .

Three cardinals finished

I had fun picking out black buttons with gold edges to use for the eyes.

Birds eye view

Edit – the cardinal pattern comes from Mom and Pop Quilt Shop – in Canada. The pattern is free and the page takes a bit of time to load.  This is an EASY pattern and makes a pretty 12″ block. I added borders and quilted with one layer of warm and natural batting and muslin for a backing. After the quilting I turned the squares into “envelope style” cushion covers. They hold 18″ pillow forms.

Another little “odds & ends” job that has been put off for years has been taken care of recently.  I made a bag to carry my cutting mat, ruler, shape cut and assorted stuff back around 2010.   I have had a “hate relationship” with the handles ever since I made the bag.  The bag gets heavy and the measly handles don’t give you anything to “hold on to” when you carry it and they cut into my shoulder.

Disclaimer – It is not the pattern’s fault that I hated the straps….mostly.  The bag was made using a pattern I found online at Moda Bakeshop.  The pattern was called “Cutting Mat Caddy by Melissa Corry”.  (I just looked for the pattern, and can not find it online anymore.  I have a print copy in my 3 ring binder)

When I first made the bag, I used the “general premise” of the pattern, and substituted “leftover squares” from a quilt I made for my granddaughter and my sister (Ok….I got crazy cutting and making 4 patches at some point). Anyway; I made the straps the size she recommended, but  wrapped them completely around the bag and stitched them on BEFORE I sewed the front and back panel together and lined the bag. The pattern didn’t call for you to put anything “inside” the actual handles.

I NOW know that the problem with the old handles (left side of the photo below) is that there was nothing to give stability to the handles…..this was the first bag I ever made.  I have had the bag “sitting” in the sewing room for a year, waiting on new handles.   One day, I grabbed the bag and fabric and just cut off the old handles, and got busy making new ones. In the photo below, you can see how I attached the new handles.

attaching the new straps

Since making this bag in 2010 I have made a couple of other projects that had “better detail” in making bag handles.  I used a layer of quilt batting inside my handles; and did several rows of stitching to stabilize the handles.  The new handles finished off 1 1/2″ wide compared to the old ones that were 1 1/4″.  I figured with good stitching, the handles didn’t NEED to go all the way to the bottom of the bag!  (I did not want to take out the bag lining either!!!)

See those old handles on the left below?  I saved them as a reminder of how to do it “wrong”.

NEW straps on my mat bag

So; version 2.0 of my mat bag is a success.  It holds my 18×24 cutting mat, shape cut and long ruler quite nicely, along with anything else I stuff in.  I’ve had 2 “test runs” to quilting events already and it works great!!  Straps are long enough to go over my shoulder which is what I wanted.

Mat Bag updated version 2.0

I’ve enjoyed working on some of these odds & ends that have been pushed into the corner for way to long.  I’m swearing off new projects until I get a LOT more of the “bits and pieces” taken care of along with the “odds & ends”.

Glad to have some of these projects done and no longer cluttering up my sewing space & head!  What about you?  Anything cluttering up your sewing space that just needs an “afternoon” to fix?

A week of finishes and fun

I’ve had a fairly busy week.  Mid-week I was going to post something and then FLICKR had an outage while they did a platform migration; so I had to patiently wait…..in order to share my photos on the blog post. The downtime was much longer than I anticipated!

Wrapping up the never ending placemat project  — The final batch of batik placemats has binding on them!  Happy to get them finished!  Now; what to do with them????  (Started these last summer, and they turned out to be a fun project for free motion quilting practice) Time to put the basket of batik strips away for a while. Total made – 18.

Finally finished

I attended a “sit & sew” on Thursday and Friday and got something “finished” during that dedicated sewing time.  Funny thing is; I honestly didn’t know what I was going to work on until it came time to load the car on Thursday morning to leave. I walked into my sewing room; saw my 2 unfinished Cardinal blocks on the design wall and made a fast decision.  Another started these LAST year….had 1 completed and 2 unfinished.

My 3rd bird is not finished; but I have big plans for it on Tuesday at my Queen Bees gathering!

Two Cardinals

The bird on the right is “last year’s” model.  The one on the left is the one I finished on Thursday.

When I was leaving to go to the sit & sew, I forgot to grab the finished one to bring as a “reminder” of how I did the quilting etc. I also failed to bring all the thread colors I might need.  I was “saved by my friend Cheryl” who had an array of choices and shared!

It wasn’t until I sat these 2 together to take this photo that I realised what I had done differently to the bird.  Bird on the right (Bird 1) is really standing out.  He has an extra layer of wool batting JUST under the bird portion and bird on the right is just one layer of batting.  Other than “fabric choices” for borders; bird on the right also has more quilting surrounding him and in the borders.  Bird on the right was quilted on my Janome 8900; bird on the left (Bird #2) on my Singer Featherweight.  Bird # 3 is also being quilted with the Singer Featherweight. When I started to quilt Bird #3, I had Bird 1 & 2 nearby so I could “remember” what I was supposed to do.

Bird # 3 will fly into the blog after Queen Bees!  The quilting is about half complete and then I need to put it together into an envelope style pillow. These take about an 18″ pillow form with the borders I added.    The pattern I used came from Mom and Pop Quilt Shop

I am headed over to the assisted living facility where my friend June lives this morning. This will be my 3rd trip in a week. She has been inspired to begin sewing again; and I have been “on call” for sewing assistance.

Hubby did some “tension” adjustments and general maintenance to one of her machines this week, repairing some broken latches on the bobbin access door and getting it “sewing right”. He inserted a nice LED bayonet style bulb that I had ordered, and it “lights up” the sewing area so much better than the old bulb. (Another back story….June’s machine was having serious tension trouble and I spent 3 hours trying to get things right last Saturday. Her hubby tried too; and in the processes the light bulb went out and removing it was a mess!  Those old bulbs rust in their housings and break between the brass and the bulb when you try to remove them. So; ordering new LED bulbs from E-bay was an absolute necessity. I got great price and service and from http://singer-featherweights-revived.com/index.html.  The store name on EBAY is “old times sew in stuff”.  The machine is not a featherweight but takes the same size bayonet  bulb. ) Thank goodness she had a 2nd machine to sew on, so I could bring the other one home to get fixed.

Anyway; June is making some gifts for her daughter in law and is on “deadline” for an anniversary mid June, and so I am providing “tech/sewing” support.   😉  She is finally feeling well enough to WANT to sew; and that is good news and makes me want to help her get going. She saw a pattern in a magazine for a sunflower mug rug 2 months ago. After she first showed it to me,  I assembled a container of her fabrics from my sewing room.

Well, like sewers and quilters everywhere, she has “grown the project” into something more and now she is making 4 placemats!  (Sound familiar??) I am taking “more” background fabric and batting today so she has enough!  (Originally I took her enough supplies for the “one” mug rug).

Helping June with a project

When I left her on Tuesday, this is how far we had gotten. One placemat ready to turn, and one sunflower ready to stitch down. Since then; she decided that the sunflower needs to be “removable” ; so I picked up some “sew on velcro” and will add it to the placemat and the flower. Will certainly make it “easier to wash”. And like anyone who has sewn, she has “re-invented the sunflower” as she progressed. Needless to say; it is FUN watching her making sewing and design decisions again!  She has been “out of the game” for nearly 2 years and I am ready and willing to get her busy again.  She needs a lot more help these days; but who doesn’t at their mid 80’s?  I just love that she is inspired again!

Last weekend, after I spent time with June, I convinced the hubby to take a bike ride. We have such beautiful state parks; and there is one nearby with great tree covered trails and bridges where you can stop and enjoy the water view too.

Hubby rides

I might have not told him “exactly” how far it was to make the whole loop!

Nice ride at the State park

I did treat him to a nice dinner later, at the beach!

Reward for the ride

It was nice to get to the beach “one last time” before the start of the summer season. Memorial Day is the official start and the roads and beaches will be jammed.  We enjoyed a quiet evening before the crowds take over.

Full moon on the rise

                       Summer season has begun in Rehoboth Beach!  

We buzzed the neighborhood across the road once during the week together on our bikes,  so he could make more bike adjustments.  (And to help work off the tacos….wasn’t enough exercise….)

Short ride after dinner

On  Wednesday night I rode with the #LIFECYCLE Community Bike Ride.

Wednesday night Community ride with Lifecycle

This month, in spite of that “road rash back on May 7th”; I have gotten 42 miles in.

Last night there was a “glow ride” in Milford. This was sponsored by #LIFECYCLE .

What is a glow ride?  Check out the story about the glow ride from the local news  and see what the “glow” is all about !!!) – https://youtu.be/PjzY_6Ya-uw

I did one glow ride last year, but I didn’t want to fight the holiday weekend beach traffic to get home afterwards.  Instead, we made a short trip to pick up some new “glow lights” for my bike and hubby installed them after dinner. They look so cool! And I am ready for the next Wednesday evening ride!

Adding wheel lights

The “still” photo below gives you a general idea –

Wheel lights

It is hard to explain how cool they look, so I have linked a video I filmed in our driveway – Wheel lights in motion

I think when I suggested these lights he thought I was nuts; but after he took a spin around the driveway; he saw how much FUN it was.  Next week is a rather long ride and I now need to work on getting the “right” combination of headlights on the bike!  More about that later.

Go out and have some fun!

After dinner update — Look what we accomplished today – I think they look pretty darn good!

Sunflower placemats

She needs to “quilt” or “top stitch” the place mats and  tack the backing on the sunflowers.  The sunflowers will be removable from the place mat for washing.

PHOTO LINKS Temporarily broken

Quick post – I depend on FLICKR.COM as a “pro” for storage of photos for my blog. Yesterday (5/22/19) at 7 pm Flickr website went down to migrate to a “bigger and better” platform; and this was to take only a few hours. Over 24 hours later the platform is not yet operational and my better than 9000 photos are out there in the mysterious world of zeros and ones….floating around; waiting for themselves to be “set right”.   Because my blog posts photos “LINK BACK” to the FLICKR website, you will encounter the “website address” instead of the photo.  Clicking on the website address won’t get you to the photo either.

Hopefully all will be right with the world tomorrow. You may see similar outages on other blogs.

 

Binding and more binding

When I do stuff; I often get carried away. I started these in July last year.  I had a lot of batik scraps and strips.  Making blocks that just seem to multiply.  Scrappy sewing fun!   Maybe I should have turned the blocks into a quilt as you go project; but then again; maybe not.  I did a table runner; but still had lots of blocks, so  I had a lot of fun making some wonderful placemats last September.

More placemat fun

Then, life got busy.  A few months ago I managed to get the binding on enough to “set the table”. That was February I think.  

I still had a stack of 12 to tackle. and they languished. Post quilt show; I have been trying to tackle some of these languishing projects. Mostly to get the baskets of projects off the floor under the design wall!!   My first 6 that I bound a few months ago had very scrappy binding. 

I made some binding for the placemats “a while back” but never got “round to putting it on”. And I quickly realized it wasn’t enough. I realized I better just break down and cut some yardage to get more bound. I feel like I’ve I’ve spent the last week making miles of Susie’s Magic Binding.  ) It is that wonderful 2 piece binding that you machine on and it looks terrific on most projects.)  So, beginning last weekend, I used what was already made; and then got out some yardage to make more. Once I had a bunch made,  I grabbed a placemat and the roll of binding and got started.

7 placemats bound

6 are the same and one is different…….   (Did I mention I needed a LOT of binding?)  

I never really sat down and calculated just how much I needed until I ran out after the first 6 in the picture above. Then I started back in with the scrappy binding. (That is why the top one is different)  After all; I still had a LOT of strips to play with.

So; a few more feet of binding got made yesterday (34 feet I think) and I am ready for another few days of binding.  It takes me about an hour start to finish each one.  The join takes me longer than anything else honestly if I am not focused.  I use the “binding tool”  and have discovered it (or me) leaves too long of a tail, so I baste; fit; adjust; trim; baste etc.  The ONLY hard thing with Susie’s Magic Binding is LINING up the flange at the join.  I get lazy and forget to put a pin through both layers. After screwing around with 1 placemat on Thursday and messing up the join, my memory returned.  I stick a pin right where I want the line of the flange to be and it works every time. That made the last 3 I stitched yesterday work well.

These 5 are ready and waiting for available sewing time!

Binding ready

That will be the “end” of this strip / scrap batik project.  Afterwards; I think the remaining strips will go into a box with similar colors for string blocks, down the road.

What are you working on this weekend?

 

Saddles, Dances, Donuts and more

Ok; so my last post (Back in the Saddle Again) alluded to me being “cleared to ride” my bike and get back to normal life.  Well… I had a lovely 7 mile ride that same day,  with my daughter and granddaughter, until  this happpened….

Road Rash Bruised Ego ride

….my big EGO crashed and fell and bloodied my knee.  Nothing like being 63 years old sitting on the ground, under the bike and embarrassing yourself.  My faith in humanity is restored when 2 drivers parked their car and came running over to the trail edge where I sat on the ground, trying to collect my dignity, and breath. My daughter is so wise to carry a first aid kit.  We cleaned my leg up; slapped an available band-aid on part of it; and picked up the bike.

I was able to walk and so I got back up on the bike and road the last 3 miles back to the trail head parking.  Then, when I tried to get off the bike, I realized I could not put any weight on my left leg and my daughter insisted I go get an x-ray.

Since the local hospital was 2 blocks away, I drove over to the ER; used the valet to park the car; and got “wheeled” into the hospital by the valet.  Good grief….a skinned knee…Well, after several hours, and x-rays; and clean up; I drove myself home. (The best part of the journey was the valet who brought the SUV right up to the door and helped me hoist my EGO back into the driver’s seat!  (That man got a tip!!!)

The good news is nothing was broken; although I could not put any weight on the leg until the following day. The abrasion went from just below the knee cap down about 8″.  The black & blue; a week later; extends around the entire knee; front and back; up the thigh a few inches and down to my ankle.  The darn abrasion doesn’t want to heal; and I have to keep “dressing it” and wrapping with an ace bandage.  So…..I have been on hold for the last week from riding.  BIG SAD FACE.   Maybe tomorrow I can ride……in the driveway and around our property…..we shall see.

The incident kept me “out of the sewing room” for a few days too; because it was just TOO much to hike to the garage and climb the stairs.  Now; by Friday, I was more able; and I got out to “play”!  The Scrap Dance Minuet clue came out on Friday; so I managed the stairs.  Over the course of a couple of days I got all my sewing done for Step # 4.

Step 4 Scrap Dance Minuet

I have a few “extra geese” because I might have made a dozen “spares”.  I also made a few more 9 patches in prettier spring floral prints. I have some that are a little too “fall like” to suit me at this point.  I am doing a king size…..I do this to myself….I started with the throw size but have SO many scraps I just kept making 4 patches and flying geese. I started this while my finger was recovering from surgery and rotary cutting was a challenge.  I just worked on the cutting a “little at a time”.   I could probably make a few more king size; but I would have to switch to off white for the background.

Now I wait for the 2nd Friday in June for Step # 5.  Are you sewing along on the Scrap Dance Minuet Mystery?  It is not too late to start, especially if you have lots of scraps hanging around needing to be used!  Try the table topper size or a throw size if you want to sew along. Click on the link about to get the directions.  I’m going to guess that the pattern directions will come off of the blog post after the final reveal, and be available later for purchase; so if you like what you see; get it now.

Sunday our Senior quilt was presented to the graduate at church.

Senior quilt on the rail

The piping on the edge of the binding really shows !  I love doing Susie’s Magic Binding Technique!  If you don’t want to hand finish binding, I highly recommend this method.  I use it on everything!

On Tuesday I went with 2 friends to the Embroidery Club and we made an “in the hoop” pin cushion.  The pattern came from Embroidery Garden   and was fairly easy to follow.  It always helps that our Embroidery Club leader, ANNA, has great tips for keeping the project moving. This pattern suggests either felt or fleece.  I made the blue one at the club; and came home and made the white one at home. I used stabilized quilters cotton for the top of the white one; and think it would have been better with felt. I used the colors I had at home in my “box of felt”.  I might need to replenish my supplies !

Donut pin cushion

This “in the hoop” pattern did require the use of a regular sewing machine after the embroidery was finished; the donut turned right side out. You had to stitch “around the center” to make the donut hole.  You then cut out the hole and ended up with a nice “ring shape”.  We stuffed with poly-fill and whip stitched by hand the small opening along the edge.  I found that the eraser end of a pencil helped get the filling in around that center.  The white cotton top donut has a little fussing on the edges and the fabric tended to wrinkle while I was stuffing and pushing the filling around. I don’t think I would try it with cotton again. Felt doesn’t fray and just looks a bit nicer. The finished donut is about 3.5″ across and 1″ high approx.

These would be fun if you had a child with a “play kitchen” and they needed some more “play food”.  My box of felt squares hearkens back to Felt Food for a 2 year old when I made a lot of play food for the grands in 2013.  Some of those felt food items are still floating around.  At least one carrot made it’s way back to me during a grandchild visit; and the cats are enjoying batting it around!  I can see; revisiting that blog post that my early efforts in making play food could be greatly improved with the use of the embroidery machine!  The ones in that post were all done with a regular sewing machine and visiting lots of other blogs to get patterns and ideas.

What are you working on this week??  Have you made play food for kids?  What are your favorite embroidery machine design sources?

 

Back in the Saddle Again

It seems like months have gone by where I have had little to report in the “sewing and quilting” world on my blog.  Many of you who have followed the blog for any length of time are aware I had surgery on my right hand in October for trigger release on 2 fingers. This was followed up by surgery on Valentines Day for the big problem with my long finger; where the arthritis was so bad that bone spurs were growing etc..

Last Tuesday (April 30) I had a follow up with the hand surgeon.

Last day in the splint

As I sat in the waiting room, with my fingers crossed (sort of) I wondered what he would say. 10 weeks in a splint was “enough for me…and I was getting impatient. First stop was the x-ray to check on bone growth –

Screw is working

The technician always puts the x-ray up on the computer screen and I can’t resist studying it while I wait for the doctor to come in.  You can see that nice 28mm titanium screw that is now a permanent part of my life.  When the doc zooms in on the x-ray he is looking for “new bone around the screw” and no hollow areas.

When he came in and checked both my hand and the x-ray, he threw the splint in the trash!  I am SO happy!  That long finger is now well on it’s way to healing!  The “titanium” screw he placed in the finger thru the first joint is now bonding nicely with new bone growth and improving every day. This is great news as the splint got in the way of a lot of fun!  AND he released me to go “live life”.  Of course, I had to ask specifically – CAN I RIDE MY BIKE???  Permission was granted!!  So; I am “back in the saddle” so to speak again.  (You may be wondering what this has to do with quilting….I’m getting there…..patience).

My shiny new Christmas bike, a hybrid by LIV, has been calling my name in the garage. Every nice warm spring day I have heard her call, and I have been SO GOOD.  I finally got to get out on her (I call her Fancy FLO) and ride!  My first ride was on Wednesday night last week with #LifecycleDE in their Community Slow Cruise.  First time out and 6 1/2 miles.

1st ride post op

It was great to be in Milford DE and welcomed back by riders I got to know over the last year.

My next ride was the “next day” and I did the Thursday Morning Wake Up ride.  My daughter leads that ride with her toddler in tow, and there were only 3 of us riding.  She took us on a little bit long route around the neighborhoods of Milford.

Lifecycle morning ride

There is a fantastic video that LIFECYCLE posted of our “morning ride” on Instagram – Thursday morning wake up ride

The bike trailer my daughter pulls has one of my granddaughters seated in it. She loves to be “out in the open”.  (Yes, in that video I am the GEEK in the bright yellow vest—-I like to be visible to automobiles!)

Then yesterday; I got the dear husband out to ride in Lewes DE on the new section of the Georgetown Lewes Rails to Trails. The segment he and I rode on was all in the town, but you honestly felt like you were out in the country in some parts, as we saw horses and barns on the North side of the trail in some areas.

Exploring the new trail

Hubby rode for 3 miles and I got an extra “nearly” three miles in a loop at the end. I road down to the canal and looped back.  The library in Lewes has a “trailhead” parking area with public restrooms; so it is a good starting point.

Last night my hubby helped me “bling” my bike rack.

Reflective tape

Last week, coming home in the dark from Milford with the bike on the rack, I felt like it was not being “seen” by vehicles approaching me on the highway. It sticks out past the hitch about 3 feet. I ordered some reflective “trailer” tape on E-Bay this weekend and it came in on Monday.

Rack in stowage position

Even with the rack in the stowed position; it should be a bit more “visible” to motorists driving behind me.   This rack holds 2 bikes and with bikes on; or stowed I am a little more comfortable about being “seen”.

Now; about that “saddle”  … the seat of the bike is often called a “saddle”….and I am most happy to be riding again. Having the splint off, I can now comfortably hold the hand grips and engage the rear brake on the bike.  Also; having the splint off makes it much EASIER to work in my sewing room!

Post quilt show, I have spent the last week working on “small things” that have been building up. I got the binding on the Carolina Hurricane Quilt (yesterday’s post) and the “Senior Quilt” for our church presentation coming up next Sunday. (More details on this project – Senior Quilts 2019

binding complete

Of course, I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” for it as well.  (See yesterday’s post for link to this method of binding all by machine) (Yes, I can make it, apply it in a day!) (NO HAND STITCHING FOR ME)

I worked on those Flying Geese (yesterday’s post) and then I decided to tackle something that has been making me nuts for at least 8 years. In the picture below you will see a mat bag I made the first years I was quilting.  I had found a free pattern on the internet and modified it to fit my needs.  It is a great bag, but the handles were terrible.  I really knew NOTHING about making bags or handles.  I’ve been thinking about “fixing” them for years, but never got “around to it”.

New handles for mat bag

The NEW handles are on the bag; and below the bag are the puny little wrinkled up handles that I cut off.  The problem with the old handles was they were “JUST fabric” with nothing inside.  Ever since I made the “Chubby Charmer bag” last year, I knew how I was going to fix the handles.  I know with the 2 layers of batting and the 4 layers of fabric and the heavy stitching they will do just fine.  This bag is big enough to carry my cutting mat; rulers; shape cut etc.  No longer will it be a pain in the hand or shoulder to carry!

While clearing things up in the sewing room; I discovered the “STACK” of fabric I put in a basket under my desk to make dog beds from.  I use the trimmings from all the 2nd Time Around fabric and things I am trimming of my own to stuff the beds.  Also scraps of batting too small to deal with get stuffed into dog beds. All that ugly, none quilt fabric got put to good use.

Dog beds for SPCA

We dropped these beds off and two BAGS of more ugly decorator fabric from the 80’s & 90’s to the “dog bed lady” in our guild on our way to ride bikes!  I still have a small stack of fabrics for dog beds and will no doubt find more hanging around.  I have a couple left here to “fill” with batting scraps and other trimmings as it comes available.

There is certainly more to do in the sewing room.  Don’t faint Nancy B., I vacuumed up there on Sunday afternoon!!!  (She would be so proud!!)

So, you see, I am truly back in the saddle again!  As I wander around my sewing room, I am picking up projects half done, and starting to “chip away” at them.  But wait, it is time to get moving this morning…there is another bike ride with my daughter and granddaughter and I need to pedal!  Happy to be moving forward in the sewing room and moving forward on my bike!  More old projects getting done tomorrow!