A week of loading and unloading

I have had a MOST busy week.  Monday was Ocean Waves Quilt Guild day, so that meant on Sunday evening, I loaded up the SUV with all the stuff we have to “sell” at our Second Time Around tables.

On Monday morning, I arrived at the meeting location at 8 am to unload and start setting up. I have such willing helpers who work quickly to lay out all the fabrics and baskets of notions and fat quarters while I find a place to set up our “for sale by you” bulletin board, and to set up a “check out” station, etc.

This month was our first time using the new Casio cash register I purchased, and did it make my life easier once I got the knack of using it. No time for mistakes when these ladies are shopping.

Thanks to the cash register I could determine I had over 60 customers, sold 176 Fat Quarters, 50 half yard pieces of fabric; 38 full yard pieces of fabric, and $493.92 of “other yardage/notions” etc. Not too bad for 1 hour and 20 minutes…. Proceeds to the guild were over $780. It is a great payoff, since EVERYTHING is donated to the guild, and we iron, trim, square up, fold and price those donated things and make them look pleasing. And as is the typical day, I get JUST as much in donations to “repeat and resell” at future meetings.  In this photo, from the Guild facebook page, you can see the line of tables along the windows where the ladies are all “shopping” . 16601919_649817651858068_3251816470784442006_or

And of course, it all has to be repacked tidily and reloaded to come back home, and unloaded and shelved. All the donations go up stairs in the garage for that “repeat process”. Everytime I see light at the end of the tunnel with the donations, another load comes in. I set up a couple of days each week to work on this; and ask members of the guild to come over for 3 hours, a few at a time. It seems to work, and the guild benefits.

The rest of my week involved our annual guild retreat in Ocean City Maryland. On Tuesday, I had to pack up the car (sounds like a lot of that in my life….) and check in at 4 pm. Because of the way my crazy busy life is, I decided NOT to work on the 2 projects at the retreat. Instead I loaded up my 3 bins of Bonnie Hunter class UFO’s.

I had checked in, had my suitcase in the room, the sewing machine and associated gear set up in the Quilt Room, and was “ready for dinner” at 5:30 pm.

I spent the 3 days working on my Talkin’ Turkey project and made considerable progress, once I finished “unstitching” all those blocks I had the “wrong” seam allowance on! All is well now, and I completed the 30 nine patches I needed; and started adding the string blocks to them. By the time I departed at noon on Friday, I had 17 blocks “ready” for the next round. I need to build some more string blocks before the last batch are ready for the next round. (I love String blocks).  Note – Talkin’ Turkey is a Bonnie Hunter design and can be found in her book STRING FLING. The book is available for purchase on Bonnie’s website – http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com  .

17 Talkin' Turkey blocks

There really is nothing quite like a few days at the beach in February. Our first day was almost 70 degrees and at lunch time many took long walks on the boardwalk, and others just enjoyed the rocking chairs on the deck and the view of the crashing surf. The second day a storm blew in and the temps dropped into the 30’s with gale force winds and churning waves. So fun to watch from the big windows in the Quilt Room while we sewed.

Crashing waves during Nor'easter

 

We woke up to beautiful a beautiful sunrise on the last day, and frigid weather.

Sunrise in Ocean City

I stayed to the last hour, and did that packing up and loading up for the trip home, and the reverse once home. (Are you sensing a familiar theme here??)

After I got home, I had to do a bit of work getting photos printed on fabric for our Saturday morning at church.  We have 5 graduates getting quilts this year.  I am only sewing one of the quilts.  And of course, as it worked out, I only had enough printer-ready fabric for 4 photos; so I had to “order more” !  I will get the package later in the week, and print the last one for the quilt I am working on.

Church photo printed on fabric

So, of course, Saturday consisted of another pack up and load up to go to church to work on our Senior Quilts project. This was a little bit less stuff, starting out. 

But afterwards, when we were finished, I visited a church member who was “clearing out” her sewing things. She is over 90 and not sewing like she used to anymore. While I was there I loaded up the SUV for the 2nd time in 2 weeks with her donations. I also took her up on the purchase of her beautiful 221-1 Singer Featherweight – circa January 1948. 

1948 Singer Featherweight

When she first asked me 2 weeks ago if I was interested, I resisted. I knew going yesterday I was going to make the purchase, and I am SO happy I did. This little machine is pristine, with all her decals and beautiful paint, great case and all the feet, bobbins, extra needles, new container of oil, owners manual etc. She will be lovely for future “sit and sew” events. I have one scheduled for Wednesday, and I think I will take her along! (Yes, more loading of the car).

I finished off Saturday evening stitching out more Bible verses; 2 for the Senior Quilts and one for a baby quilt. This one is for the baby quilt.  The source is Designs by JuJu.com in the FREE section of her embroidery website.

Baby Quilt

So, that is my exciting week….the forearms have bruises from carrying and lifting and toting etc, but it has been wonderful !

What have you been up to??

 

Baby Fun

Last Sunday I stopped in after church to see my granddaughter and her parents.  I delivered the “leftovers” from a crockpot meal I had taken to church; and arrived in time to see the granddaughter up and about and playing.  I had SO much fun with her for 20 minutes or so, before it was time for her nap.  She is 10 1/2 months old and laughs and giggles so much. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, because she was “vacationing”.  On the way out to go home, my daughter asked me for a little sewing repair job.  I got that done yesterday, and along with the quick repair, I made a few more bibs.  I had been in the store  called Tuesday Morning on Monday, and tripped over a package of Babyville PUL fabric. The price was terrific – 3 fat quarters for $3.99.  I purchased BOTH packages that were on the shelf.  This product usually sells for about $9.99. I couldn’t wait to turn out a few new bibs.

Bibs for Addy

Reverse side of February bibs

My daughter picked out the cotton fabric from my fat quarter stash a while back, and I just had to pick from them something that these fun PUL pieces would work with!  This batch of bibs is quilted with the warm and natural cotton batting behind the cotton print. Then the bib is assembled and top stitched.  I don’t like to do a lot of stitching on the PUL fabric, as it reduces the waterproofing that is the primary feature.

Today, after my 2nd day of “Second Time Around” sorting, ironing, measuring folding was done, I thought I would play with an “applique embroidery pattern” I downloaded from Hatched In Africa.com  ( http://www.hatchedinafrica.com/detail.aspx?id=3804&c=49&sc= ).  This adorable FREE pattern – Easter Applique Medley,  was one of several I downloaded today.

So, I set to work on another bib – I decided to “not cut out the bib shape” until I was finished with the embroidery.  Less hassle hooping was my logic.

You can see yellow chalk where I marked the “center” of the bib.

First applique project

I’ve never done any Embroidery with applique before and this was so much fun.  The design has stops for you to add your fabrics as you go along.

Success with Applique

I was really pleased with the result.  After the embroidery applique was completed, I cut out the fabric, batting and backing for the bib.  I quilted this one too before assembly with the PUL fabric.

Flip side of the applique bib

I top stitched after it was assembled. Just need to add the snaps, and it is ready to wear!

Spring Chick Bib Feb 2017

Wait….Easter is a couple of months away….Time enough to wash the bib and get the yellow chalk marks off before she wears it.  This Stitching Grandma better figure out a Valentine and St Patrick’s Day and a 1st Birthday bib before she sports her SPRING CHICK !!

I will definitely be doing more applique work with the embroidery machine, as long as free patterns are available for me to download. This was really fun and I am happy with my “first time” !!   If you like machine embroidery, do go check out Hatched In Africa . com and the cute patterns they offer.  There are lots of “freebies” and once a week on Friday they offer a free design too.

My next “sewing for baby” project is to take the “brown paper pattern” I traced during my visit, and duplicate a “food bib” with pocket. The current “meal time bib” has long sleeves and goes on much like an artists apron.  Another learning opportunity!

Hope you are having fun with your projects!

Paper and Embroidery time and more

A step “away” from my usual sewing/quilting posts.

Last week I spent some “embroidery time” with two friends from my quilt bee – the Queen Bees.  One lady had just gotten an embroidery machine, so I was pleased to share tips and techniques to alleviate some of the frustration NEWBIES have with these machines, just out of the box.  We talked A LOT about stabilizers and what to use and when.  Also about how to move designs from the computer to the machine etc.  There is a lot to KNOW about these machines, right out of the box, and I wrote a blog post full of resource info about the subject — Embroidery resources

We worked on “hooping” which I always struggle with, due to arthritis in my hands. And we helped her set up and stitch out a design with 12 thread changes.  By the time the design stitched out, she was becoming the expert at threading her machine.    After the ladies left, I realised I still had a tea towel in the hoop on my machine, so the next afternoon, I picked a design for a quick stitch out.

Coffee cup close up

I picked this design because it was a fast, light stitchout.  I love watching the machine work – This is a Brother PE500 that I won in 2013 from Brother Sews in a contest on Facebook.  The machine has a capable hoop size of 4×4 (100 mm x 100 mm).  This often limits what you can do design wise.  In my dreams I would have a big giant machine with a big giant hoop, with digitizing capability built in the machine……but the truth is, I would not get my “monies worth” from such a machine. 

Embroidery machine fun

After the dishtowel was finished, I moved along to doing the Bible Verses that will be included in the quilts we make at church for our graduates.

There is a designer who has made a mission of digitizing many verses; and offers them for free.  Take a look at her website Designs by JuJu .   The verses are under the FREEBIES tab.  She digitizes both 4×4 and 5×7 sizes, but my machine is limited to 4×4. That means, not all the verses are usable for my purposes.  This makes me contemplate obtaining digitizing software, and learning how to make it work!  (Yikes, another new thing to learn).

Anyway; the point is….if I am trying to do something that is not digitized already, I have to load the design in, one character at a time. Not an easy feat, and with my built in font choices, not a lot of choices. Alignment is the hardest part when you go to the next line of words, as you are manually setting where the line will stitch.  I use the ruler, but gosh it is challenging….more things to learn.  In the photo below is a verse that was not available, but the mother really wanted this on her son’s quilt.  So, I bit the bullet and worked it out. My spacing isn’t perfect, but I decided it was acceptable.  The photo shows the project before the jump stitches were trimmed and while it still had water soluble stabilizer (WSS) on top.  NOTE: It is EASIER to trim jump stitches BEFORE you remove the WSS.   

Senior Quilts 2017 embroidery block

This took me about an hour to load, line by line and stitch out, one line at a time.  The photo below (sorry it is fuzzy) was one of the designs by Designs by JuJu. It stitched out in about 15 minutes.

Verses for senior quilts

This next one, in script stitched out very quickly as well.  The thread stitch count  on this is very lightly laid down on the project, while the 1Peter 5:7 was a much “heavier” stitch.

Verses for Senior Quilts 2017

These were all stitched on muslin with the same brown thread. I used fusible no show mesh stabilizer on the back, floated a piece of medium weight tear away under the hoop, and as previously mentioned WSS on top.  I learned a lot from a Floriani event I went to (see blog post above) about stabilizer, and KNOW that it makes all the difference in the project.  The 1 Peter 5:7 is “PULLING” at the stitches.  Because of the heavier stitch count, I probably should have added 1 more layer of stabilizer UNDER the hoop. It would have made all the difference.  My friend who came to visit “accidently” slipped two pieces of medium tear away under her hoop and it made a WORLD of difference on her project with 20,000+ stitches.

While these blocks don’t look too exciting here, the messages from scripture are meaningful, and were chosen for each of the young men who are graduating by their parents.

Other fun things — Paper crafting…..I went to the local library on Saturday to participate with Jan and another lady in a “card making” class.  We bring in what we have, with ideas, and work together. Jan is an expert card maker (she sells the cards at local events); and has a volume of tools and materials and wisdom.  I will be the self-proclaimed novice, but I am having fun.  I used her die cutter and dies, and one of her “sparkly” pink papers. She is generous to share her materials and tools with others.

I was able to get 2 cards made under her guidance –

January card class

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and

Card Class Jan 2017

Inside card from class Jan 2017

During the class, I got a call and a request for some other paper crafted items – this time for my grandson’s birthday party decorations.  Can you guess the party theme????

Movie Reels for Party deco

This required a trip to Michaels to get silver cardstock.  I had a terrible time getting a crisp silhouette to scan into the machine and cut.  Again, this is where software ( and working knowledge) would come in handy.  I need to take more time with this machine, and learn about .SVG files (Cutting files) that are available created by other crafters.

Oh; do you remember the last post about the  Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along ?  I was going “throw size”, right….well….Bonnie Hunter had Quilt-Cam one night last week, and I didn’t have a project ready to work on, so I started getting more “scraps” out and ended up pulling enough to go twin size! Yes, I did the stitching on those blocks from Step/Clue 1 too.  More on that project next time!   It was inspiring to watch Bonnie Hunter as she worked on string piecing blocks. Watching  Quilt Cam Jan 2017 is like being in a room full of quilters.    Even better when I saw those blocks in the border on the quilt she was working on.  Check out her blog and see what she was up to on Sunday – Bonnie Hunter’s blog – String pieced border

For now,   I am headed to my sewing room for a full evening of fun & clean up. Tomorrow the ladies are coming to iron, measure and fold fabric for the 2nd Time around at the guild.  We picked up a lot of fabric yesterday from a church member who is “downsizing her sewing room”.  Just when we thought we were getting ahead of the stacks, a new pile of fabrics to “process” for sale!

Happy stitching or crafting today.

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along

Ok…I caved….I have to “play along” with Carole !! Check out her latest  Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along !

I like this one because it will last over a period of 6 or 7 MONTHS; not weeks; and I can fit it “in between” other projects!  Carole writes really great instructions; and she gives you ALL your cutting info up front.

I am going scrappy (of course)!  I read thru the blog post, and printed out the PDF file. THANKS CAROLE for giving us a “down & dirty – 1 page” PDF!

I got out my “Scrap Storage System 2.5” strip bin and selected my medium and darks for the first  step.  I did pull yardage for the background as suggested by Carole. (Note…stole it out of my Bonnie Hunter project bin…..shhh….). (Bonnie would be happy I’m sure to know that I am using my scraps that were “ready to go” from her storage system).  I made a “few extra” of the first step; just so I can have some choices later at assembly point.    I tried to get a bit of a variety in these pieces.

Step 1 Scrap Dance Two Step Mystery

Once step 1 was cut, stitched and pressed “to the dark” , I pulled out my bin of 5″ squares, and made those selections. When it came to the 5 3/4″ pieces; I took a pause.  I have a bin with some 6″ strips (left over border pieces etc); and went ahead and cut the required number of blocks, but left them at 6″.  I will “trim to 5 3/4” later….depending on how they are used.    Now, the 4.5″ squares are not something I have readily available, so I cut down some 5″ squares to the required size.  (You won’t get to see any of these until they get used in a future step! And I may swap a few pieces out.)

I am holding off on cutting the background fabrics until the next round of instructions.  I have tucked away nearly a yard of background fabric in my container with the other blocks/squares.  This day felt like a giant zip-lock kind of day, so instructions, step 1 sewn blocks and cut blocks are all in a bag, ready to roll on Step 2 in February!  (Did I mention I am doing the throw size this time?  Enough with the craziness of king size mystery quilts still hanging around to be quilted!)

If you are interested in “playing along” then hop over to Carole’s blog -From My Carolina Home.  If you are reading on my page, there is a button to the mystery on the sidebar of the page.

Speaking of Carole’s blog…..you might remember last fall she did the Autumn Jubilee pattern and I got busy making lots of maple leaves and pumpkins.  I have been hooked on them, and decided I wanted a “reversible” table runner to keep.  This week, I had a “sit & sew’ with one of my quilt bees.  It was easy to “grab the Autumn Jubilee bin” and take it along!  I had the “Christmas side” of the table runner finished, and was surprised when I opened my Autumn bin to find more blocks completed than I remembered.  I finished this up yesterday afternoon.

Autumn Jubilee / Christmas Runner

I’m sure it looks very familiar.  The Christmas side is the same fabric and pattern I made in November.  I have a lot of that fabric, and I had a lot of the parts for the blocks already cut, ready to assemble.  The Autumn side I changed the orientation of the leaves and skipped the pumpkins-

20170121_151026

No pumpkins on this side!  I previously used this leaf layout to make a placemat, and I like it quite a bit.  There will be more placemats in the coming months.  The placemats may become my “sit & sew” take along project.  I will probably need to dig out the original placemat for sizing!  I quilted this table runner across the width of the placemat using built in quilting stitches on my  Janome.  I think I killed my walking foot tho, as it wasn’t intended to be used for this particular stitch.  The walking foot started malfunctioning when I was sewing on the binding. Very annoyed with myself.  Hubby thinks that there is so much plastic in the walking foot, I may have caused a piece to break inside the case. I took it in to my Janome dealer to have a look today.  Fingers crossed.  I looked to see the prices on a replacement and had sticker shock!

Christmas side

Although I have a lot of this Moda Christmas fabric, I am nearly out of the neutral, so there probably won’t be any more of this pattern in the future.

On another note, I am still thinking about the quilting of my Mittens Pet Mosaic project.  Stay tuned!

Quick edit – Linking this post to Oh Scrap!!  on Quilting is more Fun than Housework blog!  Fun projects with scraps on that blog!  Check out the button for Oh Scrap on the side bar of this page.

 

Happy stitching!

Pet Mosaic piecing completed

It only took me 7.5 months to “finish” the piecing of this project.  You might remember I went to a retreat at Cheryl Lynch’s cottage at the end of May  ( where we started our mosaic projects.  My sister in law (www.oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com ) worked on her Rotti while I worked on my cat.  (She finished her’s and has already had it in a show —     https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/creating-a-dog-from-scratch-can-be-ruff/     )

This was the look of my project when I packed up to leave the retreat.

Mittens Mosaic

I came home from the trip, was faced with out “deadlines” and left everything in the bin until August.  During August and September I got the project “out of the box” and back up on the design wall.  One 2″ square at a time, plus lots of additional angle piecing to “make the curves” work out.

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I got busy sewing once all the design work was done; but toward the end of September, the deadlines snuck up on me again!

Layout is complete

So, by October 8th, Poor little Mittens was stuck again! Mittens spent all of October, November and December stuck on the wall…..  I don’t know what is worse….being stuck in a box or stuck on the wall?  (see those blue blocks? I took 2 classes from Bonnie Hunter, and I claim distraction!)

When I started thinking about UFO’s that I want to complete in 2017 I decided that MITTENS the Mosaic Cat would have to be  # 1. A few days after I recovered from New Years, I got busy.   Seriously, the hard part was done, it was just 5 or 6 days of sewing.

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In between model rail road club weekends, and a snow storm that dumped 8.5″, and 44 degree temps in my “over the garage” sewing room, I did some work.

Yesterday I was able to join up all the sections .

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and   I would like to report that he is “constructed” to include a 3″  border !

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Now, he will hang on the wall until I can come up with a quilting plan!  There are lots of photo’s in my album – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/albums/72157668596534501

Thanks to Cheryl Lynch Quilts – http://cheryllynchquilts.blogspot.com/   for the great project and guidence.  If you can take a class from her, you would certainly enjoy any project she will teach.  This is my 2nd  “Cheryl” project.  My first was in June 2014, when she came to Ocean Waves Quilt guild and taught a class with Dupioni Silk.  The class was called “Sensational Silk” and I LOVED that project. I made a wall hanging and I just love the way the silk catches the light. It hangs in my living room.

Barn Raising in Silk  27 x 39"

Barn Raising in Silk
27 x 39″

I now have a  Janome 1600p quilting machine and frame, so I want to get busy practicing before I tackle this kitty!   This set up has been “sitting” since early September, waiting for me to find time to use it.

Janome 1600 mid arm

I now have a collection of needles and bobbins for this machine, and was “gifted a set” of leaders for the 12′ width; so I must  load up a practice quilt and “get busy”.

I am “anxious” to use these wonderful tools that I have and see if I can make good use of them.

What is on your 2017 UFO list?

Happy New Year!

Gosh, we finished 2016 off with a big bang!

 The week between Christmas and New Year were very busy around our house.  I did lots of cooking, cleaning, shopping, and celebrating.

My quilting bee friends gathered for the first Annual Queen Bees Christmas Party luncheon at my house on Dec 27.

Table set for the Queen Bees

We had a “pot luck luncheon”.  I made  a lovely broccoli cheese soup and served it with croutons, sour creme and extra cheese for toppings. We had 3 different salads, and fried chicken and rolls, and LOTS of sweet goodness like chocolate dipped pretzels and fudge too.  We had a fun “gift exchange” and then got prizes for UFO completion. And of course, the project finishes.   The most exciting finish comes from Pam.  She had a project she started hand quilting YEARS ago and put away. She has kept it all these years with SOMEDAY in mind.  She joined Ocean Waves Quilt Guild and was inspired to finish. Our UFO challenge enabled her to “break it down” into smaller goals.  I know she has achieved great satisfaction from this finish!  This will be a treasure in her life!  Our bee members have been cheering her on for the last 12 months!

The 30 year quilt!

There were a few other projects shown at this bee too –

Suzanne's Crazy Quilt

Suzanne's baby quilt

Dotti Christmas wall hanging

On New Years Eve, we kicked the party tempo up a bit!  We had a New Years Eve party/anniversary celebration.  When we got married 10 years ago, we had a big New Years Eve party/wedding reception at a local mansion, called Sunnybrae Mansion in Milford DE.

Bill & Mary's wedding reception

Bill & Mary’s wedding reception

 

 

NYE wedding reception

NYE wedding reception

We were told it was the “best” New Years eve party people had been to in quite a while!

On our 5th anniversary, we held another party at home; and then our friends asked if we were going to do it again “next year”.  I told them “every 5 years”.  Bill asked me earlier in the month what I wanted to do to celebrate our anniversary, and I said “throw a party”.   This year we did quick “email invites” and kept our fingers crossed that we were not “too late” in planning a party. Silly me, we had a great turnout! (I even invited a new “quilting” neighbor at the last minute.  I was so glad that Barbara and Robert were able to join us.)  Our friends consisted of folks we know at church, my quilting friends, old neighbors, new neighbors and Bill’s railroad club buddies.  It was an interesting mix and was enjoyable.

So, this New Years eve was our 2nd “every 5 year” party!  And silly me, I did not take ONE photo during the party or as I was getting the table set up!  (Well, I did take a picture  a few days before, while I was inventorying the liquor…..and determining what I needed to buy etc)

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So shopping commenced in the middle of the week to round out the liquor and mixers and soda’s and food choices.  I had the expertise from my daughters who know how to host a great party on what to make etc. I borrowed a 3 unit crock pot from my daughter and filled it with hot spinach /artichoke dip; grape jelly meatballs, marina meatballs. On the dining room table we had chips & 7 layer taco dip; bruschetta, shrimp with 3 dips, (avocado cream; ginger remoulade and cocktail sauce); baked brie with puff pastry, a lovely vegetable basket, and nuts chips & dip etc.  We had cheesecake, we had cookies and fudge and caramel popcorn.  And again, those great friends of mine brought things to round out the choices on the table. We even had a big bowl of black eyed pea soup with dumplings.

It is not often that we make it to midnight on our anniversary, but this party went on past 1 am and everyone seemed to have a good time.  I judge the party satisfaction by the conversation. Over the course of the evening, wandering around the house talking to people, I could hear animated conversation in  every room.

We opened the prosecco, the champagne and the non-alcoholic bubbly  at midnight and toasted !   Of course, there was lots of leftover food to put away when everyone went home, and I am very thankful to a husband who helped deal with that quickly.  I did break out the box that held the original New Years eve party hats and noise makers, and a friend added to the noise makers with another package! Bill brought out his train whistle to add to the midnight sound effects!

Sunday, after 4 hours sleep I was up and clearing up the dirty dishes that didn’t make the first run of the dishwasher the night before.  We had a casual New Years day and I puttered around putting things to rights, in between napping.  I have determined there is enough leftover liquor/beer/wine/mixers to have a party every weekend for a month!

The “bar” was set up in the kitchen and the bulk of the food in the dining room, buffet style on the table.  Guess where the people were hanging out??  The kitchen.  I’m beginning to understand why people would want an “open concept” kitchen.  Somehow it doesn’t suit this 110+ year old house.

I am thankful for my friends Nancy and Bob who came back over on Sunday afternoon!  I was able to “share” with them some of the leftovers.  The kitchen floor got swept, the rugs vacuumed of any crumbs, the holiday cups and wine glasses put away; and the liquor stored for the next go round.  We munched on leftovers for lunch and snacks. I hoarded the wonderful “fresh veggies” that Gayle brought.  (It is always tastier when somebody else did all the cutting!) I figured if I was going to snack the day away, the carrots and cucumbers would be a good choice!

I had told my hubby we needed to plan “undecorating” for Monday and Tuesday this week, to get it done before our next two “very busy” weeks.  He looked so sad.  He decorated right up to Christmas eve.  So; I am relenting.  I will LEAVE IT all up through Epiphany.  And, the undecorating will be postponed until next Tuesday.  It always takes several days to put it all away properly. We have two busy weekends back to back with the DelMarVa Model Railroad club open house, but having a “target time” set aside will leave me not to worry about the “stuff” for a week or so.

I hope you are able to keep the spirit of Christmas and love alive all into the New Year.

Embroidery Machine Fun

Wednesday was a “between day” for me.  Between entertaining, between holidays etc.  I got out to my sewing room EARLY and did a quick “clean up” from the last Christmas projects.  I got the velvet from the Christmas stockings put away, and all the associated lint cleaned up off the tables. I spent a couple of productive hours with another member of the guild sorting and pressing and folding “guild” fabric for the Second Time Around sales.  About 2 – 3 hours is as much as I can manage with it on any given day.

After the hubby left for his afternoon/evening fun at the Train club, I went back to the sewing room and played for a while with some “blanks” for the embroidery machine. I have been buying towels at Wal-Mart in the craft department which are fantastic for embroidery. I have “shopped” for these style towels elsewhere, including on the bolt where you have to do the hemming etc.  I keep “coming back” to the ones they sell at WalMart.  Our local store doesn’t carry them, so I pick them up when I am in a “big” store in other towns. Of course you can order them on-line, get free shipping for “store pick up” too.    100% cotton towels at Walmart  aunt-marthas-striped-dish-towel

These kitchen towels are BIG – 18×28; have a tight weave, and a loop in the upper left corner.  They are typically made in India.  I pre-wash/dry them before I embroider, so the cotton shrinkage doesn’t interfere with the embroidery design I put on the towels.  I’ve used these towels for a couple of years as “blanks”; and have gifted them to friends and family. My one daughter REALLY USES  them and in the wear and tear in her busy household, they are holding up to the job.   Much thicker than the “flour sack” towels people often buy for “blanks”.

Recently I downloaded a collection of “coffee” designs from Artistic ThreadWorks – called Jacobean Coffee and Tea.  These stitched out really well and are big “full” designs on a 4 x 4 ” frame.  I am really pleased.  I have another  3 towels all prepped to stitch and will finish up stitching out this collection. So far, I am very pleased with the results.  It has been fun using a similar design on all the towels.  I am trying to keep a couple of colors constant throughout so they do “tie together” as a set.

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I purchased recently some Terry Cloth dish towels to embroider and those are in the”pre-wash” stage tonight.  I haven’t done much with terry cloth in the past, but I am sure they will turn out nicely.  I will be looking thru my design books for interesting embroidery ideas. I can see that I need to put tear away stabilizer, along with no show mesh stabilizer and Water Soluble on my shopping list.

What kind of projects are you working on during this “between” week??