The little things

I do believe it’s the little things that make life fun.  Hubby and I took a ride to Philadelphia last week.  On our drive, once we broke free from the rain, we had a chance to see a fantastic double rainbow.  I was not driving so chanced a few shots thru the wet glass.

Double rainbow

And just when I thought we wouldn’t see it any longer, we went around a bend and I got this –

RAINBOW

The rest of the drive was without rain, for which I was thankful. I called this shot God’s Promise!  It did help me to find a bit of calm to get through the next few days. (Boring medical stuff ….insert sigh here). (No you can’t see those pictures!)

Once back home, we got ready for the arrival of the grandkids along with their parents for the weekend. Coming home from an outing on Saturday, we had a visitor in the driveway. My observant daughter saw the visitor, and I was able to encourage him into the lawn to avoid being run over.

Yard art

Since the kids were visiting on the first day of fall, I decided to put my Autumn Jubilee placemats out on the table. Early one morning the 6 year old was playing with legos at the table, and making a little vignette. I reached into the china closet and pulled out some extra “goodies” to help decorate her lego village.

Autumn has arrived

These little pumpkin candles and cornucopias were favorites of my husband while he was growing up, and he cherishes them. Vintage bordering on antique! His mother carefully packed them away every season into a “cheese box” and into the china cabinet they went. My 6 year old granddaughter loved the little girl witches and the pumpkin salt and pepper shakers. They are fun to take out and have on the table for a little while!

Vintage candles

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a 29 cent price sticker on the bottom of one from the  5&10 store! (Circa 1950).

My 6 year old granddaughter needed a little extra grandma time on Sunday morning, and asked to go to my quilt room.  Once there, she decided she just LOVED a block on my design wall.  Well, she loved 2 blocks, but narrowed her choices to one. In no time at all, we had a little 15″ envelope style pillow case made and stuffed with a pillow form.  She did all my pinning, while I chatted with her about what I was doing. She wanted to make a gift for her big sister, and in under an hour, we were finished!

quick Pillow project with granddaughter

We got the pillow form stuffed in and into a gift bag just in time for departure!  (No the pillow didn’t get quilted, but I think the recipient didn’t mind or notice!)  The funny thing is, she was drawn to the colors of the blocks that my friend had “handed off” to me as UFO’s.  Thanks for the blocks Pam!! The block went to good use!  The little things…

Before you knew it, the weekend was over and the house settled into quiet again. I miss the little voices when they leave. It was wonderful to have both daughters and all 4 grandkids and 2 son-in-laws around the dinner table on Friday night and to listen to the laughter and the chatter and the stories.

I have continued to play with my embroidery machine as time permits.  I had fun working on dish towels – 

Start with Coffee

Espresso design

These 2 designs are from Oh My Crafty Supplies website.  I have a special person in mind for these.  I did two other designs, but won’t show them quite yet…because I forgot to photograph them!

I did a little more quilting on the never ending placemats —

Batik placemats

This is the end of the line with 18 placemats. These need trimmed and they all need squaring up and binding.  I did all the quilting with ONE of my favorite Superior Threads –

Superior Batik Blue #5021

Batik Blue #5021

Superior Batik Blue Fantastico

It’s the little things…..I finished my machine quilting with thread left on the spool and 1/2 a bobbin full. I usually shop for thread at quilt shows, and will have to keep my eyes open for someone vending Superior Thread in the next month or 2! Otherwise, an order will have to go out.  This is the 2nd spool of this thread that I have used and I just love how it blends!

I brought home a quilt to bind, from the assisted living facility where I have volunteered for the last 9 months. I made the binding 2 weeks ago, and this afternoon got it trimmed and bound. I think the “first time” quilter, Trish, did a fine job.  I will deliver it on Thursday to her when I go to volunteer.  I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” and love the little pop of color the flange gives the edge of the quilt. This method is done all by machine, no handwork, which is why I love it.  It’s the little things…

Trish's baby quilt

I’m feeling grateful for the new members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild who have come the last 2 Monday’s  to help me with 2nd Time Around prep for the Quilt Show. And for my co-chair who keeps taking home large quantities of fabric to prep!  I love that people are so willing to volunteer.  And I love that people in the guild are willing to donate their “scraps” and unwanted fabrics. We had the most BEAUTIFUL batiks come through the donations!!  (No – my placemat batiks did not come through the guild…they came from a friend at my church!)

The rest of this week is busy busy busy, with the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday, and hopefully a bike ride on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning!  I missed riding in the last 3 weeks!  Another fabric donation pick up on Wednesday morning, a few appointments scattered in, and more 2nd Time Around prep for the guild meeting next Monday.

In the coming weeks, I am not going to be going at my normal pace.  I need to have 2 surgeries on my right hand; so my involvement will be limited to doing what I can with the “other” hand.  For a 2 handed typist, my blog posts will be scarce, projects limited etc. For 2nd time around, I will be restricted to folding and pressing with “the other hand”.  I guess I can sort and price buttons!!   And boy, do we have some awesome buttons!   Like I said, it’s the little things.

As you go through your day, look for the little things to find joy!   

.

 

Summer fun and never ending projects

At our house, summer is always full of projects that will never end.  

Several years ago I spent the entire summer (it seemed) rebuilding a picket fence, sanding and staining fence pickets.  Thinking back it was BEFORE I retired, so that was more than 6 summers ago.  

Then there was/IS the porch swing that I sanded and repainted, the summer the garage was finished. (Again, before I retired).

Swing frame

 All of it, except the swing part.  I got distracted and the swing stands in the garage waiting.  Maybe next week!  If it ever quits raining! Oh, and those porch rails and pickets that I sanded and restained while the porch was being renovated…the top rails need some work again.  Seems as though it is always something that is less fun than sewing!

 The garden…well…it is overgrown with weeds and it is simply to darn hot and humid to get out in it to weed.

 The ONE nice day we had last weekend was consumed by a yard work task.  Hubby decided he wanted to tackle some of the overgrown stuff that had been neglected for 2 years.

SO, I left my sewing room, donned my gloves and pitched in.

 We tackled brambles, and vines, and wild cherry trees, and BAMBOO.  EVIL AWFUL TERRIBLE BAMBOO.  

Honestly, I would like to strangle the person who planted this crap decades ago.  On our property, we have wisteria, privet, trumpet vine, honeysuckle and bamboo. One would be problem enough, but all of these run and have to be constantly taken down, cut out, trimmed back or they overtake the property.  We have finally gotten the worst of the bamboo that ran along the property line under control when the neighbor started to work on “his side”.  There are the odd bits out front but they are not anything like they used to be and an afternoon of cutting eliminates them.

 Out back, well that is another story. Behind our garage we have a big open gravel area that we had cleared when the garage was built. Then we have woods. About an acre and 1/2 of woods behind the garages. The bamboo has overtaken part of the woods to the point I don’t think we can do anything about it.   We could cut everyday for the next month and not make a dent in it.  

Hubby had a nice bed of daylilies between the lawn and the back driveway that he enjoyed tending.  Then, it too filled with bamboo, (while I was sewing one day I think) and he was overwhelmed. We really know it got out of hand during the 3 years where his back just would not allow him to do much more than mow the lawn, and I was sewing!

So, this past Sunday afternoon, with my gloves on, he and I tackled that 4×15 foot bed cutting bamboo.  We spent 4 hours!  He was able to hold back the top of the stocks with the rake, while I worked with the big clippers cutting it off at the ground.  Can I explain how my legs still hurt 3 days later.  TOO much bending over at the waist!!  He would pile it up in his cart and take it to his “spot” in the woods where he piles brush. Nature takes care of the composting and over the years, our cuttings have made great beds for the rabbits and the deer that frequent our back acres.  Once all the cutting was finished, he uses his mulching mower and cuts away any stalks that stick out above the ground level, and mulches up all those “leaves” the bamboo has left behind.  He has been working hard at finding the big runners that have crossed under his gravel driveway, digging them out.  This little area we cleared doesn’t look like much, and he will spray it with ground clear for the next 2 years to kill off any other sprouts that might pop up.  Then, and only then will he try to plant some grass back in the spot, and hope the bamboo doesn’t return.  

EVIL Bamboo

Yes, those are pile of cut bamboo stacked up in the foreground, and in the background all that you see is mostly bamboo, mixed in with the hardwood trees.  We were hoping the tree canopy would prevent the bamboo from growing, but the bamboo just keeps getting taller and taller.  Some of those stalks are 30 foot or more high.  What a pain!

NOW you can see why I was happy to escape back upstairs to my sewing room in the rain on Monday!

Tuesday morning I took another long bike ride with my daughter and granddaughter. What a relief to escape the yard work! We got out early before the rain!  We biked from 9 until noon, a total of 6 miles, with stops at the nature center to see the fish and at the playground to let the littlest person run off some energy.  Much more fun than cutting bamboo.  Don’t think the back of my legs was ready for another 4 hours of work in the yard.  We have been bike riding now together 3 or 4 times, 6-8 miles each time.  Turns out, I really enjoy the diversion, the exercise and of course, the company.  Once a week has been our goal together.  Of course, she is working on me to invest in a newer, lighter weight, more efficient bike. This antique I ride was her older sisters bike all thru school, and she is having her 20th class reunion this year.  Maybe a 21st century bike is in order.  Pondering…..

Biking fun

When I came home, I saw the hubby was occupied writing an article for his model railroad club newsletter, so I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in my sewing room. I told him I was held captive in the garage by a rain shower!  (Good excuse for an 8 pm supper!)

Remember those placemats?  Well, I made MORE.  I got the 4 additional ones finished, and had my 12 I wanted.  And then, well…just kept sewing.  We are up to 18 now.  I am starting to think about how to back them.  Since these are totally scrap happy, I wonder if having a plain muslin back would make sense?  I have LOTS of muslin thanks to Dottie L. at church.  Going to consider that….while I prepare some “scraps of batting” for these.  I was happy to use some of the batik scraps my friend Nancy B saved out for me to give some more bright colors to the last 6.

More placemat fun

I still have 6 blocks left and miles of batik strips, so I am certain there are more to be made.  Maybe I will mix them all up, and dole them out in groups of 6 for gifts, and just keep the table runner for myself.  I really have had fun playing in the batiks.  (Much more fun than yardwork!)  Off to the sewing room…..shhh…don’t tell the hubby the sun is shining!

What are you doing for fun this summer???  Do you have some of those never ending tasks that you hate to work on??  How do you balance things?

EDIT to add some hashtags (because I just learned about them…)

#lifecycleDE #youcanridewithus #bicyclesforall

Small projects and small bits

Gosh, since the last post I have been washing & ironing that fabric I talked about.  The vinegar was a great success in ridding the fabric of the smell of smoke.  The big pieces washed up nicely.  I can’t say that about the small pieces.  Even putting the pieces in lingerie bags the strings created a balled up mess of fabric.  I have spent countless rainy days untangling the mess and ironing those bits of fabric.  Has it paid off?  I hope so.  There were LOTS of 2.5″ strips that I will trim to 2″; and many blocks that were sewn in preparation for joining into a quilt that need now to be squared up.  I have over 100 pieces that were parts of a quilt that I pressed and will end up subcutting to rid the ragged edges and turn the fabric  into something that is usable.  There were yards and yards and yards of fabric that just needs a slight trim, and measured & folded to be sold at the guild.   So, I will let you know when we sell it at the guild and see what kind of money it brings.  The small stuff may not be worth selling and end up in the scrap boxes. And, if you read my blog, you know I love scraps.  Our guild had a class in March that got people excited about scraps, and I had someone stop over this week to go into the scrap boxes, looking for bits for her “wonky houses” she wanted to build.  At our quilt show next spring, we will fill a playpen with scraps and let shoppers fill their bags for a nominal fee.  While sorting to wash, I found small quilt tops that hadn’t been finished, and now they will end up as charity quilts later on.

In between the rain storms that have kept the entire East Coast of the USA wet and soggy for nearly 2 weeks, I have ducked out to my sewing room and made another sundress. This one is also a size 3, for my youngest granddaughter.  The one I made previously I had to shorten.  I shortened the pattern before I made this sundress.

Front Size 3 cotton dress

FRONT – size 3

Size 3 cotton dress back

BACK – size 3

This is a BURDA pattern, and goes together quickly. The dress is 100% cotton, and her mother is not going to like that it might need to be ironed.  Grandma will have to stick to “Tutti Fruitti” fabric for future sundresses. (Or bring it home to be ironed….)  I dropped it off on Sunday after church, and hoping she will “fit” into it for a time!!  Kids grow so fast!

I had an opportunity early in the week to go fabric shopping with my Queen Bee friends and I picked up more Tutti Fruitti at JoAnn’s for my stash.  Since I have been in the “fabric washing mood”, I washed it, along with all the other that I had on hand.  I’ve mastered this pattern for sundresses, and have dug in my drawer of patterns and began thinking about other sundresses I might want to make.   I made a lot of sundresses for the older girls when they were “this size” and may now repeat some of those patterns for the youngest.  The big girls are coming to visit next week, so there will be at least one size 5 started while they are here.

Sunday afternoon.  I just didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.  I picked up a stack of 4 3/4, and 5″ batik squares my friend from church gave me. I played around with them, making half square triangles.

Batik HST

I ended up trimming them to 4.5″ when they were finished. And then I decided to build some blocks.

Playing with batik HST

This was kind of “no pattern/mindless” sewing.  And FUN sewing.  My hubby wondered what I was up to .  He & I played with some of those fuzzy stringy strips that I washed….and wove sashing in between and up and down.  Nothing really hit me, so I left the strips and the blocks hanging on the design wall for a few days.

Today, I came up with a plan!  Table runners…….so I have got one started!

batik fun

The blocks are 7.5 and the strips are 2″.  As is, I think, finished, it will be about 18.5″ wide by 35.5.  I like my table runners a bit longer, as I have the leaves in my table all the time, so I might go one more ‘row’, if I have enough fabric for those cornerstones.  Otherwise, I will leave it “as is” and start putting the other blocks together with different sashing and cornerstones, and make another runner or maybe placemats.  Fun to just play around with fabric that my friend from church didn’t have a use for anymore.

Thinking of ironing….I was counting irons…..in my sewing room I have 4.  Two Oliso’s, which are always in use.  One ironing station, and 1 ironing board.  I have an iron “in reserve” in case I have a need.  I also have a travel iron in my little ironing bag for trips to class and other locations.  In the house, I have an ironing board and an iron.  So, if the granddaughter’s dress needs pressed, I do have the technology to handle it.  (I actually ironed the hubby’s shirts 2 weeks ago……and showed him where the iron is stored in case he wants them done in the future!) (Just kidding !)  Quilters don’t iron, we PRESS!  🙂

Hope you are not roasting in the heat and humidity of July…but able to find a cool spot to keep stitching.

Little girls Sun Dress

In a previous post this month I mentioned making a sundress (https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/summer-sewing/ ) with fabric my 8 year old granddaughter chose.  That dress went off in the mail yesterday after I put a size tag in it.

When I finished her dress,  I pulled fabrics that I considered “suitable for sundresses” for young girls.  Look at these fun fabrics!  I’d forgotten I had an entire tote full of “tutti fruiti” fabrics.

Tutti Fruitti fabrics

This batch is that puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric. I have a couple of yards of each print. I think I used the green plaid (c) in a sundress a few years back.

Tutti fruiti choices

This group is my favorite of all the prints. Again, it is the puckery Tutti Fruiti fabric and I have at least a yard or more of each.

coordinating prints

These two are also Tutti Fruiti, and are coordinating prints. They would make a nice outfit together.

I also dug into my stash of “pink cottons” and came up with this –

fun cotton fabrics

They of course don’t play well together but each is fun on it’s own.  I must look for some lime green to go with that fabric I marked with a J.  These are quilters cotton.

Digging deep into the box of red & orange & pink fabric in my stash I pulled out these more “grown up” fabrics –

from the pink stash

They are soft, lovely cotton pieces that don’t scream “kid fabric”.  That box was overflowing, so I pulled out ALL the pinks and refolded them (ruler fold), and created a container of “just pink”.  Now both lids will close.

All of these fabrics were the choices I sent off to the  5 year old granddaughter to ponder!  You might remember she decided she wants to “feel the fabric” before she decides!  (Makes my heart sing with joy, because I am like that when I am in a quilt shop!!)

Meanwhile…..I decided to  start on a size 3 for the littlest granddaughter. She didn’t get a choice in fabric selection, I chose for her.  I chose a yard of fabric E, and after the pattern tracing got started with the sewing. I finished up today, attaching the bodice to the skirt, making the button holes and sewing the buttons on by machine.  The dress is in the wash and ready to deliver tomorrow.

front of size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – front

Size 3 dress

Size 3 sundress – back – 11 buttons!

I can’t wait to try it on my youngest granddaughter and see if I guess right on the size.

I always find commercial garment patterns to run rather large, or maybe I just have small grands.  I’ve never recorded her measurements, but this grandma is taking the tape measure along tomorrow when I deliver !!

Middle granddaughter will make her fabric choices when she is visiting in August.  Her mommy said she is SO excited about all the fabrics and getting to chose!

That’s all for this StitchingGrandma this week!  What have you been up to lately?

 

Summer sewing

I have been doing a little summer sun-dress sewing.  My grandchildren were here for a bit in June, and the 8 year old wanted to pick out fabric for a sundress. Her favorite color is blue.  I was not surprised with her fabric combinations. The fabric on the top is tutti fruiti and the bottom is a batik like print.  Both are 100% cotton and we chose a piece of white cotton to line the bodice.  Challenges – CRUMMY directions on the pattern by Burda.  (I always say this about patterns for garments….hey, I’m a quilter and I need pattern makers to assume I have never sewn before!)  I overcame the challenges because I have sewn before, but gosh if I hadn’t…… There were very few alignment marks on the pattern, and no marks for aligning buttons or number of buttons etc.  I just got out the ruler and chalk and figured it out for myself!

Pattern details

Buttons….the dress sat for 2 weeks waiting for buttons and buttonholes.  I decided to tackle them one day this week, and got out the book for my machine and did some “test buttonholes”.   Then I tested sewing the buttons on by machine.  Lessons learned during practice were my machine did not like the small spool lying on it’s side, and jammed up the thread. I put that small spool on my thread stand it ran perfectly.  But while I was fixing the jam, I cleaned the entire bobbin area of my machine, since I had the plate off.   (Been a bit since that has happened….)  Also, the button sewing on foot and setting were EASY to use!  I chalked where the buttons were to be placed and went for it after only practicing on 1 button on a scrap. The other lessons….I think the button hole foot/ making function is fine, once I got my eye on the chalk line where I wanted the button to be etc.  I don’t think that “one pass” with the stitching is enough.  It seems flimsy to me.  My friend suggested to make a 2nd pass before moving on to the next button hole.  Great advice from Nancy.  The button sewing function only did about 6 stitches, so I ran it 3 times before moving on to the next button.  Hoping those buttons stay put!

9 buttons

Dress size 8

This dress will go off in the mail this week, and I have started one for the 2 year old granddaughter.. Her’s will be all one fabric, in a tutti fruiti material, and I will post a photo when finished.  Middle granddaughter is going to “select” her fabric next time she visits. I sent her lots of photo options of fabrics, but she likes to “feel” the fabric!  Completely understand sensitive skin and like a quilter, who doesn’t like to go around the fabric store and touch it all!

Is anyone else as “pattern direction challenged” as me???  I do enjoy sewing for the girls, and figure once I master the directions I better make one for each! I don’t think it will bother them to have the same style dress in with 3 different fabrics. Hope not!  Ohhh….must remember to put a size tag in the side seam of the skirt, out of the way where it won’t scratch.

Happy sewing!

The final chapter of my April travel adventures (and a FINISHED Quilt!)

PHOTO INTENSE POST – fair warning…..

If you have been hanging around reading over the last 2 months, you are aware that I took a lovely cruise for 10 days in April along Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.  This cruise returned to the Port of San Pedro California.  My next adventure began when my brother Rich and his lovely wife, Carolyn (AKA – http://www.OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) picked me up at the port and transported me (and all my luggage) North of Los Angeles to their lovely home in Monterey County California for a brief stay.  

There are a few different routes to take but my brother chose I-5 North out of Los Angeles.  Boy was I glad he did that!  We got to see the hills ablaze with California Poppies.  Disclaimer – I grew up in the Los Angeles area, and I vaguely remember seeing the poppies as a child traveling to see my grandmother.  Well, did we have a great show on the ride North.  Get ready – some of the photo’s appear a little hazy, because we were moving along at 65+ mph, and I was shooting thru the windshield from the back seat or the side window, so I apologize ahead of time.  Too pretty not to share!

Bright orange poppies

Poppies on the Grapevine

Can you believe the various colors in the hillsides?   All that orange and gold and (GULP) GREEN!!!

swaths of poppies

Golden hillside

Poppies and green hills

It is not vary often you see the hillsides in California SO green.  Spring must have been kind with the rains.

Hills ablaze in poppies

I remember when I lived other places, my mother would go on and on during phone calls about the poppies.  I honestly don’t think I have ever seen them until now.  I really timed my visit “just right”.

Now, if you are a “travel person” reading my blog, I am about to change lanes and return to my normal activities….and that is QUILTING.  I invite you to hang around, you might enjoy the rest of the photos or the story.

Those regular readers who have followed for any length of time might be aware that earlier in the year, I finished a rather LARGE quilt and planned to visit by brother and his wife and work on quilting it on her long arm quilting machine.  This is WHY they picked me up.  (Sweet of them to drive 4 hours to get me and 4 hours to take me home! )  California is a very big state!  I offered a night in a hotel so they didn’t do all the driving in one day….after all, Rich is my OLDER brother…giggle…..I booked them a room on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I figured they should enjoy a night “on board a ship” since they were picking me up from a ship.  There cabin on the QM was MUCH nicer than a modern cruise ship cabin.( Oh to go back to the old days on ships!!) If Carolyn (aka oneblockwonderwoman) ever posts her photo’s, I will link to them.

Now, back to the story – I packed up my quilt top, and the backing (see the post – In Betweens – for that story) and shipped it to California before my cruise, so it was waiting on my arrival. Dear Carolyn had thoughtfully taken it out of the package and hung both parts to “relax” when she got the package.  Since we arrived late Tuesday afternoon, and I was flying home on Sunday, our time together was very short.  We got busy and loaded a practice piece to quilt .  I learned a lot about loading a quilt, and using the leaders and basting the top and sides, and floating the quilt, and how to use the size clamps.  By 10 am the next day we were set up to stitch on Greta, her new Gammill long arm quilting machine.  I had LOTS of practice before we loaded my quilt.

Greta the Gammill

This is her dining room, with windows on 3 sides.  The sun is so bright that she has heavy drapes to block the glare.

Time to practice

Greta the Gammill has great LED lights.

Practice on plain muslin

Carolyn taught me some of her favorite stitching elements.  I wanted to tackle each block independently and I had fun learning to operate the machine, and not drive it like a drunken sailor. Thank goodness for a great stitch regulator!  She even taught me how to work with a ruler –

Practice and planning

I decided I needed to “draw” a couple of quilt blocks so I could get a better handle on exactly where the needle was stopping and planning out some layouts for various blocks.

Since time was short, after 2 practice pieces (and lunch), we loaded my quilt on Greta’s frame.  That took us over an hour, getting everything “just right”.

Quilting at Carolyn's on Greta the Gammill

This is not a small quilt and nearly fills her frame.  I can see why my brother is often referred to as the “Quilters Assistant”.  It really seems like a 2 person job getting the quilt, the batting and the backing all set up right.  Because I had a pieced backing, I was extremely careful about the placement of the backing on the machine so the quilt top would be centered.

I won’t bore you with all the close up photo’s of the quilting.  Let me just say, if you really want to see them, they are in an album all together with the quilt construction photos, and you are welcome to browse through them.  Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks  .  There are lots of notes in the album about the various names of the blocks etc.  I quilted each block taking into consideration the elements of the block.  99% was done free motion with no stencils, drawings, markings.  2 blocks were done with ruler work.  We spent a lot of time working on the quilt.  I took a shot of the screen on Saturday –

LOTS of stitches

Even though we had been working since Wednesday, the machine said we had an actual 6 hours of stitching time, with over 152,000 stitches in the quilting. The “timer” only clocks when the needle is going up & down, not when the machine is on. (Has something to do with time for oil and cleaning if I remember correctly). There is a lot of “in between time” that happens.  Advancing the quilt, taking practice stitches along the side, and the distractions of where I was in California.  Their home is on several acres with gardens and meadows and the weather was perfect.  The home was constructed in the manor of a California Adobe, with tiled roof, walled garden area and arches.  The view out the windows is amazing.  What a great place for a break and a stretch!

In the courtyard

The sound of the fountain was so relaxing –

View from the window while quilting

Those of you who follow Carolyn on her blog – https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com know about what lies in wait on the other side of the gate in the grape arbor, just outside the courtyard wall.

Grape Arbor

And of course, in between times, we had to eat breakfast lunch, dinner, drink wine and go for walks.   Check out the great area they live in – quietly nestled in a little valley down a dirt lane.  There are vineyards and cattle and farmers all around. It was good to get out, stretch my legs and enjoy the beautiful Central Coastal California.

Enjoying a walk

My sister-in-law is well known among her neighbors and has several quilting friends that stopped over to meet me. It was so fun to visit with the people I had heard so much about who get to share time with Carolyn all the time!  (Thanks for sharing Mona!!)

We ran out of time on Saturday when all of a sudden the top tension went nuts when we changed bobbins, and nothing Carolyn adjusted could make the machine sew right. There were big loops on the bottom (thankfully I had an extra 6″ of backing all around and she had a place to test stitch.) Many phone calls to her dealer tech rep, and to a friend with a Gammill still left us unable to stitch.  So, we stopped, left the quilt on the frame and the next day, I had to fly home.

After 2 weeks of “adjustments, and a visit by her friends with a Gammill; she was able to finally get things working again, and she finished up my quilt.  Carolyn did the center of one block, and finished the last 2 blocks and quilted the border for me.  I was very thankful that she was able to do this and ship it home.    She trimmed the quilt for me and saved the cutaway backing pieces. She knew I was planning to use them for the binding.

 I spent a couple of evenings with the seam ripper removing the stray stitches on those saved pieces and made my “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  I got the quilt bound just in time to put it on the guest room bed!  I had family coming and I want them to be cozy under a new quilt!  I finally got to show it at the Material Girls Quilt Bee this week.  Still needs a label, but the hanging pocket is on already. I will enter it in our next  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show April 2019

My quilting is a novice attempt, so I will enter in the non-judged category.  Overall, I love the outcome, and I declare the project FINISHED!!!

Grandma's Kitchen - queen size

                            GRANDMA’S KITCHEN by Mary Deeter

Note – Pattern is by Pat Sloan, block of the week quilt along (Jun-Dec 2017).

Hope you enjoy the pictures included in this post and take time to check out the link to the FLICKR photo album.

Have you had any fun travel or quilting adventures lately?

Small projects for gifts

I finally found my sewing room again at the end of last week.  Yes, just a few days before Christmas, I managed to steal some time for myself and just play around a little.

You might remember in a previous post I mentioned having the Queen Bees for a holiday luncheon and a card making session.  Well, one of those lovely Queen Bee members left a little gift behind for me.  I was delighted to find a pretty set of coasters.

15 Minute Coaster

The coasters were made following a pattern found at Cool Cottons  .  The pattern was familiar, because the Queen Bees had done this for a project at one of the bees in 2016, and during our guild luncheon in early December, everyone was given a little “kit” of fabric squares and the directions.  My friend Dee, was so sweet to sew a set and give them to me.  How did she know that I never “got around” to making some for myself.  (I might have said something about that during the luncheon, as we were seated next to each other!)  I remember that bee pretty well.  We had a new member who was “learning” to use a rotary cutter and ruler, and I spent my time assisting her.  I think my “test coaster” is still in the bottom of a busy box somewhere.  Anyway, I love these bright cheery colors, and they inspired me to get busy and make some for gifts.  I did another “test coaster” with the kit we got at the luncheon, and now the hubby  has a cheery coaster on his hobby desk.

I deviated slightly from the pattern.  I used 5″ squares.  I also top stitched.  (I like that they lay a bit flatter when they are top stitched).  I used a charm pack of 5″ Christmas fabric squares, and then I went diving into my “scrap storage system” for more 5″ squares.  I also dug into the scrap bin for more holiday fabrics.    All said and done, I made 8 sets of 4 for gifts.

Six sets of coasters to gift

Two sets were already gifted before I got this photo taken!  I love all the fun fabrics!  I did 2 sets in spring fabrics.  Check out the backs –

Back of the coasters

The pattern is fairly easy to follow, but if you are like me, sometimes a visual tutorial is handy.  Today, I was browsing around on you-tube and found multiple “methods” for these type of coasters. Some use 1 additional piece of fabric, and they vary in size from 4 to 5″ squares as the basis for the coasters. Some don’t include batting, but I like a nice piece of batting inside to help with any moisture that might be on your glass.

One of the BEST tutorials on you – tube is with the Gourmet Quilter – Gourmet Quilter Tips and Techniques 002 

Susan Claire gives such good instructions, and if you are a “visual” learner, this is a good one to watch.

I found another tutorial on you tube that had some variety in the way the coasters were made, so take a look at this video if you want to up your “style” a little – Craft Genie Folded fabric coasters  . She starts you out with the style I made, but without batting.  Then she ventures off onto other “shapes” that are quite fun.  I hope you find her tutorial easy to follow also.

Post Christmas I was able to spend some time working with a panel that I was given.  My dear friend Nancy B. picked out a panel for me when she was on a shopping expedition in Lancaster PA.  I got busy and got it all cut up and made into a little story book for my youngest granddaughter.  I used my embroidery machine to make a cover for the book.

Around the world fabric book

A is for Amsterdam

Barcelona and Cairo

Back cover

and so forth.  There were a lot of pages!  Such cute designs for cities around the world.  More pictures can be found in my FLICKR album – Sewing for the Grandkids

As I was working with this panel, I was challenged by the “stamping” of the fabric.  Nothing on panels is ever square, so no matter how you “size” the piece, you might end up with a bit of white showing through. I didn’t want to cut off too much of the color so I went with the best possible size, and have touches of white peeking through.  I don’t think the not nearly 2 child will care too much.  This panel wasn’t designed to be made into a book, but that is what I chose to do with it.  I was challenged by “how to assemble” it, and decided today to make buttonholes on each page and thread ribbon thru the buttonholes.  I think the ribbon is securely knotted, and should hold up to the rigors of childhood.  If not, I can always “thread new ribbon”.  (I doubled it through the button holes so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  The pages are assembled with a square of quilt batting in between the pages.  It is completely washable, which I have learned, is a priority to my daughters!

I have several other panels out of the bins, waiting for me to get busy with them, and I think I might sew tomorrow afternoon too.  I get to babysit for the recipient of this book tomorrow for a bit, and will send the book home with her.

I am enjoying these little projects that have been set to the side for a very long time. In the back of my mind my list of UFO’s is sitting, waiting for me to tackle them…..one at a time.  Meanwhile, I have re-acquired the Second Time Around for the quilt guild, and have spent some time sorting through the donations. I think most of that is in good shape to take to guild on Jan 8th.

Of course, I still have over 40 boxes of stuff from my friend who moved to assisted living.  I have been taking bits and pieces to her at her new apartment, and know that she is wishing she had it all.  I’ve inventoried a dozen boxes, and labeled them.  We are trying to figure out a way to get together at the assisted living facility and sew.  I imagine making kits, already cut, for her will satisfy her for a bit. I tried to get the activities director to call me, as I would be willing to lead a small group at the facility.  Perhaps after the first of the year, she will call so we can come up with a plan!  If you have ever led a quilting group with “senior” senior citizens, please let me know what type of projects you worked on.

I hope you are able to stay warm where ever you are this night.  Our temps were down to 14 deg fahrenheit last night, and never got above 25 deg today.  Keeping my sewing room warm enough to work in out over the garage is tricky at best.

Happy stitching!

Trip to Quilt Odyssey Show – Hershey PA and a week of fun

Last Sunday, I made an early start, with 2 friends along for the ride and journeyed up to Hershey PA for the Quilt Odyssey Show.  My purpose in going was to see the Bonnie Hunter quilts on display!  A lot of “Bonnie” Quilts, all in one place, up close where you can study the detail, the fabrics, the piecing, the colors at leisure.  My friend Nancy said to me before that Bonnie’s quilts had “too many little pieces”.  I love working with scraps so seeing how she selects her neutrals (from white to brown paper bag), and putting them to work was inspiring.  Bonnie wrote a blog post about the exhibition here —http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2017/07/while-quilters-away.html

I didn’t take any photo’s of her quilts, as she asked others to  ONLY take for personal use, and you can easily see the photo’s on her blog.  I am familiar with several from the exposition, as I have worked from Bonnie Hunter’s wonderful patterns.

We also got to see the award winning quilt by Bethanne Nemesh – Into the Westward Sun – where Bethanne got a FIRST PLACE Blue Ribbon for Wall Quilt/predominately pieced.  I linked to the page on Bethanne’s website that shows this beautiful quilt. My photo’s don’t do it justice.  I did zoom in on one section of the quilt to show some detail —

Into the Westward Sun (2016) Bethanne Nemesh

I saw this quilt this Spring at the Helping Hands Quilt Guild meeting, in person, and enjoyed the talk that Bethanne gave about her artistic approach to the quilting.

One other quilt, worthy of a photo was this one —

The Greeter by Diane L Campbell

He is called “The Greeter, by Dian L. Campbell.  (I am currently in love with cat quilts).

Really, there were terrific quilts in the show, and many just to breathtaking to do more than study the piecing, the quilting and the overall design.  Of course, what would a quilt show be without shopping?   I did a “little” more shopping for 30’s reproduction fabrics at the.  I needed just a few more, and added 19 more fat quarters to the collection.  I can honestly say, now I have enough!

Monday brought an afternoon class at Helping Hands Quilt Guild, Dover DE with Heather Kojan!  I had taken a class with Heather 3 years ago at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, and still had a “project” in the box.  So, I signed up and went and loved the opportunity to sew again using her improv methods.  I will include some details and photos in a future blog post (meaning, I haven’t got around to taking any photo’s yet…)

Tuesday was the Queen Bees gathering and we worked on some little Santa ornaments for our Christmas in July project.  For some reason, my brain wasn’t connecting the dots, and I had a challenge getting going.  But now that the bee is finished, I have been slightly productive with the project. (Again, details and photo’s to come in a future blog post…)  (Can you sense 2 more UFO’s???)

Wednesday means the release of another block in the Grandma’s Kitchen Pattern, published by Pat Sloan.  Block 5 was fairly simple.  I spent more time deciding on which fabrics to use I think than sewing!  I was working with the camera to ensure I had the light, dark, and medium contrast, so I used another B&W photo.

Black and white for contrast  block 5

Block 5 of Grandma's Kitchen,  pattern by Pat Sloan

This block went together very easily.  We are up to Block 5, and I am trying to keep a variety happening in the fabrics.

First 5 blocks for the Grandma's Kitchen pattern  by Pat Sloan

Of course, over a week ago there was the release of a mystery quilt final setting, by Carole – From My Carolina Home, and I haven’t touched it yet.   Time will present itself!  Sooner than later.

Meanwhile, I tackled bamboo with the hubby in the yard, along the driveway.  This was step 1 this summer in bamboo containment.  (CURSES to the idiot who planted this stuff 25 years ago…………..) Every year we are fighting the spread.  Of course, the hubby chose the hottest day of the week to get busy…..and when he is willing I dare not say NO!)  I cut the bamboo that was growing in our forsythia and lilacs and  Crape-myrtle .  The only solution we have is to cut it out, and try to abate the regrowth by constant cutting.  It has gotten away from us in the last year.  (My garden looks WAY worse, but just weeds, no bamboo). I might try to do a little work in it in the mornings this week if it is cool enough.

Bamboo battles 2017

Sewing and gardening early in the week were followed by visits from the grandkids along with their parents.  Family photo’s were scheduled this weekend, and we all got dressed up in new outfits and paraded around in a local B&B’s outdoor area and barn while the lovely photographer took hundreds of carefully arranged shots, and some candid ones as well.  We dodged the rain by being flexible with our day, and in the end, it was all terrific. The family looked wonderful in their finery, the children were bribed with ice cream, and all seemed very happy at the end!  The rest of the weekend was ours to play and have fun.  Grandpa had the oldest out in the garage hammering on a “kid’s project from Lowes”, and they put together a corn-hole game set.  The girls came out to the sewing studio and got to play in the scraps that were donated for their entertainment.  They also helped me “sew” a bowl cozy for their mom as a surprise.  They each picked out a fat quarter, I squared the piece up, and cut batting, then they did the quilting, one at a time, and they helped stitch the darts on “their piece”.  I finished up the sewing and they were able to give it to the mommy before they had to head back home this afternoon.   All and all a great weekend!

This stitchinggrandma is headed to the freezer to find the ice cream they left behind, and to put her feet up!  How was your weekend?

Show update

I wanted to share with you that the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild show 2017 was a huge success!  My little corner of the show was busy and we made lots of sales at the 2nd Time Around Booth.  Quilters loved the bargains and bags we filled at check out reflected that!  Lot of merchandise moved on to someone else!

My transfer of inventory has taken place, and my fellow guild member Lois is taking over following the quilt show.  I am “moving on” to another job in the guild.  (I truly believe that 2 years in any volunteer position is long enough.)  My next job is membership chairman , and I admire Melissa for doing it for longer than I have been a member of the guild.

As we wrapped up the show, I thought a lot about the more than 40 volunteers who worked with me in the lead up this week to the show.  Beyond that, in the last year and 1/2, probably another 40 have worked tirelessly preparing fabric for sale at the show and the guild meetings.  It has been fun, and a lot of work, and lots of friendships were made in the process.  My apologies to any & all if I was a tad short tempered by the end of the day today.  By 3 pm today, I just KNEW I needed some time alone and away from the booth, and I spent an hour walking the quilts on display; and admiring the talent and art that was exhibited by the show participants.

I spent a bit of time talking with the representative of the Fiber Arts Center in Denton Maryland after enjoying the 300+ quilts on display.  What an interesting organization!  They are creating a great directory of artists, teachers etc on the DelMarVa peninsula, and we had a wonderful conversation.   Their purpose stated is this:  “The Delmarva region is home to a thriving fiber arts scene! The Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES) was founded in 2011 to preserve and nurture all forms of fiber arts. From the pre-Colonial era through the Civil War, to today’s modern and fast-paced world, fiber artists have created works that reflect Delmarva’s culture. At FACES, we’re working to preserve this tradition.

We’re also working to build a vibrant community of fiber artists and enthusiasts. Perhaps more than any other visual art form, fiber arts are often social in nature. For centuries, women have joined together for quilting bees, sewing circles, and “stich ‘n bitch” groups. As more and more of our communication moves online, the face-to-face sharing of talent and ideas has become more important than ever.

We invite you to join our community. Become a FACES member, subscribe to our e-newsletter, join our regional directory, or check out an upcoming exhibit or class on our regional event calendar. Happy stitching!  ”  Check out their website – http://www.fiberartscenter.com

I got pulled “away” from that conversation by the chairs of the show; and was delighted to be told, that my quilt “MITTENS” had won the VIEWER’S CHOICE award.   I was stunned, and overjoyed.  My thanks go out to all who voted for this art quilt. I’m so glad you took 6 steps back from the quilt and looked at it, as it was meant to be viewed.

Mittens wins Viewer's Choice at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show

Additionally – I received a 3rd place ribbon for “Addison’s Quilt“.  Now, I am sad to say, I never took a photo while it was hanging at the show with the ribbon beside it! (Insert shamed face here.)  I do have a few photo’s take at the time the quilt was made though —

20160810_201148

Addison’s Quilt” has an interesting reverse side, and I think that is what got it into a prize winning category!

Addison's Quilt back

So, that’s it for my show update.  I spent most of the show behind the cash register, while coordinating volunteers who helped customers during their shopping.

If you want to see more about the Pet Mosaic Project – “MITTENS”, I have a FLICKR album with a ton of photos –Pet Mosaic Project . I also have an album full of photo’s on the  construction   of Addison’s quilt — https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/albums/72157666492829803

I’ve made multiple posts here on the blog in the last year on both of these quilts, and you can read more about them if you back track through the older posts.  🙂

Taking a little time off in the morning to head to Hershey PA for the quilt show there and looking for Bonnie Hunter’s exhibit. My reward to myself for hard work (and the hard work of my two friends riding along).

How is your weekend?  Tell me, if you enter a show and it is judge, what do you think about the report given to you????

 

Grandma’s Kitchen 1-2-3 and fabric shopping

Since I have “met the deadline” for the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild quilt show next week,  with 2 quilts labeled, sleeved, tagged and bagged, I needed SOMETHING to do for a couple of days, just for me….for FUN….

I decided I would start and catch up with Pat Sloan’s latest sew-along “Grandma’s Kitchen”.  I decided that on Wednesday afternoon, and downloaded the patterns, and started pulling fabrics. I had a plan, a theme, but then I decided I needed more……fabric…….

So; you know how it goes….a Fabric Acquisition Road Trip!  Because you can never have too much fabric!

I decided to use my collection of 30’s reproduction fabrics, which was mostly fat quarters and fat eighths, but not enough variety as recommended in the pattern. The 30’s reproduction fabrics remind me of my Grandma Bessie, and the house dresses she would make, the aprons she would wear, and they just make me smile.  I pulled some “other”  fabrics too that would speak of grandchildren and childhood etc. 

There is a local long arm quilter that is pulling up stakes and moving South and she has advertised a big sale at her home. I made plans last week to stop over and see what she had to offer.  Everything was going for $4/yard; and she was cutting from the bolt in 1 yard increments. She also had some “off cuts” from long arm projects; wide backings I would guess; as well as selling wide backings, fat quarters etc.  All beautiful quilt store quality fabrics. She is trying to lighten the load for the move. She has an internet business and will resume online sales after her move is completed.

So, I kept my eyes open at the sale and found 3 different reproduction prints that I did not have and got 2 yards of each. I picked up a few other things too, including 3 yards of an off white batik with an overprint of gold swirls.    I had such a good time the FIRST time I shopped, I left with $1 in my pocket and a HUGE bag of fabric.  That was Thursday.

A friend of mine went on Friday, and told me the seller was still putting out “new” fabrics, and so we plotted and planned and made a 2nd trip over to shop.  Today, I was in the “market” for MORE 1930’s reproduction fabrics, and green fabrics that would work with the 30’s fabrics. I ended up with 2 more reproduction prints, a fat quarter of green, and a TON of white on white, off white, neutral fabrics of all types.

Between Thursday and today I’ve washed over 30 yards of fabric!  I like to prewash before I start a project. I hung most of the fabrics to dry after they spent a few minutes in the clothes dryer. My effort to keep the energy costs down!

Drying fabric

After the washing and drying; most of the reproduction prints went out to the sewing room.  I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon ironing with spray starch. Went through an entire can if you can imagine that. The 12 or 15 yards I washed today will need ironing as well; but since they are not going into a project immediately, I am going to ruler fold, label with the yardage, and indicate the fabrics are washed. I usually don’t starch stuff that is going to be stored for a long period of time.

Last evening, after the ironing, I cut the fabrics I needed for the first 3 blocks of Grandma’s Kitchen.  Today, after my “2nd” road trip for fabric, I got busy and put the blocks together.

Here is block 1 of 25 – The Kitchen Table –

Block One for Grandma's Kitchen.  Pattern by Pat Sloan

I photographed it in Black & White to see if I hit the mark with the light – medium – darks

Block 1 in black and white.  Really shows the light, medium and dark.

I think it works!

Here is block 2 of 25 – Sticky Buns –

Block 2 Grandma's Kitchen,  pattern by Pat Sloan

Again, I did a black & white, because I thought I might have gone too dark with the medium.

Block 2 in B&W

And finally – block 3 of 25 “Keyholder”

Block 3 Grandma's Kitchen,  pattern by Pat Sloan

Block 3 in black and white

I think I made the light-medium-dark thing work, and will do some photos of the fabrics before I cut the next block just to be certain.

Now, I am caught up and the next block won’t come out until Wednesday – next week.  If you want to participate, check out Pat Sloan’s website for Grandma’s Kitchen Free pattern for more information. There is still plenty of time to get started, especially if you have a nice stash of fabric and don’t “NEED” to shop  (I know “crazy talk”….we need to shop for fabric!)  The pattern is released weekly, starting June 28, and will run through Nov 22.  Pat said in the intro that there will be 25 blocks and the finish project is “large lap sized”.  These three blocks measure up at 12.5″.

Are you doing any sew-alongs?  If you do them, how do you manage to “keep up” ???  I hope to stay on track with this project, as it goes along, but I remind myself it is not a race!  (Told my hubby I was crazy for starting ANOTHER project when I have so many UFO’s…..tomorrow I will tackle the next round of borders on Talkin’ Turkey!)

Wherever you are, enjoy your projects!

 Don’t forget – if you are in the Mid-Atlantic area, plan to visit the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild show – 

“Peach Blossom – Quilts in the Orchard” – July 21 – 22, 2017 at: Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes, DE.

10AM-5PM

Admission:  $8 per day; $14 for 2 day pass

Free Parking  along with,

Judged Quilt Displays, Challenge Quilts, Lectures, Workshops, Demonstrations

Merchant Mart, Raffle Baskets,

Second Time Around Shop,

Food Service on-site, and

Community Service Projects

Door Prizes too!

 

Quilt Show Lectures and Workshops Sign-up

Friday, July 21:

11 AM ♦ Terry Kramzar, Lecture and Trunk Show

1 PM ♦ Laurie Simpson Workshop, “Big Stitch Hand Quilting”.  Class is $50 and limited to 20 participants.

Saturday, July 22:

11 AM ♦ Laurie Simpson, Lecture and trunk show

“Pieced Quilting in Layers”.  1 PM ♦ Terry Kramzar Workshop, Class is $50 and limited to 25 participants.

To reserve a class (space is limited) contact:Ellie Hatch.

Entry fee for the lectures is $5.00 (at the door)

More show info at https://www.oceanwavesquiltguild.org/quilt-show

When you come, be sure to look for me at the Second Time Around booth!