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?

 

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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!

Quilting Joy

In my last blog post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2019/02/25/500th-blog-post/  I alluded to the ” best eye candy of the day was a photo I got this morning of my “soon to be 3″ granddaughter”.  Her mother gave permission to share the photo.  But first, the story of that quilt she is sitting on.  My first post about her quilt was in May of 2016 – buried at the tail end of another post .  The first photos showed up the next day on this post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/cards-and-quilting/

Throughout the process of making her quilt I shared pictures and talked about it on my blog.  A look back at my blog archives in May through July of 2016 shares lots of conversation about her quilt.   Feel free to search an look back!

I finished her quilt and delivered it, only to borrow it back in 2017 for the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show. I was delighted to learn it had been awarded a 3rd place ribbon. My daughter brought Addison to see her quilt hanging at the show and that was an exciting time.  The quilt went back home and into the closet on the shelf, to await the day when she was “big enough” for a bed to put it on.  Last week the new mattress etc came home and her room was rearranged and the bed “dressed”.  Mommy snapped a photo and said she just LOVED sitting on her bed with her quilt and new pillowcases.

Finally on her bed

If you click on the photo it will take you to the album on Flickr where there are more photo’s of the quilt, including the back (which I think is the reason I got a ribbon).  The quilt is really “two sided” with a pieced back using some of the excess blocks and fabric.  My daughter wanted coral and grey, and I threw in the turquoise because so many of the coral pieces I found had the turquoise too.  Turned out to be a good decision and added another dimension to her quilt.

Unicorn pillowcases

The fabric for the pillowcases came from Serendipity Quilt Shop last year, and was fun because it had the colors I wanted and the stripes to match up with the unicorns!  The purple and red in the stripe fabric added another layer of color in her gray and white and coral room.  I think they go well enough with the quilt, and the unicorns are a favorite.

You can see why I have QUILTING JOY everytime I look at the picture of her on the bed! I think this is my favorite part of being the StitchingGrandma ~!!~

What about you?  Do you have a project you have made and given away that brings you JOY a year or more later??  Do tell….

 

 

Fun with buttons and more

lots of thread

A week or so ago, I had some creative people at my house.  They got busy working in the box of sewing room cast offs.  Old spools of thread, odd pieces of ribbon and lace, discarded tape measures, buttons, seam rippers were all put to use.  The creative idea was borrowed from a photo I saw on Facebook and shared with my friends.

They arrived with empty wreath forms in hand and stuff from their sewing rooms. They dove right in and got busy wrapping wire wreaths with ribbon or lace to give the hot glue or white glue a place to “stick”.  White glue was a safer choice for my grandchildren to use, while the adults used hot glue.  In just over 2 hours many awesome wreaths were created.

Silk flowers are fun

Wrapped in burlap

All buttons

Grapevine wreath

mostly buttons

It was fun to see what everyone came up with.  NOTE – all the thread spools are considered OLD and not worth using for sewing. I had a great time watching the creative process. I really appreciated my friends willingness to work alongside 3 grandchildren. I’m not sure who had the most fun.

I shared the wreath I made right before my last cruise, simply as an example of what was possible.

My wreath for the sewing room

After everyone left, I started to play in the bins of buttons and came up with this little project done on a 4×6 canvas with hot glue.

Button heart

Have you taken a different approach to crafts lately?

Note…learning to type again while the long finger is splinted….tough for an old bird who learned to touch type at 14!. Hunting and pecking with the right hand for 6-8 weeks. Improving daily, but have been banging the end inadvertently and that isn’t any fun!  UPDATE – the knitted mitten has been completed. Can’t wait to try it. It will off a little extra protection when I am doing things I shouldn’t.  🙂

Embroidery Machine Projects

I figured out last week after attending the embroidery club gathering that I could hoop stabilizer, and so this week I have been working on long sleeve tee shirts for my youngest granddaughter.  I order 2 packages of shirts from WalMart.com and washed them to “pre-shrink” when they arrived.  She is just growing into a 4T and these might last her through the winter. I’ve enjoyed going through my various notebooks of designs and picking things that would suit her.

The first one I decided to make was called Trick or Treat Kitty —

Trick or Treat Kity

I used variegated thread for the cat and the bat on the hat. (Say that fast!)  Pleased with how we got a great striped cat, but not so much for the bat on top of the hat.  I didn’t want to make a black bat on a black shirt, so I thought it would stand out with the variegated thread….a little disappointing. (Hindsight I should have used silver!)

The second shirt was called Garden Sketch Kitty –

Garden Sketch kitty

This “sketch” design seemed a little light on the pumpkins and squash, and I ran the stitching a second time.  I should have run it again on the yellow flower or chosen a bolder brighter yellow.

Next up were pink pumpkins on a blue shirt….

Pumpkin sketch design

This “sketch” design put down a LOT of thread…and that’s good…because this thread by Superior Threads, GLOWS in the dark!  (Not that a 2 year old will be “in the dark” very often…but it is fun.  )

The next package of t-shirts were pastels, and I searched for “non-seasonal” designs in my notebooks.

Stitching out the cat face

This was the most challenging design of all with 3 pieces of applique and MANY thread changes.  Can you tell what it is?

(This was the FAVORITE of this group of 4 shirts)  She was very excited when her mother was showing her the shirts.  I think it turned out well, in spite of me letting get a sleeve under the hoop and having to spend an HOUR unstitching 1  flower to release the sleeve…sigh…

Cat Face

Hooping those little t-shirts is a challenge, trying to keep all the stuff “out of the way” while it stitches.

The next two shirts I finished up this afternoon.

Carousal Unicorn

Who doesn’t want to ride on a pegasus unicorn on the carousel??

And the final one…I couldn’t resist!

I love Cats Tshirt

All of these designs were for a 4×4 hoop, stitched out on my Brother PE500 machine. The designs were from Oh My Crafty Supplies.

I used Floriani Sticky back stabilizer in the hoop, and Floriani no show fusible mesh on the back of the shirt, and Floriani water soluble stabilizer  on top. I also backed the shirt after removing from the hoop and clearing jump stitches with a soft product called Cloud Cover (brand unknown) that would keep the thread and stabilizers from scratching a small child.  I used primarily Embroidex thread. (That variegated thread I was sent for free one year at Christmas from Embroidex).

These fun projects kept me busy this week!

What are YOU working on?

 

 

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!   

.

 

Project updates

I continue to work on my “Autumn Jubilee” placemats.   The only time I work on them is when I go to a quilt bee once a month.   Last week I had a “Material Girls” bee on Wednesday.  My “Autumn Jubilee” tote of fabric is what I have been hauling to bees for months.  I get a little more done each time.  I’ve made a total of 4 since January of this year.  I managed to get the binding on 2 out of 4 in the last week.

2 Autumn jubilee placemats

And the back of them –

Backs for the 2018 placemats.

It is going to be a rainy afternoon, and I think I will make some more binding for the last 2.  That will give me 8, and I think that is where I will stop.

Set of 6 Autumn Jubilee placemats

Since we are not going to be at “home” for Thanksgiving dinner this year, I can move along to other projects, and bore my friends to death with the final 4 placemats next year.  Hey, 4 a year isn’t a bad track record!  This pattern was part of https://frommycarolinahome.com/2016/10/07/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along/  From My Carolina Home’s blog in 2016.  I did 3 table runners in the fall of 2016 and then got going with these placemats.  You might look back at the post I did when I got the first 4 placemats finished in 2017 — https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/autumn-jubilee-circa-2016/

I am linking up to OH SCRAP – OH SCRAP! to share my scrappy Autumn Jubilee placemats.

Quick update on projects completed last week.  Sewing for the grands – 2 dresses completed.

The first one below required a zipper, which I managed (thanks to YOU TUBE!). Pattern is BURDA 6309.

Size 5 with zipper

I might have mentioned before that zippers scared me in 7th grade Home Ec. This one went in successfully, and I attribute the success to my friends who offered advice and You Tube. This pattern was made in a size 5.

Since we were going to visit on Saturday, I decided once I had the zipper in the dress above to make another dress from the same fabrics.  I made this one in a size 4.  I used the same fabrics, but a very simple pattern.

Size 4 sundress

Back of the size 4

It was fairly easy, except for those darn string ties, which took me a lot of time to turn.  I started it after dinner, and worked on it until midnight.  No zippers , no buttons.

That’s it for sewing for kids for a while. Back to quilting.

What are you working on?  Anything scrappy??  Be sure and go check out the link above for OH SCRAP!  It is inspiring to see what others are making using scraps.