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….

 

 

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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!   

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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.

Summer Fun and Sewing for the Grands continues

I took a mini-vacation from sewing for a week while 3 of my grandkids were visiting. They are so active and busy during their visits that sewing is not an option. (My sewing space is not “kid safe” currently with all the excess stuff I have from 2nd Time Around and my friend June’s sewing room stuff).

 I am usually up around 6 am, and shortly after getting up, the youngest is  awake and we get 15 or 20 minutes of time together before the household is up and moving.  She wanted to pick out fabric for 2 dresses and we did get a few minutes of time to do that.  She likes to touch the fabric and make combinations that please her 6 year old eye! I also got out my bin of kids patterns and she selected a pattern for her second dress.  We were “too busy” to sew while they were here.

Our week was full of adventures.  We rode bikes at a nearby state park one morning and had a picnic. Another day we got together with their cousin & aunt for a some beach fun. Their aunt brought pizza for dinner one night.  We went to her house to play and swim one day. Lots of great time with play time with cousins.  I hope they were building memories!!   Of course, playtime with remote control cars and Grandpa, and bike riding at home. We went to an evening concert at Abbott’s Mill Nature Center and enjoyed another picnic.  Every afternoon there was time spent in the pool to cool off and relax. My daughter and Grandpa and I enjoyed floating around watching the kids splash and play.   All that time at the YMCA over the winter has made them into great swimmers.  Swim lessons for kids really built their confidence. The 2 oldest kids figured out how to use snorkels and had fun staying “underwater”.  

Hopefully they had a good week of fun, and my daughter enjoyed a little break from her normal household responsibilities etc. She, of course, still had to “mother”, but not worry about meals and chores and the boxes that still need unpacked for a few days.  We enjoyed lots of time to visit too.

Once they headed home, I went to my sewing room to work on the 2 dresses.  The patterns were chosen for each dress already, and I very easily constructed the sundress .  This was the 4th time I have made this pattern, by BURDA,# 9994, this summer and it went together in a few hours.  I spent as much time tracing the pattern to a size 5 on butcher paper as I did cutting out the dress! I know have the pattern traced in a size 3 & 5, and the original goes from 18 months to size 8.  Too bad summer is nearly done, as I have this pattern down!!!!  

Sundress front

I was ready to put the buttonholes and buttons on at the end of the first round of sewing late Friday afternoon.  On Saturday afternoon I did buttons and buttonholes and the dress was finished.

Back of sundress

I had to give it a good wash (to get my chalk marks off the back where the button holes are), and it is ready to pop in the mail.  I will do that this morning!  This granddaughter turned 6 while she was here, and I know she will enjoy getting her dress “in the mail”.

The second dress has taken me quite a bit more time.  It has a collar and sleeves, and calls for a zipper.

Dress with collar

Granddaughter chose dress B in the lower left corner.  I traced that pattern into a size 5 on butcher paper on Saturday, and got everything cut out.  On Sunday I started to work through the directions, making the collar, the sleeves and the bodice.  I learned about “easing” stitches for the sleeves.  I love how full the skirt is with all the gathering.

I still have to shop for the right zipper to go into the dress, and dig in the trim bin for the trim around the waist. I have lots of zippers, but nothing appropriate.  I have it nearly finished with the exception of the hem and zipper and the trim.  I am TERRIBLE about reading patterns, and had to “redo” the sleeves.  Thankfully I had plenty of fabric.  I think she made a fun combination of fabrics. She wanted contrast, and she got it!  Hey, when you are 6, you can mix plaids and stripes, right?   🙂  I think the 2 prints are cute.  I would not have chosen them to coordinate, but she liked it!

Size 5 dress

I didn’t get a chance to work on the dress on Monday.  I spent my morning with my youngest daughter and granddaughter, taking a 6 mile bike ride at the beach, followed up by a ride north to pick up some fabric for 2nd Time Around and a long nap!

Before dinner I did a little “tidying up” in my sewing room so I could get near my embroidery machine. My sewing desk was buried under dress patterns, and batik strips and sundress fabrics.  I can now “see the top” of the desk.  An hour well spent putting patterns away, labeling folders and pattern boxes, and putting batik strips in a basket.  (Yes, the placemats are still a work in progress…of course…another UFO).

I needed to stitch out a couple of “die-line” files for Embroidery Club today, and get my “gear” packed for going today. I have “minimized” how much I am taking, but did throw in a couple of extra pieces of fabric, and 5 extra spools embroidery thread.  We are doing an Embroidery Library  “in the hoop” key chain project and I will write about it once I get it done.

The rest of the week is pretty busy with Material Girls Bee on Wednesday, and an afternoon of sewing at the Assisted Living Center on Thursday, and 2nd Time Around on Friday morning, along with lunch and swimming with the ladies on Friday afternoon.  I am hoping to finish this dress before Saturday morning when we head over to the DC metro area for that 6 year old’s big birthday bash!  (Debating a bike ride on Wednesday evening or sewing……hmmmm) Deadline is looming on this one!

Hope you are staying cool during the hot days of August and finding time to sew or enjoy other summer time activities with family and friends.   Do tell what you are working on, and if you have any good tips for installing zippers in garments!!  (I think I failed zippers in home-ec in 1969…)

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