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!   

.

 

Advertisements

Fire and Ice Batik Table Runner

My sewing room has visitors off and on all last week.  We had 4 helpers for 2nd Time Around prep on Friday working hard for the benefit of the guild.  One member, Arlene, took home a partially made project that she found in the donations and came back on Saturday to lay it out on my big table and get it pin basted. She had taken something that someone else discarded, added a little time and effort and borders, and now has a baby quilt ready to donate to one of the many charity groups Ocean Waves Quilt Guild supports.

Another friend, Karen, came over and laid her languishing quilt top on my big table, and we measured the dimension, and then measured her available fabric for the back.  We tossed around ideas for increasing the size of her backing with some pieced blocks and extra bits.  I can’t wait to see how she proceeds. She had 5 wonderful paper pieced blocks she wanted to incorporate on the back, and we worked through how she could do that.   Of course, we needed my design wall blank, so before she arrived I cleared my design wall of those batiks that have been hanging around since the end of July.

Batiks hanging out

I wrote about them here – small-projects-and-small-bits and here Batik Fun .

I can’t share what she is working on, but after she finishes and the gift is received, I will.  

Anyway, I had stacked up all those pieces from the design wall onto my sewing machine while we worked on her project.  After she left, I decide it was time to do something with the table runner.  I dug in my bin of greens and blues and found a nice batik that I had “just enough” of a piece for backing and binding.  I also dug in my bin of scrap batting and pulled out a chunk that was “just enough” for a table runner.

I layered up the table runner, batting and backing, pinned it and put on my walking foot again for machine quilting.  (Most of you know that I am still terrified of free motion quilting (FMQ) but have had good success with straight line walking foot quilting!)  (All right, I debated FMQ, but quickly shook my head no.  I think I will get some practice in on those placemats….later).  I previewed 2 threads and chose Superior Fantastico thread #5025, which is a variegated, pink, blue, yellow, and green thread.  I used it in the bobbin as well as on top.  It actually shows more on the back than I like, and now I wished I had stuck to silver for the bobbin!

I stitched across each block and though the cornerstones making and X.  Then I did some channel quilting in the sashing.  Honestly, the quilting in the sashing took me the longest, because I had to stop at every cornerstone.  I also stitched in the ditch between the blocks and the sashing.  There is “enough”  quilting to keep the table runner nice and flat, but it is not heavily quilted.  I kept debating going back and doing something in the “triangles” on each section with either straight lines or the hopper foot. By the time the channel quilting was finished, so was I.  My “go make dinner” alarm went off, and I shut off the machine.  

After dinner, I was re energized and  hubby and I went back out to the garage. I was just going to cut and make the binding.   He is working on building a “test track” on a shelf for “speed matching” his locomotives……(He needs a blog!)  I might take a picture or two when he gives me the ok!  I had a great audio book going and time ran on, as it often does.

I made up my binding using my favorite “Susie’s Magic Binding” method,.  I continued to sew while listening to the book, and got it the binding on the runner.  I like the way it turned out.  Hubby always tells me he likes the added “pop” of color the binding adds.  I used the smaller of the TQM Binding tools to join the ends and I got the “BEST” join ever on this project.  (Note, because of the piping/flange, I baste the join, check to see if it lines up and adjust if need be.  I made one slight adjustment and it is perfect!)  I think using the smaller binding tool helped.  Or, I had more patience and lots of practice from all those placemats!   If you have trouble with the join, try basting it first.  The link for the binding method shows written directions and a video!

Table runner bound

The fabric from the back of the runner is the same fabric I used in the “flange” on the binding.

Back of the table runner

I mentioned in a comment to a reader this weekend that this binding is a joy to make, not a chore.  I love it because there is NO hand sewing!

I was trying to remember where I had used that batik for the back of the runner before, and it just occurred to me…my Sensational Silk wall hanging, borders and backing (more about it here – In Betweens  ).  There is just about enough left to use for the back of one of those placemats in the stack.

Hubby said to me after the table runner was bound, looking at it in the sewing room, that he thought it was “too small”.  It measures about 19″ x 35″.

I had to bring it in the house and put it on the dining room table to get a look.  (That meant I took all those Autumn Jubilee placemats off for a while!) The dining room table is 40″ x 80″ so I think it floats well in the center.  I like the finished size.  I have made longer runners, but this works for me for now.

Fire and Ice table runner on the table

I decided to call it “Fire and Ice” because it feels HOT with all the orange and cool with all the turquoise and green and purple.

Time for me to get busy labeling projects!  Do you put labels on “everything” ?  I didn’t on my placemats, but will on the runner.  I need to make a label for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt too.  Time for me to tackle the reset of the stack of batik placemats.  I had wondered what others thought of using muslin for the back of placemats in a previous post.  My friend Nancy has a couple of nice batik pieces she is going to share, and I am digging around in my bins for more batik yardage and fat quarters.   (I do think I will practice some FMQ on those….wish me luck!)

Do you name your projects? It is fun to “FINISH” some smaller projects.

Our Most Excellent Quilting Adventure, 2018 Version – SHARED

I know, I said I was wrapping up my travel post yesterday, but I needed to share this post with you first thing!

I’ve talked about the One Block Wonder Woman — well….she shared her story of my visit and her photos of the Queen Mary in Long Beach California on her post below!  

Go check it out  Our Most Excellent Quilting Adventure, 2018 Version (USE THAT LINK !) and be sure to follow for her excellent quilting and gardening posts!  

A package delivered

I mailed a package off last week and have been WAITING for it to be delivered and OPENED.  I sent 2 gifts in the box; one for my son-in-law who must WAIT for Christmas. The other was for my daughter, and I gave her “permission” to open on arrival!  (Selfish me wanted to post photo’s and blog about it!). Seriously, it was something she could use NOW for her holiday table.  (That’s my story anyway!)

You remember the Autumn Jubilee pumpkin/autumn leaves table runners I have been making ?    I asked her if she was interested in one, and she said yes.  Then, she tossed a design idea at me.  She asked for a “double sided” table runner. A “two season, I don’t want to store a bunch of stuff” request.  I thought that seemed like a good idea (and this is why I consult her frequently).   I  played around with the pumpkins and leaves and came up with this for the Autumn Jubilee side —

Autumn Jubilee Table Runner Number 3

I picked that border fabric on the Autumn side because I thought it had a more “modern” feel….not too “country” looking.

The “flip side”  is for Christmas —

Reverse side of Autumn Jubilee tablerunner

I believe the table runner finished out at  17″ x 51″

Three star table runner

It looks much better on her dining table than on my little workshop table.

Double sided table runner
I used the same fabric and star pattern for this table runner as I did for her Christmas Pillow covers I made last year.  I wrote a detailed post about them here – Star Pillows .

Thanks to all the great people who blog and write patterns and share them.  The Autumn Jubilee is inspired by Carole  on her blog- From My Carolina Home .  The Star Pillow is from a pattern by Melissa Mortenson http://www.polkadotchair.com/2014/02/patchwork-quilted-pillows.html/

The soft gold binding in my “Susie’s Magic Binding” was inspired by my hubby! I was struggling to find a binding that would work for both sides; and he suggested the soft gold that is prevalent in the star and on the background fabric.  Of course it worked well on the Autumn Jubilee side too!  (I’ve written previous posts about Susie’s Magic Binding  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/binding-and-other-projects/  if you want more info.)

I quilted using a walking foot and did variable widths of straight line quilting. I used Superior Thread 40 weight – CASHMERE – Fantastico 5035  .  Nobody is paying me to say this – I LOVE THAT THREAD.  I just opened my second spool.  That is, the 2nd  2000 yard spool!  The colors in this variegated thread blend with so many things. I highly recommend it. It was my bobbin thread as well.   The transitions in the colors are subtle, and it really is a pleasure to use that thread.  Anyway, with the quilting being rather dense, I think it gives “weight” to the runner and helps it lay flat on the table. (Even in the last photo, after it had been folded up for several days in the mail.)

I am very pleased with the outcome of this project.  Of course, I have more “pumpkin/leaf & star  parts” available, so I may make myself a Christmas runner at some point. I still have some more placemats to work on as well…but those are for autumn and Christmas is coming!

What are you working on ??  Any secret projects you can reveal yet?  Happy Stitching!  Don’t let the deadlines spoil your joy!

 

Update — Linked up to Oh Scrap!!   The Oh Scrap  button is also on the side of my blog!

Working on UFO # 1 – Swirly Bird and more

Oh, was I ever disappointed that when I looked at my UFO list, I discovered that my “Crusty Crab” was #2, not #1.  My new quilt bee – The Queen Bees has a UFO challenge and # 1 was the project that needs to be finished by TUESDAY!!!!!  Dagnabit!

Well, I tried to renumber the list, but the “challenge Queen” said NO WAY GIRL…..

So, I got out # 1…and worked on it some on Saturday.  The pattern was by Linda Poole, and I took a workshop from her in June of 2015 when she came to Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes, DE. By the end of the week of the class, I had all the applique  stitched down, and I just needed to add tail feathers and an eye.  But, I was busy and the project went in the “box” and in the cupboard.

The UFO challenge has me pulling it out to see what I need to do to finish and move on. I added the tail feathers using variegated embroidery machine thread, but using my Janome and one of the fancy stitches that is built in.  I did trace the general shape from the pattern, but went “free form” with the stitching.  Hubby helped choose the clear button for the eye from the mason jar o’buttons.

Once the tail feathers and eye were on, the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to “play around” with some “thread painting”.  This is the result….and no, I am not finished quite yet.

Swirly Bird

Swirly Bird pattern by Linda Poole

Tail Feathers

The green thread is not supposed to be there..just a loose thread to pick off of the project…… I picked a stitch that is built into my sewing machine and just played with it to make tail feathers. I used variegated embroidery thread and put some tear away stabilizer behind the feathers.

Bird feathers

Played with the same variegated thread on the wing. Dumped out the button jar and hubby picked the clear button for the eye.

20160723_192855-1

This is the “first flower” I played with doing a little “thread painting/stitching”. Again I chose the variegated thread, but this time orange/yellow/green.   It was fun!

And then I went nuts and here are some of the other parts…..up close……

20160723_192912-2

20160723_192919-1

I still need to do a little something on the green stems. I did the leaves, but forgot to take a close up.  You can get an idea if you click on the picture of the full project (first photo) and zoom in.  Anyway, once the stems are “stitched”  I can layer it up and quilt it.  The size is about 22×22.  I really had fun playing with my embroidery thread collection as I worked on this!  So many choices with the wonderful threads I was given. Having it all on thread racks makes it so easy to choose too!!

Hoping to knock it out this afternoon.  My sewing room was hitting 85 degrees yesterday; with 2 a/c units running; so not sure how much I will get done.  My room is over the garage and in this heat, it is tough to get it comfortable.  Our whole house is struggling with the temperature. The house is over 110 years old, and not the most “efficient, and no central air. At least the pool is still refreshing, though I may have to add a little cold water to it this afternoon.    What are you doing to stay cool during this heat wave?

(Note – my “other bee” – The Material Girls is also doing a UFO challenge, and I have NOT kept up with them!! This project was on that list too, but I can’t remember which number it was…)  I keep saying I am not starting any new projects until I finish a few things….so if I can get this out of the way, I won’t feel so guilty!

Update on June’s Quilt — I mailed it to my wonderful sister in law, Carolyn ( One Block Wonder Woman ) and she quilted it yesterday for me.  She is amazing!!  I had ordered the backing and she just got it on Wednesday and she is finished already!! June will be so tickled.  I have the binding all cut, but need to prep it.  While I was on a bus trip on Friday, I found more of the fabric that I used for the borders.  I bought what was left on the bolt (4 3/8 yard). June wants to recover her fabric headboard, and I didn’t have enough of any of the fabrics left, so this should give her what she needs. Any leftovers, I will turn into matching pillow cases or a throw pillow or something. I was tickled to find that fabric again, and this time I didn’t have to pay for shipping!

Update on Addison’s Quilt – it is still on the big table and I am still staring at the borders.  But…..I did get a wonderful thread that will look great on the borders at the quilt show on Friday (Quilt Odyssey 2016 – Hershey PA). I had a visit to the Superior Thread Company booth and got a wonderful grey variegated – Fantastico #5169.

I love to get my thread at the shows, because you save a couple of dollars on each spool if you buy 3 or more.  So I came home with 3 spools of Fantastico (5035-cashmere- variegated) (5169 – grey variegated) (5075-silver black variegated), and 3 spools of Masterpiece.  The Masterpiece I use for piecing and my colors are boring – granite # 156  – canvas #151 – and graystone #155.   My spreadsheet of Superior Thread is growing longer.  I dated the bottom of the cones of all the ones I bought this time and last March, so I can see “how long” they are lasting me.  I am on my 3rd greystone cone since I started using it and my second canvas. Those cones are 2500 yards! I am on my second spool of the cashmere too.   What thread do you love to piece with? Do you have a “go to” color for quilting?  My go-to is either the cashmere or Bottom Line Silver #623.  I am on my 2nd cone of it too.  I also love playing with the embroidery threads that I have.  My daughters have gifted me so many and I just love having so many color choices.

Time to go! Enjoy your day and stay cool!

Banner Completed

On my previous blog post I told you a bit about my inspiration for making this banner.  Pattern is from Irene at Sweet Seasons of Life blog –  log cabin cross pattern .  The colors I used are grey and burgundy, and I used “Susies Magic Binding” technique.  I quilted it with 60 weight Bottom Line thread from Superior Threads – Silver # 623.  Yes, I used Bottom Line as the top & bobbin thread.  This silver thread reflects the colors around it, and since my quilting was all across the grey, it almost disappears. I quilted rays out from the cross.  I did mark the rays out using my ruler a my blue clover water erasable marking pen. On the bottom section the rays are 2.5″ apart along the border. On the top section, they are 2″ apart.  (Last LC banner I made, I did measure carefully, I eyeballed it).  I stitched carefully in the  ditch around the very outside of the cross, and in the ditch on the 2 borders . Ample quilting with out being too distracting from the piecework I think.

I must remember to make some notes on this pattern.  It is fat quarter friendly for everything except the cross and the borders, backing and binding.  Need about 1/3 of a yard for the borders.  I like a light color for border # 1, and a dark color for border # 2.  In this case, I used the same grey for border # 1 as I did for the center of the log cabin block.    The pattern does need a little correcting – for instance the beginning of the instructions say “sew a light shade strip to the center.”  It should say “sew a dark strip to the center”.  The pattern is pretty easy to figure out if you lay out the block before you start sewing.  Also, unless my seam allowances are too wide, I think in almost every round, I had to trim from 1/4 to 1/2″ off as I added the strip.

I just need to finish up stitching the sleeve on the back and make a label.  Otherwise, it is complete. Size is 25 x 34.

Log Cabin Cross Banner

Log Cabin Cross Banner

Now it is time to start thinking about the next project!  I think I have a new super hero cape to make for a granddaughter, and a BATMAN cape for a grandson. Might want to get busy with them as they asked for them on my last visit.  Oh, and then there is also the Scrap Dance Quilt Along! The final instructions were posted on Sept 9, and I just saved them today.  Maybe I will finish that up in a baby quilt size first!  (Gosh I love retirement!)

Happy Sewing.

 

 

 

My review no thanks to helper monkeys

Good morning fellow bloggers….Seems that WordPress wants to share my stats with you Via “helper monkeys”   … Well…I’m no monkey, but  I think I did a decent job a couple of days ago; writing about my projects for the last year. (Blog post was 2014 was a very busy year). (It was a photo journey of the year)

I do find the stats interesting but not as interesting as my own photo’s etc.  But, I will share a couple of things more, as I am a number cruncher.  Before I do, I want to know what are your OPINIONS on this “forced round-up” ?  Are you playing along?  I’d like to know.  I think there will be a lot of “THE SAME” in the posts if every one using WordPress acts like a Monkey and shares the post.  Facebook is doing something similar.

So; here are my stats; as I see them:

  1. this is post # 201; I get a lot of “traffic” when I publicize on Facebook and Google + .  Most traffic has been when I have done a link – up with Bonnie Hunter – aka Quiltville.blogspot.com   .
  2. Another stat — 1345 spam comments — Thanks WordPress for filtering them out!
  3. Another Stat – 155 followers through WordPress and 199 through Facebook.  Do you “publicize” you blog through other social media sites or look at other blogs on blogspot or google plus?
  4. And my final Stat – I had a busy year with Quilt guild meetings; Quilt bee gatherings; a 3 day quilt retreat at the beach; and 2 – 3 day sit & sew retreats (no overnight) with ladies from 3 sewing bees; numerous classes with the guild; 4 bus trips to quilt shows, one trip on my own with a friend to a quilt show.  Each gathering produced projects and learning opportunities; and lots of shopping on the bus trips to quilt shows. Spent a dollar or two on fabric and notions.
  5. My “best buys” of the year have been at Superior Thread during quilt shows.  I need to make my own THREAD CHART before I go on another trip, so I know what I have (Going to take my hubby’s example and make a spread sheet & keep it on the smart phone).  I like Aurifil, but I LOVE Superior Threads and I like the deals you can get at the shows.
  6. And somewhere in the midst of it all; I have organized and made a mess and re-organized; and shared my space on 2 occasions with my friends in the Material Girls Quilt bee. I might have sewn a little too.

Wishing you a happy healthy and fulfilling year in 2015;  of creativity, while you sew, knit, crochet, cook, photograph or travel, sing, work, mother, and live.  I keep thinking of a word for 2015 and I believe that word is “use”.  I am going to try to USE what I have before buying more. (Note…in my world, that means really using that scrap storage system I started & blogged about last January!)

I leave you with a photo the latest improvement in the sewing room  studio…… (Maria in Alaska reminds me that quilting is an ARTISTIC endeavor; so I will henceforth have a studio instead of a room! That is as close to be an artist as I will ever get!)

MORE POWER!  12 outlet power strip just above the desktop.

MORE POWER! 12 outlet power strip just above the desktop.