Sunday, March 22, 2015

LIfe and Sewing

Life definitely is a roller coaster.  I try to make it up the tall - click, click, click - hill first before looking downhill and toward the curve.  This year seems to be more of a focus on the hill and getting past that before moving on.  I have been trying to take each week at a time and then moving on to the next week.  I have so much on my calendar that sometimes that is all I can do right now.  One of my students reminded me that the state trip was only about 2 1/2 weeks away.  WHAT???  It's that close.  I thought I had about a month.  When did it creep up so fast?  WHAT??  I have 2 restaurants, a presentation dinner, a presentation class, Bunco and Easter (plus whatever else life presents) before even thinking about state.  BUT, I guess I need to think a little bit further ahead than just the month of March.

Getting sick is a bummer.   Two weeks ago, I was finally feeling better and recovering from a Bacterial Sinus infection (from the first of February).  I was out of school for Spring Break and planning on sewing all week long and spending time with my quilt group down at the church.  (all of which happened and was wonderful!!)  Pictures (sorry I didn't take many of them) coming up.  Then at the end of the week (Saturday) I wake up not feeling so great, but I continued on.  Sunday - yep, you got it.  Another Sinus infection, but I have to return to school on Monday.  This time it's a viral infection.  (Can't you infections leave me alone long enough to rebuild my immune system?)  Today is Sunday a week has gone by and I am feeling better (a shot and Z-pac plus a couple days in bed will do that for you).  I am back on the road to recovery - finally feeling much better and getting ready for the next few weeks! 

Even though I didn't really sew much for the month of February (felt horrible most of that month), I have put the pedal to the metal and am screeching around those curves on that roller coaster.  (sewing wise, as least)  I have completed several things and am emptying some tubs.  (I have also filled a couple of them back up with new projects, sigh). 

Here are a few items on the finished and finished for now list (these last ones just need to be quilted).  I am back in the Kaffe Fassett Block Exchange and these are the first blocks I made for one of the ladies.  (We are to make two blocks from KFC fabrics in the lady's choice of pattern - KFC = Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics- Kaffe, Brandon Mobley and Philip Jacobs)  My choice won't be until June. 

 
A jelly roll quilt that I started a couple of years back and finally finished putting the blocks (most of them already made) together.  I even have the back made AND binding ready to go.  Now it just needs to be quilted!!  (This is one of the tubs I have already filled back up with fabrics and 3 made blocks for our groups quilt along.)  I loved these fabrics when they came out and still do!  This may even be two jelly rolls?  I can't remember.  I do know that I have had the fabric for the back of this quilt for awhile just waiting for me to finish the blocks. 
 
 
 Below are two of the three blocks - guess I didn't take a picture of block # 3 - of our groups quilt along quilt.  I am using some Amy Butler fabric and the background is a cream print with small brown dots. The colors look really pale in these pictures, but the blocks look more alive than this.  Maybe future pictures will be able to show the color better.   I tried to put the two blocks side by side on the computer screen, but they weren't having any of that. 
Block # 1 of the groups quilt along
 
Block # 2 of the group quilt along
 
 We started out on Monday, learning how to make this bag and how to Ruche flowers. (I don't know how to spell it, but now I know how to do it.  LOL)  Some people were impressed that I knew how to needle turn the leaves.  I can do handwork when I choose.  I just don't choose to do it very often.  The stems were put on by machine. This bag is made with pre-quilted fabric and I machine quilted the yellow pocket on front.  You can't tell, but there are two pockets on the front.  A green one and a yellow one. 
 
A close up of the flowers so you can see the beading on the centers just to give it a little something special.  The flowers could have been larger, but I quit when my thread ran out or broke. 



Bag number two for the week was interesting to make.  Another member in our group had recently made a bag like this and I really liked it so I jotted down the number of 5 inch squares that were needed and that is about all I wrote down on my sheet of paper.  I pulled some squares I had previously cut, but haven't added to my 5" box and sewed them all together.  (6 across, three down = 18 and then 4 across the bottom center part - for your "boxing of the corners" - and then repeat for the other side = total of 44 squares.)  I sewed each side up and then used a fusible batting.  Quilted a quick pattern on there, decided that I would need a lining so I folded this in half, laid it out on my lining fabric (really some extra fabric I had there with me because I didn't think ahead) and cut a lining to match the size.  Sewed up the bag and the lining getting ready to put together and I came to a screeching halt.  STRAPS!!!  What was I going to do about handles/straps????  A bag of this size really needs handles that go across the bottom to give it extra support.  So, was I going to take it apart and put the straps on?  NO!  I wasn't taking this apart.  I measured how long I wanted the straps, cut the fabric, sewed them together threaded some batting inside the tube, sewed it all down.  Pinned them onto the bag (still all sewn up, but without the lining so I had to curve around it)  Guess what?  The handles only turned out to be about 6 inches long over the top of the bag.  NOPE, not going to work.  I took the strips apart - because you know I had already sewn it into a loop and it has batting in the middle of it.  Major work went into this bag.  I added another strip to the handle, sewed it all back together and attached it to the bag.  Down the side, over the edge and across the bottom, over the edge and back up the side and repeat not once, but three more times.  I then decided that this bag needed binding around the top instead of just flipping and sewing the lining in so I cut some binding strip (again, from some fabric I had on hand since I didn't think ahead) and VOILA!!  Below is my new bag.  Oh, yes.  Since I thought it needed some extra support and before I bound the top I added a piece of fusible Pel-tex into the bottom and fused the bag and lining to it to give it some stability. That works out great and now the bag can stand up on it's own, but doesn't feel too stiff. 

 
I really like the scrappiness of it all.  On the next one, yes, there will be a next one so I can write down what exactly needs to be done since this one was hit and miss.  Anyway, on the next one, I will add a pocket or two or three.  Maybe a couple on the outside.  The only thing about this bag I am unhappy about is....see that green fabric on the left side?  the exact same fabric is right next to it on the other side.  grrrr.  Since I put the two sides together separately, I didn't even think about the sides matching up.  It's not a major thing and really truly not a big deal, but I know that if I had taken the time to think (the story of this bag is the complete lack of thinking) that little problem wouldn't have happened. 
 
I didn't make this pillow during the week, but it was recently made.  I was playing around in my box of strips and started sewing together some of the black and white strips.  Then I decided they needed a little bit of color.  So, I added a little bit of color from time to time.  I put it up on my wall and left it for a few weeks then decided it needed to be a pillow.  I added a little more to it to square it up and began quilting it.  I quilted some large free form flowers in pink, orange, red and light pink.  You can see the round circles of the flower centers in this picture. 


 
Here's a close-up of a couple of the flowers.  Each one has at least two different colors in them.  They are surrounded by lime green vines and leaves, all free motion quilted.  This is one way I can work on my free-motion quilting and try to improve it and have something that is fun to have around. 
 
 
So, what is next on the agenda?  I am still clearing out some tubs and the next tub has some 5 inch squares I cut from two different fabrics and some charm packs.  I had planned on doing a disappearing 9 patch with these blocks and had already sewn and cut apart 5 or 6 blocks.  Some people in my quilt group worked on quilts that they had started in the Odessa Quilt Guild where they sewed 9 patch blocks, cut them in half two ways and then only turned opposite corners.  I had also only cut these blocks in half two ways so that is what I am going with for this quilt.   Here are 9 blocks on the board and I like how they come together to create a semi bow-tie thing and how the colors run at an angle.  I think I will do a 4 X 5 setting and then sew the leftover print blocks together for a border.  I may even cut some into circles and applique them over the top of those more solid blocks.  It's just a thought for now, I haven't tried it to see what it will look like, but maybe I will get a chance by this weekend.  This is for sure, a very spring/Easter quilt so it's the perfect time to be working on it.  One more tub almost emptied out! 
 

 
 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Few Projects Done

The other night, I was spending some time in my studio, having just finished putting some blocks together into a quilt (see elsewhere in the blog) when I looked over and saw the box of goodies that I had re-packed to take to the quilt qroup in January to for show and tell.  I needed to unpack and put away all the goodies and kind of clean things up a bit - I could use the tub for other stuff.   I pulled out the following items:  a pillow cover (partial in the picture), pin cushion and a journal with a cover.  I love all of these items, but the one I am going to talk about today is the journal cover.   I like everything about this cover from the bright colors to the hexies and even the journal itself without the cover - it's bright pink with paisleys all over it!  What is not to love. 
 
 
However, as I was sitting there, I thought it needed something else.  A monogram.  I took the cover off the journal and decided how large I wanted my "N" to be.  There was some bright green fabric laying right in front of me and I only needed a 5" square so I cut that out and drew an N on it.  Looks wonderful, but I really should have put some adhesive on the back - so I did that and then cut it out.  Still looking fabulous.  I positioned it, ironed it on and then thought, how am I going to sew this down with the flap there?  I should have thought of that first, but I knew I could do it.  I simply turned the flap to the outside - it would be really sad if I sewed that down and couldn't put my journal back together.  If I can ever get the picture to download to this site, I will share with you my finished journal.  Now it is perfect and just right for me.  I love it!!
 
 

One other thing I got finished was the quilt top below.  (I even have the back finished!! - that is a minor miracle for me.  LOL)  This was from a jelly roll - can't tell you the name of it because I forgot.  I pieced the blocks awhile back and they were laying around my studio and I decided to put them together.  Then I took the leftover strips and made a piano key border for the top and bottom.  It looked like it needed one more thing so I added a little border of just white all around and I love it!  I am calling it "Boys Blocks" and it will go to one of the boys in my family for graduation.  Sometime in the next 10 years we will have 8 boys graduating and I am going to need a few boys quilts and this one is perfect! 


 
Last, but not least, my second iron caddy.  I just thought I had worked out all the kinks with the first one, but nope, had similar problems putting this one together, too.  I may have to make a third one to see if I can perfect this pattern.  (don't put in your request - I won't be making one anytime soon if I do make one)  This one fits my iron that I use all the time at home and I am hoping it will fit my friend Glenda's iron since this will be going to her house soon. 
 
 
 


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Iron Caddy and Quilted Bag

Found some pieces left over from the "Make New Friends" quilt and started piecing them together last Saturday at Bee Friends.  Last night I pulled them out and finished them off into a quilted bag.  I discovered and used a different fabric than what I used on the border of the quilt for the lining and handles on the bag.  Just plain straight stitching in a grid on the outside and a lovely bag is born. 
 
I have hidden away inside of this wonderful bag, the quilt top and leftover border fabric to maybe used on the back or in the binding.  This way it is all in one place and I know what the quilt is by the fabric on the bag.  This is about the 5th bag/quilt combo I have made and I love doing this.  It would make a great gift - if I ever gifted these quilts.  This one I do have plans for giving away once I get a back made, get it quilted and bound.  That my take awhile since I have started 4 other projects and am trying to wrap up and finish tops in progress - which this quilt top was one of the many unfinished tops hanging around my room.  I really am thinking about what I want to do for the back of this quilt, but I don't think I have any other fabrics that will go - yet!
 
This last Saturday at our Bee Friends meeting, Molly King, one of our fantastic members, taught us how to make an iron caddy.  I had previously about a year ago, cut out the rectangles and handle strips to make two caddies, but couldn't figure out all the folds, sewing lines, etc. from the pattern so they have been sitting nicely waiting for me to finally get back to it and figure it all out.  Thankfully, Molly did the figuring and deciphering of the pattern for me - she had a hard time, too, so it wasn't just me, thank goodness - last night along with the bag, I also finished this iron caddy.
 


 
It's for totting a hot iron and ironing - if you want, since it has Insulbright and the Teflon sheeting on the inside and lays flat when opened.  I had gotten the binding on earlier this week and put it all together and realized the buttons and loops were in the wrong places. Even though it didn't look that bad - just a little off kilter, I decided it would look so much better and I would know where to put the ones on another one, if I would just go ahead and fix it all now.  It wasn't hard to do, just time consuming.  I unstitched the parts of the binding necessary and moved the everything, stitched it back up, unstitched because I got part of the binding caught up, stitched it again, unstitched when another part of the binding got caught and finally got that one side all stitched back in place.   Then I went to the other side, since I learned my lesson,  I pinned down the binding to stitch the seam in place, so the second side went much smoother.  All that was left was moving the buttons to the right place.  This time I used a pink pearl cotton thread to sew the two buttons down and I liked it much better.  win, win!!  Now on to making one for my friend - who I had stolen the pattern from originally.  Thank you Molly for simplifying this pattern and making it understandable for everyone from the newbies to the oldies. 
 
Another quilter didn't think this fabric looked like me, but I think it looks exactly like me. It's a Barre J fabric that I picked up in a little town on the way to Austin.  I think it was Brady, but I am not sure if that is the correct town.  It's one of those places that I try to stop at every time I go through and I know exactly where the store is, but couldn't tell you the name of the place.  (they had even moved once and I found them again!) Anyway, her fabrics remind me of Philip Jacobs, Martha Negley and Kaffe Fassett fabrics and I love all of their styles.  (I love Brandon Mobley, too, but this doesn't look anything like his fabrics)


Monday, January 12, 2015

Gold and Silver Quilt

I finally have a picture of the silver and gold quilt I mentioned previously.  I actually call it the baby poop quilt because that gold color is the same color the painters paint (over and over again) the door frames at Odessa High.  They call the color baby poop.  However, when I recently posted a picture of a smidgen of this quilt one of my friends told me it was lovely gold and silver quilt.   Hmm.  I hadn't thought of it that way before.  When I read that, it immediately brought to mind the old girl scout song, "...one is silver and the other gold..."  (did you sing it in your head?)  It's a song about making new friends, but keeping the old ones, too.  So the name of this poop quilt it changing an morphing to something entirely new.  I don't know what exactly yet, but it may have something to do with friendship. 
 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year - First Finish



 
Happy New Year!! This blog will either be really long or short and picture heavy one of the two.   I promised you some pictures of items from the Stocking Swap so we will start with that.  These are just a few of the items I received.  I love this pillow cover.  I have stuffed a 14" pillow form inside and it is fantastic!!  It's very bohemian and is so my style.  There is also a pincushion you will see in the next picture.  This is just strips of fabric sewn down the middle and randomly placed so the edges of the fabric are left loose and flappy.  (bad description, but truly that is how it is)  The little balls are fabric stuffed with fiberfill and then sewn around the ends and sewn onto the edge of the pillow cover and pin cushion. 
 
 
Here is the pincushion along with the journal cover and pen (you can just see the end of the pen on the top left of the cover. It writes in purple and that has become my favorite color to write with the last couple of years and is Kathy's favorite color - Kathy is the person who made the items and who I got the Swap items from)

 
The bag part of the Swap was a jewelry bag that gathers up to create a flower.  Here it is all gathered
 


Here it is opened up.  The edges of the inside fabric creates little pockets to store your jewelry plus being able to store it in the center section.  In the background you can see my new pink television!  I love it!!  On the screen is Ellen and her look back at Robin Williams' appearances on her show and how he made her laugh every time he came on.  It was a touching look back and very, very funny.  I was laughing at him and at her.  At one point she was almost curled up in the fetal position laughing so hard at what he was saying.   Anyway, I really love my new pink television.  My "gift" to myself this holiday. 

 
 
Every year Victoria of Bumble Beans and 15 Minutes Play chooses a word and makes it her word for the year.  Every year I would say, "I am going to do that" and then not follow through until last year when I chose the word "Social".  I worked at being more social almost the entire of last year.  This year I have chosen the word "Create".  I plan on creating many new things in the coming year, not just with fabric and quilting, but with paint and food and many, many other things.  I want to bring out more of this side of me.  Being creative makes me happy.  So, for the new year, I have made my new word quilt hanging.  I pieced the letters this year instead of appliqueing.  I really should have used Tonya's book  (she hasn't blogged in a really long time, but I just wanted to reference her blog here) and my letters may have been a little bit better, but I think they turned out okay for my first try at a word.  I love this background fabric and had picked up a few fat quarters for cheap (less than a dollar each) when a store was going out of business and knew that I wanted to use it as my background fabric.  That meant the other colors needed to stand out a bit since that was a busy print. 
 

 
Along with the pink fabric, I picked up a couple of this blue/green floral fabric in fat quarters, also.  This would be just right for the borders and I could pull the colors for the letters from this print.  Here it was on the wall last night when I went to bed. 



Today, I knew my mission was to get this quilted and bound and finished.  The quilting isn't the best - that is one of the things I need to work on this year in my year of "creating", but I like it "warts and all" as they say.  I used the pink to bind it and bring that color out to the edges and I loved how the little pig on the shelf is looking around the edge of the quilt.   I used a blue/green thread to do the circles and swirls on the outside and black thread to go around all the letters since they definitely needed an outline of black to stand out.  Now the only thing to do is make a label and a hanging sleeve - forgot about that until now -  and it is ready to put up on the wall.  
 

 

What is your word for the year? 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Last Finishes and New Project Plans

I don't know about you, but I have a ton of projects in the UFO (Un-Finished Object) stages.  Some of them are finished blocks that just need to be sashed or sewn together and then borders added (or not) and some of them just need one or two borders added to be a complete quilt top.  This year (2015) I am going to complete a few of those items (mainly because I need the plastic tubs they reside in for more fabric and projects).  Below is one of those items that just needed a few steps to be called complete.  I have blogged about this one before (picked up the jelly roll at the Lovington, New Mexico store on a shop hop a couple of years ago, tried to find yardage of this fabric - no luck, just need to finish blocks, add a border, etc.)  Well, now it is a finished QT (quilt top) and the next thing I will whine about is having to make a back for this thing and get it quilted, but not today. : )  I know this isn't the best picture, but I promise to get one made as soon as I return to school and can post it up on my white board.  I just don't have the space here at my house to do that.  Truthfully, I just needed to post a picture of the colors so my mother could see them.
 
 
 
 
While I have been on winter holiday, I have scrolled through some blogs and pinterest (just a bit) and found a couple of items I wanted to make.  The first of those was a trash bag for my car.  I read through the directions while I was writing them down and asked myself, why?  So, being me, I threw away what I had written down and did it my way.  Below is my prototype.  The fabric is from a pair of pants that had ripped, but I thought the fabric was interesting and would make cool grocery bags. So, I cut apart the pants and kept the usable bits.  Then I cut them up even more and made this bag.  Instead of having a separate lining and a timtex insert, I did a self lining and inserted the timtex in between (next time I will sew it in instead of trying to line up seams)  I have also included a handle with button holes that attach to a button sewn on the back (sorry no picture of that) The handle can go around the stick shift to hold the bag in place.  If anyone knows me, you know I have a problem with trash in my car (I have a lot of it) Maybe this will help me keep it corralled and make it easier to dispose of.  I can put a plastic trash sack inside this bag to keep it all in one place (and not all over the passenger floor like it is now)
 

 
 
 I need to try it out in my car - in a few days after all the ice has melted and it is safe to drive in town again.  (yesterday afternoon, according to the news, the police were working 20 wrecks that happened within a one hour period  AND by the 10 o'clock news, Midland police had worked over 100 wrecks!  That is how inexperienced and crazy people around here are on the ice and why I choose to stay at home!  I think most of these people think that if you just speed up, you can slide to where you want to go) I had a great time at the store yesterday morning (about 8:30 or 9 - before it iced over) meeting up with friends who were also stocking up on supplies and trying to get off the road before the crazies woke up.  I wouldn't have had to go if I had just remembered to get black eyed peas when I went a couple of days ago!  Oh, well, it was good to see my friends at the store. 

Now to go work on my word of the year.  Last year, you may recall, my word was

And even though I struggled with this at the beginning and ends of the year, I did get out and be more social.  (my friends may not think so, but I really did do a bit more stuff)  I will continue to try being more social this year, too, but I am adding another word to my list.  I will post it as soon as I have my quilted word done.  I think I will do pieced letters for this one.  (a new technique!)



Friday, December 26, 2014

Two New Tops

I am sitting here playing Candy Crush (don't hate me) and every time I begin this game (level 152) I forget that the sound of the boxes breaking sounds like my toe breaking and it makes me nauseous for the for a little while until I get used to that sound.  Speaking of which, how long should it take for a bone to heal?  It seems like it is taking forever for my toe to heal.  (it hasn't even been a month yet)  I don't think it took this long for my little toe to heal, but I have to remember that I shattered that toe back in the 70's and that every time I break it now, it is just the shattered pieces putting themselves back together in a hodge podge way to create some kind of stability in that toe.  I think I have broken that little toe about 6 times now.  The toe that it currently broken is the toe next to my big toe and it hurts!!  It has hurt since day one.  Sorry, didn't mean to start this out to make anyone else nauseous, too. 

What I did get on here to do was to post these two quilt tops.  I don't think I have posted them yet since I still had them on my camera and not in my computer files so here are the latest two tops I have completed.  A while back I asked for your opinion on which border you thought I should go with - the flowers or the plaid.  I only had one friend post and she said to go with the flowers.  That was the way I was leaning also so that is what I did.  This one I call Christmas Crosses and it was a lot of fun to put together.  I think I blogged about it here.  (hopefully I will go back through the blog and find the particular one in question and link it to the word here in the previous sentence.  Otherwise that sentence is useless)

 
 
This next one I have named Lovington Quilt.  This is from a $5.00 packet of fat quarters, some fabric from my stash and JoAnn's for the borders and here it is.  I think I blogged a bit about it here.  (see the part above about linking, etc.  Sorry if it doesn't get linked up, but it is 11:30 while I type this) 
 
 
 
Normally I like to start a new quilt this week or at the very least on New Year's day, but I am thinking that I really, really need to empty some tubs (so I can put new fabric in them) and get some of those blocks and partial blocks and projects finished up.  The last couple of days (okay - yes, it's been over a two day time period, but it has only been about 6 hours or so of actual working time) I have pulled one project out and finished up the blocks and they are now sewn into rows and then tomorrow I will put the rows together and try to find some fabric in my humongous stash to use for a border (or two or three).  This latest one was a jelly roll of very unusual fabrics that I picked up at Lovington two years ago on the first shop hop and there was no yardage at that store (I have checked several times in the last two years) and no yardage anywhere (at least not anywhere that I have found) that matches this fabric.  I can't remember the company, but I do remember it was one I had never heard about before.  I will hopefully be able to post pictures tomorrow.  We will see how I figure out to do that.  Or like before, you may have to wait until I go back to school and I can hang them on my white board like the two above.