Thursday, December 20, 2007

Almost Christmas!

It's five days before Christmas and I think I have all my shopping done. Whew! That is a good feeling! Before I left the house this morning, I turned on the Christmas tree. We have such a pretty tree this year. Ev put the lights on it Monday, and I put the ornaments on Tuesday. Last night, as I stood looking at the tree and all its decorations I had a warming thought. The ornaments on the tree almost all have a story behind them. There are ornaments from family and friends, some homemade, some storebought, but all special. There are ornaments with pictures of my children, husband, brothers and sisters, and even pets on the tree. There are Chicago Cubs and Bears ornaments because they are our favorite baseball and football teams. There are ornaments made of glue and glitter by little hands. There are ornaments made by the hands of people who are no longer with us, but still in our hearts, especially at Christmas.

What I want to say, is that our tree has on it everything that is important to me represented on it's branches. There are no computer forms from work on it. There are no power bills on it. There are no checkbook registers on it. It is just love and warmth and everything good in my life. It's a wonderful time of the year! Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday at Last

Again, not really quilt related, but wanted to post a few musings. Last night we had our first winter storm of the season. We had about 3" of snow come down with some sleet and freezing rain (what is the difference between these two?). Nick was invited to the Christmas party for the church choir. He has played guitar in the choir all year, now. The dinner was held at a restaurant in the next town over, about 8 miles away.

Family members were invited, and since I was the only one not working, Nick invited me to go with him. I figured this would be a good time for him to practice driving in bad weather. He did well. The dinner was really nice, too. The members of the choir really like him and seem to have adopted him as one of their own. Although I may be giving him away to the first one who asks, since he popped up with the comment "yeah, Mom gets drunk all the time on wine" at the dinner! We were sitting directly across from the parish priest. Agh. By the way, I drink about a glass of wine a week, if that. Gotta love him (and his warped sense of humor).

Tonight my friend Diane is coming over just to visit. I made a big pot of chicken rice soup yesterday, so we are going to have soup and fresh bread and just enjoy each other's company. I might start baking some cookies when I get home, just so we have something to. And maybe even make some caramel corn. She has a daughter Johanna's age and a son a couple years older who hangs out with my son.

I played hooky from work yesterday. I brought up my Christmas village houses from storage and cleared off the area where they are going to be set up. I'll finish putting them up over the weekend. We are going to get our Christmas tree Sunday. We get our trees from a tree farm a few miles away. Johanna gets to pick the tree this year, so that means hours of walking through the woods looking for the perfect one!

Ev got up this morning and cleaned off all our cars and warmed them up for us! What a good Bear....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Another Day

Just another day, but wanted to post a little bit at a time if I remember to! Last night I sat down in my big comfy chair and pulled Nick's guitar quilt over to work on. I actually got an entire band name stitched into the sashing while I was sitting there just watching whatever was on t.v. Mainly I think I needed to keep my mind distracted. You want to know what distracted me? Let me explain...

My daughter, Johanna, called me on the phone when I was driving and was upset about some things at school. She was talking a mile a minute, then pops in with the question "Mom, would you love me no matter what?". ACK. "Yes, dear, what's up?" hmm. "Nothing." So I sat there last night and sewed to keep my mind from imagining a few dozen different scenarios ranging from the assumption any mother of a teenage daughter immediately thinks (baby), to the less significant (bad grade). She came home about 8:30 and I asked if everything was okay. She said yes, and didn't want to talk much. This is not unusual behavior. I really don't think it's anything drastic. She's been having some rough times in one of her classes and I know the teacher is giving her grief. She is contemplating dropping the class. It's band, and there is a trip at the end of the year that she has worked real hard to go on. She's worked for years to go on this trip and now she isn't even sure she wants to go because of the way things are going in the class. I'm pretty sure that is what was on her mind. Okay, I feel better now that I've got that off my mind.

I had to laugh at another blog I read. I belong to a group on the internet called Stashbusters. We are people who enjoy sewing and have a lot of material (stash) that we like to use up. My main way of using stash is in making quilts. One of the other gals on Stashbusters wrote on her blog about her kids and cats. This prompted me to write a little bit here about our critters at home. If you scroll down to older posts, you will see a picture of one of our cats, Figaro. She is the oldest animal in the house, being born in 1994. We have another cat who showed up in 2001. We think he was about 6 months old when he arrived. That's Cheetah, aka fat cat. Showed up scrawny, able to count every bone in him. He now weighs about 25 lbs. The cat waddles, he doesn't walk.

We also have two dogs. Both were shelter dogs we got as pups. We got Nakia in 1996 and Wrigley in 2004. Each family member has bonded with one of the animals in particular. Ev, my husband, has bonded with Wrigley. She's a big black Lab. I bonded with Nakia (that's her picture above), who is part German Shepherd, part whatever came over the fence. Nick has bonded with Cheetah, and Johanna bonded with Figaro. Now, I say each has it's own person, but all the pets are loveable to all family members, even when they don't want the attention!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Table Cloth Finished

Sorry, no picture yet, but I did finish the tablecloth for my mother. We went to her house on Thanksgiving and I gave it to her then. She liked it. Then she requested a Christmas tablecloth! What I really liked was the way it fit her table perfectly and I got lucky on the overhang. It hangs over and just brushes the top of the chairs and bench. I think my Grandpa was looking down from heaven and whispered how far apart the top of a seat was from a table so I could get it right! Grandpa was a cabinet maker. Pretty good one, too. Sure do miss him, especially around the holidays.

I've got some flannel all washed and ready to be cut. It's going to be a square in a square pattern that I saw on t.v. a while back. Don't know when I'll get started on it, because I have a couple other projects that I should finish up first. Those 16 patch blocks are sitting on my sewing table, tapping their foot at me. I think they want to be put into a quilt top before I start anything else! ha ha.

I really haven't been up in the sewing room much these past couple weeks. After Thanksgiving, I came down with a lousy cold, so I've mostly been sleeping. When I have felt good enough, I've pulled out my hand quilting project. One of these days it will be done. It's the guitar quilt for my son.

I have decided that I'm not going to guilt trip myself over not doing any sewing. This is my hobby and if I don't feel like doing it, then it will be there when I do feel like it. I'm not putting any pressure on myself to finish anything for Christmas. If I get a spurt of energy and do finish some things, great. If not, so what? No pressure.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Flannel Quilt

Here are a couple pictures of a flannel quilt I made for my sister Helena's 27th birthday. I made it using 6" strips of flannel on the back and front. The strips and batting are all sewn together at once, so it gets quilted as you go. I love the vibrant and bright colors. The binding is also flannel scraps of the green materials. I topstitched the binding with a decorative stitch on the front.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Quick Quilt

Here's a picture of the quilt I made for my friend. I put a bright yellow gingham check on the back. Hopefully that will bring some sunshine into her life. I sent it to her today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September Update

The Easy Quilter II frame arrived and I have it all set up and ready to go. I put a small quilt sandwich of scrap material on it just to practice. The frame doesn't seem to give me the tension I want, but I think I may be able to get it tighter with practice. And of course that new machine I have is giving me fits. It also seems to have some tension issues, and bobbin issues, and needle issues, and - well just fill in the blank and that machine has an issue with it! But I'm stubborn and am going to master it. Someday.

I have been working on a couple different things. This is the last exchange for the Round Robin for the quilt guild. I have to add a round to the one I have and then turn it in at the next meeting. Will be glad when this exchange is over. It seemed to be a roadblock for me to have to finish it. I wouldn't let myself work on much else until the RR was done especially when it got closer to the next meeting.

I put together a quilt top for a friend at work who has been fighting cancer. She loves to be outside in her garden, so I cut up some 3-1/2" strips into 6-1/2" lengths and sewed into strips then sewed the strips together. The materials used were kinda country. There were seed packets, ears of corn, food labels, stuff like that on the material. Then I pieced together some yellow gingham for the back. I haven't quilted it yet, but hopefully this weekend I will get to it. I want to use the Easy Quilter but am afraid that I will mess up because I'm not that good yet!

The weather has finally cooled off after a horribly hot summer. That in itself has inspired me to do more quilting and sewing. I even pulled out the guitar quilt I'm working on for my son that I'm hand quilting. It's been a long time since I started it and I would really like to get it finished.

I have a bunch of 6" squares that I want to turn into a trip around the world quilt for my uncle. I will have to post a picture of the one I made and hand quilted. The one for my uncle will be machine quilted, but I'm going to mimic what I did by hand on the machine.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nashville was great!

My friend and I went to Nashville a couple weeks ago for the quilt show. Wow. Words cannot describe how neat it was. I was on sensory overload when I walked into the convention center. There were so many vendors and so many quilts it was impossible to see them all in one day. Or even two. We had a great time. This was my first time in Nashville and I would definetely go again. The five hour drive wasn't too bad, I guess.

We took our sewing machines and spent a lot of time in our room working on quilt tops. We had stopped in Paducah, KY on our way down. We went to Hancock's of Paducah where I purchased, off the clearance table, some fall colors. I put them together in a fourpatch and one patch design. That top is waiting for me to decide what border to use on it.

I also am waiting for a new purchase to arrive. When we were at the show, I really wanted to purchase the Easy Quilter II system. It is a machine quilting frame that you use your home machine on. I was able to find a used system at a reasonable price and now I'm waiting for it to arrive. I really want to get a few tops pieced together so I have something to work on right away when it comes!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Haven't Done Much Quilting Lately

I haven't done much quilting or sewing lately. It's been an effort just to get the Round Robin projects done each month. That is one commitment I don't think I'll make again. I guess I don't like to be forced into doing something. I like to work in my own time frame.

I'm getting ready to go to Nashville in a couple weeks with a friend. She has received a free condo rental for the week when the Quilt Show is going on, so we're splitting the gas to get there and back. I'm really excited about it!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sweepstakes Square

Just wanted to post something I finished real quick. This is a square from a local quilt shop giveaway. The quilt shop sells, for $1, the pattern and a bit of the background fabric (in this case the green). Each participant in the sweepstakes makes the block, adding her own complimenting fabric, then turns it back in to the quilt shop. After all the squares are returned, usually within a month, a name is drawn and that person gets all the blocks to make their own quilt with.

I'm still working on the tablecloth. Trying to figure out now if I should put any batting in it, or just line it with muslin. I've also been making the uneven nine patch baby blankets that our guild is collecting for charity. They work up real quick, too.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Monday Afternoon

Got some work done over the weekend on the tablecloth. All the jars are sewn together and I have them in the order they are going to be along the edges. Just have to sew them together now, then put the bottom borders on and it will be done. I would like to get it done in the next couple days so I can send it to Mom before the weekend.

Have a guild meeting Thursday night. Need to make a 12-1/2" block to start a round robin. I'm thinking of doing a mini log cabin block and putting four together for the center block. Might make it in food prints like the tablecloth. Not sure yet.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


This is a wall hanging I've just about got finished for my dad and his wife for their anniversary this weekend. I have been taking pictures of their house all year to get four pics that represent each season. The top left is Winter, top right Spring, bottom left Summer, and bottom right Fall. The Fall picture is not the best quality as it was not taken with a digital camera, but unless I wanted to wait another year, this was the best I could do. I toyed around with the idea of putting some tiny seed beads on each picture, white on the snow, green on the grass, orange in the leaves, but when I put a couple on they just looked tacky. All I have to do yet on it is put a couple rings on the back to hang it by. I thought about putting a sleeve on it to hang it but changed my mind.

I'm still working on the tablecloth. Since it's for Mother's Day, I have a few days left to work on it. My daughter's prom is Saturday, so once that is over I'll have some more time to sew. She was sitting with me in the front room last night sewing on a project while I was sewing the binding on this wall quilt. It was so nice to be doing something together like that. She doesn't have a big interest in sewing, but she's starting to do little things more and more. I don't think I had a lot of shared interests with my mother at 17 either, so I'm sure this is normal!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Table Cloth Beginnings

During the Cub's game I brought my new project that needed to be cut into the front room so I could cut while watching the game. I am making a tablecloth with jars on it for my mom for Mother's Day. I have everything cut except the jars and the four corner pieces of the tablecloth.

I saw a picture of a tablecloth like this on the 'net but adapted it to work for me. There will be 24 jars, 8 on each long side and 4 on each short side. Mom's table is 6'x3', so it will work out nicely. I don't want it to hang down really far, so the jars are only going to be 8" high, plus thier lids which are only an inch high. Each of the fabrics for the jars has a food theme. I had almost 24 fabrics so that every jar would be different, but decided that the look was more important than every one being different. The size of the print in some of the fabrics was too large for this project.

I'd also like to make a small wall hanging to go with the tablecloth. She has a window in the dining room that is pretty wide and I'm thinking a long and narrow wall hanging with four jars lined up in a row would work. And if there isn't enough space above the window (my brother Joe will measure for me, since he still lives at home) I'll make a wall hanging with four in a sqare.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Since I wouldn't photograph the people in Arthur, I thought I would take pics of the livestock! These cows are in a pasture right next to the parking area of my favorite Amish dry goods store. I think that one laying down is smiling for the camera...


Here's a picture of the quilted purse I made. The fabric was all stash fabric. I had to buy snaps and a button, but that was it. This pattern was adapted from one that was on the internet. Some members of my quilt guild made versions of it at a local shop. I am not able to go to classes at that shop, usually, because of the times they have them. Since the gal that owns the shop also comes to the quild meetings, I usually can participate in things after the fact. We are doing a block of the month with her starting next month at guild.

I used leftover batting in the purse, by the way. I didn't have a piece big enough, so I joined some scraps with a wide zig zag stitch. I also made customized pockets on the inside. I made one side just to fit my checkbook, pens and cell phone, and then the other side has a couple pockets that fit various stuff I always seem to have in my purse.

The snaps and button were bought at the Amish shop in Arthur Saturday. I hope the snaps hold up because they are just sewn on. I did use a lot of thread to sew them on, but I am pretty rough on my purse. I'm not sure if I'm going to leave the top open with just the button on it or put a zipper in. I don't like to sew zippers in, but I'm thinking that all my junk will fall out if I don't have a closed top. Going to 'test drive' it for a while with the button.

Not that I'm still complaining about my 'newer' machine, but all of the quilting and sewing done on this purse was done on old faithful. That old Kenmore went through 5 quilted layers at the sides when the handles were attached. Considering the newer machine can't handle binding without breaking threads left and right, I'm seriously considering closely watching Ebay for any machines identical to the one I have.

The Green Monster

It's done, it's done! I finished the Green Monster Saturday night after my trip to Arthur. It's a trip around the world pattern. The middle square is a duck on the water. On the backside, which is muslin, at the top and bottom borders I put a strip of pieces of squares from the front. I would like to say this design element was planned, but what really happened was the muslin shrank in the washer and dryer and I refused to cut, wash, dry, and piece more muslin. I also added a label printed on our home computer. It wasn't much, but at least it was a label. The quilting was my first attempt at quilting a large quilt on the industrial singer. I'm pleased with it, overall. I had planned to stipple but chickened out and ended up doing wavy lines up and down through the middle of the squares, and again across. Gave the quilt to Dad Sunday. Told him it was just because, no special reason. Oh, and my two teenagers are behind the quilt holding it up for me to photograph it. That's the closest they have been to each other for ages without arguing. I took the picture quickly....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Weekend Accomplishments

Had a productive weekend. I was able to get all the quilting done on the green monster. I just need to bind it now. I feel pretty good about using the industrial machine for the quilting. I'm not real good on it yet, but with each row it felt like my control was getting better. I will admit that Saturday night, after quilting half the quilt on the machine, my shoulders and neck were so tense it took a while for me to relax them. But that will go away with more practice! I do have a bit of a problem with the tension on the machine still. It is so tight I can hardly pull the thread through, but the stitching seems okay. And yes, I did have the presser foot up!

I also started on a quilted purse over the weekend. At guild Thursday night some of the ladies had shown off purses they had made at a local quilt shop. There wasn't really a pattern, just a way of folding the material. With a help from some internet friends, I was able to find the folding directions online and the rest was easy. The purse is about halfway done. Don't know if my daughter will want one or not (might not be cool enough for her, you know!), but this first one I made for myself. It also makes a neat tote bag when made larger. Going to make a few of them, also.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Old Singer

Here's a picture of my old industrial Singer. I had the original motor replaced and a hopping foot and single hole needle plate put on. The feed dogs are permenantly dropped on it, also. I have been practicing my free motion quilting on it and now I'm ready to quilt the green monster on it. This week I haven't been able to do much sewing at home, but plan to make up for it Saturday.

Thursday we had our guild meeting. Our guild is only a few months old and we meet in a town about 20 miles from here. There are about 18 in our guild that attend regularly. I usually pick up my sister in law in town and then we stop in the next town and pick up two others. With the price of gas, riding together is working out really well. Plus, having someone to ride with make me want to go more.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Kitty Help

So this is my messy sewing area. Figaro, our 14 year old cat, likes to sit on the blue pillow while I'm sewing and look out the window. She may be supervising the stitching, too, I'm not sure... But, as soon as I get up, Fig thinks she should have the comfy chair! The good part is, she keeps it warm for me while I'm gone.

The machine I was using here is Old Faithful. That's my Kenmore from 1980. It was a Christmas present from my grandparents that year.

I was working on the green squares quilt that I've decided to name 'the green monster'. You can see all my little pieces of paper pinned to the end squares of each row. That's how I keep track of what order they are in. And talk about cheap...I actually recycle those numbered squares! Can't tell you how many times they have been used, but old number 2 scrap of paper is getting pretty full of holes - I must have to move it more than others! Might have to break down and actually number a different scrap of paper - GASP!

The green monster's top is finished now. I put a 3" wide dark green border on it. Tried to pin baste it at home today and just got extremely frustrated with it, so I gave up and decided to take it to work tomorrow to pin on one of the conference room tables. I also baste quilts in the church basement, but the lady who has a key to the church probaby wouldn't have liked me disturbing her Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Day before Easter

Here's a picture of a quilt I made at the beginning of the year. It was made to be sold. The center square has the name of a person stitched in the center. You can kind of tell there is a pattern to it a little bit. I would loosely call it a trip around the world as each round radiates from the center out. The first round was green, etc. I didn't follow any real strict rules, just tried to put in squares that were in the same color family.

I started another quilt that will be the same size as this one, made with squares in different greens. Each round is the same material, though, so it will be more pronounced. Plan on machine quilting on my old industrial Singer. This will be my first real attempt at stipple quilting. I have the top almost completed.

I haven't given up on the idea of a log cabin out of green shirtings, just wanted to get something done over the holiday weekend. I don't have all the shirts prepped to be cut yet. It seems to take forever to cut up the shirts. The back and front panels always yield a lot of fabric, but it's hard to throw away the sleeves, so of course those have to be cut apart, too. Then cutting off the hem and seams help to make the material lay flat for cutting. Cutting is not one of my favorite parts of sewing. It ranks right up there with ironing! But since I converted my ironing board into a big board, ironing isn't quite the task it used to be. My hubby bolted a 2'x5' piece of plywood to my old ironing board and I covered it in batting and muslin. Works great and was cheap to make. The lumber yard cut the plywood to size. Total for the wood was only $7 and I had the muslin and batting.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blue Shirting Quilt Finished!

Last night I sat down at 6 p.m. and decided to work on the binding of this quilt. Considering it is 84" square, this was quite a task. I had already sewn it on the machine, which was an absolute nightmare. I usually do a double fold binding, sew it to the top, then fold over to the back and hand sew binding to backing. The bear of it was that the thread kept breaking on me while I was sewing the binding to the quilt on the machine. I finally gave up on doing it on the newer Bernina machine and got out my old faithful Kenmore (which is almost 30 years old and has metal gears - gotta love 'em!). The Kenmore came through for me, but I didn't dare try to sew the back of the binding on the machine. Didn't want to push my luck! So last night I sat down and hand stitched the binding to the back. I put the last stitch in at 11:10 p.m. It felt really good to have it finished. Tomorrow I have the day off work, but I brought the quilt to work today and I'm leaving the quilt at work tonight because a co-worker who only comes in on Friday's has expressed interest in buying it. If she doesn't want it, that's fine, I have other options.
I really did enjoy making this quilt. The fact that the top was made completely out of shirts made for an interesting project. I started collecting some green shirts from the thrift shop and I think I will cut them into strips this weekend so I can start another log cabin. There are a couple things I will do differently in construction this time, though. This one was made without measuring the strips as they were added, just squared them off with the previous round. I didn't feel this made a very accurate square. I think I'll cut each set of strips to size before sewing. Maybe... wish me luck!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Work in Progress - Blue Shirtings

Here's what I'm currently working on. It's a quarter of the log cabin quilt I am making. It is completely made out of men's shirts. The blocks are 14" and it's finished size will be 84"x84". It is 6 blocks x 6 blocks. Huge. I'm machine quilting in a grid pattern. Couldn't really decide what to do for the quilting so I just did straight lines. This is the first time I've machine quilted in sections like this. I have done it in rows before, but quartering the quilt seems much more manageable to me.

Friday, March 23, 2007

First Post

This is the first time I have written a blog. What I really want to do here is share some of my quilting experiences with my internet friends.