Monday, December 31, 2012

On the frame

Here is the quilt top I was working on.  It's from February 2013 Quilter's World and is called Seven Patch.  The blocks are fifteen inches and it goes together real quickly.

I have it loaded on the frame but I'm not sure if I'll get down there to quilt it tonight or not.  This cold is trying to get me down.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Head cold

That is what I have. Yuck. Got the top done. Miight give her the top and take it back to quilt. Going to bed to sleep this cold away...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Working on it

Just a quick post to say I'm working on the quilt for my sister. The blocks will go together quickly once I have all the pieces cut. Was in the sewing room almost three hours tonight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Can I do it?

Do you think I can start and finish a quilt by New Year's Day?  Going to try...  I saw a real cute and simple pattern in a magazine that my sister would like.  Going to try and get it done over the weekend to give to her on her birthday, which happens to be January 1.

It only uses a few different colors, and not much of them at that, all set in a sea of white.  I bought the colors today on my lunch hour and now I'm debating whether or not to use the white as a background or maybe use a dark color because she lets the animals on her bed.  If I do the white, which I know I have plenty of at home, I'll just be sure to tell her it's okay with me if the animals get it dirty.  That's what they invented washing machines for, right?  haha.

I really am going to try and do this, because I would like to give everyone a quilt for their birthday this year.  Since her birthday starts the year off at the top, this is where I need to begin.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Every now and then I think about things that aren't around anymore.  Now, I know that crackers are still around, specifically saltine crackers, which is what I was thinking of.  However, does anyone remember that they used to come attached to each other, four at a time?  Like a square divided equally.  I don't remember exactly when they switched to being in individual sleeves, but I do remember them coming four together.

Okay, so feel sorry for the people I live and work with that they have to put up with my weirdness...  haha.

Post Holiday Greeting

Merry Christmas, a day late!  Yesterday was spent with family and friends, and I didn't get online until late in the evening.  That was just a quick check of email, then I was down for the count.

Our Christmas Eve at home was very nice.  We had a lot of good food, went to Church, then relaxed and watched "A Christmas Story".  It's one of our family's favorite movies and we can all just about recite the words to it by heart. 

Christmas morning we opened presents at home then at noon went to my dad's.  It was a good day.

So, today it's back to normal, back to work, and all that good stuff, until next week when we do it all over again for New Years!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

I hope all of my blog friends are having a wonderful, peaceful Christmas Eve.  Our family has enjoyed a very good day today.  We have had good food, good conversation, and just generally enjoyed each others' company.

We went to visit my mom and family up north over the past weekend.  We had our Christmas with them at that time.  It was very nice. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Button Tree

Not the best picture in the world, but here's what I was working on last night.  I had made the tree panel with a border a long time ago and just came across it yesterday when I was looking in my Christmas material container.  It's still a little wrinkled...oops!  Anyway, I put some batting, a backing, and binding on it, then pawed through my button collection to find pretties to decorate the tree with.  All the buttons on it are shank types and I hand sewed them on to the tree.  There is even a little Snoopy button I found that I put under the tree.  I'm pleased with it.

I also made four goodie bags.  One for each of my two kids and one for their friends.  I'll put some pics up of those later.  I'm filling them with candies and odds and ends.  I really like doing that every year.  Today after work I'm going to go to the Dollar store and pick up some goodies to load them with.  Cheap and fun!  Woohoo!

We had really strong winds yesterday.  Semi's were having a difficult time, some even landed in the ditch on the highway.  My brother in law drives truck for a living and he ended up pulling over and waiting it out til this morning.  Our fence at home took a beating.  One of the 4x4 posts snapped at the bottom and other panels came loose. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Touching but sad poem

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38 when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there...
They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say, they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse. "This is heaven." declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at God's house."
When what to their wondering eyes did appear, but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same. Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring, those children all flew into the arms of their King.
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace, one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had, He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below. He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand, "Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"May this country be delivered from the hands of fools". "I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
Then He and the children stood up without a sound. "Come now my children, let me show you around."
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran, all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight, "in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

~Author unknown

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tending to other stuff

I've been busy taking care of pre-holiday things these past few days.  That means there hasn't been much time to sew, but that's okay.  I've got all the pieces cut out for steps one and two of Bonnie's mystery, so if I get just a few minutes I can run those through the machine. 

Tonight I have to pick up the cat from the vet.  She was spayed yesterday.  After that I have to meet with someone about the furnace, and then pick up eggs out at the farm.  After that, Nick has requested pancakes for dinner for him and his girlfriend, so I guess I'll make them.  After that, I need to make dinner for Ev and a batch of sloppy jo's to bring to work tomorrow for our holiday carry in.  By that time, I'll probably be ready to sit down!

I really hope my husband got the hint and bought me a small flat screen t.v. for the kitchen.  I would like to be able to have the news on while I'm cooking because that's usually the time the national news is on.  It would also be nice to be able to sit in there and sew with the t.v. playing if I wanted it.  Sometimes when I'm upstairs sewing, the way the room is laid out, I have my back to the t.v. and can't really do more than listen to it.  Or I don't want to even turn it on because Johanna is sleeping in the other room.  And really, if she is sleeping, I don't often go up there to sew at that time.

Don't quite have my shopping done, but I'm really close.  I figure one more trip to Wal Mart and I'll be done.  I hope...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stupid Human Tricks

Do you remember when David Letterman used to have a segment called Stupid Pet Tricks?  For all I know, he still does, I'm just not up that late anymore to watch his show!  Anyway, yesterday Ev and I pulled a 'Stupid Human Trick'.  Here's what happened:

Me:  "Honey, are you going to trim away the vines on the side of the house and by the air conditioning unit this afternoon?"

Him:  "Yes, dear."
Later... After waiting a decent amount of time, I decided to go out and started pulling vines (Who in their right mind plants vines along the foundation of their house?  Seriously?)  He hears me out there and comes out and we both start working on getting rid of them.

Ev got the lopping shears and we were just going to town, hacking away at the overgrowth by the air conditioner unit.  We had to be very careful because there are two slim wires, which I think are ground wires, but I don't want to cut them and find out they are live, yeah....  Anyway...  In being super duper careful not to cut any electrical wires, we snipped something else.  Any guesses?  It made a hissing sound.  Need another hint?  I doubt it.  Yep, we snipped the freon line to the a/c unit. 

Stupid Human Trick.  Sigh.  I called the a/c guy, just to make sure we weren't going to die because the freon was being released into the air (A/C Guy:  "No, Ma'am, you are not going to die.  And you aren't the first person to ever do this, either..." Yeah, like that made me feel better.).  He said they can't recharge it until Spring when the weather is above 75 degrees, but, long story short, it's going to cost between $300 and $400 in the Spring to get the a/c fixed.

Lesson learned.

Before going out and performing surgery on the a/c line, I made a batch of cracker bark.  The recipe is on  the Mennonite Girls Can Cook website.  It was super easy to make and very very good.

The most difficult part of making this was waiting for it to cool to break into pieces!  My hubby and son both think it tastes like Heath candy bars.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Busy Saturday

Before I get to Saturday, I want to say that I'm deeply sorry for all those affected by the Connecticut events of Friday.  The tragedy that occurred was unimaginable.

Friday night I couldn't stand to watch the news anymore, so I shut off the television and turned on Quiltcam with Bonnie Hunter.  I was able to get all the strip sets sewn for the FIRST clue of Easy Street Mystery.  Yes, I'm that far behind...  sigh.  Then Saturday morning I cut them into sections.  Now I just need to run them through the machine.

Saturday afternoon Ev and I hung the light in the kitchen.  It is so much nicer than what we had in there and really puts out a nice white light.

Please ignore the dirty kitchen...  Kind of difficult to see, but the shades are frosted and there are five lights in it.  My kitchen now is bright enough to work in!

Friday all day and all nigh our dog was sick.

Here she is, all curled up in a ball on our bed.  Then she threw up for about the umpteenth time and messed every cover, sheet, and mattress pad!  In the wee hours of the morning I was washing bed linens, and trying to sleep on the couch so I could be close to her if she needed to go out.  She was so sick she wasn't making it outside, so, consequently, I need to buy more carpet cleaner....

We took all food and water away from her Friday and by Saturday, late in the afternoon, we were able to give her a little water and she kept it down.  It's now Sunday and she is able to eat and drink without any problems.  Guess it was a one day bug or something.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Look what I'm sewing on

Why did I wait so long?!!  Oh, she sews like a dream!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crochet break

The last couple of days I have taken a mini break from quilting to do a bit of crochet work.  I've made a few snowflake ornaments for the tree.  Just a little something to prove to myself that I still know how to do it!  Will post a picture soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Build Your Best Log Cabin - E Book Review

The team at Fons and Porter has outdone themselves once again.  Build Your Best Log Cabin is available as a FREE e book and I'm one of the lucky people who get to review it! 

Build Your Best Log Cabin starts you off with a bang, showcasing three types of Log Cabin patterns, Traditional, Courthouse Steps, and Chevron.  There is a bit of interesting history surrounding the blocks, making for a fun read, along with steps that are well written and easy to understand.  Several types of settings are given with easy to use charts for different strip size usage.

A nice variety of ideas for different colors are also shown.  The e book shows some "out of the box" thinking for setting the blocks with other blocks to create a stunning quilt.  There is even a quilting design added -providing an option to the "quilt as desired" ending that leaves so many of us hanging!

A quick lesson in trapunto for the adventurous and a pattern for a woven log cabin that will certainly appeal to the detail oriented are included.  Tips and tricks to staying organized so you don't have strips flying everywhere is an added bonus.

One of my favorites is the surprising variation that was created using color placement on a Courthouse Steps block that created a completely different look.  Oh, and let's not forget the Chevron pattern!  I hadn't realized this was a log cabin variation, and was pleased with the stunning layout presented for this block.

The e book doesn't leave you hanging in the wind on binding your quilt.  A comprehensive guide to attaching binding allows you to finish off your quilt in style.

Click this link to get your own free copy of this great e book:  It is just chocked full of all kinds of great information.  Don't miss out - download yours today!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Easy Street Part 3

One is the loneliest number...  That's all I have made so far, just one piece!  Here it is, in all it's glory:

Again, don't be alarmed that I have grey in that square.  That's what I'm using in place of Bonnie's purple!  My constant is a brick red color.  Here's a pic of the three pieces so you can see how they are going to play nicely together:

This week I'm planning on getting more pieces made.  With the push to get those 12 lap quilts done, I just barely had time to sleep, let alone do anything else!  I think my family is glad they are done because now I might just cook dinner again instead of ordering out all the time!  haha. 

I do like the way these colors all play together.  The grey seems a little washed out in these pics but it really isn't.  It almost has a textured look to it, and so does the brick red.  In fact, I'm planning to use some of the brick red that I have leftover in the construction of scrappy houses if I ever get around to making them!

Want to see what other mystery pieces are looking like?  Here's a link back to Bonnie's blog where you can check out everyone else's progress.  Hopefully they are all a lot further along than I am!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A picture show

Here are some pictures of the nursing home quilts:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Finito! Done! Completed! Woohoo!

Guess what?  The nursing home quilts are done!  I put the final stitch in them at 10:30 tonight.  Got up and started working on them at 8:30 this morning.  It was a busy day.  When I got up I went straight downstairs and finished what was on the frame, then loaded the rest of the tops and quilted them.  After they were quilted Ev and I had to run to Wal Mart because my brother's girlfriend's little boy was turning 7 and we had to get him a present for his party tonight.  When we got home from the store, I had a couple hours in between then and the party, so I started on the bindings.  Got a few more done then went to the party.  Came home and finished everything up.  I am pleased!  Pictures to follow tomorrow.  Too tired now to upload the little buggers.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Next year I will not

Procrastinate!  Oh, I am burning the candle at both ends now.  The nursing home quilts are due Sunday morning.  I have to get them completed Saturday afternoon so they can be delivered and wrapped.  Guess who is getting up early tomorrow morning?

Tonight I put the binding on the six that were upstairs.  There is a double back with two tops on the frame.  One is done, the other still needs that little bit of stitching.  Then there are three more tops to be quilted and all need to be bound.  Tomorrow. 

They will get done.  I have no doubt about that.  My intentions are to get up early and just plow on ahead.  What else can I do?  Sigh.  It's going to feel good when they are done and it really is a labor of love, so I am going to quit whining.

Had the washer repair guy here today.  The washer needs a new door gasket, so he will be back next week.  Also had the gal come clean today.  I'm getting quite used to having a clean house!  Well, mostly clean, the bedroom still needs to be de-cluttered.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Easy Street Part Two

Just got in under the wire again!  I had to go upstairs and make just a few pieces that go with step two.  Do not be alarmed, my grey fabric is Bonnie's purple!  I think these little dudes are going to be cute, wherever they end up in the quilt!

There are days

I work outside the home.  Some days, when I'm at work, it's slow in the office.  Those are the days I really wish I could just bring a sewing machine or a cutting mat and rotary cutter and get some things done that I like to do!

Alas, they do not pay me to quilt...  So I sit at my desk from 8 to 4:30 waiting for the workday to be over so I can go home and quilt.  Which is exactly what I did today.  I was downstairs loading two more quilts (same backing, I ran them one after another again) before Jeopardy! was even over.  By the time Big Bang Theory was finishing up, so was I.  I have one pass to do on the second top, which, by the way, I did not float - I attached it to the rail after the first top was done.  The reason I didn't go ahead and finish was that I needed to fill one more bobbin.  That meant stopping, taking the thread off the machine, winding the bobbin, rethreading the needle - yada yada yada, and quite frankly I had not sat down yet, so I was quite ready to call it a night.  That last pass should go easily, which will leave me with three more tops to quilt. 

I will need to finish putting together the one top yet, but not too worried about it.  Tomorrow I'm leaving work at noon to wait for the washing machine repair person.  You know the drill - they will be at the house between noon and 4, or some other goofy time frame that leaves a person hanging all afternoon.  Sigh.  The washer isn't really broke, it's just a maintenance call that I'm entitled to because I paid for a contract.  Going to get my money's worth.  And I don't think I'm imagining it, but it may have a leak somewhere.  Going to make sure and tell him to check that out.

I made rueben sandwiches tonight for dinner.  Last night it was breaded pork chops.  That took a little more time, but since I had been home all day with the furnace guys, I figured I could at least make a nice dinner.  Tomorrow is probably going to be hamburger helper!  Nothing wrong with that! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Repairs made

I spent two hours picking out stitches on the one quilt.  Then I requilted the area, carefully!  Two more tops quilted now.  That's six tops quilted.

I prepared another double length of backing fabric for the six inch square tops.  They are the next to go on the machine, tomorrow night.  I didn't get anything on the frame after I took off the other two.  I just did not have the energy and my feet hurt! 

I did put together another top.  One of the nursing home residents is a man and I have a panel with woodland ducks on it.  I made it into the right size and used the printed border from it to frame it all the way around.  Now I just have to put together one more top and all the tops will be done.  I cut some material to do this with, but haven't put it together yet.  It won't take long.  I cut the materials into six and a half inch strips and am going to make it several rows long and then put a border all around.  Easy as pie.

A rip rip here and a rip rip there...

That's what I'll be doing in a little bit.  Ripping out stitches.  Sigh.  Un-sewing is not my favorite thing. 

Last night I put a double length of backing material on the frame then quilted two tops, one right after the other.  The first one I attached to the third roller but the second top I floated.  I don't think I care for that method.  I like the tension having it attached gives me.  Anyway, on the last bobbin that I used for the first top the tension got wonky.  The backing stitches were all loose and looked awful. 

I knew if I stopped to pick it out at that time I would never get the second top finished, so I just kept going and quilted the second top.  Now, I have rolled it back onto itself and loosened the take up roller to get to the section that needs to be taken out.  It won't be a big deal, just a little time consuming.

The furnace guys got here right at 8:00 as promised.  I have to say, I'm quite impressed so far.  This company has done everything it said it would, when it said it would so far.  Very refreshing to find a service company like that these days.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

This and that

Something I have been meaning to update everyone on is my home made snap system for attaching quilts to the longarm frame.  It's working nicely for me.  It is still a little difficult to snap some of the pieces onto the leaders, but that's because they aren't really 'broke in' yet.  I notice that some of the coping strips that I have used more than others are easier to snap on.  That's okay, I'm sure they will all be broke in soon enough!  And it's not a major deal, just takes a little more pressure to get the pieces together correctly.

You may remember that I attached six tape measures to my rollers.  Two on each roller, starting in the middle and going out to the ends.  I did this months ago and have to say it has really really helped me to line things up properly and load quilts onto the frame straighter.  I just find the center of the backing or top, start at the middle of the roller and snap it on, then work out to the edge.  I know that if I go so many inches in one direction, that's what I should have in the other direction!  Helps a LOT with distortion and stretching.  Yes, I tend to manipulate my material into submission...  Is that passive aggression?  haha.

These lap quilts for the nursing home have become fantastic stash busters for me!  Woohoo!  I'm getting rid of a lot of material that just wasn't my taste.  It isn't that the material is ugly, it's just not something I would normally buy.  Most of this was gifted to me, and some was bought in the heat of the moment, later to be deemed a 'what was I thinking?' moment!  For instance, tonight I intend to seam together some material for backing the double slice quilts.  This material is a pinky peach color and has a smallish shell design all over it.  It's not a bad material, just not a 'me' fabric.

Last night, when I was in marathon mode for quilting I had a real nice little break when my daughter came downstairs with a glass of tea for me, a glass of milk for her, and an apricot danish cut in half for the two of us to share!  It was a much needed breather and after sitting with her for a few minutes and enjoying the treats, I had just enough energy to complete the quilting on the second top!

Tonight I would again like to get two tops quilted.  The only other thing I need to get done tonight is to make some Italian Sausages and hash brown potatoes for dinner.  That won't take too long, and I can get a few little things done at the same time as that stuff is cooking.  But, if I don't get two tops done, I do have the bonus time of being home tomorrow to get more done.  We are having a new furnace installed tomorrow and since Ev is supposed to go in to work at 11 a.m. to cover someone's shift, I need to be home.  Oh darn...  haha.

The new furnace is of course going in the basement, so I'm not real sure how much I will want to be down there quilting while that is going on, but if I don't/can't be on the longarm, I can hopefully be upstairs putting the binding on the tops that are already quilted.  Going to make the day as productive as I can.

Since I'm using a lot of batting for these lap quilts, do you think Santa would bring me another roll?  Maybe if I asked real nice and said pretty please?  lol

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday night madness

It continues into the evening...  I didn't take my shoes off until 10 p.m. nor put my pajamas on until that time.  That alone is probably a record for me.  Usually I get in my p.j.'s as soon as I hit the door and the shoes go off just as quick.  Tonight, though, I was in the basement, upstairs, at the political caucus...  you name it!

I did accomplish what I wanted to do.  I finished quilting two more lap quilts.  I have five more tops done that need to be quilted, and two more tops to make.  Then all will need to be bound and labeled, which at this stage of the game is going to consist of writing the recipients name on the binding!

So, my fine blogland friends, this quilter is tired.  I'm going to bed now!

Monday morning madness

In an attempt to get a little bit of work done on the nursing home quilts, I went upstairs this morning before work to do some sewing.  I still need to create two more tops, but right now I'm concentrating on getting the 9 I have done quilted.  If I have time, I will make two more patchwork tops, if not I'll just use preprinted panels. 

This morning I sewed together some material for a pieced back on one and finished the edge of another piece of material for a back on another.  Normally I wouldn't bother finishing the edge, but this piece of material needs to be washed and I didn't want it to ravel.  There's a stain on the back side of the material that didn't show on the front, but I just felt better washing it.  It's has just a little area of dirt smudged on it.  After I finished the edge I took it downstairs and threw it in the washer.  I'll put it in the dryer when I get home. 

I also took the top it goes with and the other top and back downstairs.  My hopes are to get the other top and back loaded and quilted tonight and hopefully the one that will come out of the dryer, too!  Big dreams, right?  hee hee.

Tomorrow morning I think is Johanna's real early morning, where she leaves the house at 5:00 a.m.  If that's the case, I will try and get upstairs to piece together a couple more backs for the remaining tops.  I don't want to wake her up running the sewing machine.

In addition to working on the quilts tonight, I have committed to going to the political caucus to help a neighbor get her name on the ballot for City Clerk.  She isn't a close friend, but she called me personally and asked that I go to the caucus.  If she doesn't get her name on it, she immediately loses her position as City Clerk (she has been working full time at the job since March when the previous clerk retired) as well as her medical insurance.  I would hate for that to happen to anyone. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sewing and home repairs

I got a lot accomplished today, but not as much as I should have.  Here's one of the tops I finished for the nursing homes.  I also put a border on one that I thought was too small and took the pink floral one downstairs and quilted it!

One of the people receiving quilts used to work for the government.  This quilt is done in patriotic colors and fabrics.

Here's the reason I didn't get as much done as I should have.

New lights!  We installed a new light fixture over the kitchen sink today.  I am tickled pink about it!  There was an old florescent fixture that was rigged up in that space.  You had to flip a switch, then reach up and press a button on the fixture itself to get the light to turn on.  Maybe that was okay for the very tall people, but I had to get on a chair to turn the light on!  Or use a meat mallet and get it just right on that button!  So, with that old light, I never really used it because it was a pain to turn on.

These lights are very pretty.  They are adjustable, brushed nickel, and have a six sided shade on each fixture.  We also bought a new fixture for the ceiling.  It's a chandelier in brushed nickel also.  I'm excited about getting it installed also!  But that is definitely going to have to wait until after these quilts are done...

I made a simple dinner of biscuits and sausage gravy tonight.  We hadn't had that for a very long time as a meal and it was very good.  Just hit the spot!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another done

Here's another top done for the nursing home.  I went upstairs and put on "It's a Wonderful Life" and started sewing on this top.  I have the squares cut for another top and have material laid out for the last two.  That material will just be preprinted panels if I don't have time to make another patchwork.  I have really got to get some work done tomorrow on these tops.  The deadline is fast approaching!

While I was upstairs sewing, the dog and cat joined me.  Ignore the mess of threads on the floor, but I thought this was funny:

Ev and I went to Lowe's and picked up new light fixtures for the kitchen.  I'm real anxious to get them put up.  The kitchen desperately needs new lighting.  After shopping we stopped and had pizza.  It was a real nice afternoon.