Thursday, December 29, 2011

The New Year is coming

Christmas is over and what a wonderful Christmas it was.  My son flew my daughter in from Ohio and surprised me.  She hasn't been home for Christmas in 20 years.  It was wonderful and I am so blessed with such thoughtful children.
I'm curious - did you finish all your Christmas/Holiday projects?  I'm still finishing some up.  I had to give a couple "to be completed" notes this year.  So.... I will be working on finishing things up so I can get back to quilting.  I have (I think) 11 quilts waiting to go on the frame and get completed.  Nope, I don't think I'll be bored in the New Year!
So how about New Year resolutions?  Do you make them?  I don't...I figure if it's something I really want, or need, to do, I need to just do it and not worry about it being a resolution.  I mean, seriously, how many times can someone resolve to lose weight?  I have so many times, I can't count - why set myself up for failure?!  It'll happen when I get good and ready!
Please have a very safe start to the New Year and may the year ahead bring you inspiration and creativity.

Katie

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

almost here

Christmas is almost here.  It'll be here whether I'm ready or not and at this point it will be 'or not'.
Yesterday as I was rushing to sew yarn into hair for a doll, I sewed my finger instead - it hurts like &*%#... but I did finish getting the bald doll some hair!  Now just have to get it dressed and it's good to go!  The stuffed cat still needs a neck dressing - we don't want a naked cat!  Today I managed to get snaps on all the jammies and camo outfits that were finished except for the snaps - but that wasn't without incident either.  Instead of just putting a small hole in the cuff of a shirt with the seam ripper, I ripped the entire cuff!  Thank goodness I had extra fabric, but still had to take the time to rip the torn cuff off and make a new one.  Did manage to get most of the gift wrapping done for the items that were bought or finished , so I guess that will save some time later.  I still have 3 sets of jammies to make and a quilt to finish, a doll to dress and at least 3 pair of slippers to knit and I'm also wanting to knit a pair of fingerless mitts - will I get it all done - ummm NO... at least not in time for Christmas.  As this will be my last post before Christmas, I want to wish you and yours a blessed day.  Please take a minute to think of those who are not able to be home for Christmas and think of those who don't even have a home for Christmas.

Katie 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

last Christmas memory

This is last Christmas memory I will share (for this year :-)  ) 
I've explained how special my Nativity is to me, well this memory is related to the Nativity.
My grandson was a little over 2 years old, so this is 6 years ago.  My son & his wife had bought me a new DVD player and my son was 'wiring' it up, so had moved the Nativity to the dining table.  My daughter and daughter-in-law were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and my grandson took a liking to the Nativity figures.  My son (his dad) kept telling him to leave them alone.  Well, I took this as an opportunity to let my grandson 'play' with the figures.  I put him up on my lap and using the figures, started telling him the 'real' story of Christmas.  In the process of telling the story, my grandson tooted and without skipping a beat, I simply said "you stink" and kept on with the story.  Everyone started laughing and I looked up to see that the whole family had stopped to listen to me tell the Christmas story.  I asked "what are you laughing at?"  My daughter-in-law said, "here we are listening to this beautiful story and "you stink" just flows in".  This started a bit of a tradition of telling the Christmas story every year - but we try to leave out the 'you stink'.
I hope you have many happy memories and that your Christmas will bring you some more special memories.

Katie

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I love Christmas - truly I do!

I do love Christmas.  I love my family and being with them is the best gift of all.  I thought I was in the home stretch of getting things done - then reality set in!  I figured on cutting the last of the flannel today and getting it all sewn up this next week.  In all of this, I still have a quilt to quilt!  But.... I pulled out one of my jammie patterns, and wouldn't you know it, it's a size larger than I need.  I thought it was a size 2 but nope it's a 3/4 (med) - so guess who will have to drive all the way into Tucson to buy a pattern! Nope, no place closer, so it's a 50 mile drive for me.  On top of that is a busy week as I'm on a committee for the Electric Light Parade which will be followed by a 'social' with a warming fire and serving a hot beverage and cookies.  Yesterday several friends and I put most of our float together.

We're quite lit up!  It's hard to see, but we have the 'fire place' and the tree.  In the center, we placed stuffed animals with presents and wrapped lights all around.
I'm not sure how many strands of lights we have on our float, but I know it's at least 9.  But, hey, it is a LIGHT parade :-)
We spent about 4 hours on this and we still have at least another hour to finish it up.  We really had a lot of fun doing this.  Just spending time with friends, lots of laughter and sharing a pizza after.  That's what the Christmas spirit is all about - sharing.
oh, bless my hubby, he let us take up all that space in his shop.

Katie

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Memories

Do you have a special memory/memories during Christmas?  I shared with you in a previous post my Nativity memory.  Oh, I do have so many more that I hold close to heart.  Today as I was putting out some of my Christmas decorations, I thought of some of those memories.  So, I will share another one with you.  But first my favorite picture from Christmas last year.
My Granddaughter's first Christmas!  Her dad (my son) helping her open her gifts.  And didn't he do a great job of picking out her Christmas dress!?
So my story, which just happens to be about my son!  My son is known as somewhat serious.  Oh he likes to have a good time and he laughs a lot, but usually stays to task.  One year, after he was first married and before they had children, I had him and his new wife come and help me decorate the tree.  All of a sudden he just sort of disappeared.  We figured he'd gone to the bathroom... then here he comes..... strutting down the hall with his red union suit (long johns) on, stuffed with a pillow, wearing a Santa hat and doing a very respectable Ho,Ho,Ho.  I laughed til I cried.  The spontaneity of it just tickled me.  I do have pictures, but alas, they are not digital.
I do have one more memory to share, but that will be at a later time.  Until then, I hope you all are enjoying good health and much happiness during this glorious time of year.

Katie

Thursday, December 1, 2011

no time to quilt

December 1st already!  I have  24 days to finish up all I want to do - but those days will not be 24 hour days, I have to have my beauty sleep (trust me, I do) have to do the cooking, cleaning, laundry - you know, all that stuff that interferes with life.  Still have a couple more G-son's ball games to attend and I wouldn't miss those for the world!  And of course a few other projects that I was dumb enough to get myself involved in such as making a float for an Electric Light Parade! So, with all the other stuff out of the way, I may average 4 hours a day to sew....that's 96 hours to sew til Christmas.  I like the sound of 96 hours versus 24 days!  But....here I sit :-)  and it's okay, because if I don't add to my 'list'.... I'm almost done!
Hope everyone is not stressing but taking the time to enjoy the season.  Remember to take time for yourselves, as well, as I told my son once "sometimes it IS all about ME"

Katie

Monday, November 28, 2011

a picture or two

This is a picture of my favorite table runner.  I keep it out all year round even if it does have an autumn feel to it.

These are just a few of the things I've been working on.   If I'm not sewing, I'm knitting or crocheting.
For some reason, I've just not been in the mood to sew lately.  I seem to really have to push myself to go to the sewing room and work on my Christmas items.  And I'm not doing any quilting until the Christmas stuff is done!  Ah, such is life!
Christmas decorating >  I love a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.  It doesn't have to be elaborate, with expensive ornaments.  Some of the most beautiful are the simple one.  But.... I don't put up a full size tree anymore.  Several years ago my hubby got a 'record book' elk and it now hangs in the living room - and it seriously takes up about a 5 foot square in the living room and my room is small - 13 X 15 (I think).  I do put up a 36" fiber optic tree and it is pretty - but not the same effect as the big trees.  And most important is my Nativity - if I don't put anything else out, my Nativity would be a must.  Not only because of what the Nativity signifies, but because my Nativity has a story............
I had wanted a Nativity for years and years and one day while shopping with my daughter in Costco here was this beautiful Nativity.  They only had one left and I grabbed it.  I could hardly wait to get it home and put it out.  So, daughter and I opened the box and started pulling out the figurines - and I wanted to cry!  Every single piece (except one - the baby Jesus) was broken.  I thought about taking the whole thing back to Costco but my daughter looked at me and said, "Mom, this was the last one.  Can't we glue the pieces together?"  and I thought "what do I have to lose"  So my daughter and I spent a couple hours gluing all those figurines together and I have to tell you - You would never believe it by looking at those pieces.  I sometimes think they've all been 'healed'!  So here it is 20 years (or more) later, and I still put up that very same Nativity and think about the time my daughter and I spent fixing it - I think it was meant to come to us.  Someone else may have taken it back to the store and it would have been disposed of - yep, it's very special!


Katie

Saturday, November 19, 2011

and it's starting

The decorations have been in the stores since before Halloween.  The TV ads have already been running rapid.  The stores are having "black Friday" a minute after Thanksgiving Day....But today, Santa arrived at the mall.....What happened to Santa not showing his face until AFTER Thanksgiving????  I love Christmas, truly I do.  But I think (and this is ONLY my opinion) that the sooner the commercialism sets in, the more stress people feel to give that oh-so-perfect gift.  What happened to all the fun of Christmas?  The getting the family together to decorate..... The baking cookies with the kids...... The singing of Christmas carols..... Teaching children the Christmas  Story.....My goodness - have you seen where people are literally camping out so they're the first in line for a specific store on "black Friday"???? I don't get it - but I guess that's okay.   I'm already hearing from clerks in the stores "do you have your shopping done?"  What???? I don't even know what I'll be shopping for..... well actually, I do.... but I'm in no hurry to get it done.  Most of my Christmas gifts will be 'custom made' and this year quite a bit of that is in the form of knitting.  I do have some things cut out that I'll be sewing, but not near as much as I usually do.  I'm heading a committee to make a float for an Electric Light Parade,  that will be fun... I know I'll enjoy every minute of it. 
Anyway.... seeing as how the Holidays seem to have had their 'kick off', I will wish you all low stress, patient shoppers and happy times spent with family and friends.  And something I will do, regardless of whether it's politically correct or not, I will wish people a Merry Christmas not just Happy Holidays.  Those who celebrate Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or other 'seasonal' holiday, I hope they understand that my Merry Christmas is meant in the true spirit of the season. 

Katie

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

and for today......

Yesterday's post has brought me to today's post.  I don't belong to the local quilt guild.  I really enjoy sewing with other people and actually get a lot accomplished when I do.  I don't take classes.  I'm pretty much a self-taught quilter.  Do I like classes?  Yes, I do.  Again it's the time spent with others who share a common interest.  So why don't I belong to a guild or take classes?  Well, have you ever been with a group of people and somewhere in that group there's at least one person who has that superiority complex?  I am who I am.... and I am certainly NOT a perfectionist.  And obviously, if you read yesterday's post, I'm not a fabric snob.  Okay, I'm not saying that buying fabric from the LQS makes you a snob...... what I am saying is that I don't think someone should look down their nose at me because I didn't buy from the LQS.  Yes, that has happened to me!  Same with classes.  Just an example here.... Pay to take the class> $35.  Buy fabric from the LQS @ $10 a yard (and that's on the low side around here) and you need approx. 5 yards.  So already at $85 and the quilt isn't finished - factor in buying batting, backing and what they heck, throw in the thread..... And..... what if you don't quilt yourself but send your quilts out for quilting?  Oh, yes, I've heard the comments  like "well if I'm going to put that much of MY time and effort into something......"  or the one "well, I just think that my (family member here) is worth it....."  Well, folks, I quilt because I enjoy it - my time spent is more relaxation - I don't consider it a chore.  And my family members - they know me.... and my grandkids, I hope they drag their quilts around and use them for tents and love them to pieces - literally!  If I ever do make that heirloom quilt (which I seriously doubt), then I guess I'll simply have to tell the recipient ( or whoever inherits) that they are to put it in a nice clean, cotton pillow case (or I'll provide one made from the fabrics in the quilt), put it on a shelf,or better yet, in one of those acid free boxes,  take it out occassionally to refold (don't want any breakdown), take it out only on a special occasion and pray it will last for hundreds of years when no one will remember who I was, only that I made a nice quilt once.


Katie 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fabric - LQS or 'big box' fabric?

Another cold, rainy day here in AZ.  I have the table topper ready to quilt and I decided to take a coffee break. While I was finishing up piecing the table topper, I noticed I have several different 'types' of fabrics.  I know that one is from a quilt store.  I remember buying it when some friends and I did a shop hop.  I know one piece I ordered from an online store at a discount price.  Another piece I know I bought it a Hancock's and then I used a sheet for my embroidered blocks and setting triangles.  And it all works together (at least I think so).  I have one piece of fabric I used that is 'thinner' than the rest, but other than that, not much difference at all.  So,  it got me thinking about the fabrics in my stash.  Very few were purchased at a quilt store.  Quite simply, I  couldn't afford to make a quilt more than maybe twice a year if I was paying what the quilt stores charge.  I do realize that the 'big box' fabric / craft stores have the advantage of buying in large quantities over what an independently owned quilt store buys.  But I wonder if almost double the cost is really necessary?  Okay, I'm not meaning to discourage buying from your LQS,  and if I was going to make that heirloom quilt that I hoped to last for generations, I would go and purchase from the LQS.  Yes there is a difference...... but I have to say that I've bought some gorgeous fabric at the big box stores and I've bought some crap from the LQS.   My own personal opinion is that I use what I can afford (yet not able to read through) and that allows me the ability to make more than just a couple quilts a year.  All fabrics are not created equal - even in the LQS.
Please note this is my own opinion and not meant to influence others.


Katie

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I know it's somewhere!

Well, if I could find my camera, I'd actually post a couple pictures!!!!
I think I finally have the hives under control.  After a month of this, I sure hope so......  It's amazing how itching can affect your focus.  I simply couldn't concentrate in the sewing room, but I was able to knit.  I think it might have had something to do with the hands moving constantly?????
I'm working on a fall themed table runner.  I should be able to finish it tomorrow.  I have the backing for the chenille quilt.  I'm going to use a cream color fleece without a batting.    I will get it on the frame after finishing the table runner tomorrow and it will be ready to go.
I have made a few stockings for the Stocking for Kids project (see button to the right).  As I was putting the stockings together, I wondered if there was a need for something similar in my area.  I'm sure there probably is, but I've committed to this project and will send the stockings.  In the meantime, I will research to see about the need locally.  I know our local Elk's Lodge holds a Christmas party for kids, so will start there for next year..... 
Until next time, and hoping to locate my camera,  wishing you creative thoughts.

Katie

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

top finished at least!

Picture doesn't show well, but the solid blocks are chenille.  I'm thinking this will end up being a birthday quilt for someone special (can't say here, she may read). I haven't decided on a backing yet but I'm leaning toward a cream color fleece without using a batting.  Here in AZ we don't really need to have a lot of extra layers!
I haven't been doing much sewing at all - actually I haven't been doing much at all.  I'm battling a severe case of hives.  My family doctor threw up her hands after giving me some pretty hefty steroid and sent me to a dermatologist who has put me on a prescription antihistamine (that doesn't seem to be working either).  I wake up feeling drowsy and spend most of the day in a fog and because of the itching my focus is, quite simply, crap!  I am able to knit, so I guess my time is not completely  wasted but right now I really should be working on my Christmas projects.  I have fabric and patterns stacked together - so I suppose it's a start.  My hubby has gone hunting, been gone 5 days now and normally this is my most productive time with no interruptions.....May have to hope for the best when he takes his next hunt the week after Thanksgiving......
Anyway....if you follow me on a regular basis, I will apologize for not being so active with my blog- just not much to write about.

Katie who's tired of itching.......

Saturday, October 22, 2011

as promised - pictures!

 This quilt is just too cute.  It was made by Mickie M. from Quilters for Comfort.  I don't know where she got the bird designs but they are simply adorable.  For quilting, I just outlined the birds and did continuous line quilting in the squares.
 These applique turtles have personality to spare.  The use of the different fabrics just add to them.  This is another quilt by Mickie - she does awesome work.  I quilted this with loops and leaves.
Pink Princess - at least that's what I called it :-)  Another winner from Mickie M.  The log cabin hearts  have appliqued  'tops' - just a really pretty quilt.


As you may have noticed from past posts, I rarely show a close up of my quilting - I still am not real confident - but I'm really happy with the results on this quilt.  I need to work more on my ribbon swirls - but I'll get it eventually!

 This is actually a customer's quilt panel.  She wanted to use a doubled high loft batting to 'set off' the figures and tree.  I used a light to dark varigated green thread on the tree itself and it really added highlights to the tree - Even though I cringed while working with this, it turned out nice and the customer was happy.
And lastly, Rudolf (who doesn't love him!?)  Same customer, same fluffy batting!  Had this been my personal quilt, I would have added a lot more quilting texture to it and NOT have used the fluffy batting - but it's about what the customer wants and if she's happy, I'm happy!











Hope everyone has a beautiful weekend - I'm off to watch my grandson play baseball!

Katie

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holidays and Customer Service

I do have pictures - just haven't downloaded them out of the camera yet - ummm, Maybe this weekend. 
The Holiday season is fast approaching and if you're anything like me, you'll be doing this, doing that and trying to keep track of everything that you want, need, should get done.  If I could be cloned for just 4 weeks a year, I might actually get everything accomplished that I want, need and should!
So what about customer service???? I've been reading on some blogs lately about poor customer service.  It's out there, we've all experienced it at one time or another.  What do you do about it?  I've done a few different things - You may want to get a cup of your favorite beverage - this could take awhile! 
I want to start by saying that I was a C-store manager for 15 years and that in that time, I found that the customer wasn't always right - but there are usually ways to handle that.  Anyway.....
One year (during the Holidays) I was in a national chain grocery store and had a basket full of groceries.  I was pushing my cart down the aisle after finishing my shopping and lo and behold there was a cashier with only one couple ahead of me.  I looked down the row of cashiers to see if someone with less than me was looking to get in line. Nope, clear sailing.... the cashiers weren't busy at all.  So I unloaded my groceries onto the belt as the cashier finished with the couple ahead of me.  She watched as I unloaded my cart and then said, " this is the express lane - 15 items or less" ... Excuse me!  why did she wait until I unloaded my cart?????  I looked up saw the sign began to apologize and take my items off the belt and return them to my cart when it hit me.... there was no one behind me in line, the store was not busy, the only person I may have been inconveniencing was the cashier herself.  Instant anger.  I walked out of that store leaving everything behind.  After I got home (which was a 30 minute drive), I called the store and asked to speak to their manager.  I told him I'd left and that I wanted to apologize for whoever had to restock those groceries, at which time he told me it was him.  I explained what happened and told him that if I'd been thinking more clearly I would have had the cashier ring out only 15 items at a time and paid for them that way - then she'd have understood inconvenience!  He thanked me for the apology and in turn apologized for the behavior of the cashier as it was not something that should have happened - he also asked that if I ever had an issue in the store again, to please contact managment before leaving the store - well it was probably 5 years or more before I ever shopped that store again.  Moral of story - talk to management when you're unhappy with the service provided.
Another time - and this was before above said incident.... I was in one of the 'big box' home improvement stores.  It was early.  DH and I were working on a project that we wanted to finish that day, so we hit the store as it opened.  Another case of coming down the aisle and having a cashier open!  I pushed the cart to the open cashier who was on the phone.  Didn't think anything of it until she continued her conversation which was obviously a personal call about a party she had attended the night before - before I left I knew who drank what and who did who!  But..... she scanned all my items, pointed at the display to the total, I wrote my check and handed it to her and stood there.  She dropped the phone back a bit and said, "Oh, that's all"  I walked away, stopped and told my DH to please take the stuff to the truck.  He looked at me and said, "oh, you're not, are you?"  and I said, "oh yes, I am!"  He thought I was going to rip her a new one - and if she'd been my employee, I would have!  Instead I went to the customer service desk and asked for a manger.  They asked if they could help me, I told them "yes, you can get me your store manager"  I guess they decided I meant business and called him to the front.   I explained to him what happened and proceeded to tell him that I'm sure she was probably a very good cashier but her treatment was inexcusable and because I managed 9 cashiers that if something like that had happened in my store, I'd want to know about it.  He thanked me and I noticed when DH & I were  driving out of the parking lot, the manager had the cashier outside talking to her. 
Okay, so again the moral is - talk to management.  I would never want someone to lose their job, but if they aren't protecting their jobs, well maybe they don't need them!  But seriously, if you have an issue as to how you've been treated, the only people who know are you and the person who treated you that way.  Management can not correct an issue they do not know about - and yes, I agree, sometimes management IS the issue.  If that's the case, and this is a chain type store - contact their corporate office.  Maybe if people started sharing their experiences with those who can correct the issues, things would improve.
And one last story (sorry),  I was in a hobby/craft store - it was really busy, the holidays again and the store was packed, every register was open and the lines were long.  I was thanking God that it wasnt' me working!  The customer ahead of me was giving this young cashier hell about them not having something in the store.  This cashier was offering to call a manager, she was apologizing, she was doing everything RIGHT to try and please this customer.  Nothing would have made that customer happy - NOTHING!  The customer snapped up her package and said "well, I won't be back here again"  My darling son (10 years old at the time) very loudly said, "well she was rude!"  This poor cashier was close to tears.  I looked at her, told her to take a deep breath and to thank God that not all customers were like that.  So moral here?  When you're feeling rushed and irritated during the upcoming holidays - remember you're not the only one!  You will get out of that store, go home and hopefully be able to put your feet up for a few minutes but those cashiers will put up with cranky customers and have sore feet - smile and try to be patient!
If you've made it this far - thank you and even though it's early - Happy Holidays! 

Katie

Saturday, October 15, 2011

middle of Oct already?

September seemed to just creep by and then, bam! here's October half over.  Just because I started thinking of Christmas doesn't mean it has to come at me any faster :-)  I did actually get something done this week, but not as much as I'd like.  I got the binding on 4 quilts but still have to stitch it down.  I've been battling an extremely itchy rash on my stomach for a little over a week now and finally gave in and went to the doctor.  She doesn't think it's internally (food, med, etc) related as it's not all over the body but it had spread to my elbows- inside and outside!  Also, I haven't changed my soaps, lotions or any external item either - so we're at a loss as to what caused it.  Anyway.... she gave me a shot of Kenelog, put me on the 8 day dose of prednisone (I hate that stuff) and told me to take Zyrtec once a day and see her in a week.  The heavy dose of steroid upset my stomach and gave me the jitters - it was all I could do just to hold my knitting let alone sew!  All I wanted to do is sleep and that's not easy when you're itching!  Even Benedryl cream didn't help much with that.
This morning we head into Tucson to watch my 5 year old grandson play his first ever baseball game.  I can hardly wait!  I love to watch the little guys play ball.  With that said, I'd better get in gear and get DH out of bed so we're not late to the game.

Katie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Extra Christmas fabric?

Do you have extra Christmas fabric laying around?  I've posted a button to the right that you might want to check out.  Purple Panda Quilts is hosting a stocking drive for foster children.  If you have some extra Christmas fabric and an extra hour, maybe you could help out.  Maybe even check in your own community to see if such a project is in need.  Just a simple way to help put a smile on a child's face.

Katie

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

apron

A real treat - a picture of me!  I rarely allow my picture to be taken - I'm the one on the right.
These are the aprons I made for our Rotary booth.  We had a cool morning and a really beautiful day.
So now that this is 'out of the way', I will be concentrating on getting some quilting done - my stack of quilts needing quilting is dwindling, but my stack of quilts needing binding is growing...... and I'm working on a quilt that will alternate a quilt block with a chenille block.   When I started this quilt, I was planning it for myself, but I'm thinking I might also give it as a gift...... darn - more decisions to make ;-)  I'll try to remember to get a picture of the actual block - I'm really liking it and the fabrics I chose.
'til later

Katie

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Answering Comments

I sometimes receive responses by email when I post a comment on someone's blog.  I would love to be able to do that, but quite frankly..... I don't know how!  I've checked my settings and couldn't see where I could change something to enable that...
Anyway, I do want everyone to know that I appreciate your comments and I do read them and if you can offer some advice of what I need to do to be able to respond to your comments personally, that would be great!

Katie

Friday, October 7, 2011

Where???

Where has this week gone?  I mean, seriously, it's Friday already!!!  It has been a busy week and I have got some things accomplished, just not as much as I'd like.  I suppose that's the case with most people.  I'm thinking I'm needing to start my Christmas list.  I almost always plan to do more than I can realistically get done.  But maybe, just maybe... if I get started early......   What's early you ask?  Well, before Dec  1st!
So, I'm curious are you a 'last minute' Holiday person? or are you well planned and executed type of person?  And a few gift hints would be appreciated......

Katie

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Getting back on board!

This is a little wallhanging or maybe a 'doll' quilt.  I've had all the components for quite a while.  The 'angel' is from an issue of an Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  I rarely do applique and when I do, it is machine applique.  The star blocks are 4" (finished) and the fabrics are seasonal themed.  I made this up for a swap and was glad I was able to use all these for something (finally)!
I am back into the sewing and quilting rooms.  I have 4 quilts quilted and waiting to be trimmed and bound (don't forget the labels!), I have a set of blocks started that I'm going to put with chenille- anxious to get it finished but have other things in the works that have to take priorities!  A lady brought me a couple Christmas panel quilts to quilt for her.  She normally does them by hand around the figures of the panel but was injured in a car accident and unable to do them.  I told her I don't do hand work but would do what I could - the downfall for me...... She's put really puffy batting with these panels - I'm not fond of 'extreme' loft batting, but I'll do my best and hope she's happy (pictures to follow).
Also, I'm the secretary for our local Rotary Club and I've got to get some aprons finished by Saturday for a booth we're holding for our local fall festival (Copper Town Days).... so I am staying busy just not as much as I'd like in the quilting department :-)
Seems to finally be cooling down here in AZ.  Hope you all are enjoying 'fall like' weather.

Katie

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spring or Fall??

If I could find the battery charger for camera, I'd actually have some pictures to show (for a change!).  I've managed to get 3 quilts quilted and have some ideas in mind for starting a couple quilts.  Anyway....
I've been reading some blogs and it seems that fall/autumn is starting to show itself in many parts of the U.S.   I'm reading about all the activity and it made me wonder about something..... I'm a fall cleaner.  I want my house all cleaned up before I close it up for the winter for months.  Fortunately, here in AZ there will be days that I'll be able to have the house opened during the winter.  And come spring, I'm ready to get out and dig in the dirt, ride my quad (well, I do that during the winter too!) and just enjoy life.  So how about you?  Do you Spring Clean or Fall Clean or just lucky enough to stay on top of it all during the year? 

Katie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall in the air

Even here in AZ where Phoenix is still experiencing triple digit temps, it feels like fall.  I don't live in the Phoenix area  (thank goodness!) so we're having high 80's and it's wonderful.  I'm looking at making soup and bread and baking with fresh apples.  This obviously is my favorite time of year and my brain seems to be going 100 different directions.  I think of what I'd like to do in the kitchen - oh, wait! what I'd like to make in fall prints in the sewing room - oh, wait! I saw something that would make a great little stocking stuffer - oh, wait!  wouldn't the G-kids love to make that?!  Okay..... I think you get the idea - I need to get cloned so I can get me out there to get all those things done I'd like to do!  So what to do today?  I think I'll start a pot of soup, I'll make up some bread and I'll go sew something fallish :-) 
Have a great day!

Katie

Thursday, September 15, 2011

cost of making a quilt


I recently received an email asking me the approximate cost of a quilt.  Well, naturally it depends on the size of the quilt, the cost of fabrics used in the quilt, the type/cost of batting used.  Also, a determining factor is whether a person quilts their own quilts or send them out – that's a whole other question!  Anyway, thought I'd share my thoughts/ experiences with you and I would love to hear other's input on this topic! 
The average size quilt that I personally make is at least 70 X 80” .  I consider this a good 'personal' size quilt.  So to estimate the cost of fabric, figure the square inches of the quilt – top, backing and binding!
70” X 80” = 5600”  X 2 = 11200”  (remember the backing!)  now to figure approximate yardage, divide the 11200” by 1296 (square inches of a yard) =  8.65.  So rounded up to 9 yards of  fabric used and we all know that we use more when figuring in seam allowances and trimming AND if you piece your backing - (remember this is very approximate!)  So figure how much you pay per yard for your fabric.  I'm going to figure low and say I've used a coupon for my fabric at JoAnns or Hancock and figure $5.50 a yard X 9 = $49.50 for fabric.  Well, lets add in a half yard for binding and you're at $52.25 (without tax and/or shipping if you use mail order). NOTE: double this figure if you're buying your fabric at full price at a quilt shop!   Batting:  your batting again will depend on the brand and kind you use.  I believe the most common batting used is Warm & White / Natural.  I buy mine by the yard and at JoAnn's without a coupon is about $12.00 a yard for 90” wide.  Again, I try to buy my batting using a coupon so 40% off and I will pay $7.20 a yard.  Now I would use the width of batting for length but I will still need 2 yards of batting so I'm at $14.40 in batting (again no tax or shipping figured in) .  I'm at $52.25 for fabric and $14.40 in batting for a total of $66.65.  This does not include threads for piecing or quilting.  This does not include your time,  and -  people – if you're making a quilt for profit – PROFIT!  Charge for your time!  So here's a formula to use for your approximate cost of a quilt:
  Square inches of finished quilt size X 2 (because of backing) divide by 1296 (square inches in yard), add a half yard for binding.  Multiply that number by your average cost per yard of fabric and you'll have a very approximate cost for your fabrics.  Figure the cost of your batting, whether you buy the prepackage/cut or buy by the yard.  You can add your local tax rate to get even a clearer idea of those costs.  And always, figure your approximate time to construct the quilt!
Okay, so this is a very low and rough estimate for a quilt that measures approximately 70” X 80”.  I figured 9 yards of fabric but, again, I know I'd be probably be using/buying more.  Batting you always cut larger than the size of the top and if quilting on a longarm setup, it's even a bit more.
How about you?  How would you figure the cost of a quilt? 
Katie

Monday, September 12, 2011

You know you're in trouble.....

Oh, Oh....You know you're in trouble when football season starts and you're the first to turn on the game!  I felt like I was getting my mojo back - truly!  It was a beautiful cool(er) morning here in AZ and DH and I decided to take the ATV's for a morning ride.  The desert is beautiful after all our rain.  Got home and chose a few designs to stitch out to make  a fall themed table topper for the dining table.  Oh, Wait!  It's Sunday!  Opening weekend for pro football..... But will the games start this early - Oh Yeah!!!!  So guess who didn't make it to the sewing room???  So, let's see what should I do?  I could start knitting again on those days that I'm hanging out in front of the TV... I could move the sewing cabinet that holds the older Kenmore where I can see the TV.... I could maybe buy another TV and put it in the sewing room, that means putting money out for the TV and having the satellite company come and redo all the cables plus the expense of adding for multiple TV's to the satellite bill... okay, talked myself out of an additional TV.  I suppose I could knit and sew as the mood hit.  Yep, think I may be moving the sewing cabinet :-) 

Katie

Saturday, September 10, 2011

No Sewing

Another week without sewing!  Seriously?!  And I can't even tell you what I really did this week.  I feel like I've been running in circles. yet when I look around I can't even see my foot prints!  Hubby has gone to Phoenix for the day so maybe if I get my butt in gear, get my housework done, it'll still be early enough for me to accomplish something. 
Hope everyone's having better creative days than me,

Katie

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Longer than expected!

I'll start with pictures seeing as how I haven't posted many lately...  This quilt was made by Phyllis L. from PA, quilted by me and donated for a raffle to raise money for Paws for Patriots, which is an organization dedicated to getting service dogs to the troops/veterans who need them.
A little bit of a close up.  I love the print of the squares and I really like the patriotic theme that is not a red, white, blue.  Phyllis did a great job on this quilt and I was honored to be able to quilt it.

This is the "Smart Bag" that I made for my friend.  The 'cuff' folds over to hide the top of the cover.  The entire bag was made of synthetic leather, very soft and could be used without the cover.
the inside of the bag - a lot of pockets.  What I did forget to do was add a snap closure before adding the cuff - but my friend loved the bag and that's all that's important.



The tile work is finished, the rooms put back together and it took so much longer than I expected.  I think DH and I did a nice job and discovered that we really don't work well together after 4 days!  Too much togetherness isn't always a good thing :-) 
I still have neglected my sewing machines and today I hope to rectify that!  While having the kitchen and dining rooms tore up, a friend brought over some curtains and asked if I could get them hemmed.  He's bought a small place in northern AZ to have as a 'summer home' and the curtains must have been put up to refresh the place for sale as they are about 10" too long.  So as long as he didn't need them right away, I told him I would do that for him.
After finishing the tile work, spent an evening with my son and family having a catfish fry.  Time spent with family is always the best!  The following day  I spent with my 16 yr old granddaughter and instead of sewing together, we went out on the ATV and picked Prickly Pears.  Came home and made Prickly Pear jelly.  My family loves this stuff!  Yesterday after getting things truly cleaned up and put back in some sort of order, I had a visit from DIL and g-kids.  They were off for Labor Day and wanted to spend some time with Grandma - I'll take anytime I can get!  Grandson's and I have a date in a couple weeks and we'll go Prickly Pear picking and do some jelly making :-)  That's always a treat, too.
So, I believe that brings me up to date at this point.  Time to get some breakfast and get some curtains hemmed and I have about 9 or 10 quilts that need quilting -  need to work on those as well.  Then..... the Christmas sewing begins!!! I already have a few projects in mind..... so maybe I'm getting my mojo back - I sure hope so!

Katie

Monday, August 29, 2011

Again!?

My sewing machines are ready to run away from home due to neglect!  It's not that I haven't been busy, I have.  But I am really missing my machines.  Maybe by Wed I will make it back to the sewing room. 
So why am I neglecting my babies?  DH!  Well not really, it's sort of my fault.  First some history - our house was built in 1953 and has very little renovation done.  It's a small house and that's okay with me - who wants to spend all their time cleaning a big house? - not me!  A little over 3 years ago we did totally renovate our bathrooms and in that process acquired some tile from DH's brother.  We have had that ceramic floor tile all this time with every intention of using it in our kitchen.   I finally told DH that I was going to buy more tile for the dining room and we were going to get this done - and I did!  Friday afternoon I started ripping out the old vinyl tile.  Sat &  Sun was devoted to laying the new tile - and I certainly am not as young as I used to be!  My knees and back are still screaming......  But we're in the home stretch and hoping that by tomorrow afternoon I can put my rooms back in order.   It already looks so much nicer and more up-to-date.
I have to say here that quilting skills have come in handy with the measuring for cutting tiles.... these old houses are certainly NOT square. 
So 'til next time..... and hopefully by then I'll have a picture or two :-)

Katie

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And sew what?!

And that's the way I've felt lately - sew what?  I go into the sewing room.  I look at my fabric.  I pull out different project patterns and think "what should I sew?" and invariably, I will leave without sewing.  I finally figured out how to print out the Farmer's Wife templates, etc.. from EQ - It's not the right way but for some reason it's not working with EQ the way it should, so I do it 'my' way.  Oh, sorry, got sidetracked..... Worked on a couple of those blocks.  I'd thought I'd do those little blocks in coordinating fabrics but I'm thinking the pieces are small enough to use up some of my scraps.  And.... because I started thinking, the whole thing got put in a baggie and put away so I could think about it a little more :-)  Then I pulled out some paper piecing to work on:

These are 6" blocks and go together quickly but after I completed 3 more, I just didn't feel like sewing anymore.
So, I'm thinking it's the room (I know, there I go thinking again!)  Time to change it up a bit.  I'm trying to figure out a way to spruce it up without any major expense.  Because it's also my office area in there, I have to work around that.  Also, my corner desk:

Is very permanent.   It's braces are attached to the block wall with anchor bolts.  (this is an older picture - that right corner of the room has changed and my skirted cutting table is now in the corner with the file cabinet having been moved to the quilting room)  Maybe I have a picture...

My DH made me that ruler rack and I did a post awhile back about that.  Anyway, that corner isn't quite as cluttered now.  But... with the table in the corner, and because as you can see, I tend to pile stuff on it, I think I'd be better off with an enclosed cabinet/ cupboard that has shelving and doors underneath.   Also, I'm wanting to clear the space where the plastic bins are.  Next to them is the bookcase where I 'house' my larger fabric pieces and that will also
 have to stay in the room.  I think it's time for me to visit the thrift store and take a look around to see what I can reinvent!   I did cut my table skirt this week also - cutting strips and didn't realize I was off the mat - now if I keep this table (and probably will) I need to make a new skirt, but I think instead of making it to go 'over' the table, I'll use sticky velcro and just attach it around the edge of the table.  Yes, there is storage under that table but because of the fold out legs, not alot of space.
So, I guess I need to be asking for some inspiration to come my way and see if I can get my mojo back! 
The rest of this week is a busy one for me.  DH has doctor appointments both today and tomorrow to have some laser procedures done for his glaucoma - so 2 days in a row in Tucson (50 miles from here!)  Then I have a potluck dinner to go to Thurs. evening that I had originally thought I'd have at my house - thank goodness someone else took it at theirs.  Then Saturday is a tenative sew day with a friend.  That will be great if that works out!
So, if I'm MIA for awhile - not to worry, I'm just out looking for my lost ambition.

Katie



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

As I posted earlier in the week - I've been a Slacker!  And for today, I still am.  Sorry.....  I simply have not been in the mood to be quilting.  I've putzed around in the sewing room this week, but have not done anything of substance to speak about.  I tried doing one of those little snap bags - the ones made with an old metal tape measure.  Got some ideas on how I want to do them.  I started on the bag for a friend.  Smart Handbag is a bag you make that has a removable cover - so you can change your cover to match your mood, seasons, whatever......  I'm making my friend's in a black leatherette and have embroidered a cover with a design that she's chosen - pictures later!  Whenever I make a handbag, tote, etc... I add tons of inside pockets and usually an outside pocket to throw my keys in - I'm always losing my keys on the bottom of my bag!  I've looked at making one of those handbag organizers - which I think is really a great idea for anyone who changes their bags frequently - but with as many pockets as I add to my bags, I probably don't need one.  But... I will probably make an organizer eventually :-)
Busy weekend ahead for me.  so guess I'd better get moving.  Will help my grandson celebrate his 8th b-day today!  I can't believe how fast the time has gone - grandkids are the best!

Hope all is having more creative times than me!

Katie

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Slacking

Started with a picture from my archives because I've simply been a slacker!  Ever have days like that?  Mine seem to be more like weeks than days.  Whenever that happens, I know it's time to do something different, but right now, I simply don't know what that 'something different' is .  I thought about pulling out my knitting - but because of the carpal tunnel, it's not something I can do very long.  I've recently won a couple books from some give-aways and they're really nice (I should show pictures, huh?!) and they both have some really cute projects in them that have caught my eye.  Then I decided I really liked the Farmer's Wives blocks that I've seen out there in blogland and bought the book.  I don't care for templates, so now I've bought the CD that is in conjunction with EQ so I can print out for paper piecing and I do really enjoy paper piecing!  ummm maybe I'll work on that!  I also have a handbag cut out that I want to get sewn up for a dear friend - she's been asking for one for awhile now.  I've got this incredible urge to reupholster something (I know, I must be nuts!)  Maybe I should go hit some second hand / thrift shops and see what I can find.......
Okay, guess you don't really want to read about all my indecisions.  Maybe I'll have a picture or two available in a few days - if not,   not to worry...... I'll be back before you know it :-)  and boring you to more tears!

Katie



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Maybe Later

 So today is Saturday and that means "Scrappy"..... but first I want to promote "LHQ - International Left-Handed Quilters Anonymous Day - 8/13/11"  Just click on the pink button to the right that is "Right-Handed friend of a Left-Handed Quilter".  I am not left-handed but my DH is and so I do understand (a little) about how difficult it is to be the 'odd one' when trying to find tools - in the case of quilting, think scissors, rotary cutters and most of all directions or patterns!!!  But seriously, if you ARE a 'lefty', check out Kitty's blog.  She does some great tutorials for left-handed quilters and she is a joy to read!  In my case, I  have to reverse all her directions...... something left-handed quilters are told to do all the time ..... not as easy as it sounds.
I hope you will take the time to check out A Left-Handed Quilter blog.

Katie who will post a Scrappy Saturday on Sunday :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

TA DA!


My Special Project - Hubby's Veteran Quilt.  He is a veteran of the VietNam conflict and with all the Patriotic Themed quilts I've done for QFC SewFest, he had yet to receive one.  This year the making of his quilt was my priority at SewFest.  I know the fabric around the white embroidered squares look like it's polka dots, but it is actually drums - I'd liken it to Civil War style drums.
Yesterday was his birthday and we had family over to celebrate.  Here my 7 year old grandson is reading the label:

The 5 year old is just happy being apart of helping Grandpa open his birthday present :-)

My granddaughter looks on as she actually helped do some of the quilting and her name is included on the label.  Her dad is sitting behind her and my son is looking on from the sofa.  My hubby loves his quilt and feels it was worth 'the wait'.  If you have a veteran in your life, I hope you take the time to make him something special and let him know he is appreciated.

Katie




Sunday, August 7, 2011

Followers.....

I don't believe I've taken the time recently to thank all my followers for being here.  I don't know what I've written or shown that drew you but if you'd leave a comment to let me know, I'd appreciate it.  I try not to write too many personal things as far as my family is concerned as I believe this is more about my creative processes (when they're working!)  I don't post tons of pictures, but if you'd like to see more, let me know - I'm sure I could come up with something :-)  But, for now, it's a beautiful Sunday morning here in SE Arizona, the birds are chirping, DH is snoring and I'm antsy to get to work on DH's quilt but have some ripping of stitches to do first - so guess I could be doing that while he still sleeps :-)
Again, a big THANK YOU to my followers,

Katie

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

I bummed out 2 weeks in a row now!  Last Saturday, I was enroute coming home from SewFest in Kansas.  And this week was my 'recovery' week with lots of interruptions (see previous post).  So, I'll share with you a quilt that was created from Swapped Blocks:
Sorry about the quality of this photo (old camera!)

This was a swap of black & White with redwork embroidery as the center square.
a little closer look

This needed to be made longer, so I just took some scraps of black & white and made a 'sort of' sawtooth top and bottom border, then bordered with other fabric from stash.  Note:  No new fabric was bought for the making of this quilt :-)
I will make a point of having a true "Scrappy" project for next Saturday!
Have a great rest of your weekend!

Katie


Friday, August 5, 2011

Can we add some time to the clock?

Seriously.....  Maybe if the clock had more time, I'd get more done.  Well, maybe.  Home from SewFest and I was renewed and ready to rock.  Got a quilt on the frame, then looked at it and wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt it.  I did get it started, but with time with family, it ended up taking me 3 days to quilt it - and it wasn't that big!  But love my time with my G-kids and wouldn't trade it for anything.  I can post here that I have special project - a veteran quilt for my hubby.  I've been going to SewFest for 4 years (that's all of them :-)  )  , making quilts for veterans and active duty service men and women, and my Vietnam veteran still doesn't have a patriotic themed quilt.  His B-day is Tues and I went to SewFest on a mission - to make him his quilt.  I did manage to get the bulk of it assembled - I'd already had the blocks done.  I didn't have the fabric I wanted for borders.  I have put the first border on it (a solid gold) and I wanted a red for the outer border.  Did I have that red?  Of course not.  I went into Hancocks and couldn't find a red to go with, either.   I shipped some fabric home from SewFest and thankfully, there's a fabric in there I can use.  Now to get it done!  He knows I brought quilts home to quilt, so I'm really hoping that he won't pay any attention to what I'm doing.    I'll post pictures when I get it completed!  Guess,  I'd better get at it - but he's still snoring.......

Katie

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A few more

We worked poor Paula so hard that we had to do something....


So off to a the local quilt guilds show in Hutchinson, KS


I loved this quilt.  It's made with grandmother's fans and half square triangles with a circle appliqued for the head.  Might be something even I could do!  I love, love, love the little angles border!


This quilt caught my eye because of all the embroidered detail.  It's simply awesome.  I very rarely do hand work, but I certainly appreciate the time someone had to take for this quilt.  It's gorgeous!

A close up of the embroidery.  And hand quilted, too!

This quilt is dimensional.  The little aprons actually stand away from the quilt a bit.


The butterflies stand off the quilt as well.  And look at the hand in the pocket.  

This small child's quilt was so cute.... but look at that quilting.  All hand quilted and animals were quilted all around the border.  Such talent!

are these just the best!?


 Hope you've enjoyed the quilt show and a bit of narrative about the QFC SewFest.  Now I will be spending some time with my quilter getting some of the quilt tops that I brought home quilted.    You'd think that being unemployed, I'd have all sorts of time - Nope, I just find too many more things I'd like to do......and still not enough time to get them all done!

Katie

Monday, August 1, 2011

A wonderful week

Meet "Marsha, too"!  Doesn't she look lovely in her craft apron (made from a feed sack!) and ready to free motion quilt with her gloves.   She was a bit on the quiet side, but her smile is simply awesome :-)








This is Jade's first quilt!  She took some blocks that were sent in from others and with the help of her "Granny" Paula, she made this top.  Job well done, Jade!

And speaking of Paula, look at this!  Can you see the butterflies that she quilted in blue corners!?  What an artist!
We strung clothes line and started hanging quilts for display and picture taking.  It was fun to watch people slow down as they drove down the street to see what was going on.
Here's a few more!






Mary has a friend who gave her a box of scraps - the center of this quilt was in the scraps (yes, already assembled)  This is Mary with the quilt.

Be on the look out for a few more pictures!


Katie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

and I'm Home!

Home from Kansas with lots of pictures, but they'll have to wait until I get them into the computer!
What a wonderful week I had.  We had 10 attendees but only 8 sewers, but when we thought a bit more about it, 2 of us spent more time sandwiching quilts to be quilted then actually sewing- but it was a chore that needed done and we did it!  Oh, why only 8? You ask.  Well, Bea comes with her sister, Mary, and she is a fabulous person.  She trims and sorts and designs.  We'd be lost without Bea!  and the other... Jade- a wonderful 20 yr old who loves her G-ma to pieces and she came along for the ride :-) .  We had Donna, our youngest sewer who at one point I said she looked liked a California Surfer Girl! She's a gem and I love her, but don't tell her I said that!  We had Phyllis who sits quietly (sometimes!) and assembles the most beautiful creations.   Her work is astounding, now if we can only convince her of that.  Oh, and Mary (Bea's sister), what a source of information.  She seems to have one of those minds that can recall where she found what at a moments call, and what lovely quilts she produces -another of our Gems!  Paula, Jade's Granny - she has  appropriately replaced the Energizer Bunny - she just goes and goes.  She sat down at her Juki and started quilting and just kept going and going and going and going (you get the picture!)  Tracy, Another prolific quilter who doesnt know her own worth!  all I can say about her quilt tops is WOW!  Tracy just seems to have that natural ability to know how to put things together.  And we have Cathy...... Not only a very dear friend but our main organizer.  She's the glue that keeps us together.  Without her encouragement I don't know how'd we manage to do what we do - she's amazing.  And we had the pleasure of Mickie stopping by for a visit.  I've had the pleasure of quilting many of Mickie's quilt tops and her work is amazing.  It was great to finally meet her in person.  She is warm and upbeat - what joy! 
Yes, I will be posting pictures in future posts, but I wanted to introduce you to the lovely ladies first as they are the Thread that Binds!

Katie

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sew Fest

Okay,  I was trying to post some pictures, but I guess blogger doesn't like me!
I'm at Sew Fest in Stafford, KS  and really enjoying the time.  We're all being very creative and getting a lot done.  Come back for some great pictures!

Katie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

This is sort of scrappy…It’s made from smaller pieces, no yardage required Smile

As I have made (and use) one of the bottle cap rings, I thought why not a wrist cushion??? I have a nice little wrist cushion that someone made me and I really like the size and all, but the pins go right through it.  So, when I emptied the mayo jar, I kept the cap and here it is!

IMG_0711

Oh, you can’t see the cap, well it’s here!

IMG_0710

 

I added a bit of lace and rick rack around the edge to dress it up some.   And used a scrap of fabric to make the wrist band which is, of course, elastic covered with a tube of fabric.

And when I’m not using it on my wrist, it sits nicely on a little jar and can be used next to the machine!

IMG_0709

Until next time……