Monday, December 19, 2016

life in a nut shell

if you're looking for pictures, you've come to the wrong place today...
It's been over 2 months since I posted anything....  Been busy with quite a few different things.
My favorite brother-in-law passed suddenly on October 28.  Sure took the wind out of our sails.  I went down to where he lived (3 hrs from us) to help his daughter go through the house trying to find any papers she needed as she's his only heir. ( His wife passed 6 years ago...) Anyway, had to come home as I was scheduled for a MRI that I felt I really needed to get done. Was heading out the door when my phone rang and it was my sister informing me that we had lost my brother on Nov. 1st.  Again, very sudden.  As hard as this hit me, I am so very thankful that these men I loved so much did not suffer from long, drawn out illnesses.
As for my MRI, I've been given a diagnosis of arthritis and stenosis in my back.  The doctor tried a couple injections in my back which helped for about 4 days - guess this is something I will simply have to learn to live with.
In between all this, I've been doing a little Christmas sewing.  Not near on the scale I usually do, but quite frankly, my heart simply isn't in it.  My sister and her new (1 year) husband are coming for Christmas and I am excited to see them.  If it wasn't for them, there wouldn't be one decoration up.  I will have a house full on Christmas and I'm ready for the chaos of it all.  I'm sure it will take me out of my doldrums ....
So with this all said, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas (or whatever seasonal holiday you celebrate).  May God bless you with good health and happiness...


Thursday, October 13, 2016

today I noticed ....

I don't read blogs every day and anyone who follows me know I certainly don't write / post every day or even every week for that matter.  I post when I feel like there is something I want to share..
So this morning I decided to take the time to read some blogs and I noticed something.  Every blog I read (and I started from the top of the list and worked down through it) was from what I consider 'professionals'.  People who blog to help promote their own products or businesses.  And, hey, that's great!  I've learned quite a bit from these bloggers and kudos to them for doing what it takes to make their endeavors a success.  But at the same time I'm saddened to see that the average crafter / hobbyist / sewist doesn't feel they're important enough to post - which takes me back to myself...  I guess I don't post often because I don't feel people are really interested in the day to day endeavors of the 'regular' gal... Ah well, at least one thing I know - If you take a minute (or two) to read my posts, look at my pictures, etc... you won't have to wait for all the ads to load as I don't have any.  You won't spend any money from reading my posts because I'm not endorsing any manufacturer.  I'm just a regular gal doing what I love and I will occasionally share with you what it is....


Friday, September 16, 2016

Not often

It's not often that I will 'quilt for profit'.  I don't have the ability to use pantographs unless I move the handles from the front of my machine to the back, which is more trouble than it's worth (in my opinion).  I would never mark on another person's quilt in fear of the mark not coming out.  My stitch regulator hasn't worked on my machine in a whole lot of years and I gave up trying to get it (and keep it) fixed.  For my own purposes, freehand is good.  I do have some simple shape templates that my hubby cut out of plexiglass for me, but they aren't exact and perfect, and I'm not bothered by the fact that my personal timing isn't always in sync with the machine so the occasional long stitch doesn't bother me..  So that said... I had a lady approach me about quilting a quilt for her.  I had to let her know that I'm not a professional long arm quilter.  That I don't do fancy and my frame isn't set up to do king.  She told me she didn't want fancy and anything I did was fine.  She just wanted the quilt done.  Well, alrighty then, guess I can do this for her.  Then she brought me this beautiful quilt and it was wider than what I'm able to complete on my frame.  But... I could get the body of the quilt if she wanted to do just some straight stitching in her outer border.  She was okay with that.  So as intimidated as I was by this beautiful quilt, I set out to do the best I could and overall, I'm happy with it.  If it had been my quilt, I would have probably turned it in sections and done a piano key stitch on the borders, but I've done that before on a large quilt of my own and sometimes it gets a little wonky.. The lady was happy with the results and then informed me I didn't charge enough - well, I guess if there's a next time, I will charge more (I don't have a problem with that!):

This lady designs all her own stuff.  These applique roses are one piece of fabric and all the detail she put in with satin stitching - I was very impressed with her work!
So, I've worked on this and worked on Sew Fest quilts.  I have 4 completed, 2 waiting for their binding and one more to quilt and finish - seeing the light :-)  Just in time to start work on some Christmas stuff!  Have some simple things I will be sewing up.  I will sew up a few pair of pajama pants and embroider some T's to match.  I would love to knit a couple of long shrugs / sleeved capes - but I know me, I would never get them finished in time ...  So maybe just some fingerless gloves...
Hope all is well with you...


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Plugging along

I am just plugging along these day.  Getting quilts quilted that I brought back from Sew Fest.  I did bring home some kids' quilts that were then sent on to TN to a children's hospital there.  I was gifted some polyester high loft batting and decided to use it in these quilts as I think most kids like 'fluffy':
These quilt tops were made by Mickey M. from embroidery designs that were donated.  Unfortunately I don't know who donated them as I would love to give credit as the designs are very well done.

The pictures make the quilts look a little puckered when, in fact, they really aren't.  I had not used a high loft batting in quite a while, but I'm thinking there are more quilts in my future that I will be using it in.
I've already started my Christmas knitting.  I love to knit when I have football games on (Yes, I do love football!) so hopefully I will manage to get some slipper socks and leg warmers (granddaughter is in ballet) done.  Not to mention the sewing I will do...
Not much else going on... the g-kids are back in school and so is my daughter-in-law, so at least once a week I pick up the g-kids.  Sort of missed it during the summer...  My 10 year old grandson is playing football so that means Saturday at the ball field.  Love to watch the kids play, too ;-)

Hope all are doing well.. I am looking forward to more fall type weather.  We're still a little warm here in AZ but when it starts to cool off, it will be glorious...


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Another successful Sew Fest

Finally rested up after a week in Texas for Sew Fest.  Was gone 11 days and I was happy to see my bed!  Now to get my ambition back and start on the quilts that are needing quilted!
Here are some of the tops that got completed:  NOTE:  I believe there were 59 quilt tops completed by 9 ladies in 6 days.  This is a very small sampling and these were made by others...
These blocks were part of a "sampler challenge" - use the same fabrics and make at least 5 different patterns, but make 2 of each of pattern selected.  Love how this turned out!

If I remember correctly, this is a modified version of the "Crossroads" quilt that appeared in the Blocks magazine from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Simple half square triangles and they made a stunning quilt.

Strips and embroidered squares - easy, yet beautiful

what you can do with limited log cabin blocks..

This picture does not do this quilt justice.  This quilt is so bright and cheerful.

What you can do when you don't have quite enough for a full quilt - combine them!

Not a full set of designs (we like to use 10) so focus fabric comes though...

Isn't this lovely?!  I like the planned scrappiness of it.

What to do when you only have a couple blocks of each..  

It's hard to explain Sew Fest.... members who are not able to attend will send in 'filler (quilt) blocks', embroidered designs, fabric for sashings and borders.  Then those attending will also add to that mix and then it's all laid out on a table by colors, embroidered design sets, etc...  Then the attendees will take from the table and start assembling quilts.  Sometimes quilts are cut and pieced at Sew Fest from fabric that was sent.  The artistry that evolves amazes me every year.  I learn so much from the ladies who come.  We share tips and techniques, not to mention the 'tools' used for our craft.
Every year we try to come up with a theme for a gift exchange.  This year the theme was "Pamper ME".  The idea was to come up with something that the recipient would use just for them.  Surprisingly, the ladies said it was really a difficult theme.  They thought of lotions and potions but then the fragrances one might like another might not.  This was my gift to the recipient:
Love this fabric!  This is a book bag.

Inside I put a covered note pad, a tea wallet filled with a variety of teas, a zippered pouch filled with Jelly Bellies, one of those color books for grown ups with color pencils and made a journal using scrapbooking papers.

My idea was to sit quietly, enjoy a cup of tea and write in a journal or color a page in the color book.  Something to ease the mind and relax the soul...  I may have to make another one for me!

I received a lovely FQ of sparkly blue fabric wrapped around the Eucalyptus & Mint scent from Bath & Body Works line of Stress relief in the body wash and and lotion.  Very nice....

Hope you enjoyed the photos and maybe got a few ideas of layouts and maybe some projects for a gift exchange ;-)  
Until next time,


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Don't call it cr*p!

It's not a secret that I love thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, etc...  The old adage "one man's trash is another man's treasure" is so very true.  
I like nothing better than coming across a box, bag, whatever of sewing stuff just thrown in it and buying the entire 'lot'.  Then I get to bring it home and go through the bounty/treasure.  There have been times when once I've gone through it, I have half of it or more being re-donated or trashed.   But I have to say, I've always gotten my money's worth!  I can not think of one time I've said, "well, that was a waste".  I've had friends and family ask, "what are you going to do with all that cr*p?"  But who do they come to for just the right clasp, snap, zipper, button, etc...  ?
Recently I had a project to make for a gift exchange and the monetary limit was set at $20.  The organizer told me I had gone over the limit and I told her no I did not!  The fabric used cost me less than $5 and everything else was constructed from what I had on hand and bought at estate/yard sales at pennies..  I was told that was cheating... WHAT?! Because I'm thrifty, I'm a cheat???  Oh well, call it what you want, someone will get a very nice exchange gift because I had cr*p on hand to make it... Photos forthcoming...


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

accumulating fabric

I have been accumulating fabric and have not purchased one yard!  The lady that runs our local thrift store (proceeds go to our historical society/museum), found out that I do a great deal of quilting for charity and that I'm co-founder of Quilters for Comfort.  Since she's discovered that, anytime she gets a donation of fabrics, she calls me to come take a look.  If it's something I can use, she then donates it to me.  She had given me a large box of fabric and told me it was from the estate of one of her neighbors and there would probably be more.  I happened to stop at the 'estate sale' of her neighbor's as I saw some wicker chairs I was interested in.  While I was 'shopping' the estate sale, the neighbor's son started showing me fabric.  OMGoodness!  bolts and bolts of fabric!  Unfortunately, a great deal of it was drapery weight and something I just was not interested in.  The lady from the thrift store come while I was there and told him I was the lady she told him about that could use the fabric.  Long story short - I had to call my husband to come with the truck because I literally had a truck load of wicker and fabric!  This guy just started piling stuff up. He asked me one thing - that I finish a quilt (if I found any) and send to him.  He said he would like to have just one of his mother's quilts to give to his wife.  A friend came over the next morning and we started sorting and going through boxes of stuff.  When all was said and done, I kept 2 large totes of fabric as did my friend who helped me sort.  There was probably 75 yards of flannel on bolts of which I kept maybe 25 yards and donated the rest to another friend who makes preemie blankets for the children's hospital in Phoenix.  Another sewing friend came and took several pieces of sheer fabric, some for curtains, and some for lining Christmas stockings that she makes for the VA Hospital's Christmas party.  So anyway, with that all sorted, I found 3 quilt tops that had already paired with backing and batting.  One quilt top that had gotten wet and the mildew had eaten away at the fabric.  I was sad to have to dispose of that top...  Then there was a hand sewn quilt top that I believe might have been made by this guy's grandmother.  He had told me she made quilts by hand and there might be one in the stuff.  Well, here are the quilts I finished:

These quilts are not perfect (neither am I) and the Sunbonnet was a 'rough edge' applique that was a challenge to quilt, but they are done and I will send them on to him.
Here is the hand sewn quilt:

I love the pattern!  These are large blocks - I didn't measure but I would say 18"...
I am not going to quilt this top as I don't hand quilt and I just feel this should be hand quilted.  I will send it along with the other quilts.
Oh, just to share - the bulk of the fabric from this estate was mostly (I'm guessing) from the 1980's.  Just judging from the prints and colors...  And a lot of 'polished' cotton.
I am thankful for the fabric that is donated to me and when it's something I don't think I will use, I always try to find someone else who can use it that I know will appreciate it.
Hope you all have a good day.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sometimes things just work...

In a previous post I showed some pictures of a block I was working on for a 'special project', well here's the completed quilt:
 and a close up:
The story behind this quilt - a QFC member became ill while on a visit to her son.  She was told to see her own doctor when she got home after spending 5 days in a hospital.  Long story short, they told her she may have cancer.  Cathy B. (my counter part from QFC) had these embroidered angels leftover from a previous 'angel quilt'.  I pulled fabric, made up the blocks and sent to Cathy with all extra fabric.  She assembled the quilt and returned it to me for quilting.  The recipient of this quilt had it in her hands in a little over 2 weeks!  From PA, to AZ, to CT... And, I'm happy to say the recipient has been now been told she does NOT have cancer but is undergoing further testing to find out what is going on.
Another lady from QFC sent me some leftovers.  These were wide strip sets that had been angled cut:
 I separated the strips to give me a 4 strip set and measured to get a square cut.  Some strips only yielded one square where others yielded 3 or 4.  I paired those strip squares with a red I had, sewed around the outside edges and cut "X" diagonally.  I ended up with 9½" squares once assembled.  When I pulled a few to get a picture, I discovered I ended up with a secondary pattern that I just love!  This was not planned, but I sure like the way it worked out.
Some of the QFC ladies are also working on row quilts.  Sort of like a Round Robin quilt where you pass it around, except we're doing rows and the finished quilt will be donated.  We're finishing up a couple jungle theme quilts now and starting a Farm theme and Mystical theme.  I started the Mystical and here's my row with a close up:

I have had these designs for a very long time and I'm sorry to say I do not know where I got them.  The letters preceding the numbers on the design are DS so not sure if that's a help.... 
So, these are the projects I've been working on.  In between the Quilters for Comfort projects, I try and work on scrap projects.  I have a couple that I've decided I just want to be done so instead of quilts, they will be table toppers.  These are paper pieced projects I started and as much as I do love paper piecing, I find I don't have the time to devote to getting a full quilt done.  Just too many other things I want / need to finish.  I also pulled 2 'in progress' quilts that I want to see done.  Then I will probably have at least 6+ quilts waiting for quilting.... 
Guess I better get busy!
Wishing you all good health and safety from these storms that our country is experiencing...


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Almost a year ago...

It's been almost a year now since I was approached about helping 'someone' with getting the Senior's Center here in our small town to making quilts for "humanitarian efforts".  I was asked to be available to help these "senior" ladies when this "someone" wasn't able to be there.  Long story short - this "someone" has NEVER been to any of the meetings!  Ever happen to you - you're asked to HELP only to discover you're IT?  I love these ladies and I love to quilt so it was a good thing.  
A couple years ago a lady from the QFC (Quilters for Comfort) group donated over 100 quilt tops to be finished for charities.  Due to some health issues she was no longer able to work at a sewing machine.  A few of the members from QFC has worked on these quilt tops and they've been donated but I still had a few and decided to take them to the Senior's Center for their use.  These tops were simple square or brick scrappy patchwork and the request was that the Senior's tie the quilts.  It's taken a year but the quilt tops I donated have been tied and they are wanting to make 50 more.  Problem is - these ladies are not quilters and many are not even sewists.  Bring on the usage of a rotary cutter and mat - never mind I won't go there....
So my solution - I'm going to start cutting up my scraps into simple squares and 'kit' up for the ladies to make simple patchwork quilt tops.  I have a love / hate relationship with my scraps and time for them to find a purpose and I think this is a good purpose.  This is my project for today - cutting squares.  It will be a good thing to work on while I do some machine embroidery - think I may have a plan... Now to get busy with it :-)


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tube block

Have you ever done a tube block?  Where you take the two strips and sew them top and bottom, then cut to get half square triangles?  I first heard/saw these done with the Wonder Cut ruler.  I jumped on the band wagon and got me one of those rulers.  I personally don't care for it but I've talked to others who love it.  It's a matter of choice.  Anyway, I needed to make up a set of quick quilt blocks and thought about the "Tube block" technique and pulled some practice fabrics to work on the right measurements for the size blocks I wanted to complete - sometimes my brain just goes to 'math dead' and I can't figure out the dimensions...
My first strip sets made blocks too big for what I needed the set for but I really liked the way they looked so made a complete set from my 'practice' fabrics:
These blocks measure 14" and I have a set of 12.  I'm thinking a solid color green to sash and border for a finished quilt...
If you've ever cut triangles from a strip, you know you end up with the odd ends.  I decided to play around with those ends and this is what I came up with:
These aren't sewn together yet... the little blocks measure 6" so this piece when sewn together will measure 27" X 11".  I will border it and probably use it as a dresser runner.  Then.. I had some of the peach and white strip that was longer than the green and peach strip so cut that up into 4-patches along with some squares of green and this is what I have:
This will measure 10 X 20 and will end up being used as a table scarf or something of that nature.
I'm glad I decided to use these pieces while I was in sewing mode instead of throwing them into the scrap tub.  
Oh, the blocks I 'needed' to get done - well, they're for a special project and needed to get sent to a friend to use with a set of embroidered angels:

The person who will be the recipient of the quilt loves bright colors and I have had this print in my stash for quite some time.  I liked pairing it with the Fairy Frost fabrics I had (more fabric I've had for awhile...)
You may have noticed that these blocks aren't the same layout as the green & peach blocks... The green & peach create a square and these obviously don't.  That's one of the things I really like about using this technique, there are several different looks using the same units...  

Wishing everyone a wonderful day,


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

this and that

While I've been in sewing mode, I started working on things for Sew Fest which isn't until August, but the way my ambition comes and goes these days, I take advantage while I have it:
 These blocks are my start to a "Sampler Challenge".  The QFC group was asked to make 2 blocks of 5 different patterns over a period of a couple months.   It was asked to use the same fabrics for all the blocks that will then be put into "sampler" style quilts at Sew Fest.
 These embroidery designs are from Windbell Embroidery.  I used a varigated red thread and wasn't sure I'd like where it went so pale as to be almost white but after I looked at the stitchout off the machine, I liked the 'softness' of it.  This year at Sew Fest we are planning on some more feminine quilts to honor our lady veterans.
This set is also from Windbell Embroidery.
My grandson is in the Air Force my plans are to put this block into a quilt for him.
This block is from Eleanor Burns book "Day & Night" which also comes with a 'specialty' ruler which is really just a triangle ruler with specific to this pattern markings:
You start with a strip set then cut left and right units.  There are some "bonus" cuts that are used for a small version of the star and also the 'spider web' block:
I don't have the corners on in this picture yet....  These were really simple to make and I am sure I will be doing more.

My youngest granddaughter is really into the Disney movie "Frozen".  Her room is decorated accordingly and she has the Elsa and Anna (fashion) dolls as well as other Barbie dolls.  So, thinking ahead to Christmas I've started cutting out doll clothes from my scraps of fabric.  It doesn't take much fabric for these small clothes.... 

Until next time, I wish you all well and much creativity.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Labeling charity quilts

I know, 2 in a row - don't faint!
If you've followed me, you know that I am the co-founder of a group, Quilters for Comfort. - If you click on the tab you will find out the information. - We have a couple new members and a question has come up about labeling the quilts for donation.  
QFC started originally when we were all members of an on line machine embroidery site and someone came up with a label that simply states, "Lovingly made by Quilters for Comfort".  And because at the time, many of the quilts were made by more than one person.  Someone would send embroidered blocks, another would send 'filler' blocks to an assembler who would construct the quilt then the quilt would be sent on to someone to quilt and bind.  (yes, the postal service loves us!)  As this group has grown, we still have many quilts made by many hands but we also have some who make an entire quilt, start to finish, on their own.  I understand the 'signing' your work.  You've worked on something you're proud of, you sign it.  Here's where I get concerned --- When you're not sure who is going to receive that donated quilt, do you really want your full name on it?  I personally do not but I'm interested in if I'm a minority on this issue.
If you do quilts for charity, do you put your full name on it?  What is your opinion of this topic?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Been wondering lately if I should even keep this blog open.  It seems I rarely post anything anymore.  Lately I haven’t even been reading much, yet I do enjoy seeing what others are working on, what’s new, etc….

AZ has had a glorious couple weeks.  We’ve come close to the 90 degree temps and I don’t have a problem with that at all.  We also had a pretty decent snow storm the beginning of January that I just happened to have to drive home in!  Being from the U.P. of Michigan, I wasn’t concerned, but I was sure wishing the people in front of me were behind me!

I have been quilting some QFC quilts and also sewing up pillowcases:

The scrappy patchwork ones were tops given to me a couple years ago from a QFC member who, due to health reasons, can no longer sew.  These were part of a community service project and were a little rough but a little trimming and quilting and they will comfort someone.

In my last post I mentioned that my 14 year old fur baby was in poor health, sadly last week we had to make the very difficult decision to let her go.  It’s still raw and I can’t remember ever feeling so much emotional pain.  My first instinct is to immediately get another fur baby, but I think it’s best for me to settle and not have expectations of a new pet…
Not sure when I will post again, could be days, could be months….


A little post script here...  I usually use windows Live Writer but the last couple times, I have not been able to post... Wonder what's up with that????