Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Years' Eve...

Happy New Years' Eve to all my friends, family, and blog readers!   :)

I have a couple of things to share today...
First on the list, Easy Street Mystery clue #5 came out on Friday and I was able to work on it over the weekend and got all 128 "double bricks" made up and got the triangles cut.


This is now what the box looks like that is holding all of the completed steps so far...

Another clue came out this morning, but since I have to work 12 hours today, am on-call for 12 hours tomorrow, and then work 8 hours on Wednesday, I won't get to the clue until Thursday, unless I end up not needing to go in to work tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago, a blogger that I follow wrote about saving wrapping paper that he takes off of presents and reuses it.  What followed was a conversation about what his readers saved.  I don't save wrapping paper, but I do save the tissue paper that comes with gifts and, of course, gift bags.

It is so well known in our family that I save the tissue paper, that now at parties and holiday time, the kids just pass the tissue paper over to me as they are unwrapping the presents...I don't even have to pick it out of the piles anymore!  LOL

In the past, I just smoothed out the tissue paper and folded it back up.  However, as I was going into my sewing room to put some tissue paper and a gift bag away yesterday, I walked right by the ironing board and a thought struck me...."hey, I wonder if you can iron the wrinkles out of tissue paper?"

Well, by golly, you CAN!!!  :)  


Smooth it out on the ironing board:

A quick swipe with the iron:

Folded and ready for storage...4 fresh, like-new pieces of tissue paper!!!

I think it took about a total of 3-5 seconds to iron each sheet!!!  How easy is that???  

Now, I realize that if you don't keep your iron and ironing board up all the time, this probably isn't feasible.  But since, as a quilter, I keep mine up 90% of the time, this works just fine for me!  And it certainly is faster and cheaper than getting in the car and driving over to the store to buy tissue paper!  :)

Ginger has taken to carrying her bed around and putting it in whatever room I'm in at the moment.  Last night, she carried it into the quilting room so she could be by me while I quilted.

The funny thing is is that she lifted the bed OVER the bracing bar that you see running between the two ends of the quilting frame!   Not an easy feat for a 13 lb. dog when the bed is as big as you are!  LOL  Even after I left the room to go to bed, she stayed right there and slept all night long!  :)


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Someday Finally Arrived...

Quote for the Day:
“You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. 
You have to be in the right mood.
What mood is that?
Last-minute panic.”
― Bill Watterson

I finally decided to take care of a project that has been staring me in the face for a while less-than-stellar-looking ironing big-board cover.

For you non-quilters out there, a "big board" is a large piece of board that fits over your regular ironing board so that you have a bigger space for pressing quilt tops, backings, and fabric yardage.

You can buy one...The Original Big Board...or you can make one, if you are cheap like me!  :)   (Well...*technically* my dear husband, Andy, made it for me from some instructions I found on the internet years ago.  I don't remember exactly when he made it for me...probably 6-7 years ago, but this is the third time I've covered it...the original cover and now the second re-covering.)

It is basically a 1/2" sheet of plyboard that measures 24" X 60" covered with 2 layers of 100% cotton batting and then a layer of cheap 100% cotton fabric.  He then measured how wide and how long my ironing board is and put a "frame" underneath of the big board.  This "frame" holds the big board in place on top of my ironing board.  I can remove it when I need to iron a shirt or when I need to take the ironing board down to make room for guests.    

Here's two pictures of the underside of the board...

Originally, the board on the right in the top picture and at the bottom of the bottom picture was upright like the other three when he made it for my original ironing board that was from the 1980's.  However, that ironing board was a little wobbly, so when I found a much sturdier vintage ironing board, probably from the 1950's or '60's, at a thrift store, I snatched it up.  The "new" vintage ironing board was a couple inches wider than the original ironing board, so he had to widen the middle area.  Because of the way he had made it originally, this was the only way he could redo without me having to completely remove the original cover, etc. works to keep the board on the ironing board, so that's all that counts!  :)

This is what the cover was beginning to look like.  The yellow rings/spots were from an iron I had that leaked water all the time.  :(  YUCK!

I recovered it with some cheap, $1.00/yard Walmart fabric that I have that is too flimsy to use in a quilt, and this is what it looks like now...

It took me all of about 20 minutes with a staple gun to get it finished!  :)  Now I can mark that nagging little task off of my list!  


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas 
from our house to yours.
May your hearts be blessed with the love of family and friends at this time of year when we celebrate 
the birth of Jesus.

When I was growing up, one of my older sisters (Sharon) sang with a community choir and every year they performed "Handel's Messiah".  We would go, as a family, to see the performance.  After I grew up and moved away, I still tried to find a performance of it somewhere.  It's been a few years since I've had the opportunity to see it performed live, but Christmas doesn't seem complete now without, at the very least, a great rendition of the "Hallelujah Chorus"!  Enjoy!!


Monday, December 24, 2012


Quote for the Day:
"To quilt is human, to finish divine."

You cannot even imagine how excited I am to be able to share this finish with you!!!  

Presenting..."Christmas Mountain Morning"!!!

It is finished and ON OUR BED just in time for Christmas!  Do you realize how happy this makes me???  First of all, I don't make very many quilts for me/us.  Most of my quilts are gifts for other people.  Secondly, I started this quilt the first weekend of November.  To have it become a COMPLETED quilt (all 1568 pieces of it...not counting borders) by Christmas is ASTOUNDING for me.  It usually takes that  long for me to just make the top!  And since I usually hand quilt my quilts...add another 4-9 months onto that time before it is done!  

However, since I machine quilted this one, it shortened that 4-9 months of quilting down to about 1 week!  Even though the machine quilting makes this quilt a little more "stiff" to the touch, the benefit of having it done sooner is a good trade off.  (I haven't washed it, yet, so it will soften up a little after that, too, but I'm going to wait till after New Years to take it off my bed and wash it.)

In this picture, you can see that it isn't as wide and doesn't hang down quite as much as I usually like for our queen-sized bed, but I'm okay with that...

You can see where the Christmas quilt ends and the bargello quilt hangs down below it.  This is also a good shot of the borders and scrappy binding!  :)   (We don't use blankets in our house anymore...we just layer quilts depending on how cold it is/isn't.)

Here's a close-up of the all-over meandering quilting and of the variegated rayon thread I used.  Since it is rayon, it really reflects the flash from the camera and looks "shimmery".

Machine quilting is definitely NOT my forte, but I'm happy with the way it turned out!  I can truthfully say that each time that I do machine quilting, I get a little better and a little more comfortable with it.  It doesn't have to be PERFECT... DONE is good enough!  :)

And here you can see the pieced backing and a little more of the scrappy binding that I used.  I got to use up some of the Christmas fabric in my stash...especially some of the "what was I thinking" fabric!!

Another GREAT Christmas song for you enjoyment and contemplation...


Easy Street Mystery, Clue 5...

Quote for the Day:
"I only quilt on days that end in 'y'."

Clue #5 of Bonnie Hunter's "Easy Street" mystery quilt came out on Friday, so this weekend I've been working on finishing up clue #4, and starting and completing the new clue.  

Here is Clue #5 all finished...

Sixty-five blocks in total for this clue.

I also finished the quilting on "Christmas Mountain Morning" and am about 3/4's of the way through with the binding...which I plan on finishing on Monday.  I am determined have it on our bed for Christmas Eve!!!  

Once it is completed I will photograph it post about it, so check back later today for that big reveal!  :)

I want to share a little trick that I learned and use when sewing the binding onto the "corral" the binding during sewing, I wrap the entire strip around a couple of fingers into a "roll".  Then I slip it off my fingers and put it on the extra spool pin on my sewing machine.  As I sew it on, I just unroll a little at a time.  This keeps the binding off of the floor and out from under the wheels of my sewing chair!  :)

I sew the binding onto the front of the quilt by machine and then fold it around to the back and sew it down by hand....which is the part I'm working on now.  I only had one more side to go before I got too tired and had to go to bed.

While doing the hand sewing, I watched my favorite movie on TV..."The Sound of Music"!  I have seen that movie so many times, but I still get anxious during certain parts of it every time I watch it.  

The "Sound of Music" is a very special movie to me as it was the very first movie I ever saw!!  I think I was about 8 years old when all of the "girls" in the family, (including my mom, if I remember correctly) went to see it at the theater.  I was PETRIFIED during that movie!   You see, we didn't have a TV in our house when I was growing up, so I didn't know how to assimilate that what was up on the screen wasn't "real", I guess.  All I know is that I remember having to scrunch down behind the seat in front of me to "hide" during the "scarey" parts.  

In fact, till I was about 13, I got scared at just about every movie that I ever saw (all 2-3 of them, LOL)...which were mostly westerns.  The gunfights and the bad guys scared me.  Quite a change from what kids are exposed to these days, huh?

As I close this post, I'd like to leave you with what I think is probably the best Christmas song ever written... 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Geese Droppings...

Quote for the Day:
"I suppose we all have our recollections of our earlier holidays, 

all bristling with horror."
---Flann O'Brien 

I've been working on getting the "Christmas Mountain Morning" quilt quilted this week.  I have it pretty close to being done and ready for the binding.  However, my back has been hurting since yesterday, so I've really had to limit my time doing any one activity.

I've also been working on getting "Easy Street" clue #4 finished up so I can be ready for clue #5 when it comes out tomorrow!   I've got all of my latest bunch of flying geese sliver-trimmed which created a pile of what the other mystery quilters have named "geese droppings"...

 ...that pile of trimmings there on the right.  :)

I've also got the 145 3.5" squares cut out in prep for clue #5.   Here they are with my trimmed-up flying geese...

I still have to sew these flying geese units to the previous set of flying geese before this step is technically "done", but I can't get to my sewing machine right now because it is the one that I am using to quilt the Christmas quilt.  So...I'm trying to get the Christmas quilt finished up tonight so that tomorrow I can sew the geese units together and get going on the new clue.

Today is the first day that I have played Christmas music here at home.  I don't like listening to it too far in advance too much because then by the time Christmas rolls around I'm "burned out" on it.  So today I took my Dell mini computer up to my sewing room and listened to Christmas music online while I sewed.

And here's another one of my favorite, funny Christmas commercials for ya to enjoy... this is the extended version which is even funnier than the short one they play on TV...

Who thinks of up these things???  I love creative minds!   


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter Staycation Update...

Quote for the Day:
“Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color
 to slide down on the rainbow.”
~Douglas Pagel

I have a list of things I want to get done while off of work this week.  So far I am WAAAYYYY behind!  

One of the things I want to get finished is my "Christmas Mountain Morning" quilt.  I pin-basted it Sunday, and Monday evening I started machine quilting it.  I spent more time on it today and now have it about 2/3's of the way finished.  

Look at this GORGEOUS thread I found to quilt it with!  It's actually embroidery thread and is rayon, but I'm using it anyway.  (The quilting police had better not try to stop at my house!)

It is a thinner thread than what most people use to machine quilt with, but since I'm not a very good machine quilter, I don't like my stitches to show up too much anyway!  :)

I can't wait to get it done and plan to put it on our bed immediately upon finishing the quilting and getting the binding on!  :)

Since it hurts my back to sit too long, I'm taking breaks from the sewing machine every so often and working on trimming up the flying geese for Clue 4 of the "Easy Street" mystery quilt.

Does anyone else find this commercial as funny as I do? much for this break...gonna go get back to quilting now....thanks for stopping by!  



Monday, December 17, 2012

Easy Street Clue 4....

Quote for the Day:
"Sew many quilts, so little time."

On Friday, clue #4 came out for Bonnie Hunter's "Easy Street" mystery that I'm working on.  I cut and sewed 64 flying geese on Sunday, but I only got 21 of them trimmed up so far.

The red in this photo looks brown...but it really is red!  :)  The stack in front are the ones that still need sliver-trimmed to be exactly 2.5" X 3".  The ones in back are done.

I'm on a "staycation" this week, so hopefully I'll gets lots of quilting done!   And hopefully, I'll have some blog posts to show my progress!  Stay tuned...


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday at the Homestead...

Quote for the Day:
"One yard of fabric, like one cookie, is never enough!"
~author unknown

This month, my local quilt store is having a sale and all of the clearance fabric that is normally $4.00/yard is now HALF PRICE!!!  That's quality quilt store fabric for $2.00/yard!  What's not to love about that???

For that price, I decided to pick up a LOT and piece the backings for my next several (dozen) quilts instead of buying wide backing fabric which usually sells for $12.00 and up/yard! I toodled to Classic Quilt Shop in Clarksburg, WV, today to find some treasures that I can use as quilt backings...

 ...and came home with 75 1/4 yards of fabric!!!  I really like stripes on a quilt back, so that was a lot of what I picked up along with some pretty florals.   $609 worth of fabric from manufacturers like RJR, Marcus Brothers, Northcott, and South Sea Imports for only $152.50!!!     SCORE!!!

I think that red striped fabric on the middle bolt will end up on the back of the Christmas Mountain Morning quilt!   And those two blue and yellow coordinating fabrics on the left end of the bolts...I have plans for them, too!  ;)

Speaking of is Ginger on hers...not that she's spoiled or anything...

After Andy gets up in the morning and takes her out, Ginger comes up and jumps on the bed with me to catch some more winks.  Then when I get up and make the bed, she likes to sleep between our pillows on ON my pillow so I cover our pillows with this baby quilt.  It is hand-embroidered and hand quilted.  I rescued it from the Goodwill Thrift Store in Valdosta, GA, for $3.83 a couple years ago.  

She's not spoiled or anything...       :)


Friday, December 7, 2012

Updates From the Quilting Front...

Quote for the Day:
"Any day spent quilting is a good day!"
~author unknown

I've been spending a lot more time quilting ever since I attended the quilting retreat the first weekend of November.  I've been finding "snippets" of time here and there to get in a few minutes of the last little time after I'm ready for work, but it's not time to leave yet, etc.  I've got a lot to show for the extra time spent quilting, too, so let's get started, shall we?

I was off of work today and since my car was in the shop getting a remote start installed, I spent the day in my sewing room working, and finishing, Clue 3 of Bonnie Hunter's "Easy Street" mystery!  Sixty-four shaded 4-patches!  I even ended up with an extra one...a "spare"!  LOL  I don't know how I count everything multiple times and I still end up with "extra".  

Here's the pieces that I've made so far doing the first 3 clues...

Between working on the steps of this mystery quilt, I've been working on finishing up the blocks to my "Smith Mountain Morning" quilt.  I have decided that I will name mine "Christmas Mountain Morning"!  

The blocks are all completed and arranged on my design wall.   Now they just need to be joined together to make the quilt top so I can add the borders and then machine quilt it!

I'm hoping I can have it made into a completed quilt by Christmas!  :)

Ginger gets very bored when I'm in the sewing room and not playing with her.  She's usually laying under my rolling chair and leaning into one of my legs (usually the leg I operate the foot pedal with, no less).   However, today she was so bored she went into our bedroom and drug her bed out into the landing and took a nap.  

At one point today when she and I were in my sewing room she got ahold of a quilt block and chewed on it without me knowing it.  After it dried out I ironed it to see if it was still useable.  It wasn't.  

Gives new meaning to the term "dog-eared"!  LOL  This poor block is completely shredded around the perimeter.  

Poor quilt never stood a chance against Ginger!  :(


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Keepin' Momma Happy...

Joke for the Day:
There were two babies, a boy and a girl, laying side-by-side in the newborn nursery.  The little boy baby turns to the girl baby and says, 
"Are you a girl or a boy?"  
Puzzled, the girl baby says, "I don't know."  
The boy baby replies, "Well, I'm a boy."
Still confused, the baby girl replies, "How do you tell?"
The boy baby throws back his blanket and points to his lower body and says...
"See there???   
Blue booties!!!!"

So from there, let's segue into today's blog post...

For Christmas of 1996, Andy bought me a pair of Ugg slippers that were very expensive.  I had never heard of the brand before, but he had heard them advertised on Rush Limbaugh's radio show...and if they were good enough for his friend, Rush, then they were good enough for Andy.  Or in this case...Andy's wife!  :)   (I once sent an email to Rush saying he needed to advertise 3 carat diamond tennis bracelets [in the hopes that Andy would buy me one based on Rush's recommendation!]  LOL)

Anyway...though those Uggs were expensive (they were around $85 at that time and can run upwards of $100/pair now) they have lasted me for 16 long years and have served me well.  That is...until this winter. 

Here's my old, tired pair that has kept my feet warm for so many winters...

You can see how matted the sheepskin is inside from years of wear.  But the worst part???

Yep...I had a blow-out on the right back seam.  :(    So I've been looking for a nice, durable pair to replace them and on "cyber Monday" I found some and ordered them.  

They arrived yesterday and all I can say is that I am in LURVE!!!  :)

The are "Lamo" brand and are made from Australian sheepskin, just like the Uggs.  These can run between $55-80/pair, but on "cyber Monday" I was able to get them for $37 with free shipping both ways (in case I needed to return them.)  Which I won't (be returning them) because they fit and are ooohhhh soooooo comfortable and warm!  :)

Yeah...Momma's happy now!  :)

And...while we're on the subject of saving money...
I haven't done a couponing post for a while, so I thought I'd show you what I was able to pick up today at Walgreen's...

...before coupons and Register Rewards:  $53.59,  after:  $2.63 cash out-of-pocket!!!!  AND I got $4.50 back in Register Rewards! :  :)

I love it when a plan comes together!   (Extra points if you can tell me who made that saying  popular in the 1980's!)


Monday, December 3, 2012

"Easy Street"... Clue 2!

Quote for the Day:
"I've spent most of my life making quilts.  The rest I've just wasted."
~author unknown

On Friday, Bonnie Hunter released the second clue, or "step", to her "Easy Street" mystery quilt.  I had to work on Friday, but worked diligently Saturday and Sunday to get the step completed.

I'm trying hard to get each step completed as she releases them to try to keep this quilt from becoming another "UFO".   (UFO is the term quilters use for unfinished projects.)

This step entailed making 128 flying geese that measure 2" X 3.5".  I ended up with a "spare"...for a grand total of 129.  :)

Please disregard the dirty ironing board cover.  Someday I'm going to get around to recovering it.  Someday... 

Speaking of "someday" of the fabrics I used to make these was this one that I found in my stash...

Do you see the date on that???  1994.   I made my first quilt around that time, but I've been a "fabric collector" since I was 16 when I learned to sew.  (And that was WAAAYYYY before 1994!!!)    ;)   

I figured it was time for to use up this fabric.  It has "aged" long enough!!   If you look closely at the flying geese blocks, you can see this fabric in some of left, third from left top row, second from left bottom row, and bottom right.  :)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Recap...

Quote for the Day:
"The love of a family is life's greatest blessing."
~author unknown

I know, I know...I'm REALLY late in getting these Thanksgiving pictures and blog posted, but I have a very good excuse.

Yep, that's right...I came down with my "Third Annual Post-Holiday Cold".  :(

I have been sick since Monday morning.  Actually, the word "sick" doesn't quite describe how I've felt this week.  I think "miserable" works better.  But the kicker is that I had to continue to go to work feeling this way.  You see, my employer has a limit on "occurrences" that you can have, ie, "call-offs".  Since I'm part-time, I can only have 2 occurrences in a rolling calendar year.  If you have more than that, you get "disciplined" and it goes in your file.  Well, I've already had my 2 occurrences for the year, so I drugged myself with every possible cold medicine I could find in the house and took my sick body to work.  I guess they would rather have you infect all of the other employees rather than stay home and take your hard-earned sick pay, (which I have plenty of from years of not calling off sick.)    :(

So...onto the Thanksgiving family visit photos...shall we??

Erin & Sera making coke salad while I supervise...

Paul and Erin with the two Boston Terriers...
Ginger (ours) is on the left
Missy (Paul & Trinity's) is on the right... 

 Dale, Erin's fiance...

Sera and Andrew playing with Grandpa...

my ladies...Erin, Sera, Trinity and Ginger!

Sera with Corrine, the daughter of a family friend...

Erin holding Lane, Corrine's baby brother...


Andy, playing poker on Dale's iPad...
new technology can be scary!  LOL

Sera....being Sera!  :)

Sera helping Grandpa fold towels and washcloths...

We had a great time with the kids and grandkids and, as always, are looking forward to the next time we can all be together again!  :)