Monday, February 25, 2013

More Moving...

Quote for the Day:
"Just keep swimming,
just keep swimming,
just keep swimming swimming swimming,
what do we do we swim swim swim"
~Dory, Finding Nemo

We make some more progress on switching the sewing room into the former master bedroom this weekend.  We were able to remove the last of the bedroom furniture out of the master bedroom into the sewing room.  

The quilting "stuff" is now all sitting in the middle of both of those bedrooms.  

The carpet in the new sewing room is now completely shampooed and ready to start bringing in my storage cabinets.  I've decided that one of the cabinets will get painted before I start moving stuff back onto it.  (It really needs a paint job...badly!)  

Since we had to empty out my wardrobe to move it, I took the opportunity to declutter and organize the way I store my shoes in the bottom of it, utilizing an idea I found on  (I actually had bought the supplies to do this several months ago, but just never took the time to follow through!  Can you say "procrastination"?)    :(

This is the wardrobe...I figured it would be easier to work with the shoes before I put all the hanging clothes back in it!  

...and these are the shoes that were in the bottom of it on a shoe rack...

I put 3 tension curtain rods in the bottom of the wardrobe...

After getting rid of the shoes I don't wear and those that are worn out, I placed them against the tension rods.  If there are heels, you can hook them over the rod...otherwise, they just lean against the rod.

The shoe rack I was using before only held 9 pair and the rest were just tumbled in the open area.  You can see by the picture that I've got 9 pair in there now (there is a pair of velvet dress shoes in the box standing in the corner).  I still have room for 6 more pair since I'm not even using one of the tension rods!  :)


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Keepin' the Hands Busy...

Quote for the Day:
"Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing."
~Thomas Jefferson

As we move bedroom furniture out and open up an area of the new sewing/quilting room, I am taking the opportunity to clean the carpets in that area at a time.   Unfortunately, that slows the pace at which we can move sewing stuff INTO that room because we have to wait for the carpet to dry first.

With my sewing room dismantled AND my quilting frame empty and inaccessible, what's a girl to do to keep herself from going stir-crazy???

Well, I did go through all of my dresser drawers and decluttered them...creating 2 bags of trash and one bag ready to be donated.  

But then what???

Oh, I know...I'll make one of these...

...a spool pin doily.  

For you non-sewists out there in reader-land, there is supposed to be a piece of felt under the thread spool when the thread sits vertical on the machine.  This keeps the spool from spinning too much when the thread gets pulled, thus causing the thread to unwind faster than the machine can pull it through the needle.  On many of these vintage machines, that piece of felt is missing.  Yes, you *CAN* buy another piece of felt to replace the missing one.  But since I already have cotton crochet thread, the appropriate hook, and access to free instructions...why *wouldn't* I make one???  

Isn't "Mary Gwendolyn" pretty with her little lace collar on???

**A note about the instructions:  I found the third row instructions to be very difficult to understand, so I "winged" it with my own.  I good friend, Theresa, who held my hand and gave me helpful hints when making the owl hats, taught me that "crochet is very forgiving" so feel free to improvise, if need be!  :)   (See...Theresa...I *was* listening!)

I have 2 more vintage machines that need these, so I'll be making a couple more, soon.  The first one only took me about 20 min. to make...while watching TV...and trying to figure out the I'm sure the next ones will go quite quickly.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Sewing Room Update...

Quote for the Day:
After you've done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully.  After five years, look at it with suspicion.  And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.  
~Alfred Edward Perlman

We made a little progress last weekend on switching the bedrooms and sewing room around.  We are also working on it some this weekend, too.  It's hard to get too much done at one time with both of us working and Andy being on-call every other weekend.  We are both tired by the time the weekend comes around, but we do what we can.

I had a very busy week this past week and didn't get to show you what we got accomplished last weekend, so I'm going to show you that today.  Then hopefully, within the next day or two, I'll get a post done with what we accomplish this weekend...once the weekend is over.

Last weekend, we moved out the quilt cupboard and another storage cabinet that had been in Erin's-bedroom-turned-quilting-room-turned-our-bedroom.  In their place, we put Andy's wardrobe,  dresser, and chair.

This week, I spent some time measuring the new sewing/quilting room, trying to figure out a good arrangement.  I need to be able to fit my sewing table, my hand-quilting frame, my stash, and all of my extraneous sewing/quilting parephenalia into it.  I took graph paper and drew out the room, complete with measurements, etc.  Then I measured everything I need to move in there and cut pieces of paper to scale for those items.  I've been playing with them, moving them around like pieces on a chess board, until I finally found a configuration that I think will work very well.  

I've been looking at for a storage solution for my stash, since there is no closet in the new sewing/quilting room to put shelves into to store the stash.  Because I know exactly how much room everything else is going to take by using my room drawing and cut-out furniture, I know exactly how much room I have for shelving units.

I found a solution at Billy bookcase with glass doors.   
I'm going to put them in a corner configuration similar to this, but not exactly...
I've never been to Ikea  before because we don't have one very close to us.  However, there is one in Pittsburgh, so we are going to go there next weekend and pick up what I need.   Who knows...we may hit some thrift stores while we are in Pittsburgh, too!  :)

A couple of days ago, I tried to find something in the bottom drawer of my file cabinet.  It wasn't pretty.  :(

How could ANYONE find anything in that mess???  I decided to declutter it and rearrange it and this it what it looked like afterward...

Better.  Now I can find what I need and easily retrieve it when needed.  Yay!  

I haven't been doing too much decluttering recently.  :(    I need to get back to doing some of that.  Of course, with Erin's help in a couple of weeks, we are going to be decluttering the sewing room as we move everything into the new sewing/quilting room!  :)

Looking forward to that!  :)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ultrasound Day...

Quote for the Day:
"When you teach your son, you teach your son's son."  
~The Talmud

It's a Boy!!!

Our daughter-in-law and son had their ultrasound today of their unborn baby...and it's a BOY!!

You could have knocked me over with a feather when Trinity told me.  EVERYONE, including she, thought they were going to have a girl this time.

No problem, though!  We are happy to be having another grandson and so relieved that everything looks just fine on the ultrasound, after everything they've been through this past year.  

His name, you ask???  Alexander Pierce.  :)  What a grand name!  I love it!

I can't wait to get started on his baby quilt and receiving blankets!   I'll keep you posted as those things happen!  Until then, I'll just revel in the joy of knowing that I'll be having another grandson to hold and love on in a few months!  

Ain't no love like that of a Grandmother's!!  :) 


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Easy Street is Ready for Sidewalks...

Quote for the Day:
“The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

~John Madden

My Easy Street top, aka "Scrap Vomit", is ready for sidewalks borders.  

I auditioned fabrics for the two borders, and think I have a solution.  I definitely know the small, inner border will be one of the yellows that is in the quilt.  I don't have enough red or brown to do the wider, outer border, so I'm going to do brown on two of the sides and red on two of the sides.  

I know...that's very "unconventional", but I've been "unconventional" with my borders before in other ways...making two sides wider than the other two sides to make the quilt longer than wider, etc., and so far NO quilt police have EVER come and arrested me or confiscated my quilts.  My motto is, "it's my quilt and I'll do whatever I dang well please with it." Those things are called "artistic license".  Yeah...that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!  :)

Since this quilt is square, I may even make the red borders wider than the brown to make it longer, too.  There, Quilt Police...totally mismatched borders!  Put that in your collective pipes and smoke it!  :)

Here's another view of the quilt...

And if you squint, it looks like this...

Yeah...sorry for that last picture.  Camera operator error there.  A photographer, I'm not.  (As was pointed out by my ever-lovely niece, Kristin, whereupon seeing pictures in one of my posts, commented "As of the 3rd picture I knew that Erin was the photographer.")  

BTW, do you think Bonnie Hunter, the designer of this pattern, will be too upset if I DO name this quilt "Scrap Vomit"???   This title is not a reflection on her design, but rather on my color choices, I think, though part of the "scrap vomit" feel could have been lessened by using 3.5" neutral squares instead of piecing 2 -2" neutral strips together to make a 3.5" block.  And by not setting the blocks on point, so they would look like diamonds instead of this...


Friday, February 15, 2013

A Tale of Three Quilts...

Quote for the Day:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"
~A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

I've been meaning to tell this story for a while now but I've been waiting for the perfect picture to go with it.  I finally got a picture to go with the story last Thanksgiving, so don't ask me why I've waited till now to write the story...I just have.

Back in 1985, one of Andy's sisters gave a crib quilt to Paul that had a train on it.  It quickly became known in our family as the "Choo-choo train blanket", and has remained called that 28 years later.  

It was well used, first by Paul, and then by Erin when she came along.  It was used for sleeping, making forts in the living room, and even as something to sit on when we went to concerts or fireworks in the park.  :)

Over the years it became thread bare and I even had to sew a patch over a hole on the back, however, it always retained a fond place in the hearts of my kids.  Thus, when they got married and started having kids of their own, they both wanted the "choo-choo train blanket" for their child.  However, because it was so worn...and was only ONE quilt...not only would it not last through another child, but just how do you decide who gets custody of it when it has been so loved by both kids?

Enter into the picture a quilting friend in Florida.  I've never done applique and this quilt is appliqued, so I sent my friend the ORIGINAL quilt.  Using a piece of clear plastic table cloth, she laid it over the top of the quilt and drew around the picture of the train.  She used that outline to make a pattern and made TWO more quilt tops almost IDENTICAL to the original one!  :)

She sent the new tops and the original quilt back to me and I turned the tops into a "choo-choo train blanket" for each of the kids to use for the grandkids.  I kept the original for the grandkids to use when they are here.

The quilt in the middle is the original.  You can see that it was tied instead of quilted and has faded quite a bit over the years.  

The one on the right is Sera's and is the first one that I completed, since she was born first.  I gave it to her on her first birthday.  She uses it for sleeping but it is still in pretty good shape.

The one on the left is Andrew's.  He uses it DAY AND NIGHT!   He will not sleep without it and uses it during the day for anything from a "cape" thrown over his shoulders, to a place to hide under for "hide and seek"!  Trinity told me that one time she washed it and it wasn't dry in time for bedtime, so he just stayed awake and cried until she could get it dried for him!  LOL  When he wakes up in the morning, he removes it from his bed and takes it out in the living room with him so it can be near him all day.  Because of all that love, it needs some repairs to the blue calico of the engine and smoke stack.  I will take some fabric down with me the next time we go for a visit, and fix it for him.  I hope he can let it out of his hands long enough for me to repair it!  :)  

A funny aside to this story:  I made the quilt for Sera for her first birthday, so I thought I'd do the same for Andrew.  Trinity knew that I had made one for Sera and that I had one for her first child, too, but was wondering when he was going to get it.  When we were in Georgia for Andrew's first birthday, sometime during the visit but before the party, Trinity asked Erin when did they receive their "choo-choo train blanket" because they hadn't gotten theirs, yet.  Erin said she thought it was sometime around the first birthday, but didn't remember for sure.  Lo and behold...guess what was in the gift bag for Andrew that birthday???  :)
I had originally planned to only make one quilt for each family and let them pass it along through all the kids like we did in our family.  However, I'm seeing now that that won't be an least not in Andrew's case.  He is so attached to that quilt, that I can't think of asking him to pass it along to his new brother or sister that is coming this summer.  I've been in contact with my friend in Florida to see if she still has the pattern pieces that she made for this quilt.  If so, I'd like to have her make a couple more tops for me or else send the pieces to me and let me make the tops. (I've not done applique before, but I think I could learn how for this project!)  I've not heard back from her, yet, as to whether or not she has still has this pattern.

If any of my quilting readers out there happen to have this pattern in their pattern stash, please please please contact me.  I'd love to buy it from you since I can't find it ANYWHERE online.  :(  Like I said...the original is at least 28 years old!  :)


Monday, February 11, 2013

Easy Street Update...

Quote for the Day:
"Creative clutter is better than idle neatness."
~author unknown

On Saturday, I started laying out the "Easy Street" mystery quilt blocks.  I thought I had counted and recounted and then counted the blocks again.  However, when I had the blocks all laid out, I seemed to have a problem...

Just in case you couldn't spot the empty hole made by the missing quilt block, I marked it for you!  LOL  It seems I only made 8 of block "B" instead of the 9 that the pattern called for.  :(  

So I dug through the fabric that I had used...this is why I don't put the fabric away until the quilt is COMPLETELY never know when you may need a piece of those exact fabrics.  Luckily, I had enough of the fabrics left over to make that ninth block!  :)

After making that last block, I put Season 2 of Downton Abbey in the DVD player and started joining the blocks together to into a top.  Between Saturday and Sunday afternoon's of sewing, I was able to get about 1/2 of the blocks sewn together into diagonal strips...and 4 episodes of Downton Abbey watched!

I'll be honest with you...I'm not "feeling" this quilt.  It looks "okay" in the pictures, but in person I think it just looks like a bunch of scraps with no discernible pattern.  Scrap vomit.  Yeah...I think that's what I'll name this quilt!  LOL

I wish the gold, red and brown were more prominent and the green less prominent.  I wanted this to be an Autumn quilt, but is just looks like another Christmas quilt to me.  Since this was a mystery, you don't know what colors are going to go where, so you don't know which color is going to be the most prominent, or what the quilt will look like till the mystery is over.

Oh well.  It'll be okay.  But I seriously think this is the last mystery quilt I will ever participate in.  From now on, I'll wait till the reveal and then decide if I want to do the quilt or not.  


Sunday, February 10, 2013

On The Move...

Quote for the Day:
"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward." ~Victor Kiam

Today we started "The Move".  We moved our bed into Erin's-former-bedroom-turned-quilting-room.

This is what it looks like from the door...

Here's the wall that is at the foot of the bed.  There's a cute, little, portable vaporizer on the left of the fireplace mantle.  You fill a 24 oz. soda bottle with water and that is it's "reservoir"!  That's why the bottles of water are on the mantle...LOL.  It takes 2 bottles to last throughout the night.

Another view of the room...

As you can see, it is "snug", but I think we'll be just fine.  Eventually, those cabinets and the quilt rack in the bottom picture will be exchanged for Andy's wardrobe and dresser, but this is all we got done today.   My wardrobe and dresser will go in the other small bedroom that will become a permanent guest bedroom.  I will just use the room as my personal "dressing room" when there is no company staying in there.  :)

Right now there is a big, gaping spot in our old bedroom, the "Master Bedroom", where are bed used to be...

I use the term "Master Bedroom" loosely, because this is a 100 year old Victorian house so there is no ensuite bathroom with the "Master Bedroom" is merely the biggest of the three bedrooms upstairs.   This is the room that will become my new, combined sewing and quilting room.

I will miss this bedroom because when we remodeled it a couple years ago, I painstakingly chose just the right soothing paint color, the perfect ceiling fan and light, and even stripped and refinished the fireplace mantle that had been painted over by previous owners.  :(   I also love the vintage wood shutters that we put in there.  They were given to us by some friends that had taken them from a house they had remodeled.

I love wooden shutters so much that I may buy a set of white ones...or possibly white plantation blinds...for our "new" bedroom.  Right now there are dark green plastic mini-blinds on the window...covered by a sheer curtain and a string quilt block valance.  Scroll back up to the first picture for another look at the window.

The move has started...and I'm looking forward to having a permanent guest bedroom and not having to deal with putting up beds for company and taking them down afterward.  :)  I will also enjoy having my quilting and sewing in the same space.

Stay tuned for more updates!  :)


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Another Project Done...

Quote for the Day:
“Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
~Greg Anderson

Over this past week, I've finished another customer's project.  This time it was just replacing the binding on a vintage quilt.

A lady contacted the local quilt store in Clarksburg, and asked if there was anyone that could do repairs to the applique and binding on some vintage quilts that an aunt had made.  Janet, the quilt store owner, contacted me and asked if I was interested.  I contacted the lady and told her that I didn't do applique, but I would gladly repair the binding.

I met up with her and talked with her about the quilt.  These quilts were made from a kit back in the 1930's-40's and the fabrics are all solids.  It was going to be difficult to "match" the solid blue.  She insisted that she didn't want a reproduction print used because she wanted it to look like the original, so that greatly decreased the options of fabric to use.  

I was able to find ONE fabric that matched...a sky-blue batik.  And wouldn't you know...there was only 1 1/4 yards left on the would take 3/4-1 yard for the scalloped binding.  Wow.  That was close!  LOL

The old binding came off easily because it wasn't put on well to begin with.  From there, I just added the binding to the front of the quilt by machine, as usual, flipped it over to the back and hand stitched it down.  

Here's a picture of the new binding up close to the original blue fabric that was also used for the scallop in the middle of the quilt.

I think it's a pretty close match!  :)

The applique still needs repaired, but she'll need to find someone else to do that.  Are any of you local quilters interested in doing the repairs???  Let me know if you are and I'll put you in touch with the customer.  :)

Since I don't have a quilt in the frame right now, we are taking this opportunity to start the switch-a-roo of rooms upstairs.  First step is to move our bed into what used to be Erin's-room-turned-quilting-room.  I've purchased a rug this week to put down on the hardwood floor and it is currently in there "relaxing".  It'll take a few days for the roll-up marks to relax out of the rug so it will lay flat. 

Until then, we've got heavy items around the edges, coaxing them to lay flat!  LOL

I'll post more pictures as the transformation takes place!  :)


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Quilt Delivered...

Quote for the Day:
"Friendships are sewn…one stitch at a time."
~author unknown

It's February.  That means that it is the "dead of winter", as they say.  We've had a couple of "cold snaps" in the last couple of weeks where the daytime temperatures were only around 15 degrees F.  BRRRR...that's cold in any language!  

I don't know about you, but in the winter, my butt gets COLD!  I think this is because I have too much "surface area" (ie, "junk in the trunk") and not enough blood vessels to supply the blood to all that area!  LOL  This past weekend, when the outside temp was only about 12 degrees, I was so tired of my butt being COLD that I resorted to this...

That's right.  A heating pad on my sewing chair!  I'll say this did the trick!  LOL

Not only was it cold outside, but we also had about 4" of snowfall, making our backyard look like a "winter wonderland". 

I took this picture on Sunday, and since then, we've had about another 4-5" of snow on Monday.

Sunday was the Superbowl game and we went over to our friends, Diana and Shaun's house, to watch the game, visit, and eat lots of good food!  :)  We had a GREAT time!  

I also delivered the dresden plate quilt to them that day...

Diana's mom made the top, so I felt honored that she asked me to quilt it for her.  I'm so glad they loved the way I quilted it and are happy with the finished product!  :)

After finishing this quilt, I started replacing the binding on an antique quilt that I've been commissioned to repair.  I have the binding about half done and hope to finish the rest of it today.

Stay warm, my Friends.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Quilting Update...

Quote for the Day:
"Quilting is cheap therapy."
~author unknown

This coming Sunday is "Superbowl Sunday"...which means that there is a big football game on TV and people congregate at "Superbowl parties" to watch it with friends.

Our friends, Diana and Shaun, have invited us to their Superbowl Party.   Now...Diana is the owner of the Dresden Plate quilt that I've been hand quilting since August 12.  The top was made by her mother and Diana hired me to quilt it.  I gave myself a goal to have it finished in time to deliver it to her on Sunday.

As you can see, the quilt is finished and rolled onto the front rail, ready to be removed so the binding can be attached.

Here's the binding, all cut, joined, and rolled...ready to be attached to the quilt...

When I was trimming up the quilt in prep for attaching the binding, my "helper" decided to check out the quilt...

Ginger, I hate to tell you this, but it makes it awfully difficult to move the quilt around when you are sitting on the part that touches the floor!  LOL

Even with her "help", I got the binding attached to the front of the quilt and have started hand-sewing it to the back of the quilt.  I'm going to work on it tonight and tomorrow...hoping to finish it, so I can then wash it to get the markings out and then give it back to Diana on Sunday.

Here's a picture of the back of the quilt...

And a close-up of the stitching...

I hope there is something interesting on TV, because I'm going to go back to my sewing room now and work on that binding!  :)