Saturday, December 19, 2015

What I've Been Working On...

A couple of weeks ago I began piecing this flower quilt.  The pattern is named "Cottage Blossoms" and is by Lella Boutique.

As you can see, the top is finished but I will put it away for the holidays.  In January, I will bring it out, sandwich it, and machine quilt it on my Juki TL2000Qi.  I don't know if I will piece a backing for it or buy wide backing fabric for it.  I have TONS of yardage that I purchased specifically to make pieced backings, so I'm leaning towards doing that to use up some of my stash.

While piecing the flower quilt, I made these 12 crumb blocks as my "leader/enders".  They are 6.5" square.  (Crumbs are the little pieces of leftover fabric that are too small to be cut into usable strips after you are done making a quilt.)

I have a whole bunch more that I made previously, so I'll add these to them.  I'm thinking of adding star points and making them into star blocks...these crumb blocks would be the center of the stars.

Here's a close-up of the blocks so you can see the variety of fabrics that went into them.  (If you have received a quilt from me, you may see some of the leftover fabrics in these blocks!)

Making those blocks really didn't make a dent in my "crumbs" stash.  (These are 2 of my 3 crumbs boxes.)

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to "big stitch" quilt on the "Pastel Baskets" quilt that is in my frame.

Andy & I have broached the subject of sectioning off a portion of the basement and turning it into a sewing room for me.  Two and a half years ago we moved my sewing room into the "master bedroom" and we took one of the two smaller bedrooms for our bedroom.  However, I really have "outgrown" the master bedroom.  One of the issues with my current sewing room is that there are 2 windows, a door, and a fireplace that take up room/wall space, thus biting into the "usable" space.  If we build a room in the basement there would only be the door into it to take a "bite" out of the usable room, so not only would the room be slightly bigger, it would have more usable space, thus making it more functional.   

We have just started discussing it and it would take some work to get it up and running, so don't everybody hold your breath right just yet.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Getting Ready For Christmas...

Quote For the Day:
"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.
In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." 
~ Larry Wilde

I really miss my kids at Christmas...mainly because as soon as they were old enough, I had them put up the tree and do the decorating!  Now that Andy & I are empty-nesters, the Christmas decorating is left up to me and therefore doesn't usually get done till the last weekend before Christmas.  In fact, if neither of the kids are coming home for Christmas (like last year) I don't even bother putting up a tree or decorating...other than throwing a wreath on the front door and calling it good!

But this year, Paul and Trinity and their boys are coming for Christmas, so the tree is up!

And lo and behold...Andy offered to put up outside lights!!!  It's been probably 13 years since we've had outside Christmas lights on the house!!! I have to say that it really looks lovely all lit up!

I even added a festive bow to the vintage concrete Boston Terrier statue that sits on our front porch!!!  :)


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Thanksgiving Recap...

Let's see...we're only slightly over 2 weeks past Thanksgiving post is right on time!  LOL

Our daughter, Erin, and her family came in for a few days to spend Thanksgiving with us!  We had a great visit and a very nice Thanksgiving dinner!

Clark showed us what "food coma" looks like...

...because when you've had enough, you've had enough!!!  

Clark and his dad, Dale, also provided the dinner entertainment!!! 

Sera and Clark with our dog, Ginger...

While they were here I gifted Erin & Dale with their wedding quilt!  This top was purchased from Ebay already hand-embroidered...I just hand-quilted it.  It is 100" x 100"...a king-size!!!


Thursday, November 12, 2015

New Hand Quilting Project...

I usually have at least two projects going on at any one time...I try to have one quilt top that I am piecing (or getting ready for piecing) and I like to always have a quilt top in my hand quilting frame.  That way I get to choose which project I want to work on when I'm in my quilting room.  Sometimes I'm too tired to focus on piecing but hand quilting doesn't require thought...I just sit and "zen out" while hand quilting.

Yesterday I posted about the new project that I'm going to start piecing soon.  I need to pull the fabrics for that one from my stash and get them cut up...I'll probably do that this weekend.

As for the hand quilting project, I had finished the quilt that was in my frame last weekend so last night I loaded a new top into the frame.

Remember this one?  Cottage Rose baskets...

I put the first stitches in it today and am trying something new..."Big Stitch" quilting...

Big stitch quilting is done with thicker thread...usually perle cotton size 8...and a larger needle.  The idea is to have the stitches show and give "character" to the quilt instead of the very small stitches that can't be easily seen.  It is woefully difficult to find perle cotton thread in our area, so I decided to use crochet cotton in a size 10 (very slightly thinner than perle cotton 8).  I originally bought some embroidery thread and was going to use 2 strands, which would equal size 12 thread, but then decided to try this crochet thread instead.  If I had a thread chart to use to choose colors, I could have purchased the perle cotton online...but it is very difficult to match colors on a computer because they don't show "true" on a monitor.   Just look at the difference in colors between those three pics of the same quilt.  

I was hesitant to try the big stitch quilting but it is really fun, goes quickly, and gives the quilt a totally different "look"!  I definitely will be doing this technique again!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Test Block...

I recently purchased this pattern to make this beautiful quilt...Cottage Blossoms, by Lella Boutique,  

Last night I thought I'd make a test block to see how it goes together...

OOPS!!!  That leaf on the right didn't quite turn out the correct way!  I added those white squares to the wrong corners of the "leaf"!  LOL

And this, Folks, is why I always make a test block first before I dive into the actual quilt!!!  

Other than that sad leaf, I really like the block!  It went together fairly quickly with scraps that I pulled from my scrap-user's system (ala Bonnie Hunter).  These blocks are HUGE!  They finish out at something like 17" x 23.5".  You can't tell it from the picture of the finished quilt, but it is 77" x 81.5".  I think I'm going to add another border to make it slightly bigger for a queen-sized bed.  Anyway...there's only 12 of these blocks to make, so I'm hoping to get it done fairly quickly...right after I put the label on the quilt I just finished up (pics to follow in the not-to-distant future).


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Changing of the (Seasonal) Wardrobe...

I saw this picture on Facebook and it represented PERFECTLY the colors here in West Virginia this past week!  If you were ever curious as to what Fall looks like where I live...this is it!  The maple trees turned bright red and the oaks turned bright orange this week.  STUNNING!  

Unfortunately, the colors won't last long.  Within a couple of weeks the leaves will all drop and we will be left with naked trees.

Upon checking the weather report for the coming week, I saw that the high's will be in the 50's and 60's with the lows dropping into the 30's and 40's at night.  

With this news, I decided it was time for the bi-annual "Changing of the Wardrobe".  That means that I put away all my short-sleeved summer shirts to make room for the longer-sleeved winter shirts.  When I switch out my clothes at the beginning of the season I hang the hangers backwards when putting them into my (very small) closet.  When I wear a shirt and return it to the closet after being washed, I turn the hanger the right way.  That way at the end of the season, I can tell which clothes I actually wore and which ones I didn't.  The ones that didn't get worn at all get sent off to the consignment shop or thrift store.

But this year I had more issues with pulling my winter clothes out of storage.  I've lost 40 pounds and 2-3 sizes since last winter, so each item had to be tried on and assessed.  I found 4 shirts that I could take up using my serger, and the rest went into bags to be delivered to the consignment shop this week.  

All in all, I emptied 51 hangers, filled one medium-sized trash bag to be discarded (too worn), and filled 3 medium-sized trash bags with shirts and 1 grocery bag with shoes to go to the resale shop. Some of the clothes had only been worn 1-2 times.  

clothes ready to go to their new life somewhere...

Yesterday while Andy and I were out and about grocery shopping we found a moving sale and I got this Elfa storage tower in pristine condition for $5.  When we got home I checked on the internet and saw that they go for $75+ new at The Container Store.  

I'm hoping to find a place in my sewing room for it and use it for fabric storage, but if not, I'll use it somewhere else in the house for storage/organizing.  I've asked Andy to try to find a piece of wood or plastic, etc., to go on the top to make a "shelf".

On the quilting front, I've been working on the hand-quilting on Erin & Dale's wedding quilt when I get the chance.  I'm moving right along on it and as you can see in the picture, I'm close to the top...close to being finished!  I'll probably only need to roll the quilt 2-3 more times and I'll be done.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Wedding Photos...

At the beginning of September Andy & I traveled to Tennessee for our Erin (our daughter) and Dale's wedding.  

The wedding was held on Sept. 13 on the Pedestrian Bridge that overlooks downtown Nashville.  During the week leading up to the wedding, the weather had been miserably hot in the 88-95 range, but the day of the wedding it was a very comfortable...almost "chilly"...70-73 degrees.  On top of the bridge it was windy, but the sky was a spectacular shade of blue and everything was absolutely GORGEOUS!!! 

We hadn't "reserved" the bridge, so it was still open to the public.  As people saw the wedding party arrive they offered "congratulations" and some people (probably tourists) took pictures.  It was a very casual and happy atmosphere with about 25-30 people in attendance.  The ceremony, short and sweet, was performed by the groom's uncle, an ordained minister who flew in from Texas to officiate.  There were a couple of benches nearby, but for the most part, everyone just stood around the alcove where the ceremony was held.  (I guess you could say that the wedding was "standing room only"...har har har!!)

So now...on with the pictures!!!

The bouquets were handmade by the maid-of-honor, Michelle...the "flowers" were folded out of paper!!!  The key hanging from Erin's bouquet went to the padlock, which I'll explained in a minute...

She painted her shoes peacock blue...

Instead of having a unity candle, they had a blue padlock engraved with their names and wedding date.  During the ceremony they attached it to the bridge and then threw the key into the river below!

Lucy, Dale's mom, and me...our "rosette" corsages made from wrapped fabric were also made by Michelle...

Clark was the ring bearer, but decided he wasn't interested as he was being walking down the aisle with Grandpa and Mom...I don't have a picture of that because I had to go out and "rescue" him...he would much rather hang out in his stroller with a toy...or cellphone, it looks like here...

Father of the bride...

Andrew and Alex sure love their Grandpa!!!

Dale and Erin love movies, so the cake toppers were Superman and Little Mermaid...childhood favorites of theirs.

And a couple extra pictures from the visit before the wedding...