Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Now let's talk some dirt

Yesterday was a dirty day for me--literally!  It had stopped raining long enough for me to get into the flower gardens and transplant the iris, day lily and monarda from the back yard to the new circular bed in the front yard.  Don also planted some grass seed in the bare spots on the outside of the planting bed and hopefully both the seeds and the transplants will do well. I also received my box of tulips, daffys, and crocuses yesterday and had plans to plant them today, but it's cloudy and cold and we're supposed to have rain again this afternoon so I think I'll put that off for another day.

I spent some time at the hairdresser getting my monthly do.  Always feel good when my hair is trimmed and not so shaggy looking.

And I made up a box to send to my DIL and son.  For 2 years, she's been struggling with a progressively worsening medical condition (fortunately it's not life threatening) to the point where she's unable to keep a job.  She's an excellent knitter, however, and she's knitting up hats and scarves and mittens to sell through her Etsy shop.  I have a ton of yarn that I'll never get around to knitting up so I boxed it all up and mailed it off to her.

I also sent her the pattern for the hat I made for Lily when she was a year old.  It's a head band knitted in ribbing out of worsted yarn and then the hat is made of that fun fantasy yarn.  We got so many compliments the year that she wore that hat!  My DIL knows lots of people with young children and I know she would be able to sell these hats.

Since we had a little sun yesterday, I snuck outside and took a few pix of the quilt my guild is donating for the Quilt Tour raffle in November.  It's part of the fundraiser for the local domestic abuse program.  

Last October at the guild retreat, everyone brought a couple of 2.5" by WOF strips of yellow fabric--anything from pastel to dark gold.  There are several kinds of prints of bumblebees and of course, some green and gold Packers fabric! We sewed the strips, cut them, sewed them again, etc (as a quilter, you know the drill!) and made enough blocks for 2 throw sized quilts.  One was given to a guild member who was in treatment for cancer and the other is the one shown above.  

I also made a few bars of soap yesterday.  This is called Autumn Orange Spice and it's a combination of orange and clove essential oils with some bay rum fragrance.  Smells heavenly!  I added orange coloring and some bits of dried orange peel.  I'll wrap these bars later today and set them aside for the country store sale in November.  For this soap, I used a product I found in the local craft store, kind of a glycerin soap base, I think. I've made soap the old fashioned way using lard and lye and I like that kind better than the glycerin kind but it takes so long to cure! Last week, my daughter sent me a recipe for making soap in a crock pot using olive and coconut oils.  Takes about 1 1/2 hours and the soap is cured and ready to use in a few days!  Making this crock pot soap is near the top of the list of things I must do!

No sewing for me yesterday.  After the pressure to make the two throw quilts, I decided to take a day off. But today, I have to get back at it.  I have to prepare the batting for the Quilt of Valor and then probably make up some doll clothes.  Chili for supper so it goes in the crock pot early and will be ready when dinner time rolls around.  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My quilt of valor

Today, I finished piecing the Quilt of Valor and also prepared the backing. Fortunately, I had enough of one fabric that all I needed to do was measure, cut, and sew one seam.  Tomorrow I'll cut a chunk of batting and it'll be ready to go to Laurie, an excellent long arm quilter who volunteered to quilt it up for me.  

After I got all that done, I decided to take a break from the sewing room and just relax with some TV before getting dinner started.  I feel a little frenzied from all the pressure sewing I've done lately. From now on, I'll be working on items for the country store and for my Etsy store and what gets finished is what gets finished. 


Saturday, September 24, 2016

One quilt finished and on it's way!

Yea!  I finished my part of the geometry quilt--or to use it's official quilt name, "Saucy and Snappy"--and it's been handed over to it's other creator, Bonnie, to do the hand stitching and offer it to her AAUW group's fundraiser in November.

I even remembered to take a couple of pictures before I gave it to her yesterday.

Here I just tossed it over the futon on the sun porch.  You can see that I used the leftover strips from the jelly roll of fabrics to make the binding--and I still have 2 additional strips!  And this is pretty close to the true color--not the orange that was showing up in the other photos.

A close up of the swirly, loopy meander I did over the quilt center in lieu of the Baptist Fans I'd wanted to do.  But, all is not lost--I discovered a use for the circular ruler after all, but that comes later in the post. I used a variegated thread from Sulky since there were so many colors in the quilt. In some places it blends in perfectly and in others, it really stands out.

And in this pic, you can see the free-hand loop and curve design that I used in the narrow first border, and the straight line stitching in the wider, outer border.  If you look closely, you can see that I alternated  a double stitch line with a single line of stitching all along the border, and Miracles of Miracles!  the pattern wrapped around each corner perfectly!  Oops, I forgot to take a picture of the corners, which were stitched in a miter fashion which I liked very much.

So, that one is done for me.  Bonnie and I met yesterday for lunch and a visit in Spooner, which is a halfway point between Duluth where she lives and Menomonie where I live and I confessed to her that as we were making the Saucy and Snappy quilt I really didn't like it much at all, but since we were committed to it, I sucked it up and kept working on it. But as the quilting stitches went in, it seemed that the quilt kind of came to life and by the time I was finished with it, it had become a beautiful swan.  As usual, I finally liked it so much that I didn't want to give it away.  Does that ever happen to you--in the end, you kind of fall in love with a quilt that you weren't sure of in the process?

About that circular ruler that I agonized last week over ever arriving:  I had the idea of making some coasters for wine glasses--like a mug rug kind of--so Bonnie and I went to Thimbles, a terrific quilt shop in Spooner WI, which you can check out here, to find some fabric that would be suitable for these coasters and also for a couple of wine bottle totes.  You can figure out that we're going to have a little wine corner in the fundraiser country store. I think it should have a big sign saying, "Whining allowed HERE!"  But I digress.

We found a fabric--ON SALE!--that has dark purple and dark blue grape clusters on it, along with a coordinating purple and oatmeal fabric that will work very well for these coasters.

When I got home, I found this pattern from Pokey's Ponderings  https://pokeysponderings.com/tag/wine-coaster-tutorial/ for these coasters and I thought they would be just the thing.  Each coaster is different so guests can remember which glass is theirs. And the little flaps cover the base of the wine glass so the coaster stays with the glass as it's moved around.  

quilted wine coasters

So then I realized that I'd have to add some additional colors to the fabric I bought in Spooner to make a set of 4 different coasters, and I'm pretty sure I can find some in my personal stash. These coasters require 5" diameter circles and I'll use my new ruler for cutting them out.  Well, I'll try anyway! 

After I'd finished stitching on the binding and label to Saucy and Snappy, I saw a "squirrel" and made up 4 of these holiday potholders to put up for sale in the store. I have lots of Christmas fabric that I want to use up, so I'll probably make a few more potholders when I can.

I'd seen the aqua/green fabric at the Busy Bobbin booth at the Amery Quilt show and fell in love with the cartoon forest animals. I think they're perfect in these Christmas package blocks and in addition to the potholders, I'll be making up more to work into a table runner or two.  If they don't sell at the country store, I'll put them in my Etsy Store afterward.

And when I finished stitching the potholders, I forced myself to return to the Quilt of Valor. My friend who offered to do the long arm quilting asked me the other day when I thought it would be ready for her, and I told her by the end of next week, so I have to get a move on.

In case you can't tell, I'm having a ball making all sorts of things for the country store!  I keep getting more and more ideas, and not enough time, of course. But that's life, right? When the ideas stop coming, I think it'll be time to throw in the towel and call it quits!  Hopefully not for awhile--too many quilts yet to make!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's Autumn!

Image result for autumn pictures

My favorite time of the year!  I love the warm but dry days of Fall and the chilly nights that mean I get to sleep under a quilt and not on top of it.  I love the changing colors of the leaves--but not so much the raking of said leaves.  I love the bright colors of the Fall flowers.  I love the vegetables of Fall--squash, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, parsnips.  And I love cooking wonderful, warming dishes with these foods from the garden.  Yeah, Autumn has to be just about my favorite season.  

And how did Mother Nature welcome Autumn to my neighborhood yesterday?  With rain. Lots of rain. Lots and lots!  We had drizzle all day with intermittent downpours of rain.  Flash flood warnings out all day and night.  So when it rains all day, what would any respectable quilter do?  I'm not too sure about the respectable part, but I made quilts! 

I managed to quilt up 3 sides of the final border of the geometry quilt and will get the last side finished today. Then I'll make up the label and stitch on the binding.  Plans changed yesterday and I need to have this ready to go tomorrow instead of Oct 1 as planned.  I'm so glad I was able to get as far as I did!  Bonnie and I  are meeting in Spooner for lunch and a chat and I'll turn it over to her then. As soon as I've finished with my part of this quilt, I'll continue working on the Quilt of Valor--I got a message from a friend of mine who's a long arm quilter, offering to quilt it up for me when I have it finished.  So that's the next one to get finished.

In between downpours yesterday I managed to step outside and take a couple of pictures of the planting bed we created in the front yard the other day.  Below is the side we can see from inside the house.  Along with the neighbor's garbage, ready for pick up!

And below is the side that's seen from the street.  The large rock was already in place when the tree came down and the other 3 were scattered around so we had the guy with his big back hoe lift them and place then alongside the large rock for a grouping. 

I'll be filling in all that bare ground with some day lilies, irises and monarda that I have in the back yard. And we'll plan bright annuals next spring to complete it all. And when my order of spring bulbs arrives, I'll get them in the ground as well. Can you imagine this planting bed filled with tulips, daffodils and crocuses next spring?  I think it will pretty up the neighborhood a little bit.  

Well, I'm off to finish the border quilting and then to take a decent picture so you can see what I've been slaving over this week.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Quilting progress, finally

After waiting how many days for my circular ruler to arrive from Craftsy, I wanted to put it to use yesterday and begin marking the Baptist Fans in my quilt. Not gonna happen, my friends. The ruler isn't the right size!  So, no Baptist Fans in this quilt.  What to do? What to do?

Go to plan B of course. Except I had no plan B.  So, I simply began stitching a loopy meander across the center of the quilt with my variegated thread and I like it a lot!  Yesterday, I stitched the entire center before I had to stop and ice my wrist.  (Even with the brace on, it still was pretty sore after a couple of hours.)  

Today, I stitched in all the ditches of the borders and managed to get the first border finished in another free motion design.

As usual, pics taken in my sewing room. even right under the sewing machine light, get a very red/pink hue.  When I'm finished quilting it, I'll bring it upstairs and take pics of it in natural light so you can see that it really is a brick/rust color with a variety of  Civil War fabrics and a black inner border.

And I had to share a picture of the doll dress I made the other day. The jeans I made are nothing special--they have no pockets and they have an elastic waist--Mom jeans, I guess.  :O)

After I'd finished stitching for the day, I went outside and planted the Winterberry bushes and fall mum plants that I got the other day and as I'm typing, Don is continuing to work on shaping the new planting bed with edging all around.  Tomorrow, I'll try to move a day lily or two and some gorgeous yellow iris that I have in the back yard. When my order of spring bulbs arrives, I'll be out there, filling all the spaces with tulips and daffodils. and hoping the squirrels don't decide to plant them somewhere else.  I'm thinking a generous dusting of dried blood might be the thing to keep them away.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Thank goodness, it's Monday!

I had a super busy weekend and I'm so glad it's Monday and I'm going to spend the entire day in the house, in my sewing room--except for a trip to to the grocery store for a few necessities.

I already posted that Saturday was a work day for the Guild, and I have pics to share with you as to what all we got accomplished. These are all things that will  be for sale in our Country Store at the Quilt Tour in November. It's a split fundraiser for the domestic abuse program and the guild.

Card making! All year, Barb, Patti, Jo and Carolyn have been taking beautiful pictures of our quilts. Now Barb is cutting them to size . . .

 and Carolyn and Patti are gluing and assembling them.  They made up 60 packets of 5 cards per packet--in about 3 hours!  What an amazing crew!  Actually, they had additional help from a couple of pre-teen grandsons who wanted hang out with us Grannies!  Go figure!

Jo and Becky had made up several "Diva Ironing Tables."  These are wooden TV tables that are covered with Insulbrite and fabric. They are perfect to keep by the side of your sewing station to press those half squares and not have to walk halfway across the house to the ironing board.  When you have one of these, you truly feel like a Quilting Diva!

One of our members (I don't know who) brought in a couple of jeans pocket potholders, bound with Indian corn fabric.  So cute!

And these are the strangest looking things. Can you guess?  Okay, I'll explain.  These are Jennie's numbered pins.  She, with help from Cindy and the 2 grandsons, made sets of long beaded pins, numbered 0 to 9.  The beads are glued onto the pins and then stuck in the paper cup to dry.  When they're dry, they get pinned into a length of ribbon and will go on sale. I have a set of these and love them. I use them when I have a quilt laid out on the floor to mark the blocks and then rows so I know which is row (or block) is number 1, 2, 3, and so forth.  Before I got my pins, I used masking tape with numbers written on them--and sometimes I mistakenly sewed the tape into the quilt.  That's not a good thing. Believe me.

This is another Barb--we have 3 Barbs in the guild--holding up a sewing mat that she's binding.  These are quilted mats that go on the table under your sewing machine. There are pockets in the part that hangs over the edge of the table in front of the machine where you can put your seam ripper, clippers, and so forth.  And never have to hunt for them again!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I made one doll dress and a pair of doll jeans, but I have no photo of them yet.  

And yesterday was quilt show day.  I love and hate going to quilt shows and I seldom go.  This one was in Amery WI and I'd never been there.  I had to bring Festival bookmarks for people to take and my friend Pat and I decided to go together and take in the show.  The reason I don't like going to quilt shows is because I see how much more I need learn to go to be a really good quilter, and the reason I like going is because I get to see all these fabulous quilts made by quilters who are so good at this craft.  And the Amery show was exceptionally wonderful!  Of course, I took very few pictures.  Just a couple of pics of things I wanted to remember, like this Log Cabin quilt that incorporates several smallish printed panels around the center log blocks.

I have a set of panels that I bought a year or so ago and I have a ton of Civil War fabrics and I think they would work together very will in a setting like this.  Later on, I'll play with them and see what I can do with them.

I also liked this "Recipe for a Quilt" and will embroider it on something, some time, whenever.  Maybe a throw pillow for the couch in the sewing room--if I ever get the fabric cleared off the couch!

So, it was a great weekend, but now I'm ready to put my circular ruler to work and get to marking the geometry quilt. I promise to take pics as I go along so I have proof that I'm actually making progress.  I only have 11 days to get it to the point of hand sewing the binding, so I have to put everything else aside and get 'r dun!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Guess what arrived yesterday!

Yes, my package from Craftsy came in the mail yesterday!  Yea!  I now have the ruler I need to mark the Baptist Fans on my geometry quilt but I have no time to do it!  Isn't that always the way it goes?

Yesterday was spent at a workday for the guild where we gathered to work on items for the country store we're having at the Quilt Tour in November.  I loved being with the other quilters but I did so much chatting that I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I had hoped to. Just made one pair of jeans and one dress. Still, that's 2 items more than I had when I began.

Today, I'm spending the day at a quilt show and have to sell tickets for the Quilt Tour so I'll be there most if not all of the day.  I'm sure that when I get home, I'll be exhausted just as I was yesterday when I got home.  So, I'm giving myself permission to relax tonight and simply work on my knitting and then tomorrow, it's full steam ahead on quilting up the geometry quilt.

Oh, yes, I want to add that I only have about 5 more blocks to make for the Quilt of Valor but I ran out of red fabric. I'm hoping to find some at one of the vendors at the quilt show today and then I can finish that project after the geometry quilt is done.

More later--with pictures too!