Friday, December 25, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Yuletide to all!

Here we are in the final week  before Christmas!  At my house, all the preparations have been made and we're having a relaxing few days before the holiday. It's the time of the Winter Solstice, one of my favorite holidays. Why, you ask, would my favorite holiday be in the depths of the Wisconsin winter and the shortest day of the year?  Well, I'll tell you the story of how this came about. Settle into your favorite chair with a mug of something warm and fragrant and listen to (or read about) how it all happened.

Many years ago, in a long distant time, my husband took a new job in a city far from where we had been living. Seventy-five miles to be exact.  I had a wonderful job that I loved very much (and which paid quite well to boot!) in that city where we'd been living and I was loathe to leave that job and commence on a search for one that would be even close to comparable.  My decision was to drive back and forth every day, and that's how I know it was 75 miles exactly from my house to the office.

I began this commuting odyssey in the Autumn of the year and before long, the dark, cold winter nights had crept up on us. I found myself leaving home before dawn and driving home after dusk.  As we passed Thanksgiving, I began to see Christmas lights coming on in the houses, farms, and log cabins along my route to and from work. Mostly, I would see them during my evening commute.  I realized one evening that I was using these lights as guideposts as I traveled through the dark winter night, going home to loving children and husband and a hot supper on the table for me.  I would mark my travel as I passed the lit up large front yard pine tree, the house with the Christmas star in blue lights, and the blinking Budweiser sign in the window of the Silver Lake Tavern.

The coming of the Solstice as a very big deal to me that winter!  It meant that the days of darkness would begin to lessen. I would be driving in daylight (or at least dawn and dusk) before I knew it, and winter's grip would be loosening.  I decided to have a Winter Solstice celebration that year to rejoice at the coming of light.  For my family, I decided to have a dinner composed of white food!  I wanted to have light everywhere!  We had baked chicken, mashed potatoes, cauliflower with white cheese sauce, and lemon cheesecake for dessert.  We loved it and I've been making a Winter Solstice almost every year since.  But not always with white food. Sometime we'll have a green or orange vegetable--just for variety!

A Walk in the Woods (2015) Poster

This year, Don and I did not have a Solstice dinner. Instead, we went to the movies yesterday and saw A Walk in the Woods starring Nick Nolte and Robert Redford.  I'd read the book by Bill Bryson a few years ago and when I learned of the movie, well, I had to see it.  And I would recommend it to everyone who doesn't mind a great deal of salty language and a glimpse of Nick's be-hind!  After the movie, we had dinner at a new-to-us Thai restaurant which was very good.

In the quilting area, I'm working on the next step of  Bonnie' Hunter's 2015 mystery quilt.  Got most of the pieces cut out but none are sewn yet.  Maybe today.

I finished my 3rd embroidered Santa table runner and it's in a new home. Whew!  It took some very diligent embroidering to finish all three of them before Christmas! 

 Next is to make up the napkin quilt for a customer. I'd promised her it would be done by the middle of January, so today is the day I begin the stitching on it.  I've been sending her pics of layouts and so forth so I think she's going to be quite pleased with the finished project.  Actually, I'm not looking forward to making it up so I have to force myself to get going on it so it can be done and out of my house!  It's not the quilt itself, it's the fact that the napkins are made of a synthetic fabric which just feels so foreign in my hands after all the years of working with cottons.   

So, the next couple of days at my house will consist of a little housework and a little sewing and a lot of relaxing before Jo comes home for the holiday.  I hope your days are peaceful and wonderful as well.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Stitching and baking day

I know it's Sunday and supposed to be a day of rest, but I have things that have to get done, and today's the day to do them. For me, baking and sewing are fun things to do so I'm looking forward to making a bunch of these loaves of quick bread,  Cranberry-Orange Glazed Bread

Cranberry-Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze Recipe

Barbara posted this on her blog, Cat Patches, which you can see here.  I've not tried this recipe but it looks very good, and I know that Barbara is a terrific cook and baker so I'm going ahead with making 8 loaves of this.  I've decided to give a loaf to each of our near neighbors as well as one for us and one for my friend in Duluth with whom I'm visiting tomorrow. So the baking has to begin today!

Yesterday, I had a delightful visit with my youngest daughter. I'd packed up a tin of Christmas cookies (think "Schweddy Balls") that I took over to her. We met for lunch in a restaurant and were joined by her friend as well.  Jo absolutely loves everything Christmas and it was so good to spend time with her this year.  After lunch, I finished my Christmas shopping and managed a trip to a quilt shop I'd not been to in ages and found a few pieces of fabric I can use in my Civil War Jubilee quilt.

And that's the sewing that will happen this afternoon, after the baking is done.  This month, we are to make 7 or 8 blocks out of greens and I think I'm a little short on that color, so the new green fabrics will be just what I need to make it work. This is the block we're making for the quilt--so simple and easy!

I'm making a couple extra blocks in each color, as are some of the others who are participating in this quilt along, to be made up into a charity quilt for future use.  In fact, I love making these blocks so much that I've pretty much decided to use them to make up an additional charity quilt that I've committed to donating for a group in Bemidji MN next spring.

After I get those blocks done, it's on to making 4 patches of gold and neutrals for Step 3 of

Bonnie Hunter's current mystery quilt. I'm all ready to begin cutting and stitching but haven't had the time to get to the sewing room yet. Today's the day.

But before any of that can happen, Don and I will put the dining room back together. He's been painting the house, getting rid of the dark, dark grayish green that has covered the entire interior of the house and replacing it with light, bright paint. So far I have a yellowy gold in the kitchen and an off white in the dining room and TV room. With the dark oak wainscoting and crown molding and the oak floors, it's looking very good.  He's taking a break from painting for a few days before he tackles the foyer and the bedroom hallway--can't overwork the old man, now can I?

A busy Sunday facing me--how about you?  I hope you have fun things planned on this day as well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Allietare progress

I've been working on Bonnie Hunter's Allietare mystery quilt for 2015 which you can learn about here if you haven't heard about it already.  She's issued the first 2 instructions and, miracle of all miracles, I've managed to complete all the pieces for each step!  That's never happened before for me in a mystery quilt!

The first step was to choose fabrics. Bonnie suggests gold, reds, blacks and neutrals with a gray constant fabric. I had all of these in my stash but had to purchase 1.5 yards of gray and I added in a couple more golds for fun.

The first instruction was to make 2" half square triangles.   Love, love, love the Easy Angle method of making HSTs!  I made about 290 of these little buggers using my gray constant and a variety of neutrals including some Dr. Seuss fabric I picked up somewhere.

Step 2 was to make 20 sets of what we're calling "Santa Hats."  There are 4 units in each set--matching reds and neutrals in each set along with the constant gray.  I included some reindeer fabric (lower right corner) as well as some little blue birdie fabric (second row, left side) in with my neutrals. Bonnie suggests using the Companion Angle ruler which I don't have so I did it the old fashioned way.  Bonnie's tip in making the red and gray part of the "hat" is to draw a line diagonally on the gray fabric and stitch just inside the line, making the drawn line the fold line and not the stitching line. I had to unstitch very few of these pieces compared to up to half of them when I've actually stitched right on the line. I made all 20 sets but only show a few of them.

As always, with Bonnie's instructions, the pieces are fitting together perfectly!

I love these colors but I know others are using their own color combinations and they will be just as beautiful.  I'm really anxious to get working on step 3!  Can't wait to see this quilt all put together. Then it can join the multitude several other tops waiting in my closet to be quilted up.  :-)

I also finished making 8 of these little quilted gift tags/ornaments for family members.  Now I have to find time to go out there and get the gifts purchased and wrapped.  And for Lily and Tessa, mailed too.  I think I may be running out of time here if I don't get a move on!

Today, I'll be putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house while Don does some painting in our dining room.  Tomorrow, with luck, I'll get ingredients and make up a few batches of Christmas cookies to send off to the kids.  Hurry, hurry, Barb--not much time left!

I hope your holiday preparations are more on schedule than mine are, but no matter, Enjoy the season!

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Couple of Finishes

I've had a busy and happy Thanksgiving weekend with a couple of adult children at home to help with cooking and eating turkey, of course.  Now that it's over and I haven't begun the Christmas activities, I've been able to spend some time in the sewing room.

First of all, I finished this long table runner--it's 65 1/2" long!  I found the free pattern somewhere on the Internet several years ago, and bought the multicolored fabric at that time as well. The fabric is many hued glass Christmas ornament balls jumbled together and I thought it would bring a lot of color to this piece.  Believe me, it did!

It's five 12.5 inch Courthouse Steps blocks with a rather narrow border of three colors of fabric.

 For the quilting, I followed the illustration in the pattern and did a simple buttonhole stitch in gold metallic thread.  The gold/yellow fabric in the centers of the blocks and in the border also has a bit of gold glitz so I think the buttonhole thread worked out well.

This will be in my Etsy shop, Jolly Ruby before noon today.  I just looked at the site and realize I still have the Halloween things in the shop so if you want to get something for next year, it's still available. :)

I also finished the second of the Santa embroideries and am ready for it to be picked up by it's buyer. Again, this is a sale for the Jolly Ruby fund which helps with unexpected expenses of adults with disabilities.  I have a third order for this table runner and I have 2.5 Santas finished and hope to get the rest of them finished before the end of next week. When I was finishing off the one above, I cut the trim and binding and sewed the checkerboard border for the third one, so it should finish up quickly once the embroidery is finished.  This third sale is also for Jolly Ruby.  It won't go into the Etsy shop since I don't have enough time to make another one before the holiday.  But there's always next year!

Lastly, I made up this little quilted Christmas tag/ornament.  It measures about 4.5 inches squarish without the ribbon.  I want to make one for everyone on the gift list and will use a variety of fabrics--some traditional and some modern. Who says a quilted Christmas tree can't be pink and purple? Remember the aluminum trees we had in the 60s?

I've been collecting free ornament patterns on the Internet to make for the shop we'll be having next November at the Quilt Tour event that my guild participates in every other year.  This is a big fundraiser for the domestic abuse shelter in town.  Five or six of the area quilting guilds and groups each have a show, each at a different location. My guild is the largest of them and we hold ours at the largest church and have a craft shop and offer a lunch as well.  It's a lot of fun and not too much work since there are a lot of helping hands to make it all happen.  

I'm also going to make some card wallets, pin cushions, and clothes for 18" dolls.  Hopefully, they will all sell and the guild will fatten up its treasury. :)

I'd better get onto Jolly Ruby and get that table runner listed.  I also want to begin making HST for Bonnie Hunter's current mystery quilt. I've neglected this for the past few years. but I'm excited to participate in it this year.  So, I have nearly 300 2" half square triangles to get done before tomorrow. Yeah, like that's really going to happen!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The S word

As I was setting up my coffee pot for a couple of cups of brew this morning, a bit of motion through the kitchen window caught my eye. It's very windy here today so at first I thought I was seeing the last leaves from the apple trees blowing around out there. But wait!  The bits were too small to be leaves. Could it be?  Was it true?  Yes, indeed. I was seeing snow flakes!  Kind of like this picture that I found on the internets of a first snowfall .   First snow of the season for me.  It's pretty yet ominous!
I doubt that any of the snow will stay on the ground, especially since the sun has come out now and the temps are rising a little. Still, it looks to be a nice day to stay indoors and bake.

That's right. I have baking to do. A batch of cookies--haven't decided on the kind yet--and I think I'll try making these Clementine-Fig Spice Cakes that I found in Better Homes and Gardens magazine as I sat at the car dealer yesterday.  I think my daughter and daughter-in-law will enjoy these when we celebrate Thanksgiving together. The guys can have some too but they usually want Doritos and beer instead while they sit glued to the football games on TV.  Oh well, their loss!

I also have sewing to do. I have yet to make the monthly blocks for the quilt-along the guild is doing of Barbara Brackman's Civil War Jubilee quilt.  This month I need to make 8 blocks in reds plus a couple of extras to be used in a guild charity quilt.  I love making these blocks--so easy and fast. The hardest part is deciding on which fabrics to use! I posted about the block pattern here if you want to see what it looks like.

I also have finished the embroidery of the second Santa table runner also shown in this blog post and need to begin finishing it off. It's been sold to a customer and as soon as it's delivered, I need to begin the third one for another customer. I couldn't guarantee that it would be ready before Christmas but I'll do my best.

The other quilty thing that's on my mind is the Farmer's Wife quilt that we're doing in the guild.  I got this pic off Pinterest.  I haven't decided what kind of fabrics I'll use in making my blocks--the 30s seem appropriate for the block patterns but now that I see this quilt, I'll have to rethink this decision. Since I've not made any of the blocks yet--2 months behind!--I just have to make a decision and get going on it.
Farmer's wife quilt. Love the hint of muted red.:

So, it looks like it'll be a busy day today and I'd better get going on it.  What tasks do you have set out to accomplish today?  Whatever they are, I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

I've been traveling for the past 10 days or so. Don and I drove to Maine to spend some time with our daughter who has just moved into her first home and she wanted some help with getting things situated in the house. She and her boyfriend had also broken up and she was feeling a bit blue over that. So we thought we would take a late fall drive out to the East coast to help her out.  It was a great visit for the most part. Don and Tessa put up shelves and so forth while I sewed simple curtains for the dining room and Lily's bedroom.

It was a great visit with our daughter and granddaughter except for a couple of things.  On Wednesday evening, the day before we were leaving to return home, I accidently blew out the electrical system for the kitchen stove!  That meant going to a number of shops in Portland that night to find a replacement that could be installed before Tessa's housewarming party on Saturday. Fortunately, we found a great stove (it has a convection feature in the oven!) in our price range which was delivered and installed on Friday afternoon.  I hadn't planned on giving her such a housewarming gift but that's the way it worked out!

Any Time Top

This is the sweater I'm knitting for Lily but in a black and gray with silver sparkle yarn.  I was working on it in the car and at the house.  The second thing that went wrong that Wednesday night was, I sat on my bamboo knitting needles before we went stove shopping, and of course, broke one.  Which had a bunch of stitches on it.  So we had to find a Michaels after buying the stove and get another set of knitting needles. Not such a bad thing.  I was able to transfer all the stitches and get on with the knitting.

Bad things happen in threes, right?  The third thing was the worst and it happened on Friday as we were sailing down the highway at the Pennsylvania/Ohio border.  Deer hit.  Here's the car. Nuff said.

We had no injuries--thank goodness for seat belts and air bags!--other than my hearing hasn't returned to normal yet and I'll be seeing a doc about this. The car likely was totalled--we'll get the news later this week from the insurance company.  We left the car in Ohio as the insurance set us up with a rental so we could get home. Which we did without further incident.  I can't tell you how happy we were to be in our own home yesterday and to sleep in our own bed.  It was very disconcerting to have this accident so far from home where you don't know anyone or have any knowledge of the area and the people you have to deal with. You simply have to trust people and these days, that's not always easy to do.  All I can say is, from the PA state trooper to the tow truck driver (Mac)  to the folks at Conneaut Collision Center to the Enterprise rental agent (Doug) in Ashtabula Ohio, we were treated so, so well. They all knew the trauma and stress that we were going through and did everything to smooth the way for us. 

So, we're home now and it looks like it'll be a gorgeous late Autumn day here.  If it gets warm enough, I'll spray paint the two little tables I'd like to get done before winter sets in, go to the garden to harvest the brussels sprouts, do a little sewing on a quilting project and maybe catch a little football on TV if there's time.  Quilting comes before football, for me anyway!  :)

That's my adventures for the past few days. I hope your adventures were less dramatic!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Another finished quilt

I don't think I ever mentioned that one of the members in my guild has been diagnosed with cancer and has had surgery and now the follow up chemo/radiation, I'm not sure which.  The guild has a policy of making and giving a quilt to members or their spouses who are seriously ill. We don't keep a supply of quilts on hand, but make them up one by one as they're needed. Fortunately, we've only had to make 2 quilts in the 5 years I've been a member.

I suggested that we all chip in with fabric and talent and make a quilt for Diane while we were at retreat.  Everyone brought 2.5" strips of a variety of yellow fabrics and we stitched them into 12" blocks.  I overestimated how many blocks we'd need to make a generous throw quilt for her and we ended up with enough extra blocks to make a second quilt to keep on hand for when we may need it.

Since I was the organizer of this project, I took the finished top with me after retreat and got backing fabric on sale. Another guild member who does long-arm quilting offered to quilt it up which she did in 2 days.  I asked another member to make up a label which she printed off on fabric. I got the label yesterday and framed it up and did some hand embroidery on it. Last night I finished the binding and label and the quilt is ready to go to Diane on Tuesday night at the guild meeting.

Here's what we made for her:  "Rays of Sunshine" (photographed on a gloomy, dreary day).

I love all the yellows and golds in this quilt.  While I was stitching on the binding, it felt so warm and snuggly on my lap, I know Diane will feel loved when she wraps up in this quilt.

Unknown to us, Diane is a bee keeper so it's very fitting that we included some bumble bee fabrics in this quilt.

And this is the label Becky and I made together for our friend.

The other thing I didn't mention after retreat is that I sold my red "Santas" table runner--

after I'd finished the embroidery and worked out the faint staining from the red dyes, and added the checkerboard border and quilted it up--to one of the gals at retreat who fell in love with it when it was finished.  She took a look at my Etsy store, Jolly Ruby  as well and decided to buy the embroidered Halloween table runner as well.

In addition to these sales--and remember every penny of sales goes to the Jolly Ruby fund which helps enhance the lives of people with disabilities--two other retreaters asked me if I would make "Santas" table runners for them as well. I'll do my best to get them finished by Christmas but I didn't make any promises.  They're okay getting them a little late.  Whew!

Then, the other day, I got a call from a person who lives a few blocks from me about making a memory quilt for her out of napkins she's saved from various events she's attended in her career.  So, of course I said yes!  This is going to be fun--and easy!  And she's not in a big hurry to get it.  Whew again!

Today, I have done my house chores and will go for a walk when I'm finished with this. Then, into the sewing room to work on a charity quilt block that needs to be done by the end of the week. What's on your plate for this Friday?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Gloomy Friday

Well, this week has just flown by. I've had something to do every day since I returned from retreat on Sunday and it seems as though I've accomplished nothing!  Especially in quilting. I wanted to keep up the pace I set at retreat but here at home, there's always something distracting--computers, tv, yardwork, grocery shopping, and the occasional house chores. Yuck!  I just want to keep quilting!

Although today is gray and overcast with spits of rain, I stopped by the garden this morning to see if the winter rye had sprouted yet--and it has!  I've never planted a cover crop like this so I'm anxious to see if it helps any. For those of you who don't garden, we can plant a crop of a winter hardy seed like winter rye and it will sprout in the fall and with luck, continue to grow in the spring. It all gets turned under before planting, adding lots of nutrition to the soil. Some refer to this as "green manure." 

This is the long view of the garden with my 4 brussell sprouts still standing there.

This is a closeup of the winter rye sprouts--they're about an inch or two high now. I have no idea how high they'll get before snowfall.   It's an experiment!

I have worked on a couple of things this week.  For our guild gift exchange in December, we are to make a zipper pouch with a surprise inside, and a second zipper pouch to be donated to a sale we're having later in the year.  I've taken a lot of kidding this past year over the crumbs I save, so I decided to make up some crumb fabric and use that to make the pouch.  Each side is different and it measures about 10" by 8."

For the surprise inside, I am putting in a bundle of 3 fat quarters from my stash, a charm square of Christmas fabrics that I'm never going to use, a new Frixion pen and a note pad with three wooden magnets. Oh, and I'll add some chocolate when the time comes. (If I get the chocolate now, it'll be gone by the time of the December meeting!)

And for the lining, I used this funky frog fabric (do you like alliteration?) that I found in my stash.

For the pouch to donate, I'm going to make some fabric out of the huge amount of selvages I've been collecting. In fact, I may make more than one pouch out of the selvages since I think they'll sell and it will make a little dent anyway in my collection.

At retreat I began making pinwheels as part of finishing off the embroidered blocks I made last spring, the Farmhouse Window Sills pattern.  I only got as far as finishing off 2 of the 4 blocks so this week, I finished off the other two and now need to make more pinwheels to put the top and bottom borders around the blocks.  In this pic, they look rather yellow, but they're more bright when you see them.

I also assembled the 9-patch house quilt and put on the hourglass border.  I thought I had enough green for a third border, but no, not quite. So this top is done.  As I said in a previous post, this will be donated to the new Habitat House neighbors we'll have this spring. Again, thanks to Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts for the idea of using my leftover 9 patch blocks.

Also at retreat, we all worked on making a strip quilt for one of our members who's been diagnosed with colon cancer.  For some reason, no one took a pic of it, but, trust me, it turned out very nice.  I have fabric for the backing and will get it to the quilter soon.

That's how my week has been. I have to get down to the sewing room now and make up some blocks for the Civil War Jubilee quilt that I'm in charge of for the guild quiltalong.  And maybe I'll make a few pinwheels as well.  :)  Hope your day is going well too.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Post-Retreat Weekend

I was at quilt retreat with my fellow guild members from Thursday through Sunday. My sides and my face are sore from laughing so much, and I have to replenish my supply of Depends.  Today will be quiet.

Nuff said. Pics to follow at 10.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sing a Song of Halloween

Here it is, the completed wall hanging called "Sing a Song of Halloween."

I'm happy to have finished it and it's now up for sale in my Etsy shop, Jolly Ruby.  I think it's rather cute and would be great in a home with small children as it's not tooooo scary for them!  I think Halloween should be all about fun and not so gruesome and super frightening--unless you're a teenager and then it should be all about zombies and vampires!  Yeah, I remember those days!

I got the Fall table runner pinned but was too tired to begin quilting it and am I glad!

I was just going to do simple quilting but today I've changed my mind.  I follow Lori Kennedy's blog, The Inbox Jaunt and today she posted a tutorial on doing a Japanese  Lantern design.  I've been doodling it with paper and pencil and I think I've got this one!  It will be perfect in some of the long strips in the center blocks of this runner.  I'll find something else for the borders--maybe Lori has another design I can put in the borders.  I love her work and I'm so grateful that she posts all these tutorials so we readers can work on improving our machine quilting skills.

Before I begin on Lily's skirt--I know, I know1  I have to finish it so it can go out in the mail tomorrow!--I have 4 plants that have to go into the ground TODAY!  I got them 2 days ago and instead of planting them on Sunday when it was 75 degrees and sunny, I've procrastinated until today when it's 48 degrees with a predicted high of 58!  What was I thinking!

I also have to run a couple of errands and then it's into the sewing room.

Last thing. Don and I went to the movies last night (a rare occurrence for my stay-at-home husband) to see "The Martian."  O! M! G!  It was SOOO good!!!!  I've been a Matt Damon fan since "Good Will Hunting" and absolutely loved him in "The Martian."  If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it. Don enjoyed it so much he said he'd like to go more often so maybe there's hope yet!

Have a wonderful day no matter what you're plans are.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Santas have been saved!

Indeed, the bleeding has stopped!  Thanks to two cold water soaks in Oxiclean for many hours each, the bleeding seems to have stopped. And better yet, the red bleeding has virtually disappeared from the muslin! In the picture above there seems to be some reddish tint in some places, but that doesn't show up when I look at it here in my house.  I'm so happy that the Oxiclean did the job and my embroidery work has been salvaged!  Now I can move on to adding the borders and finishing up this table runner in time to get it in the shop before the holidays begin! Whew!  Disaster averted!

I've finished quilting up the Halloween banner and sewn on the binding, Now I need to get the hanging sleeve on it so I can take some photos of it and get it in the shop.  I'm happy with how it turned out and hope that it sells so it can brighten up someone's home for this holiday.

What's next for me?  Well, Lily is waiting for me to sew her a skirt and mail it to her so I think I'll do that this afternoon and include it in the package that I mean to send her and her mother on Wednesday.  I also want to get this table runner finished and in the shop as soon as I can so I'll get that quilted up today or tomorrow. Just straight line stitching in the center blocks and something more elaborate in the borders. Should go pretty quickly--Famous Last Words!

I also have to continue working on what I'm going to take with to quilt retreat which begins on the 15th and ends on the 18th. That's 4 days of sewing bliss!  I'm so ready to go and have fun with all the wonderful ladies of the guild!  I've never been on a 4 day retreat before--only 2 and 3 day ones--so I'm a little apprehensive that I'll have enough to keep me busy.  I want to take along 6 projects as well as some knitting and my Kindle so I can read or knit if I want.

I'm taking along a double nine patch quilt that I've worked on sporadically over at least the past 3 years. The Farmhouse Window Sills project is coming with as well.

I'm taking everything to make up a Christmas table runner that I've had on my mind for a year or more now, and I'm taking along all my Row by Row patterns and kits that I collected over the summer.  I may bring along some of my huge scrap collection and play with crumbs if I like and I'll bring along the houses and hourglass blocks I made last week and turn them into a finished top.  And I may find one or two other projects to bring along as well. We'll see.

If that's not enough to keep me busy, I'll just have to sit back with a glass of chilled wine and enjoy the hot tub, I guess.  Ain't life tough?  But, now I have to get the sleeve on the Halloween banner!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Help! My Santas are bleeding!

Indeed, the Santas I embroidered in red perle cotton on muslin have bled all over the muslin!

I'm so disappointed--no, crushed is the better way to describe how I feel.  I spent many hours over the past month stitching these little guys--had the border fabrics picked out and everything--and now it's useless.  I followed the directions in the pattern to wash it in sudsy water--I used tepid or room temp water--with a splash of white vinegar to set the color.  Didn't happen!  I could see the water turning pink as I gently swished it around.  After drying and pressing, the red is still on the muslin and the whole thing is ruined.  Crushed, just crushed.

I just asked Prof. Google if there's anything I can do to rescue my poor bleeding Santas and she says I can soak the item in a solution of powder bleach and water for 8 hours. I have nothing to lose so I'll give this a try today and see what happens.  I may end up with all white Santas!  That would be different, eh?  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yesterday afternoon, after I finished my work on the back yard flower beds, I began quilting up this Halloween banner I'd been putting off. It's just a printed panel so all I have to do is quilt, bind and attach a hanging sleeve. Simple, right?

I'd pinned it a week or more ago but for some reason didn't have the mojo to begin the quilting.  I know that Halloween is coming up quickly so I want to get this done and in the Jolly Ruby shop as soon as possible so it can be sold before the holiday.  This is what I did yesterday

and this is what I have left to do today, I hope.

Here are a couple of closeups for you.  I outlined the pumpkin and cat as well as the flying geese.  Then I did a row of spirals below the pumpkin and meandered all the rest of the center of the panel.

I thought for Halloween, I should try to make it a bit scarey so I wrote a couple of "Boo"s in the meandering for fun.

Then I outlined the "sing a song of Halloween" on the bottom and meandered all the rest of the bottom.

While I was quilting up this piece, I decided to try a new method of hiding the thread ends. I'd seen this video on Barbara's  Cat Patches blog and I'm including a link to the video for you to check out as well.  What a great technique!  Instead of threading the needle with each set of threads that need to be buried--and you know that in a large quilt that can add up to many, many times!--all I needed to do was keep one needle threaded with the loop and use that repeatedly to bury the threads!  You have to watch the video to see how it works. I'm not going to even try to describe it.  Trust me that it's a great time saver and as easy as can be.

That's it for today. Have to find the Oxiclean and soak the Santas.  We'll see if Oxiclean lives up to it's advertisements!