Saturday, December 31, 2011

{Post #868} Belated Christmas Quilt

Pop on over to my secret blog to see progress on a belated Christmas gift quilt.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

{Post #867} Feels Like Fall

That is the name of the new block I'm working on as a leader/ender with the goslings.  Here is the first block...

I am going to start on one of the alternate blocks.  The blocks are 10-1/2" square.  The alternate blocks are one big pumpkin.  I'll probably have a picture up by tomorrow some time.

In other progress, I finished another complete row of an I Spy quilt I'm starting for way down the road, so I got that off the design wall.  I also took down my Red Zinger selvage blocks and stacked them in a drawer.  The design wall is practically empty.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

{Post #866} Sewing Room Happenings

Once Susie twisted my arm and dragged me into the sewing room (ahem), I started on some pillow shams to match this quilt that is currently on my bed.  I had this boxful of leftover pieces...

So I started sewing and sewing.  I had 4 strips going, two of each direction.  I sewed from the time Maria arrived at the mansion until they escaped from the Germans (wasn't the wedding beautiful).  The hills are alive, with the sound of sewing.

But I digress.  I also was moving forward on another quilt I'm piecing via leaders/enders.  Here is a picture of many of them, grouped by tens and held together with safety pins.  They finish at 1" x 2".  Project picture to come later.

I was just a rollin' along on my Texas Braid strips.  Here is one finished on the cutting table, ready to be trimmed down.

Then a few chops later, I haphazardly put these on the already overburdened design wall.

Do you even SEE them?  I have the well-developed ability to tune things out, but it takes regular upkeep and plenty of practice, Practice, PRACTICE!  After I cut up the 4 strips, I needed two more pieces, one of each direction!  Ack!!  That does mean more tiny flying geese (I might call them goslings, they are so small) to come!  I had to dig these out of the trash can (one for each direction) to have a starter for my next sewing session.

I don't have a pattern for the shams.  But I always have a plan.  I am making shams for standard sized pillow forms.  I am going to make them with 5 Texas Braid strips across, which = 30".  Then I'm adding the red of the center squares in a 4" border and quilting those.  Then I'm going to make backings that are two pieces that over lap and are Velcroed in the middle (that way they can be easily removed for washing).  I will run a seam along the edge of the red so the pillow doesn't slip around, but will have a nice edge.  That's my plan and I'm stickin' with it (unless I need to change it!).

The not-so-surprising part is that my box is still so full of pieces for this quilt!  I may have to crank out a baby quilt to use them up.  I can't stand having a project just hang around like a piece of gum on the bottom of a shoe!

Going to read a while then hit the hay!


{Post #865} My Other Girl

Susie asked me if I would sew with her this afternoon and evening.  I said, "No.  I hate to sew.  I don't have anything to sew.  We won't be watching a movie will we?  Will you force me to eat chocolate?"  Ha ha--then I snapped out of it and said, "Of course!  What will YOU be working on?"  She said she had a lot of alterations to do.  We all know how boring and monotonous that can be...but not when one sews with a friend.  Did you think I meant ME?  That *I* was her friend?  That is too normal for my Susie-Q.  She was sewing with her duct tape double.  Here they are...

Do NOT be alarmed.  That is not Susie's usual facial expression.  She was hamming it up for the camera.  If you look closely at the neckline of the double, you see it is made out of duct tape.  Basically, one dons an old shirt and has someone (in this case a sister) completely cover their torso with duct tape...tightly wrapped.  Steve made her a sword out of duct tape to complete the outfit.  I don't think they cut the form with the sword, however deceiving the picture may be. 

You cut up the back of the tape and shirt underneath, then tape it back up after removing and stuff it.  Voila!  You have a duct tape double.  Here is Emily (who appears legless, as does the Susie form) stuffing the form with wrapping paper that we had just emptied moments before.  So it's a green and gray craft! 

Susie says it really comes in handy when doing fitted alterations.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be to pin pleats on my own back while wearing a garment.  I'll tell you, that girl is one creative genius!


{Post #864} My Girl

Meet Elisabeth.  Poor girl.  I have NEVER put a picture of her on my blog.  So she says anyway!  Here she is with her hair straightened.  I almost don't recognize her myself.

Well, that's done.  Two more posts to come.


Monday, December 26, 2011

{Post #863} Earbud Holder

Saw this on Pinterest and made one tonight.  I had all the materials on hand.  It seriously took about 15 minutes total.  If I had to make another, it would be even faster because I would not have to read the directions.  I am going to make a few to keep on hand for gifts.

Fabric choice?  A reminder to "just keep swimmin', just keep swimmin'..."


{Post #862} Look Who's Smilin'...

Finally got a smile on this guy's face.  I used an old tole painting technique that I highly recommend if you are painting an item you aren't going to be washing much.  Do a practice piece first.  Dip the back of a small paintbrush handle into the paint, then dot it on the fabric.  Makes a perfectly round dot if you hold it perpendicular to the fabric.  I like it. 

Look Who else is lookin' at you...

Now for a plea (I've become more bold since the Seeds of Kindness quilt).  I want to make this one (ahead even!) for February.  I can swing all the fabrics except the blues.  My non-Thimbleberries stash is not very varied.  Is there someone who could send me 2 light blue pieces and 2 dark blue pieces that all coordinate for the birds?  I will send YOU something in return.  Email me for sizes.  Something in the light to medium blue range would be good.  The picture is fuzzy, but there are 4 different blues here.

UPDATE:  This request has been fulfilled!  Thanks to my e-friends who responded!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

{Post #861} New Ornaments and Angels

Above are some applesauce/cinnamon star ornaments I made this year.  This was easy and quick to do.  Makes me wonder why I never made them when my children were small.  I plan on painting a white outline and some dots on them before we put them away for the year.  They smell fabulous.  I cut them with an antique cookie cutter from my Grandma Varshine.  Good memories.  Google cinnamon applesauce ornaments for the recipe.  I baked them for an hour at 250 then turned them on a cooling rack for the rest of the day.

The above picture is four clothespin angels I am mailing my sister tomorrow.  I have made them for all of my children and my husband and I.  Finally, this year, I have caught up with my sister's ten children!!  At last.  These are so cute on a Christmas tree.  You just slide the clothespin "legs" on a branch.  Mine are all red with white trim.  Her children all have different colors...there might be a repeat or two. 

Hope you are enjoying a great holiday.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

{Post #860} R-E-L-A-X

We had our "Christmas celebrations" this past week...ALL week.  My two college-aged sons are home for winter break, and my daughter and favorite son-in-law were also with us.  My father-in-law and his wife came up two days ago.  My eldest daughter and I were ill yesterday, but the rest of the family was gone all day to visit with my grandfather-, mother-, and brother-in-laws.  I disliked missing the visit, but would not have been much of a companion. 

I hardly had any energy all day yesterday, but when I woke up feeling some better today, I made a list of long-put-off things to do.  I do mean long-delayed.  I cleaned my bathroom cabinets and drawers, deep cleaned the bathroom, folded 4 baskets of laundry (and put them away!) and decluttered and reorganized a hall closet.  Those are big things in my cleaning life.  I heard cleaning can kill you.  I'm not sure that's true, but I'm taking as few chances as possible!  My house is clean today...sorry you missed it!

Last month when Susie, Rachel, and I went to Florida, Susie and I planned to visit the newborn son of some friends at the hospital.  I have so many good memories with Susie!!  Anywho...we got to the hospital and called the parents.  They asked us to come back in an hour.  We were like, "Um...we're in the parking garage."  On the way to the hospital, about a block before it actually, I spotted a Steinmart store.  I got a gift card for their store about 4 years ago.  I mentioned to Susie that I had the ancient gift card and had never seen a Steinmart before.  I didn't know the balance on the card.  Would it--could it--be in my purse right that very second?  YES!!  I called the gift card balance number and found out we had $50 to spend.  One thing many of you might not know about me is that I.  hate.  to.  shop.  Especially for little-needed items.  I detest window shopping.  But we had an hour to kill, right?  We headed back and found ourselves trying to find $50 worth of stuff to buy.  I would have been happy to spend it all on Susie if she found something she liked.  You would think this would be an easy task, but no.

We started wandering around.  She tried on some absolutely goofy looking dress hats.  Then we split up because we weren't finding anything worth blowing the wad on.  My mechanic has one of these "Relax" signs at their service counter.  I have always admired it.  When I saw one of these at the Steinmart store, I knew that would be my first purchase.  One of my kids saw it in my room later, on my treadle sewing machine table and asked sarcastically if that was my new motto.  "No", I said, "Just a necessary reminder."  It is so hard for me to relax and enjoy...well, ANYthing!!  Seriously!

When I was cleaning out our hall closet (you might have been wondering why that came up earlier?), I found the nativity night light.  Isn't that where you store yours...behind the bathroom cleaning caddy?  I appreciate the reminder that I can "relax" because Jesus came to pay for my sins.  I have a home in heaven when I you?  Everything does not depend on me.

Last night three of my children were shopping at a mall.  Within just a few feet of them there was a shooting.  A woman pulled a gun out of her purse and shot a man who was evidently abusing or trying to kidnap a small child.  The man was shot three times.  My daughter ended up being locked in a store adjacent to the hallway with the shooter, victim, etc.  A few moments later, several shoplifting attempts were thwarted nearby.  They are guessing that the thieves were taking advantage of the confusion because of the shooting.  We live in unsettling times.  A security guard knocked a thief attempting to flee into the storefront window a few feet away from my locked-in daughter.  When I heard about it over the phone but didn't have the details yet (remember, I was lying about at home), I was so glad God's grace was sufficient for me.  He was protecting my children, I was not.  Thank God they were unharmed.  

Here's hoping you can relax and enjoy the moments that make this very special holiday special indeed.  

God bless us, every one.


Friday, December 23, 2011

{Post #859} Replacing The Bun Picture

Can it be that January's Count On It quilt is nearly finished?  All it lacks is button or paint eyes and mouth.

Yes, yes it is true.  You who are very observant will notice I skipped right over December.  The month kind of sneaked up on me.  I will make that one (December) eventually.

Good night!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

{Post #858} Bun Fun

That's an odd title, huh?  I came across an idea yesterday that I wanted to try.  Making a sock into a hair bun base, then sleeping on it.  The next AM should yield beautiful curls.  I'll let you be the judge.  The following pics are the night before, the morning after, and the bun unfurled.

The REAL neat thing?  Sleeping with a bun in my hair that didn't pull.  As I spun around on my pillow all night, the bun kept me from inhaling my hair!!

Google "sock bun" and unleash your own curls!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

{Post #857} Catch Up Post

Here are some pictures from the past week.  I left out any from the accident in which I totalled someone else's car. 

I machine quilted two tops for a customer.  No pictures of those either.

Had our Christmas cantata at church.  Two of my kids were in it.  No pictures.

Made 5 crocheted angels...pic from year ago...

My sixth child got his braces off.  Before (being angelic)


A couple decorating pics.  New front door look with little forest trees with lights and small balls.

My new (antique) foyer table, where we put our lit-up village houses.  Our sideboard now is our fruit station.  I found that altering the height of some of the items in a collection like this gives it more pizzazz...probably the oldest trick in the book, but I'm a slow learner!  I just tucked some paperback books under some of the houses. 

Praying for a special friend, Julie, today.  My thoughts and prayers are with you, my friend.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

{Post #856} eBay

Just a note to let you know I have some finished quilts and some quilt tops on eBay right now.  There is a button on the left sidebar that you can click.  It says "whistlersmother10 auctions".  Check them out.

The non-I-Spy quilts and tops are made with all Thimbleberries fabrics.

See ya!


Friday, December 2, 2011

{Post #855} Past and Present ~ Piecing Finished

This is 58" x 70".  It might get quilted this might not!  Pattern is called Past and Present.

My heart goes out to my e-friend, Marcie, in the loss of her son.  May God's grace be sufficient, my friend!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

{Post #854} Catching Up

Susie, Rachel, and I have been in Florida since Friday.  Whew--trying to see 58 people in 4 days (slight exaggeration, but only slight!).  I will save you from the boredom of logging each day.  Since this is a mostly quilty blog, here's the news...I am only 9 quilting motifs away from finishing the hand quilting on my Hearts and Gizzards/A Mother's Heart/Highway Hearts quilt!  I must decide on a final name.  Most of this quilt was made while traveling, hence the Highway Hearts name.

Here is the shape I am hand quilting (I have quilted around and between each heart half on these parts)...

Here is an example of one quilted into my quilt--not easy to see it on a picture...

I copied the heart shape and quilted around it and between all 8 sections for a little extra quiltiness.  Love it!

Here is the whole quilt, just 9 shy of the above motifs from being finished!!

Went to a fantastic antique emporium in FL.  Saw 3 quilt racks that I wanted to get...the most expensive one was $12.50!!  Two problems...1.  no room in the vehicle  2.  no room in the house!  Have plenty of quilts to display!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

{Post #853} Photo Shoot of Seeds of Kindness

Well, here it is.  The final pictures of my Seeds of Kindness quilt.  The sun/shadows made it difficult to get a fantastic picture, but these are acceptable.  The second one shows the quiltiness after washing and drying.  It's a keeper!!  There are 525 apple core shapes with only a few repeats.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday.  Remember to Whom one owes gratitude.  So thankful for my heavenly Father and the many blessings He has bestowed on me.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

{Post #852} Homemade Tic Tac Toe Bag

I love to make gifts, especially for children to use.  I don't know why I don't do it more.  This is the second set of Tic Tac Toe bags and storage bag I've made out of three $1 pairs of jeans and a remnant of red ticking.  I have at least enough fabric for two more sets.  Oh, and brown rice.  How could I forget the brown rice?

Here is how it's done.  Cut out nine 4-1/2" square pieces of denim.  I used 5 dark and 4 light for this one.  Sew them wrong sides together, press the seams open.  Layer with batting and backing.  I used some decorative stitches to hold the inner seams open and for the outermost seam.

Here are the bags in process.  Four inch squares, applique a circle on 5 and an X on 5.  Sew a bag front to a ticking back, leaving an opening to put in the rice later.

A close-up of the board corner, before de-stringing.  You can see some of the stitches.

Board and bags finished (but empty), ready for a run thru the washer and dryer.

Each bag is de-stringed after drying, filled with 1/4 cup rice, sewn closed by machine, then tossed into my finished bag.

Ready for a game or a hundred.


Monday, November 21, 2011

{Post #851} Potholder Top

I wanted to bind this little potholder for my daughter, Emily.  Some of us are driving down to see her on Friday.  This is my only selvage project that has "Superman" fabric in it.  See the emblem just above the center of the potholder?  Her husband was nicknamed Superman when a little kid saw him on a cherry-picker truck or up on scaffolding or something like that.  I used the insulated fabric shown (made for potholders/oven mitts, etc.) to make it heat-proof and backed it with fabric that will match her kitchen.  Won't show it all because it's supposed to be a surprise.  I doubt she reads this.

Finished hand-quilting my Seeds of Kindness quilt today.  What I thought would be a "Big Deal" moment is more of a "Big Whoop" moment.  Very anticlimatic.  It's in the washer now.  It is a special quilt, but probably only to me. 


Friday, November 18, 2011

{Post #850} More Selvage Loveliness

I really AM clearing off my cutting table.  But I'm sewing up the scraps and goodies as I go!  I found these cute potholders online, so I made up 6, 4 on the diagonal...

From the online source:

Mine (not quilted or bound yet, obviously):

I cut a "base fabric" (this is read yucky stuff I had a chunk of on my cutting table) into 6" squares and just made sure they were covered, then trimmed them down after sewing the selvages on.  This time I did not take the time to switch thread out every time...I just kept a dark wheat color in and let the stitches fall where they may.

Here is my next cutting-table-clearing project.  I used 10-1/2" square base fabric (the red).  Then I marked a dot 1-1/2" from the same corner and 5" from each side of the opposite corner.  I used a gray pencil to connect the dots from each 1-1/2" mark to a 5" mark on an adjacent side.  Then I drew a line 1/2" in from where the 5" mark side was to create sort of a triangle.  Then I just took a piece big enough to go from one side to the other and started adding selvages. 

I'm sure this is like any other sewing project...everyone has their own way of doing it.  I line up the selvage side of the fabric with a pencil line and sew as close to the edge as I can.  I do two blocks at a time so I can have a leader/ender thing going.  The next fabric is placed facing the same way so that the selvage is on the same side as the first one.  I overlap the previous raw edge only as much as I have to and then stitch closely to the selvage edge again. 

Here is one block that is 10-1/2" square.  Same sewing as the potholders...make sure some is hanging over and then trim to original size when finished.

Even though what I make is nearly always scrappy, I usually have some unwritten rules.  They are written in this case!  I didn't use a red strip for my first one since the center of the block is a red print.  I broke my own rule by using some very small pieces for the last print that don't have words on the selvages.  I repeated a fabric in a block a couple times, but once they are sewn to each other, it will be so busy that it won't matter.

After I got to where I didn't have enough selvages to start another 2 blocks, I moved something on my table and found 3 very long selvages.  After I do some baking for Rachel this evening (and clean up), I am going to do a couple more if I have the energy.  Wish me luck!

Here are all 8 I did this afternoon...each block finishes at 10" square.

Here is where I sort of got my inspiration (from an online picture):

I used a Thimbleberries red, so of course I am not in danger of burning my retinas out.  Isn't that cool?  Instructions for the Red Zinger are here along with lots of other patterns.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

{Post #849} Sew-y Tote Bag Gift

OK, so this should be on my secret projects blog, but I don't think the recipient will know it is for her.  I am not even sure she reads my blog any more.  A-n-y-w-a-y-s...I am uncharacteristically thinking ahead for some gifts for Christmas, birthdays, Christmas, babies being born soon, Christmas, etc.  I really wanted to sew tonight.  It's been a while since I've spent quality time with my Janome.

I got the bright idea to make this certain person a tote bag.  I was looking at patterns the other day.  I liked different things about different patterns, so I combined all of them into this bag.  It does not look that impressive in the pictures, but you know how sometimes pics just don't do an item justice?  My husband and dear-soon-to-be-17-year-old daughter both really liked it.

For the past few months I've been collecting selvages.  I had seen some cute ideas out there and thought I'd wish I had some if I ever saw a pattern I just had to make.  Being a scrappy quilter just overflows into other scrappiness.  I decided to make a band of selvages to fit at the top of my tote.  Here is a section close up...

I added a few non-Thimbleberries just to see who was paying attention!

For the handles, I took a 4" side piece of fabric x 25" long and ironed it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.  I then ironed in a piece of (are you ready for this) IRON-ON interfacing 1" x 25" along the fold on the inside (I'm a little loopy tonight...don't know why).  Then I folded both sides in and ironed them.  I ended up with a 4-layer piece with no exposed seams with a piece of interfacing in there somewhere.  I topstitched it with 5 rows of stitching.  Cute.  Durable.  Not extremely stiff.  Matches the bag. 

One other "Joan" feature...I cut a strip from a leg from a pair of jeans from which I made another gift (pics to come) that was laying on my cutting table (are you following this?).  I used that to make the bottom of the tote bag so it would be more durable.  Genius, right??  Hee hee...

The whole shebang (except for the selvages) was meander quilted with a variegated heavy thread in primary colors.  It matches the spool fabric very well.

Here is a picture of the whole thing...

An hour and a half well spent.  Hope she likes it!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

{Post #848} New Group and SOK Progress

Rachel met a woman at the craft show last week that invited her to a "sit and knit" group that meets at a local church on Tuesday nights.  Since R doesn't drive (not many 13-year-olds do), I drove her over and took my Apple Core/Seeds of Kindness quilt to hand quilt while we were there.  We enjoyed lots of conversation and got some handwork done, too.  It was a really fun time.  I am about halfway finished.  I was going to edit a picture, but it won't upload for some reason.

Rachel is knitting a scarf with a snowflake motif in it that she designed herself.  She is a knifty fast and accurate. 

My log cabin quilt center is complete.  It is 43" square.  I am considering adding a very small border as a frame, possibly 1-1/2" finished.  I will need to measure the wall where it will be hung tomorrow and see if that will make it too large.  Here it is...I love it!

Also finished my I Spy quilt center for now.  This will make it easy to see if I already have a particular fabric in it.  I only have a limited amount of the blues (which is unusual since I'm usually not threatened with running out of a fabric because my quilts are scrappy and I'm cutting off bolts).  I had what I thought was a great idea for adding the sashing and cornerstones to the 4-1/2" blocks, but I now think that the old-fashioned way is best.  Here is one block.  I added a plain blue strip to the right of every block.  Those were ironed out.  Then I added a light blue strip with a dark blue square on the end.  Every block had strips on two sides.  It went fine, but I wouldn't do it that way again.

Here is one block...

A close-up of two of my favorite sections...

The whole far.  This is 32" x 43".  Once I get my cutting table cleaned off, I will cut up a bunch more of my I Spy fabric collection.

Hello to my new friend, Barbara, from Sit & Knit!  She said she'd look at my blog soon.  Hope she does!