Monday, March 29, 2021

{Post 1,747} Where Am I and What Am I Doing Here?

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. So much is going on in my life. My quilting business has been going great guns, and I’ve never advertised or even looked for work. I guess it’s one of those things that is somewhat unusual. So when someone is pleased and hears about another person looking for someone to machine quilt or them, they naturally tell them about my service. I thought things would slow down after the holidays, but it’s the opposite. Three new customers (heretofore complete strangers) have given me 7 quilts to machine quilt and some to do finishing sewing on. Plus, I have at least 7 quilt tops of my own to quilt. 

In the meantime, my daughter’s in-laws have both had coronavirus and been hospitalized recently. Her FIL is still in the hospital. So my SIL went to care for them and will be back Wednesday. They asked me to come be with my daughter while he is gone. So I’ve pulled up stakes in one day and have been here for three days now. 

When I travel, I usually take a handwork project. I didn’t have much time to plan, so I brought this UFO that I started in 2008. I wish it was a bit bigger, and that is why (I think) I’ve never been excited about finishing it. Plus I don’t have a room where I’m dying to use it anymore. I can find a place for it in our home though. So I have spent a few hours on this. Mostly I’ve tried to be available for whatever my daughter needs and to visit with her when she wants. Here is my project. The border is completely unquilted. You can see the texture from the hand quilting in the photo.. The arrow is pointing to a red row with green on both sides...all three rows are unquilted.

Here are two of the reasons I’m take care of the mama of these two little ones (20 months and 2 months). Don’t be taken in by the cuteness—they run the place!

Have I told you about my freezer meal ministry? I’ll have to go back to read and check. One of my friends that lives here near my daughter fell and broke her hip and wrist and has had surgery on both. Whew! Talk about big changes in a day! Her family has dietary restrictions (no dairy or gluten), so I had to be selective about meals. Today I assembled Easy Sausage Gumbo, Easy Chicken Taco Soup, Chicken Pot Pie, White Chicken Chili, and Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki. They are assembled into a gallon-sized freezer bags and laid flat to freeze. When one wants to cook them, they go into the frig the day before to soften up a bit, then cook in a slow cooker for varying times. The meals taste fresh because they are all fresh ingredients and freshly cooked. The nice thing is that the recipient can decide when they want to make them,, and they take up minimal space in the freezer until then. I will be assembling some for my daughter before I go as well.

That’s about it for now. I am awful about taking pictures. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

{Post 1746} Sewing Like A Whirling Dervish

 When I’m not sewing, I’m thinking about what projects I need to finish. My son is getting married 4/24. I am moving his queen-sized wedding quilt to the top of my list because it is so intricate. Well, I thought it was. I ended up making 6 light star and 1 dark star block this AM. That was because I cut down a bunch of scraps last night to use. The blocks finish at 9” square. Before my sewing session, I needed 15 light and 15 dark blocks. Then I add those 30 blocks to the mother ship and add a 5” border. So the end is in sight. I just wanted to cut down all the small squares I had in my drawers to get them out and used up. The squares are 2” before being sewn. 

I took a break from home schooling while my grandson ate a little something. Back to the salt mines now.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

{Post 1,745} Pennsylvania Bound

 I am making two quilts from soup to nuts as the saying goes. They are the same pattern—Virginia Bound from Bonnie Hunter. As of two days ago, I had the centers pieced for both of them. One is PA Bound and the other is TX Bound. Not only is it unusual for me to be making two customer quilts at the same time, but they wanted the same pattern. I doubt that will ever happen again! 

This AM I finished the PA Bound one. On to the quilting, labeling, and binding. Oh, she also wants a matching sham, so I WILL be making more of these blocks! This measures 78” x 94” with all four borders. These pictures were taken last night after dark in my kitchen. Not quite enough room to lay out everything. I didn’t bother to pull it out completely flat,  but it is in real life. 

A good friend I recently made in PA gave me a tiny shoot of her lemon button fern. It has finally started growing rapidly. I love my houseplants. Fern “leaves” are called fronds. Baby fronds are called fiddleheads. 

My soon-to-be daughter likes the word fiddlehead nearly as much as I do, so I took the above pic to send her.

Speaking of my DIL-to-be, I am making her and my son a bed quilt for a wedding gift. I started this back in 2008, and it has been marinating quite nicely in my drawer of UFOs. The squares FINISH at 1-1/2” square. I could have drafted a pattern from the quilt, but miraculously, I found the book that has the pattern in it. It’s “Save the Scraps” from Gayle Bong. This AM I am drafting out the finished size they want and all to see how many more blocks I need to make. She wants an 18” drop on all sides of the quilt (!), so that means a lot more. Here are the blocks laid out from an old pic on my blog. All the blocks are sewn to each other now, but we are doing a construction project in the closet of my sewing room, and I don’t want to get the top out. Picture tools, drywall dust, and painting supplies e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

If you squint at the bottom third of the picture, you can see where I wrote a caption!

Back to the salt mines for me! Leave a comment so I know you were here!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

{Post 1,744} Strangely Productive Day


I always have a to-do list a mile long. I check off three things and add seven. It’s a way of life for me. Today was no exception. Timmy stayed overnight last night, which meant we chilled last night for hours. I needed it. He did, as well. We snuggled and snuggled, and snuggled some more. 

This AM I got some work done in my sewing room while he slept. Then we had homemade protein waffles for breakfast and got his school work done in a snap. His writing is bee-you-tee-ful!! After we finished, I finished the quilt sham and got it in the wash. Timmy helped me decluttering in my craft room for an hour. We cleaned off and around a 8’ banquet table that can now be folded up and stored. I am using the “Decluttering At The Speed of Life Method” by Dana K. White, and boy howdy, does it work well. I am reducing what I have down to the reasonable available space. I started a group on FB for things I am giving away. I was able to rehome several neat things. I listed some antiques on FB Marketplace and hope to sell those. 

Timmy left in the early afternoon. I started machine quilting a customer quilt. As of now, I have all but about 15” wide finished on that. 

My husband and I were given a gift card to Red Lobster, which is possibly my favorite restaurant. Well, it was until tonight. We just learned that they have removed their warm apple crostada from the menu. <heavy sigh>. We were so disappointed. But we’ll make it. So we drove 45 minutes to the Red Lobster and had a great meal (I brought half of mine home for lunch tomorrow). 

I have been looking for a TV cabinet (we still use a DVD player and Wii console). I keep looking at the thrift stores. We have a very specific space and measurements. Nothing has turned up. We ended up looking at a couple stores tonight. We found one for far less than we had anticipated (at least for buying it new). It is a some-assembly-required things, and I hope to get that together in the next couple of days.

A customer dropped off a darling baby quilt this afternoon (we should really have a revolving door on the front of the house!). It is sooo cute. The colors are very unique. An orchid, grayish turquoise, gold, peach, and lots of black and white. I will post a picture when I quilt it.

Here are some of the antique items I am selling. They were my grandmother’s. There is just not room in our house for them, especially since we are reducing our living space so greatly. These items are interesting to me just because I saw them at her house for so many years. The first item is a wooden bucket, the second is an ash bucket, and the third is a wash board.

The pressure is on to get my craft room emptied out. My youngest daughter and her family are coming February 27 and will be staying in there. That’s just a little over two weeks. My goal is to have it converted to a guest room with our queen-sized bed. I am also looking for a twin-bed frame and headboard/footboard. I found a marvelous set on FB tonight, but the seller is not returning my messages. I am guessing it is already sold. It looks perfect for our grandchildren’s guest bedroom.

That’s about all for today. I am loving my bullet journal. I am keeping it simple. I have seen some where the person literally spends hours drawing multi-colored art work then puts a short quote on the page or whatever. That is fine for them, but I’d rather be piecing than recording it!!

Take care, my friends.

Monday, February 8, 2021

{Post 1,743} More of The Same


It seems like I am in the same routines I was when my children were young...meals, home schooling, etc. My grandson is learning like a champ. Honestly, I am not biased. He is so intelligent. He is staying overnight tonight. I love that kid.

We are moving some things around in our house. As of April, all our children will be gone from our home. If you’re new here, I have 8 children. Our house has 6 bedrooms and an office. We have a friend that just started working from home. They have a small house and 4 children. My husband offered to move his office upstairs into an empty bedroom and allow our friend to use his office that is entered through the garage. 

My husband is finishing up moving a stacking washer/dryer into my clothing closet. The original set are in the finished basement. After my son is married, we are going to rent out his bedroom, a full bath and the laundry room/kitchen (that is currently missing the kitchen part!). Having laundry facilities upstairs will help out with that transition a lot. We will need to put a door in the hallway to have a division between the two bedrooms downstairs. We are keeping one for our children’s use when they visit. Then we will put in new flooring after my son moves out. We need a stove/oven and a kitchen sink instead of a laundry room sink plus seating for the kitchen.There really is not much to do. We already have had several young single men interested in renting it.

Today I finished a long-term project (well, I actually finished it after working on it yesterday and today). I ordered a charm pack on January 4, and it just arrived a couple days ago. So I worked on it immediately. It is a pillow sham to match a twin-sized quilt I made this past summer. This is the quilt...

Here is the sham. I just made a quilted front with the design being the size of a standard pillow. Then I put a zipper up the middle of the back. I laid it wrong sides together and stitched in the ditch of the pattern area and again at 1/4” inside of that. Then I attached binding in the usual way.

With that project finished, I will get it in the mail tomorrow. A customer brought over a baby quilt today for me to machine quilt. I have two others, and I need to get started on them. 

Take care, and leave a comment so I know you were here.

Monday, January 25, 2021

{Post 1,742} Sewing Up A Storm

Here on my blog, quilting is my most common topic. But my life is full of so many more things. I do sew a lot—and it seems like more and more this year. When I was in PA recently, I met my sister for a meal. She was telling me about bullet journals (which I had never heard of, naturally). I started one for my UFOs, machine quilting projects, and tracking my sewing every day.

The hardest part was deciding how to set up a page and how to track actual specific work. Here are two pages from my bujo (that’s a cutesy abbreviation for bullet journal if you want to look up some ideas on Pinterest). The numbers circled in pink ovals are from the project list by number.

I am often asked how many quilts I’ve made in a year or how many customer quilt tops I’ve quilted. I have never keep track, other than looking back at my blog. I was not good at keeping lists or whatever. As we drove back from PA to NC, I came up with over 40 UFOs that I could remember, and that was before looking through all the storage drawers in my sewing room! I am adding machine quilting (MQ) requests on the same list with the MQ highlighted with orange colored pencils.

I am writing down quite a few details about the quilts I am piecing and finishing. I regret not doing that with quilts in the past. Especially what quilting pattern I used and sizes for sashings, borders, etc. I am enjoying this so far. 

Other breaking news for me...remember how disappointed I was to close my booth at the end of 2020? Well, someone asked about selling my quilted items in her brick and mortar store. I sent her pics of what I had then I took over the ones she picked out on Friday. One of them sold the very next day!! I was so excited. It’s a win-win for the owner and me. She doesn’t buy the items since they are sold on commission, and I don’t pay rent! Here are a couple pictures from the store. She bought 3 of my booth display pieces including this hutch. She took me right to it, but I didn’t even recognize it. I think it’s the surroundings. The store is so quaint and cute with wonderful ambiance and lighting.

Still home schooling my grandson. Today was a rough one, but we muddled through. I am hoping that tomorrow is a better day with his schoolwork.

Saturday AM I drove over 2 hours to my son’s fiancee’s house to bring her back to ours. I was halfway there and suddenly wondered, “why did I volunteer for this?” It was even my idea. As soon as we got back to my house, we cooked and cooked and cooked—something she has not done much of. But she was amazing and soooo very helpful. We made two desserts, two soups, and homemade crescent rolls. It was exhausting. But so much faster with two working.

Here she is trying my homemade banana pudding for the first time. She “used” to think her grandmother’s was the best. She said she can imagine being somewhere where a person is bragging on their banana pudding. She said she’d respond with, “Oh, you think you have the best recipe? That’s cute!” I laughed so hard. Why does everyone look 12 to me?

Be a blessing to someone around you! Life will be sweeter!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

{Post 1,741} PA Visit & Strings Started


Our youngest daughter had a new baby girl 12/31/2000, and we went up (7 hour drive) to see her and the rest of her family for a few days (5, in fact). We had a marvelous time, but I had allergy problems while I was there. I had a sore throat, cough, fever, etc...all allergy symptoms. I am just feeling better today. 

In my recent sewing room clean-up, I found a stack of blocks (except for 5) that would make a good-sized quilt. I made the other 5 blocks. Yesterday I laid them out and picked them up to “web the top” a la Bonnie Hunter’s teaching. I love doing that because one ends up with one stack of blocks, sashing, and cornerstones that does not get turned around while assembling. Here is a picture of the blocks that have yet to be added and the second picture is what I have finished so far. I L-O-V-E the sashing color. Aqua/teal is my new color, and I’m trying to incorporate it into my home here and there. This quilt will be for us to keep.

Yesterday I also finished, labeled, washed & dried this beauty for a customer. It is 72” x 90”.

Last, but not least, is a pic of me and my new granddaughter. Babies are such a great way to start new people.