Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sew-In Saturday

This is a sew-in Saturday. DD2 (on the left) is piecing a top for one of our customers. She is patiently trimming down 2" HST. A laborious process. DD3 (on the right) is ironing her blocks for a quilt top she is making to list on eBay. It's called Party Mix. The pattern and all the fabrics are Thimbleberries.

Behind them is my design wall (which is 48" x 60"). Behind it is a gas log fireplace. We never use it, obviously. We have another one upstairs in the living room (directly above it). On top of the hearth is my 2-drawer filing cabinet. I lay UFO tops and blocks on there until I quilt them or sell them. You can see a couple works in progress there.

I'm hand quilting my string quilt while I visit with the girls. Making a lot of progress on that. I nearly have the Baptist fans finished on one edge.

The old dryer is all dead. A new dryer was purchased and installed this AM and has dried a few loads already. Yes, our old one was a goner. Thank God we had the money to buy a new washer and dryer. I hate to even consider the alternative!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Dryer...Dead or Only Mostly Dead?

My DH has had a rough work week. Deadlines, quotes that have to go out NOW while doing a hundred other things. Our washer bit the dust last week, the dryer appears to have died yesterday, and when I was leaving to drive my son to work this AM, the car wouldn't start.

Guess it's time to adopt my sister's family motto..."if it ain't broke, it ain't ours!"

DH was going to take the dryer to the appliance place and have them listen to it. They don't charge a "visit" fee if you do that, saving close to $100. He couldn't get over there before they closed, so he and my 2 oldest boys are looking at it now. There's a shot of the action at the top. That's the drum in the foreground of the pic. DS1 is on the right, DS2 is on the left, and DH is in the background.

I hope it's only "mostly dead". If you've seen Princess Bride, you recognize that line from the movie.


Roll Out the Red, White, and Blue

Here is a close-up of the runner I quilted and bound today. I started to finish a flannel UFO as promised, but my dryer died! I hadn't washed the fabrics for the borders yet, and that's all I need to do to finish piecing it.

So I got out all my UFOs (there aren't that many) and decided to quilt and bind this runner. The stars are paper pieced. They finish at 3-1/2" square. The entire runner measures 14" X 33".

I machine quilted with stippling in the blue with blue thread. I am now hand quilting around each star (you can see some of my stitches in the top picture). I have 4 stars finished, and 6 more to go. This will be my tiny travel project until it's finished. The stars poofed up w/o the hand quilting.

This will look lovely on my antique sideboard come summertime. I started this runner last summer and ran out of steam on piecing the stars. I really dislike paper piecing, although it does make lovely finished tiny points.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Floopy Flower Echo Quilting

Above is the machine quilting I did on the latest I Spy quilt top. Check out Sunbonnet Sue sledding in the top picture!

I actually loaded it on my Little Gracie frame and attempted to quilt it with my Singer on there. The thread broke twice in the first few minutes. It was so frustrating! Plus, it is difficult to do smooth curves on there. Please don't be jealous of my's more frustrating than one can possibly imagine. If I had the money, I'd get a long-arm in a minute.

Speaking of money, our dryer died today. DD3 says it just misses the washer it was married to for 10 years!! I have a feeling they will be reunited soon.

The above pictures are "floral echo" quilting from Pajama Quilter Reloaded. When Dawn shows how to do this pattern, she says, "floop, floop, floop" as she draws the petals. So I think of this as "floopy flowers". Practicing on a busy quilt such as this hides a multitude of mistakes. I can only dream of using a machine that is easily guided and one can see far enough ahead to actually PLAN. Sorry--I'm a little frustrated right now.

It has been fun to make I Spys for families we know. Maybe once I make one for everyone I know personally, I will start making them for charity. That is a long way off at this point.

Have a good evening,


This is a quilt DD2 pieced for one of our customers. It was packaged as a kit with Mary Engelbreit fabrics. Definitely NOT Thimbleberries! It will have prairie points around the edge and finish around 40" square. I am so glad my girls enjoy piecing. The quilting will probably come later!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scrappy Trips Top Finished

This is an all-over picture and close-up of my Scrappy Trips quilt top. It measures about 72" square. I am going to quilt it in black thread, hopefully starting on it tomorrow. I put a 9-patch in the corner instead of taking the border fabric all the way to the edge. I used up every bit of the strips I had cut, so I cut 36 more 2-1/2" squares for the corner blocks.

I rewatched part of the Pajama Quilter Reloaded DVD, and I want to do some freehand floral echo quilting on this quilt. I'll try to get a close-up of the quilting if I can.

The colors in the picture are not true on MY monitor. It was taken in the sewing area under fluorescent lights. This was made with all Thimbleberries (surprise, surprise), so the colors are dark. I did throw a few lighter ones in just to give it some sparkle.

Off to church tonight in about 30 minutes. We are keeping 2 of my Canadian friends' girls for a couple days. They are going to try to induce her labor tomorrow AM. Be praying all goes well for her. Not much sewing time for the next few days, but I think I've gotten my share's worth today and yesterday!

Can you believe I'm already thinking about the next piecing project? Of course you can!!

~Joan, who is going to tackle a UFO next...a flannel one

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Scrappy Trips Nearing Completion!

This is the result of my laundry (sewing) day. I stayed up later than usual sewing. When this top is finished, it will be 72" square. I put 16 blocks together. The inner border is a 2-1/2" strip of a black with a tiny green and red print. I will put 2 rows of 2-1/2" squares outside of that on the three sides that don't have one yet, then a 6" border of the same black.

I hope to try some adventurous quilting on this one. We will see!

On another positive note, I took a walk with DS4 (child #8) this afternoon. I am trying to exercise occasionally. I also moved my ironing board all the way across the room. You can stop laughing now! Every little step helps.

Until tomorrow,


Which Setting Do You Like?

A productive "laundry day" (translated...sewing day). I wanted to try one of Bonnie's scrappy trips blocks, but one wasn't enough. The top picture is a scrappy bargello (sort of a zigzag), the bottom is scrappy trips around the world (notice that in the bottom pic the center chain in every block is reds). Which do you prefer?

I thought if I made a scrappy Trips Around the World, we could designate it as our "van quilt". You know, for when we make all those trips (that we never take!).

These are big blocks--12-1/2" square unfinished. I hope to sew at least two more tonight. It's hardly worth making quilts less than 80" square since my children are so grown up. So I'll press on with these blocks (get on?? Quilting joke!).


Perfectly Puzzling

You know someone loves you when they KNOW you. DD3 put this puzzle together for me so I could laminate it and put it up in my sewing area. She knows how much I like pumpkins!

This is one of the beautiful pictures by Rebecca Barker. If you've never seen her Quiltscapes, you're missing out. She has a traditional quilt in the foreground and it morphs into an appropriate scene in the background. This is called Pumpkin Vine. It matches the green walls in my sewing area perfectly.

There is a product called Save~A~Puzzle. It brushes on and dries in an hour. It laminates the puzzle and makes it strong enough to lift as one solid piece. I attached this to the wall with scrapbooking "zots". The puzzle is 20" x 27".

I have another puzzle in my sewing area that I'll save for another post. It's Grandmother's Flower Garden.

Today is laundry day for DH and I. With our big family, we have assigned days because we need to do laundry every weekday. That translates into lots of sewing time for me (today) because I have to be handy to hear the washer or dryer going off (of course!).

My goal for today is to quilt and bind the two broken dishes quilt tops I have. One is for my sister, and the other is for a friend at church. They are about 24" square, so it should be a breeze.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Two Quilt Finishes Today

Two quilts completely finished Carolina Crossroads and another I Spy (above). I showed a small part of this I Spy before when I quilted the wonky feathers on it. Both of these quilts are now bound and washed. I am keeping a list of quilts completed this year on the left side of my blog for posterity.

This will go to some Canadian friends that have been at our church for 6 years (I think). They are expecting their 7th child any day. I've made them a couple other quilty things, but never an I Spy. So this is for the Moores. Don't tell them!! I want it to be a surprise.

A Post Without A Picture is Like a Day Without Sunshine

Above is my new macaroni and cheese recipe. Why is this noteworthy, you might be asking yourself? I LOVE mac & cheese. I've hardly met one that I didn't like. Well, mac & cheese was on the menu tonight. DD2 was cooking. When she had just enough time to make it, she told me the recipe was NOT in our recipe box. I looked on for a new one. Who puts stewed tomatoes in their mac & cheese? Or drained tuna? Come on! All I want is "mac" and "cheese". In a moment of complete desperation I called my sister. Several years ago I gave my BIL a recipe box filled with my recipes, and I thought it might have been one of those. No such luck. But she did give me the above recipe. If I ever find my original recipe, it will be trashed. This was PERFECT. In case you can't read it in the picture, here it is...

2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked & drained (measure before cooking)
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 oz. Velveeta

Cook pasta in boiling water. Meanwhile in a saucepan, melt butter, whisk in salt, pepper, and flour. Whisk constantly over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add milk and whisk constantly until mixture is thick. Take off heat and add cheeses. Pour over cooked, drained pasta and mix well. Transfer to serving bowl. No baking needed!!

Write this one down for those children and grandchildren in your life. You'll be thanking me! It's so creamy.

Our family has to double the recipe, of course.

I realized the other day that I have severely limited my blog to quilting. There's lots more in my life than just that. As time goes on, I will be sharing some of those other facets.

For now, I'll leave you with the mac & cheese. I almost posted without a picture, but as the title says, a post w/o a picture...


Sunday, January 27, 2008

OK, OK--Pictures of CC Quilt

Here is a close up and a whole quilt shot of my Carolina Crossroads. DS1 and DS2 held it up for me. They could barely make it clear the floor although they are both nearly six feet tall!

DS2 said he'd be happy to use this as his new bed quilt since it is large enough to cover him up completely. Can that boy drop a hint, or what?

Yes, it was cruel not to include pictures on my last post. I won't do it again.


Carolina Crossroads Complete Except Sewing Down Binding!

I don't have a picture for this post, but I have great news! My Carolina Crossroads quilt is complete except for hand sewing down the binding. I don't have as many scraps as I thought before starting this quilt. I used up my odd lengths of leftover bindings for the binding. I limited it to blacks and browns. I had to cut one little piece to make ends meet. The extra batting and backing have been trimmed off, and now I'm heading up to sew that binding down!!

Mine ended up being 84" square after borders.

One of my ways to be frugal is to save pieces of binding that are leftovers. When I make a really scrappy quilt, I sew them in one continuous and motley-colored piece and use that instead of cutting new binding for a quilt. I keep it in one of my drawers on a little 3 drawer chest that lives under my cutting table. For a small wall hanging, I'll often have a piece ready to go of one fabric that matches. That's like winning at BINGO!!

My two oldest boys just got back from a Civil Air Patrol meeting. DS2 got to co-pilot and DS1 got to ride in a Cessna 172B for over an hour. They are on Cloud 9, so to speak. They loved every minute. It was the first time in the air for DS2.

I knew that with a large family things would get busier and busier, but it's happening exponentially overnight. DS1 and DS2 have jobs outside our home. DS1 was called in to work 5-8 tonight when he was formerly not working tonight. DS2 is working with a contractor friend and works all day (8-5) M, T, and Th. My daughters are always on the go helping new mothers, babysitting, doing yard work, delivering baked goodies, etc. I think I need one of those office flow charts that has "so and so--out; will return ____" just to keep track of everyone.

I'm feeling much better. Had the stomach flu last night. My stomach still objects when I move quickly, but I don't plan on doing that for the rest of the night, LOL! I haven't eaten anything today either, so I'll test drive that tummy at a later date.

Have a great day.