Friday, December 31, 2010


Since I plan on making a bunch of these, I figured I should make one in its entirety before going hog wild. I see some things I would change already. Colors I would or would not use next time.

I put a piece of muslin behind my snowman (which is made from batting). You can still see the green through it slightly, but it's much better than without it.

I am going to use black seed beads for the eyes and mouth. The knots are too big for my liking.

A friend of our family called earlier and asked if he could take our whole family out for supper. We just got back, but now we're going to their house for some games and fellowship.

Happy new year!


Something New

One of my blog readers is sending bricks for my Texas Braid. They won't be here for a few days, so in the mean time I am giving that project a rest.

My sister made one of these doorknob hangers for her MIL a while back. I think it is adorable. I'm going to start piecing one today. Then, if all goes well, I will be making these for Christmas presents for NEXT YEAR. Ho ho ho, ha ha ha, hee hee hee...imagine ME making presents ahead of time!!

Off to begin selecting fabric for the first. Without the hanger, it is about 4" x 10".


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

View of All of the Texas Braid So Far

But first, a picture of my morning view. This is the YMCA I frequent nearly every morning (except Sundays...yeah!!). I am always glad I went...later. This AM I increased the weight on 3 of my machines. It's amazing how much of a difference five pounds makes.

Once school was underway, I had two of my boys hold up the Texas Braid so you could get a peek at the whole thing. It's 98" long, so about 1/3 of it is draped over the back of the design wall in all my other pictures. I like how the occasional really dark or light brick makes the top seem to sparkle, but the red cornerstones down the middle of each row gives the eye a place to rest.

Calling to order a Handi-Quilter now. Yippee!!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Promised Kathie a Picture

I was reading Kathie's blog and saw that she just pieced a little snowball quilt. Hers is blue with white snowballs and so cute. I am nearly finished handquilting this little runner. I started making the blocks because I was going to make a sampler quilt, then I decided I should not take on another big time-consuming project. Aren't you proud of me? So I used the blocks to make this runner instead.

Nearly finished with the quilting. I did a double diagonal line (1/4" apart) through the center of each snowball. One line would have taken half the time, but it is so small! This has been my YMCA project for about a week. I work on it after I finish my circuit on the exercise machines and am waiting for the others in my family. No problem for me to wait! More hand quilting time.


Monday, December 27, 2010

11/16 of The Way There, and Then Some

Here is my Texas Braid, 11 rows completely finished, and a couple partial rows in the works. This has been fun to work on. I highly recommend Bonnie Hunter's book, Adventures with Leaders and Enders. This has been one of the easiest quilts to make ever. Not one pin used in the construction, which proves that careful cutting and proper pressing ensure a nice, flat quilt top. Tomorrow I am going to machine baste around the top and bottom edges of the quilt. Every edge is bias!

In the pic above, the quilt hangs down behind my design wall about another 48" or so.

Will likely be ordering a Handi-Quilter tomorrow!! Good times!


They've Driven Off Into The Sunset

***Both of the following pictures were taken by my daughter, Susanna. Many apologies for not giving her credit earlier.***

Actually--make that sunRISE!!

Here is the scene on Steve's car dashboard. These are their beloved Chick-fil-A mini moos, Timmy and Roxie. Susanna and Emily will be in FL for about a week. We had a grand visit while Steve was here.

Above is a picture we took just moments before they left. The travelers are in their traveling clothes (a la Sound of Music) on the bench in the front. Some of us (ahem) had just been awakened moments before the picture, but at least we're all present!!

Hoping to get back to "normal" soon.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eight Rows Strong...Halfway There

Half finished! I cut up a bunch of scraps instead of sewing more this afternoon. It was difficult to do what I should instead of what I wanted to do, but I'm glad now. I cut up small pieces that had to be pressed heavily first, so it was time-consuming, but they are gone for good from my scrap box now. I plan to just cut some more tomorrow if I have time.

Our Christmas Eve and Day holiday will be laid back, so there won't be a lot to do, but I want to spend time with my family while we're off school and my wonderful husband is off work.

There is a possibility that I might be getting a Handi-Quilter machine soon. I can barely stand to think about it for the excitement!! Calm down, calm down, calm down...Some have asked how the sign language interpreting went last night. I was pleasantly pleased with the ease in which it "came back". It's been a couple years since I've signed anything to a deaf person (I occasionally sign to a child across the building at church or whatever). My husband said he was proud of me, so that's all I needed to hear. The deaf man was very pleasant and expresssive. He said I was a wonderful interpreter, so I was happy.

The above picture is the sign for interpreter, by the way.

Off to practice a song my family is singing for Sunday.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Seven Rows Now

One good thing about my mess-up on Monday is that when I finished piecing a row today, I could add TWO rows without any more sewing!

My goal for this quilt is to have 16 rows wide. I am nearly halfway there!

Here is my Texas Braid with seven rows. Only nine more to go. I will cut some more bricks when I get back from errands. I have some clear shoe boxes that I keep small scraps in. Since the acquisition of my sister's stash (nearly 600 yards), those boxes are overflowing. I must deplete them a little this afternoon if there is time. I want to start cutting fabrics for a "tumbler" quilt, which I've always thought of as a thimble quilt. The shape of the pieces reminds me of thimbles. I want it scrappy (what else?), so this is a good opportunity to cut out a bunch of unique pieces for that.

Isn't it strange how entirely different people's lives are from each other's? My errands are going to be picking up 7 fifty-pound bags of wheat berries, taking my daughter to take her driver's license test, and preparing to interpret our Christmas service at church tonight for a deaf man. How are you spending YOUR day?


Emily's Engagement Ring

My Emily is a unique girl (like everyone else). She does not like diamonds. I wouldn't go as far as to say she HATES diamonds, but there is a strong negative emotion going on there. She says they look cold. Some may choose to differ. Her fiance (I can barely grasp that I actually typed that word in reference to one of my children's relationships for the first time) did good. Here is a picture of her engagement ring...

It is so perfect for her.

Off to the races,


Monday, December 20, 2010

I've Gained a Son!!

This is the best picture I can do for right now. Steve asked Emily to marry him today, and she. said. YES!!


How the Mighty Have Fallen

I was so proud of my sewing efforts today. It's been a packed day with doing my thing at the Y, visiting 5 different stores, mailing off my flannel quilt to be machine quilted, planning a get-together for 30 for tomorrow night (at my house), etc., etc. That was all before lunch!

It's my laundry day, so I planned to sew while processing that. I was pushing myself along, and was so happy to get another braid row finished. When I went to sew it to the rest of the top, I realized I made the "wrong" row. There are two types of braids in the quilt. I had hung my top upside down on the design wall and didn't realize it until I went to line up the new row. Oh, well...I will use it after I piece one of the "right" ones!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Watch It Grow...

I added another row to the Texas Braid this morning. Last night was an unusual night. I went to bed when the family started watching a movie. I felt horrible...dizzy, nauseated. But I feel fine today.

Emily drove down to FL yesterday to surprise Steve. Steve was driving up here starting at 8:30 PM and bringing my oldest son home as well. So they arrived here about 7:15 this AM. They were all exhausted, so they all went to bed. I woke up four people to see if anyone wanted to go to the YMCA with me and got no takers.

So now I'm back from the Y and sewing some more. It's SNOWING!! Snow always looks so peaceful and lovely floating down.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Texas Braid - Another Six Inches Wider

I added one more vertical row to the Texas Braid. There is a ton of sewing involved in finishing even one row. The red squares are added to the cream bricks, then either a color or a cream/red unit is added and added, and added until you have 51 red cornerstones in a row. Then there is the trimming.
I cut lots more bricks from my scraps this afternoon and finished this row and nearly one more. The one more is the wrong one to add to either side, so it might be a while before I get the "right" one finished. There will be 16 rows in the final quilt.
For you non-quilters, the red blocks are the center of each row. There are four rows in the above picture.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Texas Braid Beginning

I was able to squeeze in a little piecing time tonight. Isaac offered to help me press, and that always makes things go faster. Here we are, with him to the left of the ironing board and me to the right at the sewing machine. It was still daylight when we started. What are we making??

We are making this...Texas Braid sections. This is from Bonnie Hunter's book, Adventures with Leaders & Enders. I have decided to limit my piecing time to this project until it's a finished top. You can stop laughing now.

This picture is a close up.

Here's one a little further out. Guess how many pins I used for the piecing and putting the rows together? See the end of the post for the answer.
And finally, all of it. Well, at least as much as you can see on my five-foot high design wall. I folded the top down (that makes it sound fun, like a convertible!!). The pieces are over 100 inches long, so folded they must be.

Zero. That is how many pins I used. When you assemble the sections, you press the pieces in such a way that you need not one pin to sew the rows to each other. Ta da!!

Tears of Joy

My dear daughter, Emily, has the feet of an old woman. One who has worn ill-fitting shoes. For for 80 years. The strange thing is that she is only 19. Just a few weeks ago I saw her bare-footed for the first time in a really long time. The shape and obvious pain of her feet was more than I could bear. She has never complained about her feet hurting. At once I started researching what her problem was and how it could be fixed.

To make a long story short, I found a solution. The only doctor I could find that does it the "right" way is in California. Since he probably won't come here, I'm sending her there (with her dad). We hoped to get both feet done before June. One little complication is that our insuance anniversary is in early May. That means if we did one foot before the date and one after, we get to pay the deductible TWICE. Since that is a sizeable amount, we are glad things worked out like they did.

God graciously worked out so many details. Last night my husband called to tell me that they can do her first and worse foot on January 4, 2011. I literally cried with joy because that is so soon. It's the last week of her college break. They said (and I believe) that she can walk within a couple days of the surgery. Typical bunion surgery has a 4 week to 4 month period in which the patient cannot bear weight on the foot that has been operated upon. Not with this method! I am so happy for her!!

We called her doctor this AM for an appointment (timing is of the essence with her lab work and so on). Usually it's a few days' wait. But this time, "Can you be here in 40 minutes?" Well, yeah!!

Praising God, from Whom all blessings flow...


Saturday, December 4, 2010

He is Here...Again!!

My daughter's boyfriend arrived at 3:30 this AM, unbeknownst to her. I've known he was coming since yesterday AM, and it was EXHAUSTING to keep such a secret! Talk about pleasantly surprised!! I was so happy for her.

We all sat and laughed for 30 minutes or so after he was revealed!! Here is a picture of the happy couple...Emily is on a high stool behind Steve, who is on a chair (for those who had to know!)...

Needing to go to bed. Soon.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Post #636

There is so much I want to update about that the post number seemed the best way to cover it all...

This has been a great past week or so. I realize now that I didn't take a single picture of all the festivities. It's not that I've been distracted. I can usually manage to...SQUIRREL!! My son, Benjamin, took a picture of this little rascal in our side yard recently. A post w/o a picture is quite boring, so here you go...
If you haven't seen the movie Up, you won't understand that little joke. I have had a million things going on at once this past week getting ready for Thanksgiving, having some very special company, and then recovering.

I hate to admit it, but doing regular exercise has been the best thing I've done in a very long time. It's been over two weeks that I've gone to the Y six days a week. I am sleeping so much better, and can stand for longer periods of time w/o my legs aching. I really put that to the test on Thursday. My husband and 5 of the kids went to GA to celebrate with his dad and extended family. I stayed here with the 2 youngest and had 2 very special young men join us for meals and a cooking extravaganza. I roasted two turkeys, baked a ham, made two batches of home made cookies, two congealed salads, sweet potato casserole, apple pie, pumpkin pie bars, a peanut butter pie, a caramel pecan cheesecake pie, and several gallons of tea. I also made breakfast, lunch, and supper for the 5 of us here. I had dishpan hands all the way up to my elbows!

Emily's boyfriend and his parents arrived here about two the next morning. We had a great day of fellowship with them on Friday then went to hear Messiah performed by Emily's college chorale. Inspiring!!

I have squeezed in some sewing here and there. Steve's mom showed me how to end a line of quilting w/o tying a knot. I have adapted it to starting a row of quilting the same way. I gave it some test tugs, and it really holds. Keep learning!!

I have a few new projects to share. Meanwhile, I'm making table runners for some very special ladies in my life. Will show pictures of those after they are distributed.

Must head off to bed...I've been very consistent at the YMCA, and 5:30 AM comes mighty early.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Cookies Ahoy!

Thus starteth the cookie season. Tonight Rachel, Isaac, and I are baking Snickerdoodles and Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin cookies. Trying to start some good memory-making times.


Finished Steps and Stars with Dwirling

Ready to go into the dryer...

Dried and on top of my queen-sized bed below. I estimate this finished at about 68" x 86". You can really see the machine quilting in this one. It is the dwirling pattern from the Pajama Quilter DVD. It was very difficult on a DSM, but I think it would be easy on a long-arm. Too many starts and stops on a DSM for me.

Here it is in its entirety. I had thought about giving this away, but I want to enjoy just looking at it around the house for a while.

Test driving a new Parker house Roll recipe (for Thanksgiving) this AM. Not that all our rolls aren't Parker house rolls, but these are the genuine article.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feeling Fuzzy

The last week or so, I've been piecing these flannel blocks...I'd make a set of 3 fabrics each night. The pattern is called Fat Quarter Squares. There were 21 fat quarters in the kit, each one making 3 blocks that finish 9-1/2" square. I have not sewn with flannel for some time, and it was...was...different. The flannel swallows up any stitches. I'm thankful I didn't have to rip any out. Don't think that would have gone very well. The finished quilt is 63" x 81"

I am bartering yardage of fabric in exchange for machine quilting service by a friend. I don't think I could wrestle this in all it's fuzzy puffiness under my domestic machine. Notice how if you twist each block the opposite way, the only seams that need to meet are the corners of the blocks?

Here is a look a little farther out. Pretty colors. Most are Thimbleberries. I bought this as a kit so long ago that I don't even remember if I lived in this house at the time.

And even farther back. My camera was left in GA two weekends ago. I just found out that it was mailed yesterday. So I snagged my son's to take the pictures.

I will sew the blocks to each other soon. Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Steps and Stars Just Needs Hand Sewing

I know--the above picture isn't a quilt. But it is one of my lovely offspring! Wearing my cow apron! And my chef's hat. What is going on there? Cookie baking, of course. Just a pic for my post. I left my camera in GA last weekend so I borrowed this from my daughter's blog.

I did a lot of sewing this past few days. I machine quilted a quilt for a customer (Ruby Slippers) and made then sewed the binding onto the front by machine. Then I also finished the quilting on my Steps and Stars quilt. I have about 1-1/2 sides hand-sewn to the back, so that is coming right along.

I tried to get my ancient Singer free motion quilting machine up and running, but the thread broke after just a few inches of stitching over. and. over. and. over...very exasperating. I am debating about whether to try to get it repaired (again!) or just pitch it. to come when my camera arrives home. I wish I had taken a pic of the Ruby Slippers. I just did loop-de-loops on it, but it did look lovely.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Joan's Windows with Two Sides Bordered

Here is the intersection of four of the blocks. You can see the 1/2" finished frame around each block. Varying these colors would make for a very dramatic quilt. I was trying to play it down some with the gold.

Here is the pieced border. I cut up the extra strips I had already cut for the center and used them so it would sort of match, but it would be hard to tell if a stray got in there!

What appears to be spots are drops of water from the iron. Didn't wait for them to dry.

Lastly, a picture of my progress tonight. I did not have anything else to do. My oldest four were at college or work and my youngest four were watching a movie. I'm so lonesome I could cry.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Joan's Windows

I worked on a cool quilt tonight. I was rewarding myself for cleaning off my cutting table. I feel like a new woman!!

I am not into randomness when it comes to quilts. I typically select the blocks with carefully measured and very precise units. But not for this one. It's in a magazine. The name of the pattern is Sonja's Windows. But my name is not Sonja.

You piece two blocks that are later trimmed to 14" square, so I cut a bunch of scraps from my cutting table top into 15" lengths. All I did for the set of two blocks was make sure I didn't use the same fabric in each. I didn't try to match the colors in each block or anything. I also used a variety of widths of strips. From one-inch to three-inches wide.

Then you lay the blocks so that the seams of one go horizontally and the other is vertical.

Trim and pin. I pin very sparsely. The fewer pins the better.

My camera is acting up. It skipped the picture of sewing a 1/4" seam around all the edges and then cutting diagonally through the sewn blocks. The next pic shows me peeling back the left triangle to reveal that block.

Here are all twenty of the blocks laid out with sashing. There will be sashing all around the edge as well. My camera also pretended to take pics of sewing a one-inch cut piece of gold around each block. That will be a half-inch finished frame. It really sets the blocks off.

I haven't picked a border fabric yet. If I remember correctly (and I rarely do), there is a border of another color, then a pieced border with the half-inch finished gold on both sides, then another outer border of the same color. Green? Blue? Cream?? Black??

This makes a very large throw. So fun to piece. You just piece five sets of two blocks and you end up with 20 blocks.

My camera has been giving me fits. The pictures are slightly blurry and it doesn't save each picture I take. Hmmm...old age? I mean of the camera, not me.

Naturally I used every color imaginable in this quilt...blues, blacks, pinks, purples, oranges, greens, golds, creams,'s all good.


Child, Where Have You Been?

The above is a picture of scenery in Canada. I don't think THAT is where she's been. My sweet, sweet Susanna saw my Steps and Stars quilt from the back (neatly folded in my sewing room). She said, "What's that?" I pointed out the nifty quilting from the back. She opened it up and commented, "I've never seen this before!" She spends far more time in my sewing room than all of my other 7 children combined. Proof that I could sew a queen-sized quilt right under someone's nose and they would not notice.


Saturday, October 30, 2010


This is a new recipe I tried for supper. It's a pizza braid. I used cubed ham, browned pork sausage, pizza sauce, and 2 cups of mozzerella cheese for the filling.

The recipe is from a blog (that I can't remember visiting...). It's Your family will appreciate it.

I mixed the dough in my bread machine and it. turned. out. perfect.


Steps and Stars Machine Quilting Started

Here is the progress on the Steps and Stars. These first two pictures show the dwirling from the front then the back. I am getting the hang of this. It is different for me...well, new is the word, I guess. The quilted lines are about an inch apart.

Here is a triple paisley shape in the border with thread matching the border print. Again, this is from the front and the next picture is from the back.

I am taking a break for now, but hope to do more tonight. I have had lots of questions from other home quilters using a domestic machine. I feel like all of us quilters should help each other do our personal best. I have a lot to learn, but here are some tips from me. Maybe you will find some of them useful...

*I use straight pins to baste the quilt. I put all the pins going in from right to left. They are about 4-6 inches apart in a grid. The reason I use straight pins is that it is so quick to whip them out as I quilt and toss them towards the magnetic pin cushion.

*I often quilt the border first to get rid of a bunch of pins so it's less like wrestling with a porcupine.

*Pick a design that gives your a place to stop (with needle down to keep the quilt from slipping) so you can reposition your hands.

*There are times I don't use any aids in moving the quilt. I just purchased a pair of Machingers and LOVE them. They are snug but not warm, give enough fingertip control to remove or place pins, and are inexpensive.

*Practice drawing new designs on paper or a whiteboard to imbed the design in your mind.

*Plan ahead for where you're going to quilt toward so you don't "paint yourself into a corner".

*Keep as much of the quilt up on your sewing surface as possible to prevent drag on the quilt as you sew it.

*Prefill as many bobbins as you think you will need.

*Practice practice, practice!

That's it!


Steps and Stars on Deck Today

I plan to start machine quilting on this quilt top today. I've had a productive last few days. Today it's just my husband and 3 youngest boys home. I will have to make a couple meals, do a little more room clean up (Susanna will be expecting great things when she gets home tomorrow), and a little more putsy-ing around (it's been a long time since I've heard someone say "putsy")...

As I searched for an inexpensive place to buy the new Pajama Quilter DVD (and didn't find one!), I came across Dawn's gallery. I am going to do dwirling on this top just because I've wanted to try it, and it looks so cool on this quilt.

Off to the races, and thankful for the energy to get things done today. I pieced a backing for the Steps and Stars last night. Had to make the backing 4" wider than it would have been just using width of fabric pieces, so I used some more 4-patches from the "where did these come from" drawer.


Friday, October 29, 2010

This Makes Me Smile

This is the first thing you would see if you came in my front door, our main entrance.

Have you seen the acrylic signs? I don't think signs is the right word. Wall words is more like it. I picked this up at (of all places) Wal-mart this morning. I have seen these in magazines and in decorating blogs. I. love. them.

I was picking up som DIF for my son who is taking down a wallpaper border in his bedroom, in preparation for painting in there tomorrow (can I get an amen??). I glanced up, and there it was. This was calling my name.

Despite there being few directions, I managed to get it up straight, centered, and fairly evenly spaced. In person there is very little glare from the acrylic backing.

I am showing a pic of the lamp on and off. This is so heart-warming!!

Best part? Even with the measuring, putting up a "level" made out of paper, etc., it only took about 15 minutes to apply. As someone who has painted signs on wood that take hours and hours, that blows my mind.

I don't usually post more than once in a day, so don't miss my other new post below.


Last Pictures - I Promise!

Seeing as I could snag my 4-footed quilt holder, I took two last pictures of the Bull's Eye quilt before it goes into family circulation (that means I may never see it again!). It measures about 96" x 86". I can't express how much I like this quilt. Leeanne got it just right in the comments. She said she liked it because it looks antique, but it's new.

Off to do some more cleaning up and decorating.