Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Aching Back…and Wonderful Family


This has not been a good two weeks.  It started out to be perfect.  All my Christmas presents were wrapped, my Christmas cards were sent out and I had finished all my Christmas sewing.  Also, I got a JOB in a Quilt Store!!!

I had gone out to Mission Rose Quiltery to get some thread and the owner had posted a sign looking for someone to work part time.  Now, I had not even washed my hair that day but I figured what the heck and I was offered the job.  Yay!!!

I worked the two weeks before Christmas.  I woke up Christmas morning in a little pain but still able to walk.  I rested all day Saturday and then at 4:00 am I woke up my daughter and she took me to the ER.  The Dr. there thought it was a muscle spasm, gave me a shot and a pill and sent me home with a prescription.  No relief.

Monday, my husband took me to my doctor who agreed with the ER doctor.  Now I have been taking some heavy duty drugs that HAVE NOT KNOCKED ME OUT.  I have been up and down all night for the past 3 days.  I am going back to the doctor on Monday.

However, my family has been super.  My poor husband has been helping me every minute he is home.  My daughter Katie came over and picked up the house and did some laundry for me.  Lauren (who finally got a job in her field and started just this week) has been cooking all the meals and cleaning also.  My friend Mimi calls me everyday to make me laugh.  I am also sewing vicariously through her-she tells me what she is working on. I am only able to knit.  Mary, at the quilt shop told me to not worry about my job.

I  missed wishing everyone a Merry Christmas but I can still wish you all




Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Little Decorating

We have not decorated outside at Christmas for a couple of years-not since we got new siding, windows and front door for the house.  When I told my husband that I wanted to put out some decorations he told me I could do whatever I wanted as long as I didn’t use nails or tacks in the siding.  So I went out to Home Depot today and I did this.


I know it is not a lot, but it makes me happy.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Need to Knit

I have a quilt on my frame to be quilted (and bound) for a friend, another quilt that needs a binding, ANOTHER small quilt to be quilted and bound to give as a gift and several small projects to finish start before Christmas and what am I doing? 


I decided to knit a scarf.

This is the yarn that I used:


I am not one that knits often but occasionally a yarn will speak to me so I will pick up just one or two skeins “for something I might want to make in the future.”  I think this one was on sale at JoAnn’s last year.  It has a wonderful feel-very soft.  I got the pattern here. The pattern called for a finer yarn but this medium weight worked out well.

This project will hold me over for a few months until I feel the “need” again.  Time to sew!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Birthday…to Me!


Friday the 13th was my birthday-but I won’t tell you which one-and it was very nice!  The gorgeous flowers are from my very good friend Mimi.  It was extra special because Adrienne and Joe came up for the weekend.  Adrienne made me these:


They are keeping my feet very warm!

Katie and Lauren remembered that I had loved these at Williams and Sonoma:


I will make the cake mix for Thanksgiving!

My husband got me my new Juki a couple months ago, but he still remembered the day with a beautiful card.

I got myself (I am so bad!) a few things from the quilt shop:DSC01198

And this book from Barnes and Noble:


I love these Matryoshka Dolls:


The weekend was also special because today is our 30th Wedding Anniversary!  Katie put a nice write up and picture in the Sunday paper and we all went out to dinner on Sunday night.  This is exactly how I wanted to celebrate.  Thank you girls!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Have a Tutorial!

I made a simple cover for my sewing machine.  I have also made a couple as gifts so I thought I would show you all how I made them. 





1/2 yard each of fabric for front, lining, and trim

Fusible web- 1/2 yard (18” wide) for pocket, small piece for applique

Ric-rac or piping  (optional)

1 1/4 yards ribbon for ties (I used 1/4 “ wide satin)

Let’s start!

First measure your sewing machine.  You need to measure across the widest part of the machine.  Then using a tape measure, measure around the sewing machine, front to back.

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The measurements on my machine were 16” x 30”.  Add 1/2 inch to each measurement.  Cut one front and one lining using your measurements (ex. 16 1/2'’ x 30 1/2’’).

From trim fabric cut one piece 8 1/2” x 16 1/2” (front trim) and one piece 12 1/2” x 16 1/2” (back pocket).

From fusible web, cut one piece 8 1/2” x 16 1/2” (for pocket).

1.  Front trim:  Fold fabric in half wrong sides together and press.  Piece will measure 4 1/4” x 16 1/2”. Add trim if desired.  Pin to the front fabric along one lower edge with the folded edge of the trim fabric facing up (hard to describe, easy to do!)  Sew close to the top edge of the trim and baste trim to the sides.





2.  Applique:  For a gift I appliqued 4 hearts about two inches above the front trim.  For the tutorial, I just cut a circle from the trim fabric, fused it to the front above the trim.  And then I zig-zagged around the circle.  If you are a real over-achiever, feel free to add your trim to the applique!



3. Back Pocket:  Apply fusible web to fabric for back pocket.


Note-The reason I did this was because I wanted the pocket to be firmer (more firm?).  If this does not matter to you or you  are using a heavier fabric, feel free to skip this step)

Fold pocket in half wrong sides together and fuse.  Pocket should measure 6 1/4” x 16 1/2”.  Apply trim (optional).  Baste to the front fabric at the side edges opposite the front trim and applique. (Again, easy to do, hard to explain!).  You will have a long piece of fabric with the trim and applique at one edge and the pocket at the other edge.  Clear as mud?  Make sure the folded edge of the pocket is facing UP.



1. Cut 4 pieces of ribbon 10” long. Measure up 6” on the front and back sides of the cover and pin ribbon in place.  Note position of pins and ribbon.


2.  Place front and lining pieces right sides together.  Sew with a 1/4 “ seam around the cover leaving a 4”-5” opening along one side for turning.(See my pin trick-I always put 2 pins together to remind me to stop sewing so I will HAVE an opening.)


Note-I sew perpendicular at the start and end of my sewing to the edge of my fabric.  It helps to make a sharp fold when I press and sew the opening closed.


3. Trim corners, turn right side out and give the cover a good press,  Top stitch around, close to the edge.  If your are careful, you will not have to hand sew the opening closed.


4.  Finish pocket.  I chose to put a seam down the center of the pocket and then again about 4” away to make 3 sections on the pocket.  Doing it now attaches the front of the cover to the lining.


You are done! Congratulations!




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Quilt for my Bed

I have been practicing on my new Juki and Grace Quilt Frame.  When we first got everything set up I was afraid to even use it.  Then I got my nerve up and threaded the machine and wound a few bobbins.  I found a panel and put it on the frame.

First mistake-not enough backing at the top and bottom.  You really need at least 6-8” more(at the top AND bottom)  to attach the quilt comfortably although the directions say 10-12”.

Second mistake- and this is a biggy- do not use unfused fusible batting.  I know, a rookie mistake but it was just a practice piece and I did not want to go out and buy more, blah, blah, blah.  What a mess-it really dulled and junked up the needle.  I don’t even care for fusible when I use it the right way, what possessed me to use it the wrong way?

This piece came out so bad that I just chucked it.  How embarrassing-and a waste of time. 

Lesson learned again? Trying to save time usually wastes time.

My next experiment was a piece of cheater cloth that looked like a bunch of pieced diamonds.  This time I loaded it correctly and used a good batting.  I stitched rows of quilting using a different quilting pattern on each pass.  I learned what I liked to do, what I was good at, and what I needed to practice.  This piece I put a binding on and gave to my grandson as a play quilt.  My daughter has it on her couch so I guess it is not that bad.

I finally felt confident enough to work on a REAL quilt so I pulled out a top that I said I would quilt for a friend.  I just did an over all meander and it looks OK!

So of course I felt I was ready for a queen sized quilt.  It is a log cabin that I pieced about 5 years ago and it measures 84” x 108”.  It took two large spools of thread and 22 bobbins (from another spool).  I quilted 2-3 hours every day and it took me 5 days.  I did a close meander over the whole quilt.

I have forgotten how bulky a large quilt is to attach a binding completely by machine.  And of course I did not clear off my sewing table properly (although it was completely cleaned off when I finished!).  My arms ached when I was done!

And here it is!


Here is a close-up of the quilting:


I am pleased at how well it turned out.  I have a few more quilts to do(of course!!) and maybe I will actually get caught up.  Maybe….

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sew Many Pictures!

It has been so long since I have blogged.  I have been busy with family, working a little and, of course, sewing. All wonderful excuses for being lazy aren’t they?  So now I can catch up with some pictures.

A couple of weeks ago Michael and I went to the apple farm with Katie’s family.  I forgot my camera but here are some pictures that Katie sent me:



I participated in this year’s Angel Swap organized by Helen Stubbings from Hugs From Helen.  My partner was Veronica Donoso from Chile.  While I  can’t show you the finished gifts (I mailed them out today), I will show you the wrapped goodies:


I made 4 gifts and then I added some extras to the package.

Finally, last night we went to Katie’s house to carve pumpkins:DSC01144








I have been practicing on my new Juki and quilt frame.  It is getting a little bit easier although I still have more to learn.  More on that in my next post……

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Something Special

I belong to a Yahoo group called The Quilted Table.  We exchange ideas for table toppers, runners and quilted items for the table.  We recently completed a fall swap.  I sent my partner 9 fat quarters and she made me a table topper and I made my partner a runner from fat quarters she sent me.   I received my topper last week:



Isn’t it pretty?  It fits my round table perfectly and looks so nice in my dining area.  And as a special treat she sent me a cute little owl out of some of my scraps.  Isn’t he sweet?


Of course I forgot to take a picture of my runner before I sent it off.

Oh yes, my partner was Melissa and here is a link to her website.  Mel is very creative.  Why don’t you stop by and say hello!

Catching Up

Did summer fly by for you?  It sure did for me.  One minute I was looking forward to sitting under my tree reading and the next my husband and I were closing up the pool.  As I sit here it is windy, damp and cold.  But fall is still my favorite time of year.  



Here are a couple of pictures from my deck.  My burning bush is turning nicely.


The living room is done.  That is, we are done painting, the floors have been refinished and all the new woodwork as been installed.  However the room is still empty:


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The green is showing up a little grey in the pictures but I think you get the idea.  The stairs turned out very nicely and I like the white trim against the floors.  And I love the floors!  (I confess-I have been seen sliding across the floor in my socks)

So because we have no furniture I felt the need to fill the room with this!




It has been set up for a few weeks now, but I haven’t really worked on it,  If truth be told, I am scared to death!  It took me about two hours yesterday to load some practice fabric on it and I still am not sure if I did it correctly.  The pictures that come with the directions are not very good and I am challenged when ever arrows are included in any directions.  I guess I just have to get up my nerve and get going!  If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them!!