Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Long Pause

Another long break between posts. Its been a busy month. Birthdays, anniversary, crazy busy at work. I have commissioned quilts  I am working on, plus I made 9 sets of pillowcases (so far) and a few more to go.

Never mind the cloud fabric under this. That is the backing fabric. This was a free pattern online when Laura Gunn's Poppy line came out. I thought it would be fun to use in this "life on a farm in NW Florida" themed quilt. It is full size. For a 15 month old boy. Tyler will not be happy when it goes away. He says "Wow!" every time he sees this giant I Spy.

And this Christmas quilt is going to a new home soon. There is talk of a coordinating king size to go with it in the near future.  The custom quilting on it is just gorgeous. Pine cones and boughs. I made it for my grandparents but they don't like the weight of it. Too heavy for them to sleep under. Gramma thought I might be able to sell it and have some money. And I will! This was a great way to use up a lot of Christmas stash and it has that old fashioned charm to it. The border is dark pine green with cardinals and pine boughs.

In my "spare time" I play with and help care for my grandson, who is just getting too big, too fast! So many new words and discoveries every day. He has started trying to jump up and down and shouts, "Nump! Nump!" which just sends me into fits of laughter. That and him wanting to watch "buttball" since it is almost time for the Gators to hit the "mawmp." That's the Swamp in toddler lingo.

He loves to be outside and he got a firetruck car last weekend, complete with water tank and hose. Great idea for the little boy who loves water play.

Sorry about the garbage can in the pic. The driveway is a little crowded these days, and we just added a firetruck to the parking arrangements!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stash Bustin' Sewing Machine Cover Tutorial

Hey! I am being productive with my scraps today! I had a bunch of pieces leftover from a Simple Abundance Jelly Roll, and some unbleached muslin, and a package of Oyster colored bias tape, so I decided to whip up a cover for my beloved Janome.

First you will want to measure your sewing machine and add a little extra (about half an inch on the sides) so it isn't too snug. My machine measures 17" across the widest point x 8" deep x 26" from the bottom front to the bottom of the back. We're going to finish it off with wide single fold bias tape, so you don't need to add anything for a hem, unless you want to.

I started by making a checkerboard pattern of 13 x 8   2 1/2" squares, which made the main part of the cover 26 1/2" by 16 1/2". I added and inch of the red stripe from Simple Abundance to each side, which gave me 18 1/2 inches of width. The side pieces I cut from the muslin to 8" wide by 12" tall, then I curved the tops, but you could make it squared off. I didn't want to mess with those inside corners that squaring it would have meant. I found it easier to ease around the curves (and it is good practice if you are making pieces like a Drunkard's Path!)

Look I didn't even iron before I took the picture! Start by pinning the peak of your side pieces to the center side of the cover. Begin sewing at that point, pulling the straight edge of the cover toward the machine and gently pulling the curve away so that they line up easily without pinning. Or pin. Your choice. When you get to the bottom edge, go back and sew from the center to the other end and repeat for the opposite side. It really is that simple!

Press toward the darker print and you are ready to sew on the bias tape. I sewed around the bottom edge, cover right side up, turned under the end of the bias tape, then I turned the tape under (to the wrong side of the cover) and stitched again. I guess a true expert would have ironed the wrong sides of the bias tape together, pinned like crazy and sewed it all in one shot, but that is just not how I roll. Ha! Taking the easy way - that's me. No layered and quilted work of art. Just a quick and easy use of scraps that I can enjoy when I can't stop and sew.

So there you have it. Another use for your leftover jelly roll pieces, and a dust blocking, eye-catching cover for you machine! If you make one, I'd love to hear back from you!

Enjoy your sewing!

Happy 8-9-10!

A Room To Sew In:

I'm a little jealous! Lots of bloggers are sharing their sewing room remodels and improvements lately. I was looking at this one today by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! and felt envy. The drapes on a cable. Clean. No cluttered hardware over the windows. Lots of light coming in. And a gigantic design wall made of foam board. Mine is about 1/3 her size. Next one I make will have the batting and no more flannel on it. Check out her nesting tables too! Ingenious.

I've been wanting to expand my design wall lately, but the one I have now is frequently raided by curious little hands, and I don't dare pin anything to it because that would make it dangerous. But I make big quilts. I plan to have one the size of Elizabeth's someday.

How about that set up for cutting and ironing she created? Pretty neat. Nesting tables. I'm not the only one who finds the ironing board a little limiting when it comes to quilts.

I do like the cutting and sewing table I got for FREE from my boss. It is an old architects desk. Elevating the drawing part of it lets me see what I am cutting without craning my neck and fighting glare off lights onto the rulers. The sewing machine sits on a thick piece of butcher block. I really like the two shallow drawers underneath that hold all my rulers, blades, templates, etc. One drawer is the width of the drawing portion. I have spare cutting mats in there too! And that big sliding ruler that runs on cable all the way across? Very helpful. Even if I only use to hold my rulers while I move fabric around. (This is an older photo. See all that room under the table? It is now packed and stacked with totes full of fabrics and batting. Also, this room is now turquoise and white and belongs to Tyler, my grandson. I sew in the front room of our house.)

What do you have in your sewing room that is unusual and really useful? What do you dream of having?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I got featured on WIP Wednesday!

The Quilte Shoppe's In Stitches blog features Works In Progress every week, and I submitted mine and got featured. Didn't win the fabrics, but oh well.

I haven't worked on that particular WIP since last week. I have so many others going on! I am making blocks for the Summer Quilt Along's Star Sampler at A Quilty Kind of Girl's blog using up the last (sniff, sigh!) of my Sandi Henderson Farmers Market pink and aqua pieces plus some other stash pieces. Since it is all pinks and reds, greens and aquas with white, I am thinking that it will become a donation to a breast cancer treatment center.

My very first Block of the Month Club from The Fat Quarter Shop is about to send me block #3, and I just got around to block #1! I need to get a move on! It uses Kate Spain's new Christmas line and so many of my favorite designers made a block pattern for each month, I just had to sign up! The logo pictured here is Block 1. I think you can still sign up for this if you are tempted.

Another project rumbling around in my brain is what kind of backing to make with a bunch of flying geese and either flannel or cotton to make my honey his own Winter sofa quilt. After saving a quilt top from disaster it is now ready to be backed and quilted. I have not made him his very own quilt yet, and I feel a little bad about that. Not that I don't have good intentions! And we do sleep under quilts I made every night. This quilt top was started when it was a new mystery quilt. A major stash buster in the Fall of 2008. Made tons of pinwheels and 4 patches and then put it away. Got it back out when my daughter was 5 or 6 months pregnant. Put away again. Now the baby is almost 17 months old. Some things need to age. Or in my case, be away from me while I freak out and calm down. This can sometimes take months, you know?

A little humility is good for everyone, right? Here is Old Tobacco Roads from and what I had to deal with. It is supposed to have flying geese as a border all the way around after the brown border you see here. I could put my hand under some of these waves. I tried steaming, starching...nothing fixed it. It was hopeless. I ended up stitching straight up through those pinwheels to stabilize it and cutting off the four patches and bricks and border. ON BOTH SIDES. I added a dark blue on blue Civil War era print 6 inch border after that, and it is still a decent size for a sofa quilt, so I think I am over being mad about this.

My quilting motto is now "No More Bias Quilts." There are plenty of other pretty things to make. I'll leave the bias alone.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Dad and Back to School Decorating

I was reading this post about decorating with maps, as seen in a Marie Claire magazine, and I flashed back to my school days. (Sorry, Dad, this is the most recent photo of you that I have! March 2009 with you holding newborn Tyler.)

My dad is the eternal scholar. He is constantly learning, reading about history and people and wars, etc. Ask him a question and he probably knows the answer. He's very funny too. He is a retired Sgt Major USMC who went to Pepperdine at night while working full time for our country. And he is a purple heart awarded Viet Nam vet.

When I was growing up, our garage had a little 5x6 storage area which my dad built shelves in and he loaded those shelves with his National Geographics, favorite books about history, atlases, dictionary and thesaurus and maps. I really liked how he hung the maps above the shelves and on the backs of the sliding closet doors he closed the space off with.

I was able to do tons of homework research there. It was my own little library. And I don't remember him pushing it on me, it was just there, for my use and enjoyment should I be interested. No waiting on a ride to the library. If I was curious about something, I could usually find it, especially in the Nat Geos. You know, this was before the internet or multiple cable learning channels, people. Before Google.

Do teachers even ask for bibliographies anymore? I dreaded those! But I digress. I just wanted to share this idea. If you have room in your house, even a little closet, you can make learning so much more accessible and interesting to your kids. And it doesn't have to cost much. Let me know what you remember about learning at home! I bet there are some interesting stories.   I discovered this blog last week. Very resourceful mom who's kids seem to be totally enjoying her creative ideas. I LOVED the elevator to the laundry room story. So cute!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words

Pensacola Beach is beautiful again! We went for several hours Saturday and today. Tyler and his mama came with us for a little while today and did he have a blast looking at the thousands of little minnows, finding sea shells and sand crabs, and trying to get the birds to come to him. He ran in and out of the waves laughing and smiling the whole time. And as usual, I forgot to bring the camera. I took this pic with my phone on Saturday.

What a gorgeous, perfect weekend it has been! This is why we say we have the most gorgeous beaches. You have to experience the sugar white, soft sands and the clear sea glass green waters for yourself to know what I am talking about. We have been celebrating my birthday with family, and being back on our beautiful beach for a whole weekend was totally what I needed! This is what I love most about Pensacola!

We saw lots of fish, a ray, a sea turtle, 2 jellyfish (instead of swarms of them), pelicans and sandpipers, and just miles of crystal clear, calm, warm water. Most of the time it was like a great big swimming pool. No waves. No sound. Thankfully no one anywhere around with a boom box. So peaceful! Just a 30 minute drive from the house and we felt like we were in the Caribbean.

Yes, I am fried. All I can say about that is "SPF 60" my ass. Hawaiian Tropic is going to be making it up to me with their aloe containing lidocaine formula for the next few days! Also, I don't know why there are still mobs of tractors and 4 wheel drive carts and clean up crews going back and forth all day. There is nothing for them to do!

We ate a late lunch at Peg Leg Pete's Sunday with my dad, and that wrapped up a great weekend.

PS I had a wonderful dinner Saturday night at 7:30 with Bryan, my dad and his girlfriend, Sandy. Too late for Tyler and his mama to join us. We ate at Hemingways, then listened to music at Crabs. This has been the best birthday weekend in memory!

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!