Friday, October 31, 2008
She also sent along a few sheets of handmade paper. Each sheet has a different texture and it's really interesting. I'll have to do a little research on ways to use this to showcase it properly!!
I finished quilting and binding my blue and yellow baby quilt this week. This was my beginner's project to get me eased back into piecing and quilting. It's not perfect, but it did what it was intended to do ... refresh my skills.
And ... I pieced the top for the lap quilt I'm making for my sister. This is the rail fence pattern. It's done using assembly line strip piecing and it goes really fast. I want to finish this up to give to her for Christmas so she can cuddle up under it this winter, and I don't have time for a complicated pattern. This one was perfect. I still need to add the borders and sandwich and quilt it, but I'm counting getting the top pieced as a sort of finish!!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
My order from JoAnn's arrived so as soon as I finish the quilt top for my sister, I'll be making lounge pants for the kids for Christmas. I also got this book on paper piecing mini-quilts. I can't wait to try one, but I have some other things to finish first.
This is the fabric I got to make lounge pants for the Wonder Child. He's a sports nut, and a budding photojournalist, so this was perfect for him.
Ladybugs for my new daughter-in-law.
And for the Big Guy, the fire fighter and emergency medical technician .... emergency vehicles!! I can't wait to see his face when he gets these!!
The Poet and his fiance live in Florida, so flannel lounge pants aren't really suitable for them, but I'll find some lightweight fabric to do some for them too ... maybe shorts!!
So, I have plenty on my plate and don't see myself running out of projects any time soon!! If only work and housecleaning didn't eat into my crafting time!!
Have a great day!!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Okay, I can't wait until Friday. This is what I worked on this weekend. An apron for my aunt, with some coordinating dish towels and a pot holder.
This is a better picture of the dishtowels and potholder. My aunt is know for her cooking and baking and at 78 years old, she's still going strong. She is my mom's only sister, and all my life, she and her husband have been like a second set of parents to me, so I wanted to make something special for her that I know she will use. I'm pleased with how they turned out. This is a fabric basket and box I made from tutorials I found on line. The tutorial for the basket can be found at Pink Penguin and the tutorial for the fabric box is here Crazy Mom Quilts
Now I'll have to get busy and finish something else by Friday!!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Today, I worked on laundry and packing up my summer clothes, and unpacking and putting away my winter ones. It's time, I guess. We may get a warm day here and there, but winter is on the way. There's even snow flurries in the forecast for this week, although I think if we do get some, it won't accumulate much. Honey and I went shopping for a few things. I got myself a work light for the sewing room. I really needed better light in there, and this really does the trick. I also got some new pajamas, cozy pink fleece with cupcakes all over them!! I had to throw away my favorite pajamas on Friday. I was putting them on, and lost my balance a bit, and my foot went right through the seat of them!! The fabric was so thin, it just sort of disintegrated!! (I did say they were my favorite!!) So Honey said I should buy some new ones ... and I did. Honey calls me "Cupcake" when I wear them!!
I spent some time this afternoon in the sewing room. I worked on quilting the other baby quilt. It's all straight lines, so I didn't have to worry about any problems like I had trying to free motion quilt the other one. I got it about half done and needed to take a break. I hope to finish it this week and have a picture for Friday too.
We had a great dinner! Honey and I like to cook together. We made a pork loin roast, with mashed potatoes, acorn squash and roasted apples. He had work to do this evening, so I cleaned up the kitchen, and then made a cup of coffee and curled up with a magazine. A nice way to end the weekend.
I hope yours was great too!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Speedy No-Knead Bread By Mark Bittman
Yield: One big loaf
Time: 5 to 6 hours
3 cups bread flour
1 packet (1/4 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil as needed
1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes more.
3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 3 to 4 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under the dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
I was raised on homemade bread, and there's nothing like it. In the winter, I used to bake bread once a week. It's so easy with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and I have the large professional model, so I can do four loaves at once. When the kids were home, one loaf would disappear as soon as it was out of the oven, and the rest would last us the week. Now, with just Honey and me, I usually give one loaf to the Big Guy and KT, and freeze two and it lasts us about a two weeks, so I don't have to bake as often. Honey still has to have a piece hot out of the oven though!!
Friday, October 24, 2008
I had a disappointment today too. I've been working on a couple of baby quilts, and I wanted to do free motion quilting on one of them. I've been practicing on small pieces and it's been going well. Until today. I put on some music, donned my quilting gloves, and got my rhythm going, just like more experienced free motion quilters have advised. Everything went fine ... for a while. Then this happened. This is the back of the quilt. The front looks fine. I didn't notice any
difference in the feel while I was sewing, it didn't make any different noises. It's obviously a tension problem, and it did seem to happen right when I "hit my rhythm" so to speak. I had the machine running quite a bit faster than I normally do when piecing or doing other sewing, and the only thing I can think of is that this machine doesn't like to speed!! I'm going to tear all this out tonight and try it again tomorrow, but I'm afraid that maybe my sewing machine isn't up to this kind of sewing and a new one isn't a possibility right now. I have a few ideas to try, and welcome any suggestions you more experienced quilters might have. I was so looking forward to being able to machine quilt. Hand quilting isn't really an option for me any more. Forty years of pounding a keyboard have taken their toll and hand sewing is very painful for me these days.
So, a little setback and a big disappointment. I guess I'll live!! For tonight, I think I'm going to go crack open that bottle of wine and enjoy my movie!!
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Then I moved on to doing baby hats. These are going to be donated to our local neonatal intensive care unit. They're really fun to do, and I can do one in an evening if I work at it.
A baby sweater was next on the agenda. This was a beginners pattern, and there wasn't much shaping to it, but I was proud of it anyway. I'm going to put this away for my first grandchild. It might be the only one I ever do!!
Lastly, a doll afghan ... with a pattern. I still have a hard time following a pattern, and often end up losing or gaining stitches without really knowing where or how and have to tear out a lot, but I'm getting better. I think I'm going to take a knitting class this winter, as I think I need some help, and I've gone about as far as I can go on my own.
One project I'm still working on is an afghan for my living room. I figured I could handle that big a project, because it's all garter stitch, knit in blocks that you join together. For those of you who are knitters, it's the Warm Up America pattern, which is a charity knitting pattern. You can knit blocks and donate them to be put together into afghans for the needy. Our local JoAnns has a collection box there, and I've made a number of blocks to donate out of scrap yarn from leftover projects. They're nice to do when you want something to do that you can finish up quickly, and it helps that they're for a good cause. They're a good take-along project too for waiting rooms and car trips.
I've tried to teach myself to crochet too ... but I just can't get the hang of it. I guess if I want to learn that, I'll have to find someone to teach me!! For right now, I have enough to keep me busy, but it's on my list of "things to do someday."
The next few are blocks that I made, probably in the late 1980s. I never really had a plan for what to do with these. They were more to practice piecing and hand quilting than to end up in a finished project. I think I'll go ahead and quilt this one, and put bindings on the others and make mini-quilts out of them too. I cant remember what the name of most of these blocks are, but except for the last one, they are all from a Judy Martins Ultimate Book of Quilt Block Patterns.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I've made other quilts since then, but I soon learned to do my piecing by machine, so this is the only quilt I've ever done all by hand.
This is a quilt I made for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary in 1992. I machine pieced it, but it is all hand quilted. It's the largest quilt I've ever done. When my mother-in-law passed away in 2005 my sisters-in-law gave it back to me to keep.
This is what I've been working on this week in my "sewing breaks." I just had to do something with the rest of my Pumpkins Gone Wild Charm pack and this is what I decided on. It's not quite finished, but it will be by Friday!! I think I'll hang it on the wall in my sewing room.
I did some online shopping last night at JoAnns and I bought some snuggle flannel that was on sale for $2.50 a yard to make lounge pants for the kids for Christmas. I usualy buy them each a pair but this year, since I'm sewing again, I'm going to make them. The Big Guy is an EMT and a volunteer firefighter and I bought some fabric with emergency vehicles on it for him. He's going to love it!! I also ordered a book on paper piecing mini-quilts, which I'm anxious to receive. I'm really enjoying doing the smaller quilts.
My sewing room is still a work in progress. I've been cleaning out and freecycling to make some more space in there. I gave away four bags of yarn that was given to me and I will never use to a lady who crochets afghans for charity, and some quilt panels that were my mothers, that I didn't especially care for. I found a bunch of empty picture frames from my mom's house, and some recipe cards so I freecycled those too. It's really a tiny room. It was my mom's room when she lived with us, and since she passed away, we've used it mostly for storage, so I have a way to go to get it all cleaned out and organized. But my work space is usable in the meantime, and I try to work on it a little bit every day. I'll get there eventually!!
Monday, October 20, 2008
I had to work most of the weekend, so didn't get much sewing done. To keep myself motivated though, I'd work for an hour or two, then give myself a 10 minute sewing break. Three of those and I had completed another table runner from my Pumpkins Gone Wild charm pack, which I'll give to my daughter-in-law when it's quilted.
Honey and I also gave the kitchen a good cleaning and packed up my china and stemware to make more room in the cupboards. I love china and crystal and have quite a bit of it. We only use it a half dozen times a year though, and it takes up a lot of space in the kitchen that could be put to better use. I bought some quilted cases to store it in and we tucked it away in a bedroom closet, where it's out of the way, but not too difficult to get to when I want to use it.
The Wonder Child came home yesterday. His birthday was last week, and we sent him a card and a gift, but since he was home, I baked him a birthday cake and he got to choose Sunday dinner. He wanted steak (big surprise!!) We had a couple of New York strips in the freezer, Honey grilled them up and I made sour cream and chive mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli to go with it.
So, I didn't work ALL weekend ... but I put in a looooong day yesterday and today I'm feeling it!!
I joined a couple of online swaps and today I got my Spare Change Swap fabrics ready for mailing. Since I'm just back to quilting, I don't have much in the way of stash yet, so I bought a Charm Pack to use for this swap. I like the fabrics and the good part is, I have half of the pack left to use myself!! I see another mini-quilt in my future!!
When I went in the sewing room the get the package ready for mailing, I found Maggie in her new favorite place.
She likes to relax on my work table because she can see out the window, and she likes curling up on soft cuddly things. She's so funny. She loves to be petted and rubbed, but she won't let anybody hold her, except Big Guy, who rubs her all over and puts her into a trance of some sort. She was just a tiny little thing when we got her, less than 1/2 a pound, and sickly. She spent the first few weeks we had her in a kitty cuddler with a heating pad next to my desk, or curled up on my lap while I worked. She got over her "failure to thrive" but she has a few quirks that I think are a result of her rough start in life.
I have a busy day of work today too, but the sewing break idea was a good way to keep me motivated!! My reward for working hard!! It's better than nothing!!
Friday, October 17, 2008
This week was an exception though. I finished my first mini quilt! I decided to keep it simple this first time out, so although I did quilt it on the machine, I stuck with straight lines. It's not perfect, but overall, I'm pleased with the results. This was kind of a practice run. I joined the Swap Til You Drop group on Flickr.com and the November theme is a 2 color quilt. I love red, so I thought I'd practice with that.
I needed another red fabric for the binding, so I went to the Quilted Cottage to look for something appropriate. They had all their Halloween stuff on sale for 40% off, so I got a Moda charm pack Pumkins Gone Wild by Sandy Gervais and whipped up this table runner. It's short for a table runner, but I really wanted something for the middle of the table and not a real runner. I practiced my free motion quilting on this and it is getting better, although still not ready for prime time!!
I had to stop working on it to fix dinner, and when I went back to the sewing room afterwards to finish it up, this is what I found. Maggie making herself at home!! She was not the least bit inclined to move and was none too happy when I relocated her!!
I'm going to have to work most of the weekend, but I do want to get my two baby quilts sandwiched so I can work on quilting them this week. It would be nice if I could have them up as finishes next Friday, but I'm not making any promises.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
In years past, we've taken a fall color tour in northern Michigan. It's one of my favorite things to do. This year, with the economy being what it is, and just having had a lot of expenses for Big Guy's wedding last month, we decided to forego the trip and enjoy the colors closer to home. They're magnificent even in our own backyard!! I just love the fall!!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
One of my fondest memories of growing up is "vegetable soup nights." We'd come home from school and there would be a big pot of soup on the stove and fresh baked bread. We didn't have a regular dinner time on those nights. Everybody just scooped soup into a bowl whenever they were hungry, grabbed at thick slice of bread smeared with butter, and went back for more all evening long. We children always thought of it as kind of a party. It didn't dawn on me until I was much older that it was Mom's way of using up all the little bits of leftovers from the week and it was probably a pretty inexpensive way to fill 7 hungry tummies when the money ran out before payday!!
It's funny that some of my favorite childhood memories are of times when our family had the least. Something to remember in these tough times when more and more people are having to struggle to get by.
Red is my favorite color. The couch in my living room is red. My kitchen would be red, but Honey wouldn't let me. My car is red. The majority of my clothes are red. Right now, my toenails are red!! I just love red!!
I've been working on something with red and white fabrics. I thought I'd make a mini-quilt, since I've never done one before. I made all these little half-square triangles in various red fabrics and paired them with white. Now I have to decide how to put them together. I can't decide which arrangement I like best.
This one is nice ....
Or this one ....
Monday, October 13, 2008
The number of things you drop on the floor is in direct proportion to how stiff you are that day and how difficult it is for you to bend over and pick them up!!
When you are working with white fabric, you will stab yourself with a pin and bleed all over it. (Note to self --- keep a stash of band aids near the sewing machine)
Don't wave a rotary cutter around in your hand (and hit your knuckle with it and bleed profusely .... again). (Another note to self --- switch to the rotary cutter with the retractable blade).
I spent a some time over the weekend reaquainting myself with my sewing machine. and except for the above mentioned injuries, it was very worthwhile. Honey bought this machine for me probably 10 years ago to replace my circa 1972 Kenmore. It does all kinds of things. I've never used it much, except for mending, so I thought it would be a good idea to find out what she can do!! I practiced all the different stitches. Even tried some embroidery and smocking, which was kind of fun!!
I practiced more machine quilting. I'm improving ... slowly, but I sure have a good time doing it!! The quilting is pretty amateurish, but we'll use the placemats, and it was good practice.
I used some scrap fabrics to make some things to help me be organized in my sewing room. I did cozies for my knitting needles and crochet hooks.
I'm in serious stash building mode, and I think I bought about 30 yards of fabric last week. Lots of fat quarters and 1 yard cuts. I also bought a small cutting board that flips over to an ironing surface. Much easier than dragging out the big ironing board when working on piecing small bits. I got a square and a smaller ruler, also easier when working on small stuff. I told Honey that would be it for a while, but I think I lied. I want to hit up a local quilt shop I've heard good things about. I'd like to see what classes they offer and see if there is anything I might like to take.
I'll post some pictures later today.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wonder Child is 23 now. He was home from school last weekend and when I was helping him get his things ready to leave, I found the Bumblebee Quilt in his bed. He says one pillow isn't enough and two pillows is too much, but a pillow and the Bumblebee Quilt folded under his head is just right. It's badly frayed and nearly threadbare, and I offered to do some repair work on it. He forbade me to touch it. "It's perfect just like it is," he said.
I have to admit that it warmed my heart to know that, even though he's much too old to sleep with a "lovey" that he still treasures that quilt we made together so many years ago.
The Bumblebee Quilt ... in all its well worn and very well loved glory.
The binding is frayed. and nearly completely gone! The seams are coming apart.
But the Wonder Child still thinks it's "perfect."
And that dear friends, is just one of the reasons I love making quilts. It's like giving a part of yourself to someone to love and cherish forever ... or until it just disintegrates away from being so well loved!!
Wishing you all a blessed day!!
Monday, October 6, 2008
I also cut and pieced this quilt top. I need to add borders yet. My nephew and his wife are expecting a baby in November and if it's a girl, I'll send them this one and if it's a boy, I'll send them the other one.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
These are the children I gave birth to and my new daughter-in-law at the wedding September 13. My oldest, The Poet is on the left. The couple in the middle are my second son, Big Guy, his new wife, KT, and on the right is my youngest, The Wonder Child.
The Poet lives in Florida, so we don't see him often. The Wonder Child lives near Central Michigan University, where he attends school, about an hour's drive from here. The Big Guy and KT live about a mile and a half from here and we see them often. I love them all to pieces, and consider them to be my true life's work.
I'm still buried in a special project for work, so no time to sew, but hope to get some pictures up of some projects I did a few years ago tomorrow. And hopefully I'll have something to post for my Finished by Friday post!!