Thursday, November 30, 2017

Simple Whatnots

 
There isn't a lot to show yet for Farmhouse Stars (Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots), but at least I've begun to make a little progress.  There will be 34 more of these blocks. So far I have made 25 of the upper sections with the 3 brown squares.  All of the pieces for all of the blocks are cut and ready.
 
This was the Simple Whatnots project that I've been most excited about in this series. I love the look of this one.  Like all of Kim Diehl's patterns, this one has a zillion little pieces.  But results are worth it. 
 
I don't anticipate getting much more of this done right away because it's going to be a busy week.  We have a wedding to attend Saturday and then Sunday morning I'm leaving with 2 girlfriends to drive to Iowa to visit a friend who moved in August.  We're really looking forward to that road trip and seeing a dear friend that we miss.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Saturday Sampler progress

 
Chasing Fireflies - isn't that a fun name for a block?  This is the second block in our latest Saturday Sampler project which is called Summer Watermelon Sampler.  The first block was Lucky Ladybug. 
 
We chose our own fabrics this time and were encouraged to "shop our stash". Since my stash has a LOT of black and white prints and a LOT of batiks, those were my choices for this one. Each month we do 2 variations of the block.  I've decided that each month I'll try to make one version a darker one and the other a lighter version. Some of the prints have a little black on white, and others are reversed with just a little white on the black.  And I'll switch up the batik colors. This may be a crazy looking quilt.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Distractions abound

Again I've been distracted by something . . .
 
 
I enjoy reading quilting blogs and follow a couple of online quilting groups on Facebook.  And I'm constantly seeing things that I want to make. I bought this book and the paper templates months ago, but just pulled it out this past week. I had done the pink center, the white and a few of the green sections during the week. And then I stopped into The Pin Cushion on Small Business Saturday. Cindy was doing a demo on this very thing!! It was so timely!  I've done some English Paper Piecing hexies and diamonds, and this shape is fun too. The book offers some beautiful layout options.
 
These scraps are out of my bin of (mostly) Civil War reproductions. I've been using them to make the tiny blocks for the Circa 2016 Temecula project. Only a few blocks to go there and then I can put the quilt together. And now I have something else fun to use those fabrics in. I have no idea how many of these I'll make. But at least ONE!
 

I must admit that I'm having a "missing mojo" problem lately.  My sewing room is in the basement, and doing the stairs bothers my Achilles tendon. Plus I've been working more hours each week and am out of mental energy. And I'm feeling a little bogged down by unfinished projects again,  especially because I keep seeing new things I want to start.  My head is spinning - too many projects and not enough time.

Check out Design Wall Monday at:  http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Oops!


I've had to make friends with my seam ripper again. There were actually 2 of these blocks put together wrong.  But it was an easy fix.  There are now 30 blocks, which works out to be a top 5 blocks wide by 6 blocks long.  Not quite big enough for anything more than a small lap quilt. So I'm toying with new layout ideas or borders.  Any ideas would be very welcome!

This is how a UFO is born!  It was looking so promising when I had just a few blocks done. Now it's on hold. 


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Books and pillowcases go together

Something to play with, something to wear, and something to read . . . that has become my motto for buying Christmas gifts for the 5 grandchildren.  This year I decided they each needed a pillowcase with the same theme as the book the receive.  A Friday afternoon off, and those pillowcases are ready to go.
 
 
For 2 year old Jack, I found a book about a train, and it has a little toy train that he can run through the grooves on every page.  His pillowcase has train cars floating all over.


 
Jonah is 4 and he is getting Jan Brett's book The Hat.  And while searching online for other things I came across this fabric with woodland creatures - wearing knit hats just like in the book.  What a lucky find!


 
Mason's tastes are running toward a fascination with dragons now that he is 6.  The book has all kinds of dragon stories, maps, and secret flaps hiding more information. I've hunted high and low for dragon fabric, and finally found some online.  I love that the red dragon is almost a perfect match to the color of the book cover.


 
And both girls - 5 year old Sophia and 4 year old Olivia - are getting Bambi.  The Bambi fabric was a find at Missouri Star Quilt Company this summer.  And the books have beautiful illustrations, similar to my vintage childhood Bambi book. 

Check out what other quilters are working on: Design Wall Monday at http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/2017/11/design-wall-monday-november-20-2017.html

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Selvages are fun

 
Aren't these selvages unique? More and more often it seems like the manufacturers are adding fun design to their selvages.
 
I ordered 3 pieces of yardage recently to make special pillowcases to go with the books I've bought for the grandkids for Christmas.  It was really hard to find dragon fabric to go with Mason's dragon book.  But eventually I did find just want I wanted online for a couple of them.  Notice the flame shapes on the dragon fabric. The train fabric looks like trucks on the selvage rather than trains.
 
Now I need to go shopping locally to find the perfect fabrics to blend in for the pillowcase cuffs.  When I get them done I'll show them off with the companion books. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Design Wall Monday

 
An origami flower that I made awhile ago is set to become "something" as a gift, but I'm just not sold on the background fabric I've chosen for this.  I may need to rethink that background before I hand stitch this down. Possibly a solid background would work better.
 
Check out Design Wall Monday for some inspiration from other quilters - http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 10, 2017

A little progress

 
If I only get 2 blocks a day finished, it will take forever to finish this Christmas quilt. But a little progress is still progress.  I used the light strips with a solid red or green, and I like how that is working out.  So, I have 12 blocks made and hopefully can make another 16. 
 
No sewing today because I'm going out for lunch with my older daughter and then doing some shopping.  We rarely get to spend time together, just the two of us, and I'm so looking forward to it. And this evening my husband and I have a "date night" - SDSU Jackrabbit basketball doubleheader. Life is good!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder

 
In reality, this is an ugly little crazy quilt. The fabrics are scraps of old (1960s) silky drapery fabrics. The colors and prints are ugly. Polka dot draperies - really?  The batting shrunk more than the top, so the top is very wrinkly. The back is an equally ugly pink silky drapery fabric, and it's bound with wide black bias tape.
 
But - it has it's good points too.  The fabrics all came from my aunt's custom drapery business. She shared leftovers with my mom from the custom drapes and slipcovers she made, and my mom used them in quilts and even clothes. Waste not, want not!! And I spent lots of summers living with that aunt, babysitting or being her fetch and carry girl when she installed draperies. She was my favorite aunt.  
 
Like any good crazy quilt, this one has hand embroidery over all of the seams.  The thread is kind of pink, but that is OK. And best yet, my mom helped me make this quilt in 1969, when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I had totally forgotten this little quilt until I found it in the bottom of a packing box recently.  Actually I had no idea that my mother had even kept this.  But it was carefully folded up in a box with some other "family treasures" that has been unopened - since 1991 when my mother died. 
 
Since this probably qualifies as my first quilt, I have a whole new appreciation for it. It's still ugly, but I like it anyway.
 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What is the name of this block?

Does anyone know the name of this block? I love the blending of a 4-patch and a half log cabin.
 
 
I work from home, which has it's pros and cons.  Today I'm counting a pro - because while I waited for a huge database to do it's weekly synchronization I went downstairs to sew.  I figured I had at least an hour, so I cut and sewed 2 more of these Christmas blocks.  And I cut some pieces to do a couple of reverse blocks.  This jelly roll has some light strips too, so I'm going to pair those up with a red or green solid.  And hopefully this afternoon when I finish today's invoices I can go back down and sew a few more of these.
 
Check out what others are working on at Linky Tuesday: http://www.conniekresin.com/2017/11/linky-party-tuesday-november-7th.html

Monday, November 6, 2017

Decorating the dungeon


We moved into this house almost 12 years ago, and my husband promised me nice bookcases in the basement family room from the beginning.  The family room is a huge, long room that I often refer to as "the dungeon".  At one end is the pool table and a comfy seating area. But the other end has my husband's office.  Notice the big putting green on the floor?
 
Today my bookbases were delivered and set up.  I think I've been more than patient, don't you.  And this afternoon we spent some time unpacking some of the things that will go on the new shelves.  

Notice the train across the top and in the top center shelf?  These are actually Jim Beam bottles. My dad was a big collector and my husband inherited the collection in 1990 when my dad passed away. But we've never had a place to show them off.  There are 8 more pieces that make up another train, but these are the ones we decided to showcase.  

 
It will take me some time to decide what else will end up in these bookcases, but that is half the fun. The can of Pledge will go away and be replaced with something more decorative and interesting. But in the meantime this goes a long way to make this room much less like a dungeon.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Guild projects


Heartland Quilters Guild loves a good charity project. This afternoon we presented 54 fabric microwave hot pad bowls to a wonderful local fundraiser. The Empty Bowl luncheon has been a successful program to raise money to feed the hungry. People come to the luncheon and buy soup in a bowl they get to keep, plus they can also purchase a microwave bowl shaped hot pad.  The local high school art students make most of the pottery bowls.  The culinary program at Mitchell Technical Institute makes the bread. And for the past 2 years our guild has made and donated the microwave hot pads that are shaped perfectly to hold a bowl. 

In the photo, our president Gwen and secretary Evelyn present the hot pads to Mrs Shannon, the art teachers whose students make the pottery bowls. What a positive experience for everyone involved.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Oh look - a squirrel


I'm like a dog on a leash, walking along the path - when suddenly it sees a squirrel in the woods. And it's off chasing that squirrel.  My squirrel today was the leftover jelly roll laying on my cutting table. I dug into it for one of the Christmas stockings, and it was calling to me. Too cute to just put into the Christmas drawer.  I bought the jelly roll (Greetings by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints) at Missouri Star Quilt Co when I was there in August, and then a friend gave me some 2.5" squares from the same line. I used the squares, plus some of the jelly roll in the first stocking. 

The quilt block was something I saw online this week and have no idea what it's called.  No sizes were given either, so I just did the math for a 12" finished block and an 8" finished block. The Christmas blocks are the 8".  And the blue and white block below is a 12" block.  I'm thinking the 12" block may be perfect for a future Quilt of Valor.  I dug into the scraps for this one.  It is such an easy block - made with 4-patches, and half log cabins.  I love it - but I also need to finish those darn Christmas stockings before I get too carried away.