Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Short bursts of energy

It seems like lately I just haven't had many chances to spend time in my sewing room. More hours at work and other events just take precedence sometimes.  I've been procrastinating with the Christmas stockings that I need to make.  Yesterday afternoon was finally my time!
Two of the stocking bodies are pieced and quilted and ready for their cuffs - after I embroider some names on them.  A third stocking has the front quilted, and it's pinned to the back. Maybe this afternoon I'll get back down there for long enough to put that one together. Then I still have one more to make before setting up that embroidery module on my machine and tackling the names.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Abiding Faith

My design wall Monday project includes moving some quilts around in my house.  What's on your design wall today?  Check out others at:

This little finish has me quite frustrated. It's Abiding Faith, another beautiful mini by Kim Diehl, and I got it quilted and bound over the weekend, but it isn't going to be a favorite - because of the rippled borders. I measured over and over again and everything was fitting perfectly, until I quilted it. Obviously my quilting stretched the borders, or maybe the grid quilting in the center pulled it too much.  Either way, 2 of those borders wave a lot.  The lantern is actually sitting on the worst one to hold it down. 
So it's now folded and tucked into the painted sewing machine drawer that holds many of my Kim Diehl mini quilts. It looks fine there. 
Another Sunday afternoon project was using up more of the apples my cousin brought me from Minnesota.  I haven't made an apple pie in years, but this turned out really yummy.

And while I was moving quilts around I thought I would show you another Kim Diehl mini quilt.  This is one of my favorites and from this year's Simple Whatnots series.  It makes the house look so cozy and welcoming. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017


I've had all spring and summer to make the 4 Christmas stockings I need for my second daughter's family.  But here it is almost November and I'm just starting to put some ideas together. Do you procrastinate like this too?  The 2.5" squares need to be rearranged yet, but I think this will be the foundation of the first stocking front.

Friday, October 27, 2017

An old denim quilt

This is a quilt that I made many years ago. In fact it is probably 20 years old. My kids used it to snuggle on our sofa, we took it to softball games to sit on, and it has been washed a lot.  Denim with lots of pockets and decorative sections, odds and ends of plain cotton, and a plaid flannel back - this lap quilt weighs a ton. And it's tied, not quilted.  

This quilt has spent the last few years just folded up in a spare bedroom on a bench.  But yesterday I gave it to my husband to keep in the back seat of his pick up, as part of his winter weather gear.  I got a kick out of looking at the blue jean sections, and remember my oldest daughter wearing the jeans with the fancy pocket in this picture. She was pretty upset when the jeans wore out, but loved seeing this pocket in the quilt. Definitely some 90s fashion statements living on in a quilt.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


This little wall hanging is a mash-up of 2 different projects. The sewing machine block on the top is from Lori Holt's new book Spelling Bee.  Our sew vintage group is using the block this month as our "challenge".  The spool blocks on the bottom were from a past sew vintage group swap. I hadn't decided what I wanted to do with them yet and this seemed like a good combination.
Does it need some side borders?  I'm just not sure yet how I want to finish it.  Check out Linky Tuesday at:

Monday, October 23, 2017

Family picture day

We got really lucky with family photos yesterday, in terms of weather in particular. Saturday was cold and very windy, with spits of rain. Sunday (while pictures were being taken outdoors) was gorgeous, but by mid-afternoon the wind was coming up. And today the wind is howling.  The photographer chose Rotary Park in Sioux Falls and it was a beautiful spot.
When we finished with pictures the kids got to play on the playground. The girls were having fun on these swinging steps but were willing to stop for a picture. The boys must have felt that they had cooperated enough for a camera already.

I snapped this picture of my husband in the parking lot when we were done. He was just waiting patiently.  The girls and I did a "swap" - I brought bags of apples for both, Jerilyn had bags of garden potatoes for us and for Laura, and Laura had huge pumpkins for Jerilyn's kids.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Viewing your hometown through a visitor's eye

We had company from out of state yesterday and spent part of the afternoon visiting our most famous local attraction - the Corn Palace. Folks around here often joke about it being the world's largest bird feeder, as the outside is decorated each year with mural made of corn and local grasses.

I always enjoy seeing the murals change each fall.  For decades the murals were designed by noted Native American artist Oscar Howe. But in recent years, other talented local artists have designed them. The outdoor murals are laid out much like a paint-by-number picture. A local farmer grows the 12 colors of corn especially for this display. Each ear of corn is split in half lengthwise, and nailed up onto the board.

This year's theme is South Dakota Weather. So far my favorite picture is on the front of the building, with lightning striking all around a country church. And we've noticed that the green corn is especially prominent this year.

Inside The Corn Palace - it's a city auditorium, with more murals. We watch high school and college basketball in there. We've gone to plays and concerts in there. We've attended the circus in there. They even have rodeo bull riding events.  And now the hallways have become a wonderful museum with photos from over 100 years of murals and entertainment events.  And there are some educational displays about corn for both adults and children. And it's all FREE to explore!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New carpet

Yesterday morning we had new carpet installed in our family room.  It looks great, but now it makes the carpet in the nearby rooms and hallway look awful.  I briefly considered hard wood instead, but in this room I really like the cozy feel of carpet. Especially in the winter. We spend most of our time in this room.
My husband and I had emptied the room of furniture (and stuff) on Saturday before he left for a business trip early Sunday morning. The only thing we couldn't move was the big oak entertainment center, but the store had assured me that for a small extra charge the installers (plural) would move that for us. Yay! So when the lone installer showed up I was very worried that we would have to reschedule.  But the guy assured me that with my help he could move it. And he was right, but it wasn't easy. 
Four hours later the old carpet was removed and the new was installed.  After some vigorous vacuuming, I decided to just move back a couple of small furniture items. Sofa sections just don't belong in the kitchen.  Push, pull - then rest and repeat.  It took me over 2 hours but all of the furniture is back in the room. And my back was killing me. The only thing left to do is figure out what I have plugged in wrong on our TV system (too complicated) because we have no sound. Oh, and I need to put back the tchotchkes and books on the shelves in the entertainment center. Some purging will happen as I do that.
My husband will be so impressed - maybe - that his overweight, out-of-shape 63 year old wife managed to do this all by myself.  I just hope he doesn't expect that kind of physical labor all the time.  This was motivated purely by the desire to have my home back to normal.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Age - cat approved

My 2016 Saturday Sampler is done, on the bed, and evidently cat approved.  I finished the binding while watching the Vikings beat the Packers on Sunday.
Usually Sammy hangs out under my desk when I'm working in the mornings, but Monday he didn't show up.  He seems a bit stressed because the family room furniture is all pushed into other rooms in preparation for carpet installation today. So our bedroom is one of the only safe places he can find right now and he has been spending a lot of time curled up in the middle of our bed. I'll just shut the door to the bedroom when the installers arrive so he feels secure. He is an old (16), 20 pound "fraidy cat".  
A New Age, made of over dyed muslin was a challenging project. The blocks went together easily each month but I had a couple of problems getting that pieced border correct. My mistakes were simple to correct however and then I added that last butterfly print border to make it long enough for a nice drop on each side. So it's a huge quilt.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Starting a new Saturday Sampler

The new Saturday Sampler program began yesterday.  It's called Summer Watermelon Sampler.  Nothing about this one makes me think of watermelons or summer however. Even though I've been quilting for more than 30 years, I feel that programs like Saturday Sampler are a wonderful learning opportunity, plus the bonus of a social activity.  New techniques, and reinforcing techniques I already knew - all part of the learning.  And the show 'n tell every month is just plain inspiring!
Can you tell that I love going to Saturday Sampler?  Here are my finished blocks for this month. Both blocks are made with the same pieces, but the corner sections are turned in block #2 and the fabrics are in different locations.  Plus I did a little switching in block #2 to increase the contrast. 
These came entirely from my stash.  The plan for now is to use scrappy black and whites, with bright batiks, all of which I should be able to pull from the stash and/or the scrap bins.  I may even make another set using other scraps because these were really simple blocks to make and God knows there are plenty of scraps to use up.

Check out Design Wall Monday at: 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ride With the Wind

It needs a label yet, but otherwise the wall hanging is done.  I think it will be called "Ride With the Wind".  The bright multi-colored thread does show up nicely, but doesn't over power the piece.  My quilting lines are sufficiently random with soft waves all across, hopefully suggesting the prairie wind.  The green and red section is actually a Row By Row from this summer's road trip through Iowa with my husband. The shop in Adel, Iowa had designed this row and I immediately had a plan to make a wall hanging with it. The mottled black looks like of like asphalt.  Considering it was a "design as you sew" kind of project, I like how it turned out.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Random waves

I've mentioned quite often that I struggle with machine quilting things myself. I have a LOT of trouble relaxing enough to make smooth curves. But I can somewhat handle straight line quilting - except for stitch-in-the-ditch. I take my eye off the "ditch" and allow the needle to wander. Not pretty!
But I had a picture in my mind of how I wanted to quilt the cycling wall hanging, and was determined to do it myself.  Random waves moving across the piece horizontally would represent the wind. I bought a pretty thread so it would show up on the black road sections really nicely. And then it just sat on the corner of my sewing table, waiting.  
Yesterday I finally got brave enough to just jump in and give it a try.  And surprisingly, I'm happy with the results. The binding is even half done, so I'll show it off once it's done.
The other project for the day was to make 2 more of the pillowcases that I have kitted up.  Slowly, but surely I'm working my way through the stack of pillowcase kits.

Monday, October 9, 2017

First finish for October

It's only 6" square, but it's done.  So it counts, right?  This is one of the Match Box quilts from Fat Quarter Shop. Very cute little project.  Check out Design Wall Monday at:
This morning I had to accept that summer probably is really over.  The leaves have really started to fall, and we have a freeze warning for tonight. Sigh!! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Mini mason jars

My Sew Vintage group is beginning to dabble in the Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt.  The patterns are quite similar to her previous book, Farm Girl Vintage. The directions are provided for both 6" and 12" blocks, and are so easy to follow.
This darling mason jar block is my first one from the book, and I decided to make 2 of the 6" blocks.  They are so cute!!  No idea where we're going with these, but I'm going to just enjoy the ride.
And I keep looking at the alphabet blocks in the book and imagining how cute they would be in pillows for the grandkids.  And I have lots of scraps to play with.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October goals

My list of October goals has some carryover from previous months. I just want to keep making some progress on these items. 

I'll quickly admit that my attention has been distracted lately toward some genealogy research, instead of sewing. I've been working on my family info and my husband's family info, but now I've begun doing some research for one of my sons-in-law.  And - like everything we become obsessed with - it's black hole.  I get started and next thing I know, hours have gone by.

  1. plan 4 new Christmas stockings for family of daughter #2
  2. sandwich & quilt - Simple Whatnots project Abiding Faith
  3. cut out next Simple Whatnots project 
  4. finish binding the 2016 Saturday Sampler - more than halfway
  5. make 2 more pillowcases from the kits
  6. quilt and bind the cycling wall hanging
  7. finish blocks for APQ 2017 UFO Challenge (batik stars) - still in the project box
  8. begin new Saturday Sampler project
Do you participate in a monthly BOM program, either online or in person?  I've been attending Saturday Sampler at my local quilt shop for at least 16 years.  We meet at 9:00 am on the second Saturday of the month.  The Show 'n Tell is the best part. It's so inspiring to see what everyone has been making. And then the new block - or mystery clue - is revealed and demonstrated.  Our last one was a mystery with fairly simple clues. The one before that was big and complicated, and will finally be done when I finish that binding. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Another small project

In the most recent Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop was a new item called a Matchbox Quilt. In a small "matchbox" style of box were all the required parts for a small finished quilt. Printed on one piece of fabric are the instructions, all of the pieces to cut for the front and back of the little quilt, and the binding.  Also folded into the box was the batting and some embroidery floss to use to quilt it.  Cute idea!  And there are other designs and colors so we can be tempted to buy more. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September in review . . .

September goals were a bit ambitious, and only partially met.  But partial is better than not at all.  So some of this will remain on my October goal list.
  1. Simple Whatnots project - Abiding Faith - top is done, but not quilted
  2. bind the 2016 Saturday Sampler - less than halfway
  3. make 5 more pillowcases from the kits - only made 2
  4. quilt and bind the cycling wall hanging - bought thread
  5. make a big floor pillow for grandson Jack - Nope, didn't happe
  6. finish blocks for APQ 2017 UFO Challenge (batik stars) - still in the project box
  7. make 10 more polka dot pinwheel blocks - got the top done