Thursday, May 31, 2018

More Ritzy Cracker blocks

Dark fabrics were pretty abundant in my bins and drawers, so I pulled 5 with black backgrounds and 1 brown one.  These blocks will give some good depth to the colorful collection that I have so far.

I found just a few more orange fabrics in the stash. This just isn’t a color that I use much evidently, except for Halloween themed projects.  I do have a couple of orange Halloween fabrics that I might go back and use too, but these make a total of 11 orange blocks so far.

The next color I’m going to start pulling is red - plus a few more dark ones.  About 25 more blocks should be enough for the reunion signatures. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Working on May goals

My husband spent the Memorial Day afternoon playing golf with both sons-in-law, so I had plenty of peaceful sewing time with no interruptions.  The RSC18 block for May was Baton Rouge Square, done in pink.  This pattern has been laying on my cutting board for 3 weeks just waiting for me. I didn’t have to dig too deep for pink scraps since I had been using pink for the month’s Ritzy Cracker blocks too.

Once the RSC18 blocks were done I dug back into the scraps for orange to make more Ritzy Crackers.  The color hasn’t been chosen yet for the RSC project, but I knew I wanted to add orange to my reunion blocks.  Six are done and 3 more cut out, but I was having trouble finding orange in my stash.  I also need more red blocks, and then some dark ones - maybe black and some brown. The Ritzy Cracker blocks are hopefully going to become signature blocks at our upcoming family reunion.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A treasure recovered

In the fall of 1991 a lot of difficult decisions were made. My parents had both died and as an only child the disposal of their property fell to me.  I was 37 years old, married with 2 little kids, and lived in a house much too small to absorb all of the things I really wanted to keep. So I ended up putting things on the estate sale that I wasn’t ready to give up.  Mom’s treadle sewing machine was the thing I missed the most, and regretted selling the most. And this week I have it back!!  My cousin’s wife tracked it down for me since we knew who bought it originally. The niece of the original buyer had it in Fargo, ND and was willing to sell it back to me for $20 - exactly what she paid for it. And it was delivered from Fargo to my hometown in Minnesota over Easter, where it has rested in my cousin’s garage until this weekend.  

Mom had this machine before she got married. It was probably one of the few possessions she had.  And I have lots of memories of her using this machine even though she also had an electric sewing machine. It sat in the dining room most of my life, and she used it when sewing something really heavy duty, like denim or leather. She made all of my clothes until I got into high school and started making my own clothes.  She made our curtains, made very plain quilts, and did a lot of sewing for other people.  I learned to sew on this machine but can’t say that I actually used it much as I preferred the electric machine.

The cabinet is much more elaborate than most others I’ve seen. Even the sides of the 6 drawers have decorative motifs.  I was so surprised to see that it looks just like it did when I sold it in 1991.  No one painted it or even used it. That green piece of cloth was something mom added as a pin cushion, and it’s still there. Even the little box of attachments is still in the drawer. 

These machines are really works of art.  I’ve done a bit of research and the serial number indicates it was made in Elizabeth New Jersey 1904, so it’s even older than I thought it was.  The decal design is called Pheasant and the only ones worn off are right around the presser foot.  Even the metal on the back of the machine is beautiful.  I’m so thrilled to have this machine back in my possession.  

Lost and found

Can you guess what this is?  I’ll share more another day. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Flying the flag

My husband gets a little carried away with flying the American flag during the summer.  In the winter we have only 2 - the big flagpole in the front yard and the small one next to the front porch.  But in the summer he adds lots of small flags because he loves how they look even though he has to move them all every time he mows the lawn.  And I bought him 2 flag banners the other day to add to the porch railing on either side of the steps. 

There are small flags and solar light all along the front sidewalk.  And he has added small flags to 2 of my flower pots on the front steps.  This one holds red petunias and something that smells like lemons. The other flag is in a pot of red geraniums on the top step.

The big flagpole is embedded in a big rock in the front yard.  It's getting a bit rusty, so I'm guessing it didn't want to extend to it's full height when he put up the new flag the other day.  It has a solar powered light at the base to light the flag at night. But I noticed last night that it didn't come on, so we'll have to check on that.

I was out on the porch this morning with my coffee and morning newspaper when 3 people walked by.  They commented on how nice the flags all looked.  I have to agree.  It's a grand old flag!!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Orphan blocks

We probably all have some orphan blocks lying around that are too nice to throw away, but need a purpose.  This is one of mine.  It's a 14" block that I made when I kept seeing it online. The name of the block is Swoon, I think.  I love star blocks of any kind, so it appealed to me.  But I just never made any more to go with it.

It's been hanging in the corner of my design wall for a couple of years now.  So I decided that it was time to give it a life.  A little simple quilting and this is ready to be a pillow top. Now - if I can just find the leftover fabric to make a back for the pillow. I know there should be plenty of that rusty looking print and of the teal - hiding out somewhere in my sewing room.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Jelly roll block update

I’ve had several questions about the source of this block that I used in the jelly roll Christmas quilt, but it was something I saw on Facebook or Pinterest last fall and unfortunately I can’t find the original source again.  According to my post in November about the block it didn’t have a name, instructions, or even a size indicated on the site, so I just printed the photo and did the math myself because I really wanted to make the block.

My block is finished at 8" (8.5" unfinished).  So the 4-patch section is simply done with 2.5" squares. I had a jelly roll, so that is why I started with that size square in the 4-patch.  The other section is basically a half log cabin done with 1.5" strips.  The white corner is a 1.5" square.  So the colored round is a 1.5" square and a 1.5" x 2.5" rectangle.  The next white round is a 1.5" x 2.5" rectangle and a 1.5" x 3.5" rectangle.  And the final colored round are 1.5" x 3.5" and 1.5" x 4.5" rectangles.

This blue and white version is actually an experiment I did back in November to make it larger.  It used 3.5” squares in the 4-patch, and 2” strips for the half log cabin section.  It is a 12” finished block.  This block really could be made any size you wanted by making some simple calculations.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Design Wall Monday - Jelly Roll Christmas

I've been working on this Christmas quilt for several months.  It just kept evolving, which is what happens when you really don't have a good plan.  But the top is done as of this morning, and it's ready to quilt.  It turned out even better than I had hoped.
Check out some other Monday Design Walls at:
One jelly roll purchased on our guild bus trip to Missouri Star Quilting Company - that was the starting point.  I found this block online and it worked perfectly with a jelly roll.  A white on white background fabric was added.  Then I realized there were a lot of really light strips, so I bought the solid red and solid green to use with those.  It was still too small to be a good sofa throw, so I got online and ordered another jelly roll and a layer cake.  More blocks were made, but it still seemed just a little unfinished.  It needed borders!!
Part of the layer cake became the outer 5" border.  The solid red worked fine for the narrow inner border.  And I had enough of the solid green to use for binding so that is made and ready once I get around to having this quilted.
I now have about 6 quilt tops hanging in the sewing room closet waiting to be quilted.  I think it's time to take a couple more to my favorite quilter.    

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jelly Roll Race II

The borders are on Jelly Roll Race II and it's ready to quilt.  The fabric I found at The Pin Cushion for the outer border has exactly the same purples and blues that were in the jelly roll, even though they are from different lines (and probably years) of Kaffe.  So it works perfectly. I love it.

The lime green looks yellow in the pictures but in the bottom photo it’s pretty accurate.  I had just enough of the green for binding, and for the cuff on a pillowcase. And there was enough of the border fabric for the main section of the pillowcase.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

My reward is a new project

This isn't a totally new project, but it is my reward for finishing some UFOs.  I've had this Kaffe jelly roll for a while and kept picturing a jelly roll race quilt using it.  Then I saw the variation with the squares in between the strips and knew that is what I wanted to do.  Check out Jelly Roll Race II at Missouri Star Quilt Company for a video tutorial.

So this week I purchased some lime green Grunge, and got started. 
The strips have all been sewn together, separated by lime green squares.  This pile is only part of the approximately 60 yards of strips.

Once the long strip was sewn into a shorter strip of 2, I wasn't sure about how it was turning out. At this point there were some doubts, but I knew I needed to keep going.

And voila - two strips were sewn into a strip of 4, then halved again into a strip of 8, then 16, and finally 32.  Once I had strips of 4 I could actually see the potential, and this turned out even better than I had hoped.  Now to add a narrow green border and a wider purple/blue border that was my purchase on Friday to finish this up.  Stay tuned for the final version! 


Friday, May 18, 2018

2 more UFO finishes

The Pink Pineapples are all done, and hanging by my back door for now. The light isn't very good there, but you can kind of see that the pink has a slight coral tint.  This wall hanging is about 20" square.  I want to hang it in my laundry room eventually, but need to find a slightly larger hanger for it first. 

And I finished the Sew Together bag that was my sample when I taught the classes over a year ago. This one was partially done for the class to use as a demo, and it had stayed in pieces far too long.  I notice that the quilting doesn't show up very well on this print.  I should have used red thread to quilt it.  Thread contrast needs to be kept in mind for future bags.  I'm kind of thinking that I may donate it to the family reunion silent auction at the end of June. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A soft finish

This 20" pillow is the first actual finish for the month of May.  By Christmas I plan to have one of these made for each grandchild.  One down and 4 more to go.

Olivia's pillow will match her unicorn quilt that she got for her birthday. The unicorn fabric is on the back of the pillow and the front is made from leftovers of the quilt top.  I did have it quilted because I want it to hold up and keep its shape. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Missing my mojo

After 2 weeks of focusing on anything and everything except sewing, I finally got back into the groove this morning. Random sewing took place and it was so enjoyable.  Our Sew Vintage group was challenged on Saturday to make the 6" flower block from Lori Holt’s book Spelling Bee.  We each pulled a strip of fabric from a shopping bag to use for the petals.  Mine was a peach print and I easily found things in my scrap bins to use for the rest of the block. It needs a better pressing and maybe restitching where the stem meets the petals. I see it isn’t centered on the stem.

Then I pulled out one of the May projects for the UFO Challenge, and put in the final pocket zipper. Once that was in, I could add the sides to this Sew Together bag.  The final pieces are the top zipper and straps that need to be added.  Those are ready to attach, but will have to wait for another day.

And last but not least, I sewed the finding onto a small wall hanging.  This is my pink pineapple wallhanging, and I’m hoping to have the hand work done on the binding before bedtime tonight.

I’ve linked up to:  Check it out to see what other quilters have on their design walls this Monday.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Adding some color

Those who know me, know that I am NOT a gardener. I kept a small veggie garden when my kids were still around, and have always had a few flowers. But I don't have a green thumb like my parents did, and I really don't enjoy digging in the dirt.  That said - I do really enjoy seeing colorful flowers all summer. 

So a mix of purchased pots of flowers, and planting a few into existing pots is my solution.  I bought this container with a mix of deep red petunias and a plant that smells like lemon and is supposed to repel mosquitoes. A purple flower is poking out of the middle too.  For now it's on the steps of my front porch, greeting any visitors.  And next to the front door I planted red geraniums - my favorite - with something spikey and something that will "trail".  I should have kept the little plastic labels so I could actually identify some of these plants.
 And the pot below is a "living salad bowl" - with a mix of lettuce and other salad greens. I got this over the weekend at our local Menards garden center.  Very clever idea.  We'll see how long I manage to keep it alive.  I plan to cut some lettuce for supper tonight.
Sitting in the middle of my deck table is a small clay container of succulents.  I've tried flowers in that container in past years, but it seems like they dry out too fast. So, I bought some succulents yesterday and planted them.  I like the look and hope they thrive.
I bought a mix of flowers and Prince Tut grasses for this container and added a solar light.  My deck faces south so it gets quite warm. But it also has a deep overhang close to the house. So the next 2 pots of flowers will sit closer to the overhang where they get morning sun, but are in the shade during the heat of the day.  That seems to have worked in previous years.

Simple purple and white petunias, and a millet stalk went into the big pot I usually used for tomatoes.  No tomatoes this year for me. I'll just buy them at the farm stands.  A set of solar lights hanging off the side of the pot will mingle with the sweet potato vine as it grows.  Nothing fancy here like some of my neighbors have, but it's a little color to brighten my little corner of the world.

A new guild project

Our guild had a sewing day on Saturday morning before our meeting. This Quilt of Valor top is the result, and we accomplished it in less than 3 hours.  The blocks were already made, but we added a narrow border on a few to make them all 12.5" square.
Ruby and Pam sewed like crazy, while Carmen pressed. I cut sashing and cornerstones, and the block borders.  We had enough Garlic Knot blocks to finish another QOV, and start one more. Carmen pressed a lot of Garlic Knot blocks too.  But with such a small group working we just focused on the other quilt.  It's graduation season - and youth baseball season - so we had a lot of people with bigger family priorities last weekend. We'll do another sewing day and finish up the other quilts too.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Family treasures

One of my favorite pieces of furniture is this old oak rocker that belonged to my paternal grandmother.  She was only 4’ 9", and my grandfather took off the rockers, cut the legs down, and then put the rockers back on so it was more comfortable for her.  I’m only 5’ 2", and this rocker fits me perfectly.  It’s very plain, but the wood is so pretty and it’s really comfortable.

I’m looking forward to acquiring another family treasure soon - my mother’s treadle sewing machine. My cousin’s wife tracked it down for me, offered to buy it, and the sewing machine is now sitting in their garage waiting for me to pick it up. So a road trip to Minnesota needs to happen soon.  I don’t know what kind of shape it’s in, but it will be fun to have it back no matter what.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Pink Ritzy Crackers

The 12 pink Ritzy Cracker blocks can be checked off my May goal list as complete.  I already had 6 pink ones made before, so these are just added to the stack. I could definitely see doing a single color quilt of these blocks. And they would make some wonderful Quilt of Valor blocks in reds and blues.
If I have counted correctly, I have 97 blocks made. I want enough made for the family reunion at the end of June.  I think that it needs some orange, more red, a few more black, and more multi-color blocks. So I'll be deviating from the RSC18 monthly color choices to get these done in time. My plan is to have them stacked by color and let people choose a block to sign. 
And ironically the reunion is the same weekend as our bi-annual guild quilt show. So I'll be feeling a bit frantic for a few days until both are over.  My husband is in charge of the reunion, and I'm on the quilt show committee.  Luckily both events are taking place here in town.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

More goals for May

Besides finishing the UFO items, I have set a few other goals for the month of May.  Most of these are just keeping up with or moving along WIPs (Works in Progress), but I want to start a new project too.  Maybe the Farm Girl Vintage blocks will have to be my "new" project since all I have is blocks. Guess I will just have to see how the month goes. 

Pink/rose was selected as the May color for RSC18 (Rainbow Scrap Challenge).  So there is a lot of pink in my goals for the month.

  • 3 RSC Sampler blocks in pink
  • 2 Saturday Sampler blocks  
  • 12 Ritzy Cracker blocks (pink)
  • finish top of Christmas jelly roll quilt
  • bind Pink Pineapples
  • prep the sewing room wall hanging for quilting
  • make a plan for large Farm Girl Vintage blocks

  • This morning I dug through the stash and scraps for pink.  I actually thought I had more pink than I found.  But there were some good ones to choose from.  Twelve pink Ritzy Cracker blocks are under way.  I love this 30s reproduction fabric with the black Scottie dogs.

    The center sections of all 12 blocks are sewn, and ready to add the triangles.  And I'm kind of hoping that I get some more sewing time after work this afternoon.  They are all laying on my sewing table waiting for me.

    Tuesday, May 1, 2018

    My first goal for May

    The new APQ UFO Challenge number drawn for May is #6.  There are 3 items on my list for that number, and one of them is already done.  But that still leaves me with 2 small UFOs to finish plus finishing up the April UFOs.  So here is my first goal for the month - finishing a bag.

    There is a red Sew Together bag sitting around in parts and pieces. I used it as a class sample when I taught a couple of classes on this bag, but I just never finished it.  And if I were to be honest, there is also another sample bag in pieces from the same classes.  At least the red one has been started and shouldn't take long to finish. 

    The outside cover is lightly quilted.  Two of the 3 inside pockets are done.  The third pocket needs its lining and zipper, and then the sides, handles, and top zipper need to be added.  This one is mostly French General fabrics and has a more elegant look than the other one that is started. 

    The second bag has a cover made of selvages - and that is all that is done. In this case I haven't decided yet on any fabrics for the inside pockets or the sides, and I haven't chosen zippers.  I think it needs to be bright colors for the handles, ends and inside of this bag.  And maybe different color zippers on each pocket just for a fun surprise inside. 

    There are 3 more sets of zippers, so I could keep making bags.  But I doubt that will happen any time soon.  Tan, dark brown, and grey all seem too tame and boring for the selvage bag, so these may just go back into the drawer for future bags. There is a grey "fish" fat quarter that I recently received as a gift. It would be perfect with the grey zippers - some day.