Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Escaping to sew

I managed to carve out an hour to sew last night.  This is the beginning of the Quilt of Valor that Sophia helped me cut out.  The pattern was for a scrappy quilt, but I had these 3 fabrics and decided they would do just fine.  Scrappy would be even prettier most likely but that will have to wait for another time.  

My daughter and her husband managed to get home safely yesterday but it took them a lot longer than usual to get from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls.  They said they saw a lot of accidents.  We decided to keep the kids one more night because the Interstate between Mitchell and Sioux Falls is really bad yet and there was no point in taking chances in the dark with the grand-kids in the car.  So they are stuck with us until this afternoon.  

ADDED NOTE:  This pattern is a free Bonnie Hunter pattern called Fourth of July.  I've added a link to her Free Patterns page because she has so many great patterns.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Design Wall Monday - fat quarters

I will confess that I have a weakness for fat quarters.  And the random fat quarter collection USED to fit into this plastic sweater box.  Guess now I need 2 of these boxes.  My granddaughter sorted them on Sunday but that doesn't solve the space problem.  What I really need to do is USE them up!!  Sounds like a New Years resolution to me!

I'm hoping to get a little sewing done today, but it might not happen. Right now I'm supposed to be working on invoices for work.  And we still have grandchildren here because we are not dug out from the blizzard that is just ending today.  No rush to get out because we can't take them home until their parents get home, and they have a long drive on snowy roads today.  

What's on your design wall this morning? 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Blizzard projects

Sophia is 7 and she loves to sort things and organize things.  So this morning while grandpa was outside blowing snow (first 12") I brought up everything I needed to cut the parts for a new Quilt of Valor.  Sophia turned all of my squares right side up and put into sets of 20 so I knew how many I had cut.  When we took it all downstairs again she saw the overflowing bin of fat quarters in my sewing room and then spent an hour sorting those.  The bin is still overflowing, but it's better organized now.

After lunch Sophia and Jack headed outside to play in the snow.  They worked on creating a snow fort on the back deck.  The deck is sheltered between wings of the house, so they were out of the wind there.  Dave cleared the driveway and sidewalks once because we could see 18" or more of snow before it ends tomorrow.  It took him 2 hours and was hard work.  It's fairly wet heavy snow so moving half at a time is a good idea.   

Hot cocoa was a treat when they came back inside.  

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Icy weekend stuff

We have ice and slush now but the forecast says we may see 18-24" of snow by Monday morning. My plan was to go to a baby shower this morning for my nephew's wife, but I decided not to make that 30 mile drive.  Seems like a good weekend to just hide out at home.  After feeding the grand-kids breakfast this morning, I took my coffee and went to my sewing room for an hour.  The final 2 rows of La Caribe were added, and then both borders.  The narrow grey border frames the design, but that wide print border just makes me smile.

This border fabric is a Kaffe print called Sea Urchin, and I fell in love with it yesterday when I stopped at The Pin Cushion to check out possible border choices.  My original plan was to buy yardage of one of the Kaffe prints in the Hunters Star blocks, but then this one called out to me.  

And . . . while I was sewing for one hour, grandpa was in charge upstairs.  

Sophia and Jack are having fun - and not currently fighting - so I'm trying to control my growing NEED to pick up toys.  I've never been good with having the floor covered with toys, even when my own kids were little.  I prefer making them put away something before getting out anything new.  And yes - call it OCD or whatever - but I can hardly deal with the Legos mixed in with the cars, and all mixed in with stuffed animals scattered on the floor at the same time.  But I will survive - I think!! 

Friday, December 27, 2019

A little progress

Six of the 8 rows of La Caribe are now sewn together.  My ambition level was at -1 yesterday, so that was pretty much all I accomplished other than a couple of loads of laundry.  Oh - and I did play with the new ruler a little bit and found that it does a great job squaring up hourglass blocks too.  It was the letdown after Christmas, like a big drop in blood sugar.  

I have no idea whether I'll get any sewing done at all for the next few days but am hoping for a little time in my sewing room.  We are expecting a winter storm AND will have 2 of the grand-kids here from tonight through Monday while their parents go to Minneapolis to the Vikings and Bears football game.  I told my SIL that the snow is all his fault. Every time they go to this game we have a snow storm - without exception for several years now. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Trying out a new ruler

When a quilt pattern uses a lot of half square triangles, I often cringe just a little.  I don't mind sewing them, but trimming and squaring them up can be so time consuming.  So I'm trying out a new ruler that I saw in an online video tutorial a while back.  It lets you square up to size and trim the dog ears. Since Harvest Road has a large number of HST I decided to test out the ruler on this project.  

There were 2 rulers in the package - one for even numbered sizes, and one for 1/2" sizes.  These HST need to be 3 1/2" squared up.  The ruler is really nicely marked and easy to see exactly where to lay it. The dashed line goes on the stitching line.  Then trim the 2 sides of the triangle. And last use the notches to cut off the dog ears.  

Once it's trimmed just open it up and press.  It's a perfect 3 1/2" HST with no dog ears.  Simple to use.  I'm not usually a fan of  specialty rulers, but this one actually does make the process pretty slick. I think this is one I'll keep using.  There are now 16 of these first units for Harvest Road.  The next step is more HST to use to make hourglass units.  The ruler will come in handy.

Here are the rulers in their packaging - Clearly Perfect Slotted Trimmers.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my house to yours!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Working on my 2020 UFO list

For the past several years I've participated in the APQ UFO Challenge online, and I also participated locally in The Pin Cushion's PHD (projects half done) challenge.  It's a great way to challenge myself to work on - or get rid of  - those unfinished things sitting around.  The online challenge asks for a numbered list of 12 UFOs and they draw a number for each month to determine which UFO to tackle.

Well, I have too many UFOs to make a list of just 12 so I've been putting 3 items on the spreadsheet list for each number.  Then I can choose which one or ones to work on based on my mood.  This year I've added my own twist because as I've reorganized my sewing room I have found TOO MANY kits and projects purchased but not started.

So for each month I have added at least one "pick a PIG" to the list.  A PIG is a project in a grocery sack - not really, but any kit falls into this category for me.  And I've decided that I will pick out any PIG each month and do something with it.  That something might be to work on it, but it might also be to give it away or return the fabric to the stash to be used in a different way.  As long as it gets the PIG out of the drawer, then I'll consider it a small success.  And I reserve the right to replace any PIG on the list with some other UFO if I choose.  There are no Quilt Police after all.  

Monday, December 23, 2019

Design Wall Monday

Self binding baby blankets are such a clever design.  I made LOTS of these when my grand-babies were newborns because they are light weight and a similar size to a receiving blanket. It was a quick and useful baby gift.

Two squares of flannel are used with one cut 10" bigger than the other.  You can choose the size, but I usually cut my bigger piece the maximum size I can based on the width of the flannel, and then just cut the smaller piece 10" smaller.

The only tricky part is doing the corners, so that they "turn" properly and make the binding.  But I keep the instruction page handy with a pictures showing how to sew that corner.  Once the blanket is turned right sides out, that larger piece forms the binding.  I use a serpentine or other decorative stitch to sew on top of that seam to keep everything in place and close the opening.  Just Google "self binding baby blanket" for great instructions.

I need to finish one more before next weekend to gift at the baby shower for my nephew's wife. This is their first baby, and it's a boy.  This farm print is perfect as they live on a farm.  She is a veterinarian and he works at a "wheel shop" - a local business that builds and restores antique wagons and carriages for customers all over the world.

What is on your design wall this morning?

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sunday sewing

 I finally found time to spend in my sewing room.  First task was to organize all of the flannel that I had - some just purchased, and some already in the drawer.  I needed to see what options are here for baby quilts for the new babies coming into the extended family.  

This farm print is adorable!  My second task was to cut the parts needed for some self-binding baby blankets and get to sewing.  There is now 1 farm themed blanket sewn, and 4 more blankets cut and ready to go.  There was enough flannel to do 2 with this red/blue farm theme, 2 with the teal zoo theme, and one lavender one with bears on it.  I put the pink pieces back in the drawer for now. 

On top of the flannel in the drawer were several bags with various pre-cuts, some patterns, and even a couple of background fabrics.  Now the drawer is JUST flannel.  I sorted and organized those other items, and then decided that I would choose 1 to be my next "new" project. It wasn't even on the PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) list because I didn't realize they were in that drawer until today. 

There were 2 charm packs of this Harvest Road line, and the pattern that came with them.  These were from a recent Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop.  I recognize a pattern of just shoving random things in drawers.  Also in the drawer was a cream/grey polka dot background that I bought quite recently thinking it would work for a Quilt of Valor.  It didn't look good with the other fabrics for the QOV, so evidently I stuck it in the drawer and totally forgot about it.  And it's perfect with this Harvest Road color palette.  

All of the pieces are now cut and labeled for this small quilt.  You can't see all the colors here very well, but there is a dark blue, a warm brown, an pale icy blue, and a mossy green.  

So now I have 3 things on my TO DO list for the end of 2019 (or beginning of 2020):

1.  Finish the other 4 flannel blankets
2.  Finish the pink/grey Hunter's Star top
3.  Begin the Harvest Road blocks

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Planning to sew

I bought some flannel to make some self-binding baby blankets. There are 2 nephews and a niece all expecting babies in the next weeks and months.  I had some “girly” flannel but needed some more “boyish” ones because at least one of them is having a boy.  Safari and farm prints - should work for either gender I think.  Now to find some time to actually sew these.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Christmas stockings

Can I just leave the Christmas stockings up on the fireplace all year? They look so cheerful.

The stockings for the kids are already stuffed, and a couple of little things are in the adults' stockings too.  This is one of my favorite spots in the house, especially this time of year.

No sewing has happened in over a week now. There are too many things going on.  My sister-in-law and I spent a couple of days in Sioux Falls this week for a little R and R.  We did very little shopping, but enjoyed some nice dining and attended the Kenny G concert.  

Now back to work. I am heading to a bid opening shortly.  I think I have all my documentation needed organized and in my computer bag ready to go. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Quilting friends

We don't always work on things together or even work on any projects. But we share our love of all things vintage, and quilting.  That's the Sew Vintage group that meeting one afternoon per month.  We had a potluck Christmas Party on Saturday and it was so much fun. I should have taken pictures of the food because - OMG, there was so much yummy food!  But I was too busy filling a plate and eating a little of everything.

We had decided that we would each bring one gift, and it needed to be something that would fit in a small jar like a pint canning jar. Then we played a dice game to exchange those little gifts.  I received Sandy's gift, which was this beautiful hot pad. It was rolled up and fit in the jar, but when I unrolled it this is a a great size. And It's perfect because I just threw away a favorite, old, worn out hot pad. So thank you Sandy!

Remember all of those little star ornaments that I made? Well I gave most of them away as little gifts to the whole group. And several of the gals also had little gifts for everyone - some hand made and some purchased.  

Isn't that little red truck with the Christmas tree cute? It fits in so well with the vintage theme.  And this little folded origami star is adorable.  Both are on my tree already. 

A packet of hot chocolate and the cutest little spoon made of peppermint - that is a clever stocking stuffer idea.  

Our group leader Cindy made these cute little notebook covers for each of us. This little notebook fits perfectly into my small purse.  

And there is this adorable little gnome made by Carol and her husband. He's a very "crafty" fellow and even made the pattern for the gnome shape.  The gnome is also sitting on a branch in my Christmas tree. 

And another gal gave each of us a porcelain coaster.  I put it to good use under my Sunday morning coffee cup next to the sofa.  

Thank you ladies!! I treasure this group - and not for the physical gifts they give, but for the warm social gift of friendship. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

RSC19 - Sammy's Secret Garden

Sammy's Secret Garden - my main Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for 2019 - is FINISHED!!! And yes, nearly every piece in this quilt was from my scrap bins or stash.

This is Sammy. He is my 18 year old Tuxedo cat who became the inspiration for this quilt.  I fell in love with the Lori Holt cat block and after making some colorful ones, decided I needed to make a black and white one to reign over all the rest.  He's getting pretty frail in his old age, but is still hanging in there.  He no longer comes down to supervise my sewing room however because the steps are too difficult for him.  But he spent a lot of time laying by these blocks as I layed them out on the floor to arrange and rearrange. 

Can you see the dragon flies in the quilting? I love this! The thread is multi-colored and it just fits that garden theme so well.  It's a happy quilt. 

These blocks are all Lori Holt blocks, mostly from Farm Girl Vintage 2.  Several different flowers, the little bird, and the beehive - all Lori Holt FGV2 blocks. But I did use the bee and one of the flowers from her other books.  

And a happy quilt needs a happy backing, right?  This polka dot is perfect.  I'm still debating on what I want to do for a label for this one so that is the one thing remaining to do.  

This is my final finish for 2019.  The Ohio Star and Rainbow String blocks that I began this year will continue into the RSC-2020 challenge so there will be enough for a whole quilt of each.  Can't wait - bring on RSC-2020.  Check out  for more information on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. She has links to previous year projects as well. Sometimes I make her blocks, and other times I've just done my own thing but using her color challenge. That's the whole idea - using up the scraps. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas ornaments

I have 25 ornaments made and there are 2 more cut out and waiting next to my sewing machine.  These little 4.5" ornaments have been fun to make and they will be fun to give away as gifts.

All came from either the scrap bins or stash, including the batting inside them.  I did have to buy some ribbon for hangers because I didn't have any thin enough. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

President's blocks revealed

The blocks for the outgoing 2018-19 guild president were gifted to her at Saturday's Christmas Party/guild meeting.  I think she was pleased with receiving Christmas-themed blocks.  I've borrowed the photo of the blocks from Facebook because my picture didn't show off this many blocks. Aren't these stocking blocks cute? 

The outgoing 2018-19 officers were Evelyn, Gwen (president), Pam, me, and we were missing Alice. 

Our officers in guild serve from April to March each year. Gwen was our president for 2 full years, and received a set of blocks for her first year during the 2018 Christmas Party.  Those were churn dash blocks.  Another previous president who served for 2 years received "house" blocks the first year and then "tree" blocks the same size the next.  Thinking of other presidents, we've appliqued purses, cat, and coffee cups.  During our bi-annual quilt show we do a Bed Turning event to show off past president's quilts. It's a nice tradition.

These blocks are going onto Gwen's design wall right away as she seemed excited to get the quilt made.  What's on your design wall today?

Friday, December 6, 2019

Guild President's Blocks

Our guild Christmas Party and December meeting is tomorrow, and this box is all ready to take with me.  But I can't show you what's in the box quite yet. 

This box contains the President's blocks for the outgoing 2019 president, Gwen and I'm so excited for her to see them.  It's tradition to choose a design and members each make and sign a block for the outgoing leader.  Along with the blocks we've included a little extra of the background fabrics in case she needs any more for whatever layout she chooses.

I'll try to get some photos of the blocks tomorrow during the party because they are so CUTE!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Oh Christmas Tree!!

The newest ornament on my Christmas tree is this adorable treadle machine.  My tradition every year is to give my kids and grand-kids a new ornament each year.  This year DD#1 gave me a new ornament too - this one!  It's so cute and has a tiny stocking under the needle.  I love it!

New spot for the Christmas tree this year - in the place where our piano has been for 13 years.  We gave the piano to daughter #1 family as she has kids interested in starting piano lessons. My mother bought the piano for our girls just before she died - in 1991.  And since neither my husband or I play it, we felt it was time to pass it along to be used again.  In our house it was just a nice piece of furniture to dust.  And now the Christmas tree fills in that corner very nicely. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

It's December already???

The snow outside reminds me that it's really winter and that we're already into December.  

I am VERY please with meeting the November goals. I felt like my sewing energy had returned. 
  • Saturday Sampler blocks - DONE
  • finish the paper-pieced Pineapple blocks - NO
  • bind Sammy's Secret Garden quilt - 3/4 completed
  • finish binding Reunion Signature quilt - DONE
  • 3 more pillowcases for grand-kids for Christmas (2 are done so far) - all 5 DONE
  • make 1 Sew Together bag (cocktail) - DONE
  • choose another UFO project to work on and make some progress - NO
  • more progress on organizing my projects - very little progress made

What else did I do this month?
  • started and finished a Kim Diehl project - Apple Baskets mini quilt
  • made 17 Christmas ornaments
  • planned a couple more Quilts of Valor projects
  • took a 2-day class on La Caribe (Hunter's Star variation)
So what are my December goals?  If it keeps snowing I might get LOTS of sewing time.  But I think we have enough snow already. 
  • Saturday Sampler blocks
  • make the November Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots mini quilt project
  • finish binding Sammy's Secret Garden
  • work on the paper-pieced Pineapple blocks
  • sew La Caribe blocks into rows
  • cut out parts for 2 new Quilts of Valor
  • clean up and organize the drawer full of neutral fabrics (whites/beiges)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Design Wall Monday - La Caribe

My Design Wall is actually the family room floor for this project.  It's nice to be able to lay these out and then "live" with them for a few hours until I've determined that each block is exactly where I want it.  Then my numbered pins will come out and each row will be collected and identified for sewing.  I hope to get some of the rows together this week but we'll see if that happens. 

This is the layout for La Caribe - a variation of the Hunter's Star.  It's found in Deb Tucker's book Hidden Treasures and uses her Rapid Fire Hunter's Star ruler.  My variation used 8 colored fabrics plus a background. I chose Kaffe Fassett fabrics in hot pink, and a light grey background. I plan to purchase enough yardage of one of these pink prints to add a border. I think I have enough of the grey for a narrow inside border too.

What is on your Design Wall this morning?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Weathering the storm

I haven't left my house since getting home on Thanksgiving evening.  That was partly due to the weather, and partly due to just enjoying the hibernation.

Friday morning began with rain and some freezing rain, Saturday it turned into snow. And we awoke this morning to a winter wonderland.  We were actually on the edge of this system and everyone west of us got LOTS more snow than we did.

I spent lots of time sewing, got the Christmas Tree up, and did a little time baking, and spent lots of time listening/watching college basketball via the computer.  I should have taken a video of my husband, still not feeling very good, tucked into his recliner under a quilt - with a laptop and his phone plugged into a power strip so he could stream the Jackrabbit women's games in Cancun but listen to the radio announcer at the same time. All while a "shoot 'em up" movie played on the TV in the room.  I finally grabbed the remote and muted the movie as my brain was going into overload.  He ended up watching college basketball all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday!! A marathon - and now that he's feeling a little better he's getting the snowblower out to start clearing the driveway - before football starts at noon. 

Anyway - I have 17 ornaments all completed so far. I could do the binding and add the ribbon hangers while following the games.  There are still 3 cut out on my ironing board, but I may dig a little deeper and see what other Christmas-y scraps I have to make more.  

And this morning I began laying out the blocks for La Caribe.  This is a Deb Tucker pattern that uses her Rapid Fire Hunter's Star ruler and process.  Pink Kaffe Fassett fabrics and grey background make for a cheerful quilt.  A touch of spring this morning is OK with me. But the cat was unimpressed.  He finally moved since I was disturbing his napping space.   

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be heading out to make the hour trip to my daughter's house shortly.  My contributions to dinner are ready to go - deviled eggs and BBQ smokies.  I'm thankful today that my son-in-law and daughter are cooking!   

Ten little ornaments are done, except 6 still need ribbon for hanging. But they are turning out so cute! I had most of yesterday off work and my husband spent the whole day sleeping off whatever "bug" he came home with.  So I had LOTS of quiet sewing time.  And he is staying home today so he doesn't share whatever he has with the rest of the family.  I promised to leave him some smokies as a treat.

I also kitted up ten more ornaments yesterday using scraps from my drawer of Christmas fabrics.  A couple more Santa faces will appear, plus stockings, and peppermint candies.  And last but not least I found the piece of fabric with the poinsettias and holly leaves.  

Usually my tree goes up the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it's so late this year that I've been wanting to get it set up NOW. However, this is all the further I got - 2 of the 10 branch sections up the stairs.  Everything else is still down in the basement.  The stairs are getting to be one of the biggest frustrations to navigate, so multiple trips carrying stuff just wasn't going to happen.  

Maybe tomorrow I'll get everything up here so I can set up the tree and get it decorated. I'm ready for some Christmas cheer in the house.