Sunday, March 31, 2019

A finish - one more Sew Together bag

I'm quite pleased with this bag.  It's done in SDSU Jackrabbit blue and yellow, with a surprise floral lining.  I used a Row By Row license plate from 2017 on the front.  It is from the Inspired to Sew shop in Cedar Rapids.  I have a lot of these Row By Row license plates, and just grabbed one with words I liked for this bag.  It could make a good little travel project bag. 

I even added a little tag that says "hugs & kisses" on it.  All in all, this was a fun finish.  And I've started working on another bag using the same pattern from the kits I put together last week.  The next one is actually sold as soon as I can get it done.  

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Simple solution

Obviously simple solutions aren't the first solutions that I come up with.  I've searched online for interesting zipper pulls. I've looked in Walmart and Hobby Lobby.  And I searched in JoAnn Fabrics last week when I was in Sioux Falls to pick up a friend at the airport.  I had finally made up my mind that I would just tie some black ribbon onto the zipper tab and call it good. 

So yesterday I stopped into The Crafty Fox (a local store) to buy some ribbon.  They also carry jewelry findings - and I found a package of 4 filigree metal hearts.  It works great as a zipper pull.  Why didn't I think of this quicker?  Duh!! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Baby steps with the bag projects

Yesterday I managed to get the inside of the bag assembled and attached to the outside of the bag. So now the only real step remaining is to add the long zipper section that makes the top closure and the handles.  Maybe I'll even get it done this week so I can start working on another one.  Yay!

There are 3 inside zippers in the Sew Together bag, which is probably it's best feature.  I used this cute floral print leftover from a recent quilt border.  And then the yellow zippers and bindings just seemed to be the obvious choice. This bag is going to be bright and happy. 

The other thing I finished yesterday was a simple square zippered bag using the leftover art print.  I just quilted it, added a lining and zipper. Then sewed up the sides. It was done on Saturday, but needed to be turned right side out and pressed flat. Not bad, but it needs a fun zipper pull to dress it up a little. I'm thinking I may fill it with some art supplies and add it to my granddaughter Olivia's birthday present in April. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

A sweet birthday

For some reason most birthdays around here come and go with little notice. My husband is one of those guys who usually doesn't even say "happy birthday", but some years he might buy flowers. However those flowers just appear on the kitchen counter with nothing ever said - and I do try to be appreciative. And some years pass with no notice at all.  Ideally I would prefer just doing something special together to celebrate.  Time together with family is the best gift of all.   

This year my girls planned my ideal birthday - going to a play with them in the afternoon, then back to have cupcakes with the grandkids.  A perfect plan making sweet memories.  I've been talking for a couple of weeks about going to see Steel Magnolias at the Orpheum Theater with the girls for my birthday.  But proof that my husband doesn't actually hear what I say - he texted both girls to remind them that it was my birthday, in case they had forgotten.  They had a big laugh over that.  So why did he think I was going?  In one ear and out the other!

After the play - which was wonderful - we went back to Jerilyn's house to have pizza and cupcakes. All 5 grandkids yelled "surprise" and sang happy birthday to me.  This was the best birthday in years!!

And I came home to this - sitting on the kitchen counter in the dark.  I didn't even see it until I actually turned on the light in the kitchen to get a glass of water before I went to bed, and my husband hadn't said a word of course.  It's kind of a sad looking plant with a couple of yellow leaves drooping.  I haven't had real house plants in a couple of decades because I always manage to kill them.  So more leaves are destined to be yellow soon.  He told me the grocery store doesn't have much of a selection on Sunday nights.  LOL!!!  It's the thought that counts, right?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Hanging out

Hanging out with the dogs while my daughter’s family is at church.  Only this one fits in my lap.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Just a little progress on a bag

The inner lining and 3-pocket section is assembled and ready to attach to the outer layer of one of the bags.  The next step is adding the side sections which fold around each of those pockets and are anchored vertically along the edge of the pocket, closing it off.  Then I can attach the whole unit to that outer layer.  These next steps are the hardest ones because of having to sew through so many layers of fabric.  

We’ll have to see if I get any chance to sew at all before leaving to babysit tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Bags in bags

Inside each of the ziplock bags is a complete kit for a SewTogether Bag.  The fabric parts, the zippers, and the fusible interfacing have now all be cut, organized, and bagged, and ready to become a completed bag.  

The fish fabric was a gift from my cousin that she found while on a road trip.  When I first saw it I just knew I wanted to use it in a bag.  It actually is a bit more of a mossy green than the photo shows. And I found a fun fish skeleton bangle that might be useful to decorate the bag. We'll see if it works out once the bag is sewn.  

Now I need to find more time to sew, on these bags and on some other projects.  This weekend I'm going to Sioux Falls to babysit on Saturday evening for one daughter, and then on Sunday afternoon I'm going to a theater production of Steel Magnolias with both of my daughters.  The play is my birthday gift from them as I turn 65 (gulp) on Sunday. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Distracted again

I've been distracted from UFO completion yet again. But that's OK because it's the process that makes me happy. And these Ohio Star blocks make me happy.  Thanks go to Lori from for inspiring me with some fun scrap busting.  

Star blocks of any kind make me smile, so when I saw these on her blog on Monday I just knew I had to make some.  So, Tuesday evening while watching college basketball on TV, I was digging into the scraps again to make these.  I don't sew in the evening very often because the light in my sewing room is poor.  And my original thought was just to cut the pieces for these, but then I started sewing. And an hour later I had 3 finished blocks. 

No dimensions in mind and no pattern.  But they are just hourglass blocks and squares.  I found 3 identical red charm squares, so that's where I started. Using 2 of the 5" squares I ended up with 4 hourglass blocks that I trimmed to 4", so that is the size I trimmed my squares.  So the finished blocks are a nice size.  Now that I look at the photo, I see I need to do a better job pressing that yellow one - or maybe the seam is wonky.  Either way, it's an easy fix.  And I now have one of each color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge so far.  Considering the amount of scraps I have I could do a couple in each color very easily. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Design Wall Monday

Sunday afternoon sewing began with cleaning up a neglected corner of my sewing room and then dealing with a couple of projects that had been started but then neglected.  This all started because I wanted to use that larger design board that was covered with half square triangles.  So I finally just sewed these together.  What had I been waiting for?  This 16" pieced square made of leftover 2.5" HSTs could become a pillow, or a doll quilt, and maybe even the center of a larger quilt.  We'll see what it wants to be.  

The other "stuff" laying around in a basket in that corner was a pile of fabric and zippers I had gathered to make more Sew Together bags.  I know why these were set aside - because I ran out of interfacing, which is a simple problem to solve.  And in the meantime I cut all of the parts for the "art" fabric bag, and quilted the outside section.  For the blue license plate bag, I've quilted the outside and appliqued the Row By Row license plate.  And the fun yellow print hiding under it will be used as the bindings and ends of the bag.  I also cut some of the parts for a third bag made with a "fish" print.  And I quilted the leftover art print to use for a simple flat zippered bag - for which I may need to buy a new zipper.  There are still some fabrics and zipper sets in that basket for at least 2 more bags, but those may have to wait for some other time.  

These are not on my UFO list for 2019 but probably should have been.  But they were cluttering up my sewing area, so it's time to keep moving them along toward the finish line. 

I've linked up with Design Wall Monday:

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Squared Away - ready to quilt

I finally got the borders onto Squared Away, the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2019 Sampler quilt.  The border print has most of the colors from the 30 blocks so it works.  I decided not to add a white inner border between the sashing and the outer border.  This is 72" x 84", so a nice bed-size quilt. 

Once it's quilted I'll show the whole thing. Maybe our snowy mess will be gone by then and I can take an outdoor photo that will make the colors look as bright and cheery as they really are. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday Sampler - more of step 6

Here are my pieced step 6 units in the second colorway - Halloween fabrics.  The picture shows not as much contrast between the grey and green as there is in reality.   All 24 blocks of both colorways have the short rectangle added and are trimmed and ready to add the triangles to the edge.  I've finished 4 of each so I could see how they were going to look.  

The instructions call for a ruler that I don't have, but my 6.5" square up ruler works just fine. I can lay the diagonal line across the center square, and then slide it along until I get the 1/4" line on the edge lined up with the corner of the square. That will give me a perfect 1/4" seam for the triangle addition.  

I've linked up to today because the March color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is green. And the pop of green in these blocks is fun.

Saturday Sampler - step 6

I'm making progress with Step 6 of Saturday Sampler.  The previous steps have all been very easy and left me with no ideas for how the end result would look.

This month we added a 4.5" rectangle to the side of the pieced unit, then trimmed and added a triangle.  The resulting unit is beginning to look like something that would fit together.  There are still more pieces that we've prepped, and I'm not sure how those new sections will fit with these.

I did have to play with these a little, even though I know there are still parts and pieces remaining to add to the puzzle.  I tried putting those dark sections together to make a star.  But this layout doesn't make sense once I tried adding the other pieces.

Another layout option - with makes even less sense.

And a third option . . . but in reality the mystery is still a BIG mystery to me. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Rainbow flowers

Here are the flower blocks that I have so far. I made a peachy pink one when I first got the Lori Holt Spelling Bee book last year. Then I made the red one for a Sew Vintage group challenge in February to make any block in your favorite color.  Plus we shared charm squares in our favorite color.  My favorite color is red.  

The yellow and pink flowers were made by Sew Vintage members.  I was gone the week we shared those challenge blocks and the charm squares, but I left my block and squares with another member. When I picked them up again, these 2 lovely blocks were in my bag along with my red block.  Next month when we meet again I'll have to double check with the gals to make sure they meant to give them to me.  If so, I'm tickled to have them. 

These are 6" blocks finished so a whole collection of them would make a nice doll quilt.  Or maybe they would be a good border on a bigger rainbow quilt. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lunch hour sewing & chores

I went to the basement at noon to check the sump pump which has begun to run today due to the rain and warm temps today melting our huge snow pack way too fast.  The good news was that the sump pump was running fine, so I spent enough time in my sewing room working on a green 6.5" flower to add to my RSC blocks.  It was so relaxing to sew for a while. But that was the last relaxing thing for today.  

The bad news - was shared with me shortly later by my husband. Our rain gutters all have extensions on them to push water away from our house. And they were all frozen up and melting snow/rain water was filling up the window wells on the east side of the house.  Water was up about 5" above the bottom edges of the windows, and of course was seeping in and running across the floor in both the bedroom and the family room.  What a mess!

Luckily we had an extra small sump pump, and my husband was able to drop it down into the window well and the water level is dropping. And we spent 3 hours mopping and vacuuming up water from the floor.  Now he is outside digging more snow away from the house in that area, and adding another extension onto the closest gutter.

He talked to one of the plumbing companies in town, and evidently today's rain is causing trouble all over town.  Flooded streets and intersections, and probably lots of wet basements.  We just keep trying to be grateful that we were home to find the problem right away.  

Home again!

We enjoyed our mini vacation (70 miles from home) watching college basketball.  Both the men's and women's teams were seeded first for the Summit League conference tournament, so it was a highly anticipated tournament. 

Unfortunately the Jackrabbit men got knocked off in the first round by the #8 seed team.  It was a huge disappointment, but the women kept the magic going.  The championship game yesterday was a repeat of last year, with the Jacks meeting our biggest rival USD Coyotes.  It was an exciting game and our Jacks came out with the conference title, earning them an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament.  

Now - I need to do a bunch of laundry and process a mountain of invoices for work. After months of snow, today we are getting heavy rain, which may or may not become ice or snow later.  Yuck!  Real life is slapping me in the face today, but I plan to escape to my sewing room and do a little sewing later this afternoon.  

Friday, March 8, 2019

March Madness

It's that time of year - March Madness is upon us!  College basketball tournament time. This is the one time of the year that my husband is always ready to take some days off.  So, no sewing for me until next week unless it's the handwork I have with me. 

We follow 2 university basketball programs:  we're season ticket holders for our Jackrabbits, and when we aren't at Frost Arena in Brookings, we can be found at the Corn Palace here in Mitchell cheering on the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers.  

The DWU women and men are Division II teams and their national tournament has begun. The DWU women are the defending national champs, and are defending their title in Sioux City.  I listened to their first win yesterday on the radio.  The men play their second round game at noon today in Sioux Falls and we'll be there. 

Then beginning on Saturday we'll be cheering on both Jackrabbit teams (NCAA Division I) as they begin their conference tournament - also in Sioux Falls. Both teams are ranked #1 but it's a tough conference so there could sure be some upsets.  But it will all be fun. We see old friends and family, and enjoy the atmosphere.  And I don't have to cook or do laundry for the next 5 days.  The major downside is that they are predicting a big winter snow storm over the weekend - just like last year.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Group quilting

Having a "sew day" for group projects is always fun and it's amazing how much we can accomplish in just a small amount of time.  Last Saturday a few guild members met at 10:00 am (before our 1:00 pm meeting) to work on 3 different group projects.  There were 7 or 8 of us there, which isn't bad since it was snowing again and the roads were not very good.

One of our members donated 24 gorgeous hand embroidered blocks to use for a raffle quilt at our next quilt show.  So a couple of gals worked on prepping these to be sewn together. A few stray threads on the backs were clipped or tucked into the stitching. Then another member sewed them into a top with the blocks laid out 4 x 6.  No sashing was needed as the quilting lines are already marked and they intersect to make a beautiful pattern.  A perfect blue fabric was also donated to use for an outer border and it's a great match for the blue in the embroidery.  This one will be hand quilted by a group of members who still have this skill.  It will have a vintage feel to it. 

Two more sewing machines were humming along sewing together blocks for a raffle quilt needed in April for a fund raiser and also for a Quilt of Valor.  Members made the Moda Bake Shop block called Ritzy Cracker in either red/blue/white or using some "happy" colors.  You can see some of the patriotic blocks at the far right in this last photo.  Currently, the fund raiser quilt top is at my house waiting for borders. Then I'll drop it off for quilting.  We're on a tight time frame for this one.  

The Quilt of Valor will be an on-going project and probably not completed until our next group sew day.  Hopefully by then our wintery, windy, snowy weather will have turned into spring.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Design Wall Monday

Green is the color for March for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so my first task today was to make my green cat block. It's 12" square like the red and yellow ones, and as the family of kitties grows I'm liking them more and more. 

What is on your Design Wall today? Check out more at:

Our guild had a very successful sewing day on Saturday, along with some great show and tell during our meeting.  I'll have to share some of the show and tell later in the week.  But here is one of my favorites from that day - Alice's "past president" quilt.

Our guild makes friendship blocks for each outgoing president and presents them to her at our Christmas party.  Alice was president for 2 years in a row.  Year one we made the tall narrow house blocks and suggested she might want to wait to make her quilt until receiving the second set of blocks.  We already had the tree blocks planned.  Her quilt is finished and she brought it to show. Wow!  We all loved her clever and creative layout.  

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March goals

The number drawn for March for the APQ UFO Challenge is 8.  The only realistic UFO on my list for #8 is the reunion signature quilt, so that will be my big UFO project for the month.  And I'll keep working on the hand quilting on the little one I showed earlier this week.

So, my goals for my birthday month of March will be fairly simple again. I will include something old and something new.
  • March tasks for Saturday Sampler
  • March blocks for RSC19 (cat, flower, string)
  • organize my fat quarter box
  • organize & sort out the PIGS (projects in grocery sacks - not started)
  • Family reunion signature quilt (UFO) - sew the blocks into rows
  • continue hand quilting Raspberry Cocoa table topper
  • finish top of RSC18 quilt - add borders, send to quilter

Friday, March 1, 2019

February in review

Setting goals each month gives me some direction, but I'm not feeling totally pressured by them.  If I can move things along then it's a success.  In February I had some fairly achievable goals and did very well.

  • keep up with Saturday Sampler  DONE
  • catch up with RSC color blocks (red & yellow) DONE
  • finish Hourglass UFO quilt DONE
  • finish Crackerjack UFO wall hanging DONE
  • finish sashing RSC18 blocks top is done except for final borders
  • finish OBW blocks made a few more blocks
  • finish Lukas' pillow top DONE & ready to mail

 The Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2018 (RSC18) quilt is further along than I anticipated.  I was hoping to just finish the blocks, but it's actually ready for the final borders.  And this is the fabric I purchased at The Pin Cushion for those borders; it's called Home Grown by Nancy Halvorsen.  The background is pale blue and the flowers have all of the colors of the blocks so I'm excited to get these sewn on.  I also bought a pretty aqua for the binding. I was going to do a scrappy binding but then I saw that aqua and felt it was perfect.

I finished the 30" floor pillow for my cousin's son Lukas.  I was going to do a grid of quilting lines, but liked how it looked with just the diagonals.  Hopefully it will be in the mail later today since it's already a month late for his birthday.  And the bonus is that I can check this project off both my UFO Challenge list and the PHD (projects half done) list.  Woop woop!!

Now - what goals should I set for March?  I think I've earned a "new project" after finishing 5 UFOs in February.