Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

And, here it is, the end of November!  This year is quickly spiraling toward its end, too.  It's been crazy busy here, and there's little hope of that changing before 2015.  Happily, part of the "busy" for me has been lots of time in the sewing room.  I am really working at making sewing  a part of the  weekly routine.  (I'd love for it to be daily, but that's just not going to happen right now.)  I SO enjoy going up to the sewing/craft/play room and just creating, even if I can only find 30 minutes to spend.  Lately, MonkeyNinja has been joining me, and that's really fun, too!  I will try to catch some pictures of her creations.  She is truly a multi-media artist!

Now, I said I've been sewing  often.  This is true.  The only thing is, very little of my sewing has been on things I "should" be doing.  Like the quilt I am making for my mom for Christmas, for example.  In June, I brought home some fabrics from her stash.  She has not been able to sew, due to vision loss, for many years.  Her stash and machine and all of her supplies have been sitting, waiting for someone to rescue them all this time.  I decided that she needed a quilt from some of her fabric.  What a perfect Christmas gift!  That was June.  This is November.  You know where this is going, right?  Uh huh.  One month 'til Christmas, and no quilt.  I do have a start on it.  Or at least I did.  But I'm just not loving it.  And since I'm not loving it, it's been easy to procrastinate.  I do think I have a very feasible plan B in mind, now, thought.  So I am hoping to pick up some steam with it over this five day break.

So, what HAVE I been sewing?


Since these are to be worn on stage, I could get away with a quick zig zag over the raw edge, and I didn't have to be too particular with the turning.  They will look adorable to those sitting in the audience, no matter how rough they look close up!

Lots and lots of mittens!  Twenty two pair.  That's 44 mittens.  That's 88 pieces.  That's a LOT of cutting.  And a lot of thumbs to stitch around.

These are costume pieces, not intended in any way, shape, or form to be used in the snow.  They will, however, be used in a Frozen medley performed by my SingAndDance and her performance troupe in their Holiday show in a few weeks.  The mittens will accompany an adorable snowman dress worn by each girl.  Thankfully, I had nothing to do with those adorable dresses!  The mittens were enough!  By the time the last pair was finished, I was really sick of that red and white chevron!  But, I am happy that my 10 required volunteer hours are fulfilled.  And I got to fulfill them by sewing, instead of scrubbing the rehearsal space!  HeeHeeHee!

Love these simple front-zip pouches and the bright modern colors that SingAndDance chose for her friends.  The ribbon zipper pulls are my favorite part!

Hands down, my favorite thing to sew lately!  So fun, so quick, so gratifying. 

This batch was created on a Friday night.  The Friday night before SingAndDance's birthday party.  These were gifts for her guests.  She had an "At Home Spa" themed party, which included Jamberry manicures for each of the girls.  We packed these pouches full of manicure supplies, extra Jamberry wraps, and a few other spa themed goodies.  They were pretty popular.  Have you tried Jamberries?  They are vinyl wraps for your nails that stay on for up to two weeks!  There are hundreds of really fun designs...even some that look like quilts!  I am not great at applying them yet, and it takes me longer than I really want to spend to put them on, so I don't wear them often, but the girls at the party sure had a good time with them! 
This is just a peek at how our mantel looks during much of November.  Both of my girls have birthdays in early November, so we celebrate them.  Only one gets a party each year, since two parties each year would break the bank and my patience!  This year was my older daughters turn.

Goodness, I like this pouch!

This pouch was made on a Saturday morning.  About two hours before I was meeting a friend for coffee.  It happened to be the day after her birthday, which I had forgotten until three hours before I was supposed to leave to meet her.  (BTW, are you noticing a pattern here?  Lots of my sewing has been kind of last minute, lately.  Oh well.)

This is just such a happy pouch.  The colors make me smile and it was fun to piece the patchwork together.  There's just a little bit of quilting, but it came out looking pretty professional.  My friend liked it a lot!  I'm so glad.  She is one of the most genuinely nice, nurturing and sweet people that I know, and it was fun to surprise her with something hand made. 

I think that pouches are going to be my go to birthday gift in 2015.  I don't always give gifts to friends on their birthdays, because of the expense, but also because I just never know what to buy.  And I don't actually enjoy shopping for things other than fabric. LOL.  But a hand made pouch is an economical and personal solution.  I have already made another for a different friend, and have gifted it to her already.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture.  I will get one, though, because it's REALLY cute!

Next post, I will also share a link to the tutorial that I follow when I made the patchwork pouches.  I have to hunt a bit for it, so I'm not doing it right now.  It's a good one, though, and I want to make sure I give the author credit!

One last little tidbit.  I donated a quilt to a silent auction benefitting my favorite charity, recently.  It was fun and a bit weird to watch two ladies bid on it throughout the evening.  It didn't raise a TON of money, but it was a respectable amount, and every little bit helps.  Here's the label I made.  (I forgot to take a picture until we were actually AT the auction, so the lighting was poor.  I got lots of "looks" for opening the quilt up to take a picture, too!)
Whew!  Perhaps my goal for December should be to write several short posts instead of one really long one! Ha!

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and many hours of Happy Sewing!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Months...What???

I honestly don't know how two months have gone by since I posted.  I was in the swing of things, enjoying summer, sewing daily and getting the hang of blogging, when...WHAMMO.  The end of August hit.  A quick and fun trip to Dubuque, back to school preparation, sending my oldest off to middle school, returning to school myself, karate, dance, dealing with garden goodies...and well, here we are.

I HAVE been getting in some sewing time.  It's an effort to carve out some time each week.  There NEVER seems to be as much time as I think there will be.  I start out almost every day thinking about when I will sew.  I plan to put in an hour right after school, or I think I will be able to get in a bit of time after all the activities are done for the evening.  But time slips away, someone needs help studying or dinner takes longer than it's supposed to or my husband gets stuck at work so I end up transporting BOTH children to their activities.  It's always something.

But anyway, I HAVE been getting in little bits and pieces of time to sew.

I finished the pink and brown chevron quilt that I posted about, oh, way back in August.  I don't have a good picture, nor have I decided what will become of it.  Taking care of both those issues is on the agenda for this month, though.

I sewed up a few zipper pouches. They were quick and fun and I learned a few new things.  They have all been given away to their intended recipients, and it made me happy to give them away.   I *think* I have a picture somewhere, but that will have to wait for a different post.

And, now for the stuff I can actually show you!  I'm starting with the (most) fun stuff in this post, and will do my best to post again before two more months go by!

I'm a bit late to the party, but I've been working on the Little Letters from Temecula Quilt Company.  I had been seeing them around the blogosphere for a few weeks and loved them.  I bookmarked the site thinking I'd make them "someday."  But, then, while folding and re-folding my growing collection of polka dot prints, I had a vision.  A vision of those adorable Little Letters, all done up in dots.  It took a week or so longer before I was organized and ready to start, but I did it!
I have finished the first 5 letters!  Twice!  Like many others participating in the Little Letters QAL, I am making them in two colorways.

Here are my dots.  I have not squared up my blocks or clipped threads.  I sew  and toss on a pile.  Well, actually, I love them so much that I  just might lay them out in order every time I pass the sewing room...

And here is my second set.  Blues, greens and teals, with gray back ground.  How perfect is this going to be with that navy/teal chevron flannel that I found in a clearance bin months ago as the back?   It's 3 yards and I paid $4.99.  LOVE it!

I am loving sewing up these little cuties.  They are fun and quick and I am really enjoying choosing the color for the next letter.  It feels so good to be able to finish two of these in about 15 minutes.  I have been trying to make a habit of cutting my strips in the evening, then, when I get back to the sewing machine, I have them all ready to go.

My blocks are certainly not perfect.  Somehow, I have managed to come up 1/4 inch or so off in one part of every block.  I am not sure if it's my measuring, my cutting or maybe my seam allowance.  It's probably some of each.  But, they are turning out so cute.  I will square them up and add sashing in the background color, and I think they'll be just fine.

When finished one of these  will be an auction item for a fundraising event my friend is planning for the spring.  The other one...we'll see, no plans as of now.  Given how much I LOVE my dots collection, it's hard to believe, but I do think I like the second set better.  There is something about those blues against that gray.  I just can't wait to see it when it's finished!

But, then, there is also something irresistible about those dots.  Especially that red "E".

 Mmmmm-mmmmm.  I could eat it with a spoon!  Just looking at it makes me want to go and buy a few yards of that fabric and make something wonderful.  Isn't it cute?

The QAL is up to "L" already, so I have some catching up to do.  But, I'm not really in a hurry.  I'm just enjoying the process.

I have missed blogging these last two months.  I really do like writing a bit about what I do on my "me" time.  Here's hoping I can make ti a more regular activity!

I'm going to link up to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.  Hopefully next week, I'll have some finished chevron quilt pictures to share on Friday.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A W.I.P.

It's not Wednesday but I have a W.I.P to share.  It's "kinda" a finish too, because the first step of the quilting is done.  And, I had to finish the basting step to get to the quilting step, so, ummm, yeah, it's a finish, too!
O.K.  That's a stretch, but truthfully, I am pleased with the progress and just want to link up to share!

Once my Pink Chevron quilt top got done, it sat around for a few days while I was off watching SingAndDance sing (and dance) in High School Musical, Jr.  It was a fabulous production, but WOW! does the theater life put a damper on the quilting (and cleaning) life.  There was a LOT of time put into getting her to the show, watching the show, baking HSM themed cookies to sell at the concession booth at intermission, selling raffle tickets before and after the show, attending the cast party, striking the set.  A LOT of time.

But, I finally found time to piece a back for this pretty little quilt.  The backing fabric is a pretty pink and brown dotted design that I picked up in a remnant bin and JoAnn's.  It was very reasonably priced, and there was a LOT of it, for a remnant, but still needed a little help.  I've ever pieced a back before.  I am surprised by how stressful that was.  It took a long time to decide what to do, and even to just do the math to make sure that it would come out big enough.  I am not sure I love it, but it works.
Not the best picture, but you get the idea,  I hope.

This was my first time using 505 Spray Baste.  I *Think* I love it, but the jury's still out.   It was a learning process for sure!  I am glad this was a small-ish quilt, and next time I will need to recruit a helper to get the layers rolled out smoothly.    And maybe find something else to lay the quilt on, on the garage floor, rather than a bulky blanket. But I have to say, I did manage to get a nice, smooth "quilt sandwich" that quilted up beautifully!  No major puckers or wrinkles.  And I did NOT miss removing pins!  I was pleasantly surprised that the needle didn't get "gummed" up, too.  In fact, my machine seemed to really enjoy quilting this one, and cooperated for the WHOLE quilt!  That rarely happens.

I quilted along both sides of the seems of each chevron.  It was fun, and quick, and I really like the way it looks.  It's minimal, as far as quilting goes, but I think it's enough.  I hope I feel that way after it's washed.  I am kind of afraid that it will not hold together very well with so little quilting.

I purposely left the neutral chevrons unquilted.  I am going to hand quilt (big stitch, with pearl cotton!) with pink in those areas.  That's the plan for any down time I happen to find this weekend.

Then, to decide on a binding color.  Hmmmm.  Any ideas?

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Binder Pencil Pouch

My oldest daughter, SingAndDance, starts middle school in just a few weeks.  Middle School!  She is so ready.  She's a really good kid.  Smart, funny, kind  and genuine.  I am blessed.

I hope that Middle School lives up to her expectations, and offers her lots and lots of new ways to learn and grow.  One new experience for her will be Band.  She is going to play the flute.

Every morning next week she will participate in "Band Camp" with the other new 6th Grade Band members.  She is required to have a zippered pencil pouch to put in her three ring binder.  She asked me to make one from some really cute music note fabric that she found for $1 in the scrap bin at a local fabric and framing shop.

I will admit, I'm a teeeeny bit thrilled that she asked.  I know that the days of loving what mom makes are numbered, and I will take it while I can!

I have never made a zipper pouch before.  I've never put in a zipper before.  Well, maybe once, but it would have been on a 4-H project, and I'm sure I had a LOT of help from my mom.
I found a tutorial of sorts somewhere on the interned (It was one of those generic How To pages, not someone's blog, and it wasn't very good, so I'm not going to link to it), and gave it a try.  The pink floral pouch is my practice.  I just love that fabric.  It went pretty well, despite some big gaps in the "instructions."  It's a good thing I like to putz and figure things out!  The version in the instructions didn't have any batting, but I knew I wanted this pouch to be sturdy, so I added some fusible fleece I've used when making purses.  Then, of course, I needed to add a backing/lining.  And then, naturally, some quilting was necessary.  I dropped my feed dogs and tried a tiny little bit of FMQ, just around some of the flowers.  It was fun and looked cute.  Until I turned it over.  FMQ turned into FMM...Free Motion Mess!  WOW!  What a nest of thread I created.  It was only the second time I have tried to drop my feed dogs and stitch without a presser foot.  The first time was moderately successful.  This time, not so much.  But it's OK.  It's on the inside, and this was for practice.  Putting in those eyelets for the rings was a new experience, too, but I figured it out.

Once I knew what I was doing and how it needed to go together, I came up with my own method, which is a bit more streamlined than the original - it's all one piece, so just top and bottom seams.  I quilted this one in straight lines, going horizontally, perpendicular to that awesome, chunky orange zipper.  I'm really so happy with how this turned out!  SingAndDance is, too! Yay!

I am linking to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  Very Excited to have TWO things to share this week!!!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Chevron Quilt Top....Finished!

Don't needs pressing and thread clipping!
This is a pretty quick finish for me!  I posted just last week about starting a chevron quilt using Kelly's (My Quilt InfatuationEasy Peasy tutorial.  And today, I  put the last seam in the top!  (Really, there was just ONE seam left.  It should have been done a few days ago, but... well, you know...) What a fun time it has been!  And yes, pretty easy peasy!  It's wonderful to see a quilt come together so fast, and to accomplish so much in each sitting.  The method of making 4 HST's at once makes it feel like you're flying through, and because the squares are pretty large, a row takes no time at all to sew up.

 It's really fun to watch it grow!  I loved that I could get a significant amount done in my sewing sessions.  I felt like I really got a lot accomplished each time I went into the sewing room.  And I liked doing each of the individual steps, nothing felt too tedious or frustrating.  (Yes, that's an ABC poster in the background of the picture to the left.  My sewing space is shared by my girls, and that's the "playing school corner.")

Well, there are a lot of seams to match and points to pin (I know there are some of you who never pin...but I"m not in your camp...yet.), but even that wasn't too bad.  And I found that once the points were pinned, the squares were pretty forgiving, since they were cut across the grain, and sewing was really easy.  Most of my points even came out pretty well!  Not 100% perfect, but not bad at all.  And when put all together and viewed from a distance, well, I feel pretty good about it!

I found a pretty backing, so sometime soon that will get washed, and then it's on to basting and quilting.  I think this will be quilted along the inside of each chevron.  And, just for fun, I think I might hand quilt  inside the light colored chevrons with pink pearl cotton.  We'll see.  I really hope to finish this one before the end of August.

Here are two more pictures of my Pink and Brown Chevron Quilt.  How do you like the " model pose" in the first one? (Heeheehee.  That's my MonkeyNinja!)

Yes, those neutrals are mix and matched.  This is (mostly)  a stash buster, so I went with what I had.  It doesn't bother me, but it drives my older daughter NUTS!  She is my perfectionist!

I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, and Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I just love these two Linky Parties.  Such great sources of inspiration, and so fun to have them to look through all weekend!

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finally Sewing Again!!!

I have finally made it back to my machine! Well, to the cutting table and ironing board anyway, but that means that I will be sitting down at the machine really soon.

I would have LOVED to be in the sewing room all last week once we got home from my daughter's hospital stay, but, while we were gone, my husband and older daughter gutted the older daughter's (SingAndDance) bedroom for a room re-do/tween update.  It was a logical (ummm, sort of) time to do it, with MonkeyNinja being out of the house.  She shouldn't be exposed to great amounts of dust, paint fumes, cleaning stuff, etc...and all of that was involved in the room re-do.  And, since I wasn't home, either, it was logical (ummmm, sort of) to move everything out of SingAndDance's bedroom and into the sewing/crafting/toy room.

So, after 12 long days in the hospital, I arrived back home to find my entire upstairs, especially MY space, filled with the belongings of a wonderful 11 year old who was making her very best effort to sort through everything and purge/donate before moving things back into her room which still wasn't quite ready yet, despite her father's very best efforts to get it done.  It was hard to be upset.  But really, seeing my space filled up like that when my nerves were already raw was unsettling.  I might have cried (a little).

It was kind of comical how they had just tossed stuff in, and piled it up, too.  I should have taken a picture to show you but, honestly, I think I might still cry, looking at it, even now.

All's well that ends well, though.  My husband finished a self-designed, custom built loft bed for SingAndDance.  They worked together to paint her room a really lovely shade of blue with orange and pink accents (she had a plan, he dutifully followed it).  And she and I sorted through her "stuff" and packed up and put away a lot of keepsakes that she just doesn't need on hand, sent a few boxes full off to be donated and are working on setting up and accessorizing her new room.

ALL THAT to say...I have my space back!  I am celebrating by starting a quilt that has been on my mind for months, since SingAndDance commented, "You should make a Pink and Brown Chevron Quilt.   That would be really pretty."  After that, chevron quilts and patterns seemed to be everywhere I looked.  And she's right, I DO love pink, brown (and cream) together.  So, I've been keeping an eye out for a few pink prints, and I pulled some pinks and browns/neutrals from my stash, and here we have:

...the start of something pretty!

I am using this tutorial from Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation.  It's her Easy Peasy Chevron pattern, and I like that sound of every single bit of that!!  Yesterday I was able to get all of my fabric pulled, decide on an order and get 9 inch squares cut from each fabric.  Kelly's tutorial involves making 4 HST's at a time from 9 inch squares.  I haven't done HST's this way before, but I love the idea!

It was a very tight squeeze getting enough 9 inch squares from some of my fabrics.  My "stash" includes really old and really random pieces that have come from garment sewing, doll making and other odds and ends so there were some pretty weird pieces.  In fact, both of my neutrals ran short, so I am mixing and matching a bit.  I'm not sure I'll like the effect, but this is supposed to be a stash buster, not a stash filler (I did buy new pinks, but only fat quarters so they are pretty much used up...) and it's a charity quilt.  We'll see how it turns out!  

I am really hopeful that I will be able to finish the top by Friday.  Because that will be August 1, and I have a DOOZY of an August to-do list!  

I am off to carve out thirty minutes of sewing time before the piano teacher gets here and before I have to start dinner...  Hopefully I will be able to post progress pictures soon!  (HEY!  The piano teacher is running late!  I think dinner will be late, too!  More time to sew!)

Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hospital Hexies

I love the idea of Slow Stitching Sundays that some people in the QuiltyBlog world post about.  Slowing down, once a week with some hand sewing.  I love the "idea" but my Sundays never quite work out that way. Sunday is usually laundry, meal planning, list making and grocery shopping.  Almost never, sit and stitch.  But, lately I have been treated to a Slow Stitching Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday...  lots of days with time to stitch by hand, courtesy of a hospital stay for my younger daughter.  So, I have been making hexies!

My daughter, MonkeyNinja, age 8, has cystic fibrosis.  Hospital stays are becoming a pretty routine part of our lives.  We go in for 10 - 14 days at a time, usually only once a year.  While we are in she has procedures (Bronchoscopies and sinus surgeries, etc.) to assess the health of her lungs and sinuses, and she gets IV medications to help deal with bacteria that grow in the excessive mucus that her body produces due to CF.  She usually feels pretty "normal" health wise, and while she is restricted to her room, we can be "active" and have fun while we are in! It's not all bad.  And a two week stay usually buys us several months of pretty good health.

So, we had some advance notice of this stay.  I was able to cut up some OLD stash (most of it wasn't even purchased by me...I got it from a sister-in -law years ago after her mother- in-law died) into squarish pieces.  I also cut hexies from freezer paper following directions I found on-line somewhere.  Neat method where you accordion fold the freezer paper and staple in the middle of each hexie before cutting so you can accurately cut lots at once.

I made a little kit with needles, thread, pre-cut freezer paper and my scraps.  It fit into a nice little box, easy to pack and bring along.  I haven't had as much time to stitch as I thought I would.  We've been pretty busy with visitors, procedures, games, doing our nails, and reading (we have started the Little House books - LOVE).  We definitely make the most of our stays!  But during quiet times, and nervous times, it's been nice to have something to keep my hands busy.

In retrospect, I wish I had made my template a bit smaller.  I used a plastic hexagon template that was in a box of quilt supplies which someone gave me.  I did make the freezer paper pieces smaller by tracing a 1/2 inch in from each side of  the plastic, but, I should have gone even more. These are cute, but as I've been looking at project ideas on blogs and Pinterest, I find that I am drawn to the teeny tiny ones, like an inch on each side instead of an inch and a half.  I am sure I will do this again, though, because I would really like to  make some in fun, bright, modern fabric.

I don't even really know what these will  become.  For sure they will have to make lots of friends in order to become a quilt.  And that might not happen soon - maybe not until our next stay.  I keep having images of them arranged around low-volume centers in single flowers:
I really like this print.  So pretty.
And then maybe combined with some low volume flowers around centers in these colors.  We'll see.  This is much more of a long term project than a finish it up project.  A planned WIP, I guess.  The best part is probably playing with all the pretty little hexies to see how they look in different configurations.  Both of my daughters have had some fun with this the last few days.
Grandmother's Flower Garden
Kinda Chevron-y

I also just happened to notice that three of these pretties stacked up is equal to height of my current tablet cover, which I have been meaning to replace with something hand made.  So, that might happen.

We are winding down our stay, and looking forward to home.  And as much as I have enjoyed Slow Stitching, I am very eager to get back to my machine and all these ideas swimming in my head!

Happy Sewing,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pattern Test and a Finish!

This is an "old" finish.  Well, a couple of weeks old, anyway.  Waaaaaaay back in the spring a friend from high school was looking for a few people to test out a pattern she had just written.  She is a talented artist and quilter who blogs at Artfully Sew.  She also has an Etsy Shop by the same name.

Shortly before she posted that she was looking for pattern testers, I had been thinking that it might be fun to BE a tester.  If nothing else, it might give me a reason to commit to sewing "schedule" which I am not good at.  I guess I need deadlines in order to get things done, even things that are fun.  I'm not sure what that says about me, but it's probably not good.  *Sigh.

So, I volunteered to test the pattern for her.  Poor girl, she probably regretted asking me!  I had every intention of getting feedback to her RIGHT AWAY, but as it often does, LIFE happened and stuff got in the way.  I did send her some feedback as I was halfway through, and then again at the end, and I sincerely hope it was helpful.  It will be exciting to see the pattern become available in her shop, knowing that I had a bit to do with it!

It was a fun project: A mini quilt wall hanging to customize.  I have never done machine applique before, and this was just the right sized project to start with.  I wouldn't hesitate to try it again!  What fun!  And the embroidery!  Oh, the embroidery!  I had not embroidered since I was a teenager, when I did it ALL the time.  I had forgotten how much I loved it.  My stitching is not perfect, nor is my spacing of the letters.  That was the hardest part for me, actually.  But, I think it came out pretty cute.  Take a look

The recipients are my niece and her husband who became proud homeowners earlier this year.  (I should maybe blur the address, but I don't know how.  Sorry, Jen.)

Looking at this picture, now, the letters look REALLY uneven.  I don't think they actually looked that bad.  Must be the way it's hanging, or something, right?  Right?

Ah, well.  We'll just call it folksy.  I told the recipient that she did not need to feel obligated to put it up in her home.  I'm not sure its her style, and she didn't request it.  I have certainly been on the "getting" end of things people thought I just HAD to have, that I really didn't care for.  And I know that hand made items aren't everybody's cup of tea.  She kinda got it by default because I don't know anyone else who was in need of a housewarming gift. 

I do hope she likes it, though.  It's always fun to give things people enjoy.

Be sure to check out my friend Angie at blog and Etsy store!

 - Tami

Friday, July 11, 2014

Baby Quilt Finish

Trying for a pretty picture here.  Think I
have a lot to learn!
Yaaaay!  Its a finish!  Finally! 

I really had intentions of getting into this blogging thing "Big Time," as my daughter might say, but that just hasn't happened the way I planned.  I have done some sewing.  Bits and Pieces, here and there.  And I have some pictures, so I am hoping to create a few posts over the next few days.

But something always seems to happen on the way to the computer.  *sigh.

However, I do have a finish to write about, and that's pretty exciting.  This is an OLD UFO.  The top was pieced more than a decade (gasp!) ago.  The intended recipient will start middle school in the fall.  He was born just a few months after my oldest daughter.  That, not-so-coincidentally, was right around the time that my sewing came to a screeching halt. 

His nursery, if I remember correctly was done in greens with a vintage Winnie the Pooh theme.  This really would have been great in there!  Oh well.  He's grown into a fine young man without a quilt from me. 

The quilt is about 42 x42.  The print is called Winnie the Pooh's Day at the Park, according to the selvedge.  It is used on the back, too.  I machine quilted in the ditch between the pieced blocks, but then decided that the center stripe should be quilted too.  Lesson learned: Try to make those decisions BEFORE starting.  Going back and adding lines quilting between lines that had already been done added some puckers, but its really not too bad.  And once its washed and dried, I am sure it will be full of soft, crinkly goodness, and the puckers won't be so bothersome.

This was my first attempt at a binding done entirely by machine.  It went OK.  The first part was great, except that I twisted one strip and didn't double check before I stitched them together.  Thank goodness for seam rippers.  Also, I think I will stick to hand stitching the back of the binding.  Especially on a small quilt like this, it doesn't really take THAT long, and it just gives a much nicer effect, I think.  Or, maybe I will keep practicing putting them on by machine. 

Either way, I am pleased with the overall look of this one, and glad to have a UFO finished.  Part of this return to quilting is to use up or finish stuff I already have before buying or starting something new.  And I am just ITCHING to start something NEW, so I need to crank out a few more finishes, fast!

Given that I seem to be struggling with getting in to the swing of sewing and blogging consistently, I am curious....How do YOU do it?  Is there anything that helps to make sure you get to the computer to write about what you've been doing?  I'm hoping that it comes with time!

Here's one last picture of the quilt, with a buddy.  The quilt will be Project Linus donation, but the buddy is still too loved to be given away. 

I am going to try to link up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, but I admit I'm not really sure how to do that...  we'll see!
Happy Quilting!

- Tami

Sunday, June 29, 2014

First Post

I guess this is a pretty typical first post.  Everyone seems to say they've been reading quilting blogs for a long time and finally decided to join in the fun!  And I guess everyone says it, because it's TRUE!

I started sewing as a kid in 4-H.  My mom was my leader, and I think one or the other of us was always sewing something.  I sewed and quilted (some) as a high school student (lots of cross stitch and embroidery then), a college student (had a roommate who made her own - very cool- clothes) and as a young new bride (some clothes, lots of stuff for our first apartment and QUILTS for friends babies). 

When my own daughter was born, almost 12 years ago, I stopped.  Just stopped.  Stopped sewing, stopped quilting, stopped crafting.  I made a few Halloween costumes and always found fun crafty stuff to do with the girls, but creativity for me -  Just. Stopped.

A year ago, I made the decision to leave the teaching job I'd had for a very long time.  I taught second grade at a Catholic school more than 30 miles from home.  I loved it.  I really did.  But I was spending hours (no exaggeration) on the road every day, and my school schedule meant that I was not available for my daughters' school events, and that they could not do some of the after school things they were interested in doing.

So,  I left.  I planned to sub in our area for a year and see what happened from there.  Good plan eh?  Some think not, but it made me happy to have TIME, precious TIME with my girls. 

Somewhere along the line I decided that since I had TIME I should start sewing again.  After all, I'd have "so much free time," right?  Ha!  Well, it hasn't worked out that way.  I spent last school year subbing for a month, then I began as a Special Ed aide in my daughters' school.  It was wonderful.  Everything about it (except the small paycheck) was a good fit for me, and unless something really big happens between now and September, I will be doing that again next school  year.

The schedule is much more conducive to family life.  I can take my kids to activities and doctor appointments, I can keep ahead of the laundry and grocery shopping, I can fulfill my duties on various committees and projects...but, um, yeah , so much for free time...

I have, honestly, over the last few months spent lots and lots of time looking at quilts on Pinterest and reading quilt blogs.  I love it all.  And, so I am trying to find bits of time every day to create my own quilts again.  Quilts for me, for family and for charity.  This will be a place to document them.  And, I hope to become a part of the incredible quilting community that is out there.  I eventually want to partake in swaps,  bees, BOM's...  it's all right up my alley.

Whew!  Lesson One:  No one likes long posts, right?  OK.  I will try to work on that. 

So, here's a picture of the little project I completed last week, just to jump start my quilting habits this summer.  It's just a happy little mug run made of bright, cheery scrappy pin-wheels. 

I do hope you'll visit again as I figure out how this blog thing works, and as I -hopefully- find some free time to sew!
Clearly, I need to practice taking blog-worthy photos...