Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Progress and a Win!

We are halfway through our Spring Break, and I'm happy to say I've made good progress on the goals I set here.  My daughter is proudly wearing her karate patches, the zipper pouch has been finished, and the Little Letters quilt is done, label and all!  It came out of the dryer all crinkly and soft and wonderful!  I can't wait to gift it and get a picture of its young owner enjoying it. Hopefully very soon.
Coffee and quilty goodness.  Perfect for a rainy afternoon!
Check out those vintage self threading needles.  They were in a box of sewing things
a friend gave me when her mom moved into assisted living.  They are wonderful!  They
don't shred my thread like the ones I bought recently.

The owl baby quilt has gone together with amazing speed this week!  Its quilted, and I have been spending odd, short stretches of time sinking threads.  There is a chance it will be bound before school starts on Monday!!!

The most challenging of the tasks I've accomplished has been shortening that beautiful prom gown.  What a learning experience that was!  Garment sewing is not my favorite thing, and it is VERY nerve wracking cutting into someone else's beautiful and expensive dress.  There were two layers of organza  (or something), two layers of a stiff crinoline type netting, and 4 layers of fine tulle that all needed measuring, and cutting.  The tulle and netting did not get hemmed, thank goodness, but oh my was it a challenge to cut that stuff evenly.  The other two layers were easier to cut, but time consuming to hem.  The skirt was nearly 200 inches around the bottom!  Holy cow that's a LOT of fabric! It was a challenge just to maneuver it on my sewing table!  I practiced a new technique -couching over a cord and then turning up at the couched line - for the top layer and was very pleased with the way it came out.  I spent the better part of Easter afternoon and evening in my sewing room working on this dress, but, the young lady was very pleased with it, so it's all good.  Plus, I had a steady supply of Easter candy (no chocolate near the dress!) and sewing podcasts to keep me company.

Truly, this Spring Break has been just the right combination of productivity and relaxation and fun and games with my girls, so far.  I've had opportunities to just slow down and enjoy them, and our time together.  I keep thinking, "My heart is just so FULL!"

And to top it all off, today I got an e-mail letting me know that I was chosen as the WINNER of a giveaway on Bernie's blog, Needle and Foot.  How exciting is that???  What a treat! I will be receiving four lovely fat quarters provided by BrewStitched.  
This is the photo Bernie shared.  Aren't these just so pretty and spring like???  That blue!!!
There are some really wonderful fabrics available at BrewStitched.  I'm
going to treat myself to a few things, in appreciation of the giveaway.  Can't wait to show them when they all arrive! This is the first giveaway I've won, and it's just so much fun.

I hope spring is finding you, where ever you are, and that you are finding joy in surprising places!

I'm linking up to
LET'S BE SOCIAL at Sew Fresh Quilts
CAN I GET A WHOOP WHOOP at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
FRIDAY FINISHES at Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Break Sewing

SUBTITLE: The Quick, The Fun & The Slightly Scary

We are on Spring Break! After 8 months filled with way more travel than we are accustomed to (road trip to Tennessee,  Disney Cruise and Mexico) ,  I am excited to have a staycation for the next week!  We have a few things planned, like doctor appointments and museum visits, but I'm really looking forward to being home, getting through A LONG list of overdue tasks, and SEWING!

Today, I focused on the most needed and ovedue...getting the sewing room back under control.  Since November  (judging by scraps, receipts and unfinished projects I found while excavating today) things have been piled, shoved, dumped and forgotten in there.  I've continued to sew and create, but the useable space had shrunken to a very small area around the sewing machine, and it had become hard to find what I needed.   I really don't know why I let it get this way. I took some "before" photos, but I'm too embarrassed to show them!  You'll just have to imagine your own sewing area at its worst, then multiply by 42.

It took a few hours, but I managed to de clutter a lot of areas, and tidy up work surfaces enough so that I can function without frustration in there again. As I went, I snapped some pictures of the projects I want to finish or move forward this week. Here they are, mostly for my own accountability.

Here's another habit of mine I really don't understand.  I leave projects unfinished for days, weeks, months, even, when they really only need a few minutes worth of work to be finished.  Why do I do that?

This quilt label has been fused down,
 waiting to be stitched, for about a month.  Shameful

This zipper pouch has been finished for two
weeks - except for zigzag stitching over the side seams.  Really?   Who does that? 

My soon to be Black Belt daughter earned these patches
for her karate uniform in January. Bad mom.  Bad. 

I am going to make sure I dedicate plenty of time this week to some projects I have been looking forward to!  Some special things for two other people (giving is the best part of quilting) and something for me!

A pieced top, backing, and fabric for the binding.
This will be a baby quilt for my niece's soon to arrive
Baby girl.  I'd really like to have it done before she arrives,

These flannels will be a quick receiving blanket, also for
baby Emma.  Notice the owl theme?

Here's just a peek at the center medallion  of my quilty pen pal's
Round Robin quilt.  The black behind it will be a thin border, then
I'm adding my own touch to it.  I need to send it back to her by the end of
April.  Lots of measuring, drafting, figuring and sewing to do!

And, for me!  Fabrics and pattern have been chosen for a long-awaited
tote bag/purse.  These colors make me happy.  The cute HeXi print will line the pockets.
I will be using Noodlehead's 241 Tote pattern.  It's already downloaded and printed !

THE (slightly) SCARY:
Not too frightening,  but definitely out of my comfort zone!  Garment sewing, even alterations like these makes me a little nervous.  Especially when it's fancy and for someone else.

This could fit in the first category,  too.
These two pair of pants have been pinned
And ready for shortening for...umm, a really, really long time.
It will probably take longerror to write about them than to hem them.  

It's hard to tell, but this is a really beautiful prom
dress that I've offered to shorten for a friend's daughter.
This friend has been very helpful to me, and they were in a bind...what can I say?
Wish me luck!  There are layers and layers of tulle! 

And, the non sewing!  Yes, I plan to do some non-sewing fun stuff this week, too!
This is a friend's copy, and I'm one of many on the list wanting to borrow
it from her.  It is of local interest, and everyone here is talking about it!  Can't wait to join them!


I am happy to say that in between taking the pictures and writing this post, two of the quick projects have been completed! A promising start!

So, do you put off little finishes for no good reason, or get sweaty palms at the idea of hems?  Somebody tell me I'm not alone!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rainbow Baby Quilt

Recently I stumbled across a Facebook post about a fundraiser for a local girl who has a very rare medical condition.  She is one of just a handful of people in the world, and only two in the US with this condition. She's just 5 years old.  The fundraiser was being held to help her family purchase a specialized wheelchair so that she can continue to go to school as long as she is able, and to help them with travel expenses, as she needs to be seen frequently at a clinic out of state. I was struck by the enormity of the challenges that this little one and her parents face every day.  As it turns out, we had some personal connections to this family, as well.  They had recently joined our 4-H Club, and I have some mutual friends with the mom.

I knew we wouldn't be able to attend the fundraiser, but I wanted to help.  I've planned more than a few fundraisers and have always felt blessed to receive auction and raffle items from crafters, especially those that came unexpectedly and with no strings attached.

 I  decided that this bright and cheery baby quilt that I made last summer would be my contribution to the auction.  I had made it with no particular purpose in mind, and it's just been sitting around the sewing room since then.  This seemed like a good use for it!

I don't remember where the idea for this quilt came from.  I think I was just inspired by the fun fabrics that had been accumulating in my stash.  I simply cut squares and rectangles and pieced them into strips, alternating the strips with white.  Simple and bright!

I backed it in a pretry green print and a rainbow stripe.  The rainbow bars were qiilted with a wavy stitch set  on maximum width and length, and the white areas were quilted with non marked "straight" lines.  Straight is being a bit generous, as the lines and spacing were very wonky. Very.  But, it gave a nice casual feel to the quilt, and a really great texture.

I love the way the polka dot binding turned out, and have been on the look out for dots I can use for binding ever since!

I actually entered this in our County Fair last summer.  My girls were entering for the first time (we just joined a club last year), and I was feeling nostalgic for all of the 4-H fair entries of my youth.  I knew this quilt wasn't perfect and probably wouldn't "fare" well, but it sure was fun to go and see it displayed!  It ended up earning a red ribbon.  No matter,  I loved participating in the Fair alongside my girls.

And now it has a new home with some (hopefully) generous person who, like me, wanted to do something to help little Maggie.  I hope it brings a smile no matter where it lands!

My quilt holder for these pictures needed to give it a hug good-bye

I'm linking up!!

Visit these lovely ladies and enjoy all the great quilty projects!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Door Prizes

I've been fairly  successful in sneaking in bits of sewing time during these last few busy weeks.  I don't have all that much to show for it, but I've done it!  I am prone to telling myself I'm too tired to go and sew, or to convincing myself there are other things I should be doing ( which I usually don't do, anyway).  But I've been trying to just "get in there and sew!" in the evenings.  It's what I need to keep me sane when life gets like this!

I have a baby shower to attend this weekend.  My niece is having a baby girl, making me a great  awesome aunt, again.  (Great Aunt makes me feel like I'm 80.  I'm not.)  There is a baby quilt in the works for her, with a great story behind it.  Unfortunately, she will not be opening a quilt at her shower.  I tried, and I might have succeeded if I had given up coming or cleaning or sleeping.  But, I decided that it will be done when it's done.  Life is too short and too happy to feel stress about quilting!!!

And when she does get it, it's going to come with a flannel receiving blanket and a coordinating one-hour basket, too, because those aren't going to be done by Saturday, either.  *sigh.

I'm afraid the best I can offer for the shower is a delicious avacado tortellini  salad and some hand made door prizes.
The tissue and chap stick holders were started, but I made time tonight to finish them up.  I had made a slew of them at Christmas time, and these were cut, ready to sew.  

I also pulled some 2 1/2 inch squares out of my scrap box.  (I am so glad I made an effort to trim up scraps to uniform sizes a while ago.  Time to do it, again, though!)

A little chain stitching, a little pressing, and a quick tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts, and this:

Quickly became this:

A sweet, springy, decorated dish towel.  

OR two!

I had to chuckle a bit as I finished these door prizes up tonight.  They remind me of the kinds of things the little old ladies at church would make as prizes for the church festival bingo game when I was a kid.  Maybe I'm older than I thought.

I'm going to link up with She Can Quilt's Scraptastic Tuesday this week, since I actually used scraps!  Have a great week!