Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Day for me, not so much for Goldie

I was finally able to get into my sewing room today! I didn't do that much sewing, but I was able to organize a bit. I also got Hawaiian Hug basted, finally!

Poor Goldie was spayed today. Last week she started giving the signs to male cats that she was "available." It got so bad on Thanksgiving Day that Parker was really freaked out. He came to me in a panic, "Mom, there is something really wrong with Goldie!" Thank goodness he has been studying life cycles of plants and animals at school because "mating" was a term he was familiar with. We explained that Goldie was ready to mate and were able to leave it at that. I didn't expect to have to do this until January, based on the age information we got from the woman who gave us Goldie. Either the woman was a little off in her birthday calculations, or Goldie matured a little faster than most cats. We picked her up a little while ago and she has hunkered down in safe place.

Poor baby! I know it hurts. I paid extra so she could have the post-surgery pain medication. They said it would last for at least 36 hours. I know she appreciates it.

I have made a little progress on this recently.

I have some beads and cording set aside for embellishments. I also got some white buttons, but I don't think they will work for this. They are "too new." Maybe I will be able to find some old white buttons that will work. If not, I'll just use something else!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ski Season has begun

We had a nice Thanksgiving. I hope you did too. I cooked all day Wednesday and Thursday. I enjoy cooking and it is fun to do a big meal every once in a while. Bright and early Friday morning my husband left for two days of skiing. He got back late Saturday night and slept all day Sunday. I tell you this so that you know why I haven't gotten very much done over the Thanksgiving holiday. I sure was glad things were back to normal today. However, I didn't get any sewing done today either because of all the errands, grocery shopping and dinner making.

On Friday, in little spurts, I was able to make a few gift bags. Parker had a friend over for the afternoon. They played very nicely and left me alone for the most part. I made these two birthday bags as a gift for a friend.

Then I made a few Christmas gift bags. I made two each of these.

Once I get on a roll with these they are very fast to make. You can go to my pattern/tutorial for the bags I make by clicking here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Raffle Quilt Leftovers

I served on my guild's raffle quilt committee recently. I do not have a picture of the actual raffle quilt yet. We won't start selling tickets on it until next year. However, we grossly overestimated how many half-square triangle units we would need for the quilt and had a lot left over. So one of our members, Peg Collins, made this little quilt.



It is a generous crib size quilt. We plan to raffle it off among guild members. I sewed the binding and label on which is why I currently have the quilt.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Satin Edge Blankies

I finished up the last two satin edge blankies (aka boppies) yesterday afternoon.

Click the link to read my first post about boppies. These will be mailed to Jean at the Quilted Cupcake for her Project Night Night quilt challenge. The links will take you to Jean's blog and her Project Night Night pages, respectively.

I was going to direct you to the tutorial I published about how I do the satin edge binding on these. However, I took a bunch of pictures for a tutorial, but apparently never wrote the tutorial! Maybe I will be able to get that done over the Thanksgiving holiday, but don't count on it. Unlike some folks who have extra time to sew during holiday breaks, I have less time.

Now for a few Goldie pictures. I got out a flat rate box to see if I could get all of the boppies I made into one before assembling it. Goldie was "helping" me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Yesterday I made a few pillowcases that I plan to give as Christmas gifts. Parker really likes Garfield so these will be for him.

Another special child is a Peanuts fan. These will be for him.

They need to be washed but I finished these too late in the afternoon to do that yesterday. Parker would have been home from school before I could get them washed and dried. It's on my list for today.

Another set of gifts can be checked off my "to-make" list! Yippee!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hawaiian Hug Backing

I got some unexpected time to sew yesterday afternoon. My big guy went skiing so I was planning to have to entertain the little guy all day. Then the little guy got invited to go play at a friend's house for the afternoon. So I did this.

I was trying to use up the whole jelly roll of batiks and I was successful, except for about four 6.5" rectangles. Those just went into the scrap bag so the jelly roll is gone!

I need to get batting for this today. I hope to be able to get it basted together tomorrow so I will be ready to quilt on it if I get any time over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Next Art Group Project

My art group has completed most of the projects we wanted to do in the current book we are working through. We've been doing a lot of wonky piecing recently. So continuing in that theme, I suggested we do some wonky stars next month.

Since I suggested it, I have to figure out how to make them to be able to teach the rest of the group. Above are pictured my first two tries. The turned out pretty good. I'd probably like them better in different fabrics. However, I made these practice stars using the same scraps as I used for my first wonky piecing practice blocks. I am planning to continue practicing using these scraps. I am making all 9" and 4.5" finished size blocks so that they will easily go together when I get enough. I'm also planning to wonkify (I know it's not a real word but I hope you know what I mean) a few other star blocks.

Have you ever purchased any fabric from Connecting Threads? I get their catalog but I haven't purchased any fabric from them in many years. Mainly because they don't carry the style of fabric that I prefer. However, last week I purchased a magnetic pin holder from them and decided to get some other stuff too. You know you get free shipping if you spend $50. It would have been cheaper to just pay the shipping on the one thing I needed, but I'm glad I allowed myself to splurge. Look what I got!

In the picture you can see the pin holder in the top left of the photo. I got myself the green one. It works quite well. I am getting tired of moving my pin holders around my sewing room. And the new kitten, Goldie, loves to pull pins out of pin cushions and drop them on the floor to chase. I am just so tired of trying to keep one step ahead of her that I thought I'd give this a try. You put it on you shirt so your pins are always with you. The only problem I have had so far is remembering that it is there since I'm so used to using my other pin cushions!

The fabric is from their Quilter's Candy Basics line. I got the Bright Palette, no big surprise there. The Fresh Palette and Garden Palette also caught my eye. I was pleasantly surprised by the fabric quality. I was worried it would be really low quality because it doesn't cost very much. I wouldn't classify it as "quilt shop quality" but it is probably comparable to good quality JoAnn's fabric. I also bought one spool of their Essential cotton 50 wt. thread just to give it a try. I got the Fushia color. I am really trying to move toward using Aurifil thread as much as I can because it is such nice thread. But I have never tried this thread and it goes so nicely with the fabric. After I have used it, I'll let you know what I think.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hawaiian Hug Top Finished

I finished the top last night!

I had to turn it sideways to get it on my design wall! It is large lap quilt size, maybe even twin size. I haven't measured it yet for exact dimensions. I cut a bunch of squares that didn't get used for the pieced border. I have made them into four patches and will use them on the back - somehow. I used a jelly roll for the blocks and I have a few strips left over that will also go on the back - somehow. And I have a good bit of the blue batik stripe fabric to use on the back, but not enough for the whole back.

I will mark my design wall so that I know how big my back needs to be. Then I just start cutting and laying stuff up there to cover the required area. It's not a very precise method, but it works for me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hawaiian Hug in Progress

I have been working on the batik blocks that I made at Retreat. In case you don't remember, here are the blocks I made at Retreat.

I am working from a pattern which called for sashing the blocks with corner stones. Never one to follow a pattern exactly, I chose my own fabrics instead of using their suggestions.

I decided to use Kona Navy for the sashing and picked a few of the indigo prints from the blocks for the corner stones. Now I am making and adding the borders.

Above you can see that I have the first two borders on. Third border is pieced then there is another narrow orange border and a wider of the blue batik stripe. I think I have about 4 yards of the blue batik stripe! It is really pretty but why did I buy 4 yards? I must have been planning to use it as backing too. I probably will use some of it on the back but I also have a bunch of squares and rectangles left over from the blocks and pieced border that I'd like to put on the back. I think I'll finish the top first before worrying about the back!

I'm in a hurry with this because I have decided that I would like to try to finish it for a Christmas gift. I believe I started this with the intention of it being a gift. (It has been several years so I can't really remember clearly anymore! LOL) When I got it back out at Retreat I thought it would make a nice birthday gift for a certain someone. However, their birthday is in the summer so maybe a quilt would make a better Christmas gift and I'll give them what I had planned for Christmas on their birthday. Confusing, I know, but I'm sure somebody out there has done this same kind of thing before.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Strata Project Progress

Today was Art Group Tuesday! I finished my strata yesterday.

Everybody's strata looked good at this stage. Then we cut them up and sewed them back together. I chose to do a simple nine patch and cut mine up into 5.5" squares. This is the result.

Pretty cool! I liked it before and I like it now. I am thinking about how this needs to be quilted. That will have to wait though until I finish up a few other projects.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Green Grocery Bag Challenge

You may have noticed the button on the right hand side of my blog about the Green Grocery Bag Challenge. This is challenge by Sew Mama Sew to reduce paper waste this holiday season. They are encouraging people to make reusable bags, specifically grocery bags but I think any reusable bag is fine, and "wrap" their gifts in these this year. They have a Facebook page on which people are posting tutorials.

I posted my own tutorial here on my blog in June for my gift bag pattern. My family has been using these bags for a couple years now. I still use a little tissue paper and have a stash of paper gift bags we have received that I saved. Mainly I use the paper gift bags when I give a gift to someone who would probably just throw a fabric one away too. I also have some holiday tins that I use as wrapping for food items.

Before you go out and buy a bunch of wrapping paper that is going to be thrown away, think! Wrapping gifts in recycled paper gift bags or reusable fabric bags is much easier and faster than using paper. It's a time saver and landfill saver. It is easier for the recipient to feel the items in the fabric bags so you have to be creative if this may be a problem for you. I have wrapped items in hand towels before putting them in the bag. Wadding up newspaper and surrounding your gift with it makes the bag look nice and full and pads the gift so it's harder to feel it through the bag. As a last resort, you can throw in some jingle bells as an alarm that snooping is occurring!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Retreat Report 2

I finished a few charity tops at Retreat. First the Clifford quilt that I was piecing as my Leader and Ender project.

The red is a bit overpowering, but hopefully some child who loves Clifford won't care. I also finished the Pooh charity quilt I cut out at the same time as the above Clifford quilt.

If I had had access to a design wall when I was putting the blocks together, I probably would have put this together differently. However, the top is done and I don't feel it is worth taking it apart at this point.

The third charity quilt I finished was already partially completed. I made the blocks at Retreat last year.

This is really an eye-catching pattern and so simple to make. The pieced blocks are strip pieced and then cut to size. The pattern is formed by rotating the pieced blocks around the alternating print fabric.

The last project I worked on at retreat is another one that was begun at a previous retreat. About two retreats ago I cut out the strips and squares. This year I made 12 blocks.

Today I have been auditioning sashing fabric from my "resource center" (aka stash). I think I have a few things that will work but I need to play with the block layout. I just slapped these up on the design wall and took a quick photo. The "green" ones stand out so I'll need to place those more carefully before sewing them together.

Other than eating, taking walks and pictures, and losing at Mexican Train that is about it for my Retreat Reports.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Color Homework

I'm a little behind in my Quilt University course, Artist's Toolbox. First I went to Retreat then my parents came for a week. The fourth and final lesson will open tomorrow, but I am still working on the second lesson. On Tuesday I thought about just skipping lesson two, but the class stays open 2 weeks after the last lesson is posted so I will still have time to get all my assignments done.

This week (well, the second week) we study color. I'm not going into detail about the lesson. I think you should take the class if you want details. It is a really good class, by the way! The gist of the assignment was to look through magazines and catalogs at the color schemes that were used. I tried to look at the advertisements and think about how they were using color to sell their product. I also looked for color combinations that appealed to me.

These are just a few of the pages I tore out and glued into my sketchbook.

In looking through my stack of torn out pages it was clear to me that I am drawn to blue, green and brown color combinations and any variation thereof. I can't say that this surprises me much. The other thing I noticed was how gray is used effectively. Look at the warm color scheme picture above. That was pulled from a home decor catalog. The wall is painted gray in that room. I tried to think about what other color they could have used. Everything I thought of would either compete with products for sale or blend too much with the products. Light blue would work, but I believe I like the gray better. Gray is also used in the last picture - the rim of the paint cans and the metal basket of lettuce.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Barb is having a great giveaway over on her blog, giveaway. Click over and check it out.

Mom's Cutting

As I mentioned yesterday, my mom did a lot of cutting while she was here. So I thought I would share with you the results of her labor.

I came home from Retreat with a tall kitchen garbage bag of flannel scraps.

I failed to get a photo of the full "before" bag. Mom is fast with a rotary cutter! She cut 6 inch squares and 5 inch squares. There are 182 6 inch squares. We had the secret agents count for us. (click on the link to get the inside story about our local secret agents.)

5 inch squares

6 inch squares

Whatever couldn't be cut into these dimensions went into a bag to take to the next guild meeting for our raffle table.

Then she started on the cotton fabric I was gifted recently. (Click on the link to go that post.) She cut 4 by 6 inch rectangles and 4 1/2" squares.



With the 6 inch flannel squares I plan to do a rag quilt. With 4.5" cotton squares I plan to do a disappearing nine patch. Some of the 5 inch flannel squares will probably end up in a quilt for Goldie that Parker wants to make. I have a plan for the cotton rectangles, but I don't know the pattern or block name so you will just have to wait and see on that one.

Whew! I'm tired just typing about all that cutting!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Finish

I finished my house ornaments!

These turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself! Something different than what I have been making in recent years.

My parents left this morning. We are sad to see them go. My dad did some touch-up painting around the house, painted two doors and the three risers for the laundry room staircase. He also fixed several yummy dinners for us. My mom took a large kitchen garbage bag full of flannel scraps and cut it up into usable squares for me. Then she started on one of the two boxes of fabrics I was recently gifted. She got a little of it cut up, but sorted and ironed quite a bit of that first box. But most importantly, she played with Parker.

Friday, November 5, 2010


My parents are visiting right now so I have limited computer time. Well, that's not exactly true. I'd rather spend my time with them than on the computer.

Here are a few pictures I took on my recent Retreat. Two faces:

The second face is not so obvious. I may be the only one who can see it. It reminds me of the newscaster on the old Muppets Show - big chin and nose with eyes hidden by the eyebrows.

Don't count on another post until after they leave next week. My mom and I are busy cutting up my recent gifted fabrics into usable pieces and kits.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Retreat Report 1

I worked on several things at my retreat and finished a few of them. The first thing I did was make up little trash bags from the blue jean leg ends I had collected to that point.

You can see the piles in the back. The front one is mine. I made it a few months ago. You can never have too many places to put thread tails and little bits of fabric at Retreat. I have about 60 of these little bags made so far. I need about 120! My guild is hosting the Colorado Quilt Council meeting next June. These will be filled with fingerling potatoes and have a columbine pin attached to them. They will be given to attendees as gifts.

The second thing I worked on was the retreat mystery block. Every year one member puts together a mystery block pattern for retreat goers to work on over the course of the Retreat. We were told what fabrics to bring for the block and how much. Then we were each given a short 2" strip of orange fabric too. We were all guessing the block would be Fall related or Halloween related. We were all wrong!

We made penguin blocks! These blocks will be put together will a simple border and then it will go to a local charity. My block is the third block from the left on the third row from the top. Notice that someone put the wings on wrong so it looks like the penguin is trying to take off. We thought it looked cute so she didn't fix it. I know who made this block but I won't tell. Our motto is, "what happens at retreat, stays at retreat." You have to attend to get the skinny on everyone. It was a lot of fun!

On a personal note, thank you to everyone who sent condolences at the death of my cat Maggie. I'm doing better today. Trying to remember her as the younger cat who brought me birds and snakes. She even brought me a newspaper once! I realized last night that I lived with her longer than I've lived with anyone else in my life - 20+ years! I only lived with my parents for 18 years and I've only lived with my husband for 15 years.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Good-Bye Old Friend

I am sad today. My best four-legged friend of 20+ years died this morning.

It was time and she was suffering, but ... it still makes me sad. She was with me before I even met my husband. We've been married 15 years. She is the last to pass away of the three cats we had between us when we got married.

Maggie's momma was a dumpster cat. She crawled into the bathroom of some friends over Easter weekend and had kittens on their bathroom rug. When they got back Sunday night they found her along with four kittens. Lucky for them, the bathroom door was closed so the cats didn't get into the rest of their apartment! They used the bath tub as their litter box. The momma left after about 4 weeks and I adopted Maggie.

I like this picture because you can see the orange spot on her forehead and the one white toe she had. Good-bye Maggie! I will miss you!

Monday, November 1, 2010


We had a smaller group this year for our Trick-or-Treat party, but it was still fun. Parker is dressed as Mario.

The weather was nice but I wondered if the fact that it was Sunday night might deter some folks from coming out. NO! I have a cauldron for the candy I give out.

I couldn't keep Goldie out of the picture but then thought it would be good to have her in it for scale. As you can see, it is a pretty big cauldron. It was about half full of candy when the night began and I ran out at 7:45 pm. I give one piece of candy to each kid so I figure we had about 400 kids come by last night.

Parker and Tony decorated their Haunted Gingerbread Houses over the weekend. Here is Parker's house.

And Tony's house.

A big thank you to James for sending us the gingerbread house pieces and candy to decorate them with. We really enjoy getting the kit each year and they smell wonderful!

I have lots to share with you from my weekend retreat but I'll spread that out over the next few days.