Friday, February 28, 2014

A Rainy day and another baby quilt

It's raining! Really raining! It is a day to sit inside and sew!
This is a garbage can that we got just to catch precious rain water for the garden. It was filled in a night. We have buckets all over the yard, all are full.....
Anyway, it is definitely a day to stay put if you can....
So, I did and sewed together a little quilt with precut Moda Squares, (little black dress II), and some Minky fabric.....


The patterns on the fabric are in cream, black and gray, and seem to be fit for a little princess or prince. The Minky fabric is soft and cuddly and then I added a cream satin blanket binding. It looks like a winner to me.....
So, now I should go clean house....really....stay dry!
Nancy

A Grammy Bag

Ok, so I do tend to think far, far, far into the future....but, if one is prepared, then one is ready for what may come one's way.
I am talking about grandchildren.
We don't have one yet. But, the other day, I was out with a friend and saw a Grandma, out with family, and she had a bag. Cute bag. When little grandchild got restless, she pulled out a coloring book and crayons. The lightbulb went off in my head.
Why not make one (or more) of these bags? Just because I am not there yet, doesn't mean I won't be.
So, with the last discount quilt square from JoAnn's, I created a Grammy bag!
I quilted the square you see here, then found more remnant fabric for the back.
The last bag I made didn't have any pockets, so I made a good deep pocket for inside.
Then I had an oops moment.
When you are creating on the fly, that moment happens. I stitched the pocket side onto the wrong side for when It was turned right side out. Shoot. Hate when that happens! And I realized that the thread showed on the outside, and it wasn't pretty. What to do? Rip it all out? Heavens no. Create another pocket for the outside, being sure to use pretty thread and put it together correctly. Now the Grammy bag has two pockets and it looks wonderful.

The straps were also made from scraps, I had just enough! I love when a plan comes together, sans a pattern!
Hope you have a great day!
Nancy

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Getting ready for the painter

So, we are getting ready for the painter. It requires moving what we can away from walls so they can prep for paint and then paint. It is amazing what we have "stashed" next to the house! Wow, it is a lot more work than I anticipated, so it is good that we started early....afterall, we don't want to pay extra for them to move stuff, just get to work...(of course any heavy items, such as the potting bench they will move)...
So, in the side yard I cleaned out the potting bench and threw away a ton of stuff I haven't seen, or used ...Then I cleaned out the baker's rack that held all my pots and stuff....
Then I moved the twig bench that was there, (yeah, it was heavier than it used to be and shoulda waited)....Where to put it? Hummm, well one foot had rotted off, the others getting crumbly, so being out in the weather wasn't really a problem...let's just enjoy it for fun...
So, I moved it here for now....


Now, in reality, it is blocking the raised bed, so it can't stay there forever, nor can the gardener mow the lawn here....so it is problematic. But, darn, I think it is so cute, even though it propped up on a pot where the foot broke....and I am figuring how to repair that....
Have a great day!
Nancy

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What we did today

Well, for over two years we have been looking for a nice border edging. We had plastic "faux" stone hammer in edging, but it had gotten quite worn and was getting caught on the hose, so it kept pulling out. We needed something for where water washes dirt and debris onto the sidewalk....
So, this weekend, we made a true effort, together, and went to several places. There were a few things that might have worked, but honestly, lots of work to "sink" them in, not to mention weight etc. We even thought about just having ground covers....but there isn't a watering system there.
Yesterday, when we got the wood for the shutters we made, we looked over the selection of edging that Home Depot had. Eureka! We found the perfect solution for us!
The edging looks like rocks, but is lighter, and has a flat bottom, so it looks like you spent all day sinking it in, but in fact, little prep was necessary. Only where the plastic stuff was did we have to dig and clear.
They are a touch "rustic" which I wanted and we think they look really good.
Easy. Affordable. Classic and Rustic.
We love them too for another reason....the hose rolls right over and around.......

And when you put them down, they look like this....

Then when done, sprinkle a little bark, and voila, a finished edge!

Now, each section is 12" long and they cost kinda a bit at $2.97 each. However, at this point in our broken body life, not having to get down on hands and knees to sink in other edgings, was quite worth the extra bit of $$. We were able to do it our ourselves and it was finished in an hour and a half! Really!
And yes, the Home Depot crew has helpers to help you load the edging both onto a flat truck and out to your car. So that will save your back too. (I didn't realize that at first, so my back is a little mad at the bending I did to load the first 30.) They don't weigh too much, much less than actual rocks, probably about 2-3 pounds ea.
Finally! A project done that we have been going back and forth on for two years (maybe more). Yay!
Here's to finishing your projects!!
Nancy

Monday, February 24, 2014

Making simple shutters for the front of the house

What seems like a hundred years ago, I made shutters for the front of the house. I even jigsawed little hearts in them. Now, they seem more than dated, and since we are having the house painted soon, (like Mar 3rd if it doesn't rain), I wanted to make new simple shutters for the front of the house. Make them so they match in structure.


I like simple looks and didn't want them to be "perfect", but definitely it was time for a "new" look.
So, we went to Home Depot, bought 6 1x6s at 48" (already cut), and 6 1x6s at 72"(already cut and which fits the length of the windows they are opposite). Then had the gentleman there cut the cross pieces for us. (The only caveat was that we forgot that the boards aren't really 6" each, more like 5 3/4 which made the cross pieces an inch longer than they needed to be, so I got out my little jigsaw and cut off the ends of 8 cross pieces.)
We brought home our little treasures, set up the saw horses, and started.

With the simple tools of a drill, screws, tape measure, pencil we had the new shutters done in and hour and a half, counting clean-up. Cost, about $15 per shutter. As you can see, we chose cheap wood, but it will be primed and painted soon enough.
Here they are ready and waiting for their turn with paint and being put on the house.
Good quick project that will have great impact when done. Houses look so much better with shutters, even just decorative ones.
Ok, time for laundry.....
Nancy

French Quilting

So, I have become interested in French Corded Quilting (Boutis) and regular French quilts.
The Boutis quilts are done on white fabric and have not batting, but rather a corded of cotton or larger pieces of cotton are drawn up between two lines of hand stitching. The effect is amazing when done and quite labor intensive.
The regular quilts are usually just two layers of fabric with batting in between, much like our patchwork quilts, but the design is more in the hand stitching than the pattern of the fabric.
In both, machine quilting is really not accepted form, though I have seen it done, but again the effect is different that way.
Both are hand quilted with lots of detail in the stitching of two pieces of fabric together.
I bought books on the subject and I am enamored with them.
So, to practice my hand quilting, I found two pieces of fabric that are the same print but two different colors (one of my thrift stores finds) and some polyester batting (gives thickness, but not too much and is easier to hand quilt through than my regular cotton batting (also a thrift store find).
With no time limit on my practice, I enjoy watching TV and stitching....and stitching...and stitching.

The reverse of what I am working on is the red, and that shows the stitching I have done....
Last night I finished what I could do in the quilt hoop and shifted the fabric to start some more.
I have to admit, I love hand quilting (when my hands will let me) and the effect is lovely, a cozy feeling gets added to the fabric. As I go, I am getting smaller stitches, which is what is desired. I am also going to try to do their rounded edges, with no binding...just stitched in like I found in the book I got.
Then, I am going to try a small corded quilt project. Those are all done in white.
Have a great day!
Nancy
PS No, I am not quitting the machine quilting. I love that too. It offers speed and precision and a totally different feel....I am just expanding my abilities.....

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Other Uses for quilt squares

I can't help it. I need to sew. Love taking pieces of fabric and making it into something.
Call me addicted to sewing and quilting, it's ok, I think I must be. I like to sew....
This week I cleaned out the fabric bins going through things I had thrown in there....bits and pieces and things to make in the future. I came across to packages of "quilt blocks of the month" that were on sale at Jo-Ann's about a year or so ago. The intention then was to make a pillow. However, one can only have so many pillows and my store is now closed...
The blocks weren't any color combo I would have picked, but, when a pre-cut kit is only $1, I can't resist, so I had picked them up. Not wanting to make a quilt I studied them for a bit and realized I had remnant batting and fabric....soooo, I started piecing....and piecing. It was a pattern I had never tried but it went together easily. I really recommend these precuts for beginners because you just sew.
Then, I got my remnant fabric and batting and put it together to play with quilting.....
What to do with it....?

Why make a shoulder bag......
It turned out pretty cute I think!
I didn't make a pocket for the front or back or inside....would do that next time....
Otherwise, this becomes a great way to use quilt blocks without having to make a quilt big or small....
Hope you have a great week....
Nancy

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Quilting

I am having so much fun!
I had a large remnant that is an autumn farm scene. I wanted to practice and play with machine quilting so I found a remnant of batting and folded the fabric over and stitched away! I am still playing with different threads, trying silk and cotton versus polyester so this gave me a chance to try it out.
Then, I gathered up scraps of fabric to make the binding! It gives a fun charm and character to use different fabrics around the edge....perfect for children!

 See the fun binding?? I had so much fun piecing bits and pieces.....
After I finished this quilt, I decided that I wanted to do an all girly quilt....
So, out came all the lavender fabrics and pinks, mostly pinks....using up all I have to play.....


The backing doesn't show that its pink with white dots....so cute and girly!
Today is the binding day. I think I know what I am going to use, but we will see....sometimes quilts just need something different than you plan....
So, that is what I have been up to.
What have you been up to??
Nancy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Remnant Roundup

If you are like me, a quilter with lots of fabric, you need to sew....want to sew....
I did just finish the large brown and beige quilt and took 5 days off of sewing while my sister visited. But, the need, the urge (ok, it's an addiction I think) became too much. However, I had just taken the big sewing machine in for a tune-up since it was in need from all the sewing it was doing....
So, I got out the little sewing machine and got busy....
I had lots of leftover squares and triangles from the last project and even binding!
The dogs and I settled in...
 Belle is under the sewing table at my feet, and Tucker is next to the iron...
I put together a few of the squares and triangles to make pinwheels...and then made squares...
Before you know it, there is a quilt top!


The little sewing machine did a great job, and it was probably good for it to do a big job....put it through its paces so to speak....
and so tonight while watching TV I will finish hand sewing the binding....
And by the way, there are still squares and all left...oh well, I will put them in a drawer for future use....
Take care,
Nancy

Monday, February 3, 2014

Greetings at the front door

Everyone knows that what is at your front door is important. If it is eye catching, it draws the eye to the door and draws guests in.....
If it is ugly or sickly, the guest will notice and get a feeling that the rest of the house might be the same....It is a feeling one gets....right?
Well, we noticed that one of the plants by the door had become covered in we believe was cotton aphid or some such pest. So covered, that we threw the plant, dirt and pot away.
I don't throw things away light heartedly, but this was bad, way beyond anything out there to fix it.
Besides, my sister is coming for a visit and she hasn't been here in 7+ years...and she is a gardener, a small neglected sickly plant doesn't present itself or the house well.....so....
we went to the nursery. Yup, Hubby had definite ideas about what he thought would look good too.....
We were both immediately drawn to the Emerald Colonnade Holly.
We were told it would be good for containers and perfect for by the front door.
That it could take the heat (we will see) that the front gets and can be shaped over time.
It apparently produces small creamy flowers in the spring but no fruit. Hummm.....sounds good to me.
They make a grand entrance, so we were pleased. And, Hubby picked out the pots!

Sorry I didn't take a before picture....they were really "gross" and I wanted to get them out. I sprayed the wall with windex in hopes that any pests lingering there would be eradicated and I used fresh potting mix with water crystals in the soil. This area gets very hot in summer.
Nancy

Super Bowl of quilting!

I spent the entire Sunday (except for 20 mins to walk dogs) quilting.
I was quilting for 12 hours....
I wanted to finish my quilt....
I had already finished the squares as I have shown you, but the quilt had blank squares that were going to have a feather wreath and the borders with a stencil also. Those are big, big endeavors for what I consider an intermediate quilter.....
But, one doesn't progress in their skills if they don't reach a bit...

I have become a machine quilter, with my home sewing machine, one because of arthritis but also because honestly, I am impatient to see it finished!
Surprisingly, though the middle wreaths were difficult, because of the bulk of the quilt, the wreaths actually went faster than anticipated. It is much like a game on Lumosity, you figure where to go in and how to go around and not stop until that wreath is done. There supposedly is a rule in machine quilting, to not cross threads while quilting....well, mostly I pulled it off, though sometimes, it happens; such as when a dog decides to get under the quilt while you are sewing or sits on it.....
Anyway, all 30 wreaths were done....
Then, there were the borders......
Although I praticed the border motif on separate material (quilted even) this was hard. The motif requires the line of thread to start at one end go to the other and return 5 times....easier said than done with a home sewing machine. I do not have a long arm quilter that moves the needle through the fabric instead of me moving the fabric through the machine. I did mess up, frequently in fact, in part to dogs "helping" but also because the marker would disappear...literally! I used 4 different marking techiniques, the one that worked best, was chalk, but one has to be careful that the chalk doesn't get brushed off!
So, though it is not perfect, I think it is beautiful.....
It is draped in the chair to dry, as the blue ink to mark the wreaths will disappear when wet....
Of course, the chalk will eventually disappear....
It measures 67" x 76". Cozy quilt...
What do you think??
Have you made a quilt? Do you machine quilt or hand quilt?
Nancy