Thursday, June 30, 2016

Today's Baby Quilt

Today I got to quilt the quilt top I had made. You remember the "basket-weave" one?
Well, it has a baby to go to....her name is Melody and she is due later this year. I know her Mom pretty well, so it's nice to make a quilt for her.
 This is one thing I am excited to share....see this lovely fabric? It is a sheet! Backings are a pitfall of mine. Always too narrow, or too small or expensive for what you get. Most of my quilts lately have been gratis...so spending a small fortune for fabric is bad planning. So, the other day while "thrifting" with my friend, I discovered sheets! Yeah, I know many have...but honestly....a twin sheet (a lot of fabric) for $3.99?? Yes, please!!
 So...here I am quilting.....I divided the "squares" into half diagonally and free handed the free motion quilting into feathers! I have not done feathers this way and I have to say it was liberating! What fun!! I am rather proud of how this quilt turned out.....
 I am almost exclusively using silk thread for quilting now as it has a light touch to the quilt, almost like it isn't there. It is a bit finicky sometimes, but overall a joy to use as it was here. Silk thread if you haven't used it is perfect for quilting, it is strong but thin and has a slight shine....but is such a joy overall.....amazing to work with. If you haven't used it....you should try. However, I recommend Superior Thread's Kimono silk.....
I have used other thread company's silk and those were not a pleasure....they broke constantly...no fun. This thread has a higher tolerance than most......

 I had great fun quilting on either side of Melody's name... such fun.....
 Here is a picture of the back to give you the overall idea....I am so pleased with how this turned out. And this "backing"....it was wonderful!
 Up next will be binding.....

 So, if you are a quilter, and need backing....and inexpensive route might be to go to a thrift store. At our Savers here in our area twin bed sheets are $3.99, double $4.99 and queen are $5.99 and King $6.99....If you don't have to match a specific fabric this could be the best route for you. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Top sheets (flats) are often clean and not stained....and I brought them home (I did buy several) and wash them of course and then ironed what I needed.....but with lots of quilts in the works....perfect solution!

Have a great day!!!
Nancy

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Busy Day

Yesterday, I finished quilting that printed panel quilt....I thought I'd share that with you...




Well, I was on my way today to go do my Thursday babysitting...and my daughter called and said that her Hubby was closing so I wouldn't be needed....
No problem!
I got home, changed the laundry and got busy with a quilt I started yesterday.
We have two neighbors who are having babies within weeks of each other...and they aren't going to find out what they are having! (I think this day in age that is refreshing....)
Anyway, the quilt larder is empty...so gee, guess I need to get sewing!
So, I went to my fabric collections and pulled out 5" squares (a charm pack) that I was given. And started sewing....
This is what I finished today...
The appliqué was leftovers...so that was kinda perfect...Though the squares have flowers I think it could go either way....boy or girl...what do you think??
Then, since it was still early, I started another quilt, again using what I had.
I used what was left of several jellyrolls.....

This is a basket weave pattern and I had so much fun with it....using up what I had already! This is definitely a girly quilt.
I have ordered white batting so I can quilt them....Looking in my stash for backing...that is always my hangup...I never have enough backing fabrics....
Along with several loads of laundry, and gardening I feel I had a productive day!
Oh, and we just received notice that we can water whenever we need to!! Yippee!!
Hope you have a great weekend....I plan on gardening....
Nancy

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Hot Weather Project

Here in Southern California we had record breaking heat and low humidity. Ugh.
So, as we have learned, you bring in early morning air. Then close all the windows, and pull the drapes and relax to ride it out. No, we do not have air conditioning....although Hubby says if the climate change has brought this kind of weather more often, we may have to bite that bullet....
So, yesterday, we closed up the house at 8 am....and I went into the craft room to sew.
I just needed to "play".
I had recently purchased a printed panel...and being without baby quilts in the cupboard, I need something in there.....


What is different? Well, for one I played with some new stitches that my machine can do....you know, the ones you never use?? Yeah, found that I didn't like some ...like the zigzag for quilting....I believe that is to be used in a different way....definitely not free motion. And the other one was the stippling stitch....yeah...not free motion either. Oh well....not a problem...
I did however try using embroidery thread as too quilting thread....See here? On the leaf and the alligator's body? It worked fairly well...however, on another area with a different color it didn't work as well....
I didn't finish quilting though, the room starting getting warm....and heat and computerized sewing machines and hot quilters....it's best to just stop. So, I did.
This morning has dawned so much better....a good twenty degrees cooler...a nice bit of overcast and a breeze....
I ran out and watered(it's Tuesday and we can legally water) the things that the sprinklers don't get.
And guess what I found?? A HUGE green pepper.

That is Hubby's hand....Isn't it huge?? Normally, I let them go red....which is my favorite...however, this one unfortunately go sun scald on the other side...so it will go into dinner tonight.....
Well, I hope you have a cool day...
Nancy

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Secret to My Garden

Well, I am going to tell you one of my secrets.
I have for years purchased plants online from a very reliable source. They are from Richmond, CA.
Well known in the business for years now, Annie's Annuals (and Perennials) are probably the best source of plants that you cannot find in other nurseries. They ship with a schedule and you know when they will arrive. They ship in a box that is so well done. The only problem I have ever had is when the carrier didn't read the box that said "This Side Up"....and the plants still did ok.
But honestly, of all the nurseries to order from, they have been the best. The take such care of each plant!


Yesterday's shipment was just 6 plants. Three milkweeds and three agastaches...
Milkweed is hard to get to survive from seed. I planted oodles of them....but only one has survived outside. So, I ordered from Annies. These are native species to the US, and therefore better for the Monarchs.
In any case, I will be busy today....getting these guys out to their new homes.
I just wanted to share my secret with you.
Nancy

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Birthday, Tucker!

I wanted to say Happy Birthday to our wonderful dog, Tucker!!
He turns 11 today!!
It may not seem like much, but this old boy almost died about three months or so ago. Seriously. Even the vet was letting us know that he might not make it. But he did. 
He has a great heart.....full of love and would do anything to help you....
And even though he sometimes is stiff and sore, he will always want to play ball....or go for a walk around the block.


Have a great day!
Nancy

Sunday, June 12, 2016

One busy week

I have been so busy this week....mainly getting caught up with family.
But, I did manage to can apricot jam from the very productive tree.
Even though I didn't spray it, and lost a few....I still was able to can 14 half pints of jam. The last 5 were Apricot/Peach jam. Yum

I did the canning over three days as the apricots ripened. Next year I will use an organic tree spray to keep the bugs away....there were quite a few little worms in the apricot....
Then, I worked on the craft room. The craft room used to be my daughter's room and the two closet shelves were still full of her things from childhood. So, I started small and did just one shelf. Now, that shelf is fabric! So much better to have it straight ahead to see.......

See the shelf above?? yeah, it's time to take care of that...she will in a few weeks....we are planning on it, but right now I'm excited to get a shelf to see the larger pieces of fabric that are available by color. I don't think I need to buy anymore fabric....but one never knows. My biggest problem is solids and backings....so we will see.
I am finishing a baby quilt for a friend of my other daughter this coming week. We were going to embroider the baby's name, but they are not sure of the name, so, I will be busy quilting.
I hope your week is a good one....
Nancy

Sunday, June 5, 2016

We Were on Vacation!

My husband is very romantic....and set up a 39th anniversary celebration like no other....we went to Maui!
We were there for 8 days! Mostly we relaxed with no plan....but then we did do some things. We did a tour of an organic coffee farm, where we also toured the rest of the organic farm where they raise all the produce for the two restaurants the company owns, and had a terrific gourmet lunch after our group harvested the salad greens for our salad. We went up in a helicopter and flew around the island and across the sea to Molokai to see some amazing waterfalls. We enjoyed part of a restaurant week and visited Makena Beach. We drove to Lahaina and Kalapani and Napili areas. We took in a Luau and again ate way too much as we watched traditional Hawaiian dances.
Overall....a lovely vacation !!






For those who are unfamiliar with Maui, this is the area known as Wailea where we stayed. Lovely area, and if you are into snorkeling...a fantastic area for that and scuba.
Aloha!
Nancy