Monday, December 30, 2013

One More Day.......

One more day until the NY rolls in.  Tonight I finally got around to taking the ornaments off the tree.  Everything else will be put away tomorrow.  My mother always said it was bad luck to leave your decorations up after NY's......personally, I think she was just ready to see them go so that she could clean the house.

Today I thought I would share with you one of my favorite binding tricks.  I am sure I must have seen it somewhere else, but I can't remember where.  At any rate, it works like a dream for me.

Once the binding is pressed, I roll it up, then place the roll on the spindle of my machine.  As I stitch, I simply gently roll the binding off the spindle.  No more snarls and winding, no more binding all twisted and dirty on the floor.  If you don't have an extra spindle on your machine, you can use one of the free standing ones that you use with the cones of thread.  The other binding trick that I really love is the invisible join.  It can be seen at this link starting at about 6:30 on the video.  It has made a huge difference in the way my bindings turn out.

I spent the day today working on a little project that is one of those God Wink kind of things.  Years ago....literally.....I bought a sweet little baby quilt kit at a shop in Stone Mountain that closed long ago.  I tucked it away, thinking I would make it when my grandchildren came along.  Well, when I was cleaning I ran across it, but really didn't think much of it.  Chances are slim that we will have more grandchildren.  Well, one of my dear friends became grandmother to a baby girl this week, and I didn't have any idea what to get for her.  Alas, today I pieced the top and hopefully tomorrow I will get the backing and binding made so that I can quilt it later in the week.  Perfect!!  I would show you a photo, but I accidentally left my camera on and the battery is dead.  But I will post one this week.

Might I add, my new work space is perfect....ever so much better.  I can press, use the design wall and stitch without ever leaving my chair.  I am a happy camper. Thanks for all of your comments.

The Estes Family is taking a very special vacation......a Christmas gift for the entire Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Robert and Sara Ashley couldn't have been more surprised with this gift...and excited.  On their first day there, they went to lunch at a local pizzeria and ran into Harrison Ford!!  I am thinking that Robert is much more handsome :-))

And today they spent the entire day snowmobiling at Yellowstone.

Christi was recently a guest blogger on Abingdon Women.  I invite you to visit their blog and enjoy her gift of writing, her honesty and frankness about their situation.

God Winks.
Hot baths with scented bath salts.

Take care,

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Woman Possessed

Yesterday I awoke like a woman possessed.  I knew that I had to do something to make my sewing room more functional.  After listening to friends Sandy and Debi talk about how they had arranged their work areas, I knew mine was causing me to waste time and be less productive.  I had to get up from the machine and walk across the room to press a seam open, and then squeeze around the cutting table to put anything on the design wall.  Not good.  I didn't know what I was going to do, but I knew that I was going to make a stab at it.

Here are my befores:
Sewing machine stuck in corner with no easy access to anything.

Design wall not accessible due to quilting frame (which I have yet to use :-(().  A mess everywhere.

And now, following yesterday's overhaul:
Main Sewing Table relocated behind cutting table and in front of design wall.  Pressing table, bins with projects I am working on and Leaders and Enders bin adjacent to pressing table.  

Design Wall to rear of machine with plenty of room to get to it.

Cubbies and cart relocated

Shelf relocated and redone.

Scrap saving system and bin relocated next to cutting table.  You can see the quilting frame to the left in the location where the sewing machine was previously located.  It can easily be pulled out for use if that time every comes.

In addition to moving everything around, I cleaned and reorganized.  I probably won't be able to find a thing....isn't that always the way???

Today I tried the space out, and I really think I am going to like it.  I still don't have a great place for my ironing board, but I can live with it.  And the pressing station beside my machine is wonderful.

All of the stuff on the back of the chair has dwindled to this woven rug that needs to be hemmed.

Three quilts are ready to go to the quilter.  I pieced two backings this afternoon and reduced my stash by 5 1/2 yards!!

One of the backings was from way back in the early 1980s......a Yours Truly piece, made in the USA.

And I stitched on two bindings that are now ready for hand stitching.

Finally, I did what I proclaimed I would not do.  I reorganized the quilting closet.  Didn't get rid of anything, but moved some things so that I could see what I have.  Lots of old friends in there.

The bins are still bulging with fabrics screaming "USE ME, USE ME", but at least I can get to them now.

All in all, I have to admit that I am as pleased as punch with the progress I have made these past two days.  I am ready for the New Year!!  How about you?

A nice, clean, organized work area.
Finally feeling like engaging in the things I enjoy.
A family that I love who are enjoying a very special after Christmas vacation.

Take care,

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Leaders and Enders

I decided that if I am going to do this Bonnie Hunter program, I might as well go all the way.  By this, I mean that I am going to start out with one of her Leaders and Enders quilts.  I am not ready to bite off one of her mysteries yet.  I have actually done a Leaders and Enders many moons ago....they are red & white/cream nine patches which have yet to be assembled (but I do know where they are, and I have the fabric to set them with).  All in all, the process works pretty well.

The pattern I have chosen is from her Leaders and Enders book and is called Rick Rack Nines.  I like the traditional scrappiness of the pattern.

I don't, however, intend to make it king sized.......which amounts to 290 five inch nine patches!!!  Yikes.  I will just stop when I think I have enough.  One nice thing is that it doesn't matter, color and value wise,  where you place your squares.  You can just pick up the squares and stitch.

This is the system I am using.....

Small 3 Drawer Bin

2" Squares

In assembly process.

Finished 9 patches.

I realized that I need to make cutting 2" blocks a priority as I continue to trim my scraps.  Even with making the quilt smaller, it is going to take a lot of those babies!!

And finally, this is Sara Ashley yesterday in Gay with Dakota.  She is wearing her new horse sweater that Pop and I gave her for Christmas.

A day spent never leaving the house.
Sleeping late with my doggies snuggled close (Blake had something to do early today).
Watching the chickens come running as I approach the pen...they know I spoil them.

Take care,

Friday, December 27, 2013

Final Fling

Last night DH took me out to a nice dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse....yummm.  AND, since Joann's was just around the corner, I took the opportunity to have a final shopping fling before the NY.  With coupon and Gift Cards from dear step-daughter's family in hand I bought a few necessities (okay, wants, but they are things to work with, so they could be necessities).

A much coveted rotating cutting mat and three of the rulers recommended by Bonnie Hunter.  I mean, if I am cutting up all of those itty bitty pieces according to her system, I have to have the rulers she uses to make the quilts, right????

Finally put the final stitches in another Primitive Garden block....the Rake block.  I think I have been working on this quilt for a gazillion years.  Just maybe this will be the year I finish it.  Sorry, these blocks always look so dark when I photograph them, even after they are edited.

Barb from Quiltwhinny suggested that I donate some of my fabrics for Quilts of Valor and Heartstring or other charity quilts.  Conincidentally, ever since our LQS closed in August, Heartstrings has been meeting at my home.  And our Sew Crazy group meets here also, and we make Quilts of Valor.
All of which is great fun and enables me to run pull stuff from my stash for the groups.  In addition, I have worked on a lot of string blocks this Fall when I was needing mindless stitching to do.....they are so gratifying and simple.  Here are photos of a few that we have done.

I pieced these blocks and stitched them together (this is a pre setting photo) and they went off with another group member to be quilted.  This is not my favorite top, but it does like kind of masculine.

String X blocks.  I pieced the blocks, other members set and quilted them.

QOV top, blocks pieced by all of the group and set together by one member.

Nice to hear from a lot of you that you are in the same position as me.....lots of stuff, still buying, UFOs, and oh, those BOMs!!!!  Glad to be in good company.  

Being able to take something I am passionate about and use it to do for others.
Nice dinners with my best friend and love.

Take care,

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Oh My !!

Okay, I am going to be totally honest here.  I don't usually admit to New Year's Resolutions, but I can see that a couple are going to have to be in order this year.  Let's just take a look..........

The cutting table piled with UFOs and mending.  Cutting board wavy and nearly unusable due to me ironing on it :-((  Note brand new cutting mat (in my possession for over a month) rolled up to the side of cutting table.  I think that is called lazy.

Main sewing storage closet with fabric stuffed in all willy nilly and pouring out onto the floor.

View 2 of main sewing closet.  No more room!!!

 Small storage closet with three large unfinished rugs and their wool stuffed into the bottom, along with plenty of other stuff.

View 2 of second storage closet.  Too much stuff.

Chair with quilts ready to be bound, baskets running over.

Side of cutting table.  Nice new rolling bag from DD2 as Christmas gift.....where to store??

So, I have cleaned these closets out in the past year.  The truth is that there is NOTHING that I want to donate, trash or give away.  I want it all!!!!!  And I could clean it out again, but the reality is that there is no place for all of it.  I would just wreck it again when I start dragging fabrics out looking for the perfect piece.  And there is not a single space in the sewing room for another storage shelf.  Honestly, I don't want any more storage.  I want things to fit nicely in what I have.  I want the space to be accessible and lovely.  My conclusion is, that in order to obtain the desired results, in 2014 I must stitch like a maniac to use up some of that stuff, and I must shop from stash first.  And I really want to bust some UFOs......especially those big rugs.  Sounds familiar, huh??  Well, I am holding myself to it.  I might need some encouragement, a reminder here or there, but I have some great fabrics, rugs, UFOs and kits and I need to use them.  I am committed .  I just need to keep coming back to this post to remind myself.

I have also been working on my overflowing scrap bin.  I would say that about half of my scraps are now neatly cut and organized into Bonnie Hunter's Scrap Saver system.

Friend Sandy, who just got through with a major studio reorganization, ditched this organizer and I relieved her of it and set up the system in it.  I hope that after doing all of this cutting I will actually use these gazillion strips, blocks and bricks.  Does anyone out there do this???  Tell me you use them after going to all of this work........

All of this being said, I am not limiting myself from starting new projects.  I will just do my very best to use some of what I have in them.  And if I see something I absolutely can't live without, it will probably be mine.  But not in massive quantities, and not if I have something that will work.

Last night I actually put the new cutting mat on the table and weighted it down.  Today I am going to get things in enough order that I can actually get some work done.  And then, little by little, I am going to get those closets into shape by getting some things finished.....not by reorganizing!!  Wish me luck here.

My stuff and a sewing room to keep it in.
Leftovers and food gift cooking today.

Take care,

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Blessings

This Christmas has been one of the best.  Filled with love, fun and the realization of the importance of the beautiful memories that we are making.  We are blessed and grateful for life, family, friends and Jesus, the Reason for the Season.

Among my favorite gifts are those that are handmade.  

This sweet needlepoint ornament is especially dear, as it was made for me by daughter, Christi.  This is only her second piece, and I think she did a great job.  She knows how I love birds.

I won these in the gift exchange with our hooking group.  The most talented Diane wove them, stuffed them with wonderfully fragrant lavender and crocheted the edging.  How lucky was I to win them??

Months ago several of us friends bought the pattern for this sheep with a blanket of the month (Buttermilk Basin).  Kathie made hers and we all coveted it, but just didn't seem to be able to get ours done.  Now we have no excuse, as Kathie made us a sheep and a starter blanket!!  Love it.

While visiting at Debi's house a few weeks ago, I saw this adorable wallhanging (Country Threads pattern) and admired it.  Little did I know that I would receive it as a gift!!

We celebrated with my girls and their families last Sunday.  It was a great day.  Christmas is so much fun when children are involved!

Ready to chow down.....Blake was taking the photo.


Macy and Santa Robert.
Rob, Robert and Sara Ashley

Ashley & Christi


Christi with a special Patti Beck Santa

Ashley with her Patti Beck Santa.

The girls and me.

Matt and Macy.

And yesterday morning Blake's family came for brunch and gifts.

Everyone except Colten, who was in Florida.

Blake and John.


Dillon, Pop and Christopher with their life support :-)

Taking time out for things that really matter.
Happy chickens free ranging in the garden.

Take care,