I did get a little bit of quality time this week with my sewing machine and fabrics :) I completed one more "block" in the waterfall quilt (still has most of the paper on) and started playing with a big block to decide how to make it into a baby quilt for the local crisis pregnancy center.
The Army Guy and the Boybarian put up our tree this evening :) I love to see the tree up and the lights glowing!
Today I have a tip for all of you who still have artificial trees that are not pre-lit...
When you set up your tree, lay the lights on each row before you assemble the next row. This way they are evenly placed in the tree, you can get them inside the tree without scratching yourself, and it is just WAY EASIER all around :)
Hope this helps (if you haven't already got your tree up) make your tree assembly go smoother!
After it is decorated, I'll try to get some better pictures...
Not much...just the field of a doll quilt. And a lonely extra block along with the Waterfall quilt that has no more progress. The major progress of my week was getting some cleaning done in the Sewing Dungeon.
I put away quite a bit of fabric and there are a few spots that are cleaner than before. BUT it still needs a lot more work *sigh* And I'm trying to find a piece of fabric that I bought last year for a Christmas project (didn't happen) and I really want to get it done for this year!
I had a few minutes this afternoon and spent time folding fabric in the sewing dungeon, taking the stack down a few inches...but got itching to make something rather than just fold and put away fabric. For some reason making something (anything!) is SO much more satisfying than cleaning up!
In my stack of fabrics was a small piece of this purple clock fabric...I had a matching zipper in the right size...and so I made a bag! This is the Dumpling by Keyka Lou. It is not very big, but sure is cute!
I think I'll be making more for stocking stuffers (forget you saw this if you are on my gift giving list!).
Where is the time going???? Maybe I'm just too busy for my own good...I am Quilt Guild Vice Chair, I am Chair of a Pastoral Search Committee at our church, doing two craft shows this month all while trying to be wife, mother and homeschool teacher. I'm sure I am forgetting a few hats in this mix...I'm just too busy to remember them right now!
On my design wall this week is the Waterfall quilt:
For those who can not see what is happening (hi, cousin!) here are some basic elements so far in the quilt:
I've been working hard at getting things ready for a craft show coming up...some sewn items and lots of soap:
I was in the Chicago area over the weekend. Shopping with family. My mom, her sisters and some from my generation all got together and shopped for three days :)
I forgot to take my camera out of the bag :(
So, no pictures, just imagine shopping all day at Gurnee Mills Mall. Then imagine riding north to Cedarburg, WI and hitting a couple of quilt shops before finding some unique items in the other shops. Sunday morning we went to the Jelly Belly Factory and then an outlet mall in Kenosha...
Yes, I spent some money. But I did come home with some, too :)
I'm still plugging away at my Cynthia England quilt. It is going to be beautiful, but I am not sure that I will attempt another one any time soon!
Some of those pieces are SO tiny!
On thing I am doing differently is using a glue stick rather than pins. I could not get those pieces to line up with the pins, they were always a smidge off. It was ok with just two pieces, I could readjust one of the pattern pieces. But when I had an intersection I couldn't always adjust. Now I am ironing the seam allowance under on one piece and then gluing it to the other seam allowance and sewing on my ironed line. I am much happier with the results :)
Not much on my design wall this week...just some 6" blocks for a project :) I'll probably be making another set as I've had some requests to make it into a pattern and I have to keep plugging away to get it just so!
My design wall is empty...if it were a sound, you were hear crickets chirping and maybe a loon in the far distance.
Instead, I have a picture of what is on my frame. I put the borders on the field of a Jelly Roll quilt I pieced last fall at a retreat and mounted it on the frame over the weekend. For the first time ever, I will try to use a pantograph. I have a quilt (for my aunt) begging me to do a Baptist Fan design, but I have to try it out on one of my own quilts before I do my aunt's quilt...
I've been plugging away at various projects and planning others in my head...and the time just keeps on slipping away!
My design wall remains the same as it was last week. I have made no more progress on the little quilt, it is still there, looking at me, giving me a guilt trip every time I sit down at the machine (even for boring things like mending the Boybarian's pants).
I have been working on a new project. It is a design by Cynthia England called Waterfall. I think I spent over a week just pulling fabric from my stash! I dyed a piece of fabric, had to buy a couple to fill some holes...and have now started. I have two sections pieced and a start on a third.
Have I ever mentioned that I am NOT a paper-piecer? It drives me batty. The only advantage this method has is that I am working from the front of the project, not the back, so at least my pieces are coming out right. I'm doing my best to "make it work" (said in my best Tim Gunn voice) as I love the way the pattern looks. AND it would go SO well with our guild quilt show theme for next spring - Nature's Beauty.
I'll keep plugging along on this quilt, though I will be taking some breaks to be inspired by other design walls linked up at Patchwork Times.
Long time no blog! Life has become crazy busy here and I've just not had time to think out blog posts...yes, I do think long and hard before posting...and still edit after posting!
Today, on my design wall, is the Winding Ways quilt. I have the field totally pieced (those 3" squares did NOT defeat me!). Now I am trying to decide what to do for borders. I really don't want to bind it as is, even though the pattern showed it that way. What do you think of my fabric choices? A very thin off white batik border followed by the wine colored batik:
I've been busy sewing Bento blocks, but haven't been taking pictures of the process as I am testing someone else's pattern. You will be seeing some more of the blocks on Monday when I update my Design Wall :)
Today I took some time out of my regularly scheduled Saturday and went to Staples to take advantage of their Teacher Appreciation Day.
On the way to the mall area I noticed how lovely the mist was on the river and we took a few minutes to snap some shots.
I found these photos very inspiring as I am starting to plan what to do for our next guild quilt show. Our theme is Nature's Beauty and I'd love to win the theme quilt category!
As you can see, each shot is really from the same place, just a different angle or a bit closer in.
I've been pulling natural colored fabrics out of my stash :) My quilt may not look like any of these photos, but they will be an integral part of my design process!
Nothing new on my design wall this week. I was prepping for starting up our school year and only looked longingly at the Sewing Dungeon as I walked past it on my way to the laundry corner. So here you see the lonely Bento Box blocks that are waiting oh-so-patiently for me to sew up more of them. I have the pieces cut...just need to sit down and sew!
I did unpack fabrics that I purchased on vacation, though...and petted them. I have some fabrics to make up another Amanda Baby Quilt (a gal at church is expecting, and if it is a girl, I'll have the quilt made!), some fabrics I couldn't resist (I love blue fabric), some teals to replace some teals I used for the wrong project, some textures, a baby quilt panel, a novelty for a casserole cover, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with some of the other fabrics...
I was on vacation in MI for a couple of weeks and have not gotten much time to sneak down to the sewing dungeon in our settling back into a routine, ordering the last few books to start our homeschooling year, and catching up on laundry...
What I have been doing this week is packing away last year's curriculum and books that we will use the next year to make room for this year's books. I've almost got the "old' books packed away in these boxes:
I am still looking for some stray books for the box on top...The Boybarian seems to have walked off with them. Pretty sad when your students keep wanting to read their SCHOOL books! All three of my students became voracious readers just like their parents.
I am unpacking books that we used with The Peanut and Princess Sunshine. But, since the curriculum was updated since we used it last time, I've ordered some new books...that way it will be a bit different than last time when he was just listening in on his big sisters' lessons.
While I'm setting up for school, I'm dreaming of quilt designs...
I have spent a lot of time in the Sewing Dungeon, but I can't show you what I've been working on. It is for a swap and is to be a surprise for someone. I don't know who I have been creating for, so I am unable to share in case they read my blog...
I've also been doing some other things. I made a sunhat as I'll be sitting on the beach a bit toward the end of the month and I'm not a fan of lots of sun.
I grabbed some fabrics I had laying around and made up a sunhat, modifying it somewhat from the Sunny Side Up Sunhat pattern. I had to make it a smidge bigger, I treated the band/bow a bit differently and shaved a bit off the brim as it was so floppy (even using decor weight fabric and heavy interfacing) that it was hard to see out from under the brim. The Boybarian took the picture and was only giving me one shot, so excuse any photographic flaws.
I have also been painting a wall at our church. There was a HUGE wall just begging for something of interest, so here is the beginning of taking the blankness away:
I've got a bit more done, but my photo was not very good, so I'll take another one when I have finished it up to share.
BTW, yes, I'm aware that there is a letter missing.
Happy Fourth of July! Here in the US we will be celebrating with lots of parades and Fireworks and tons of food (what is a celebration without food?). I will be celebrating in my Sewing Dungeon as I have no other responsibilities today. Our town parade was on Saturday and the fireworks are after dark...so lots of time is available for sewing and quilting!
On my design wall this week:
I've got Bento blocks (and bits - the uneven four patches), two more blocks for my Winding Ways quilt and some random blocks to figure out a quilt pattern.
Aren't these Bento blocks fun? I *love* batiks and just participated in a swap where I got more of them to pet and create with...thus these blocks are on my wall. I've got more cut and ready to sew together :)
Speaking of batiks, I just love, love, love how these Winding Ways blocks look together! I might even get this one done as I am now using the pieces as leaders/enders while working on the Bento blocks :)
I did a personal swap with someone who fell in love with the Moonlit Garden Postcard I made for a quilted postcard swap. She wanted a bit larger quilt, one to hang on a wall.
I started off by layering a batik tree between water dissolving stabilizer and then thread painting the tree bark over the batik. I used black, brown and a King Tut variegated thread to make the bark. Then I cut away most of the wash away stabilizer and soaked the rest away by hand.
I cut my ground/bushes and prepped the moon - cutting it from a sheet of Angelina Fibers that I had made for the postcard moons. Good thing I made too much! I laid them out on the black background (which has a subtle sparkle that doesn't show up in the picture) and marked the edges with chalk.
I then proceeded to quilt the background. I was inspired by Vincent VanGogh's Starry Starry Night and put in swirls. I swirled around where the moon was going to go.
Following the quilting of the background, I placed the moon, ground/bushes and the tree on the background and scribbled over the edges to apply them to the background. Here I show the back of the quilted/scribbled piece when it was just two layers - front and batting. I covered this all up with a fabric backing before binding.
This is an in between step, where I just quilted around the tree and across the horizon line to attach the front/batt to the backing fabric.
I added a fringe to make grass in the foreground and bound the quilt. Here it is by it's inspiration piece:
Somehow, making it bigger made it a lot more work :) But worth it in the end!
I've been working away at several things in the Sewing Dungeon this week. One I will blog about later (it is for someone and want to wait until they receive it). I've also been doing some organizing as I come across projects. I've been putting them in zip bags - the 2 1/2 gallon size. Most projects will fit into one but I've got one that is taking up two! That project might end up being a king sized quilt!
The reason I've been organizing is because one of my piles of fabrics/projects fell over when I was trying to get a shot of my design wall. Since the pile that fell over is right in the way of my sewing chair, I've been organizing what fell *sigh* BUT I did find some lost fabrics in that pile *YAY!*
Here is some of what else I've been working on. Another Amanda Baby Quilt for a shop sample (a LQS wants to sell my pattern!), a Bento Box and a Bit pattern block to test a pattern for someone else, and the lovely little Winding Ways blocks (just put another one up after this picture was taken). I'll finish up the Amanda quilt and make up some more of the Bento Box blocks now that my batik swap fabrics have arrived.
I am really enjoying getting back in the swing of things and producing! And I feel good about organizing (I just can't get as energized to DO it).
I not only quilt, I make soap. I hadn't made any soap since last fall and I've been itching to try out a new recipe - trying to find a harder bar that the Boybarian won't reduce to sticky slime quite so fast. I'm not sure what he does with the soap, but it doesn't stay nice for long...and it used to! I think he might be testing his strength on the bars, squeezing them when they are wet...
Any way...today I printed off my recipe, measured out all of the ingredients...and proceeded to make soap!
The first step is to measure the ingredients. I have a handy-dandy USB electronic scale that The Army Guy bought for me when our local Radio Shack closed. I can measure to my heart's content...or until the ingredients are all measured!
I love soaping in the warm weather. I can mix my lye up outside and not have to deal with the fumes. Here is the lye and aloe vera juice concoction airing out in the sun on my back deck.
While in the throes of soaping, I forget to use my camera *sigh* so here is a picture of the oils and the caustic solution when they have almost reached trace. It is opaque and starting to emulsify. I will then move some of the soap to the smaller container shown on the left, using the cup in the middle. That container already has some green color in it, waiting to color half of my soap batch.
Thankfully The Peanut was home and helped me pour the soap into the mold. I prepped the mold by putting it into a cardboard box because I was concerned that we might just spill some out of the mold...I usually spill...and soap chemistry and kitchen floors are a slippery mix! We each poured our soap into opposite sides of the mold and then I swirled the two together. I can hardly wait until unmolding so I can see how much of a swirl I really got!
This green will morph until it looks mostly blue and the scent is some that I just had a little bit of and have had for too many years. I'm not sure if it will morph just because it is old, but considered it worthwhile to use it in a trial batch, hoping it keeps it's scent through the saponification process.
Tomorrow I'll unmold and cut the soap...and give you a peek!
I entered the One Thing, One Week Challenge to encourage me to finish up this quilt. The blocks were from a block swap, and while they made me happy, I knew I'd be happier with a finished quilt than with a stack of happy blocks!
The quilting is a fluer d lise meander and I used a bright, scrappy binding. I'm tickled with the way the quilt turned out and hope it is a blessing to a young, newly married couple! I know she will appreciate it as her mother quilts...
Last week was a crazy-busy week. It was VBS at our church and the family was heavily involved from decorating - to acting in skits - to leading music - to telling the Bible Stories - to tear down.
And, to top it off, I was chosen for Jury Duty.
I didn't spend much time in the sewing dungeon.
So, yesterday, I spent the day quilting. It was so nice :) I got two quilts quilted. I used free motion meanders for both quilts which made for a very productive day.
One was for someone else, and I don't have permission to post a picture.
This is the picnic quilt I mentioned last week. I have it quilted and today I plan to get it bound and (for once) I won't be finishing it at the very last minute (just the same week) before it is gifted to a young couple just starting out on their marriage journey :)
I chose to do a fleur-de-lise meander as it isn't too feminine - and is just a fun meander to do.
It really feels good to be back in the sewing dungeon after a busy week!
A Quilter who designs and teaches quilting. My children have all graduated from our homeschool and the Army Guy is getting ready to leave Army life behind on the way to a civilian career. I dabble in other crafts, teach homeschool art classes and a bit of gardening ...
Psalm 5:11&12 (KJV) But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy Name be joyful in Thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.