Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Baby Quilts

Finally...I can share the baby quilts I made for our granddaughter, due in less than 6 weeks! I made this fun quilt from a panel - the alphabet of dog breeds. We are a dog loving family! I cut the panel apart and pieced it back together with colorful solids. I wanted this quilt to be bright!

I used my embroidery module to make her name.

 Okay, not a quilt, but I had fun making this pillow for the nursery. The nursery doesn't have a real theme, but if it would be hot air balloons. Long story, but hot air balloons are a childhood memory for both of our daughters. The pattern can be found HERE.

And here is the quilt I made using the same fabrics as I did in the pillow - just a simple hourglass design. Instead of traditional binding, I used chenille around the outside edges. Wish I had a better photo to show this, but it provided a soft, fuzzy effect. These two items match the colors in the nursery.

Here's a photo of the quilt and pillow in the nursery. Love the look!

 I also made this little panel quilt for photography purposes - my daughter can lay the baby on it and photograph her each month.

Am I done with baby quilts? Probably not! I have actually made another quilt top for her, but I decided that the baby will be a bit older before I give it to her...maybe 3 or 4. And I'm sure I'll run across other pattens that call me to make them.

We are still hanging out at the lake. LOTS of rain lately. We are ready for good weather, mainly because there is a lot of outside work left on our new home being built. I'm ready for the driveway to be poured so I can get into this house with out walking through a see of deep mud. Yesterday, the mud sucked up one of my shoes - I didn't even make it into the house... though I hear the tile is completed and the hardwood floors are in. We still need appliances, a couple of light fixtures, driveway, landscaping, and adding flagstone to the back patio. Not too much left, huh? But this rain and sea of mud is slowing us down. Closing is set for next month. We are so ready!

Enjoy your day!

Monday, January 27, 2020

What I'm Sewing...

I graduated from physical therapy - yay me! I'm still supposed to do my exercises at home, but my range of motion has greatly improved. BUT...I still can't sit and sew at my sewing machine for hours on end. So I do things in small spurts.

The next top I'm trying to finish is Marshal, a Jen Kingwell mystery quilt that was patterned in the 2019 issues of Quiltmania magazine. Each day I try to sew on one border. Slowly, but surely this will be done. Once I finish the borders I'll do some appliqué to finish it.

If you are making this quilt, you're thinking, "Appliqué??? What appliqué???"
After I made all the parts and pieces, I took liberties with the design. So yes, mine will have appliqué.

So many quilters are challenging themselves to buy no fabric in 2020. Not me! When we downsized to our last home (the cottage), I also downsized my stash. I gave away lots of fabric I didn't love any longer. Since we'll be moving into our slightly bigger home in the spring, I've decided to pick a color each month and buy several fat quarters.

January is for GREEN! No, I didn't buy all these...some were already here at the lake house. But I did add several to my stash.

I selected green because I wanted to work on these cute Christmas trees. I happened on this pattern by Sterling Sewn and thought it was so cool. You can buy the digital pattern HERE - it's only $4.00. Don't you love the little prairie points???

The pattern has an optional tree trunk and star. Some of my friends and I are all making these as a swap. What fun!

Auburn gymnastics is one of our 'family things.' We have 6 season tickets for all the home meets. Hubby and I usually park ourselves in the middle so we can chat with both girls and their hubbies. Always a fun time!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Singer Treadle Cobbler Machine

Yesterday was chilly and damp. So we headed up the road to our local thrift store to see what we could find.

WOW! I'd never seen one of these before! A Singer treadle machine for shoe making!

Look at this fancy device to put over the spool of thread! I'm surprised it's still there.

And some of the cobbler's shoe forms are included.

This machine doesn't have feed dogs. The bottom of the presser foot is grooved to push the fabric (leather) though. I checked and the machine is not locked up, but it could use a good cleaning and oiling.

If you collect machines, this would be a dandy to add to your collection. And it's priced REALLY WELL at only $300. These can go for hundreds more than that. These machines are in demand, used for leather stitching, maybe purses and totes. It can sew through 1/4 inch of thickness.

The machine is located at the Children's Harbor Thrift Shop in Alexander City, Alabama.

Isn't it the coolest thing?!

Friday, January 17, 2020

A Finished Quilt Top! Bring Me Flowers

I finally finished this today! Yay! I LOVED the journey of making this with hand piecing and appliqué. So much fun! Can't wait to get started on another Jen Kingwell pattern!

I had a dickens of a time photographing this. Above, Hubby is holding it from the upper deck at the lake house, hence the wrinkled up top edge.

I tried draping it over a chair on the screened porch. Cooper was trying to help, unfortunately.

And eventually I laid it across a bed. Hexies in front! Click any of these pictures to make them bigger. The pictures don't do it justice.

It has been a busy and stressful week. But we fit in the Auburn/Alabama gymnastics meet last week. We have season tickets with our kids. Such fun to enjoy these meets with the entire family.

I got questions about Whole 30. You can find out more about it HERE. One of our lunch staples this month is homemade chicken salad, made with olive oil based mayonnaise. Here are my tips for making this quickly.

1. I cook frozen chicken breasts in my Instant Pot - done in about 12 minutes.

2. I put the warm, cooked chicken in my mixer - it's shreds it so fast, no chopping required!

3.  I cracked eggs into a small dish (after spraying it with olive oil cooking spray!)

4. I cook these in the instant pot - done in 10 minutes!

5. I put this in the mixer with the shredded chicken and whir it again. Now the eggs are chopped and mixed with the chicken at the same time.

6. Now all I have to chop is some onion and celery (and anything other items that sound good: olives, carrots, bell pepper). Add olive oil mayo and I'm done!

I make this once per week and we enjoy it for lunch along with some cashews and a piece of fruit.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Bring Me Flowers

When we moved to the lake house in August, I brought plenty of sewing supplies. I have my Bernina and some assorted fat quarters. I brought a few WIP's also. One of these was Bring Me Flowers (by Jen Kingwell). I had not worked on this quilt for over a year (because of breast cancer). The flower blocks were all complete and I had the alternate blocks prepped for appliquéing the arc pieces. You can read about my starting of the quilt HERE. Yes, that was almost THREE years ago!

I have found in the last year that my arms and shoulders are weak after 3 surgeries. Hand sewing has been easier for me than machine sewing. So a few months ago I pulled out the alternate blocks and worked on them. I realized a couple of weeks ago that I was one with these. Yay!

At this point I needed to cut setting triangles for the outside edges. So where was my rotary cutter??? I hadn't seen it since before Thanksgiving. I remember putting away all my sewing stuff living in the kitchen/dining area. I looked for two days before giving up. I ordered a new one from Amazon. All this delayed my progress for about a week. 

Once I got the new rotary cutter, I cut the triangles and began sewing the blocks together.  But I wasn't done yet. There is a pieced border on the four sides. I cut these pieces. I should have been done  with the top by now, but life keeps getting in the way. Finally yesterday I made one border and have it pinned in place. I'm hoping I can get a least two borders stitched in place today. 

I have bought the backing and batting. I plan to machine quilt in the ditch and add some big stitch quilting. Hopefully I'll have a finished top to share SOON! I will say that I have had more fun making this quilt! It's a fun one!

Other news:

1. I started physical therapy this week. I have a bit of cording under one arm - a common occurrence of scar tissue after breast surgery. Plus my left arm and shoulder (cancer side) have a very limited range of motion. This is why I can't machine sew for very long at a time. I can tell the therapy is already helping. 

2. We are expecting dangerous storms here tomorrow afternoon. Hubby has been busy moving outdoor stuff (bicycles, furniture, plant pots) under the house. He's using bungee cords to tie some things down. He has also fixed us a 'safe place' to retreat during the storm in our crawl space. It's a pretty tall area, so he has set up a couple of chairs under there and has our bicycle helmets ready for us to use. We take weather threats very seriously. 

3. Hubby and I have been doing Whole30 during the month of January. He is totally on board with me - it's much easier when we are both eating the same foods. I can already tell that my energy level has increased - I love the way I feel when on Whole30!

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Construction Projects

Hello! I know, it's been a long time, hasn't it? I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. This year has been a year of more surgeries with lots of recovery time. Breast reconstruction after breast cancer is nothing to sneeze about! But after the reconstruction surgery in May and a revision surgery 3 weeks ago, I think I'm done! Yay!

What are you looking at below? It's our new dock at the lake house. The old one was damaged in a storm a couple of years ago, the wood was rotting, it was time for it to go. This work can only be done in the winter when the water is down. We are so glad to have this done! We still need to have an electrician come hook up the boat lift again.

And what's this below, you ask? That will be our new house. This picture was taken from the back. I don't have a recent photo from the front. 

We decided the cottage was just too small. I need more storage for my quilting stuff! Haha! We put the cottage up for sale by owner in August. Within 2 days we had 2 full price offers. Boom! The buyers we picked wanted to pay in cash and close fast. So a couple of weeks later we put all our stuff in storage and moved to our lake home. And that's where we've been.

The new home we're building will be ready in a few months - the sooner the better! We have a grand baby coming in the Spring and hope we're in the house in time for that. Yes, that's my other big news!

Here I was a few weeks ago, about to have my third breast surgery.

And now...I'm doing a lot better! I'm still a bit sore in places. I must wear Spanx (up to the bra level) and a sports bra 24/7 for a couple of more weeks. And I must not lift more than 5 pounds for the time being. I'm looking forward to getting stronger!

One of my goals while living at the lake this winter has been to learn to use my embroidery machine. I'm happy to report that after lots of struggling (lots and lots of struggling!) I have finally succeeded.  I can now monogram and appliqué. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm making progress.

As far as quilting...
I've mostly been hand piecing this year. I've been working on Jen Kingwell's Marshal. More on this soon. With weak arms, hand piecing has been wonderful for me. I have made one baby quilt and a pillow to match. Can't share yet.

I hope 2020 brings much more quilting for me. And for you, too.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Stringing Along

I been getting sweet messages from some who have missed my blog. Thanks to you all for caring. What you might or might not know is that we live only about 5 miles from Sunday's devastating tornado damage. 23 lives were lost, including 3 little children. Several people are still 'lost.'

Some have asked me how they can help. These people do NOT need quilts. The best way to help is to donate money via The Red Cross or Samaritan's Purse. One local church has rented an entire hotel for survivors. I wish I could do more to help, but we are giving a monetary donation - that's the best we can do for now. A mere five miles away...and it could have been us.

I have felt like sewing many days. I saw a blog post on The Diary of a Quilter about quilting on the Isle of Man. These Manx log cabin blocks are really fun to make. They are done by hand on a background fabric foundation. The stitching goes through the foundation pieces. No batting is needed because of the layers of folded fabrics, so each block is essentially quilted as you go.

The technique is interesting because you use various parts of your hand to do the measurements.

This will be a table runner for our dining room. I will add two more blocks to each end. Then I plan to begin working on another such larger quilt from my Kaffe Fassett fabrics. The table runner is made with mostly Japanese fabric with a touch of Kaffe in the center. 

You can find the link with complete instructions to make Manx log cabin blocks HERE.

I have also started a quilt that has been on my bucket list. This will be Bonnie Hunter's Lozenges. Directions are on her website under the Free Patterns tab. Mine will be scrappy but with controlled colors - greens and grays. A friend recently made a green and gray quilt and I loved the color combo. I've done all the cutting. 

I've made a few blocks. I make four at one time. 

And here's another bucket list quilt I've started - Bonnie Hunter Pfeffernusse. The same friend who inspired me to make a green and gray quilt gifted me with her leftover strings - she has made this same quilt. 

Today I cut 72 phone book pages into 7.5" squares. (Our phone book is only about 80 pages!) I have the strings and the paper beside my sewing machine so hopefully as I feel like it I can make this quilt come to life. My first (and only) string block is there above, beside the photo of the quilt.

So how am I feeling? Pretty good. I still have good days and bad days. Being in a car for long is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. Sometimes I overdo by lifting something heavy or doing too much and I pay for it in my chest, underarms, and shoulders for a few days. So I back off and take it easy. I am really enjoying a break from doctors now though - I go back in about a month.