Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Potholders, Weddings, and LOTS of Moving

I know it's a weird title, but it is exactly what's going on in my life right now! I've been working on potholders for a bridal shower that will be this coming Sunday.

Here is a shot of the fronts and backs of the potholders I'm making. Potholders as a shower prize may be a bit odd, but it suits the theme we are using. It's a pinup/50's housewife party!

The oddest thing about the shower isn't the prizes or the theme. The oddest thing is the fact that the bridal shower is occurring after the wedding! We weren't sure of the date of the wedding, but we knew about when it was happening and planned the shower close to the time of the wedding, we just guessed too late.

DD#3 is now married, and currently relocating to their new house. The closing on the house they bought was what was determining the wedding date, so it was a bit up in the air.

Here is the new family on their wedding day! This photo is good, but my favorite is the next one.

I just love the way Mr. L is looking at his stepdad, and father/son feel of it. The girls are looking ahead doing what they are supposed to be doing, but the boys have their own thing going on!

We've got all of the twins stuff moved to the new house, but DD#3 still has quite a bit here. By the end of the week, it will be moved too.

AND there is more moving going on, because DD#1 and her family are moving out this weekend! So while I am getting ready for a bridal shower, they will be moving out too.

While the house is as empty as it's going to be, we are getting new carpet installed next week, so I'll be moving everything around that's left in the house to allow new flooring to be put in eight rooms and two hallways. I have to move my stuff around both before and after the new flooring is done, then my DDIL moves in with her two dogs while DS the Younger is deployed. Within two weeks, we go from a household of ten people and a cat, to a household of three people and two dogs! Did I mention LOTS of moving?

DH and I drove up to Phoenix today to get a dining room set that DD#2 has been saving for DD#1's family. We managed to get some baby snuggles while we were there.

Mr. LJ is growing by leaps and bounds, five months old already!

My MIL just moved too, and we need to get a few things that she's passing to us out of her way. Isn't that the way family should work, everyone passing things around as people need them? So much going on, but quieter days are on the horizon, they just aren't here quite yet!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Thrifty or Nuts?

I haven't sewn at all since my last post. The polyester batting scraps are still laid on my sewing cabinet waiting to be sewn together.

If I haven't been sewing, what have I been doing? Well, DH and I just had our 33rd anniversary, and we went out of town for 5 days! It was great to spend some time together just the two of us, something that rarely happens around here. I read five books, relaxed in the hot tub, we drove all around northern AZ, and we went to thrift stores, lots of thrift stores. 

DD#3 was really needing some new clothes, and I found her about 2 dozen new shirts, and four pairs of shorts/capris. I bought the twins about a dozen new clothing items too. DD#1's family ended up with a couple dozen items as well. 

Now when I go on a big thrift store buying binge, I'm looking for clothes for family members, quilting fabric, and 100% cotton men's shirts to use for quilting. If I happen upon a vintage sewing machine or accessories I want, that may end up in the basket too.

If you have a Goodwill Outlet near you, and you are on a tight budget, try looking there for quilting fabric and 100% cotton item of clothing or bedding. I've bought duvet covers and sheets to use for quilt backs with great results. Any Goodwill store can net you some cheaper fabric, but the outlet stores are a whole other world of savings. We went to the one in Flagstaff, AZ, and you pay $1.69 per pound for clothing, and 50 cents per pound for linens.

Here I am with my shopping cart filled with goodies. How much for all of that? $86 That wasn't the only thrift store we went to though. I'm pretty strict on budget when I'm buying men's shirts for quilting. My personal limit is $2 per shirt. We went into some thrift stores that were asking $9 per shirt, and in those I didn't buy a thing. I went into one thrift store that charges $1 per shirt, and I picked out 14 shirts at that store. When I went to pay, I found out if you buy more than 10 items, they only charge half price, so I paid 50 cents per shirt!

I found a few pieces of yardage on my shopping spree. This is about 12 yards total, mostly flannels.

All tolled, I spent about $200, and I got 201 items for that. I let my SIL's go through the men's shirts and take whatever they wanted.

This is what I've got left right now. I'll probably pull a few shirts out for DH, but in this stack I have 97 shirts, all 100% cotton. I've already washed them, and they are ready to cut apart to use in quilting. 

Included in that 201 total, I found three sets of towels with matching bath mats for DD#3 to use when she gets married. I found something we're giving to my MIL for Mother's Day. DH bought a few cd's and a book. I found a buttonhole attachment for my slant shank Singers. 

Thrift store and antique stores are the only type of shopping I really enjoy. Going to a mall is torture for me, and all I see at those box stores is how everything looks the same. I'm not a trendy type of person, and I could care less what's fashionable at any given time. I like what I like, and if that's been out of fashion for 10 years or 70 years, makes no difference to me. You never know what you'll find at a thrift store or an antique store. The shop could be a dud, or a treasure trove. Of course, whether it's a dud or treasure trove depends on what you are looking for. Someone else's favorite shop may have little that interests me, and vice versa. 

I did find multiple vintage machines, a Pfaff that was really tempting, and a Singer 201 with perfect decals, a few Kenmore's and a couple badged machines I had never heard of. DH was willing to buy me a couple vintage machines, but I said no. I'm not expecting to have my sewing room back for another year, and while I'm sewing in my bedroom, it's harder to swap out machines. I am thinking come July or so, I should have quite a bit of quilting time again, so buying fabric wasn't as much of a no-no than buying more vintage machines. At least I'll have a chance at using some of the fabric soon. 

Now that I'm back home, I'm trying to figure out what to work on, when I have time to work on things. DD#2 and I are planning DD#3's bridal shower, and I have things to do for that. I am helping both DD#1 and DD#3 pack things, going through my stuff to see what I've got that can help them set up their own houses. 

Of course it's almost Easter, and we're hosting an Easter brunch at our house. I've already bought the goodies for Easter baskets, and the plastic eggs are already stuffed. We'll be dying eggs on Saturday, to be turned into deviled eggs on Sunday! I'm finalizing the menu and working on the grocery list for the holiday meal. 

It's really going to be a busy few weeks around here. I'm hosting Easter, throwing a big birthday bash and hosting a bridal shower all in the next three weeks. I'll have people moving in and people moving out, and hopefully, we'll have time to get the carpeting replaced during the chaos. I'll be rearranging the house in May, and figuring out what needs to happen for the new normal. Never a dull moment around here!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Batting Cage

What do you do with your batting scraps? I know a lot of people toss them, and if they are really skinny I  do too. I have heard of people using them for Swiffer cloths, or only piecing them for small projects but not large ones. 

My batting scraps? Well first of all, I store all the scraps in a pop up hamper, thus caging it. You can stuff a LOT of batting scraps in a pop up hamper, trust me on this! When it's full, it's time to deal with the mess. I divide the batting by type, cotton, polyester, or wool. 

Once it's divided, I cut each length into even strips. My personal limit is 2" wide strips for cotton batting, and 3" wide strips for polyester or wool batting. If it's any smaller than that, it should have been tossed in the trash instead of the batting hamper. I do cut the strips as wide as I can get from the scrap, but since most have been cut with scissors when I trimmed a quilt, it's usually uneven. 

Here are my polyester batting scraps cut into strips. At this point, any uneven bits get tossed. I'm not into making dog beds or stuffed animals, so out it goes. 

This week, I started with my cotton batting scraps, and I ended up with two throw sized battings. I love Warm and Natural batting precisely because it's so easy to piece the scraps together. I feel like I get to use every bit of it. 

I haven't started piecing my polyester batting scraps yet, I just got them all trimmed today. The narrower pieces I will piece into batting for some placemats I'm making, and the larger pieces will get pieced into larger battings. 

I've seen lots of different ways to piece batting together. There are fusibles you can use, but I'm cheap and don't want to spend money on fusibles to piece batting. I've seen people cut wavy lines so you can't find the edges in the finished project. Let me tell you a little secret. I've pieced dozens of battings, all with straight edges, and I have never, ever been able to feel the stitching in the finished project! I wouldn't use a pieced batting for a tied project, but if it will be quilted, nothing should shift, and the zig zag I piece it with should have no strain on it after quilting. 

I've tried overlapping edges, which I know some people like, but I don't prefer that, I prefer just butting the edges together, and using a zig zag stitch to sew the strips together. I use cheap thread to do this, no need to be wasting high quality thread on this project. 

This is my presser foot of choice for joining batting scraps. It's the Bernina #5 foot, but if you don't have a Bernina, just check to see if you can get a Blind Hem Foot, since that's what this is. I'm not doing a blind hem, but if you notice that "blade" of sorts running down the center of the foot, that's what I butt the batting up to, one piece on each side, and then it zig zags over each side equally. 

With the presser foot flipped around, you can see the "blade" goes back a little bit, and the stitches are actually formed over that section. This is perfect for joining batting because you'll likely want to use a wide zigzag, and because the stitches are formed over that bar, they are a little looser and you'll get no puckers or pulling!

Tomorrow I'll be starting to piece all these polyester batting scraps. I'm going to have the tackle the wool scraps at another time, because I need to get these placemats done, but I'll have time to deal with all the polyester scraps first. It doesn't really take that long to piece up some battings from scraps, and how cool is it to end up with what feels like free batting???

Here is Mr LJ, snuggling with a bear my mom made for him. He had been fussing, and DD#2 said he calmed right down when she gave him the bear. He must have known it was made with love by his great-grandmother! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

First Finish of 2017!!!

This was seeming to be the quilt that never ends. It wasn't really the quilt's fault, it was more the interruptions that never end. At any rate, it's finally finished!

This quilt is for my youngest granddaughter, and her mom and I were debating binding color. I had planned on purple, but grabbed some yellow on a whim, and I prefer the yellow. 

You can see I went askew when I laid out the backing for  pinbasting. No harm, no foul in my book, I had enough excess backing that I didn't run into problems, so I'm not going to fret over it. No photos do these fabrics justice, the colors are stunning in person. I had some border fabric from this line, and since I changed my plans on the front of the quilt, I decided the backing was a great place to use that border fabric up. A large scale border fabric like this was likely to languish in my stash, and it's better used than stashed indefinitely. 

Although I have a bunch of quilts to make, I'm going to be working on some small projects for a bit. I have several things in the mending pile, and I hope to tackle all those in the next day or so. Then I'll be making some simple placemats and potholders for DD#1 so she'll have some when they move out. The placemats are already cut out, I'm just using rectangles of novelty fabrics. I was hoping to use up some batting scraps on the placemats, so I'll have to piece some batting together to use with those. 

I'm hoping getting some small projects done will get me back in the swing of things. There are still lots of interruptions around here, both daily stuff and bigger things. I'm planning a bridal shower for April, and a big birthday party for May. There will be people moving out, a wedding, work on the house, then someone moving in all in the next couple months! Never a dull moment around here!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I know I haven't blogged in almost a month, but I like to keep this mainly on quilting, and I have been too stressed to sew. It's pretty bad when you are so stressed, you can't do the thing that is most likely to relieve some stress.

BUT...yesterday I made myself do some sewing. I STILL haven't finished quilting Miss A's fairy quilt, and the quilting on it is simple. I was bound and determined to get some quilting on it, and then I spread it out to get a feel how it's looking.

You can see the only basting pins left are along the bottom. I finished quilting the top yesterday.

I tried to get a good angle on the quilting, so you can see how much texture that giant spiral adds, as compared to the unquilted section. I used a washable wool batting, and I am always so impressed with wool batting. The quilt still feels pretty soft, even with this dense quilting on it.

Now that I can see how much/little there is left to quilt, I'm hoping I can get the quilting finished this week. I know if I got a quilt finished, it would give me a much needed boost.