Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Empty Nest or Bed and Breakfast?

A major milestone is rapidly approaching. We will soon have an empty nest. Our 34th anniversary is next week, and our oldest kid is almost 32, so in reality, we haven't had very long as a couple without extra people around. Last year at this time, we had 10 people living in our house! Besides our five kids, we've had various people come and go over the years. We've opened our home to friends and family alike, as people had need.

It's a big change, and I am thoroughly looking forward to it! I'm excited to see what the future has in store, and I am excited at the thought of DH and I having more time to spend together, just the two of us. We may end up with other people living with us later on, who knows what will happen down the road, but for now, we'll be empty nesters...

...or will we? It seems people come to visit in spurts, and we are having a wave of company these days. We've had four cousins come visit in the last couple of months, right now DS the Younger and DDIL are here visiting. This weekend DD#2, DSIL, and Mr LJ arrive so they can see everyone, and on Sunday we'll be celebrating Easter a week early because four of our five kids will all be here at the same time with their families!

Today my oldest sister came down to visit and we had a fun day together. We'll have quite a bit of company in town for DD#1's baby shower in April. April is shaping up to be a crazy month, we will have extra people sleeping here every week in April.

Sometimes it feels like I'm running a bed and breakfast, but do you realize what a blessing it is to have people want to come spend time here? I am glad that our home is inviting, and people like being here. I love seeing everyone. Does all the company make it hard to quilt? Sure, but no matter how much I enjoy quilting, people are more important to me every time. I can quilt later, but I only get so much time with people I love.

Now, with all the craziness going on, have I gotten any sewing in? Actually I have, and I've also started setting up my sewing suite. I haven't had a sewing room for two years now, and now I'll be taking over two rooms in the finished basement as my sewing suite. So far I'm only working in one of those rooms.

I've got my cutting table set up in the center of the room, the cutting table is a counter height kitchen table. I've got three quilt tops on top of it, but you can only see one in this pic. That top one needs borders, but the two beneath it aren't getting borders, so they are done, just need pressing.

You can see my ironing station behind the cutting table. It is made from 3 Ikea Trofast Units. We made a big ironing board to go on top of those, so I can press 45" fabric easily, and still have space for my iron. The purple plastic drawers have my fat quarter-1 yard pieces of fabric. The tall set of shelves are obviously a work in progress. my Go dies on on the bottom shelves, and right now I have various projects on the top shelves. I'm not thinking this is where my current projects will be stored once I'm done, but for right now, this will do.

I took a photo from this angle, so you can see my Scrap User System fits perfectly under my cutting table. I buy the large three drawer Sterilite drawer sets, take them apart and reconfigure them to four drawer sets. They fit perfectly under the table, no wasted space at all.

DH put my pegboard up on the wall you can't see, but I haven't gotten any of my rulers up yet. You can see part of my treadmill, which we just moved to this room. I want the treadmill right in my sight reminding me to use it.

I'll post more photos as I work on the rooms, but this is a start.

Three small quilts to top stage this week, and a start on a new sewing space, all while I have company? That's a win in my book!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


I'm doing what I can these days, but life is very, very busy. We had some out of town company that we had a great time with, their visit was just too short.

I have gotten sewing done here and there, I just finished one project a few minutes ago!

These are bookmarks, which are the favors for the baby shower I'm throwing DD#1. I decided bookmarks would be a good favor for a book themed shower. The bookmarks finish at 2x8", and there is a layer of batting in them. (Busting some small batting scraps) I'm glad these are now finished. While I was making these, I actually slipped in an extra project, and now I've got a bunch of units made for a couple other projects.

I had over cut for the baby quilts I made, but I was completely out of the blue I used. I grabbed a piece of pink, and these units used all of the pink fabric! Stashbusting little by little! I've decided I really like these 4x8" (finished) Flying Geese units. I draw an extra line on the corner squares,  and I am getting two 3" (finished) bonus HSTs, from which I could make 3x6" Flying Geese, or do anything else you can do with HST's. I could technically make 3.5" finished HSTs with my bonus units, but I don't save anything that works with that in my scrap user system, so I just go with a bigger than 1/4 seam allowance and I have more options.

I really like working with small units, as you can see by those bookmarks, but I've decided sometimes larger units are fun too. I think for donation quilts I may use those 4x8" Flying Geese a lot. The fact the bonus HST's are such a usable size, and are still bigger than most of the units I make, means I can make two donation quilts in not much more time than one!

Tomorrow I'll start sewing on DD#1's baby quilt. I don't have a lot of time before the shower, and we have three more groups of out of town company coming between now and the shower. At least I have all the other baby stuff I was making her finished, so if I can't get the baby quilt finished by April 7, I still have a gift for her, and she could get the baby quilt late. The thing is, I really want to get the baby quilt done, so I can get back to finishing weighted blankets and the wedding quilts. We'll see!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


My body is heavy, my life is heavy, everything just seems pretty heavy these days. Not that I don't have plenty to be thankful for, I do. I'm mainly just sad today. One of my daughters just had a miscarriage, and that baby was definitely wanted and loved. One of my other daughters is still having a healthy pregnancy, for which I am very grateful. I still have a baby shower to plan, but I was going to be throwing it with the daughter who just miscarried. That seems a bit much to ask now.

Are you one of those quilters who tries to make a quilt for sad things to offer some kind of comfort, even when you know nothing will "fix" things? I am one of those quilters, and in this case, I finished a weighted blanket that I was asked for months ago.

I have five weighted blankets on my to do list, four of which are UFOs. All the tops are done, I just need to sew all the channels and fill them. My very sad daughter deserved to have hers moved to the top of the list. Not that a weighted blanket will "fix" anything, but maybe the weight of it, while her heart is also heavy, will bring some type of comfort.

I'm going up to spend a couple days with her, with this weighted blanket in tow. My plans changed yet again. There are a bunch of other things going on in the family which are also heavy on my heart. I'm looking forward to the day we can look back on this mess and say, "We made it through!" Life will not always be this heavy, I've been through enough hard times to know that. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Couple NewFO's

I had two baby girl quilts to make, and I cheated a bit and made them almost identical. I started them in January of this year, so they don't count on my UFO challenge.

Here is one of them

And here's the other

Did you spot the difference? How about a side by side?

Only the quilting is different. One of these babies is a rainbow baby, a baby born after a pregnancy loss, so that baby gets rainbow quilting.

I've been asked what size my Flying Geese are in these quilts, and I made mine to finish at 4x8" because a 48" square quilt was what I wanted.

I added these finishes to my yearly total. It's mid-February and I've finished four quilts this year. Not bad considering I only finished three quilts all of last year.

These quilts were mailed out this morning. I'll have family stuff going on all this coming week, so no sewing is likely to happen. I'm hoping I might be able to do a little bit of cutting done, or pressing those tiny HST's I've been making. We'll see, family comes first!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Accidental Discovery

I bought a new-to-me desk from the Habistore. I've been wanting a desk in my bedroom for my laptop for months now, and now I have one. This desk has a high sheen on it, and my computer mouse won't work on it's surface. I know, a laptop has a built in pad to use instead of a mouse, but I prefer using a mouse, so I do. I've been using my laptop all over the house up until now, and I don't own a mouse pad. I used to use my leg a lot, and my pants always made an adequate mouse pad. Now that I have this shiny desk, it looks like I need a mouse pad.

I looked around online for a mousepad, and they are either boring, or expensive, neither of which I liked. As I've been using my desk, I happened to move my mouse over DD#3 wedding quilt top, which is folded at the end of my desk. Hmmm, mouse works fine on a quilt. IDEA FLASH- Mouse Works Fine on Quilts! Guess who is now making a quilted computer mouse pad?

I mentioned in my last post I am planning a baby shower for DD#1. I chose a Little Golden Book theme, and with a book theme, I thought a fun favor would be quilted bookmarks.

I drew up some ideas for bookmarks, and this week I started cutting out parts for these. I'm planning the bookmarks to finish at 2x8 inches, so fairly small pieces. I had already decided to make my quilted mouse pad from 1" finished HST's, so I can work on both projects at the same time. The thing is, I'm not a huge fan of cutting 1" HST's. One of the things I LOVE about quilting, is there is always more than one way to do something.

I grabbed out some Thangles papers, looked though my scrap user system for 1.5" cut strips, and I started sewing up some HST's. I'm using the Thangles strips as leaders/enders for each other, and when I'm done, I'll cut them apart, take off the paper, and press. For bigger HST's, I have no issue using my Easy Angle ruler, but for these little guys, I just prefer doing them this way.

I ended up with a pretty nice pile sewn up today, and I should finish tomorrow. I'll have enough HST's for both bookmarks and my mouse pad. I decided I want my mouse pad 8"x10", which means 80 1" HST's or 160 pieces in my mouse pad top. Is that excessive? Who knows, just sounds like fun to me!