Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bibs, Bibs, Bibs

I am blessed and have lots of little ones in my life right now. One of the things little ones frequently need is bibs, and I really prefer the ones that slip over their heads made from hand towels. I know some people make them from finger towels, but I like the bigger ones, which help with bigger messes. I wanted to make some bibs for Miss E, and so I bought a bunch of towels on clearance and made several so I'd have a few extras.

 One of my mom's friends was kind enough to send me some western appliques, and they found a home on these bibs.

 I had a book panel with some bonus motifs on it, so they got used as well.

I finished cutting up my shirt haul from Flagstaff. I love how much less space the shirts take up once they are all cut apart. I have a nice supply of strings from collars and cuffs, so I will be able to start Fair and Square whenever I get a chance.

I got a fun surprise while cutting up the shirts. Check this tag out-

This tag was hidden on the inside of the button placket, where only the wearer would ever see it. I think I am going to use my seam ripper, take the tag off and sew it on one of my next shirt quilts.

That little tag has good advice, but not advice I took. I have used up most of the solids and blenders in my stash, and had been debating on what to do about it. I noticed on of the ebay sellers I have frequently purchased from had some lots of solids, blenders, and tone-on-tones up for auction. I bid on four lots, only the opening bid on each. I figured I'd be lucky to win one lot, since any other bid would outbid me. Evidently everyone was recovering from Memorial Day Weekend, because there were no other bids and I won all four lots. I have lots of quilting basics coming to fill out the holes in my stash, and make it much more workable. The best part? Including shipping, the fabric averaged just over $2 a yard. Now I need to stay off of ebay, and get some quilts made!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Time Alone

It's kind of funny, I am so used to trying to find bits of time to sew or do other quilty activities, that when I find myself alone with time to do it, I am a little at a loss. It's not that I can't think of things to do, that is never a problem, it's more a matter of wanting to make the very best use of my time without little "helpers" around.

I knew the girls and the twins would be back this afternoon, so I had all morning and early afternoon to do pretty much as I pleased. I started deconstructing my thrift store shirts last night, and my goal is to have them all broken down by June 1st. I could have made a huge dent in my pile if I had just worked on those, but I'd rather just do a few at a time, so I did four or five while talking to DH before he went to work, and I did several this evening while watching a movie with DD#2  (Father Goose with Cary Grant).

I really need to get the July-ish babies quilts done, a great-nephew due in July, and grandbaby #5 due the beginning of August. I had already pieced a backing for grandbaby's quilt, but not the great-nephew, though the fabric was out. I decided I would get those pin-basted before I did anything else. Out came the brand new roll of polyester batting, all 20 yards of it. I took off all the wrappings, and as usual the poly batting expanded and looked twice the size it had when wrapped.

The batting is 100" wide, and the baby quilts are both about 48" square, so I could get both on one width of batting. I cut the batting, no problem, and since grandbaby's backing has already been pieced, I ironed it and the quilt top, and then layered and pin-basted it. That didn't take too long, so I pieced the other backing and got it ironed, layered, and pin-basted too.

Now what should I do? I look at this roll of batting and know I have no good place to store this large of a roll. I know, I will cut batting to go with my other finished quilt tops, after all, I have already quilted more than half the baby quilts I basted in my last pin-basting spree, so I will be needing more to pin-baste and quilt anyway. I went downstairs and grabbed my stack of finished quilt tops, and cut batting to go with each one. I didn't cut exact, and some will have excess I can piece together to make other batting, but I was careful to use the batting as wisely as possible. When I finished cutting batting for the last quilt top, this is what I had left of the roll of batting-

No roll of batting to store after all, and I put the cardboard roll into recycling. I'm going to have to look through stash to come up with backings now!

Here is my stack of quilt tops folded with batting. Unless I have a quilt top or two hiding, this is the rest of what I had finished. I am close to finishing a couple more quilt tops, and those will likely get cotton batting, since I still have some of that!

Oh, when I was unpacking from out trip, and I was taking most of the things out of my sewing trolley, (I don't have enough extras of things to leave it all packed) I hunted around until I found the power cord for the Bernina 1080 and the thread spindle for my extra thread stand, and I stuck them in the trolley case with the machine. I may forget something else next time, but it won't be the power cord or thread spindle on the thread stand!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Foraging in Flagstaff

On our trip to Flagstaff we went to several thrift stores. I love thrift stores and antique shops, you just never know what you will see there. That is some of the only shopping I enjoy, you have to drag me to a mall. I have been good and not buying men's shirts in town anymore, but I had planned on buying some on this trip. When looking for men's shirts for quilting, I figure yellow, orange, and purple are always fair game, because they are hard to find. Lights I also give a free pass to, since I always run shorts on those. I was specifically looking for green and brown, because I am planning a Smith Mountain Morning quilt in those colors. I was avoiding blue for the most part, because blue shirts are easy to find, and I already have a bunch. I did find two aqua and one turquoise shirt that I bought because those are more rare, especially the aqua. My grand total on shirts for this trip was 36 shirts, and one cotton dress to be used for quilting. I averaged less than $2 a shirt. I took the buttons off all the shirts this evening, and I plan on breaking them down into parts over the next few days.

Look at all these shirts to play with!
Here are some of my other finds.

An accessory box for $2, what's in it?

Original Singer feet, which I believe will fit the Featherweight on my wish list. The seam guide I was all excited about, as I love them on my Berninas. I was also really excited to see a ruffler. I know it's doing things backwards to buy some feet for a  machine I don't have, but for $2, I figured it was worth it.

Check out this bobbin. I saw a handcrank once with a bullet shaped bobbin case, but I didn't get a chance to look at the bobbin. Is that what this is, I'm not sure?

Sorry for the two pics that are sideways, I am still trying to figure out my new phone and the changes that blogger made recently. I'm not sure which one was the problem this time. 

I haven't sewn a stitch since I've been home, I've mostly been doing stuff around the house. I really need to pinbaste some more baby quilts, especially for the two babies coming in July or so. I have so many projects I want to be working on, it's hard to decide what to do first. I am hoping tomorrow will have some quilty activities in it, rather than the reorganizing our bedroom closet of today!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I am on my getaway with DH. We came up to northern AZ on Sunday, and we'll be going home Thursday. The drive up here was gorgeous, but I felt a bit sick on those windy mountain roads. It is faster to take the interstate, but we prefer the backroads when we are not in a hurry. 

Yesterday, Monday, we went to my favorite thrift store in the state, a Goodwill weigh and pay, where you pay for clothes and such by the pound. I bought a few cotton men's shirts for quilting, they didn't have many this time, and some clothes for people in the house. I'm on the hunt for a couple specific things, so we went to Savers as well. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I picked up a couple things there as well. Yesterday afternoon DH went on a scooter ride, while I worked on quilty things. This is my hotel set up

Our hotel room does have a desk chair, but honestly, the ottoman is more comfortable.

 I really want to finish my Double Delight mystery quilt this year, so this is one of the projects I brought with me. I am making a maple leaf border, but I hadn't cut out the maple leaf blocks, I just put the strips in the project box. I decided cutting those would be a good place to start, so I only cut yesterday. I also brought a couple other project requiring cutting, so I worked on one of those at the same time.

Today DH was planning a long ride, so I decided to lay out my Double Delight blocks with the intention of sewing the center together. There will be one more row added to the bottom, but it wouldn't fit on the bed. Our hotel bed is king sized, and our bed at home is only queen sized, so it should cover the center of our bed nicely, with the borders going down the side of the bed.

I started getting my sewing stuff out, and the first thing I realized I was missing, was the pole to hold the thread spool on my thread stand. I brought extra bobbins with me, so I figured all was well, and I'd just use bobbins top and bottom, and I wouldn't need the thread stand. I kept getting stuff out, when I realized I don't have the power cord to my sewing machine! I could have gotten frustrated, but I just laughed, and I was glad I had brought so many cutting projects!

Now my sewing stuff is put away, and my cutting stuff is back out. I was very careful when packing away the Double Delight blocks, and I kept them in rows separated by notebook paper, so it will stay ready to sew together when I get home. I'm still glad I brought it, because I didn't have a good place to lay it out at home.

I finished the cutting on one of my projects, it is a project when you sew together strip sets and then cut the strips sets into triangles. There are a  few stitches on the top of each triangle that must be taken out, and I am about halfway done with the ripping. That project should be ready to sew when I get back home too.

I had extra strips after cutting out the maple leaf blocks I need for my Double Delight border, and I think I will go ahead and cut those up into maple leaf blocks as well. I have six wildlife panels at home that I am planning to use for charity quilts, and maple leaf blocks will go nicely with them. I need to add several blocks to each panel to make them large enough for adult quilts.

I also have my bonus HST's to trim down to the same size. They are just shy of 2", so I will trim them to 1.75" and they will finish at 1.25".

There are plenty of things to keep me busy, even if I did forget some key items. I did remember extra rotary blades, and the rulers I needed, so it's all good! I have my laptop and my kindle, so even if DH is gone most of today, I'm good. We haven't decided what to do tomorrow. We are debating going to the petrified forest, but it will make for a long day in the car, and since we are leaving the next day, I don't know if I want to do two long driving days in a row. One thing we have definitely taken advantage of is the hotel hot tub! That is on our list for every day, everything else we are just winging it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What a Week!

It has been quite a week around here! DS the Elder and DDIL's visit started out great, and finished with a thud! During the welcome dinner on Saturday night, DDIL fell down our stairs when going to get the baby, and hurt her knee pretty badly. DH took her to the Emergency Room, and they x-rayed it, said it was likely cartilage or ligament damage, gave her crutches and a knee immobilizer, and told her to see on orthopedic specialist when she got back to Houston. 

The situation was further complicated, because DS the Elder came down with something nasty, and he was vomiting for two days. They were supposed to leave on Sunday, but DS was too sick, and DDIL was having a hard time getting around, so they ended up staying until Tuesday. I felt so bad for them, and there was little I could do except take care of the baby for them, which I gladly did!

Yesterday after they were on the plane and safely on their way, just when I thought things were calming down, one of our dogs went missing. DH scoured the neighborhood looking for her with no luck. We prayed she would come home, and we went to bed with plans to look for her more today. Our prayers were answered at 6:30 this morning when the doorbell rang and a couple who walks at a local park a couple of miles away brought our dog home. I was shocked the dog had gone that far. I am so thankful to the couple who brought her home. She is a big dog, and some people would likely be frightened of her, not realizing what a gentle dog she is.

Today DH and I did a little shopping, and I bought a sewing machine trolley. I had a half off coupon plus my 10% VIP card, so it ended up being reasonable. We are supposed to be going away for a few days next week, and we are planning on him bringing his scooter and me bringing my sewing machine. During the days I can sew, and he can ride, and we will spend the evenings together. We've done this before and it was nice relaxing getaway for both of us. I can't say for sure any of this trip will happen, with all the stuff that keeps happening, but a few days away is the plan at any rate. I packed up three projects to take with me. One is the Double Delight Mystery Quilt by Bonnie Hunter that I never finished. The other real project is a strip quilt project I stalled on, the strip sets are all sewn, but now they need to be sub-cut and re-sewn into blocks. The other thing I am bringing are two bags of bonus HST's that need to be trimmed to the same size so I can use then in something.

I am not used to sewing away from home, I've only done it once before, so I really stress about bringing everything I need. One thing that makes this a little easier this time is that I am bringing my Bernina 1080, and I know my 1/4" foot is accurate on it, so I shouldn't have any issues with seams being off. The last time I traveled with a sewing machine I brought the Brother, and I was afraid of variances in seam allowances, so I only made string blocks. I know I won't have enough time to finish these three projects, I just wanted a choice on what to work on. I got some Amazon gift cards for Mother's Day, and I bought new books for my Kindle, so I may spend more time reading than sewing, we'll see. The object will be to relax, and whichever I feel like doing each day is what I will do.

I still haven't found my camera, so here is another phone pic. My sewing stuff packed for the trip we are hoping will work out.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rally, Sickness, Phones, and Finishes

It has been quite a week! The scooter rally went well, and just when my part was done, I came down with the sickness everyone else in the house had. Fever, stomach issues, just generally nasty. That really threw my whole week off, but I did manage to get six baby quilts bound, so I'm up to seven finishes for the year. The pic above shows five of the six finished quilts.

It was time to replace our cell phones, and I ended up upgrading to my first smart phone. I got the iPhone 4S. I took the above pic with my phone, and it's obvious I need a few lessons on how to take good phone pics. I'm still getting familiar with the phone, and honestly, I'm not sure I'll ever figure out all it can do.

DS the Elder, DDIL, and Miss E flew in from Texas today, and tonight my kids are at the movies while the 3 grandkids are snug in their beds and DH and I are keeping an ear out for any distress. They are only staying a couple days, so we will be busy showing DDIL around, as it's her first trip to AZ.

Tomorrow night we're all going to the Gaslight Theatre, a great local melodrama live theater where you cheer for the good guys and boo the bad guys. The show is The Three Musketeers, and it should be good fun.

Saturday I'll be cooking all day for a big dinner so everyone can meet the newest additions to the family. I have no idea how many people will show up, I've had several regrets already. Graduations and such have people pretty busy this month. I'm sure everyone here will have fun, and if I have tons of food left, I'll be especially glad I just cooked a turkey and made room in the freezer!

Next week perhaps things will calm down a bit and I can get back to quilting spree.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Little Garment Making or Making Little Garments

The scooter rally starts today, and I made the twins new outfits to wear. I haven't made a garment in a while, and that 5/8" seam looked huge! I cut out a dress for Miss S too, purple with rubber ducks on it, but I haven't started sewing it yet. Miss S likes ducks, she often goes around quacking, but the other day she went around saying "Duck, duck, moo, moo" which was pretty funny.

At any rate, these outfits for the twins is all the sewing I've done. There is a lot to do getting ready for a rally, and I've spent the week packing rally bags, baking cookies, organizing what to bring to which event and such. DH took the week off of work because he had much more to do than I did.

When the rally is over, I need to get the baby quilts that are quilted bound. I think I have six ready for binding. I also need to make some more baby bibs, but I can mail them if need be. DS the Elder and DDIL are supposed to visit next weekend with Miss E, and I can't wait for that!

I was thinking DD#3's school started the end of May, but we looked and her first class starts in July, so I won't be babysitting the twins regularly until then. Even then, she's only planning on taking one class the first session, so it will just be two days per week. Mid August she'll be taking four classes, and I'll have the twins four days a week, plus whichever days I watch the other kids I babysit for.

I have more time for sewing than I thought this summer, which is fun for me! I hope to finish up all these quilt tops into finished quilts, and that would just be awesome! I am itching to start new quilts, but I have been saving all my ideas in EQ, so that when I get some more quilts finished, I can start them without having a huge backlog to be quilted. I am really excited about my latest quilt design, which was really just a way to use up some blocks I have lying around. Even DH was really impressed with the EQ version of what I want to do with them. I have lots of blocks to make to turn those 16 blocks into a quilt top, but it will be stunning if it looks near as good in person as it does in EQ. It is really hard not to start on that one!

I really want 2012 to be a finishing year for me, so I am trying to be good. I have a couple leader/ender projects ready to start (neither of them have all the pieces cut out), and I have two quilts in assembly stage, so I will be doing some piecing. I'm going to need another baby quilt, so I will have to decide if I'll do a new start for it, or just use one I have. I'll wait on that one, baby's not due for a while, so I have time to think on it. I will also be making I Spy quilts for the twins for when they move out of the cribs. So many projects I want to do, and only so much time!