Sunday, December 29, 2013

Year End Reckoning

I usually write this post on the first day of the year, but my numbers aren't going to change between now and then, and I have time now, so here it is.

This was not a great quilting year for me production-wise. I didn't expect it to be, and honestly, I am expecting next year to be worse. My hours of watching the twins are increasing, so from a practical standpoint I just won't have a lot of time to sew. That's OK, it is what it is, and I love the twins dearly. I did, however, get some quilting done this year, and I have plans for quilting next year too. Quilting is my sanity time, and I need to have some time for it.

Here are my empty spools from 2013. I am currently working on a project, but won't empty the spool in the next couple of days. These spools represent 8,238 yards of thread, or approximately 4.7 miles. I had used 8.3 miles of thread the year before, so a huge drop.

I finished 10 quilts this year, down from 28 the previous year.  Most of this years quilts were large bed sized quilts; I only made one baby quilt this year! I don't think I hit my goal of 100 yards of fabric used, but I was likely 80-90 yards. I had multiple quilts over 100" square, so that accounts for the large yardage usage, in spite of fewer quilts.

I didn't make a lot of goals for 2013, because I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time. I'll likely have less time next year, but I do have a clear set of goals for next year. 

These are some of the first blocks finished for DS the Younger's wedding quilt. That is my current project, and the wedding is March 14th, so I need to push on this one. I have 20 of the brown star blocks done, and only this one of the green. I'd love to finish the star blocks this week, so I can start on the alternate blocks next week. DD#3 is off work until Thursday, so I have a lot more sewing time this week than normal.

Besides finishing DS the Younger's wedding quilt, I'd like to finish a new quilt for DS the Elder, which I just finished cutting out this week. I have two other wedding quilts to make in 2014, one of which is already cut out, and lends itself to be made as leaders/enders. I also haven't started the quilt I designed for DD#2's wedding quilt, but with such a short engagement I was happy I finished a quilt for her I had already started. I told her I'm hoping to get her "real" wedding quilt to her by her second anniversary ;-) That means I don't have to finish it next year, but I sure hope to start it at least.

I have two "big kid" quilts to make for grandkids moving to beds from cribs next year. That's likely all I'll have time to make (the four big quilts and two twins), but I have it in my head to make new drag around quilts for the twins. They've been using their baby quilts to drag around the house and watch TV and such, but they are getting pretty big for those to cover them adequately. I have a throw sized quilt they prefer, but I'd like to make them their own throw sized quilts, so I can use mine without having to deal with sticky spots :-P

I think that's pretty ambitious for a busy year. Other than these quilts, I have some projects already started I can work on, if I need something different. I have one quilt I am in the middle of quilting, and another pin-basted ready to quilt. I have about six quilt tops finished, a couple of which need borders. I think I have two quilts in blocks waiting to be assembled. I have plenty to keep me busy, several of which have deadlines, so if I decide to start something new, it will have to be a leader/ender project, fitting in among the deadline stuff.

I'm trying to be realistic, but my head still swims with ideas. It is a busy time in my life, and I'll do what I can, when I can. What I won't do is beat myself up over not doing all I'd like to get done. Goals are just that, goals. If I don't meet them, the world will not stop spinning.

I've been maximizing my fun during my sewing sessions by rotating through my vintage babies. It's time for my 1956 Singer 201 to come out and play. Love, love, love, this machine! It's fast, powerful, and quiet, all at once! I don't have the manual for this one, so I had to google how to thread it, specifically thread the needle left to right or right to left. (It's right to left in case you were wondering). It uses a class 66 bobbin which holds a LOT of thread, and it sews like a dream. Biggest downside? It weighs a ton, and I hurt my shoulder recently, so I may be using this machine for a while, just so I don't have to move it again until my shoulder is healed.

Monday, December 23, 2013

An Early Christmas

We had an early Christmas this year, even earlier than usual. We normally celebrate on Christmas Eve, because DH works every Christmas. This year we moved our celebration to Sunday, so the newlyweds could be here with us. 

We had 14 people here for our Christmas celebration, not counting the plumber :-0 Just to make things interesting, we had water seeping up through our kitchen tiles. Actually, that's still the case, because when the plumber said he may have to tear out half my kitchen, or the exterior wall of the house to do the repairs, we opted to wait until today to get the repairs done. The thing is, the plumber got waylaid at another house today, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Nothing like having towels all over your kitchen floor. We would have called a different company, but this company did work here a few weeks ago, and if our problem is a result of something they did last time, I am hoping they'll make it right. I'm dreading the news. Our house is on a cement foundation, and I think a pipe inside the walls is leaking, and now that the foundation is saturated, water is seeping in through the floor. This could be an expensive fix!

 As for happier things, DH got me some fat quarters to go with the Singer 403 he got me. 

DD#3, who is a welder, made me this sculpture for Christmas. It is made out of misc. pieces from other objects, but I knew right away it's a quilter.

The "sewing machine" is made from some bicycle parts. I think I am going to make a miniature quilt to put on the sewing table for the quilter to work on.

DS the Younger and his fiance got crafty and made me a sewing themed mug.

I knew right away the my future DDIL wrote my name because the writing is so nice. I love the button to dot the "i". They made DH a scooter themed mug.

I love seeing my kids crafting at Christmas. DD#1 was crafting away in South Africa too, and she sent me photos so I could see what she was making.

The newlyweds got me a cooling pad for my laptop since it's been overheating. They also ordered me a quilt themed cover for my iphone, but it's not here yet.

The potholders I made for Christmas gifts were well received. I love being able to make something at Christmas, even if it's just something quick.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I have no serious plans. I saved one gift back for the twins for tomorrow, it has lots of pieces, and I thought giving it to them when it was quieter was best. I have no idea how much the house will have to be torn up to fix the leak in the pipes. I have a slow cooker meal all ready to start in the morning. I have already done all the prep, and the slow cooker liner is filled and in the fridge ready to drop in the slow cooker. There are leftovers from yesterday or tonight for lunch and dinner is already worked out, so hopefully we'll do OK even if the kitchen is torn up. Christmas Day should be a great sewing day for me, because everyone else has plans. I could use a quiet day.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Little Sewing, A Lot of Christmas

Now that wedding number one is over, I directed what little free time I've had to Christmas stuff. I have finally finished all the wrapping, stocking stuffing, and mailing. We are celebrating Christmas on Sunday, so I finished just in time. This is the first year in a while I haven't been frantically making more Christmas stockings at the last minute. Last year I had 17 stockings to fill, this year only 14, so I actually have extra stockings!

I have to do the grocery shopping tomorrow morning, then I can work on the food. I think we're doing a Christmas lasagna, along with some alfredo and garlic bread. Lasagna is something I've done for Christmas several times, not a tradition, but not uncommon for us either. DH is off on Christmas Eve, so I might do a nice dinner then too, even if it's just the five of us.

I managed to make five quick Christmas gifts, small things that went in stockings. I've missed making Christmas presents in the last few years, and it was fun to make something. When my kids were young and we were broke, I made almost all of their presents, and I loved thinking of stuff to make for them. This year three of my kids made things for Christmas gifting, and I was so proud to see the tradition of handmade gifts going on.

Today I am working on DS the Younger's wedding quilt. I hadn't touched it in the last couple of weeks, with all of the other wedding stuff going on for DD#2. Today is the only day I have to work on the piecing this week, and I doubt I'll have another chance until Christmas Day, when I'll likely be home alone.

Today I'm working on the pinwheels for the center of these blocks. When the pinwheels are done, I can put together all of the brown stars. I haven't done the sub-units for the green stars yet, because I need to cut more background fabric. Maybe I'll work on that on Christmas. I haven't pressed any of the pinwheels yet, and that's why I used two pins to hold it somewhat flat to my ironing board in the photo.

DH bought me an early Christmas gift. He snagged a Singer 403 in a cabinet for $20. The cabinet looks rough, but it's solid. DH is going to look into refinishing it for me, but I can use it out of the cabinet for now. All of the cords were missing, and there were no accessories with it. Between my Singer 301, and my 503, I had everything I needed to get it going, but I snagged this machine it's own stuff on ebay for cheap. I even have an original manual and accessories. I did buy a new foot pedal, because although I have gotten used to the button pedals, I still prefer the newer gas pedal style foot pedals. I love the old Singers because parts are so easily found for them. I have a few other brands on my wish list of vintage machines, but only specific models. Some brands of vintage machines are so hard to find parts for, that I just don't want them, no matter how cool they look. I only want machines I can actually sew on.

I've had a couple people ask why I have so many sewing machines. How many do I need? Well, absolutely need? One probably, my Bernina 440 can do everything I need. The thing is, I love sewing on vintage machines, it's like sewing on history. What else have been sewn on these machines? Corsets? Poodle skirts? Petticoats? I'm sure if we downsize someday, I will downsize my sewing machine collection as well. For now, I will happily play with my $10 and $20 sewing machine finds.

Oh, one more thing I've been working on? I turned DD#2's bedroom into a guest room. We bought a queen sized bed for in there, I repurposed some furniture and lamps from other areas in the house, and now it's a pretty functional guest room. Eventually, I'd like to repaint the room, but no time for that right now. I ended up throwing an OLD quilt on the bed in there, one we got as a wedding gift almost 30 years ago. It is made from polyester double knit, and has a couple patches that are falling apart. As soon as I finish quilting Double Delight, I'll switch the quilts out, but I didn't have a spare queen sized quilt in the house besides that one. I let DS the Elder take Orca Bay to South Bend, IN with him, to keep him warm in those lake effect snows. It would have been large enough for the guest bed, but I'll get Double Delight done soon, and the old quilt will work until then. The honeymoon couple will be down tomorrow, and they'll be the first to sleep in the new guest room.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's a Wedding!

Sunday was Harmony's (DD#2) wedding! The weather was cool, but not as cold as we feared.

My niece is a licensed hair dresser, and she graciously agreed to do Harmony's hair for the wedding. Doesn't it look great?

We think she looked like a princess. That cape I made her worked pretty well with her dress.

Abigail (DD#3) was the maid of honor and Serenity (Miss S) was the flower girl. 

Here is DH walking Harmony down the aisle in the orange grove.

The couple praying together before the vows.

Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Bates!

Lucius (who was the ring bearer) and Serenity celebrating with their lollipops.

Me with my men. From left to right, Nathan (DS the Elder), me, Howard (DH), and Joshua (DS the Younger)

My future DDIL, Mia, with Joshua. Their wedding is in March. It will be in our backyard, which is now completely remodeled.

 The newlyweds stopped by today to pick up the wedding gifts and get the last few things of Harmony's that were still here. The twins loved showing them our "new grass" which is the artificial turf that went in yesterday.

It's been crazy busy around here, and now that wedding number 1 is over, I suppose I should try thinking about Christmas?


I do not often use my kids names in my blog. There are several reasons for that. One is I try to respect their privacy. Two is I have often seen people make nasty comments on blogs (not on mine, only nice people follow mine ;-), and I do not want to put my kids up for that type of cyber-bullying. The most basic reason is simple. We have a large family, and even people who know us in person get the kids mixed up. By using numbers, it is actually easier to follow along with what's going on. When big events happen, I tend to break my own rules and use real names. I've been criticized multiple times for not using their names, and I felt it was time to finally explain why I do what I do.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Some Non-Quilty Sewing

Since DD#2's wedding is in nine days, I decided it was time to get the wedding sewing out of the way.

I needed to make a ring bearer pillow, so here it is. I put an elastic loop on the bottom, and I think we are going to slip it on Mr. L's wrist like a wrist corsage. The twins are not yet three, so young to be flower girl and ring bearer.  I'm not sure how well they'll go down the aisle, but they'll be cute at any rate.

The weather finally turned cool. It was downright cold for a few days, which sent DD#2 into panic mode. The wedding is outside, and in December, that is risky, even in southern Arizona. I bought some white and blue fabrics and made a cape for DD#2, just in case she gets too cold. I'm sure she won't wear it during the ceremony, but it may come in handy in between photos.

A couple of the bridemaids dresses needed some minor alterations that I could handle, so I got that done too. Any major alterations I let the experts handle. I just don't have the tailoring skills necessary to redo a dress.

I have half the place cards done. My calligraphy skills are rusty, but they'll do. I realized after I started I could have done them all on the computer, but I actually think it would have taken longer to do them on the computer than hand-writing them.

Thanksgiving was a pretty quiet affair. We had eleven people for dinner, which is a very small group around here! The weather was amazing, so we put up a couple tables outside, and ate out there. The artificial turf goes in the day after the wedding, and I can't wait for the yard to be finished!

Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery started today, but I finally decided I just can't do it this year. With one kid getting married in nine days, and another getting married in March, along with all the regular holiday madness, my plate is full! I will watch the clues as they come out. I saw the first clue, and I was happy I am making the same units for DS the Younger's wedding quilt, so I can feel kind of like I'm playing along.

DD#2 moved her things to Phoenix this past week, so I will be turning her room into a guest room. I'm taking over her walk-in closet too, moving my vintage machines to one location instead of all over the house, and I'll store batting and non-quilting fabric in there. I'm moving a couple cabinets out of my sewing room, which should give me enough room to set up another sewing station. I really love having a different project going on each machine. Does that make me crazy?

I'm thinking the next week won't be conducive to getting much sewing done. I'm going to work on moving things around in my sewing room instead, as I have time. I'm sure I'll have other things to get done for the wedding, but I knocked several things off my to do list today, so I'm happy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rorange, Blurple, and Brellow

I have actually sewn a little this week. I have been piecing on DS the Younger's wedding quilt. I haven't had a ton of time to sew, but it's a start.

I have been thinking a lot about color as I've been cutting and sewing. I had several browns I planned on using in DS the Younger's quilt, but when I was in cutting mode, I realized the browns were too green. Since his wedding quilt is a brown and green quilt, I need good contrast between the browns and greens. Some of those I had planned to use ended up back on the shelves, stashed for another project.

I was cutting for another color controlled quilt, that has both blue and green in it. Some fabrics are just so in between blue and green, that you just aren't sure where to put them, and if you use them, will the overall design disappear?

In Lisa Boyer's book, Stash Envy, she talks about those in between colors, like rorange, blurple, and brellow. Sometimes an in between color is exactly what you need, and they add just the perfect touch to a quilt. Lately, I've been doing so many color controlled things, that the in between colors can be difficult. If I am doing a two color quilt, say green and white, I will use every shade of green I can in it. I go from the really yellowy greens, pastel greens, to the darkest greens going towards black, as well as the blueish greens and everything greenish goes.

This is a green string quilt I made three years ago. All the greens are in there.

This is a green and cream quilt I made the same year. I love how all the different greens play together and create a sparkly effect.

I really love scrappy quilts best, and almost all of my quilts are at least multi-fabric quilts, whether or not they are from true "scraps". Why use one green when you can use 40 or 80?

This wedding quilt I'm working on I really had to pay attention to the color, since a lot of greens run to brown, and a lot of browns run to green. I need the colors to contrast, so I had to be much pickier than I normally am.

I am piecing the wedding quilt on my jazzed up Singer 301. Very fun to sew on it! 

I realized I told my mom a while back I'd post some pics of the twins from their vintage photo shoot and I never did. Here is your daily dose of cuteness!

BTW, if you have never read of of Lisa Boyer's books about quilting, like Stash Envy, check them out, she is hilarious!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cutting Spree

I'm at it again! I can never work on just one project, and now is no exception. I started cutting DS the Younger's wedding quilt...

 ... and while I was cutting...I started cutting a quilt for DS the Elder...

 ...and another wedding quilt I will need for next year.

 I just found out one wedding quilt I thought I'd need next year, I won't need after all. Funny thing is, that's the one that had all the blocks done and just needed to be assembled. Oh well.

Did you ever have one of those times that your math skills were WAY off, and you completely mis-figured yardage? This was one of those times, and I am really short on background for both my sons quilts. I am using the same background on both of them, and I'm using a solid. I usually go for scrappy everything, and that is the beauty of going scrappy, if I run out of the fabrics I had planned to use, I just grab more fabrics of the same color and go on. The good thing is that the solid I am using is Kona Khaki, so even though the new yardage I ordered will be a different dye lot, it should be really close and unnoticeable. I think my new order will arrive sometime next week. Yes, I could have gotten it locally, but I haven't had any time for shopping. Point and click shopping I could squeeze in.

This has been a busy week with family stuff. We had to finish cleaning out DS the Elder's apartment and get his keys turned in. He is already in Indiana, but his stuff is still stored here in town. He'll fly back in three weeks for DD#2's wedding, and then rent a truck to move his stuff.

The wedding is fast approaching, but honestly, I've done nothing for it this week. I needed a break from that. The bachelorette party was tonight, so I stayed home and put the twins to bed so both my local daughters could go. I need to start working on the placecards, and brush up on my calligraphy skills!

We arranged to have our backyard makeover finished. The artificial turf goes in right around the wedding. It's going to be a crazy time, but it will be nice to have that project done. We are paying to have it installed, we would have waited if we were doing it ourselves. We need to get the yard finished so we can start working on DS the Younger's wedding (in March), which will be in our backyard. Fourteen weeks between weddings, with Christmas in between! It's busy around here.

DD#2 is almost done packing her personal stuff, and now she just has to work on her business. She sells used books on Amazon, and she has a dozen sets of bookshelves to move, and about 40-50 boxes of books. Her personal items don't looks like much in comparison.

Once the wedding is over, I'll be in a hurry to turn her old room into a guest room. I think the newlyweds are coming down the weekend before Christmas to celebrate with us, and I want them to have a functional guest room to stay in. I'd love to paint the room, but with everything going on, I think that will have to wait.

I need a quilt for what will be the guest bed. I was planning on taking the quilt from our bed, and moving it down there, and putting a different quilt on our bed. The thing is, that quilt isn't finished yet! I did all the ditch quilting on it last weekend, and this weekend I hope to get some more quilting done on it. With the current paint colors in the soon to be guest room, the quilt from our bed would look awful in there, but the quilt I am working on will look fine. If I can get it finished, I'll likely just put the new quilt in the guest room until DH has a chance to paint that room for me. We can switch quilts later.

I think that covers most of the chaos around here. Happy quilting!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Two Weeks Later....

Wow! Hard to believe I haven't posted in two weeks! It's been crazy busy around here! DD#2's bridal shower went very well. They were very blessed and they are certainly ready to set up house now :-)

I finished Thrice Broken Dishes!!!! I even finished it in time for the shower, so I threw it over the air hockey table which is where I had everyone put their gifts. It looked nice while you could see it.

Today we managed to get some photos of the quilt finished.

^A closer look at the quilting.

This is the back. I've made too many blue, green, brown quilts with the same fabrics, and it was time to clear them out. This made a pretty good dent in them. I find I don't mind piecing backings like this if I do them as leaders/enders while I'm working on the top. If I wait until the top is finished, I just want to get the quilt done, and piecing a backing seems to be a nuisance. I made this backing while working on the top, and the backing was finished long before the top.

A couple weeks ago, DH and I had gone thrift store shopping, and I spied a vintage machine that I wanted. I didn't get it, but it's been on my mind ever since. I checked on ebay and other online sites, and I couldn't find another for a better price. Today we went back to the thrift store, and the machine was still there. This time it did come home with me.

A pink Atlas straight stitcher made by Toyota. Isn't that bubblegum pink a great color? The wiring looks like it's already been replaced, so hopefully, after a good cleaning and oiling, this baby will be up and going.

I'm actually glad I didn't buy this the other day, because today at the same thrift store, there was an Arrow Gidget folding table, which I've been wanting for a while, but hadn't gotten because of the price of a new one. I feel so blessed to have gotten one!  Cost of the sewing machine and table? Well, actually, it was almost the exact amount I saved at Joanns today, when I was buying batting for upcoming quilts. I bought four king size battings, either on sale or with coupons, and I ended up getting them at less than half price. I told DH we'll just say I paid full price, and the sewing machine and table were free ;-)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Do Me a Favor?

...or how about I do one, or one hundred or so? This week's major accomplishments are doing the wedding and shower favors.

The favors above are for the bridal shower, which is movie themed. A bag of microwave popcorn, and a director photo frame keychain. The decorations for the shower are all black, gold, and red. We found a rubber stamp that said "Real Love Stories don't have endings" and thought that was pretty perfect for this shower.

The wedding color is cobalt blue, and these little ornaments came with a gold hanger. We switched out the hangers for blue ribbon, added a silver bead and a tag that has the names of the bride and groom and the wedding date.

Neither of those favors look complicated, and they aren't, but it still took quite a bit of time to get them done.

I am up to 54 blocks quilted on Thrice Broken Dishes, so 90 more to go! I am really hoping this will be a really productive weekend quilting wise, because I know I'd be a little less stressed if I could get this quilt crossed off my to do list and can start the next wedding quilt.

The bridal shower is next weekend, so after this weekend I'll likely be helping DD#3 who is the maid of honor with the shower stuff. The shower will be here at our house, and I still haven't finalized the menu, so it will be a busy non-quilty week next week.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Not Much Quilting Going On

Here is the total of my quilting for the week. Two blocks on Thrice Broken Dishes. I didn't do a practice of this pattern, and I probably should have, but I'm guessing I'll get better, and by the time the quilt is finished being quilted, the first two wobbly blocks won't stand out too much. It will definitely look better after I wash the pink quilt pounce off. DD#2's wedding is December 8th, so I need to get to work on this!

It has been wedding central around here. The bridal shower is in two weeks, and there is still a lot to do for it. We're trying to wrap up the last of the wedding shopping. I tried looking for new shoes to wear to the wedding, but after trying several stores, I think I'm going to stick with a pair I already have and are comfortable. I'll be chasing the twins part of the time, and comfy shoes are more important than fancy shoes I'm thinking. At least all the dresses for everyone are purchased!

Tonight we started working on the wedding favors, and they are looking cute. It will likely take one or two more sessions to get them finished. I am hoping I can get the shower favors together in one evening, because there aren't as many and they are simpler.

It's funny to think that as soon as the craziness is over with this wedding, we'll only have a short break before the craziness starts on the next one! Two weddings fourteen weeks apart, the second being at our house! Yup, wedding central around here.

DS the Elder is moving to Indiana, and he's leaving next week! We will need to store his stuff for a while, so DH completely emptied the shed this week, and got rid of a bunch, and sorted through everything. Now DD#3's stuff is in the back, because she'll be here the longest. DD#2's stuff is in the front corner, because she'll be moving soon since she's getting married, and now there is plenty of room to store DS the Elder's stuff. Looks like we'll be packing a moving truck with his stuff the day after the wedding! He'll fly back for his sister's wedding, and move his stuff then. I'm glad I'm not moving right now, I'd hate to think of packing all of our stuff on top of everything else going on.

This was my first full week of having my babysitting hours doubled. It does really make things harder to get done, but I expected that. I'm sure I'll settle into a routine soon enough.

I hope all of you are getting some sewing time in. Someone should be quilting!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Easy Street Is Finished!!!

I am so excited to have Easy Street finished! I really love this quilt, and so does DH, but it's being given as a gift. I loved this mystery, and I'm so glad I gave in and participated.

Now I'll be back to quilting on Thrice Broken Dishes. I'll be using stencils for the rest of the quilting on that, and I haven't used stencils for a while. I've always had pretty good results with stencils, so I'm not worried about that.

I have lots of quilts that need to be pieced, but I still have Double Delight in a pile, already pin-basted and waiting patiently for it's turn. Double Delight is the only Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt I didn't finish within a year. There are a lot of reasons for that. I changed the setting, made it bigger, and made pieced borders for it. It was also my first mystery quilt. At the time I started it, I didn't have the skills to quilt it myself. The thing is, I think the main reason it isn't finished is because it's for MY bed, and I keep putting quilts for others ahead of it . I now have the skills to finish the quilting myself, and after I finish quilting Thrice Broken Dishes, that will be the next one in queue to quilt. I will definitely be spending more time piecing after that. DS the Younger's wedding quilt is not even started and the wedding is in March!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tortoise and the Hare

I think I tend to be a bit of the hare in the old fable. I like to speed ahead on a project, and if something comes up to disturb my progress, I like to be far enough ahead to not "feel behind" due to interruptions. Life is busy enough right now, that I am having to learn to be a bit more tortoiselike. Small bits of time do add up if you are consistent. This isn't my preferred way to work, but it's all I have to work with right now. Better bits of progress than none.

I have been quilting on Easy Street as much as possible. It may be 20-30 minutes, or occasionally a couple hours. I am now working on the last quarter to be quilted. I'm hoping to finish it this weekend, depending on what comes up.

I sewed the binding on Thrice Broken Dishes. I don't do my bindings by hand, I expect to be ticketed by the quilt police any time now. I have a bad thumb and I just can't do much in the way of handwork. I use a serpentine stitch and just stitch it with the sewing machine. I make quilts to be used, not judged, and a machine stitched binding can take a lot of abuse. The binding on the quilt on my bed was hand stitched (by someone else, not me) and I recently had to restitch it because it was coming undone. I went ahead and used the serpentine stitch like I do on most of my quilts, and no problems now. I don't mind the look of machine stitched bindings, but if you prefer hand stitched bindings, and are capable of doing them, I think that's great! I have some health issues that makes some things difficult, and I'd rather quilt untraditionally than not at all.

I still have to do some stencil work on Thrice Broken Dishes, but the quilt is stabilized from all the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting, and I have already quilted the border, so putting on the binding now may be unusual, but it's not going to be a problem. The plus to working this way is that when the quilting is finished, the quilt is also finished. I couldn't take this approach with Easy Street, because there is no ditch quilting holding everything in place. 

I chose a purple binding for Easy Street, and if I get the quilting done, I will try to get the binding on and cross that quilt off my to do list!

Our big scooter event last weekend was a success. We ended up with about 50 people here for dinner, and everyone had a good time. We got lots of compliments on the backyard makeover and the food!

DS the Elder just got hired for a job out of state, so we need to be helping him get ready to move again. He just moved back to town about six months ago, but now he's off again.

DD#2 will need lots of help packing as well. She will be moving when she gets married in December. She's only moving a couple hours away, and we'll make her room into a guest room so she can come visit with her husband or even without when he's traveling for work.

The next big event around here besides packing is DD#2's bridal shower in the beginning of November.

DD#3 started her new job this week and she's loving it! We were expecting her to graduate college in December, but there is a problem with two of her classes that should have been caught long before now. She is bummed about the delay, but no help for it, she needs one more semester. This part time job at the college is a blessing, and at least she'll have some income now while she's finishing her degree.

I was running through the next few quilts that need to made, and I realized that I need almost all big quilts for next year. I know of at least five big quilts that I need next year, but three more I'd like to do. I'm not sure what I'll actually get done, but I have plenty to keep me out of trouble!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Quilting Away Ten Minutes at a Time

I have actually been sewing, in between everything else going on. The thread I ordered for Easy Street was on backorder, and since I had some time to sew, I started quilting Thrice Broken Dishes first.

I stitched-in-the-ditch between all the blocks, and also between the borders. Since everything was pretty stable after all the ditch quilting, I went ahead and quilted some simple loops in the border. I will go ahead and bind this quilt before I finish the quilting. I plan to use a stencil in each block, and that will take a while since there are 144 blocks. I bought a pink quilt pounce to mark the lines, since I didn't think blue or white would work well.

My thread for Easy Street finally got here on Wednesday, so I switched which quilt I was working on. I need Easy Street finished for the beginning of November.

I'm just quilting swirls in an allover pattern, in a great variegated thread, King Tut color Cleopatra. It has all the colors in this quilt, and here I thought I had picked something unusual. I have 1/4 of the quilt quilted so far, I've been quilting like a mad woman! If I have ten minutes or more, I've been trying to run downstairs and quilt a few swirls. I had a pretty good chunk of time yesterday to sew, and that was so helpful in making some progress.

The weekend is a wash. The big scooter event that ends at out house is Sunday, so tomorrow I need to start working on food, and finish up the cleaning. I've made a lot of progress on the clutter in little chunks of time during the week. DH has been smoking meat for the past couple days, and today he's making homemade barbecue sauce. He does the meat and sauce, I do the desserts and sides. This is our fifth El Scoot event, and we pretty much have it down. There may be as many as 50 people here on Sunday, we'll see.

Oh, and with all my "extra" time this week, DD#2 and I got the wedding invitations and the bridal shower invitations mailed!

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Proposal

It's been crazy around here! Lots of family stuff going on, lots of good, some bad. Last weekend DH and I ran away from home, and spent the weekend someplace cooler and calmer. On our way back to town, our future son-in-law bought us dinner and asked our blessings for him to marry DD#2! We happily gave them, and last night was the proposal :-)

He came down to Tucson to propose, (he lives in the greater Phoenix area), and proposed in our backyard.

The answer was obviously a yes!

The engagement ring, which DD#2 wanted to be a sapphire and it is, with a couple bonus diamonds on either side.

So, now we have two weddings in the works! The newest proposal (DD#2) will be the first wedding, December 8th of THIS year! DS the Younger and his fiance will be getting married in our backyard on March 14, 2014. It is wedding central around here!

I haven't even turned on a sewing machine in a couple weeks, but I did get two big quilts pin-basted. Thrice Broken Dishes is a quilt I started for DD#2 last year, but never finished. I will try to get it finished for their December wedding. I have a pineapple quilt that I planned to make for their wedding, but there is no way I could have it made in time. I'm hoping first anniversary! At least by finishing Thrice Broken Dishes they can have a quilt I made on their bed, and I can take my time on the quilt I really wanted to make them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

One Down, Two to Go!

I've finished one of the quilts I needed before the end of the year! Granted, this is just the baby quilt, and the other two are queen/king sized, but still, a finish is a finish!

This baby quilt is for baby Austin, due to make an appearance in November. Austin's mommy is a daughter of a good friend. I opted for a scrappy binding, which I think is a perfect complement to the scrappy top. I quilted with swirls, which gives the quilt some great texture. I had such a good time quilting the swirls, I think I will quilt swirls on Easy Street too.

The next two quilts I need are Easy Street and Thrice Broken Dishes. Tops are done, backings ready, I have batting for both, I just need the time to pin-baste them. I ordered some thread to quilt Easy Street with, but it's on backorder. I have everything to quilt Thrice Broken Dishes. I need Easy Street for early November, Thrice Broken Dishes for December. I am hoping to pin baste one of those this week, but it's very unlikely I could pin baste both this week. I do, however, have enough pins to do both, because I just bought some extra pins. I even have a plan on how to quilt both quilts. Time without toddlers under foot is what I am lacking.

If I manage to get any time in the sewing room this week, I hope to start cutting out DS the Younger's wedding quilt. His wedding is in March, and that quilt isn't even started yet! I have two other big quilts I know I need for next year, so it's a lot of big bed quilts for me for a while.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Squirrel! is what we say around here, when someone has gotten way off topic, or off track. There are a lot of BIG things going on in my life now, and I have dozens of extra tasks to do everyday on top of all my regular stuff. I am going through one of those times where I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.

Here it is September, and I have three quilts that MUST be finished this year. All of those are now tops, (and one I'm actually quilting on one in 20-30 minute segments of time), but I am still just frazzled. Last weekend I decided it was time to pause the chaos, and go chase a squirrel.

This baby quilt has been pin basted for months, and I decided I was just going to finish it, even though another baby quilt is one of the three quilts I need to finish. I spent a couple days freehand quilting fans on the quilt, and it just felt good to sit there and quilt a while. I still had a ton of interruptions, but I did have some time to just enjoy the rhythm of moving the quilt in a regular pattern. Today during the twins' nap time, I decided to take the time to machine sew on a binding, and I have a FINISH! I really needed to finish something. Sure I have other things that NEED to be finished, but this was a quick finish, and that's what I needed most, just a sense of accomplishing something...anything!

This is the backing for the quilt. I had picked up the border fabric with all the animals on it at a thrift store when I was working on the penguin blocks. I thought it would be a fun border. I used all of it on this quilt. The animal fabric on the back was all that was left from the thrift store piece.

So, my to do list is still ridiculously long, but this quilt is done!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Easy Street Borders

Easy Street is a quilt top!!! I got the borders sewn on today. I had enough red to do the red/purple/red inner border I wanted, but i didn't want to sew the borders on individually. Mitering would have been perfect, but I've never done that, and frankly, I am too stressed over other things to try a new technique right now. I decided run on borders were good enough. I did consider cornerstones, but opted to not do that either. It was the easy way on this Easy Street quilt. The outer border I added has a jazz theme to it, so kind of a Big Easy feel to it. This fabric was in my stash (DH has a scrub top out of the same fabric) and it happened to have all the colors of my Easy Street quilt in it. I had several people think it was too wild for a border, but I love it.

I'll take a full on pic tomorrow, when I have quilt holders available.