Monday, September 28, 2015

Second Weekend of Madness

Wow! What a busy couple of weeks, with little signs of slowing.

We got the twins rooms finished, shelves in the closet, stars up on the ceiling.

I quilted like a mad woman, and got the pineapple quilt finished.

This quilt is for DD#2 and her DH, and since they were coming down this weekend, I wanted to have it on the guest bed finished for them as a surprise. It took some long quilting days, but it was done and they loved it. It was definitely one of those times I wished I wasn't cramming the quilt through a DSM. Someday, I'd really love a sit-down long arm.

Saturday was DS the Younger's going away party. It was abnormally hot, so we had some no-shows, but we still had 26 people show, which is respectable. He leaves for the Army next week, and I doubt I'll see him again before he leaves. He is spending as much time as possible with his wife, which is as it should be.

We had planned to do DD#2's birthday dinner on Sunday night, but that got changed to Monday night just to give me a break, since they had already decided to stay an extra day.

Tonight was the birthday dinner, and there were 11 for dinner, I think anyway. I'm pretty out of it right now, and I may have forgotten someone.

I kept thinking the scooter event was this next Saturday, but it's actually Sunday. There is still a lot to do for that, but it will all come together. DH is expecting around 40 I think.

I plan on starting to quilt on another quilt tomorrow. We'll see if that really happens or not. I'm doing a smaller one next, about twin sized, so I'm hoping to knock it out pretty quickly.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Room Redo

What a busy weekend, and we had a few unexpected things come up too, which really made it crazy. We didn't finish all we had planned to do in the twin's room, but we did get most of it done.

First I'll show you the before pics. The twin's room is about 10x10, but not quite square. It's actually a little short of ten feet in one direction, and a little longer in the other.

The old beds were in an "L", which we hated, because they were constantly bothering each other when they were supposed to be going to sleep.

The dressers I like, but toy storage leaves much to be desired.

The closet without doors, linens and such stored at the top. Toys on the bottom.

Now for some after pics.

Mr. L is all about cars, he's a little car genius. The other day he heard a car start in a garage in a strange neighborhood, and he asked if the Camaro was leaving now. The garage door went up, and sure enough, it was a Camaro. He had no way of knowing that house had a Camaro, he recognized the engine sound. We have an app on our phones that he loves, where you can hear a bunch of different engines. He knows all the engines on that app. He can identify an amazing number of cars on sight too. His favorite cars are Mustangs, thus the Mustang sign over his bed.

Under his bed is also all about cars. We got him the road rug, and his toy cars are in the bins on the shelves. You can't see it in this pic, but DH put a light up under the bed, that they can turn on with a switch. The outlet itself has a safety cover, so they can't play with the plugs or outlet.

The dressers were moved in front of the window, and the window got new curtains.  The twins had broken the blinds on their window, and with the new higher beds, I didn't want them to have access to any cords, so I took down the blinds completely, and put up blackout curtains. Obviously they don't block all the light, but good enough to nap in there.

Miss S has baby animals on her side of the room.

Under her bed we made her a couch area, with a bunch of throw pillows. She likes to make herself nests. DH hadn't put up her light yet when I took this pic, so the outlet safety cover is still on the ground in this photo, but she now has a light and had no access to the outlet.  She got a sling style bookshelf under her bed, and soon I'll be adding some other storage under there too.

The toy kitchen is a huge hit with both the twins, but the only place it fits is at the end of Miss S's bed. They still have plenty of space to play at the kitchen.

I managed to get the curtain up on the closet, but we didn't get the two shelves up that I want in the closet. Maybe sometime this week...

The other things that didn't get done? I have curtains to add to the area under their beds, allowing them some private space when they close them. Their beds are low loft beds, it's only 32 inches under their beds, so they have to sit to play under their beds, they are too tall to stand under them.

We are going to be putting up glow in the dark stars on the ceiling, and those closet shelves, and then it will be done. It needs a new coat of paint, but I just think it's not worth it now. I did wash the walls, and took off the random stickers they had stuck on the walls. Maybe by the time we get around to painting it, we can agree on a color for the room, so far we are completely undecided.

Wondering what the twins thought? They were really happy with their new room!

 We got new living room furniture a couple weeks ago, and the old double school desk I was using as a coffee table no longer fit. We picked up this little table, and two stools for the twins. I liked that the stools could go completely under the table when the twins aren't using them.

The twins weren't sure what to think of the new stools, so they tried them as hats first ;-)

Goofy kids!

Here is the video showing the twins first look at their new room if you are interested.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Three Weekends of Madness

The next three weekends will be fun, exciting, and exhausting! Doesn't exhausting usually follow fun and exciting?

This coming weekend is the twins room redo. I'll be taking before and after pics. We debated on painting, but after they got into the markers last week and colored some things they shouldn't have, we decided to wait on new paint. Maybe when they are a bit older, it would be a better time for new paint.

I finished the projects I wanted to make for their room redo.

The green fabric is a pillow sham, covering a standard pillow. I'm doing Miss S's side of the room in pink and purple, with splashes of green. The pillows are for a reading nook, and I also bought a big furry, purple pillow for that. I debated adding trims to the pillows, but with the way she picks at trims on her clothes, I decided plainer was better. Her side of the room is getting decorated with baby animal stuff.

We took the closet doors off their closet a while back, they kept closing the door on their twin, and holding the door closed, so *poof*, no doors, no problems. I've got stuff stored at the top of their closet, and it doesn't look great, so I made what is essentially a valance for the top of their closet. It's just long enough to cover the messy part. We are adding some shelves to their closet for toy storage. The valance I made is green to go with their new curtains.

Mr. L's side of the room is going to be car themed, and colors of mainly blue and green.

Miss S's bed quilt is mostly purple, and Mr. L's is mostly blue, and there is nothing wrong with them, so I chose colors that worked well with what they already had. I felt like green was my best option for middle of the room stuff, like the curtains.

Tomorrow is the big Ikea run to buy their new beds.

Hopefully we'll get everything done for their room this weekend as planned.

Next weekend, we are throwing a going away party for DS the Younger who joined the Army. We're expecting 30-35 people for that. His party will be on Saturday, and DD#2's birthday dinner will be Sunday, with about 13 people.

The third weekend of madness will be a big scooter event that always ends at our house for a Kansas City style BBQ. I'm guessing we'll have 40 people for that, but I'll cook for at least 50, since we're never sure until the day of the event.

I get a couple weekends off after that, before I am co-hosting a bridal shower, here of course. God blessed us with a house, and we try to use it to bless others.

Amidst all the chaos, I need to be quilting the three deadline quilts, which are all basted now. I am almost 1/3 done quilting the first one.

You know, I think I am just a little more tired just typing about all of that. It's all good, and it will be fun. People keep telling me my life will slow down someday, but so far, that day is not even close.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Cutting for Christmas

I always intend to make some Christmas gifts, but often get sidetracked, and the best of intentions are lost in the busy-ness of daily life. I had to cut out a few things for the twins room redo, so I decided I would take the time to cut out a few of the things I want to make for Christmas. The past couple years we've done a lot for Christmas, and this year I'd really like to scale back, and have a more homemade Christmas feel.

This weekend was a great example of how my personal fabric system works. I've been wanting to make a dent in my novelty fabric stash, that is mostly leftover from scrub making days. As I was cutting out the things I needed, I was simultaneously making scraps. Rather than let those scraps languish, I was immediately cutting them for my scrap user system.

Here are results of a weekend of cutting for Christmas projects. The plastic bins in the back, from left to right- 1st- strings and crumbs, 2nd- selvages, 3rd- 1.5 inch strips, 4th- 2 inch strips, 5th- 2.5 inch strips, 6th- 3.5 inch strips. In front of those  to the right are some cut squares, the largest pile of which is 6.5". I usually cut my novelty scraps to 6.5" squares (finish at 6") because there are several patterns I like using for kids quilt that use that size, and most novelty fabrics do well at that size. Sometimes when you go smaller the pictures are lost.

Now, if you look at those fanned out white pieces, those are the corrugated plastic pieces I use for my mini bolts, which I use to store pieces over a yard. This pic show six, but I actually emptied 7 of those this weekend. Some of those fabrics are completely gone, some have been moved to my smaller mini bolts. The cards in rows are my small mini bolts, which are cut from magazine backing boards. I store all pieces one yard and less on those. This pic shows 23 of those empty. I actually emptied a couple more than that, because the larger pieces that got moved down to the the smaller bolts after I cut what I needed used some of those.

The projects I was actually cutting, where are those?

Well, right now they are piled on my ironing station. I didn't finish cutting for Christmas, but I did get a lot of it done. I realized almost all of my novelty fabrics are directional prints, so I was having to cut things out taking that into account, I couldn't just cut in a way that used the least fabric. That is why I ended up with so much cut for scrap user system. I kept ending up with odd scraps.

I think to find a system that works for you, the most important thing is to realize how you work, and what you do the most. I make mostly BIG quilts, bed sized, and that has an effect on how I store my fabric. I rarely make matchy-matchy quilts, and even if I make something very color controlled, it has dozens of different fabrics in each color. Because I've taken the time to figure out how I work, I know that saving pieces less than 12" are futile. I could get cornerstones from that, but it's not enough for sashing, or a border, or most anything I would need to have matching in a quilt. I know that that 12" of fabric will get used by me much faster if I cut it down for the scrap user system.

Doing Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts taught me a lot about how I like to work. I used to pull fabric with everyone else when she first posted the fabric requirements. The thing is, when she gave cutting instructions, I automatically went to my strips drawers first, to see if I had anything precut that would work. There were a couple years I put back every piece I had pulled uncut, because I got everything I needed from my strip drawers. Now my idea of pulling fabric, is just one piece of each color, so I can see if I like the color combination. I don't bother actually pulling fabric unless my strip drawers are low on a color.

I have developed a fabric storage system that really works for the way I work. I always go to the smallest piece I can use first. For the Christmas gifts, my scrap user system stuff was too small, so I went to my small mini-bolts. I only went to the larger yardage when I ran out of smaller pieces that would work. Doing it this way keeps me using the smallest pieces regularly, which is what tends to pile up on most people. It also keep my yardage in the largest pieces for the longest time possible,which is great when I need a border or backing that I don't want to piece much.

There comes a time for most quilters, that they are overwhelmed by their stash. This weekend, while cutting for all those projects, I was actually surprised I felt the opposite. I cut up a LOT of fabric this weekend, and I'm not done cutting. I just had to stop because I ran out of time. I have visible holes in my stash now. I realized that while it may seem to a lot of people that my stash is SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy), mine is actually not. I am a prolific quilter, and when making non-quilting projects, I go through stash even faster. I made huge dents in my novelty stash, and I'm not finished. Do I have a lot of fabric? Yes. For someone who makes one or two quilts a year, it would likely be overwhelming. Is it unreasonable for me, who goes through multiple hundreds of yards of fabric a year? I don't think so.

I've been on my own personal no-buy this year, and there is a visible difference in my stash. I have bought a few pieces here and there, but only when I need to use it immediately. I haven't bought anything for stash. I didn't do no-buy because of guilt about my stash. I don't have any guilt about it. If I had a room full of fabric and I wasn't using it, I might have guilt, but my stash works, and gets used, and eventually will need replenishing. I only did no-buy because my financial goals were elsewhere, and I didn't want to spend the money on fabric. I'm already thinking about next year, and although my financial goals are still elsewhere, I think I will add in shopping for fabric at thrift stores and the remnant bin, where the majority of my stash came from anyway. Paying full price for fabric will still be a no-no for me in 2016, unless I need it immediately. Adding a bargain here and there, I have room for that.

Time to get sewing! I need to sew up the couple things I cut for the twins room redo, and I need to get all the scrap user strips put away in the strip drawers, so I'm ready to pull for my next quilting project.  The wedding quilt I was making has the top completed, and the backing pieced, so tomorrow I'll be pin-basting it. Lots to do!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Playing with Leftovers

In my last post I mentioned I was assembling other quilts as leaders/enders, while working on my deadline quilts. I got a couple quilt tops finished today, that were made entirely as leaders/enders until the borders. They both started out as some misc. leftovers from other quilts.

This center started out as bonus HST's from other quilts. I sewed the HST's into square in a square units, then assembled it from there. I was in a hurry, and didn't realize the border fabric had a misprint in it, see that blue blotch in the bottom right corner? I don't have time to fix it right now, but I pinned a replacement piece of fabric to the top when I hung it in the closet, so I can repair it later.

Of all the quilts I've been working on, I was most excited to do the next one. I had just a few extra chevron pieces leftover from the border of the pineapple quilt. I started playing with them, got an idea, and I was really excited to try it. I've had a remnant in my stash for a couple years that I loved, but it was less than a yard, and a large enough print I didn't want to cut it too small. I knew it would work in this project.

I had to make more chevron units to make this little quilt, but I think it was worth it. The fabric between the pieced rows was the remnant I loved so much. I'm a sucker for anything with paisley. Of all the quilts I've worked on lately, this one is my favorite. I like it because it's my design, I got to use all of a piece from stash that I loved, and I think it's showcased well.

Two more quilt tops assembled means that much less stuff hanging around my sewing room. This is the slow, but efficient way to clean up the sewing room. 

As far as the wedding quilt goes, the center is together, and I cut the borders today. I finally measured the fabric I wanted to use for the backing, and as I expected, I was four yards short. It's funny, I looked for more of that fabric for months, and I never found any.  I knew it was out of print. I was stuck on what to do to make the backing large enough, because for this quilt, the backing is actually what brings it all together. On a whim, I decided to check both ebay and etsy, and I actually found enough fabric to piece the backing with all the same fabric! No one had more than a yard of it, so I had to buy multiple listings to get enough, but I am pretty happy. Sometimes a scrappy backing works great for me, but in this case, I wanted the same fabric for the whole backing. Yes, I bought more fabric, but considering I'll be piecing it into a backing as soon as it gets here, I'm OK with that. It's a wedding quilt, it's OK if I splurged a little. Besides, the the quilt top was from stash, aside from the outer border. I only bought a border fabric and part of a backing for a king sized quilt, that is WIN!

Tomorrow I'll be pin-basting the pineapple quilt. If I get really motivated, and my arm holds out, I might try to get one of my other deadline quilts basted too. If not, maybe I can get the borders on the wedding quilt. We'll see!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Borders On!

Those quilt centers I showed last post? Yup, they all have borders! I only took photos of the corner, so you could get an idea of what I did.

Granny's quilt got a purple inner border (looks blue in the pic, but it's purple) and the piano key border I made out of her extra sashing pieces. The blocks are an odd size, because of that four patch on point, so I just chopped off the borders wherever they needed to be cut, the piano keys didn't go evenly.

 Aussie quilt 2.0 got an inner border to match the neutral in the blocks, and the same Aussie fabric I used for the first Aussie quilt as an outer border. I only have a few small scraps of that border fabric left, which will be cut down and go in my scrap user system.

The pineapple quilt got three borders, a black inner border, a chevron border, followed by a wide black border. I am leaning towards doing a wavy edge finish on this quilt, but I needn't decide for sure until after it's quilted.

The fourth quilt center I can't show also has borders on it. I cut backings from yardage for both the pineapple quilt, and the one I can't show yet. I still have a couple seams to sew on the backings, but I often don't do that until the day I am going to pin-baste. I don't like having to press the huge pieces multiple times, so if I wait and piece a backing from yardage that just needs one or two seams right when I'm going to pin-baste it, I only have to press it once.

Both Granny's quilt and Aussie quilt 2.0 are now hanging in my quilt closet. I know I won't get around to quilting them this year. The other two must be finished this year.

I am still plugging away at the wedding quilt too. I have 8 of 11 rows done now. I'd like to get it together this weekend, so my three deadline quilts will be ready for pin-basting.

I don't think I've put up any photos of my latest acquisition. This Kingston ZigZag machine is peach and grey. I know the colors are different on different monitors. In my quest to pretty up my sewing room and eliminate a bunch of plastic containers from in there, I am displaying a few vintage machines on top of my fabric cabinets. I had the toy machines DD#3 got me in a different place, but until a get a few more vintage machines I want to display, I moved them up there. I am hoping to find a vintage machine in each color. I'm looking for a red, the Kingston can be my orange, I need a yellow, I have a green one up there, blue should be easy, and I might be able to find a lavender machine for purple.

This weekend my main goal is to get that wedding quilt to be a completed quilt top, so I can switch to basting and quilting instead of piecing. I am assembling a couple misc. quilts as leaders/enders, while my main project is the wedding quilt.