Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of the Year

Since my last post, we have celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas. The grandkids have been here twice, we had a table at a bazaar and I made it through another Advent/Christmas season at work (I am a church office administrator so there is lots to get done). At the beginning of December my good friend came home from Japan for a month long visit during which various members of the family have spent nights at my house, we put on a wedding shower and got her daughter married last weekend. We have just a few more days before she heads back to Japan so we have been trying to spend as much time as we can together. Here is a picture of my two best friends and me. I am on the right, the mother of the bride is in the middle and on the left is our third musketeer!
I have not done much sewing but I can post a couple of pictures of completed projects! Here is the table topper I made for my neighbor in our 'small project' exchange. I used the One Block Wonder method but didn't like the blocks right next to each other so I added the red triangles. I had some more blocks leftover so I put together a table runner that just needs quilting. When it is done I will have a nice Christmas gift waiting for someone! 
I got that Harry Potter quilt finished. I made it for my friend's daughter's wedding gift. She is a little bit Harry Potter obsessed so it seemed appropriate to make a Harry Potter Monet's Wedding Ring quilt. Their invitations were based on the Marauder's Map, the ring bearer carried the rings up on a wand, their cake topper was HP themed, and the list goes on.
 Here are some close-ups to show the individual blocks a little better...

I even downloaded a Harry Potter font to do the label.

I got to be there when they opened the package and I think it was a hit.

This quilt will be heading to a new home this week, too. 
It is a Christmas gift but needed its label and I have not had much time to spend in the sewing room. The quilt's name is now "It Needs A Squirrel..." and will be going to my boss and her husband who gave it it's name when he saw it at the quilt show.
I started physical therapy for my ankle about a week ago. I am not so sure it is going to make a difference but I am doing my exercises in hopes that it will. 

We are starting a new year tomorrow and I am hoping the New Year brings more time for sewing (and posting) and healing for my foot!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Starts, Finished and Progress

Just read over my last post and can't believe that I haven't written a post in a month and a half and how much has been happening since then. 

My foot/ankle is improving, if not fast enough for my tastes! My doctor had me taking massive doses of anti-inflammatories for 10 days and the swelling and inflammation went down at least temporarily. I was on my feet this past Friday and Saturday at the Guild Quilt Show on cement floors and Sunday was a hard day but both legs and feet were unhappy. Monday when I went to work I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could walk at close to normal speed without limping and even the stairs weren't bad. 

I got my two quilts finished for the quilt show and I was really happy with how they both turned out. I will do another post soon showing the quilting on this first one. The small tag hanging under the label says "A GUY likes this quilt." Every man who came in received one of these tags to put on a quilt he like. This quilt eventually received two of these tags and the other received on.
 This one is my 2004 Shop Hop Quilt. I had it in the Relay for Life Quilt Show in March but I added some more quilting in the block 'shadows' so the blocks would stand out a little more. 
Tonight I plan to take the hanging sleeve off so it can be put on our new bed. 

Fall is definitely here in Western Washington. We had about a week of fog that just didn't lift and now the sun has been out for a few days and it is gorgeous! Our son has been helping get the leaves picked up from the yard. Today we got 4 loads of leaves hauled away and yesterday and today I got most of the mowing done and let SIL finish it off. I can sure feel it in the muscles that I was out working in the yard!

I have gotten quite a few Harry Potter blocks done for the quilt I am working on but with other things going on I realized I would not have it done for the quilt show. I did finish the hand quilting on my 2002 Shop Hop quilt but I don't have any pictures of that yet. I will try to get that done soon. 

I finished a border on one round robin project and have one more I hope to get to tomorrow so I can pass them off to my niece and get some others from her. We need to get them moving along again. She and I have both have had crazy summers.

Our daughter and son-in-law got their little house on wheels moved out to its 'new' home and are pretty much settled in. Our son is settled into our Argosy until he finds a 'real' job. For now he is doing some math tutoring and helping around the house some.

There are rumors we will have grandkids here for Halloween so might have to do some quick planning for a fun family party. We are thinking decorating gingerbread haunted houses or maybe Halloween sugar cookies.

I need to pull some things together next week for a quilt retreat too. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

And the summer is nearly gone...

...and it didn't go at all as I thought it might.

Two months later and I am still hobbling around on my bum foot. I ended up in a walking boot for 6 weeks and now I just have to strengthen up my ankle. I bought myself a pair of Chaco sandals last week so I have some shoes that support my feet and can be adjusted depending on how much swelling there is.

Lots has happened but not what I had hoped. We had the grandkids here for 4 weeks of fun. They were great about helping Grammy because "your foot is hurt". They fetched crutches and glasses of water and the phone and various other things. They had lots of special things happening like spending the night at cousin Katie's house, fun Lego projects,

a Strawberry Festival, two new kitties at Grammy's

two weeks of swimming lessons,

'working at Grammy's office,
rides on a little steam train ("we get to sit on it - while its moving?!?!?!), helping Papa prune the cedar tree

(they loaded the trailer at least 15 times for the trip to the burn pile - the little smarties figured out a way to load it and leave a 'hole' for them to ride in back and forth), Vacation Bible School, playing on Steve's slot machine, and a BBQ 

just to name a few! They had a great time and were so good. They are now back at home and started school - Kindergarten and 2nd grade!

Time in the sewing room was rather lacking over the summer but I did get the Bluegrass Festival Auction Quilt finished on time (but only barely). 

Since we had a booth for our crafts at the Festival I was able to listen as it was auctioned off for over $300. I also got it's twin quilted and it is almost finished. I also spent a couple days at my sister's and with her and my two nieces we sewed the top of a wedding quilt for our brother's son and his bride. Today my sister was here visiting and we got the quilt sandwiched and basted so I might get started on the quilting this week.

Once things started settling down from the kids and other things I started working on finishing up some quilts for the October Quilt Guild Show. I pulled out this UFO of leftover HST's. The lighter triangles were from one quilt and the rest were from two others. I had it to this point in February and then it got put away...
I had decided I wanted to put this on point using the dark read of the outer triangles and some form of sunflowers since I had found a border print with sunflowers and pinecones. I got a pattern for a sunflower with 3D petals but I just wasn't feeling it so I went with my original thought of New York Beauty type sunflowers. Since I wanted the sunflower to be about 8-10" I had to shrink the NYB blocks down to 4" finished. Then I made 4 each of 4 different patterns using the same fabrics as the darker HSTs. I used one of each of the 4 different patterns in each of the sunflowers. I was really happy with those other than I would not recommend 4" NYB blocks to anyone. Then I needed something else for those corners and found a paper pieced pinecone pattern that I again shrunk to 4" and reversed for half of the blocks. I then created the triangles to set this on point using the NYBs and pine cones and then added mitered border print and here it is:
It ended up about 60" square. I am thinking it would make a really great fall tablecloth. I am putting it aside for a bit but I can now fill out the registration form for the quilt show for it. 

I am now moving on to another Harry Potter quilt that I want to have done for the show also. I found that doing paper piecing is easy on my foot. I lower my ironing board and pull it a little closer to the sewing table and I can sew and then turn my chair to press and trim the piece and if I need to do any rotary cutting I have a small cutting mat on the sewing table. Hopefully my foot will improve quickly so I can get back to my normal sewing routines.

The garden has suffered from my lack of attention but my beets, onions, beans and Taxi tomatoes have flourished in spite of it. I am working on getting rid of all the weeds now that I can do some work down there.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Delays, Interruptions and Distractions

So life has been happening all around me, keeping me out of the sewing room! The only thing I have gotten finished in the last month are a few owl purses and hats and one Round Robin border! Instead I have been working in the yard (weeding, picking strawberries, weeding, picking raspberries, weeding, etc.), working on various projects at work, and last weekend I started painting the garden shed that was our big project last summer. By last Saturday I had almost finished the first coat of primer on the whole thing, using 4 gallons of paint, and then we spent several days with my father-in-law. 

On Monday, I made plans to make a quick drive across the state and back hauling our utility trailer to pick up our new bed that my brother-in-law and nephew made for us. I went to the garden shed to get a small ice chest from the loft and I fell off the ladder. Not sure what happened but it just fell over and I went down. My left foot really hurt and I went to Urgent Care. The doc there showed me the little chips that came off one of the bones in my foot and said it should be treated like a sprain with RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. So I have spent almost all my time since then on the couch with a pile of pillows under my foot. 
This is about all I have been looking at! My niece is thinking Miss Lucy might be to blame for the accident so she could have me home and available for lots of cuddles! I did go to work on Thursday in order to get the Sunday worship materials finished up but then it was back to the couch! I have an appointment with my GP on Monday so we will see how things are progressing. I think it is getting better but still can't put any weight on it at all!

We had a bit of a health scare with Lucy this past month. She turned 13 in February and has been slowing down quite a bit. The vet told me a couple of years ago that Lucy had a heart murmur and that it would continue to get worse and it seemed that it was. It got to a point where she was really in pretty bad shape so we went to the vet and he put her on some heart meds and a cough suppressant and in just a couple of weeks she has become her old self, even barking at vehicles coming in the yard and trotting around!

Well, I hope to get more done in the sewing room soon but that will have to be worked in around that trip to get our new bed, taking care of the grandkids, work and of course, lots of rest so my foot will heal!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Relay Wrap-up, Grad Quilts, Yard Work

I made it through Relay last weekend! And making it is a good description. We started setting up at 3 pm on Friday and then took everything down at noon on Saturday. In between there was lots of walking and very little sleeping! As of today our team raised over $3900! Pretty happy about that! Personally I raised over $2000. That is a lot of owl hats, owl purses, quilts and other crafts!

Yesterday I finished the grad quilts. Here are the two denim ones.
And here is one of the two plaid/flannel ones. The other has already been given to its new owner.
As for the yard work I have been plugging away at the flower bed and finally got the weeding done there. I am hoping to get a load of bark delivered soon to get it covered to avoid doing all that weeding again next year! 

I have also been working in the garden some. I weeded the radishes, carrots and onions yesterday. I pulled some of the radishes to thin them some and planted beans and the starts of cucumbers/squash that I planted a few weeks ago and some more carrots and brussel sprouts. I also planted the boysenberry plants I bought at a garage sale a few weeks ago.

Today I got started on some more flower beds. I did some rearranging of plants to better spots and tried again to get rid of that ornamental grass that was one of my worst gardening decisions ever! I will keep trying though!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I've been busy...

My niece, who lives on the other side of the country, emailed me the other day and just asked, "Are you alive?" She relies on blog posts to keep track of me and I have not posted in TWO MONTHS! The answer is, "Yes, but I have been busy and not taking time to write blog posts." There is work and the yard and the garden and Relay for Life and crocheting owl hats and my new one, owl purses. 

Work is going great but definitely keeps me busy in the mornings. I have rearranged my work schedule so I can usually have Fridays off which has been great! After almost a year at the job I can say that I really do love being a church secretary administrative assistant and I am glad I am back at it!

In between rain showers and work I have been working in the garden and flower beds. There is still a long way to go but the weeds in the garden at least are under control. With the recent rains, the strawberries are growing like crazy and it looks like we will have a very good crop again this year. Here are two of the flower beds I have been working on. One is a small bed that has calla lilies, dianthus, iris and lily of the valley. Up until this past week it also had a lot of weeds. I got rid of most of those and moved the iris you see on the left (in front of Miss Lucy) out from under the bushes. I hope to move a few more iris into this bed as they seem to do really well there.

The other is about 6' X 40' and has azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and lilacs along with a few other bushes. My goal for this year is to get this bed barked over!

Relay for Life in next weekend so I have been doing things to get prepared for that which included a used book and plant sale a few weeks ago. Owl hats usually sell quite well at Relay so I want to have some on hand for that and I saw a pattern for adorable little owl purses that I can make out of the balls of yarn that are too small for the hats. I have almost 20 of the purses ready to sell also. Isn't that just the cutest thing?
Also, since my last post, the grandkids visited for a few days and my grandson was able to finish up his first quilt which he started at the quilt show in March. When they visit this summer I am sure there will be more sewing going on!
My daughter that lives with us is a substitute school bus driver for one of the local districts and in recent weeks she was preparing for the school bus road-e-o. Last weekend she competed and got second place for rookies and was about in the middle of the pack for all drivers. As you can see below, I got a chance to be a good mother and embarrass her as she accepted her plaque. 
I haven't been doing much sewing but about two weeks ago was reminded that it was time for graduation quilts at church and since I had said I would make them that meant I needed to get busy. It was calculated that we would need two and both were for boys so I pulled out a bunch of plaid flannel that a friend gave me and started cutting. I decided on double 4-patch based on pieces that she already had cut. I determined I would need 1020 smaller squares and 255 larger squares and managed to get the smaller ones but was a bit short on the larger ones. I pieced some of the extra scraps to make the final 25 or so larger ones. Here are the some of the small ones.
Oh, the lint that flannel creates! I worked at it and got both tops done yesterday morning and after figuring out the backs, got both basted and one quilted yesterday afternoon. The second one got quilted today. I think they turned out pretty great.
I was cutting the binding and wondered where I was going to store it until needed and remembered that I had an empty drawer in my sewing cabinet and discovered it was a great place to 'stage' my binding when I was sewing it on. 

So that is what I have been up to for the last two months. Hopefully I will be back here sooner next time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Quilt Show & #5 & Rearranging

Here is a close up of the quilting on finish #5 for the year. It was made from the leftover triangles of another quilt that I blogged about here
I was happy to get it done to hang in the quilt show which was March 16. The show went well with about 50 quilts hanging. I only had one quilt of mine hanging that had been in the show before. There were 11 local quilters who shared their quilts in the show. 

Here is a shot of the Eiffel Tower quilt my niece made to raise money for her trip with the Vivace Chorale to Paris. It is an adaptation of the Stained Glass Denim Quilt Pattern I have used so much. It is amazing to me how many people are still asking for that pattern.
This quilt was done all by hand by a local quilter. The base of the tree is hidden by the sewing machine that was for sale. The creator of the quilt saw a 3" X 3" picture of this tree and enlarged it to a queen size quilt! This quilter shared 7 or 8 quilts with us at the show!
Here are three more quilts on display. 
Another quilter shared these two quilts on the quilt rack with us. They were both hand sewn. The Cathedral Window quilt used 30 yards of unbleached muslin and 3 yards of the blue calico.
If you would like to see more pictures from the show, they are up on flickr.

I have been working on getting things rearranged in the house to allow for the new pieces of furniture that arrived a few weeks ago. I emptied out a bookcase and took it to my niece's house. I rearranged things in the great room and then started to add items to the new curio cabinet. I kept adding and found more things and added them and was rather surprised to fill it! 
I have also been working hard at cleaning up the sewing room. It was just such a huge mess! I am pretty satisfied with it right now but there is still room for improvement. I bought some bins to store fabric and batting, etc. and started filling the little drawers in the sewing cabinet and I even got rid of quite a few things. I will try to post some pictures soon but the weather is improving and I have a lot of work to do outside!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Retreat, #4 and Show

Last weekend was Quilt Retreat for me and I got a lot accomplished. I got the star blocks from the last block exchange put together and got the borders on another top that has been waiting around for several months. I also did two sets of One Block Wonder blocks and two LWR quilt tops. As a final project I worked on some blocks that I started several years ago.

Had a great visit with my sister and other quilters at the retreat and the bonus visit from my daughter and grandkids. On my way home I stopped by my son's apartment and picked up the twin bed he has been using. He decided that a nearly 23 year old, 6 foot tall young man should have a big person's bed. This was followed by a quick stop at my daughter's house and I continued on the trip home. I was so glad to be home at about 5:30 pm after leaving camp at about 8:30 am!

I arrived home to two new pieces of furniture in my house. The most exciting was my new sewing cabinet that my husband made for me.
It has 24 treadle sewing machine cabinet drawers, a shelf for my serger and it fits around my Sew-E-Z table for my sewing machine. I have only done a little sewing since I got home but I already love the extended sewing surface. I haven't had a chance to fill all the drawers yet but I am looking forward to getting things organized.

The other piece of furniture is an antique curio cabinet that my husband purchased from a customer. 
I already have one curio cabinet and really no more space in my house so we are emptying a book case and giving it to our niece to make some more space. I am also considering giving away another piece if I can get things rearranged to I'm not using the space.

With the quilt show just one week away I am trying to get more quilts finished that are close. Here is finish #4 for the year. These are my Block Exchange Blocks from this past year. The rainbow stripe fabric is the backing for the quilts I made with my grandkids so I figure this will be a cuddle quilt for them to use at Grammy's house. I used a polyester batt that I had on hand and was able to make it two layers so it is nice and fluffy. 
I started quilting another quilt yesterday and after I had some feather borders done I realized the tension was off and I have to rip it all out! I stayed home from work today as I am not feeling well so I am hoping to get the ripping done today and then maybe I will feel better tomorrow so I can get the quilting redone so it is ready for the show.

This week I have received 20 quilts from other local quilters and hope to get at least another 20 for the show. I have 3-7 people who have offered some so I hope to get a bunch. I am hoping to only have newer quilts of mine in the show so it is mostly fresh and new. I was excited this week to find out that we will have a beautiful handmade oak quilt rack made by one of our church members to raffle off.

Well, I still feel pretty crummy but I am going to try to get something accomplished today even if it is just hand stitching a binding!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Second and Third

Finishes, that is. The first was the Relay Raffle Quilt. Glad to have that one done. I hope to get the tickets printed this week so we can start selling them.
I realized on Tuesday morning that I am invited to a baby shower for a young woman who works at the daycare at work tomorrow. I realized I had this top all ready to be quilted so I picked up some flannel for the back on the way home from work and quickly got it washed and dried. Got things laid out and basted, quilted and had the binding ready for hand-sewing at craft night that evening! So here is a picture of finish number 3
and here is a close-up of some of the quilting. I have so much fun making those little flowers!
It was a busy week at work especially with the need to get next week's work done early so I can head to my quilt retreat! I realized this morning that I really need to get busy on a plan for projects to work on at the retreat. I have thrown some things together but not totally satisfied with things so far. I will do some more planning tomorrow.

This morning I got one of my shop hop quilts basted and ready for quilting so that might get quilted over the weekend. Maybe it will be finish #4! It feels really good to be finishing up some UFOs!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Relay Raffle

I am well on my way to my second finished quilt of the year! I finished this top this evening.
This will be the raffle quilt for our Relay for Life team this year. I hope to get it basted tomorrow and quilted on Wednesday but there are no guarantees!

Once this one is done I will get borders on Katie's block and then I would like to get some UFOs quilted and finished. I think I have at least 4 tops I could quilt and get finished so that is my next big goal.

Spring is on its way along with lots of outdoor jobs! Over the weekend I got 2 of the five apple trees pruned so if I get some spare time when it isn't raining I need to get out and finish up the other three. Having those done is my next outside goal.