30 August, 2014

Crossing The Border... The Final Chapter!

Potluck dinner at the LQS

You'll remember, over the last several months, my agonizing over the border "challenge" (Head For the Border) issued by my LQS.  Every month a design element and a color were each drawn, randomly, from a brown paper lunch bag and the participants set to work on that next border round, satisfying that newest criteria... it wasn't easy, but rather a true "challenge" in every sense of that word!  On Thursday evening we gathered at our LQS; first, to enjoy a delicious potluck dinner, and then for the final reveal! I was impressed, a few of the quilts were already done to point of being quilted and bound... one was even hand quilted! You can click here to view a slideshow of the spectacular finished flimises, quilts and their proud creators.  All in all it was a wonderful evening, yours truly even came home with a doorprize; it doesn't get much better than that... unless you keep in mind that the originators of this challenge have promised a new challenge in January of next year... I, for one, can't wait!

Life is Good!

29 August, 2014

When Did This Happen?

I had a five pound bag of sugar on my grocery list but was unable to find one on the store shelves... anywhere! The bags all weigh FOUR pounds now! When did this happen? Has it been a gradual step-down process that I didn't even notice; from 5 to 4.75 or even 4.5 pounds? I have no idea. But, all the brands have fallen into this four pound compliance. No wonder I've been buying more sugar this summer to make hummingbird nectar... and here I was blaming it on my tiny hummers and their ravenous appetites! Am I alone here in my ignorance to this change? Well, the good news is that the price hasn't changed a bit!
Life is Good!

28 August, 2014

Feathered Friends

How to fill behind these birds? With FEATHERS, of course! I'm in love with this quilt, and with all that I learned from Gina Parris-Perkes last month in a "Fantabulous Feathers" class at the AQS show in Charlotte.The information in that class was invaluable; Gina's instruction method clicked with me, translating what she demonstrated into my own stitches gave me the confidence to conquer my fears, take off and FLY! I am thrilled with the results on this little quilt and have changed its name, for the obvious reason, from "Chubby Chicks" to "Feathered Friends".  I have a new-found confidence and find myself eager to get onto the next quilt in the "to be quilted" queue rather than worrying about how I'm going to quilt it or if the results will be disappointing. I am so happy that I took that class; I needed a gentle nudge out of the nest, and that little push made all the difference! I am grateful.
Life is Good!

27 August, 2014

Take Good Care

Think of this post as a public service announcement.  If you want optimum results from your sewing machine you need to take good care of it... we all know that, but how often do you actually clean and oil your favorite machine? I clean out the bobbin area (don't forget the bobbin case too, lint lurks in there and can wreak havoc with your thread tension) every week if I am not sewing all that much; more often if I am logging in marathon sewing sessions or sewing with flannel. The amount of extracted lint shown is normal for me on a weekly basis. If you can't remember the last time you changed your machine needle do that too; don't wait until you break one or stitches start skipping, your piecing will be more precise when you use a sharp needle. After a good brushing out and a few drops of oil and your weekly maintenance is done! Mark your calendar as a reminder.
Take good care of your machine and it will take good care of you.  Block #5  "Stars and Checkerboard" from The Quilt Block Bible by Rosemary Youngs.

Life is Good!

25 August, 2014

First Day Butterflies

It's the first day of school where I live today... butterflies abound!
Here's hoping that students everywhere, of every age,
will soar through their studies and have a sucessful year!
Life is Good!

22 August, 2014

How Do You Know...

...that you're in a quilter's home? There are even quilts hanging in the guest bathroom! I cannot express how happy it makes me to have this wallhanging done and installed, I planned this Swiss-themed bathroom when we built our home, in 2001, around it! Wow.
Speaking of bathrooms, we bought new rugs for in front of the vanity in our master bath. I was cutting the tags off this morning and read the attached warning: "this item is flammable, do not expose to, or use over, an open flame." I'm relieved to have read the fine print; there go my plans for a big, roaring, bonfire in there.
Life is Good!

21 August, 2014

Improvements At The Strawberry Patch

I received an early (1 month +) birthday present yesterday, compliments of my super-talented husband!  Here it is, mounted on the wall in the studio; a solid oak, hand crafted cabinet.  I've wanted one for years, but the one that he made for me is even better than what I thought I wanted. Originally I had a floor-standing cabinet in  mind, he improved on my idea by making it a much slimmer profile (only 4.5" off the wall) and hanging it so that I didn't lose the electrical outlet underneath or have one more thing standing on the floor collecting dust beneath it where the vacuum won't reach.  In case you haven't guessed what this custom cabinet was built to contain...
...yep, cones of longarm thread; releasing them from an over-crowded drawer where they were all jumbled up together! 
Now, at a glance, I know exactly what I have on hand; and even have plenty of room to expand inventory.

Luckily, we had four of these cabinet door pulls leftover from the original cabinetry that he made; aren't they just perfect for The Strawberry Patch?
As if the cabinet improvement wasn't enough... we re-did the design wall on Saturday. After 13 years on the wall the outer fabric surface had pulled away from the backing and was stretched out and sagging badly. We took it all down, peeled the fabric off and restretched, remounted and rehung the new, improved, face-lifted design wall back into position.
Life is Good!