18 October, 2019

Keep It Classy, Please!

I don't often get on my soapbox; particularly here. I'm stepping up for  a moment, allow me to say something that has been bubbling under the surface for a while. You need not agree with me, that's fine; I simply need to speak up on the subject of respect. Respect for self, respect for others, apparently this concept is in short supply these days. What am I referring to? Language-- particularly profanity, I can no longer get through a single day without being bombarded by obscenities. I'm not referring here to an occasional outburst that occurs when one hits one's finger with a hammer, not at all. My observation is that words that used to be strictly forbidden now riddle our society. You cannot escape nasty word-assaults from everyday television shows, song lyrics, the news broadcasts, social media, signage, bumper stickers, gift items, T-shirts, fabric (yes, fabric!), tattoos and each and every surface that can be emblazoned with vulgarity. Of course, we're not exempt at public meetings and social gatherings either. So, I ask: why? Is it for shock value? Does the speaker feel that they're tougher, badder, commanding extra attention by blasting foul expletives? I daresay it may have been, at one time; but now I believe that it's so widespread, across all age groups, that it has lost its shock value today and become commonplace. Profanity-laced speech is now ordinary and mainstream; that's the extremely sad conclusion that I'm reaching here. When I was raised, I was done so to respect myself and, by doing so, was respecting others; it's that simple. No one should have to be made to feel uncomfortable because I don't have enough self-respect to hold my tongue. In a word, I was raised to understand that at the end of the day I have retained dignity through my words and actions and, by doing so, exhibited class. Can we bring class back?  Is what was once a polite, civil society as extinct as the dinosaur? I hope not, I pray it's not too late to make changes. I ran across this article that contains seventeen graceful Bible verses on this very subject.  Read through them, there are words here that comfort and give hope to anyone who feels like me and is ready to stand up against being disrespected by the society in which I live, I am emboldened by duty to this same society in which my grandchildren are being raised. I might be just one person with one, small voice but I plan to call out language, vulgar speech and will boycott marketers who disrespect me through obscenities. I am far from perfect, I know that. I fall short through sin every. single. day. I ask God for forgiveness and promise repentance. I try to do my best, to remain classy and live by His words, for myself and for the world. Is it too much to ask the same in return?

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips. -Psalm 141:3

Life is Good!


17 October, 2019

Hello, Pouch!

I bought the pattern for the "Hello Pouches" (knot and thread design) and was eager to make some up, I thought that they were cute, functional and a nice alternative to the paper gift bag for small Christmas gifts. I made one up yesterday as a trial. I'm happy to report that it's a well-written pattern with easy to follow instructions and access to online video tutorials. I made the "large" size (7.5" X 6.75" X 4.25") only because that's how much clear vinyl I happened to have in the house. I learned a few things along the way, if you want to make some let me pass along these tips:
Use a "Jeans" needle. The one that I used was 100/16. There are lots of bulky bound seams to sew through and the heavier needle is most valuable here, sew slowly too! I love Wonder Tape and I used a good bit of it on this bag.
As you can see in this photograph there are narrow, turned, top-stitched bindings; the Wonder Tape, when applied along the folded edge before turning, ensures those narrow hems will remain straight and smooth. I have not had any problems with the product gumming up my needle, it delivers nice results. Every bit of this bag has finished, bound edges, even along the zipper tape; those straight, flat hems are pretty and I can't get results like that when I use pins and am stopping and starting to remove them. Since the bag is see-through (the beauty of the pouch to begin with!) you want your finished seams to look extra-nice.
The zipper is made from one half of a handbag zipper-- the two sides are separated, the pull removed, and then threaded back on both ends of the zipper tape which has been folded in half. One thirty inch, double slide, zipper will make two bags. There's a trick to finessing the pull back on, (and a video that I watched three times!) that takes a bit of practice, but I got it. I added a fabric tie and attached it to the zipper pull to make opening easier. All in all, this is a nice bag and I will make more;  I can see lots of practical uses for this one. One down; a bunch to go!! 

And just in case you thought that I was running out of projects(!), I made a quick trip with friends to the Pineapple Warehouse sale today; they were selling fabric by the POUND, it is a great deal!
Warehouse shopping going on-- fabric by the pound!
I ended up bringing home lots of pieces (pounds!!) for quilt backs as well as this fabric for these two quilts (below)-- a table topper for Christmas and a wall quilt for our youngest granddaughter for her birthday next January (backings on the bottom of the stacks). These will be projects to keep me busy at two upcoming retreats scheduled for next month--perfect timing! I hope your day is a pieceful one!

Life is Good!

14 October, 2019

Quilt Blocks to Placemats

It's a short jump from quilt blocks to placemats; and much more user-friendly than having quilt blocks stack up in the stash closet! I chose the tiny gray dot background for this years' BOM classes at my LQS; we're using Studio 180 tools this time: Wing Clipper, V-Block and Corner Beam; I love the sessions and the techniques but quickly realized that I can only make SO MANY quilts! Our son and his family have a newly renovated kitchen with a neutral gray palette and an idea was hatched. With the first four sessions done I had four 12" blocks with which to work.  These mats finish at 16" X 19". The pattern that I came up with is included below. I loaded them all onto one backing and batting and quilted them all at the same time using Keryn Emmerson's "Double Plume" pantograph-- quick and easy!
I'll bet if you searched you might have a quilt block or two that you could press into table service. There will be more placemats coming as this year progresses, maybe even a table runner to match!

Placemats from Quilt Blocks
These placemats were made from 12.5” (unfinished) quilt blocks.
Finished mats measure 16” X 19”

For each placemat, from border fabric:
Cut 2 pcs. 12.5” X 3.5”
Cut 2 pcs. 19.5” X 1.75”
From accent color fabric (also used for binding):
Cut 2 pcs. 12.5” X 1”
Cut 2 pcs. 19. 5” X 1”

I attached the narrow, accent color fabric to the border fabric first, using ¼” seam and then attaching these units to each quilt block; sides first, then top and bottom with ¼” seams.
Quilt as desired (that phrase always makes me laugh!). Square up mats.
Bind* with accent color.

* I used Quilter’s Dream Poly batting for these and cut my binding strips at 2.25”.


Life is Good!

10 October, 2019

Welcome Fall; We've Been Waiting!

At long last some cooler temperatures have arrived and it's feeling fall-like; the wait has been well worth it-- brisk mornings and pleasant afternoons under sapphire-blue skies. Quiltkeemosabe and I got together this week to work and compare notes on our progress with making, and writing up directions for, every one of the 202 six inch blocks from Rosemary Youngs' Quilt Block Bible. We have one more session scheduled and we'll be done! Hip, hip, hooray! I have three BIG binders full of blocks and notes.
This arrangement, above, contains 121 blocks; I will have a second, smaller, quilt with 81 blocks. After our final session we will set our quilts together and have a grand finale reveal party-- likely with lunch! 😉 We began this joint project five years ago. It will be a HUGE sense of accomplishment to finish this one up. After that we'll probably find another one; it's been a wonderful experience.
We celebrated my birthday and she gifted me this beautiful sampler kit as well as a pair of the teeny, tiny scissors (the package claims that they're the world's smallest functional scissors), they're 2.5"!
Speaking of that recent birthday. Both our daughter and our son gave me subscriptions to Sipsby; a tea gift box that arrives monthly. Neither one knew that the other was giving the gift, that's perfectly fine, my subscription is now twice as long! I filled out a form indicating my taste preferences and Sipsby takes it from there, putting together my own unique collection! The first box arrived yesterday. Such fun to discover what's included and try new (to me) and different teas. 
When the weather changes that's usually an indication that it's Fair time! This year was no exception. We spent yesterday afternoon walking around our local fairgrounds enjoying the exhibits and the grandchildren. Lynnleigh was surprised and thrilled to find that her "Hot Air Balloons" artwork from school was awarded a blue ribbon! 
 As always, a stroll through the quilt exhibition area is in order. I loved this colorful Kaleidoscope. 
But, this one truly drew me in; I love the graphic appeal of the spokes. I want to make one of these.
No trip to the fair would be complete without a walk to the midway. Lynnleigh broke a balloon and won a stuffed turquoise sloth. 

Gregory and Nana took a turn racing down the giant slide; 
you can see who won! A great time was had by all! 

Life is Good!

07 October, 2019

Leaving It All On The Table

I have started out the month by finishing up a couple of table toppers for fall. Both of these were done from charm squares. The first, shown left, is called "Split Square" and came straight from Country Threads' book: "Sew Charming". This was the small quilt that I hurriedly pieced together before the all-important block "trim down" stage. 🙄 As a result, it touched down in the bottom of the trash can for a period of time. A cooler head prevailed; rescued it, took it apart, trimmed it down and finished it. I am SEW happy that I did!
The second table topper to land on the table where we eat our meals and play our daily Cribbage matches is this one, below. Also made from charm squares but this time assembled as nine patches. I used the "Charming Nine Patches" approach to stitching up this one from the Country Threads blog  linked here
 This one has an antique-y feel withe the blocks joined one to another without sashing. The squares in each block finish to 1"; giving it also, a sort of woven appearance. I quilted it with the same pantograph (Paisley Max) and same tawny gold thread color as the Split Square above.
These two have given the kitchen table a bright and welcome face-lift for the new season. Grab yourself some charm squares and see how you might brighten up your space by leaving it all on the table. 
Now-- a PSA: I got my annual screening mammogram done this morning; yes, it just happens to be breast cancer awareness month. I celebrated with a Pink Ribbon bagel from Panera afterwards. These cherry vanilla bagels also just so happen to be my very favorites! Available only in October, I buy them up by the dozen and freeze them for the rest of the year. Our local Panera happens to be observing 100% of Pink Ribbon bagel sales for this week only donated to breast cancer research, check your local store for details (I believe the remainder of the month it's a portion of the sales); either way it's a true win-win!  If you like cherry-vanilla, this treat WON'T be left on the table! I promise. 
Life is Good!

04 October, 2019


I teased with this picture of stacked stars in a previous post. This quilt is a welcome transition from all those bright fabrics used when making Frank.
This is a long-abandoned project that needed to be brought to the front burner. I am inspired by Country Threads and their "Dirty Dozen" challenge this year. (The premise: identify 12 UFOs and give each a unique number from 1-12. Each month a number is selected and announced on their blog; that is the "assignment" for that month.) With determination and focus, the years' end will bring twelve completed projects! When I began collecting low volume prints I made a series of quilts for family members and cut this one out for myself. It was promptly forgotten. (I still collect low volumes; they're so appealing in their own, quiet, way. Sigh. Some habits are hard to break.) I absolutely LOVE this quilt and it is growing, it easily could become a master class in set-in seams!🙄 I have named it "A Kind of Hush" in honor of a old favorite Herman's Hermits song.
Eventually it will measure 56" X 72" when squared up, a good size; I'm already excited about quilting this one too! With all those set-in seams, though, there are lots of starts and stops. Quiltkeemosabe reminded me that I could make this without the set-ins by dividing the hexagons in half and sewing it in straight rows. yes, I could. But, I already had this all cut and ready. If nothing else, I am tenacious. 😉
Which means, with all those set-ins, that a bonus(!) quilt is growing at the same time; Leader-Ender style. You might remember that I cut oodles of tumblers this summer when cleaning out my charm square bins. I am in no danger of depleting the still-burgeoning tumbler basket! One can only use so many tumbler quilts, this one will be donated to a worthy cause. Waste not, want not. 
Speaking of using up what's on hand: a handful of leftover WOF scraps from the most recent nap blanket workshop (and a free afternoon) yielded enough to make this Streak of Sunshine child's quilt; another donation in the making. Yes, the machines are humming around here. We're finally transitioning, albeit VERY s-l-o-w-l-y, into fall and cooler temperatures here in the south. 
I discovered this friend when transitioning our front porch planters to colorful fall flowers!
Have you said your prayers today?

Life is Good!

Up next: leaving it all on the table. 

30 September, 2019

Lazy Sunday

Pure peace ~ hanging out with a friend in the sewing room on a lazy Sunday afternoon.🐾

Life is Good!