17 July, 2017

Forced Expulsion and Other Happenings

Bear with me through this post, it has lots of photos and a weekend update too. This was my the state of my sewing room on Friday. Being banished from the studio has resulted in a change of pace and tidier, better organized spaces in other parts of the house; not necessarily a bad thing! I have to admit, just looking at the plastic drapes, floor cloths and chaos in my favorite room gives me a case of the jitters. But, the face lift will be worth it. Freshly painted wall surfaces, ceiling and trim will revitalize the appearance of the room and recharge my creative energy when I return.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.
So, late last week I tackled dresser drawers and my closet. The closet was a MAJOR undertaking. It was in dire need of cleaning out and organizing! I did not take a before photo. Trust me, it was bad. I organized from the top down. Shelves first, and then hanging items. At long last all of the wire coat hangers (how do the multiply exponentially?) are gone, replaced by cleaner and quieter plastic hangers.
I used the one year rule for identifying items to be donated. Some items had taken up valuable closet space for ten to fifteen times that! Of course, keepsake items have been retained. But, even with those were carefully scrutinized first. I was ruthless.
This was the final result. I thought I was done. Neat, tidy, organized. I felt like my clothes could breathe again, I know I was breathing easier having this task behind me, it had weighed me down for a very long time. Speaking of weight though, if only those closet rods could talk!
The donation bags ready to go. You can't tell relative scale here, these are 42 gallon bags. I "borrowed" the bags from my husband's workshop. They are "contractor grade" plastic, 3 mil thick, they're very strong and sturdy. It's a good thing because I filled them and they were HEAVY.  I am thankful now that those closet rods never buckled, in all truthfulness they've had the largest load lifted from them. Wow.
About the time I was finishing up the closet I received a desperate phone call from our daughter. She needed some help with Lucy Ann, our son-in-law was traveling and she and Mason were on their way to the hospital, he was in need of an emergency appendectomy! As luck would have it, our son was in the car at the time, near the Capital City. Uncle Kyle to the rescue. He picked her up and brought her to us.
Here's Mason after his successful surgery. It was a textbook procedure and he was on his way home (yes, HOME!) two hours later. His Daddy arrived back in town just before Mason went into surgery. The surgery, performed laparoscopically, plus an otherwise healthy young boy combined to make this procedure, in essence, one of out-patient status. This seems almost unbelievable to me. Twenty six years ago his own mother was in the hospital for three days when she had the same surgery; and she didn't get souvenir photos of her procedure to bring home! Mason not only has photos but stories to share too!
Meanwhile, back at Chez Goodneedle, little Miss Lucy Ann had a fun sleepover with Nana and Paw Paw and staged a perfectly wonderful fashion show on Saturday, modeling her mother's old prom dresses! These sparkly sequined dresses, a pair of rhinestone-studded sandals and her imagination were all she needed for a great morning of dress-up fun. We returned her to her family later in the day, she was eager to get home and check on her big brother. 
Yesterday after church I showed off my now clean closet to my son and daughter-in-law. (Yes, I lead a very exciting life!) My daughter-in-law, after complimenting me on getting rid of  all those horrible wire coat hangers,  graciously informed me that I was using the wrong style hangers for my slacks. She pointed out how this style (above) has the vertical posts to stabilize them for the weight of slacks on the bottom bar. I had no idea! A few substitutions were easily made and I was in complete plastic coat hanger compliance! Am I the only one who didn't know this?
All is well.
And back in the Capital City: Legos and a lap tray. Let the healing begin.
Life is Good!

05 July, 2017

Successful Binding

I have a few quilts with the binding attached and hand basted into position, they patiently wait for their turn at the finishing hand work. I have already explained my preferred method for attaching binding, but this post is focused on how to precut those binding strips for a smooth and successful application. Before I cut the binding strips I measure all four raw edges, add those numbers together and add another ten inches to the total for good measure. That ten inches allows plenty of room for joining the two binding ends together at the end. Using that final sum I divide that number by 42", the normal width of the selected fabric chosen and set aside for binding. That figure is the number of WOF strips needed to bind the quilt. I cut my binding strips 2.25". Multiplying the number of strips needed by your preferrred cut binding width will reveal how much total fabric you will need for binding. After I cut the proper number of binding strips I do the pre-trimming necessary to make perfect 45 degree joins without dog ears or second guessing where to sew the joining seam.
 I use the Creative Grid Quick Trim and Circle Ruler for perfect results every. single. time!
By aligning the 45 degree angle line of the ruler along the top of the strip and precisely placing the right edge of the strip along the corner line the exposed strip fabric can be trimmed away.

The binding strips can now be joined, RST, in the usual fashion, but without those pesky dog ears they line up neatly and sewing from corner to corner is exactly at the 1/4" seam line.

 I press all of the joins open revealing a perfect seam every time.
Once all of my binding is made and pressed I wrap it around a piece of cardboard to keep it neat and place it together with the quilt top until I am ready to attach it. Sometimes I even make the binding ahead of time and it's ready to go when I am. I hope you'll consider using this ruler the next time you are ready to make binding strips. Binding strips isn't the reason that I bought this ruler, however! I bought it because I saw a flawless mitered napkin edge hem demonstrated using this tool. Have I made the napkins yet? Of course not! But I can when I'm ready, I have the ruler!! 
Life is Good!

04 July, 2017

Turning Sunflowers Into Fireworks

I've been looking at my cookie cutters creatively. How could I use that sunflower cutter in other ways?

I could add fireworks for the 4th! Wishing you all a safe and happy celebration today.

Happy Independence Day!
Life is Good!

03 July, 2017

The Closet That Keeps On Giving

The quilting is done on "Red Hot Summer", the binding and label have been attached, the handwork to see it through to completion is ongoing; in the meantime the next oldest flimsy from the stash closet is up, on deck, and ready to go. Quiltkeemosabe reminded me this morning of the year that this block-of-the-month represents: 2008. Nine years old, not bad. This one will be custom quilted, no pantograph this time. The pattern for these blocks came from Quakertown Quilts; I decided on the linear, on point, setting.  No name has been assigned yet; any ideas?
And so, I set to work; feathering everything in my path!
Each block will get it's own variation on the theme.

Meanwhile this is going on. Needless to say, it will all be worth it in the long run. However, dealing with this mess, dust and chaos on a daily basis are sorely testing my anxiety level. The kitchen is done, the dining room and foyer are currently under assault. Next week, the studio. YIKES! I may just break out in hives thinking about being banished for days on end. I have a BIG project planned during the painting session in there, clear down at the other end of the house, it's one I have been putting off and welcome the forced eviction (at least that's what I am telling myself today); a complete cleaning out of my dresser drawers and closet! 😲  That should take a while and keep me out from underfoot. We'll see... 

Life is Good!

22 June, 2017

Quilting By The Numbers

After~ Pantographs, arranged numerically with accompanying directory on top.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post I chose to use a specific pantograph for quilting the "Red Hot Summer" quilt that is currently loaded onto Snowbird.
That very action: searching for and locating the chosen pantograph was a completely frustrating and time-wasting activity task chore. Up until yesterday the pantographs were arranged in the unorganized jumble as pictured above. The method for selection was haphazard at best; pulling rolls out of the repurposed, expandable wine rack that is housed in the bottom section of the sewing machine cabinet, until I got lucky and found what I was looking for. "There has to be a better way", I thought.  I already had a computer file listing all of  the pantographs that I own, created for potential quilting customers a few years ago. I decided to print it out, assign a number to each entry, and subsequently create matching numbers to attach to each paper pantograph roll. The whole project took me approximately two hours; it will pay for itself, time-wise, in short order. The feeling of accomplishment in taming this jumble is, to me, priceless! Keeping the directory up to date on looseleaf pages allows for future entries to be logged in and added, page by page, over time. It's a good system.

Meanwhile, that Waterworld quilting is coming along quite nicely.

Life is Good!

21 June, 2017

Summer Stitches

"Red Hot Summer" ~ 60.5" X 68.5"
Today is the first day of summer, bring it on! As a way to commemorate this premiere day of my favorite season of the year I have pulled out this Stack and Whack flimsy and loaded it onto Snowbird for quilting. I completed this top probably ten years ago. 
These "sand men" on the beach and related surf items combine to create wonderful kaleidoscopic effects, just as delightful today as they were to me back in 2007!

I didn't have enough of any one fabric for the backing, but I did manage to scare up enough of several coordinating sand and sea fabrics to compose a pieced back with a few big swaths of the featured large scale print for posterity. 
The pantograph I chose is "Waterworld" and the thread color is "sand". The beach motif is complete!
Let the fun begin!
How are you observing this number one day of summer at your house?

Life is Good!

18 June, 2017

Doubly Blessed

I arranged these two bouquets last evening, they graced the altar at church this morning. I come from the tradition, in a large church, where, when it was the Sunday that you dedicated the altar flowers, they were ordered for you by the church secretary and just showed up, arranged and delivered by a local florist to the specific norms adopted by the church. And then there was Grace, our mission church. We meet in the chapel of a funeral home and, until fairly recently, we trotted out the same silk arrangements every week. A few months back we adopted the precious tradition of signing up for a particular week and bringing flowers from home. There are no stipulations, they can be as elaborate or as simple as the donor chooses; anything from professionally arranged florist bouquets to cut flowers from one's own garden or even potted, flowering plants. It's exciting each week to see what fellow members choose to bring, since it's a personal choice we learn more about each other through this service opportunity; it's always interesting to me to see what someone may bring on a particular Sunday and why. Today was our Sunday, I signed up weeks ago, these flowers were dedicated to my mother and father this morning as they are celebrating doubly: today being both Father's Day and my mother's birthday! It is a joy-filled day, our family is doubly blessed. So, back to the arrangements being readied last evening, I thought for a moment about how we could transport two vases in the car without spilling water. I cut two holes in a shipping box after taping it shut all around and slipped the vases inside. Voilà! (I haven't lived with an engineer for over forty-two years without picking up a trick or two.) It worked out just perfectly.
Happy birthday, Mom, happy Father's Day, Dad.
These altar flowers today are dedicated to the glory of God in your honor.
Life is Good!