18 September, 2019

Home Again, Home Again

I'm back! You may not have noticed the absence, I have been slow to post lately and got too busy to load any posts ahead of time before being in New England for the last week and a half. As you can see, I was lucky enough to visit Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH on Saturday last week, it was a rainy day and where better to spend time? And, yes, I found some goodies! 😁

Right around the corner of the porch on which I am standing is the site of the new Pineapple Fabrics store. It is featured as one of the top ten quilt shops in the current BH&G Quilt Sampler magazine; it does not disappoint, either! This space is filled with precuts; colorful displays, a wonderful room in which to relax (for quilter's spouses or those waiting on shoppers) equipped with a television, comfy chairs and complimentary beverages-- take a peek at the one minute video hyper-linked above-- you'll see!
A quick stop for Cider Bellies, donuts freshly made and hot out of the fryer, at a farm stand on the way to Keepsake made for a perfect day's outing! These may have been consumed in the car before even leaving the parking lot! Ah, fall in New England-- I wish you could have smelled this place, the donuts are positively irresistible!
Time spent in New England was precious family time. I carried a stack of quilt labels to document my Mother's quilts for her. Last time I visited we photographed and jotted pertinent data for each one.
This trip I sat and added the labels to the backs of each one. Don't ever neglect to document your quilts and include your quilt's name, your name, the year and where you were living when you made it; that's pretty much the bare minimum of what should goes on your label; naturally, if you can add more information it doesn't hurt (pattern name and/or source, quilter's name if different than piecer, etc.); you may think that you'll always remember and a label isn't necessary. Believe me, it really, truly is!!

My sister gave me this precious antique child's iron and ironing board during the visit. I still can't believe it; it reminds me so much of the ironing board that I had when I was three years old. I love it!

There's more to share and I know that I need to get back to the "little houses" teaser from the last post. I will, I promise. In the meantime: the pattern winner from that same post is Pat, she will be receiving a Lemoyne Trails pattern in the mail in the next few days; thanks to all of you for playing along! For the rest of the day I will be finishing laundry and settling back in. Dorothy knew best, even though it's wonderful to travel there really is no place like home

Life is Good! 

06 September, 2019


It's been a summer of finishing up. This photo is of our Pastor at the end of August; she has been serving our congregation as an Interim Pastor and has finished her time with us. A few of us knew that she would need a proper send-off and of course that always requires a quilt to commemorate the occasion! Quiltkeemosabe just so happened to have this Lemoyne Trails top already finished and asked if I could quilt it and get it ready in time; not to worry!

I believe that she loved it! It was a joy to work on, too. I have this pattern and never had sewn it up but am inspired to make one of my own now. Actually, I have TWO of these patterns, if anyone reading would like to have the pattern and uses Deb Tucker's Studio 180 tools (this one requires the Rapid Fire Lemoyne and Square Squared tools) let me know in a comment and I will randomly select a winner next week and send it off to you.
Another project finished up: at church we have been collecting back to school supplies to stuff backpacks for disaster response. The supplies had been stashed until they could all be stretched out on long tables (our Women's Group meets at our LQS) and the backpacks could be filled assembly-line style.
Twenty six filled backpacks were prepared and sent to a local warehouse where they're undoubtedly headed now to Hurricane Dorian destroyed areas in need of immediate assistance. 
On the home front-- another scrappy tumbler quilt is completed. I finally realized, a few weeks ago, where that "missing" tumbler quilt had disappeared to; it was donated and I had completely forgotten about doing that. This is the third one that I have made and, after just receiving a gift of filled charm bins from Quiltkeemosabe who has been cleaning out, it seems that it certainly won't be my last one. 

Hexie Garden is completely done, too. It's been a fruitful season for finishes-- finishing strong and finishing well; hopefully the harvest from this season continues. I'm inspired and not slowing down yet; neither are the UFOs that I continue to discover!  

Life is Good!

Coming up next: where are these cute little houses going to end up?
Stay tuned...

05 September, 2019

Which Came First?

Which came first-- the dog or the quilt? Well, definitely, the dog came first; last month he celebrated his fifteenth birthday, but, he assuredly inspired this quilt pattern, don't you think? There's been a LOT going on in the sewing space these days, so much so, in fact, that I am woefully behind in posting to this blog. Hannes hangs out with me here in the studio and yesterday, when I looked up, this is what was looking back at me. So sweet! 😍

Speaking of Hannes and quilts-- do you remember when Lynnleigh insisted that Hannes have his own birthday quilt? She put some orphan String-X blocks together and we had a Hannes-sized nap quilt that same day. 

Since then it has been quilted, bound and enjoyed fully!

In honor of National Wildlife Day yesterday, we've been up close and personal with nature around here this summer. Our THIRD bluebird family fledged last week, five more babies(!) and twin fawns have been seen in the woods behind our home all summer as they've grown.
This smallish deer was spotted out the kitchen window while doing dishes the other day (sibling is on the very far left, almost out of frame); we were privileged to witness the baby bluebirds launching out into the world late one afternoon.
This wall quilt was worth the wait; begun in 1999 and hung last week in our bedroom. I just love waking up to this one each morning. 
 I had been working on this "Split Square" small quilt to use as a table topper, gathering the "charms" from my own scraps. (Pattern from Sew Charming by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene). I pieced the blocks leader-ender style while working on other things. When it was time to set it together it DID NOT work! The edges didn't line up, but I struggled to make things fit. I "webbed" it using chain piecing but when I finally began sewing the rows together horizontally it was horrendous AWFUL. All the steam in the world could not convince these blocks to lay flat; there were puckers and pleats everywhere. I balled it up and threw it in the trash. I was defeated. But then, it began calling to me from the depths of my trashcan. "I wonder", I thought, "did I miss a step?" I went back to the book and realized that I had, indeed, missed a step-- a BIG ONE; the trim down! 🙄
I dug it out. I took it apart. I trimmed down the blocks (see above). I reassembled. Voila! Success. 
There is a lesson to be learned here-- don't give up, always do your best and read ALL the directions!
Let me conclude today on a sweet note. I have lots more to post, stay tuned; but in the meantime let me recommend this recipe that I got from our daughter-in-law for Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake that's mixed and cooked in the crock pot. It is easy to assemble and absolutely delicious. We topped ours with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Which came first here? The ice cream-- Mr. Goodneedle is an ice-cream making machine; he lives to try new flavors and crank out more batches, but in this instance, it matters not which came first; combined in the same bowl at the same time is perfection!

Life is Good!

22 August, 2019

Birthday Boy, Then and Now

This little boy turns 39 today! 
Fast forward to this morning.
Our wish for him is the same today as it was 33 years ago:
"Here's hoping that you have the happiest of days 
surrounded by all of the things (and folks) that you love most!"
Happy birthday, son!
Life is Good!  

21 August, 2019

Back to the Bible

If you have read my blog for a while, you might remember that a few years back Quiltkeemosabe and I embarked upon an adventure: we challenged each other by committing to Rosemary Youngs' book: The Quilt Block Bible by making, and writing instructions for, each of the 202 six inch blocks pictured in the book!

We kept up pretty well for a time-- meeting monthly for an exchange of information and to eat lunch together. But then, as often happens, life crowded in and our progress was halted. The last time that I even posted about this project was back in September of 2017; at that point I had this much done and was working on more. We realized this summer that we have well over the majority done, and with one final push we can get over that finish line! I began piecing and writing again (above, left).
We will meet again next week. I have almost all of my assigned twenty blocks prepared and ready. 
These "Split Square" blocks emerged as a "leader-ender" bonus from all that Bible block piecing.  
And in the meantime:  Hexie Garden is off the frame today, I am really fond of this "Diamonds Are Forever" pantograph by Urban Elementz. I believe it really adds to overall quilt design. I will bind it in navy.
Life is Good!

16 August, 2019

Handy Tip and Tidying Up

In an effort to finish as many projects as I can this summer I have adopted the practice of binding for a few hours each and every evening while watching TV before bedtime. We don't watch television in the lightest and brightest of all rooms which makes needle threading a challenge. I have started pre-threading my hand needles during the day and have them ready to go now when I sit down to bind. I found this super-duper needle threader when cleaning out some of my Mom's sewing accessories and few months back. I have found it to be sturdy, as well as pretty and substantial; but, best of all, it threads even the finest of straw needles! I am now threading up five or six needles with whatever color thread I will be binding with and place them into the handy-dandy domed needle case to use later. Can you thread up needles ahead and place them into a square of flannel or felt? Sure. But this is a much more efficient and safe way to store them, read on.
This was also found in the recent clean-out. I have fallen heir to many valuable treasures from my Mom's sewing box. The way this works is this: the threaded needles are each inserted into a slot and wound into the case by spinning the center wheel. You can see a demo here. I love this; it really works and definitely earns its place in your chair-side sewing box besides being a fun little "toy" to have! Both of these notions are by Clover and I assure you that I receive no compensation from Clover, only my tried and true recommendation. Check them out. 
Placing the domed cover over your threaded needles, it locks into place, making this completely portable.
You can toss it into your to-go bag and your threaded needles will be tangle-free and ready to use!

Speaking of efficiency; I have been spinning my wheels in the sewing room lately; I have been busy as a bee but not showing much forward progress. A quick look around revealed why. I had piles of mess everywhere! Every pattern I had been thinking about, book that I had pulled off the shelf, piece of fabric that I had dragged out and half-finished project was either piled up or draped over something else. It was high time to clear the deck so that I could breathe think work again!
In less than an hour and a half I had everything cleaned up: sorted, stashed, filed and/or completed. Work surfaces were cleared, (except for what I am actually working on) and order was restored.
First thing: I got caught up with the latest BOM blocks from my LQS. Without all the piles surrounding me I worked quickly; it felt good to be unencumbered, I tidied right back up when I was done. I can now enter this space again with a lighter, free-er feeling and get right down to business. Am I alone in this or can you relate? That tidying that we put off can really drag us down to the point where we get nothing accomplished. The amazing thing (at least to me) is that it never takes long to restore order!
I placed an order for fabric the other day. Imagine my delight to learn, when I opened the package, that I had hit a jackpot! A full three quarter yards of jackpot, too; WOW, it was my lucky day! 😊

Life is Good!

09 August, 2019

Under The Needle

It's been a whiz-bang, speedy summer so far.  My decision to make this season the one of "finishing up projects started" may just have to become the year of that; and that's okay! I have Hexie Garden on the rails currently, Snowbird  and I are having fun quilting it up, I am using a new (to me) pantograph called "Diamonds Are Forever" by Urban Elementz and I really am quite pleased with the effect. I took this photo before the sun came up this morning with only the light from the machine to show up the quilting; in the daylight it's quite subtle. 
This Charming Nine is small, it's just a flimsy measuring 25" X 28". It is, as the name implies, simply a nine patch sewn from two charm packs. Joined block to block like this gives it an antique look. I stitched it up (or, rather, finished stitching it up-- who knows how long ago it was begun!!) leader-ender style along with the in-progress scrappy tumbler below.  It will become a table-topper.
Three more rows to go on this tumbler and it will replace the one that I have either misplaced or lost somewhere along the line this summer! Stitching this together while working on other things makes it grow almost magically!
And last, but not least; another tea wallet for gift-giving. 
And sew it goes-- what's under YOUR needle these days?

Life is Good! 

07 August, 2019

Nap Blankets 2019

Nap Blankets 2019  ~ Ready for the first day of the new school year.
I have posted about making Nap Blankets before, I am blessed to be a part of a small quilt group that is dedicated to supplying an elementary school in our local system with a nap blanket for each child enrolled in the Pre-K program there; that is 45 blankets-- three classrooms with fifteen children each. I have posted about this program before, here. I believe that our group has been doing this for the last nine years, that's 405 nap blankets so far! You can read more about the program, part of our greater Quilt Guild here.   
Here you see some of the nap blankets going through the rigors of "quality control". She's tough! 😉

 From a previous post: "These blankets are simply constructed with two one yard lengths of child-friendly fabric, a front and a back. They're sewn right sides together, turned and top-stitched around the edges and with a corner to corner "X" through both layers, there is no batting."  

I  am grateful to be a member of such a generous group of quilting friends; we are all blessed with so much, this annual project elicits nothing but pure joy.

Life is Good!