Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A MINI SEASON CHANGE...


This is the "mini" quilt that has sat on top of the curio cabinet in my foyer since Springtime.  My original goal was to make a "mini" for every season and holiday.  I haven't gotten very far, :o(

But that is about to change!

Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on a new Fall "mini".  It has been sitting on my cutting table for about a week now, with me "tweaking" the arrangement every time I walked into my sewing room.  Finally, this morning it looked "just right" and I ironed the appliques to the background.


I'm really happy with my fabric choices and how they all look together.  I am especially happy with how the pumpkins stand out against the other colors! 

I may not be able to make much headway over the next couple of days as the craziness in my life has gotten incredibly "out of hand".  But even if this "mini" isn't finished before Christmas I should still have a new Fall "mini" for next year!  Hey, we have to "accentuate the positives", right?

Toodles...

Thursday, September 8, 2016

TRYING SOMETHING NEW...


Back when I made my blue and white handbag, I made a "med bag" to go along with it.  As you can see the zipper has not held up to hard use!




As someone with numerous health issues...incuding diabetes, I need to carry around a LOT of supplies!  What I need is a bag that is bigger than the blue and white bag pictured above.


Quite a while back I was in a thrift store when I spotted this fabric.   The fabric turned out to be the makings of a dress that someone had chosen not to complete.  That's okay, their lack of motivation would be my gain!


However, I was in love with the WRONG SIDE of the fabric, problematic given the long pieces of colored thread on the back of the fabric.  There is no doubt that these threads would pull and break within the first 24 hours that the med bag was in my purse!  What to do?


Somewhere in my quilting/sewing experience I had heard about iron on vinyl.  I was anxious to see if this could provide a solution to the problem of loose threads on my chosen fabric.


I cut my fabric to 9 x 7 inches for the front and the same for the back.  I basted a seam across the top and bottom of the fabric where the colored threads were likely to unravel.  


I carefully followed the instructions on the bag of vinyl.  It was SO easy!


Within no time I had two squares of fabric covered in vinyl!  The mark on the right hand piece is a crease in the fabric that I was unable to iron out prior to applying the vinyl.  I think the fabric had been folded in a closet for a long, LONG time!  No matter, I planned to place that crease at the bottom of my med bag so it wouldn't be as obvious.


I went into my zipper box and found a metal zipper repurposed from something else.  Hopefully this zipper would hold up to excessive use!


I used my zipper foot to attach the zipper to the bag.


I repeated the process for the other piece of fabric.


I sewed across the zipper so that I could cut the large amount of excess zipper away.


 I folded back the zipper on the inside and ironed it flat.


 A little bit of top stitching and the back of the zipper would not get caught.


See how nice the first topstitching looks?


Using my Sizzix I cut some graduated sized flowers out of fabric that coordinated with the stripes.  I glued the button to the top flower and then sewed it in place with blue thread.


Here it is all attached, but it needed something secure the petals to prevent bending and creasing them in my purse!


I used my free motion foot to "thread paint" a lacey design on top of the flower.


I moved the zipper pull to the middle of the pouch to enable me to turn the pouch right side out after it was sewn  shut.


Here it is sewn all around and turned inside out.  As usual I really messed up the left side of the zipper.  I don't know WHY I have such a hard time with zippers!  However, my med bag will still work fine even though the zipper is not right!


Here it is all filled up!  I LOVE the vinyl on the outside as I will be able to wipe it clean as needed.  This bag is handled A LOT!!!


And the best part?   There is still room to add a few more items should the need arise...although I have more than my share of health problems and am not looking for any more!

All in all the iron on vinyl was a breeze to use and I would highly recommend it for its ease of use.  I will keep you posted as to how the vinyl wears over time.

Toodles...




Friday, September 2, 2016

BACK IN THE SADDLE...

After several weeks of feeling too "under the weather" to even turn on my sewing machine, I have spent two days this week making birthday gifts for J's lovely girlfriend.  Both of them are REALLY into camo, he the regular Realtree and his girlfriend the Realtree pink camo.  I am not much of a fan, but it is one of the plethora of things they have in common!


Several months ago G (J's dear girlfriend) had asked me to make her a headband.  I found a free pattern online and made the first of what I had planned to be 2-3 headbands (leaving room for one or two to be in the wash at a time).  However, after following the directions to the letter, I was unsure if this headband was exactly what she was looking for.  After giving it to her as part of her birthday gifts, we have both decided that the best course of action is for her to wear it for a while and determine what, if anything, she would like me to do differently when making more.


As part of her birthday presents, J had gotten her a new set of earbuds for her phone.  Many moons ago I had made myself a zippered pouch for my earbuds.  I loved how they were always safe and secure in their pouch and I could find them in a flash.  I showed her my pouch and asked if she thought she would like and/or use a pouch of her own.  She loved it and said that she would love to have one...in pink camo, LOL.  No big surprise there!  Even though I had made this pattern previously, my sewing machine was having major problems sewing through the multiple layers.  My thread broke at least 10 to 15 times and resulted in much muttering and cursing under my breath.  Some days I am SO happy that I am home alone for most of my sewing, LOL.  When it was finally finished I added a cute little silver heart...a constant reminder that she is the daughter of my heart!




A while back, G asked if I would like to spend some pamper time with her while she did both of our nails.  Because of my tremor, doing my own nails is an absolute impossibility.  We had a great time talking and laughing as she painted my nails...all the while trying to hold my fingers still!  It was quite the undertaking!  We talked about how she had to borrow the polish because hers had been taken without her permission and never given back.  I decided right then and there that I would be buying her some replacement nail polish for her birthday.  She also mentioned that she would love to have her nails done professionally...time spent being pampered and taken care of by someone else!  I remember the days of being a young mother and decided that a certificate to a local nail salon would also be part of her gift! 



I knew I had seen a pattern for a travel manicure set online, and with a little searching I came upon this wonderful free tutorial by Noodle-head.  What a GREAT way to package up the nail polish I was giving her! 




I can honestly say that this pattern by Noodle-head is fabulous!  It was SO easy to follow and the results were even better than I had hoped!


Here is her travel kit, all ready to go.  Before wrapping, I popped the certificate (appropriately pink) into the zippered section.  It was a little taller than the section so I couldn't close the zip...but it made it all the more obvious that there was an additional component to her gift. 

G seemed to love her presents and we have made plans to go to the nail salon together for manicures.  We could ALL do with a bit of pampering!  While never one for camo, I have to say I LOVE the way the Realtree pink camo fabric made up.  I guess it's finally growing on me!

Hopefully within the next few days I can knock out my huge basket of mending and then get back to the quilt for her adorable little boy, K, and also finish up the quilting on my first charity quilt.   I think I have finally gotten my mojo back! 

Stay tuned for more to come...

Toodles...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

ANOTHER YEAR OLDER, BUT A LIFETIME WISER...





I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past several days...some good, some bad...but all, for me, life-changing.  Turning 56 this week was a startling wake-up call.  It suddenly dawned on me that I am closer to death than I am to birth...at least statistically.  However, in spite of my age...or maybe partially because of it...I've never, EVER, been closer to LIFE.  Counting the years left in my "average life span", I realized I no longer have the luxury of postponing the life I want for lack of time, money, dedication or stamina.  Even if my age was of no consequence, the reality is that no one knows how much "time" he or she has left to do the really important things and BE the person they truly are deep inside.  We all waste SO. MUCH. TIME. 

I have not been doing as well physically since the middle of June.  I awoke in the wee hours, knowing immediately that something was very wrong.  I called for an ambulance while my dear, sweet, wonderful Hubby hobbled downstairs to open the front door.  In his panic he had forgotten to grab his cane, but the look of fear on his face told me it was of little importance.  In his heart and in his mind I have always come first...even when I have failed to notice.  I do not know what happened to me, nor do any of the doctors I have seen thus far.  I see my neurologist next week, and if she is clueless...then there IS no answer to be found at this time.  Maybe no answer means no improvement.  Maybe it doesn't.  Maybe this is my new normal but, amazingly, that's okay too.  After two months it is high time for me to get back to life.  Denying that my condition is worse, stomping my feet, ranting and raving, “vegging” while waiting for an improvement, or “negotiating” with God isn’t helping me.  Swimming up stream is only good for salmon! It is time to accept and move on.   

Most importantly, it is time to truly LIVE.  It's time to tell the love of my life ALL of the wonderful things he means to me.  The things I longed to say to him on that early morning in June when I thought our time together was over.  It is time to tell him that I am better for sharing my life with him and that my love is eternal.  It is time to tell my sweet boy how much love, laughter and hope he has brought into this world...for us, his parents, and for those he touches every day.  It's time to tell the wonderful woman he loves how she and her child have brought laughter, love and peace into our hearts and our home.  It's time to tell my parents how much I appreciate the love and sacrifices they have made for me.  For it is they who taught me of love and commitment and gave me the courage to bring a tiny life into this world.  It is time to tell my Dear Aunt that she will always be my best friend and confidant...the sister I never had.  It's time to tell my dear brother in law and sister in law how much I cherish them in my life.  My friends, both old and new, near and far need to know that my life is much richer because of their love and support.  It's time to tell them all...NOW. 

My recent health scare and birthday have brought into focus that which I wish I had seen sooner...we ALL need to be closer to LIFE.  I don't know what tomorrow will bring.  Maybe I will live to be 132!  Maybe not.  But I DO know that I will try my damnedest to live every second of every minute.  People are all that matter.  People, love, laughter and light are what life is all about.  It's time to really live.    





Sunday, August 14, 2016

FIVE MINUTES TO MAKE DO...


A few weeks ago my Dear Aunt was heading away for two weeks of vacation bliss.  She was trying to reduce the weight of her purse and didn't want to carry the heavy leather cover on her tablet.  But since the tablet would be in her purse, she needed something to protect the screen from the myriad stuff that fills every woman's purse!

She stopped by my house to see if any of my miscellaneous fabric bags could work.  Nope.  Not a one would fit.  I knew I had to have SOMETHING in my sewing room that could be pressed into service...in a matter of FIVE MINUTES!

Back in 2010-2011 when I rethreaded my old sewing machine for the first time in YEARS, I used some miscellaneous charm squares I had purchased on ebay to begin making a sewing machine cover.  If my machine was going to be set up all the time, it needed to be protected!  Fast forward six months or so and I traded my old sewing machine in for my new Ellure Plus.  I was thrilled with my new machine, but saddened that my sewing machine cover was way too small.  I kept the partially completed cover hoping that some day I would find a use for the now "scrap" partially quilted fabric. 

In those five minutes of forced creativity I pulled out the cover, used one of the finished edges for the top of the bag and with two swipes of the rotary cutter and two seams the bag was finished.  There wasn't even enough time for me to press out the wrinkles or add a velcro closure to the top.  Even so, my Dear Aunt was thrilled and the bag worked PERFECTLY to protect her tablet for travel.  She promised that one day she will bring it over for me to make a closure and give it a good pressing.   Even wrinkled, though, we are both thrilled with the outcome of a 5 minute "make do".

Toodles...

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

MURPHY IS AT IT AGAIN...


Yesterday evening we had a really bad storm.  First it was a downpour and then we began to hear what we thought was hail.  We ran to the front door.  Yup...HAIL!  I asked J if he saw any green looking sky but he said he didn't.  His dear girlfriend and he went out to turn over the porch furniture before it was blown through the porch railing, again.  Suddenly, and I do mean SUDDENLY, the wind started coming from the complete opposite direction.  J screamed for his girlfriend to get in the house and for us to run to the basement.  He was FIGHTING to hold onto the storm door while his girlfriend took the 10 steps to reach the door...and J is a big guy with shoulders like a football player!  I looked at his face and he was PETRIFIED!  About 6-8 years ago we were struck by lightning and he was no more than 20 feet from where it struck our house.  I saw that look again! 

This is the result of the 5 minute wind...



The damage was caused by this...


My next door neighbor's shutter...from the FAR side of the front of her house! 


If you look at this picture of a car accident in front of our houses that occurred last year, my house is the gray house with the porch and the open garage.  Note, the big bushes next to my garage had to be taken out to put the siding on the house.  They probably would have stopped the damage, :o(  The shutter came off of my neighbor's bottom window all the way to the right. 

So this shutter was torn off of her house on the point furthest from my house and then circled BACK AROUND to blow in between our two houses and hit the window and downspout on the side of my garage, about 3 to 6 feet off of the ground...with enough force to cause this damage!    J was right...the wind was going in a circle when he screamed for us to get to the basement!  And I don't even think my new siding and gutters are three months old yet!!!!  I can't even cry...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

FREE MOTION QUILTING MY CHARITY QUILT...


After I had completed all of the "stabilizing" quilting in the ditch with gray thread, it was time to bring a bit of color into the 5 columns of gray tumblers that comprise the very center of the quilt. 


While at a recent quilt show I was intrigued by the idea of using a variegated thread, and this beauty fit the bill perfectly!


It is a thread made by Superior Threads... SO FINE #733.  Please excuse the blurry photos, my tremor has been in all of its glory recently.  I really do need a camera with image stabilization!


My machine is not able to utilize cone thread, so I purchased a free standing thread holder to go along with my thread purchase.  It is working wonderfully!  First, using my walking foot, I quilted vertical lines inside of the center tumbler column to mimic the scrappy colored columns.  Then I decided it was time to add a little bit of free motion quilting. 

While my quilt is very "scrappy", many of the scraps have a decidedly "girlish" vibe to them.  I did not want whoever was responsible for dispensing the charity quilts to look at the overall coloration and deem it "unisex".  I was afraid that some poor little tyke would suffer ridicule when his quilt was found to contain floral fabrics.  Children can sometimes be cruel, even without intention.  So I decided that flowers were definitely in order, making the decision of a female recipient indisputable.   Again, to echo the scrappy strips, they would be quilted vertically in the center of the first/second gray tumbler seam and third/fourth gray tumbler seam.


After a bit of time "playing" on Pinterest, I came across the perfect design.  It was posted to Pinterest by coisasdaprofessoraerica.blogspot.com.  After printing it out and enlarging it by over 300%, I had a design that was the right size and overall vertical flow for my quilt.



Several years ago I had learned of the technique of placing several sheets of this thin paper beneath your design and sewing through the design sheet (without thread) to make "copies" of the design on the tissue paper below.  I had tried the technique and it had not worked as well as I would have hoped.  More than likely it was user error!  Now, however, I decided to utilize my quilting paper in an alternate way.


I placed a sheet of the paper over the design and traced it with a thin Sharpie marker.  Over and over I repeated this process.  Then I pinned the designs onto my quilt, using the registration marks (the tiny "z")  to assure proper vertical continuation of the design.


I reduced the stitch length to 1.2 on my machine to make it easier to remove the tissue paper and tried free motion quilting just one section of the design.  If I didn't like the way it looked, or if it didn't work the way I had hoped, I would only have to use my seam ripper on a tiny area.  After tearing off the paper, I found that I really LOVE it and will continue with the quilting on another day when my tremor has quieted and my quilting is a little less jerky.

When I am done the two vertical columns of flowers I will continue with straight line quilting using my walking foot and then some filler quilting with my FMQ foot.  For me quilt design is always a "process", completing one step at a time...with each subsequent step determined by the "look" of the quilt after each completion.  I can't WAIT until I'm more steady and I can continue the fun!  More to come!

Toodles...