Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tension and discord in the sewing room!

My plan was to spend some quality hours in the sewing room today. Yesterday I made this. It was fun and fairly quick (if you don't count fabric selection time). I decided to get some more made today and put them away for xmas gifts. Perfect for co-workers. Know what it is? A quilted folder!! Pretty cute huh? You can find the tutorial here. I used a pretty sturdy interfacing and Heat n Bond fusible. I think that might explain why somebody named Bernie, as in Bernina, was in a major snit this morning. She behaved yesterday and I had no trouble stitching this folder.

But look at this mess! This is the back of the second folder I tried making today. There was frequent jerking, skipped stitches, two broken needles, and little rats' nests on the back. I cleaned out my machine, rethreaded everything, put on new needles, and what did I get?

This mess!Loot at that awful edge! It seems Bernie and I are fighting. I got the last word in though.......I turned her off, heh heh! I decided to iron up all of the fabric that I dyed the last two days. By the way Bernie, you aren't the only machine in the stable you know. So I plugged in the iron and started on my mountain of purty colored fabric. That's when I discovered that it was Me against the Machines, argh! As my steam iron heated up....all of a sudden - blurp! - my iron spit up a splatter of brown water onto the ironing board. Gross! Luckily it missed my fabric. If you recall this post, you know that I am hard on irons. They are expensive too which is why I only spent $35.00 on the current 'barfing' iron. Ya get what ya pay for dontcha ?
Let's move on shall we? How about I show you a few snaps of my fabric dyeing? First of all, I soaked my fabric in soda ash and hot water. When I ordered my dyes from Dharma Co., I also ordered 10 yards of 'ready to dye' Kona cotton. I cut this into half and quarter yard pieces.

I set up a table outside, lined it with damp towels , and lined up everything I would need. The book said to mix the dyes in a blender and then pour them into containers, so I did just that. My understanding is that the dyes will keep for a while as long as they don't get contaminated with any of the soda ash. I mixed shades of blue in these canning jars and let some cuts of fabric soak for some time. I learned that you need to add more water than you think to get a significantly lighter shade.

I squeezed the dye out and let the fabric sit for a while.

Then I lay them out on the grass to dry. I tried sprinkling some rice on one panel to use as a resist, it didn't do much. Oh well.

This is a view from the upper deck of the second day's work. I discovered the hard way that I needed to use a new patch of lawn. I draped a wet yellow panel on some grass that had blue on it from the day before. Oops, a few blue spots. (I meant to do that, lol.)

So check these out! Yummy! Not bad for my first attempt.

And while I was at it, I scrounged around and picked out some black and white and white on white fabric scraps to try overdyeing. Very cool! I really like the blue on the far right and the yellow. Both were white on white fabrics. I put a couple of black and white pieces into dark dye baths and that was a mistake. The black design just disappears. It works much better in dilute dyes.

And finally!! The promised extra peeks at my sewing space. I swiped this unit out of my daughter's room. It holds a LOT of fabric.

Too bad the bottom compartment has shelves in it. I really wanted to put Bernie in time out with her friend the iron.

Previously my fabrics have been kept in these wire basket units. I've lost interest in them, some times they fall out. I have four of these units, two holding up my cutting table and two under my Big Board ironing surface. I am pondering new uses for them. They also add to the cluttered look in the room, maybe I should put a little skirt around them. Yeah, maybe next year.
Okay, this was a long post. I hope you made it to the end without snoring. If anyone has any ideas for making Bernie behave, please let me know. Thanks and good nite!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Keeping my promise.

I'm back, and I'm ready to show you a few peeks of my revised sewing space. I still have LOTS of organizing to do but I started with the floor plan. I made myself a cubicle. I can sit in my swivel chair and turn from cutting table to sewing machine to storage. I'm working on the ironing surface, I'll show you that tomorrow. Notice the TV? It keeps me company during sewing marathons. This is the view from within my 'cubicle'.

Oh look! Guess what came yesterday? Yup, the set is now complete. Now I have to figure out how to use it. It's important to mention that when I spend long periods of time holed up in this room with the TV on, I am not only sewing and playing but also doing the family's laundry. That's right people, I spend hours slaving in the laundry room. It's important to have my family wearing clean, fresh clothes. And I'm willing to spend the time to make it happen.

Tomorrow, I'll show a few more shots of the sewing room. Right now, I want to show you the goodies I got at the quilt show. I had a budget and guess what, I went over it. But, my my my it was fun. I went to the show with hopes of seeing a Bernina booth. I want to get a gathering foot for my 'Bernie'. But they weren't there! Waah! I also want to find a tumbling block template. I don't expect to ever have an Accuquilt Go, unless I win one, so I'll have to cut my own tumbling blocks. There were a ZILLION rulers and templates. But not one tumbling block. Guess I'll have to make my own durned template. Anyway, I found other things to spend my dollars on. Check out the new Kaffe I found. Pencils!

And this crazy ombre dots!

And lucious florals! I couldn't resist.

Oops! Late in the day, I remembered that my goal this year was to build my stash of solids. So, I got busy. I couldn't resist the pretty geometric print, especially when I saw how good it looked with my solids. Uh, well........... all right, all right!!!! I picked up the geometric print first. But look how good it looks with those colors! See the cheddar? My friend, Pat, found it first. I had directed her to the sale bin and she picked it right up. I couldn't believe I had overlooked it. I think I must have whined a bit because Pat, one of the nicest friends ever, shared it with me. Yahoo!! It has quite a kick, dontcha think?

I limited myself to just ONE quilt book. I looked at tons and at times I had three or more in my hands. But I narrowed it down and couldn't resist this. Frieda Anderson has awesome, clear directions for fabric dyeing. Perfect timing too.

Huh? How did this get here? Gosh, I just don't think I can be held responsible. I haven't ever found a Quilter's 12 step program, have you? Until I find one, I'm just going to have to struggle by myself. This book is very cool and it reminded me of some quilts that Victoria from Bumble Beans makes. The cover quilt is also very similiar to the style of my Bubbles pillow. Isn't this cover just gorgeous?
And one more thing, I got a little bit of this fabric. I have seen a couple different tutorials online for making Memory game pieces. This fabric is perfect for that. Did you ever play Memory? All those little square cards. You turn two over at a time and try to remember where everything is so you can make pairs.

So I spent some time this afternoon playing with interfacing and fusible. I have a good start on some great gifts. See the finished pieces at the bottom? I just zigzagged around them. Easy peasy but I expect the zigzagging with be time consuming. I think I'll make some cutie pie bags to put these game pieces in.

Tomorrow, I'll show you the fabrics I dyed and more of my sewing room. And I also have some things in the works that will make very cool gifts. I'll definitely show you some time this week. Right now, it's time for a glass of wine and a good book.

Whew!! Do I have stuff to show you!

Later today, I PROMISE!! I will have a decent post. I am on staycation this week (vacation at home). What have I been doing? Well, I rearranged my sewing room for one. It still needs some tweaking but I think it might work. The goal is a design that keeps me organized and minimizes clutter and mess. Yeesh!! That is one big GOAL. And the second thing I did was dye some fabric! Oh yes, yesterday I dyed a big mess of fabric. I still have dye mixed up so I might do some more today. As long as everything is out. I also went to Quilt Odyssey on Saturday with 3 of my pals. We had so much fun. And yesterday I started sewing something very cute. I plan to finish it today and then I'll show you. I think this will be what I give my co-workers this year for Christmas.
So I promise you, today I will take lots of pictures and get started showing you all of the fun I've been having around here.
Y'all come back soon, okay?

Friday, July 16, 2010


I have been caught in the act, photographed doing something naughty. Apparently I have the NEED for SPEED! This week (for the SECOND time in 2 months) I have gotten a nice photo in the mail of my little blue Prius..............speeding on Orleans St. in Baltimore. Twice in the same exact place. Hmmmm? Slow learner? An interesting detail is that I'm heading home both times. Whaddya think, hurrying home to my sewing room ? That's reasonable right? But, in case you think Baltimore needs to clear the streets when my shift ends, I was going a smoking 37 and 40 mph! Can I get an Amen to the fact that there are places where it is almost impossible to go 25 mph? Might as well walk right? Ugh. I think I better find another route out of the city. I am really not a menace on the streets. Baltimore recently put dozens of these speeding cameras up and I guess it's gonna take me a day or two, or 100, to mend my ways. Waaah.

I don't like to post without pictures, so, remember this?

I made it from all the little trimmings from this?
Well, I haven't done anything else with it. How's that for an update? It's about 10 or 12 inches square and is parked on my design wall. I got some flowers a few months ago and they came wrapped in some sheer pink tulle. I pinned that across the little mini to experiment. I'm not sure about that, so the I'm just letting the whole thing marinate. It might take a while but sooner or later, something will spark. I might see something on the web or in a book that turns on the lightbulb or I'll just get tired of the clutter on the design wall and force the issue. Anything could happen. I could use it for another pillow, make a mini, build around it medallion style to make something bigger, make more of them........who knows.
Anybody else do this? Just let something sit in your peripheral vision catching your interest now and then? Feel free to shout out an idea or two for my little treasure, what would you do with it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Baby quilts.

What quilter doesn't make baby quilts? They are quick, easy, and most of all, FUN!! But, my goodness, I know a lot of people having babies. Once I started making baby quilts for co-workers, I haven't been able to stop. Over a year ago, I dug in my heels, drew a line in the sand, put a cork in it, cried 'uncle', put an end to it, stated 'no more', 'the factory is closed' blah blah blah! I meant it too. My friend, Reyna, has been pregnant FOREVER and I made zero plans to make a quilt. Nope, not gonna do it. I said I was done. They had a shower for her while I was out after surgery so I didn't have to embarass myself by showing up with a storebought gift, eeeuw!
So, my question is this, "How come I made her a baby quilt this past sunday?" I don't know how it happened. I was fine when I got up, had no big plans for the day. I think I'm going to blame these patterns from Kellie at Don't Look Now. I have had them for a short while and I couldn't ignore them any longer, I just had to play with them on Sunday. The next thing I knew.................... I was pin basting this little treasure. It sure is convenient when you know the sex AND name of the baby. What I didn't know is that little Sam was born while I was making this top. Hmmmm, maybe I have ESP. This was so fun and quick to make. I just made two sets of opposite 9patch blocks and then made the applique blocks the same size. Pop them all together and there you go! All I need to do is quilt and bind and label. Now, what should I do about the two other preggos at work? Oy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Better late than never!

I think I finally figured out how to easily respond to your comments. I believe I have now successfully subscribed to receive comments to my email address. That will make it easier to respond to them. Before I figured it out, it was a multi step process involving opening extra windows and cutting and pasting etc etc. Leaving a comment on this blog is easy, no word verification, you don't need an account, just type and click. If you don't have an account, you will be anonymous so include your name if you want, especially if I know you.
Slowly but surely, I am learning how to blog, lol.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My weekend of GOODIES!!!

Do you know Lizzy House? If you don't, you should and if you do, then you KNOW what this is! Castle Peeps! Lizzy's latest collection. How absolutely cute is this? My package from Pink Chalk came yesterday, so let me show you what I got. Try not to drool on your computers!
I got 1 yard of this one in case I wanted to use it for a border or wide stripe. Love these castles. And with it, I got fat quarters of the other fabrics in the green colorway. I have NO idea how long it will take me to be able to commit to cutting into this or what I will use it for. For now, I will just drink it in and pet it occasionally.

I also got half yard pieces of some of their sale fabrics. I love black and white fabrics and these scissors are so cute.

I have wanted more aquas in my stash and just love this fun, mod print.

This reminds me of Heather Ross' style so I couldn't resist.

Peace baby!!

Let's not forget that my intention this year was to get more solids into my stash. I got bigger cuts of these lucious colors. Aqua and red is a great color combo that I have been drawn to lately and apparently my love for lime green continues (note the Castle Peep colorway above).

I was surprised, and pleased, at how great all of these look together. Mmmm, mmmmm!

AND!!! Oh my goodness, this is from IKEA. I browsed through there on my way to work the other day and found this. They have other cute fabrics and sell them in approximately 3 and 1/2 yard cuts for $7.99. It's 48 inches wide too. Great for backings for baby or kids' quilts. Of course I love the little teacup car with the nurse in it, perfect for my friend at work who is about to have a baby. I thought I would be cutting into it this weekend BUT...... check out the next picture!

After a month without a working dryer, THIS beauty was delivered today. Oh thank goodness!! My laundry is upstairs in my sewing room. Actually, this was my bedroom when I was a teenager. When we moved in 10 years ago, we put the laundry upstairs because we had extra bedrooms. That was before my sewing and quilting really began. It's a good sized room but somehow I've filled it up. Imagine that! ha ha
Anyway, back to my red beauty. The walls in here are aqua (they've been that for years too) so, what the heck, we got the red appliances. Look how silly that mismatched pair look. Thank goodness we decided to get a new washer too. It just won't arrive for a few weeks, it's on back order. A friend told me to get the drawer/pedestals to put under the appliances and I'm really glad I did. I love the height of the dryer opening, it's very comfortable for loading and unloading the wash. I love my room! It's where I like to hang out.

Have a great weekend, I'm going to have fun doing laundry!

Monday, July 5, 2010

But I didn't buy ANY fabric.

Well, not at JoAnn's anyway. They had a whopper sale at JoAnn's this weekend AND my flyer had a coupon for 10% off my entire purchase. So I zipped out and had some fun. I really had to chuckle because when I got to the parking lot, I saw 3 cars with men in them sitting outside with the motors and A/C running. My hubby knew he didn't want to go! They had Warm and Natural batting for $5.99 a yard so I stocked up. And rotary blades were half off, wheeee! Quilt books were 40% off so I FINALLY got Liberated Quiltmaking II. It's very inspiring. Pillow forms and plastic storage were on sale too. Add it all up and take another 10% off !! Woot woot!
Do you see those two plastic boxes? They are part of my big plan to get organized. I think I am very close to a total rearrangement in my sewing room. When I say very close, I mean hopefully by the end of the year. These things need verrrrry careful planning dontcha know. I think I'll document before and after pictures etc etc. More on that another time.
When I said I didn't buy any fabric at JoAnn's, it was the truth. I did, however, have a wonderful little spree at Pink Chalk Fabrics. I was the awsomely lucky winner of a $50 gift certificate to Pink Chalk from the Basics Quilt Gather website. There will be more gift certificates and other giveaways as they get more and more quilts. Go check it out, it's a wonderful project. It's so nice of Pink Chalk to donate for the giveaways, so I made sure to spend more than $50. It was the least I could do, just my way of saying thanks. I'll show pictures of my goodies when they come. It includes some Castle Peeps from Lizzy House. I am jumping with excitement!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Resolution update # 2 - UFO's

If you recall the shocking and tragic death of my old laptop (my green Dell, sniff, sob), then you might understand when I tell you I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for pictures. I have everything from the Dell (wah!) on a hard drive but I guess I'm a little bit challenged when actually trying to be technically savvy. So I said, "phooey" and just took some new pictures.
My first resolution was to finish at least FOUR of my UFO's. Mission complete! Almost. This first one is from a year long block swap with my guild. Nine of us swapped blocks each month for a year. That means that I made one of the blocks in each of the 12 nine patches you see. We also swapped the rectangles (piano keys) of the fabrics we used so we each ended up with lots of sweet batik variety. Yippee! This is a BIG quilt, 95 by 98 inches.
I used the piano keys and a border idea from Judy Laquidara for my border and I love it. My friend, Shirley, quilted this quilt for me. It's gorgeous and much better than I would have done.
And..... I pieced the back! I had some extra blocks (long story involving a swap gone awry. Let's just say that not everyone follows through on a year-long commitment) and tons of piano keys left over. And I didn't have any yardage big enough for the back and didn't want to buy any. I haven't put the binding on this quilt yet but I will very soon. I picked out a variety of bright batiks to use and I have a couple of netflix movies waiting to entertain me.
Mrs. Puff looks like she's stalking those piano keys. She is a nutty cat!

Almost finish number 2. My Mackenna Ryan xmas block of the month.
It is pieced, quilted and bound! I just have to do a little embellishing. The stocking that the puffin is holding has to be sewn on, and it is full of silvery fish! And the harness for the penguins and polar bear who are pulling the sleigh needs it's rope. I also plan to add some little bells and beads. I may enter this in the county or state fair this summer so that's a little incentive to finish up. Does anybody have any ideas on how to store a quilt like this when it is not displayed? The applique is a little stiff so I worry about folding it for too long. Number 3, my chickens!! All finished.
And each block has it's little label. This one is Chicken Caesar (if you couldn't already tell, lol).
Finish number 4. This is probably my oldest UFO. I really love this Storm at Sea. It's soft and cuddly too!
And yes!! I have a 5th finish. My floral wallhanging that is over my bed now.
I am really glad that I made this particular resolution. These were projects that I wanted to finish so I am tickled pink.
I hope everybody has a great 4th of July weekend. I sure will. If you don't read the blog, Stash Manicure, go check it out. There are lots of ideas for using up your stash and they are having a nice giveaway this weekend.
Now, I need to say goodbye and go tidy up our outdoor space for some fun and fireworks this weekend. Buh bye!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 Quilty Resolutions- Progress report #1

If you recall this post, I made 5 Quilty New Year's Resolutions. It's now July which means the year is half gone. Wow! I guess it's time to check my progress because I really mean business here. I didn't have enough photos to update all 5 resolutions today, so I'll do 3. In a couple days, I'll get the other two.

Resolution Number 2 - Make at least 3 quilts to have on hand, finished, for unexpected events such as a friend in need or ill. So far........ just one done. This old zigzag number was fun to make with some Kaffe Fassett strips I was hoarding. I have it completely done and in the closet.
Number 5- Try dyeing my own fabric. Although I haven't done it yet, I do have these goodies in preparation. I placed an order with Dharma Trading, dug up some plastic sheeting in the basement, and visited the dollar store for some gloves and measuring tools. See that big package? TEN yards of ready to dye Kona fabric. I mean business I tell ya! This is my 'dye box' and it's waiting patiently for a nice summer day. Very soon. Not pictured, I also have a bunch of canning jars for doing color gradations. Ooooooo yeah!! I hope it turns out the way I'm dreaming it does.

AND Number 3- don't give up on my 'citrus' quilt. Please take note that I did not necessarily guarantee to finish it this year. I'm just not going to quit or give up. Well, look at this picture! I have 24 of the blocks all stitched down. The quiltalong calls for 49 blocks but Kellie did mention somewhere that we could use 36 and make a smaller quilt. I believe that is where I will end up. I have a bunch more of the petals made or half made. Yeesh, they are the biggest chore!! I know I'm going to love this quilt and so far, I'm glad I'm not sick of it. Whew.

That's three of the five resolutions. I'll work on the pictures so I can give a progress report on Resolutions 1 and 4.
And guess what?! I won something! (again) A fifty dollar gift certificate to Pink Chalk fabrics. Go there and see their beautiful stuff. Oh my goodness, I believe I will have some Lizzy House Castle Peeps fabric heading my way. Yes! The prize is from the Bumble Beans Basics Quilt Gather. Check it out and see if you can find time to send them a quilt. It is a very worthy cause.
Toodle-ooo folks!