Sunday, September 30, 2012

September UFO Update

No finishes for me, but I came pretty close!  The UFO pick of the month I switched out for my Any Witch Way quilts that have made so many appearances this month (pattern from Quiltmaker magazine, Sept/Oct 2009).

Quilt sandwich stage for #1.  This one I have offered to my daughter Elaine--she has a new house to decorate, after all!  It needs quilting and binding.

The second quilt top is complete as far as sewing is concerned, but the lady witches need their eyebrows and eyelashes.  I had misplaced--in the mess that is my sewing room--the eyebrow stencil I had used, but found it again.  The backing and binding strips are ready to sew but I haven't touched my machine for two days since we have been busy painting.  Both quilts I am determined to finish ASAP!

Judy picked #6 for the October UFO, which is a bit ironic for me since I was going to switch any other number picked for #6!  I had already decided that October is going to be a "quilting only" month, since I have quite a stack of sandwiches and tops that need to be quilted, like this one, which has been waiting for a year or more. 

I'm considering trying some feathers on this one since it is already pretty busy both front and back and less likely to show my amateurish attempts.  I won these blocks from Nicole's (Sister's Choice Quilts) giveaway several years ago and just love the colors and prints.  Way past time for this to be come a "Real Quilt", don't you agree?

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Though I'm mostly unemployed I've been busy, really I have, but it seems to be in a peculiarly fluttering, mostly unproductive way, landing here and there for a moment or two and then acting on whatever else comes to mind.  There have been a few successes, however.

This tablerunner is destined for sale at the Seniors Craft Shoppe.  It is about 18-20" wide and maybe 50something long.  Haven't measured it!

Machine appliqued flowers and leaves and a little designing of my own from some purchased kits.

These clearanced block kits I picked up several years ago when the JoAnn's store in town was closing. I had no idea what I might do with them but they were $4 apiece, included precut pieces, and all the instructions.  The two kits on the left were for much wider sections than the pieced block kits but some MATH and just plain cutting down made them suitable for the tablerunner.  The above kits will be a near twin to the one I've already sewn.  I think they will look better once quilted and bound--that beige is pretty blah but I like the pink and green.

Backing for the larger witches quilt is selected but not yet sewn.

The mail mountain on the back counter has been tamed and is ready to be put in the filing cabinet.  Mail for five people is exhausting to go through but keeping it down to a minimum seems impossible in this household! 

Meanwhile, Grant and I are trying to complete the house painting job we started a couple of months ago. We have three sections left to paint, all with two story height walls in parts.  Today we are working on the hallway between the living room and sewing area.

"The cupboard under the stairs", but no young skinny wizard is in it.  This is where we keep the pet toys/leash, tablecloths, folding chairs, and other flotsam and jetsam.  Yesterday morning when I was about to leave I was surprised to hear a door close, and turned to see that Mini had apparently just exited this cupboard--she had knocked out the flashlight that lives just inside.  I had wondered where she hid sometimes! 

All right, break time is over, back to the painting chore list. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I'm Working On Wednesday

My foray into the retail world with the senior's craft shop began last week with a training session shift.  I had made four small cuddle quilts to start with, received instruction in how to label them for sale, and they were put out on the shelf right away.  All the other rules and guidelines were detailed and I was put to vacuuming, opening the security door and turning on the door alarm, and learning all the other ins and outs of the biz.  The shop has been in existence for over 30 years in the same location, a true success!  Though we only sold one item during the 3.5 hour shift, I was responsible for writing it up and taking the money.  Meanwhile, I got to know the two older ladies training me, and as is often the case among people who live in a town for a long time, it is a small world.  Both ladies were former teachers, and one worked at the elementary school I attended, though a few years after I had passed through.   We reminisced about all the teachers there, good and bad, and enjoyed telling stories. 

Though my main pieces for sale will be quilted items, the ladies worked on embroidery and crochet projects while we talked and encouraged me to bring some handwork next time--especially for slow periods!  I thought that since the shop is downtown where all the tourists are, some souvenir type item might be a good choice.  I remembered I had a few small embroidery kits around. 

Ventura is known as The Poinsettia City so this small decoration seemed appropriate, with some revision.  I got out my collection of alphabet books but in the end went with the same style as the kit, making up my own "V".  The black backstitch detail on the flower I did not think necessary, especially for how much I am likely to price this in order to sell.  I also graphed out a cross-stitched, three color stylized poinsettia which will be faster to stitch.  This 99 cent embroidery kit included a length of wire and instructions for making the little hanger and I'll be copying that idea for my souvenirs.  Cross-stitch was my first love and I really enjoy working with needle and thread that way.  I have a duplicate kit to this one so will bring it with me for the second of my three training sessions this afternoon.  I'm curious to see if any of my items sold and in the meantime will get to know a different set of ladies.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Sept 24, 2012

On my design floor today is the second of two ongoing UFOs for the month.  Yesterday I spent about four hours working on this Any Witch Way quilt (pattern from Quiltmaker magazine, Sept/Oct 2009).  Are you guys getting tired of seeing these yet?

The last two names were put together but I ended up having to adjust Pagel because having the drop-down "g" made the name an inch taller than the other names, meaning when I added them to the quilt top the sides would not be equal.  Luckily, it was a fairly quick fix.  Having only made free-pieced letters once before, I'm pretty slow at this, but love the result.  Next time I'll work smarter along the way and be a lot faster at it!

All the witches now have their names and I'm overall really pleased with the way they look.  I'll add another small strip of the black for a final border--luckily I do have just enough of the Dimples fabric left--and then move on to the backing, quilting and binding.  Only a week left until the end of the month deadline and I'd really like to have both quilts finished!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

For the Marrieds

Daughter Elaine and her husband Chris are new homeowners and are ready to move into their place this weekend.  They have been renting a small one bedroom in a 1920's Spanish style bungalow duplex with no yard or garage, and are moving into a late 1970's era, 1700 square foot, 3 bedroom plus den, 2 bath unit with a two car garage, and a nice sized yard with pool and jacuzzi, in a complex not too far away from us.  They have been working so hard--especially Chris--to get it all beautifully fixed up and we are so excited for them! 

In anticipation of their move, they made a Craigslist score of a patio table and four chairs for $50. The woven fabric of the chairs was stained, so they asked me to make some thin cushions to cover them up--I showed cutting the foam for those earlier in the week.
I love the fabric they picked out.  The background is really a bright citron/chartreuse and the birds and flowers so pretty, but very modern looking in their neutral tones.

If you can believe it, making eight straps to hold the cushions onto the seats took three hours!  Well, nearly 2.5 hours were spent on the first set, trying to get the measurements right, fiddling, cutting, folding, pinning, ripping and resewing.  The rest of these were easy after the prototype trials.  These will be completed today and ready to set out on their patio and enjoy tomorrow--after all the furniture and boxes are moved in :).  We know where our weekend is going to be spent!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday's Orts

Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.
  • Can someone explain to me why the daily horoscopes start with Aries (March)?  I've always wondered.  
  • The Sunday Crossword puzzle can send me to a dictionary, which I don't mind; I love words and learning their meanings.  However, it seems backwards to me when the definition includes the very word you're looking up.  Or, more often, other words you don't know so you have to look them up too.
  • Elder scams are a big topic lately in the news.  Someone we know was a recent victim of criminals on the phone posing as their young adult loved one, in trouble in a foreign country and in need of money, and requesting they wire the money but keep the trouble "just between them until they returned home".  They had all kinds of personal details that seemed real enough, but were no doubt gleaned from unwittingly volunteered information during the call. Don't believe it!  Hang up and CALL your loved one's wife/husband/brother/mother/father and confirm they are away in a foreign country before wiring any money.  You'll never get it back.
  • C.O.W. rant (Crabby Old Woman):  Clothing manufacturers have cleverly been decreasing the fabric in women's shirts for some time by exhorting "Y necks"--meaning they don't have to have a proper collared neck and they cut out at least two buttons and buttonholes; as well as featuring 3/4 length sleeves--meaning they skip all that fabric from forearm to wrist times two.  I'd be happy to choose how low my neckline goes and whether I want to roll up the sleeves, thank you very much.
  • A seldom used kitchen tool is getting a workout on a current sewing project I am making for the Marrieds for their new house:

An electric knife is perfect for cutting foam for a patio set's seat cushions.  And it's fun to use on something besides turkey!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Sept 17, 2012

On my design wall is the UFO of the month--in my case I swapped out #11 for my two Any Witch Way quilts.  I'm working on the second one now, adding free-pieced names.

Kachan's name is finished, now that I added spacers between the letters and trimmed to final size.  These witches have not yet received their eyebrows and eyelashes, but I'll do their makeup before basting the quilt sandwich.

Jerryl is in a different font.  I had fun changing up the style for each witch. 

Going clockwise, Rafilda is next, and lastly, Pagel.  The name Rafilda I first saw in Harry Potter, but Kachan, Jerryl and Pagel were real names from my transcription work.  I made a list of unique names over the course of about a year.  I don't have a lot of the Dimples fabric left so I need to be very conservative with my leftovers so I can fill out the borders.  It has been fun to play with these letters. Method is from Tonya Riccuci's Word Play Quilts book.  

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Night Work

The heat was oppressive these last few days, so much of my sewing time was at night.  While making items to sell at the craft shop more Picnic blocks have appeared.
Finished blocks now total 49, just a bit under half of the amount I'm making for my slightly larger version of this quilt (from the Scrap Basket Surprises book by Kim Brackett).  I have about 20 more block sets already cut and will determine when they are completed how many more of each colorway I desire.  I like seeing these piles grow!

For the UFO of the month, the two Any Witch Way quilts, the first has been basted for quilting.  While I am ignoring pondering quilting that one, I've started working on the names for the second quilt.  Here I have added background fabric to make all the letters the same height.  Hmm, the "h" is going to need some at the bottom too or I'll lose the legs.  Next, spacers between the letters, then trimming to even height.  I think I'll wait until all the names are complete before deciding exactly how I want to position these beneath each witch.  Thankfully, the humidity has gone and cooler weather is on the way so I can sew any time :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--on Thursday again

Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.
  • Staying home a lot has been good for my gas tank.  And my wallet.
  • I don't watch any reality TV regularly, but the Long Island Medium show on TLC catches my attention now and again.  Maybe because she is such a positive person who seems to genuinely want to help people, versus those Housewives shows that are full of drinking, fighting, and feminine spite.  Ugh.
  • Fall decorating is on hold--it is too hot and humid for pumpkins and witches.
  • Traffic Rant:  Sitting in my parked car on Main Street, I gasped from a near sideswiping by a male driver in a big pickup whose only concern was pulling over to check open hours on a storefront.  If my car had had a bigger bumper he would have sheered it off, I swear.
  • My cat, Mini, has lost her meow.  Since the weekend, she opens her mouth but barely any sound comes out.  I never knew cats could get laryngitis.  It looks hilarious, but I don't know if I should be concerned.
  • My mom and I made a gift for the new and fabulous crafting room my sister in law Laura built in their new home.  We had fun with scrapbook paper, chipboard decor, and a lovely silk ribbon.

I'd like a Lady Cave too, wouldn't you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What I'm Working On Wednesday

I'm having a lot of fun playing with leftovers, scraps, and ideas from the pages of magazines.

When I made Kitchen Sink last year (Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket Surprises), I cut a lot of extra pieces since I was considering making it larger than the pattern required.  In the end, I simply added a wider border.  With the leftovers, a 9 paddle wheel layout was my choice and, serendipitously, I had just the right amount of leftover cut print pieces and exactly enough triangles to fit the setting I had decided on.  Gotta love that! 

This is about 24 inches square--no borders on this one.  I've got the backing there and already picked out prints from the 2.5" strip bin for a scrappy binding. 

Leftover orange and blue squares from a Quilts for Kids project, a few bright Aussie prints from a 6" precut pack I bought on my trip to Queensland, some leftover flannel, and a small cuddle quilt is born.  I will sell this at the crafter's shoppe. 

These prints are from a jelly roll I bought at Tuesday Morning for a song--I'll get at least three more cuddle quilts out of it.  This setting idea was from a Quilts and More magazine from a few years ago.  Quick and easy.  Enjoying myself immensely, and ideas are teeming for more scrappy fun with leftovers! 

What are you working on?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Sept 10, 2012

Monday again already!  On my design surface is the ongoing UFO of the month, the witches quilt.

The pattern only called for eyelashes--false ones sewn on--but I felt drawing them made more sense.  But they needed eyebrows!  I remembered an old Mary Kay eyebrow kit a friend had given me that had stencils.  That worked out great. Now the dilemma is the lack of a nose.  I'm not certain I can draw well enough to give the suggestion of a nose--which are remarkably hard to draw straight on.  Pondering... 

I've been throwing the triangle cutoffs from the Picnic quilt into this wonderful old pressed glass vanity dish that belonged to my mother in law.  They are now sewn together and on their way into a mug rug or mini quilt for sale.  I signed up with a local Senior Craft Shoppe to sell my wares there--when I went to the organization's meeting to show my crafts, one lady joked that I might need to be carded.  Though I was definitely the youngest person in the room, I vowed I was the minimum age of 50, so they didn't make me show my driver's license :)   See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Moo, GenerationQ, and Old is New

Squishy mail is best, right?  Last month I was the lucky winner in Nancy, Near Philadelphia's 1500th post giveaway.  She offered a mug rug and I requested a bovine theme, since on occasion I have adopted her C.O.W. ranting (Crabby Old Woman).  

Love my generously sized Cow mug rug with its cow border print.  Thanks, Nancy!  I had completely forgotten a magazine was also part of the prize. Generation Q magazine is a new publication and our local paper had a writeup on it recently since it is written and the product reviews tested right here in Ventura County!  Jake Finch is the publisher--she teaches classes at Cotton and Chocolate Quilt Company in Thousand Oaks.  My favorite article of the debut issue was on a stash and UFO resale shop called Fabric Recycles in Overland Park, Kansas.

They are "clamoring " for submissions to the magazine:  go to if you have a design or article for consideration.  Love their motto of Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe, and they have some impressive sponsors already.     
I have been searching for a lap desk that can also be used bed or podium style and came upon this vintage/antique folding table at a garage sale yesterday.  Truth be told, we stopped at the sale because Grant saw a Fender bass amp for sale, but I was the one who came home with something.

This is a solid mahogany table that is probably about 90 years old.  I had recently ordered a laptop desk that folded, had a cupholder and a mouse tray, but when it arrived from Amazon on Friday it already had a plastic piece broken off and floating around the box.  It was flimsy and cheap but cost $35 with shipping and handling.  I'm sending it back. 

The table is very scratched up and a piece of the veneer is missing, but I'll sand and fill and revarnish.  It is HEAVY.

The label says "If it folds, ask...Howe".  An Internet search indicates the Howe company is still in business and was the original inventor of the folding banquet table.  They sell quite high end products these days for offices, hotels, etc.  I paid $10 for this relic from the early 20th century.  Do you think it sacrilegious that I plan to cut the legs down to make it bed tray height?   I promise not to cut a cupholder hole in the top...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

X's and O's

A self-imposed deadline for finishing this small quilt was just the right impetus to get done what little was left to do.  "Puzzle piece" quilting and and binding went on in a matter of a few hours. 

Pattern from American Patchwork & Quilting, June 2011. 

These pink 9 patches were from Julie's swap of a couple years ago.  Normally I am not that fond of pink, but mixed with brown, I really like them.

The tan and cream ones were leftovers I had put together for the swap. 

I enjoyed working with the Tri-Recs ruler to make these stars.  The pattern provided a template but using the ruler was fast and easy to cut the pairs.

A simple pieced back from fat quarters, and these hugs and kisses are on their way to Arizona as a housewarming gift.  My brother and sister in law and family are finally getting to move into their new home, four months after they originally hoped to.  Happy Days!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I'm Working on Wednesday

Witches...that goes with the W theme :)

The outer border has been attached.  Dimples fabrics are textured solids and I think that goes just fine with my "lighter" black inner border and the hats.

Piecing was necessary for the backing, but I like a pieced back!

Here is the beginning of quilting on the X's and O's wall hanging/tablerunner.  It should be quick to finish once the jigsaw puzzle quilting is complete; I've already made the binding.  I have a deadline for this quilt and those are always good for me! 

What are you working on?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Design Wall Monday--September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!  On my design wall today is the UFO Challenge pick of the month (I swapped #11 for this one), two Any Witch Way quilts. 

Since I don't have enough of the black print I used in the hats and inner border, this is getting a black Dimples final border and then will be backed with the orange print and quilted.  The pattern (Quiltmaker magazine, Sept/Oct 2009) called for false eyelashes to be tacked to the faces, but I think I may just draw the eyelashes on--I'm pretty sure falsies won't survive a run through the washing machine!  Once this one is complete, I'll work on the other Any Witch Way, adding free-pieced names that I made all of the letters for last year--when I also worked on the witches for the UFO Challenge in September!

Otherwise, I need to make a run to the grocery store today.  In an ode to our usual method of menu planning, my husband wrote "Dinner Stuff" on the list.  Guess I'll wander about and think of something!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Saturday, September 1, 2012

UFO Challenge Update

The Zig Zag 9 Patch is a completed top, which was my goal for the month.  A day late but I have excuses.  Mostly about MATH.  

Trimming and squaring the top seemed to go just fine.

But the border measuring didn't!  I decided to go with a narrow 1.5" border of the brown print (thanks for the input Janet and Joy!) and then a wider 5.5" border of the cheddar.  MATH again.  So there was cutting and adding on to the cheddar border.  Then I decided to sew the borders together before attaching.  Anyone catching on to what is happening yet?  I didn't, at first---I was too busy with the next MATH problem.

Since I cut all the cheddar lengths before deciding to add the narrow border, the top and bottom pieces were then too short once the side borders were attached.  So there was more cutting and adding of cheddar.  Once the right length, the borders went on easily.

I had no plan to make this large of a quilt, it just happened!  Grant is behind this California King-sized monster, trying his best to spread it out for a good photo. The hazard of being empty-nesters is that there is no one to hold up the other end of the quilt :). 

The other unplanned result of first sewing the borders together is that the narrow border extends to the edge of the quilt.  This is not bothering me in the least so it is staying!  These swapped 9 patch blocks were from an online Yahoo group I belong to, Quiltbuddies, and are from at least ten different states and two countries. They have waited patiently for four years to be put in a quilt.  This UFO is busted! 

September's pick by Judy is #11, which on my list is another swap block project from Quiltbuddies, this time a Christmas theme.  I am going to swap that for #4 on my list, which is a Halloween theme. 

I have two of these Any Witch Way quilts and last year free-pieced witches' names that need to be added to one.  Can't wait to get these finished and ready to use for October!

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...