Thursday, February 28, 2013

Getting it Done Update

Oh dear.  I was a bit too ambitious for this short month, as well as distracted, for Judy's Getting it Done challenge.  Well, there was some movement on the list of four things for February, anyway.  The list included:
  • Complete custom quilting on Caramel Blues quilt ==Not done. I did, however, buy the matching threads and think about how I wanted to finish this project off.
  • Complete Pinwheel Garden quilt for Shoppe==Not done.  I did, however, make sure the batting and backing were ample enough for the top, and washed the binding fabric.  I may even have made the binding--I can't remember!
  • Complete 10 wool applique blocks==Not done.  Two were finished for the month and some of other block pieces cut out of wool.
  • Lay out Picnic blocks and assemble top==The layout and switcheroo portion was done.  I have sewn together five rows but have seven more to go.
Greenpiece BOM wool applique block.
For March, the above four items are going to be carried over.  I think I'll go downstairs right now and get set up to pin baste two quilts that have been hanging around, including the Pinwheel Garden quilt.  Then I'll prep a bunch of the wool applique blocks.  They do stitch up pretty fast! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Finish

Tablerunners are sure nice for a quick "fix" of achieving a finish!

These fat little bluebirds are joined by some vintage baby rick rack I found among my Grandmother's sewing things.  I washed and ironed it first to make sure shrinkage would be no problem. 

The machine applique and quilting went pretty smoothly, I must say, except for the apparent cosmic rule of my house which states that I must run out of bobbin thread six inches from finishing--whether it be machine quilting or attaching the binding.  Some simple stippling in the center and loops in the borders went very quickly.  I hope this will sell quickly at the Shoppe!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Design Wall Monday--Feb 25, 2013

On my design surfaces are two ongoing projects.  I don't do a lot of applique but love the look so wade in once in a while.

I combed through my American Patchwork & Quilting mags to come up with a simple design for this tablerunner--to go with my simple machine applique skills!

A fat little Anne Sutton birdie, and a flower from another designer.  I'll link these with some green baby rick rack.

A few rows of the Picnic quilt were sewn and joined together.  I've had a bit of difficulty with some of the intersections and had to redo a few, but a perfectionist I am not!  This pattern makes me happy :)  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday's Orts--the job search sort

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.  This week, its all about the job hunt.
  • I got laid off in August when the doctor's office I was managing closed.  Since then I have continued my other job as per diem transcriber for the hospital while also getting some assistance from the State.  But I am too young to stay off work much longer, hard as it is to find in my field!
  • Over 20 years ago when I first started doing medical transcription, I was told it would "be obsolete in five years" because of voice-to-type programs.  It seems that prediction has just about come true over 20 years later, but for a different reason--electronic medical records, where the assistant or doctor him/herself checks boxes and types in information. 
  • I went to a job interview today which was advertised as "medical secretary", but given my past experience and "likes", the HR manager suggested I might become a Scribe for one of their ortho doctors.  This sounds so interesting, different, and right up my alley, but has a couple of strikes against it. #1) the doctor is not sure what he would do with me five days a week since he is a busy surgeon and not always in the office; #2) the job is 50 miles away and requires driving L.A. freeways, meaning a drive time of an hour minimum each way.  Oh, and then add the price of gasoline in Southern California, currently about $4.40 a gallon.  That may be the strike #3, you're out.
  • Traffic Rant:  Drivers who swerve out of a blocked lane directly in front of you without notice.  Terrifying!
  • This is a much better view to ponder:
The Grand Canyon from a small blue bear's perspective. 

 Everybody say oooooohh, spooky!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stitching and Sewing

Though I haven't been posting much, needle and thread have been meeting regularly here.

 A Valentine's runner I was making for sale at the Shoppe but finished too late.  So I kept it!

 Hearts and loops for the quilting on this stitch and turn simple scrap project.  The darling cherry print is my favorite, and I don't really even like pink!  Maybe because there is some green in it :)
 Another candy colored scrappy project.  I'm thinking it will be a sweet spring tablerunner for the Shoppe.
 Do you think it too Valentine-y for Spring?  Maybe some flowers appliqued on top would be good.
Since I did not find any border fabric for this quilt top at the Road to California show, I substituted with leftovers from the Mystery Quilt.  This is a comfort sized quilt and will go to Quilts for Kids.  I know they need quilts for older kids and sometimes give quilts to other causes such as disaster relief. 

 Next will be finding a suitable backing from stash, flannel if I have enough.
 A finished Greenpiece wool applique block...

...and a start on another.  I also cut out a bunch of pieces from the mustard colored wool for other blocks.  My too-ambitious Getting it Done list is suffering from the short month and too many non-sewing distractions, but I'll keep going.  Today I plan to finish hand stitching the binding on the blogaversary quilt and lay out the Picnic blocks and play switcheroo.  That should be entertaining!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sewing Room Switcheroo Reveal

Keeping in mind the room is small, has only one and a quarter walls, and I only bought one storage item, don't expect too much!  However, it is cleaner, more organized, and an easier room to work in. 
 With the Hoosier cabinet no longer directly behind my sewing chair, the room feels bigger and more balanced.  Except for swapping the Hoosier and the tall white dresser, nothing else was moved.

This rolling cart was the only storage piece I bought.  It is for scrapbook storage so the drawer bins have lids and can be completely removed.  The top three drawers have ROYGBIV scraps and the other three contain embroidery threads and accessories, iron on adhesives and pressing sheets, and the bottom has rulers, stencils and other tools.  Adding this one piece eased the crowding of the Hoosier cabinet.

Under the cutting table one large bin holds larger cuts of fabric.  Believe it or not, this is pretty much all I have.  Feel sorry for me?   Actually I tend to buy backings per project only so I don't keep a lot of yardage on hand due to lack of storage space.  The other big bin has batting and assorted clumps of fabric for Shoppe sale project ideas not yet started.

A basket on the cutting table to corral tools, one wire bin with a Quilts for Kids finished top, my ruffled pottery garbage bin, and the Greenpiece BOM box.  I'm going to try my best to keep cleaning up the cutting table as I go instead of making massive piles for "later".  Wish me luck!

Upper cupboard of the Hoosier made roomier by moving out a lot of storage jars and assorted piles of trims and rarely used items.  I did want to paint the inside of the cabinet before I showed the room again, but that will have to wait for another time.

 I can't get the photos to sit side by side for some reason.

The Picnic project box is in here because it is on my February Getting it Done list.  Better get on it!
 Tambour door space with labeled and cataloged bins, bags, and boxes...

 And cabinet below with MORE labeled and cataloged project boxes.

 I decided to use the pull out tabletop of the Hoosier as the GO! Cutter workstation.  This eliminates the need to clear off the cutting table whenever I wish to use the cutter.  The covered cutter is on the floor next to the Hoosier and the dies and cutting mats on the corner there do not interfere with the cutter when open on the tabletop.  Below the Hoosier cabinet are still MORE project boxes.  Eek.

Small pieces of fabric/fat quarters are separated by color and stored in this great dresser I snagged from my sister in law when they were moving.  I also wanted to paint over the pink drawer interiors and give the outside another coat of cream before the reveal, but again, that will wait.

This vintage 50's blond oak sewing desk that belonged to my MIL is the only piece that didn't get a once over, other than clearing off the top.  The three drawers need a good clean out but hold pins, needles, sewing machine accessories and my basting pins and quilting gloves.  I am in the desk drawers, thread and precut bins all the time.  Due to the space crunch, unfortunately when open my sewing desk cabinet door covers the plastic cart.  Not much I can do about that!

I love the new button knobs on the cabinet and the extensive workspace this piece gives me, yet it can be completely closed up and moved out of the way when needed.  In the background you can see a box that is full of fabric pieces, buttons/trims, etc that are heading upstairs to the sewing closet.  Yes, I'm still on two floors but have another dresser there as well as half a closet's worth of storage space for overflow, thankfully!  So there you have it, my little sewing room in a temporary state of cleanliness and order.  Don't expect it to stay that way, do you?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

4th Blogaversary giveaway winner!

Thank you all for sharing your inspiration for joining the blogging world, or just simply enjoying blogland--it was fun to read all your different stories.  I was not very surprised that Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville is an oft visited place--she's a very positive and dynamic force--a quilter who seldom rests!

As promised, the entries were printed out and the winner was drawn by someone with opposable thumbs--in this case, my DH Grant. And the winner is....

Congratulations, Sarah!  She commented:
 "Congratulations on 4 years Annie! Does that seem to have gone fast? My youngest child turns 4 on the 19th of Feb and that sure has gone fast for me! I started reading blogs after I'd been to a workshop with Melanie McNeice of Melly and Me."  

Oh, yes, it has gone by fast, Sarah! Sarah hails from South Australia, according to her Blogger profile, but doesn't seem to have a blog of her own listed.  I'll send off an email and find out which of the three binding choices she prefers so the prizes can soon travel Down Under.  Wish I were going with that package!

I'm also grateful for all the kind words in your comments regarding my blog, and hope to continue to provide many more posts that entertain and enliven this great blogland.  Thank you, dear readers!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday--Feb 11, 2013

On my design surface(s) are some leftovers and my blogaversary giveaway quilt.

This would be a cute 12" mini quilt for a hanger, don't you think?  Of course, I always think quilts need more green, so this arrangement may change :)

The scrappy, made-from-leader-enders giveaway quilt is not yet bound.  I've decided to let the winner choose the binding fabric.

One of these three will do, I think!  The giveaway is still open until tomorrow.  You can enter HERE.

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Do you sometimes find it as hard as I do to decide on a quilting plan?  After doing some crosshatching in the blogaversary giveaway quilt's background squares, I knew I wanted to include some kind of simple organic shape in the colored ones.  An evening of doodling and I came up with this:

A leaf shape with a line and a circle through it.  I was able to do this free form in one pass, which was what I was aiming for, and only had to rip out one mistake to resew.

I'm pleased with the results and hope whoever wins this little quilt will like it too.  The colors are washed out in the above photo of the back; the green is more intense and the red is more berry.  

The sewing room redo has progressed to a lot of empty boxes and even some decorating.

This shadowbox full of vintage buttons my mom found in a shop many years ago and she gave it to me a while ago.  I'll have to get a nicer closeup since the owl button didn't show up very well in this nighttime pic.

A favorite old print and my cross stitch are next to the newly relocated Hoosier cabinet.  The room is still not quite ready for its reveal--but soon! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013


The Sewing Room Switcheroo reorganization continues.  Today, scrap sorting is the task, with the help of ROY G BIV.  Do you know of him?  Red Orange Yellow Green Indigo Violet is his full name, otherwise known as the rainbow.  I learned this memory helper in about 8th grade, I think.

Of course the rainbow is only six colors so extra categories such as lights, browns/tan, black/black & white, batiks, and Christmas prints are in my mix.  There is also a pile of flannels and a box of  "pieces and parts" including an orphan block or two.  As expected, my highest piles are green and red, but surprisingly I also have a lot of blue.  Now the question is what to do with all these piles!  I plan to cut many of them into precut strips of 2.5 and 1.5 inches.  My 1.5 bin is overflowing already and needs ROY's help as well.  Then I think some coin quilts or placemats would be good to use up those 1.5" scraps, don't you? 

My 4th blogaversary giveaway is open until next Tuesday--see my previous post to enter.  The giveaway quilt is half quilted and should be finished soon...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday's Orts--Blogaversary edition

Giveaway is now closed...thanks for playing!
Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.  In this case they are a late edition aimed at my four year blogaversary, which falls on this date.
  • I'm veering between blog-A-versary and blog-I-versary.  Since it is a made up word, new to the English language, the final choice is yet to be written in the dictionary. 
  • 2009 was a very eventful year for me.  Besides starting a blog I was also working three part-time jobs and got my own sewing room (finally).  Quilting and blogging kept me sane!
  • I'm grateful for those early commenters who encouraged me with their responses to my posts.  I try to pay that forward by commenting a lot around blogland.  Everyone loves nice comments! 
  • For my first blogaversary giveaway I made a small quilt out of leftovers; Jasmine in Australia won that.  For the second, a tablerunner; Sheryl won that.  For the third, a small red and white wallhanging; Dawn won that. Guess what?  This year will be no different!  Handmade is best, in my book :)
  • This 32"scrappy tabletopper has a backing made and will be basted and quilted forthwith.  Sorry it is not ready yet, but tweaking my back a week ago put me behind a few days. 
The adorable turtle pincushion is also handmade, by another member of the Seniors Craft Shoppe co-op I belong to, and will also go to the winner.  Thank you, faithful readers, as well as those who stop by my little corner of blogland now and again--your visits warm my heart! 

To enter my giveaway, as always, I'm looking for information.  Who or what inspired you to visit or join the great blogisphere?  In my case, it was Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame and I believe three hours passed during my first enthralling visit to her website.  While I am neither as talented nor generous as Bonnie, I'm happy to be in one category with her at least--Quilt Blogger! 

The winner will be selected by random drawing, i.e., I'll write everyone's name on slips of paper and have someone with opposable thumbs pick one.  The giveaway will be open one week, closing Tuesday, February 12 at 6 pm my time (Pacific).  It is open to those outside the U.S. as well. Please make sure I have a way to contact you either by your Blogger profile or including an email address in your comment.  Don't have a blog?  No problem, just send an email to vtaannieo (at) 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Design Wall Monday--Feb 4, 2013

On my design surface today is a scrap project I've been working on.

These were 2.5" squares from my scrap bins that I was using as leader-enders.  Backing, quilting and binding are next for this 32" finished tabletopper.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

My other weekend project was the Sewing Room Switcheroo.  Here's a couple of slightly embarrassing before shots:

This is the former family room of our house that I have taken over.  See the Hoosier cabinet on the left near the window?  It is such a handy storage closet for my quilting items, and the tabletop pulls out.

 However, horizontal surfaces do tend to collect things....and the corner was feeling mighty crowded with the largest piece of furniture on the shortest wall.  Hence, the Switcheroo.
Here is a "during" shot--already the room feels more balanced, no?  Since this pic I've gone through all the project bins you see stacked on the cutting table.  There are over 20 of them that go back into the Hoosier.  In my defense, many of them contain collected fabrics for unstarted projects.  Gulp. The extra plastic scrapbook storage stacker behind the vacuum will hold tools, fusibles/glue, scrap precuts, and embroidery threads.  Feeling pretty good about the changes so far! 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

More Road to California

Taking a break from The Great Sewing Room Switcheroo to post a few more pics from the exhibits at the Road to California 2013 show.  All photos are from that show.

 I love quilts with letters or words.

Gorgeous traditional quilt--sorry for the bit of blurriness.

Oops, there's a typo!  Kim Diehl is one of my favorite designers.  She has such a way with mixing colors, prints, and great applique.
And all with a bit of whimsical attitude, at that.  I really like the sashing strips--simple and effective.

 Totally amazing pictorial quilt.  I could look at this all day and feel the wind and the sun off the ocean.

 And another stunning pictorial quilt, of Lake Tahoe.  My great grandparents had a cabin there for decades.

Love the tree detail, and all the colors in the rocks.

This large quilt was truly detailed beyond belief, and was deservedly a big prizewinner.

Check out the thread work by this lizard.

These photos were not cooperating well, but I finally got them mostly where I wanted them.  Anyway, hope you enjoyed the show.  I'll have some before and after pics tomorrow of the sewing room switcheroo--reorganization  progress.

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...