Thursday, December 27, 2018

Christmas 2018

We had a lovely holiday with family, celebrating Christmas Eve with our kids and grandkids with delicious homemade soups and french bread, followed by an apple dump cake made by youngest daughter Erica.
The presents were piled high around the tree, long after I took this photo!  Sadly I didn't get the new tree skirt finished; I still like the red one though.  Grandsons Cove (4) and Hunter  (2)were the stars of the show, as usual. 
Nick's girlfriend Ashley was Hunter's pal all night long.  He's showing a gift from Mimi and Papa. We are going to miss his adorable lisp when he gets older; right now he calls her "Ashwee", and Erica's boyfriend Ryan is "Wyan", so cute.

Cove was still for only long enough for one photo.  He was very excited about the Ukelele that Mimi and Papa got him as well.
This appears to be the only pics I got of my menfolk!  Cove's a blur as usual.

A pre-approved portrait of Elaine and Erica, with son-in-law Chris barely visible behind.
I made a Snap Bag for Ashley, and added a strap for the first time on the dozens of these I've made in the past.  I also made Erica a stocking but don't have a finished shot.  We ate Christmas dinner at my parents, it was cold and windy outside so the 30 of us crammed into the living room. We had just finished dinner when there was a power outage that lasted a good 40 minutes.  My brother Kevin brought in a ton of flashlights (he's a Scoutmaster--he's prepared, lol) and the girls washed all the dishes with cold water.  

My Christmas vacation was extended by a case of the shingles, ugh.  Our son-in-law said I was singing "Shingle Bells", haha.  While I don't have a severe case, it is very uncomfortable around my waist  area where the blisters are, and the burning nerve pain is constant.  We've seen many worse cases of shingles in the office but I plan to get my shingles shot as soon as I can, probably in 3-6 months.

I did get some after-Christmas sewing time in.  Some fellow guild members are making quilts for the families of the Borderline mass shooting, an unimaginable loss of 12 people in early November 2018, most of whom were in their late teens/20s, plus one Sheriff who responded to the shooting.  I chose green from the rainbow choices and have been sewing HSTs for the pattern we are calling Rise Up.

I need 180 of these for the comfort quilt size we are making.  I hope to finish up all the HSTs by Friday and lay them out.  Kelly of Superbuzzy quilt shop did die-cutting for me for the fabrics I chose in her store.  That speeds things up very well.  We don't know when the quilts will be distributed but are hoping to get them done very soon. 

The last of the year's sewing will involve some pajama pants I also intended to give the boys but just didn't get to before the big day.  They will get done this weekend.  

Happy New Year to one and all!  I am pondering what 2019 will bring in the sewing room, and on my sister's longarm :)  There are many tops that deserve a finish, and many projects still under construction.  The squirrels need tamping down so these older projects can become real quilts.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Happy Tiers Quilts Finish

I've been absent for so long, but am pleased to show two finished quilts that will be on their way to two little girls tomorrow.  I've lots of photos to share.  Recap: my cousin asked me to make quilts for his two granddaughters as Christmas gifts and I chose the Happy Tiers pattern by Me and My Sister Designs (APQ magazine April 2016).

The Meadowbloom fabric (designer April Rosenthal) quilt had a small oops on the bottom row--the yellow chandelier needed to be a birthday cake.  Good thing I discovered this before the borders went on!

Lucky Black Friday shopping on Etsy resulted in ordering matching backing fabrics.  I decided against Minky backing to make the quilts more classic.  Plus it was going to be the first time using my sister's longarm machine and I didn't want extra chances to mess up.  

My sister Kathy has a Pfaff Grand Quilter and hooked up the computer for the first time specifically for my quilts.  I chose a pattern called Charms and we got the layers loaded quickly with her Red Snappers and started up the computer. 

All was going smoothly until the very.last.row.   The edge of the quilt top flipped and the computer shut off.   By this time it was 11 pm and Kathy tried to free motion the remainder of the row, which was not too successful.  I took it home and let it rest.  A few days later Kathy had figured out a way to fix it, after much research.  Good thing she is like a dog with a bone when she wants information!  Her tenet is now "Kathy is Not Allowed to Make Design Decisions at 11 pm", haha.  

Before attempting the repair, we first did the easy part of quilting the other Happy Tiers quilt.  I asked for a  swirl type design and Kathy resized and played with it before saving the custom design.  With a slip of her fingers, it was named "Annie's BS Swirl", which tickled her no end.  

The Badda Bing fabrics looked great with the swirl, and as a bonus, the much simpler design quilted up fast.  We only had one thread break/bobbin problem.  Then we reloaded the Meadowbloom quilt and reset the computer to finish the row.  It took way longer to rip out the errant stitching than to resew the fix.  Meanwhile I had already made the bindings, which I attached all by machine.  

Today after a few hand stitches to catch missed edges, Grant held them up for photos. 

 This one is for Hayden...

...and this one is for Zoey.  They have had their first bath and after I attach labels I will get them packaged up and mailed tomorrow.  Hope to have photos to show of happy little girls with their quilts in a couple of weeks.  Their dad is being deployed to Afghanistan with the Army Reserve before Christmas, so I hope the quilts add a bit of joy to the holiday.  

Next up is turning these fabrics into a tree skirt:
I'll quilt the layers and  cut bias binding from the red and gold stripe to make it double sided.  We got a smaller tree this year--just yesterday!--and I have barely any decorating done.  Lots to do this weekend.  DD Erica has also requested a new stocking, as her childhood Tigger one is being retired.  I have some other secret sewing to do, as well as most of the Christmas shopping.  It seems my intentions to start early never make it to reality!  Looking forward to celebrating in 12 days with all the family. Happy Holidays to all.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Design Wall Monday--11/26/18, and Post Thanksgiving Post

It's Design Wall Monday and I have a new/old project.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts. 

On my design floor is a Christmas quilt long-in-waiting.  Last year I made 4 patches from charm pack selections with a bunch of additions from stash and a couple of fat quarter purchases for variety.  There was a Christmas in July urge that went unfulfilled until now.  After restoring most of the sewing room post Thanksgiving, I laid out the quilt again and started sewing rows.  

This my Christmas version of Barefoot in the Park by Loft Creations.  All that's left are the corner triangles, which I've already cut.  Lucky find of this Lori Holt fabric for the setting squares that went with all the 4 patch colors. I haven't yet decided if I will add appliqued circles to some of the setting squares per the pattern.

 Also at Superbuzzy I found a suitable aqua print for the borders.  Love the Poinsettias.

I didn't buy very much of this fabric and blame quilt MATH!  Hopefully some kind of decent border will turn out. 

Our Thanksgiving was full and fun with a crowd of 21 for dinner, including our son's girlfriend who had knee surgery the day before, our precious offspring and grandsons, and numerous visitors after.  Two of my mom's brothers (she has 6 younger brothers!) came to help set up and it was fun to get extra time with Jim and David. 

There are many fall/Thanksgiving decorations in my home and I love setting them all up for the occasion.  
My mom gave me this beautiful Williams Sonoma dishtowel this year as part of my birthday gift, and I pinned it up in the half-bath, along with filling the towel shelf. 

In the living/dining room, more Autumn splendor:

The room looked lovely with family linens on the tables, my Grandmother's Franciscan Red Apple Dishes, and Grant's family silverware and crystal, but you'll have to picture that, I have no photos!  Everyone brings a specialty dish to enjoy and there is always a lot of talk and laughter.  This year there was also music, as Uncle Jim brought his guitar and we sang.  My favorite holiday, and there is always room for more at the table.  It is worth all of the work to spend this day together.  

While many folks have already been putting up Christmas lights and trees, my husband and I like to wait until December.  We usually get a fresh tree and don't want it to be tinder dry by December 25th.  There is a Christmas newsletter yet to write--and hopefully actually get out this year, and a whole lot of decorating.  I'm contemplating making a new tree skirt as our decor has changed.  It remains to be seen if time will allow for that sewing ambition!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

On my recent trip to Boston it was great to have some slow time to stitch on the plane.  My sister and I were lucky to have an empty seat between us on the way there, for all our junk, and not have to keep folding ourselves into pretzels to get stuff under the seat.  I spent more time with the Lizzie Kate Tiny Tidings project.  

Kitty is only missing a nose as I didn't have pink thread with me.  The bell luckily was included in the kit I bought at the thrift store last year.  The pre-framed Aida 14 ct came from Hobby Lobby. 

We went out to brunch this morning with our kids and grandkids for my birthday week, and DD Elaine gave me this darling embroidery kit:

So cute!  Can't wait to prep this for some holiday stitching. This gal designs fabric and I made stockings for the grandsons last year from her Christmas line.  See more Slow Sunday Stitching on Kathy's blog here

Sewtopia Boston Part Deux

One of the great things about the Sewtopia experience is the fun and games.  Daily giveaways and extra classes plus a popup shop in the sewing lounge make for great days--plus all the interest and encouragement from fellow sewists, free hotel breakfast and catered lunches are big pluses.  Not too many folks ventured out to sightsee, most were pedal to the metal to get big projects done.

An optional Make and Take class resulted in this adorable pincushion:
The creator coached us through the simple felted wool strawberry construction, helped us funnel crushed walnut shell filling, and provided all the nylon thread to close it up, plus the embroidery thread and ribbon.  So fun!  There was also a needleminder flower kit option.  Luckily I had an embroidery needle in my supplies to do the stitching.  I left it very rustic and loose and love it. 

The Sewtopia Michael Miller Challenge quilt...After playing with a bunch of layouts, I ended up with this: 

It's a bit wrinkled from being in my suitcase, but you can see the simple channel quilting--boring to stitch but effective for a modern look; blocks are about 10".  I stripped the color from the provided fabrics with Rit Dye Remover.  The black and white Hash Dot fabric I left alone.  My sister preferred the back of the quilt. 

I may try the technique again but the fabrics themselves as a group were hard for me to work with, but my efforts make a good size baby quilt.  Other entries were spectacular and varied from a basket woven with fabric strips to a kite, round quilt, and a cool handbag.  Some people ordered different colors of the line to complete their quilt. Our tablemate, Char, won first place with her large quilt that was wonderful.  

All the loot from Sewtopia Boston!  I did not buy much fabric, but won a ton of fat quarters in our Left-Right-Center game.  The long pincushion at the bottom of the pic I received in the secret swap.  The matching zipper bag didn't make the shot, nor did the needleminder kit.  For my secret swap gift, I sewed up a tote bag and filled it with various sewing stuff and fun things. 

I originally picked up this print at Superbuzzy thinking it was a matroyshka print--but it turned out to be Little Red Riding Hood.  It is about 12x12 and lined.  So glad I didn't get rid of all the cotton webbing I had in the last purge!  Funnily enough, our tablemate Char ended up with it. Char is also the mother of our guild president and I've invited them to Thanksgiving dinner, because in my world you can't have Thanksgiving with only 2 people.  

On Instagram, I follow Melissa Averinos, a very talented and creative woman.  Her quilt "My Brother's Jeans" won QuiltCon 's Best of Show in 2016.  She also designs leggings, fabric, paints, does workshops on Making Faces quilts (also a QuiltCon winner), and on Instagram if you post a photo of your cat with #melissapaintmycat, she may do a portrait and you can buy it for $95.  Anyway,  Melissa posted on IG that she was coming to Sewtopia, as a friend had to cancel and gave her a ticket, but she had nowhere to stay.  I immediately offered sharing our suite and she threw a bunch of fabric and projects in her car and drove in from Cape Cod.  What a lovely and fun lady she was to meet.  She's also a great hugger :)  She started another version of her brother's jeans quilt at Sewtopia.  As a thank you before she headed home, she let my sister and me choose some small paintings she brought.  I picked this HST kitty.

And this one of three cats playing in the flowers.  I love them so much!

See more of her stuff and a link to her shop here.  Maybe I will get a good picture of Mini and see if she will paint it...but it won't be this one:
She's crashed out and blocking the way from my chair at the sewing machine.  I guess she doesn't want me to leave again!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sewtopia Boston

My sister and I had a great time at Sewtopia Boston with a couple dozen other women of all ages,  sewing away.  Kathy and I were lucky on our midweek flight out and had an empty seat between us to pile all our stuff onto.  We did not see much of Boston besides the airport, as the event hotel was in Waltham, about 15 miles away.  The Embassy Suites was very quiet and our suite in a good location away from the elevator and ice/vending machines :)   We had a shop hop the first day, starting with Fabric Basement, which had every type of fabric imaginable and excellent discount prices.  

This button display had a bags and sold by the scoop, so fun!  I picked up a few pieces of yardage here and bought my sister her birthday present, a folding Olfa cutting mat.  We visited another nearby discount fabric store and finished up in Cambridge, where Harvard University is located.  By this time, we were exhausted and spent most of our time restoring our energy at a restaurant across the street from the "gather here" quilt shop on Cambridge Street.  It was late in the afternoon as I was trying to capture some of the great old buildings and houses from the bus. 

 Loved this red one with the multipaned windows of different sizes.

 And this cool triangular building only wide enough for a single door on the end.

We enjoyed a little leaf peeping and the quaint houses on narrow old streets.  The next morning the sewing lounge was opened and we chose our tables.  Kathy and I were opposite each other on one end, and our guild president's mom and a friend took the other two spots.  Luckily we were near a design wall, which I hogged the whole weekend. 

Here Kathy is fending off my flashing tiny four patches, she cannot handle it!  She nearly had a nervous breakdown when she had to sew some four patches from 2.5" charm squares for a Christmas panel she was bordering, and tossed the remaining charm mini pack to me.  So funny.  I spent most of my time on the Happy Tiers quilts I am making for my cousin to give to his granddaughters.  

Although this pic doesn't show it, I got all the blocks sashed and the top complete with borders (fabric is Badda Bing by meandmysister designs).  It took way longer than I thought due to lots of seam matching while constructing the rows.  The second Happy Tiers quilt was not even cut out, so that task took some time.  I had sewn about four blocks together before noticing that my seam allowance was more than 1/4".  This mistake was due to my assuming the foot on the loaned Juki was 1/4", and not being informed by staff that a separate 1/4" foot and shank was needed.  I got a bit upset but all was fixed; the staff leader, Amy, helped me by ripping one quilt block. I left the sashing and borders the way they were on the first Happy Tiers.  The next day I sewed and sewed and by the closing hour finally had all the second quilt's blocks made and sashed. 

The second Happy Tiers is from the Meadowbloom line by April Rosenthal.  I'm thinking this one will be for the older granddaughter; and am considering using Minky on the back of the quilts to make them extra snuggly. My goal is to finish the quilts and mail the first week of December.   Other projects I brought with me were never touched at all, but we enjoyed our time seeing familiar faces from New Orleans and plan to go to the Seattle venue next year.  We hosted a special guest I'll tell you about next time, and show my swap goodies, make and take project, and Michael Miller Challenge quilt.

Our flight plans had to be changed due to the terrible fires in Los Angeles and Ventura County and the closure of the 101 and coast freeways.  United Airlines graciously allowed a flight change for no charge, and Kathy set us up to fly to Denver, then change planes and come into Santa Barbara, where Grant could easily pick us up.  We were let off the plane at Gate 23, and our connecting flight was, believe it or not, 70+ gates away at Gate 95, the very very LAST gate in the whole terminal.  Naturally we only had about 10 minutes to get there and checked in, and were practically running all that time. It was snowing in Denver as we boarded the plane outside, quite a novelty for this Southern California girl, then we waited and waited for de-icing before heading home.  

The night after I arrived home, my sewing room had to be broken down the second time in a month to allow the handyman/painter to prep and paint the room as well as add baseboards.  Tomorrow I'll hopefully get most of the room put together.  However, since there will likely be a table full of Thanksgiving guests in here some stuff will not go back yet...and I do have a LOT of stuff!  

We still do not know the final guest count, some have been subtracted, others added.  One brother and his family have an elderly relative who may need extra attention so they may not make the long drive here.  It will either be 23 or 30 of us!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

November Already/Sewtopia prep

Didn't the rest of October fly by?  I seem to have gotten little done in the sewing room towards the end of the month.  While caught up in the World Series finals, however, I got a lot of stitches in on the newest Lizzie Kate cross stitch project.

We weathered the entire 18 innings of that one wild game between Boston and our Dodgers, who finally won.  Unfortunately, I discovered the next day that the poor night lighting meant I used black instead of dark green for the red sweater's detail and had to rip it out! 

Prep work continued on the Michael Miller Challenge for Sewtopia Boston.  

I used the GO! cutter to get all the same size pieces from the fat quarters provided.  My plan was inspired by the cover quilt on this APQ magazine.  I made a bunch of blocks but then ran into trouble, having failed to make some mirror image blocks for the layout I wanted.  After making all the blocks I could squeeze out of the five fat quarters, several layouts emerged.

#1 included all the blocks of the fabrics with their color removed on one half, and the black and white/multicolored blocks.

 #2 with a more colorful array using only six of the blocks.

#3 using 8 of the blocks with a center medallion look.  Then my sister came over and played around with the blocks some more.  I have decided on a layout and will get this finished up tomorrow, I hope.  This year's fabrics were a lot harder to work with since there was no variety in scale.  Last year I made this tablerunner.

There is also a swap gift to make, packing to do of clothes, projects, accessories, and a hundred last minute items to check off the list before we head to Boston next week--my first visit to that city.   Looking forward to seeing people we met last year at Sewtopia New Orleans, and getting to know new friends  There is a shop hop, a couple of classes, lots of giveaways and games to enjoy, a popup shop, and open sewing til midnight.  What fun!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Design Wall Monday--10/22

On my design wall is a challenge project for Sewtopia.  My sister and I will be going to Boston in a few short weeks and need to turn our projects in on day one.  These are the fabrics provided for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge.

The rules are short and sweet--we can make anything we want but can only use Michael Miller fabrics.  I found a quilt I wanted to make with these fabrics, Wavelength from American Patchwork & Quilting June 2017 issue, by Sharon McConnell.  Since I am trying to use stash, and don't have any Michael Miller fabrics I could identify, I decided to change the fabric I received.  I used Rit Color Remover.  First I had to buy a stainless steel pot to use specifically for the chemical change--and boy it happened fast.  Luckily I tried a scrap from my stash before adding the challenge fabric pieces one at a time.

My husband complained about the smell, but the method worked very well.  I barely dipped and stirred a time or two before fishing out the pieces and rinsing them.  The red turned to an orange, and the blue turned to green.  the advantage of the Rit remover is that it does not need a fixative--once rinsed, it is good to go.  I'm going to use the black and white fabric for the stitch and flip corners. Hopefully I will get about 10 blocks to play with.  

See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

I only managed to get a few stitches in a new project this Slow Sunday. It makes for a somewhat dull photo.

This will eventually say Jingle all the way and have a cute kitten next to it--a match to the Plaid Tidings to You puppy I finished last week.  The patterns are from Lizzie Kate Tiny Tidings X.  

Lori of Humble Quilts had a free quiltalong based on an antique quilt, which she named Sajou after a quilt shop in France.  She posted the third and final instructions last week.  I got the triangle border made and was going along quite well until I mentioned on FB how good it looked--immediately thereafter a screwup occurred. 

Merde.  Fortunately I was able to cut multiple new pieces to remake this chopped off corner. 

I decided to stop where Lori did, with a small quilt about 18" square.  I'll choose backing and binding from stash, as I have very little left of the gifted Dargate Treasury sample cuts I used.  

See more stitchers' Slow Sunday posts on Kathy's blog.

Some Sewing and Scenery

I've been spending little time in the sewing room lately, sewing a few blocks and rows together here and there, but not making much prog...