Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wow, I can't believe how long it has been since I last blogged.  Time sure does get away from us sometimes.  I've been busy since our return from New York.  First, I volunteered at a dinner at our clubhouse.  We had a New York deli night, and I  can't begin to tell you how many sandwiches we made, also potato salad and cole slaw.  We fed 120 people and spent 3 days working on it.  It took me a couple of days to recover.

Then I enrolled in a cooking class which met once a week and just finished up last Wednesday.  We are lucky enough to have a trained professional chef here in our small community, and the classes were fabulous.  I love to cook and was amazed at how many tricks I learned in class.  Each week we made an appetizer, entree and dessert.  I am not a dessert lover or baker so the desserts were a challenge for me.  I had never used phyllo pastry before!

Sewing has been on the back burner, but now that I survived Thanksgiving and all that preparation, I am getting back to it.  The above photo is an apron that I made for my daughter.  I had some fabric left over and a couple of leftover ceramic tiles in the garage, so I made two hot plates to match the apron.  Todays project is to make the apron and trivets for my daughter-in-law.

This is a quick charity quilt, paper pieced ice cream cones.  I still need to baste it and quilt it.  My local guild gives quilts to the local sheriff's department and they distribute them to children who are in distress.  We do about 100 quilts per year, which is quite an accomplishment for a guild with only 15 members. 

I have kept the embroidery machine busy this week, making lace Christmas ornaments.  I have 24 done now and plan to give them to my fellow guild members at our Christmas luncheon next Monday and to keep some on hand for friends and neighbors.  Now I need to embroider a Christmas shirt to wear to the lunch.  I will post a picture of it next week.

No progress has been made on Esther's Forget Me Not blocks.  I have 5 of them done and plan to get back into that project after the holidays.  I do my hand applique in the evenings and I have been so busy lately that I am tired by then.

That's it for this week!  I hope you have all been well and keeping busy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's been a quiet couple of weeks around here.  I've made two charity quilts for the volunteer ambulance squad, done some hand applique and a couple of machine embroideries to frame.  No big projects at the moment although I continue to plug along with Esther's BOM.  I have finished just four blocks but I have prepped for another two so that I can take them with me to New York next week. 

We are heading to New York to  celebrate my mother's 101st birthday.  She is in good health, takes no meds, but her memory is totally gone.  She has been in a nursing home for 3 years now.  She still knows who I am, but with each trip I have to wonder if she will recognize me or not. 

The weather is still very warm here, we are waiting for a break so that we can do some outdoor work. It has been an unusually warm summer and there doesn't seem to be any relief in the near future.  Gardening is done early in the day, and for short periods.  With an almost daily afternoon rain, everything is growing strong!

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  I do enjoy reading all of the blogs on Esther's WOW linky page.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I don't remember if I have ever shared this quilt with you.  I have spent the morning preparing quilts for my guilds upcoming show at the local college.  This quilt is silk dupioni and heavily embroidered primarily with designs from Jenny Haskins.  It is loosely based on her Heritage quilt.  Many of the flowers are embroidered on tulle and then appliqued onto the quilt.  I know that it doesn't show up well in the photos, but the entire quilt is embellished with Swaroski crystals, many blocks are couched with metallic threads and the sashing is quilted with couching.  The borders are cut on the bias, using a large checkered dupioni fabric.  That one wasn't one of my better ideas....borders cut on the bias..... what was I thinking?  But the finish result was worth the effort, I think.  Quilt was entered in a show in 2010 and won a second place ribbon. 

OK, enough of a break for me, I have quilts to prepare for the show.  I have been searching out pictures to go with the entry forms.  My Hearts Desire and Peaceful Pathways are ready to go to their first show. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Here is my lonestar quilt, finally hanging on the wall after 3 years as a UFO.  What is really funny is that now I absolutely love it!  It was that little crooked seam in the middle that slowed down and eventually stopped all progress on this quilt.  After taking this photo, I realized that the Mariners Compass on the back of the sofa is also a pattern by the same designer.  That one is hand pieced and machine quilted. 

So now, with the satisfaction of a completed quilt, I am back to two other WIPs.  I have finally returned to Esther's beautiful Forget Me Not wallhanging, and another hand applique called Hearts and Flowers.  My least favorite part of an applique project is the actual preparation of the pieces, so I am willing myself to spend at least one hour per day doing this.  If I am able to get enough pieces prepped, I will have a peaceful winter with my hand applique.  Of course, I am totally incapable of leaving the sewing machines alone, so there will be another project coming soon!  My younger son is an EMT volunteer with the local fire department in our home town and he has been asking me for a couple of quilts to give to children in distress.  That will definitely be my next project, and a great stash buster as well. 

Off to do some household chores, then back to the ironing board to cut those tiny pieces for the lilac block!  I am not a fan of fusible applique, but I am also not crazy enough to try to hand applique those pieces!  So fused it will be!

I hope everyone has a productive week.  I am certainly enjoying reading the blog links on Esther's page.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

UFO almost done!
This year I made a New Years resolution to work on a few UFOs.  I've never been good at keeping those resolutions however, but I do continue to make them yearly.  The ones about losing 10 pounds and starting a regular exercise program are the first to fail!  It may have taken me until September, but here is an almost completed UFO!  All it needs is the binding.......however, after 3 years, I can't be sure where that binding is.  I may take the easy way out and bind it in solid black, so it really is complete before I need to make resolutions for 2013.
This quilt is hand pieced, the star was mostly pieced while we were traveling cross country.  The original pattern called for hand embroidery in the squares, but I am more of a fan of machine embroidery these days.  The quilting in the star is blanket stitched by machine and the stippling in the squares was done on my Handi Quilter.  The border quilting is a teardrop design, but impossible to photograph black thread on black background.  The backing is black as well. 
The embroidered design in the center of the star wasn't a planned part of the project.  After assembling the star, I found a row that was crooked...... that is primarily the reason for it becoming a UFO.  When I decided this week to finish it, I figured I would cover up the offending seam with another design.  It works for me!
I am off to cut some new binding for it!  I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Finally have found time to add to my blog.  It has been a hectic couple of weeks here, having some work done on the house, picking out paint colors, doing some redecorating too. 

This is a picture of a Storm at Sea wallhanging that I am making for a wall in John's den.  I chose the navy blue because the drapes in that room are navy.  The light background is actually a pretty beige and matches the fabric on the sofa that it will hang over.  The design was done in EQ7, which I am slowly learning how to use.  I am part of an online group currently doing the lessons that are provided in the software and I am learning a lot about the program.  This piece is almost done and I hope to finish it by week's end.  It is lightly quilted so it goes pretty quickly.  I am quilting it with Sulky Blendable in reds and it is actually quite pretty.  I still need some more practice on my HandiQuilter, the stitches aren't as perfect as I would like.  I have found that I need to start out each quilting day with a practice piece.  That helps me establish the rhythm that I need to keep the stitches even, or as close to even as I can manage. 

I have only completed 3 blocks in Esther's current BOM.  I am so far behind, but I hope to catch up over the winter.  The photos of the blocks on Esther's page are just beautiful.  So many creative people in the group. 

I hope you all have a creative and productive week! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It has been a busy week here, lots of socializing with friends.  Unfortunately, socializing around here always includes EATING!  So some serious dieting over the next few days!

I have posted a picture of an embroidery that I finished yesterday.  Not the best picture because I couldn't figure out a way to cut the glare from the flash.  Our backyard is a wildlife refuge and we have many of these blue herons, one in particular likes to sit on the roof of our screen enclosure.  We have tried to discourage this!  A couple of years back, I found a scarecrow and John placed it where the heron likes to sit, thinking it would keep him away.  The bird thought we had found him a friend, and flew in to sit beside the scarecrow!  When I found this embroidery design, I thought it would look nice on the wall in John's den  He returns from his extended visit to Tacoma on Friday, so I will let him decide where he wants to hang it.

I haven't done much machine embroidery in the past few months but I plan to do quite a bit of it for the holidays this year.  It is time consuming, this piece has 200,000 stitches and took about 22 hours to stitch out, with 43 stops for color changes.  I am lucky to have two machines sitting side by side so I can continue to sew while one machine stitches.  I found this frame at a great sale so I will head back this morning to pick up a couple of more.  We have lots of wall space to fill.

I have been having intermittent computer problems this week and have so far been unable to download Esther's new BOM.  John is my computer guru, so I am waiting his return to clean up my computer and get it back on track.

Have a great week! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday, August 7

I just finished a T-shirt quilt for my son-in-law.  He works in the film industry and these shirts represent some of the projects he has worked on over the years.  It was the first time I worked with T-shirts and it was a bit challenging.  But, at last it is finished and will go into the mail tomorrow.

Houseguests have returned home and I am almost ready to play catch up on some of my projects.  But I am hosting a surprise birthday dinner party for a good friend this week, so cooking will take precedence over sewing for a few days.  I have an embroidery project that I am anxious to start next week.  It is a picture of a blue heron for John's den.  We have herons in our backyard so I think he will enjoy this.

I hope everyone has a good week!  The pictures of Esther's newest BOM are just gorgeous.  I am jealous that I haven't been able to keep up with it. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I can't believe that it has been over a month since I last posted.  I had a wonderful trip and lots of time with my children and grandchildren.  Now I am back in Florida and working hard on sample quilts for the local quilt shop which is opening a second location next month.  The picture isn't great, but this is a pin-basted quilt that would be perfect for a little boy.  I need to get it machine quilted and then I plan to finish up a t-shirt quilt for my son-in-law.  I will post a picture of it next week.

I have fallen way behind in Esther's BOM quilt.  I hope to be able to catch up over the next few months.  Her blocks are so beautiful and this is the first time since I joined her group that I haven't been able to keep up.

Back to work on the machine quilting.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Here I am in very chilly upstate New York.  It started raining about an hour after I arrived last Friday evening and hasn't stopped since.  Makes me miss the Sunshine State!

Having a great visit with younger son and his family and visiting with old friends.  I am here until June 22nd, when I head north to older son's home and the high school graduation of my granddaughter.  In my packing frenzy last week, I almost forgot to pack the graduation quilt!   But it is here with me safe and sound.

I have several hand sewing projects with me but haven't made a lot of headway with anything.  But I have this afternoon free, so I will get to work on something.  I have an Hawaiian applique project about half done, and I have last month installment of Esther's BOM, also about half done.  And then at the last minute, I cut out the pieces for Esther's Cherry Thieves table runner, which has been on my wish list for quite some time now.

So now I am off to Esther's blog, to catch up on my reading over there.  Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Block number 2 of the current BOM is done!  Or really just done for now.  I plan to add beads to it when the entire quilt is assembled.  It feels good to be up-to-date with it.  I have already started the wild rose and lilac block for this month.  I rarely use fusible applique, but on this one I am trying it on the lilac flowers.  I had to go to the quilt shop yesterday as my stash was seriously without purple fabrics. 

We have been busy this week, packing the van for John's trip to Tacoma.  He plans to leave on Saturday.  I will be here in Florida until May 30th, when I head to New York for 3 weeks and Atlanta for 1 week.  Having our families 3000 miles apart sometimes makes for an awkward summer.  We each have a granddaughter graduating in June.  I am a very uncomfortable flyer and tend to avoid it as much as possible.  But who knows..... I may decide to fly to Seattle from Atlanta, we will have to see.  Or head back to Florida and enjoy lots of extra sewing time!  I am still working on mastering EQ7 and using my new Handi Quilter machine. 

Current work is all hand applique, Esther's BOM and a small mystery quilt from EQ.  Sewing room needs some attention, there are fabrics all over it while I decide on which ones to use.  I really need to make some time to organize it again.

That's it for this week.  Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Finally have finished the first block of Forget Me Not.  I am working on block 2, just about finished with that one too. 

We have had a busy week here, beginning to get ready for summer trips.  John is heading to Washington State on the 19th and I am heading to New York at the end of the month.  This morning we worked in the yard for quite a while, putting down new mulch and cutting back the hisbiscus bushes that are having a very good year.  We had to cut off many buds, but we couldn't let them continue to grow or they would be totally out of control by the time we return from our travels.

I was able to complete the French Braid quilt and it is ready to travel to New York with me.  Most of my work this week has been hand work. 

 I have one UFO left to complete this year, a hand applique queen size that has been waiting for quilting for quite some time now, at least 2 years.  I hope to be able to quilt it sometime this summer.   I am loving quilting on my Sweet Sixteen!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hunters Star

Finished up this quick project and hung it yesterday. I needed something for a spot on our red wall, lol.  It is a fun quilt to make, just 32 inches square so it was a chance to practice on my HQ Sweet Sixteen.  I am getting a bit better with even stitches, but I still tend to wobble a bit with it.  They are introducing a stitch regulator for it in June, but I am not sure I want to invest anymore in it.  I will definitely test drive it before deciding. 

Still working on my French braid, with two more borders to quilt.  Granddaughter graduates next month, so I need to concentrate on finishing it.  I have almost completed my first block for Esthers new BOM, but I am really running behind on that one.  I need to get organized and cut my pieces for the calla lily block.  I will have lots of time on my New York trip to hand applique. 

I am off to finish cleaning up my sewing area, then time to work on that French braid.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Here is a peak at my French Braid quilt.  I have purchased the backing and batting and am ready to sandwich sometime this week.  As usual, my dilemma is HOW to quilt it.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I am anxious to use my Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen as soon as I decide the quilting pattern.  This quilt is to be a graduation quilt for my grandson Alex who will graduate high school in 2013.  I completed two graduation quilts in the Hollow Cubes patterns for this years graduates, Jackie and Sarah. 
My major accomplishment this week was completing my Peaceful Pathways!  It is a stunning quilt, a beautiful free BOM by Esther Aliu.  I am struggling to keep up with the new BOM, Forget Me Not.  I am about halfway thru with my Peony block from last month.  Quiet time to hand applique has eluded me for the past couple of weeks.  We have been busy with some remodeling and decorating, but that is almost finished so I hope to catch up soon.  My choice for this months block is the Calla Lily which looks to be less labor intensive than the peony! 
Have a great week!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Day Late

This just sums up my life this week.  I am trying to play catch up, but seem to keep falling even farther behind.
I continue to plug along with my quilting on Peaceful Pathways, I should finish the next to last border this afternoon.  The final HST border should be easy and maybe done by next week.  Then on to the binding, and I am done.  My plan is to give it to my older son and his wife when they celebrate their 25th anniversary, two years from now. 
Progress on my first block in the Forget Me Not quilt has also been very slow.  I didn't like the greens that I was using so I scrapped the first block and started over again, using some yellow-greens instead of the original blue-greens.  I am much happier with it but I only have the stems done and one leaf so far.  I need to finish cutting the rest of the leaves and try to catch up by the 15th.  I will have quite a bit of time to do handwork starting in June, when I go to New York for an extended visit so I may have to count on getting caught up then.  My mom, who is 100, enjoys watching me stitch while I visit with her, in the nursing home.
I still need to plan my Easter dinner menu and make a shopping list..... nothing like waiting until the last minute.  This should be my last entertaining in Florida for the season.  Last weekend we hosted the neighborhood block party here at our house.  The weather did not cooperate, we had 50 mile winds and lost the tents that we had set up earlier in the day.  Then it rained......... so 47 people had to eat and visit in the house instead of outside as planned.  It went well, all things considered, lol.
I hope you all have a great week!  Keep sharing your photos of Forget Me Not.... I need the motivation!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I have finally chosen my fabrics for Esther's newest quilt, Forget Me Not. 
Part 2 has been launched today, and I have started on mine.  I am trying to prepare enough pieces so that I can take it on our cruise as my handwork.  I will probably be able to get the leaves and stems started on our trip.  I have chosen the peony design.
This week our small guild had a mini-retreat.  It was great to spend two days with friends.  We worked on Hawaiian applique, drawing our own designs.  I am not an artist at all, but I must say it was a lot of fun and I felt quite creative.  I need some new accent pillows for my living room so they will become pillows some day.
I won't be able to post next week, we will be cruising the southern Carribean.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Here is a picture of my new HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen.  I practiced using it yesterday, quilting this small charity quilt in about an hour.  So far, I am very happy with it.  Inserting the bobbin is a bit tricky, but once I figured it out, it was smooth sailing.  I will need lots more practice and some intricate patterns to practice on, so I will be pulling out my EQ7 quilting designs later today.

I am anxious to shop for my fabrics for Esther's new BOM.  I guess I need to find a focal fabric, and then add some small pieces for the appliques.  I am planning to use neutral batiks for the blocks, but I will keep an open mind about using something darker and more daring.  

Off to do some housework (ugh) and laundry.  I hope everyone has a great week.  I will share my fabric choices when I settle on them. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New quilting machine!

Pillowcases are done, now I have to get to the post office and send them off to Atlanta.  Aidan especially liked the Monopoly money fabric, but Grandma prefers the turtles.
This morning some friends are coming over and we are starting our guild opportunity quilt.  (When did the word "raffle" become extinct?)  We chose the fabrics a couple of weeks ago and the plan is to cut and package the pieces for other members to assemble.  The center will be a large applique and I think it is coming to me today to work on.
Yesterday my neighbor and I attended a large sewing expo.  It was incredibly crowded but we did manage to boost the local economy.  My purchase was a quilting machine!  I can't wait to pick it up on Monday and begin to learn how to use it.  It isn't a longarm because I dont have space for one.  It sits on its own table and has a hoop that you use to move the fabric under it.  I really hope that it helps to improve my quilting stitches.  I probably will need lots of practice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sharing a picture of an older quilt today.  I made this a couple of years ago, but I am so happy now with the way it looks against my newly painted red/orange wall. 

Been a busy week here, my daughter and youngest grandson have been with us.  They leave to travel back to Atlanta tomorrow morning.  No sewing this week, but we did a trip to the fabric store where Aidan picked out some fabric for some personalized pillowcases.  So Grandma will have some sewing and embroidering  to do this weekend.   And his mom found some really cute fabric for a new apron.  They were out of the pattern that she liked, so we are waiting for the order to arrive before I can start that project.

Peaceful Pathways is sitting here on my sewing table, waiting for me to return to quilting it.  I had set some completion goals for it, but somehow they didn't work out.  But it's on the list, lol.

Have a great week!  I hope to have some completed work to share next week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WOW Wednesday

Sitting here today taking it a bit easier than usual.  We had the interior of the house painted over the last few days, and everything now has to be put back into place.  Somewhere in the process, I have hurt my shoulder so the work has slowed considerably.  So I am sitting here, doing some paper piecing for a charity quilt.  The good thing is that I am using up a bunch of scraps! 
My local quilt guild donates quilts to the local sheriff's department and they give them out to children in distress.  Our very small guild usually manages to donate about 100 quilts per year.
My quilting on Peaceful Pathways is halted for a while.  I am not sure that pushing that heavy quilt thru my machine hasn't contributed to the shoulder pain, so I will avoid it for the next few days at least.  I am anxious to get back to it and finish it.
Looking forward to the first installment of Esther's new BOM.  Several of my friends here locally have joined the group and we plan to work together on it.  Sounds like a lot of fun.
Back to my paper piecing.  Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WOW Wednesday

This week finds me still plugging along with quilting my Peaceful Pathways quilt.  The center is completed except for the corner blocks.  I am waiting on delivery of a new-to-me product called Paper Solvy by Sulky.  It is supposed to be good for printing a quilting design and then you can sew thru the paper and dissolve it in water when your design is completed.  Meanwhile, I am quilting the Lovers knot blocks, in the ditch stitching.  Boring work but it is looking good.  Then I plan to use my decorative stitches and continue quilting them on the diagonal.  Then will come the challenge of the feathered border..... hopefully using the Paper Solvy on that. 
We are all anxiously awaiting Esther's package...... it must be so frustrating.  I am looking forward to seeing her color choices later this week.  Then I will plan a shopping trip.
'Til next week, you all take care.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Started quilting Peaceful Pathways yesterday.  It is slow going, but coming together quite nicely.  Still not sure how I will quilt the pieced blocks, but I am leaning toward using the decorative stitches on my machine and quilting on the diagonal with those stitches.  This is probably the largest quilt I have ever tackled on my Viking Designer Diamond, but it is working out well.  I would love to have a long-arm machine, but we just don't have the space for one.  Every now and then I mention putting an addition on the house, but it isn't all that well received, lol. 
Break time is over, back to my quilting, but I did want to share my progress with you all. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not keeping up this week.......  my brain is still in vacation mode.   I have the 5th border for Peaceful Pathways completed and attached, but this is an old picture because I can't find the camera at the moment.  Like I said.....vacation mode.  I think the camera is in an unpacked bag somewhere and I just missed it when I was unpacking.  Of course, the bags are put away so it means a real search to find it.
Todays plan is to piece the final borders.  I am undecided if I will start quilting this project right away or start on some older UFOs.  But for now, I have to go back and find Part 1 and piece a few more HSTs.   Somehow, somewhere, about 24 of them were misplaced.  Since this quilt traveled 3500 miles in a very over crowded car I consider myself lucky that those are the only pieces that have gone missing.  And they are so easy to make using Esther's paper piecing method.  The original ones will show up as soon as I have recreated them!
Back to work for now but looking forward to reading everyones WOW postings later today.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

Here is the quilt that I have been working on as a sample for our local quilt shop.  The picture makes it look rectangular, but it is actually 82 inches square.  The fabrics are by Windham and the pattern is one that they are giving away with a purchase.  I will deliver it tomorrow morning.

I was anxious to complete this project before we leave on Sunday for our cruise.  So upon our return, I will have time to catch up on my Peaceful Pathways quilt, and then I need to take time to quilt some of the tops that I have completed. 

I won't be able to post on Esther's WOW blog next week, but I will catch up with everyone after the 15th.