Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Santa's Coming

I've been good this year, so I'm pretty sure Santa has me on his nice list. Just in case, I made him a quilt and a pillow. Santa's Coming is 44” square, and inspired by Christmas fabric I scored back in July. 

Seems like a perfect spot to settle down for a cozy nap on a drizzly December Monday, don't you think?

We made sugar cookies on Saturday but I'm absolutely certain they will not still be around on Christmas Eve. They are sooo delicious! 

I haven't made cookies or other sweet treats for a while since we have been striving to eat healthier. Christmas is the season to indulge but we will be back on track soon. I like these new smaller jeans way too much to risk gaining weight. 
 


Dear Santa:
I've been good all year,
no matter what
the evidence might suggest...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Calm And Bright

I've been as busy as a little elf in my sewing workshop!
A few Christmas projects were on this year's list. I used the 9” wedge die for a pretty table runner in gray and red. Calm and Bright looks nice on our coffee table with one of Hazel's Christmas Village houses and a candle globe filled with tiny red bells.


The stockings came from my July yard sale fabric, one for the laundry room and another for the kitchen wall. 

I like for our home to be festive but not over the top. I have several holiday items in every room, sometimes only adding greenery, a quilt, or pillows. 

We don't put up a tree, but I decorate our Norfolk Island pine with lightweight ornaments. Then I use some of my old favorite ornaments to add a bit of holiday bling to my regular decor. 
 


I almost forgot about the purse I made in October, probably because I've been using it. It's made with a flowering snowball block. Cutting and sewing the curved seams was easy and accurate, thanks to AccuQuilt's die. The gray prints contrast nicely with bright purple and coral batiks. I finished Snazzy Snowball in an afternoon.


Christmas 
isn't a season.  
It's a feeling.
~Edna Ferber

Monday, December 4, 2017

Thrift Shop

Economy block
What a fun quilt this was to design! I used up some of my smaller scrap pieces in a rainbow of colors. I started by cutting triangles and 2 1/2” squares at random whenever I got the chance. I cut leftovers immediately after working on other projects. I stacked them all in a plastic dish until it got full. 

Thrift Shop
One day in mid-October, I began to sew white triangles with print ones, then put them up on my design wall. I used sixteen different 5” squares for the centers, and sewed economy blocks with black and white print corners. Once I got everything arranged, it reminded me of the riot of colors in a thrift shop. 

Leftover white/print half square triangles made top and bottom accent strips, borders are done in apricot diamond print.  Backing on this 40” x 50” lap quilt features cheerful daisies with black accents on an apricot background. 

I haven't quilted this one yet, being distracted by beach walking and closet catastrophe/sorting/construction. I plan to stitch 1” white vertical lines in a straight stitch when I get back to my sewing machine today.

I know my fabric limits,
I just don't pay attention to them.
As long as I keep sewing,
I'm always need more fabric.  ~me


Monday, November 27, 2017

Honey, I Broke The Closet!

I knew I owned lots of clothes...but I never realized how many until one of my closet rods broke!

One night we heard a crash and couldn't find anything that fell until later when I opened my closet door. WOW. A two inch hardwood rod had split in the center and pulled down the bracket that held it. Good grief, do ya think I need to get rid of some things? There were more than a few laughs about just how many outfits a retired woman needs.

When we got back from the beach last week, I started purging clothes based on what I wear now. I did this several years ago at retirement, but  I bought more and apparently don't get rid of much. To be fair, some of the extra clothes were my mom's. This time I have four huge bags for donation. I also sorted the guest room closet, which stores my off season things.

My sweet husband and I have installed a new closet system with a few custom modifications (stronger this time!). I love the look. Hopefully now I can keep organized and contain my addicting clothing habits. A photo of the broken rod might be all I need to stay on track. 
 

And, yes, I was too embarrassed to shop for clothing on Black Friday.




Monday, November 20, 2017

Barefoot On The Beach

We just got home from a most delightful week in Orange Beach, Alabama. The weather was perfect, lows in the mid 50's and highs in the mid 70's. Our tenth floor suite at the recently renovated Island House Hotel in Orange Beach was super clean and spacious. The view and the beach were beautiful. The waves sounded amazing. There weren't many people around until Saturday and even then it wasn't really crowded.

Pecan Encrusted Grouper - DeSoto's
And, oh my, the seafood! 
Our favorite Gulf Shores restaurants, Mikee's Seafood and DeSoto's Seafood Kitchen, are still providing mouth-watering meals. Mikee's fried shrimp, fried red snapper and pan grilled grouper are so delicious. DeSoto's pecan encrusted flash fried grouper and Parmesan breaded flounder were the best I have ever eaten. We tried a new spot, Doc's Seafood Shack, which claims to have “the best fried shrimp in the entire civilized world” – and I believe they may be correct. Medium tailless shrimp with a light flaky batter were fried to perfection. Several new places looked promising, but there are just too many restaurants and not enough time!

Shopping load from the beach
Of course, there was shopping. Fabrics By The Pound, located in Summerdale, has an outstanding inventory of high quality quilting fabric and batting. What I bought wasn't sold by the pound, but the prices were reasonable at $7.99 per yard and sale prices of $4.99 per yard. Their decorator and upholstery fabric was nice, and the staff was very friendly. I was there for a while; filled a buggy with fabric bolts. Our car was a bit heavier on the way home. At Foley Antique Marketplace, Jerold found a $50 bargain with a Zenith Transoceanic radio, circa 1954.

There's new construction going on with condos and beach houses in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Fort Morgan is still mostly houses, thank goodness. 

To cap our trip, as we were sitting on the balcony on the last evening, we saw some unusual activity on the beach. A guy in khakis set out a blanket, cooler, and a sign of some sort, then left it and hid behind a dune with a girl in a dress who had a huge camera. Got our binoculars, and another well dressed couple was hiding behind another dune nearby. Soon after, a young couple came down the beach and stopped at the blanket. You guessed it, a proposal. They hugged, he dropped down on one knee, and she said yes. How cool is that? I hope they stay married at least as long as we have.

The beach is truly my happy place. I love being there, feeling the breeze, smelling the sea air, and hanging out with my guy. If we had an opportunity to move there, I would have to think about it, but it might not take long to decide. It is a magical, relaxing, calming spot. 

Perdido Pass Bridge, Orange Beach

 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Color Crayons

Color Crayons
Inspiration: 
a brand new 
box of crayons  

Color crayons is what we called them when I was little. I don't know if that's a Southern thing, but they were never just crayons.


This quilt is made up of 3 1/2” half square triangles in bright prints of red, purple, yellow, blue, aqua, green and coral. The contrasting triangles are grey and cream. I had a red, blue, green and yellow striped fabric in my stash for backing. Quilting is a serpentine stitch in a square pattern on seam lines, then I added a red mini-dot border.  Color Crayons is a bright, fun 40” by 46” lap quilt that I finished in late September.

I have a few more projects in various stages, just waiting for me to play. I am having so much fun making quilts this fall! It seems like each one I make becomes my favorite, at least until I make another. 

Life is about using the whole box of crayons. ~RuPaul 

Usually, the kid coloring outside the lines 
is having the most fun. ~Unknown 


Monday, November 6, 2017

Contrary Girl

Contrary Girl
I've always had a soft spot for reproduction pastel 1930's prints. They have a definite vintage vibe. A cutting session in September with AccuQuilt 3 1/2” square and triangle dies had me looking for an old fashioned quilt block design. I found a nine-patch called contrary wife, and used pale soft yellow solid triangles instead of white to lessen the contrast.

The arrangement of the blocks creates patterns of stars and multicolored squares on point. Straight stitch quilting was done in offset squares with medium pink thread. Backing and binding are a pink crosshatch print. The result is Contrary Girl, a 36” square baby quilt that I absolutely love.

I may have been called contrary, once or twice... 

“I'm a woman,
I can be as contrary
as I choose.”
Lady Violet, Downton Abbey

Monday, October 30, 2017

Candy Corn

Candy Corn
Tomorrow is Halloween, a day for fun, trick-or-treat, and candy.  This week's project is made of cute candy prints cut into equilateral triangles.  

Using an Accuquilt die made quick work of cutting and sewing.  Sized at 24" x 29", Candy Corn fits just right on my coffee table or kitchen bar. 



Notice the empty candy jar?  We've already gobbled up the first batch of Halloween treats. 







 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Stellar

Stellar
This comforting quilt was inspired by vintage ones made from Granny's feed sacks and calico dress scraps. The classic sawtooth star block is one of my favorites. Light gray is a neutral background for coral, navy, blue and green prints. Quilting is stitched in vertical rows 1” apart.

Stellar was finished in September, and is the right size (42” x 48”) for a wall hanging or throw. Now that nights are finally cooler, wouldn't it be nice to snuggle under with a good book and a cup of tea?


Go out and paint the stars.
🌟
For my part I know nothing
with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars
makes me dream.

~ Vincent Van Gogh ~


Monday, October 16, 2017

Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar
Strip quilts are fast and easy, but still allow for creativity. Wine Cellar brings to mind sweet sangria and crisp, bubbly spumante. 

Coordinating wine and burgundy 2 1/2” strips are sewn alternately with a subtle cream print, then trimmed into 8” diagonal squares. The same cream Sedona print is used for sashing and backing. Quilting is simply stitched in 1 1/2” parallel rows. The tranquil 43” square would make a nice wall quilt.

I had a bonus week since we came home early from camping. After unloading and cleaning the camper, I spent most of my time sewing, designing, and reading. (Who would have guessed?) I would sew all day every day if I didn't have to eat and keep the house clean. And I've found that I can't drink wine while sewing.  Too many crooked seams.  I'm thankful that my sweetie has hobbies too, so he understands my addiction to fabric. 

 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Know When To Fold 'Em

This is a late blog post because yesterday we broke camp and headed home from what was supposed to be a two week relaxing escape. Six months ago we made reservations at Dale Hollow Dam Campground. We envisioned bright fall days and crisp nights sitting around the campsite with nice breezes blowing through open windows. That didn't happen.

Our trip started great, an easy pull and smooth setup in our favorite site. We kept getting a whiff of something, maybe an RV needed to go dump or the wind was coming from the dumpster area. Nope. By the next day we realized that it was coming from the river, every time they let lake water through the sluice gates. Rotten sewer smell, enough to make you nauseated. Whatever was in that lake bed was extremely nasty. Be very glad photos don't convey scent.

So, windows closed, air conditioner on. OK, we can deal with that for a day or two, surely it won't last long. And it was ok at night, except for mosquitoes. But then rain came, making it hot and muggy and stinky. We explored around Celina, ate exceptional Mexican food at Los Primos, shopped the Roller Coaster yard sale. Campground was nearly full because it was fall break for several surrounding counties. Kids, dogs, noise.

We kept thinking it would cool off and that smell would go away. It didn't. Then yesterday morning, the power went off for several hours. Now it was hot and smelly and no AC. Enough already. No peaceful fall days, no crisp nights, can't sit outside, might as well go on home. Life's too short to waste time being miserable. At least we got a refund for the rest of the week. And Callie cat was happy to be sprung from the cat spa at Critter Clinic.

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run.
The Gambler, Kenny Rogers/Don Schlitz


Monday, October 2, 2017

Twilight Stars

Twilight Stars
The friendship star block is a fairly easy one, made up of squares and half square triangles. Purple, true blue, and navy batiks with light gray centers show up beautifully against a sky blue background. This 40” x 52” size would be a nice crib or lap quilt. I sewed the top in August and finally quilted Twilight Stars on Saturday.

 
I put together a little bonus quilt from the scraps, called Grapesicle. I used my new equilateral triangle die to quickly cut pieces, so the front was done in a day. 


Backing is pieced in random strips of pink, purple, and gray, set in two rows. I stitched along the triangles for an overall diamond pattern and bound it with a gray stripe. It measures 22” x 26” and coordinates with the grape walls in my sewing room.

✦✦✦✦

I just want the simple things. I want to lay on a blanket at twilight and look at the stars. I want to breathe deeply, then exhale out negativity. And I know it is within my power to do just that. So I did. I left crazy drama behind to walk straight toward simplicity and peace. I've never been happier.” – Author Unknown 

 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Candy Stripe

Candy Stripe
Doesn't this cheerful scrap quilt put a smile on your face? Four inch squares of pink, lime, yellow and turquoise prints are randomly set in four-square blocks, then framed with bright striped sashing and squares of lime dots.

I repeated the stripes for the back, with border and binding in a pink Dear Stella crosshatch pattern. It's quilted in one huge circle, starting at center and spiraling out to the edges. Happy and girly, this 36” x 45” beauty could be a baby gift or a lap quilt. I really enjoyed working on Candy Stripe, using up more of my fabric inventory while creating something useful.

🔴 🔴 🔴

I found I could say things
in colors and shapes
that I couldn't say any other way 
--things I had no words for.” 
Georgia O'Keeffe
 
🔴 🔴 🔴

Clean out a corner of your mind
and creativity will instantly fill it.”
Dee Hock

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hard Lesson: AccuQuilt

Play Time
I bought myself a new toy, an AccuQuilt Go fabric cutter. It was on sale at their website at the end of August, so I ordered. As soon as it arrived, I used the basic die to cut pieces for several quilt blocks. The cuts are precise and the blocks went together perfectly. I loved it at first use, so easy and quick!

Play Time is a sampler quilt from those blocks plus a couple of test squares from recent projects. The bright red, aqua and white colors blend these different designs into a pretty 32” square.

Unfortunately, my happiness didn't last. I was enthusiastically cutting and sewing up a storm, when I saw AccuQuilt advertise a new sale on Labor Day. The cutter I just bought is now $50 less for the month of September, "lowest price of the year." I contacted AccuQuilt customer service twice and found out that their 30-day satisfaction guarantee is far from satisfying. They would not give me the $50 discount, even though it had only been 10 days since my order.  All they said was NO, have a nice day and here's a link to our latest sale. WHAT???

They just took the joy right out of my new purchase. I truly like the product, I even did an positive online review right after purchase, but their company policy stinks. They could at least offer a discount on another die, or a coupon, or something. Now every time I use the thing, I remember that I got fleeced.

I guess I'm used to nice merchants who want their customers happy so they will continue buying their products. I found out the hard way that AccuQuilt is NOT one of those.

One customer 
well taken care of 
could be more valuable 
than $10,000 worth 
of advertising.  
Jim Rohn

Your most 
UNHAPPY customers
are your greatest source
of learning.
Bill Gates

Monday, September 11, 2017

Two Quick Designs

I have been stitching like the wind and need to catch up, so I
have two quilts for you today.  These mini  projects go quickly and are so much fun to design.

Lakeside Oasis 
Lakeside Oasis consists of strips and squares in cool, peaceful colors.  Green, aqua, navy, and grey strips are joined randomly, then cut into squares and sewn on point with light grey batik.  I stitched with grey thread in a wave pattern.  This relaxing and pretty 31" square is currently on the wall in my bedroom.

Tea Time
A cute table mat of diagonally placed wide strips is neutral cream and tan with a touch of aqua.  They are stitched together and cut diagonally, then flipped around to form a 24" square.  Tea Time was inspired by the binding and backing fabric of alphabet letters and teacups. 

Speaking of inspiration, I have had plenty lately.  These two were done back in July and early August.  Since then I have finished five others and designed so many that I can't sew fast enough.  

Gotta use all this pretty fabric, so I can buy more!!  


NEVER, NEVER ENOUGH FABRIC 
 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fresh Laundry

There's something about the smell and feel of freshly washed laundry. Clean and crisp. That's what I was going for with an update of our laundry room last week.

It all started when my eighteen year old washer began to make crazy sounds. A search for a reliable replacement led us to Speed Queen. A Labor Day sale at Gibson's Furniture in Gallatin gave us a great price on a new set, thanks to Eddie and Scott.

Perfect time for a quick redecorate, don't you think? I painted the walls a pretty gray-blue. Galvanized panels are perfect for the laundry sink backsplash. We painted the switchplates, cabinet knobs and hardware in hammered silver to match. Jerold installed a new under cabinet LED light.

A few antique blue Mason jars, old washboards and clothespins, Mason jar prints and a small painting I finished in the spring complete the transformation. The little scrap quilt is called Tropical Geese.


Results:  Fresh laundry room, bright, clean and crisp.






Normal
is just a setting
on the dryer

Monday, August 28, 2017

Quarter Cabin Pavers

I like log cabin quilts. This modern scrappy version is one large quarter cabin block, made up of colorful 4” x 7” rectangles. 

A neutral creamy print on alternate rows gives just the right contrast. Finished size is 37” x 40” which works for a throw, wall hanging, or child's quilt.

This was one of seven projects I finished last month. July was hot and muggy, so I took refuge in my cool, quiet sewing room. I designed several more and managed to keep my workspace reasonably neat.

Now that I have been steadily sewing throughout August, a few horizontal spaces need freshening up. It's funny how scraps and leftover pieces of fabric begin to pile up together with rulers and tools. Sounds like this rainy day is the day to deal with that.


Mondays 
are for
FRESH STARTS