Monday, December 31, 2018

Make It So

2019 is just about here.  

Time for reflection, recharging, and resolutions.

Toss what's not important.

Embrace your favorite things.  

This is the beginning of anything you want.


Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Surprise


I just got one of the coolest surprise gifts ever! A little background: my husband is a radio and electronic enthusiast. He loves them as much as I love sewing.
This vintage Buttons 'n Bows thread cabinet AM/FM tube radio was made December 23, 1965 by the Guild Radio & Television Company in California. It's in perfect condition and sounds fabulous. Decorated with spools, buttons, tape measure, scissors and pincushion, the knobs are little spools and thimbles. It is adorable!

Last year he bought a Guild Spice Chest AM kitchen radio. They manufactured several novelty radios disguised as other objects: lantern, old fashioned wall telephone, treasure chest, hurdy-gurdy, and more. Some are common, others more rare. He had been looking for this one for a while.

Don't you just love presents with a personal touch? I've been a little under the weather and this one made my day!
Hope y'all have a merry Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2018

Ho, Ho, Ho!


With only a week until Christmas, I couldn't resist posting one last holiday quilt. It's a fun one made to hang on the wall or use as a door decoration. The 20” x 30” size made it quick to put together; I finished it in an afternoon. 
I used white on white print scraps for the letters, with a bright red tiny print as background. Crisp black and white gingham frames it nicely. I stitched with white thread in straight lines just under an inch apart.

Just a few more items on my to do list, including pecan pies to bake, and Chex mix to make.
Santa's coming soon, so be good, relax, and enjoy the holidays!



Monday, December 10, 2018

Snowy Quilts

Lone Pine

I have a confession to make: I may have witched up yesterday's winter ice event. Inadvertently, of course.
Last week I finished two winter quilts. Lone Pine has bright white decorative stitching along the branches to represent ice or snow. Oops! I made this 16” x 18” wall mat with half rectangle triangles of greens with a beige/cream print. I channel stitched around the tree and added a binding of green.
Snow Pine
Snow Pine is larger at 27 ½” x 32 ½” and made up of stacked shoo fly blocks in varying shades of green from my scrap basket, with solid white background. I channel quilted this one in 1” intervals.
I love snow but the ice caused us to lose power for a couple of hours and we have several pine branches on the ground. It didn't seem like that much ice but my favorite weeping willow tree is twisted and broken at the top from the weight.
Maybe I should get back to beach themed quilts for the rest of the winter...



Monday, December 3, 2018

Giving Christmas Cheer


My Christmas project will be ready to deliver this week. 
I have been sewing brightly colored napkins for my county's Meals on Wheels program. Their volunteers will add these to food deliveries for the holiday, and bring a bit of extra cheer to over 100 people.
How cool is that?  I spent time doing something I love and people I don't even know get a small surprise for Christmas.  
It's a great feeling to help others, so I challenge you to do something extra this season. Share your time, your talent, or your money to make someone's Christmas a little merrier.

Christmas is doing
a little something extra
for someone.
~Charles M. Schulz

Monday, November 26, 2018

Dazzler

Dazzler

I love purple...from grape to lilac, amethyst to lavender. I recently added touches of royal purple to my guest bathroom. This small 18” x 22” wall quilt, Dazzler, is made up of drunkard's path blocks. I quilted around the curves in dark purple thread. This one only took a day to complete. It's satisfying to work on small projects because they finish up quickly.
Now I am on the hunt for a couple of matching hand towels and perhaps a colorful rug. It's the little things, you know, that bring me joy. 
This month I've been making a daily note of gratitude. Looking back, most of them are simple pleasures, and I like that. 
  
Sometimes we get so caught up
in trying to accomplish
something big,
that we fail to notice
the little things
that give life its magic

Monday, November 19, 2018

Give Thanks


I am thankful for many things.  I have a happy life, a loving husband, a comfortable home, and a room full of fabric.  

And, finally, we have a new working refrigerator...plus a new dishwasher too!  


Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Batik Trail

Batik Trail

Here I go again, mixing and matching dies to create old favorite blocks. This time I made one from the 1920's – Snail Trail, also called Monkey Wrench in some old magazines.  
Sea blue leafy batik fabric is paired with crisp white and bordered with a cross hatch print. Each 12” block is made up of a center four-square, adding triangles to expand the design. 
It looks more difficult than it really is, especially because of the perfect cuts with AccuQuilt. The dies I used are: 55018 small value die (2 1/2” squares); 55006 half square triangle (3 ½”); 55031 half square triangle (4 ½”) and 55001 half square triangle (6 ½”). 
Free motion quilting was done in medium blue thread in a meandering design. Finished size for Batik Trail is 30” square.

Both my Singer and Janome machines are humming! I'm still working on my Christmas project, as well as cutting and stitching more scrappy star blocks. I've laid out several vintage quilts in EQ8, and I'm always on the lookout for more ideas.
DESIGN
a life
that you will
LOVE



Monday, November 5, 2018

Windy Flight


During our early October camping trip, I sewed flying geese blocks (cut with my Accuquilt cutter before we left). Once home, I arranged them in groups and added a 6” border. Don't these colors of navy, gray, green, and turquoise look great together? Some of the prints repeat the triangular design of the blocks.
Windy Flight
For the back, I cut and sewed 6” squares in the same colors, plus one flying geese square, then added double borders. I used a white and gray variegated thread and quilted randomly spaced wavy lines to give motion to the design. Windy Flight, my latest favorite quilt, is 58” square.

Refrigerator update: The saga continues but the end is in sight. I am so thankful for Lowes extended service! Since the part can't be found, they offered to refund our original purchase price for the frig! The check is on its way. Hooray!  
The down side...I have to choose a new frig and hope that it is more reliable. I know two things. 1) It won't be an LG. 2) We will absolutely buy the extended service from Lowes.
►►►►  ◄◄◄◄
The amount of good luck 
coming your way 
depends on 
your willingness to act. 
--Barbara Sher


Monday, October 29, 2018

National Cat Day & More


Here's a shot of our sweet Callie taken this morning. She's stretched out in the sunshine, relaxed and happy. It's National Cat Day so she'll get a few extra treats to celebrate.
Wednesday is Halloween; we're going to dress up as old retired folks. OK, not really dressing up, just wearing our normal clothes. It's been a while, but I recall wonderful costumes for many Halloween celebrations at work.
I'm already stitching for Christmas! A charity project is in the works that will bring smiles to the faces of strangers during the holidays. What better way to celebrate?

Refrigerator Update: Still nothing. We have received two of the parts but the other is still pending, possibly on back order or sailing in on a slow boat from Korea. No one knows.


Patience 
is the ability 
to count down 
before you blast off


Monday, October 22, 2018

Pretty Stars


While last week was busy, I did make time to relax by sewing a few random blocks. I like to experiment with scrap die cuts to see how well they might look in a quilt. It's nice to have the scraps already cut and sorted by size so that I can just start stitching. Most of the time I use EQ8 software to design but there's nothing like hands-on sewing to check that seams match.
These two different size Ohio Star blocks are lovely in aqua, purple and peach prints left over from other quilts. This will be a long term project in progress, sewing random blocks in similar colors when I have a few extra minutes. I haven't even thought about how to set them into a quilt, only that I'll use a white background in all of them. I'm sure several layouts will come to me when I get enough blocks finished.
For the time being I'll use the triangles and squares I've already cut, but my scrap baskets are nearly full, so I'll find an afternoon to add more. My sewing to do list is always long and interesting. I have too many ideas and not nearly enough time to finish them all.
I like to think this desire to create came from my ancestors.  They were women who took pride in the fact that they saved every scrap of fabric to make something beautiful or functional.


Refrigerator Update: Still broken. Two repairmen have come, compressor failure is the diagnosis. Parts are on order and should be here by Thursday. We did get approval for food spoilage refund from Lowe's. Their extended service people have been easy to work with and efficient. 
A word of warning, though, do not buy the LG refrigerator with a linear compressor. According to the repairmen, those compressors consistently fail after 2-3 years, even though it was highly recommended in initial reviews.  

Monday, October 15, 2018

Midnight Star


This week's quilt is my version of the Hunter's Star block, using pieces from the Accuquilt Lemoyne Star and 4 ½” square dies. Rich brown and cream print and a subtle midnight black swirl provides the contrast needed for a striking design. 
I added a 3 ½” leafy brown border to four 9” blocks to make a 25” square table or wall quilt. I straight stitched along each section in a square pattern with tan thread. Backing is the same brown leaf print. Midnight Star is another favorite; I plan to sew a bigger one later.  
It's finally feeling more like fall! Now that we're home from camping, the temperatures have dropped. I wasn't exactly planning for 90 degree days on our October retreat, but we still had a good time at Defeated Creek. There was a breeze off the lake and our site was shady. Two side trips had us exploring the Roller Coaster Yard Sale and the Granville Quilt Show I wrote about last week.
Our trip was relaxing, even with the heat. Good books, yummy food, and leisurely walks fit perfectly into my plan for taking things as they come and enjoying the journey.
One little monkey wrench when we got home Friday: our 3 year old refrigerator had quit. All food lost. Four trash bags full of mushy, thawed and questionable stuff. We plugged in our 24 year old frig; it is now running fine in the basement. 
Fortunately we have extended warranty, food spoilage reimbursement, and the repairman is expected today or tomorrow. Who knows how long it will take to get parts, fix or replace?   To be continued...

Monday, October 8, 2018

Granville Quilt Festival


On Saturday, we took a road trip to Granville, Tennessee. Our destination: a quilt show, part of their annual fall festival. Oh the quilts! Amazing designs, outstanding stitching, fabulous colors, and a combination of modern and old standard designs, all draped over the pews at Granville United Methodist Church.
My favorites were the antique and hand-quilted categories. Tiny, perfect hand stitches, in narrow rows only ¼” apart made me feel totally inadequate but inspired. The quilters featured in the show are all artists. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.





The festival was spread over the entire little town on the Cumberland River. Quilts were draped over porch rails on most of the historic homes. The E.B. Sutton General Store, the Granville Museum, and Sutton Historic Homestead featured 1950's quilts along with their regular displays.

Demonstrations of frontier life, spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, wood carving, basket weaving and more went on all day. Live music at the gazebo and a lakeside stage for Jazz on the Cumberland kept everyone entertained. Booths were nicely curated (no tacky cheap stuff or yard sale junk here). Most were Tennessee and Kentucky craftspeople. 



As a former tourism director, I want to congratulate Granville for an excellent festival. This was the most organized event I have ever seen in a little town. There were helpful volunteers everywhere, excellent signage, trams & golf carts to and from convenient parking areas, all the shops and homes were decorated and I'll bet all the residents were participating in some way.
If you want more info, www.granvilletn.com has details.


Monday, October 1, 2018

Maple Syrup


I've been waiting to share this quilt until it felt more like fall. I mixed several dies to create four leaf blocks in rich autumn colors. 

Sashing is a coordinating vine print; backing and binding are a yellow and brown scalloped stripe. I quilted in straight lines with a creamy yellow thread. 

Maple Syrup is 27” square and could be used as a table mat or wall d├ęcor. It's hanging in my dining room now.


Autumn is a wonderful time of year. The crisp air is invigorating but relaxing. Brilliant leaves, cooler temperatures, hoodies, boots, camping, and fall festivals are my favorites. For the record, the pumpkin spice flavor craze in hundreds of foods and beverages is not for me. I love pumpkins as decorations but I can't stand the taste.
This year I plan to embrace the glory of fall by slowing down, taking it all in, and enjoying every moment. My life, my decisions, my journey.
autumn
shows us
how beautiful
it is to
let things go

Monday, September 24, 2018

Jazzy Rings


I've always wanted to make a double wedding ring quilt, but the thought of cutting out all those precise little pieces put me off. Not to mention the curved seams, which have to be stitched slowly and accurately.
Thanks to Accuquilt, my worries are over! Their die has the option of solid or pieced rings, and cuts perfectly aligned pieces with notches to match seams. Love it! I found the die on sale and right away I cut a sample block of blue scraps to make a table mat.
For Jazzy Rings, solid rings were more suitable for the larger scale fabrics I chose. The centers are white prints with gray and black, center squares are black prints. Bright and colorful, the 38” x 49” size works for a baby or child's quilt. I outline quilted the rings with white thread and stitched the centers in a squared design. The back is a white and gray print and it's finished off with bias binding in a light gray to coordinate.
Jazzy Rings
I've already designed a couple more versions. I need more time to create, and I'm running out of quilt storage space but that won't stop me from sewing whenever I get the chance. Forget housework and cooking, you know where to find me.
Today's fabric
is tomorrow's quilt.





Monday, September 17, 2018

Follow Your Path


I've been thinking. Yeah, I know that's dangerous. It usually means something is about to change. Around here that could be anything from moving furniture to planning an adventure.

My thoughts are that there should be an easy rhythm to daily life. When everything is going smoothly, you feel in sync with your surroundings. There's a sense of peace, joy, accomplishment, and satisfaction with yourself. That comfort level isn't easy to maintain, however, because circumstances have a knack for changing just when you think you're on the perfect path.

Managing change is crucial to keeping that balance. Change is how you learn. You have to decide whether to get back on track or head off in another direction. It's important to set your own itinerary. Try to filter out what really doesn't matter, what can wait for another day.

Structure your life to fit your expectations, not those of others. Fill your time with the things, people, and activities that make you smile.  Remember, it's your path.


From anywhere you are, there is a path that will lead you to where you want to be.”  – Ralph Marston

Monday, September 10, 2018

Lilac Medallion

Lilac Medallion

On this fall morning, I had coffee on the back porch and enjoyed the cooler temperatures. What a welcome change!

This week's project is stitched from pieces in my remnant box, finished last month. It's a 30” square, made up of nine kite blocks cut with Accuquilt. 

Sweet lilac prints and dots are paired with white and cream. The color layout forms a medallion shape. The backing is a tiny purple rosebud design. I quilted with white thread in parallel rows of continuous triangles.

Today seems perfect for a little yard work, a bit of cleaning, and of course, our windows are wide open to the 70 degree breezes.

Take time to savor
the first hints of fall



Monday, September 3, 2018

Town & Country

Town & Country

Another week, another quilt. I designed this one to combine the formality of crisp black dots and stripes with casual retro prints in salmon and cream. Town & Country is constructed with elements from three Accuquilt dies. I sewed triangular side sections from the kite block to form a rectangle, then added a 2 ½” square and 4 ½” half square triangles.

Backing and binding features the salmon and tan print. Free motion stitching was done with tan thread in a meandering pattern. This throw, 44” x 54” in size, would make a charming accent for any room.

Today is Labor Day, and a holiday for most people. After retirement, holidays are sometimes just another day, but I appreciate one that honors workers. 

I wouldn't be retired if we both hadn't worked hard for 40 years and saved our earnings. Our parents and grandparents had normal jobs: farmer, carpenter, truck driver, plumber, salesman, office manager and retail sales. By example, they instilled in us the need to provide for ourselves.

America was built by ordinary people, from towns and the countryside, who labored to make a better life. I have no tolerance for lazy ones with their hands out who cry that they deserve more. To them I say: Don't be upset with the result you didn't get for the work you didn't do.

Here's to American workers, who deserve this day off because they earned it!

Without ambition one starts nothing.
Without work one finishes nothing.
The prize will not be sent to you.
You have to win it.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson


Monday, August 27, 2018

Lemon Lime Spritz


A refreshing little quilt in bright greens and yellow, this one was quick to sew. I cut the pieces with Accuquilt's bow tie 4” die by Alex Anderson. Turning the blocks made a pretty lattice pattern on this 32” square called Lemon Lime Spritz. 

Free motion quilting was done in a swirling design, diagonally across each block with bright lime thread. The backing and binding are a lime print fabric. Cute baby quilt, I think, or a cheerful table topper.


It's a hot August day in my corner of Tennessee. I'm inside, drinking coffee, doing a bit of Monday morning cleaning, and contemplating which design to start next. And, best of all, there are two dudes outside painting the trim on our house. Better them than me!

Just because you CAN do it yourself
doesn't mean you have to,
or that you want to.
~Christine Brummell



Monday, August 20, 2018

Equilateral


Colorful and modern describes today's quilt. Splashy prints of pink, aqua, and orange are accented with touches of lime and yellow. Constructed entirely of equilateral triangles, their arrangement creates larger triangular shapes in alternating directions. It's busy, bright and fun to sew.

Perfect points were possible thanks to precision cuts with the Accuquilt die. I cut extra triangles and stitched a row of them to set between two pieces of paisley fabric for an interesting backing. Coordinating striped binding adds flair. I quilted double rows on the horizontal seams in bright pink thread. Equilateral's final 44” x 46” size is good for display or snuggling.

As I worked on balancing the color layout on my design wall, several alternate ideas and combinations came to mind, so you may see more triangles in the future.

Useful Notion:  Scrap pieces from this project came in handy last week.  This little quilted zipper bag didn't take long to sew and made a cute birthday gift for J's sister.  





Monday, August 13, 2018

Dreamcatcher


I quilt for enjoyment and relaxation. I love the entire process from design to the last stitch. The whisper of an idea can be transformed into a beautiful item. Dreams to reality.

I finished Dreamcatcher a few weeks ago. It is an adaptation of a quilt photo found on Pinterest. The combination of a shoo fly block with 9-patch star block isn't new, but the color placement gives it a modern look.

I combined scrappy bright prints and solid light gray on this 42” square quilt. I used Accuquilt dies: 3” finished triangle in square, half square triangle and square. I laid out the colors in EQ8 software before fine tuning on my design wall. Backing and binding is a gray and white triangle print. Stitching with gray thread in large overlapping circles across the blocks creates the dreamcatcher effect.

Sewing and cutting can be quite messy, because I pull out lots of fabrics to audition for a spot in the quilt. I try to put everything away after I finish, clean off my tables, sweep up bits and threads. A clean space gives ideas room to grow. But not always. That next quilt is waiting to be stitched.


Sometimes magic hides behind chaos.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Blue Streak


This little quilt has motion, don't you think?

Four Lemoyne star blocks in blue paisley and plaid are framed with blue dots, adding plaid for the outside border. Blue Streak is 32” square, bound and backed with a blue ticking stripe. It's quilted with cream thread in a serpentine stitch.

Accuquilt dies made quick work of cutting and sewing, so I had time to whip up a few small mats in different blocks to coordinate the look. Another pretty kitchen set done!



She's normally a quiet person,
but she'll talk a blue streak about sewing,
if you let her.

--------


By the way, I entered a new quilt block design in Accuquilt's contest.  If you'd like to vote, link hereThanks.