Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Whimsical Flower Garden quilt..blocks 1-7

Feb 24th, I sat down to start this quilt.  I spent 6 hours that day working on the first 3 blocks.  It was actually such a great moment of relaxation.  I have been going like crazy for a while now.  Between the last Sat in Jan and the 3rd sat in Feb I had a ballet performance that I was in as a pianist or worked or attended that occupied all my spare weekend moments.  Of course, I thoroughly love my professional job, so no complaints about spending hours performing, but it does wear a person out!  Then we spent the most wonderful 4 days at my in-laws over Presidents day weekend.  Honestly, we played lots and lots of card games and board games.  We only nearly a couple hundred games in our house, so we play a lot of games.  But, the first free weekend, I spent nearly the entire day at my sewing machine.  It was HEAVEN!!  The slowness of the weekend and the project were just wonderful. 

I still have a couple of these blocks that I am not fans of, so they might be changing, but here is the start. 

Block 1

Block 2
I went back and added the faint red stitch about the flowers afterwards on this block and I absolutely love it.  It really defines the petals.

Block 3
I just love the green on this one!! 

Block 4
I love how the middle flower turned out.  I love the fabric I found in my stash, I love the edging I did, I love the fussy cutting to get the purple smodges every other petal.  Oh and the greens just turned out soooo fun!!  I think that the palm tree leaves are kind of funny, but I am keeping with the exact pattern for that kind of stuff and it makes for something unique and fun.  

Block 5
I feel like I need to do some sort of color stitch of a different color around the bird, but can't decide what to do.

Block 6
I feel like I would like to add a red stitch line all the way around the edge of the orange flower and an orange one around the red flower. So, this block might still be a WIP.  

Block 7
I sewed this one yesterday.  I still haven't finished the bird. I need to stitch around it to hold it down.  However, I added it because it is all ironed on.  I really love the fun flowers that are opening on the bottom.  I also like that this is the first flower that I made without a print.  I think that will be a good to have that contrast in the quilt.  

Each block takes about 2 1/2-3 hours.  Between cutting each individual piece, ironing on some bonding, ironing them onto the block, stitching around the edges and adding the borders, it takes some time.  However, the first couple blocks I was only bonding on some steam a seam or such on the exact portion of the fabric i needed.  Then I realized that I would be using the same browns or some of the same green throughout and just bonded on a large section.  That made it start going much quicker because I could just grab something from the scraps pile that is growing.  

Its been the perfect project to work on because I have been in need of quiet a bit of thinking/meditating time with all the responsibilities in my current life.  I am over 1/3 through the 20 blocks but hope to be half way by the end of this week.  

Hope you enjoyed!!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Foundation Paper Piecing

Guys, I have wanted to learn how to do foundation paper piecing forever.  I have watched videos overtime but I have never really understood it...and it seems that sometimes the right time to learn something new also has just the right time as well. 

Anyways, I watched this connecting threads tutorial on youtube and maybe it was just the right moment and maybe it was just the way she did it, but it finally made sense.  I wish I would have seen her take the paper out because I would have liked to have seen that, but at least I feel like I have somewhere to go. 

After the video I did two things.  I got on amazon to purchase an add a quarter ruler.  I have to post a picture of the packaging that I got it in because it was super fun and funny.  I got it from Hancocks of Paducah on amazon.  They taped the ruler inside the cardboard of an old fabric bolt with a bag doubled over.

Naturally, afterwards I spend time looking for a few projects to make.  I found an instagram post that linked me to THIS PATTERN called No Y Seam Feathered Star.  Oh, I can't wait to make it!!  I really hope that instagram link works because the pillow is just so pretty!!!  She posted it on Dec. 24, 2016. 

Either way, as soon as I am done with my whimsical garden, I am going to work on this technique.  I can't wait to learn how to do this so I can made pretty, tiny little pieces line up so clean and perfect.

Hope you enjoyed. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My whimsical garden progress

Back in 2011, I purchased this pattern and wrote a post on it!!  That was 7 years ago?  Oh, heavens.  Over the course of those years I did the following in hopes that I would get to making the quilt.

1.  I cut up the 12in by 12in white background blocks and stored them in my storage room.  (I eventually started using those blocks for other projects and when I pulled them out a couple weeks ago I only had 12 left of the original 20.  Oh well.)

2.  I copied all of the pages of the pattern and put the pieces in little ziplock bags for each block.  This took FOREVER!!!  I am actually glad now that I am working on this quilt that I took the time to finish all but a couple blocks like this 7 years ago, because honestly, if I had had to cut them out right now and then cut out each applique piece and then iron them on and then sew around them...ya, I would have lost steam.  However, I find that my go to/get it done personality that I only have the patience for max 3 steps on a project and I will still have the energy to keep going.  If I hadn't cut those papers out, I would never have gone onto each block.

3.  I collected orange and green fabrics.  A 1/2 yrd here or these and put them in a bag.

4.  I got really frustrated a month ago with not being able to find anything I wanted in my storage room.  So, I finally went and got containers for my fabric and sorted all my fabric out.

...and that was what finally did it. I saw the pattern, I saw the white cut out blocks and thought, what am I waiting on?  However, as I got into cutting out the appliques for the first block I realized 2 things.  If I hadn't organized my fabric I would have lost my energy really quick on this project.  It is so fun to just grab the entire basket of reds and sort through for the perfect combination with the perfect orange.  I still wish I had a couple more red prints but I am determined to only use what I already have, so that is that.  2nd.  I am finally a point in my personal life where I can truly enjoy the journey of working on a long project block by block and not get frustrated when I don't have time or it is taking too long.  I couldn't have even said that about myself 3 months ago.  However, I was ready to take on a project when I have to applique 20-45 pieces per block for 20 blocks.  It is going to take a couple months but here is the beginning....

Since finishing these 3 blocks 2 weekends ago, I have finished 3 more blocks.  I will have to post them soon. I am so glad that I also waited until after I finished the mini bird house quilt and buying the border fabric for that quilt because it is going to be absolutely perfect for this quilt.  I am not going to add all the circles from the pattern on the border.  I just know that I will get to that point and not be interested.  I will try and keep up with posting each block as I do them!!  I will also take some close ups of each block the next time I post pictures.

Hope you enjoyed!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

St Patrick's Table Runner

Since my last blog post, I have finished 2 large quilts and several small projects.  It seems like I either take the time to quilt in my spare moments during the day or to post pictures.  Either way, it is super fun to constantly be working on things.

Yesterday, I went and spent 6 hours at my best friends house and we whipped up a fun St. Patrick's day table runner.  We copied the idea from a post I saw on instagram from the quilt shop Pines and Needles.  Their kit is super super cute, but we already had some St. Patrick's fabric so we made up our own dimensions and sewed away.  I got all the fabric at JoAnn's except the green stem which I found in my stash.

I think it turned out super cute.  I loved the size on her table.  I love the darker black with golden horseshoes fabric.  Each block in the 4 patches end up being 4 inches before being sewn together.  Final dimension of our project is 31 1/2 by 14 inches.

I had two shamrocks left over so I sewed four blocks together from the scraps and threw them in my box.   I will have to think over what I want to do with the leftovers.  I can't decide if I just want to have a tiny table runner or if I want to make them into a larger wall hanging quilt.  Something will be decided this coming week.

Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The legacy of Hawaiian shirts and their subsequent quilts

Back in 2011-12, I was out in my in-laws storage shed with my mother-in-law as she was going through boxes of dress up clothes to send home to our house with us.  She pulled a box of fabric off the shelf and I asked her what it was.  For several years she had asked me how to make a rag quilt and I didn't realize that the reason she wanted to know how was so she could use this fabric she had been storing for several years and make one for her bed. The box of fabric were left over pieces of fabric from her mom's own stash of Hawaiian shirt making.  If you want to read that whole story, you can click HERE to read my post last month on the legacy of this fabric and it's importance in my husbands family.   

I wish I had the pictures I took during that time still.  But they were lost in a computer crash many years ago.  The picture of this massive Tupperware box (2 feet by 3 1/2 feet and 2 feet tall) full of all the scrap fabric from her mom's sewing adventures.  We brought the box back into the house and I sorted through it as she asked me if it was enough fabric to make a quilt for her California King sized bed.  I knew it was especially if she was going to make a rag quilt.  It was just a matter of what size to make each of the squares so that I could use more scraps than less in the stack.  I had her get out her rotary cutter and cutting mat and I cut out a few squares to show her how to make it.  After one day of my vacation I realized that I really just needed to take the box home and make the quilt up myself.  So, we headed to JoAnn's, purchased the batting, I packed the box in our truck and headed home. 

I was probably 6 months pregnant with my second child at the time and I knew that I would need to really spend some serious time working on it so that I could finish it before our own life changes happened.  I spent many many many nights pulling out the scraps, ironing them and cutting them into squares and strips.  In the end I made the squares 5 inches like a charm pack size and I also made all the strips in 2 1/2 in strips like a jelly roll.  It was A LOT of squares and in the end a lot of batting as well. I spent a week sewing all the square together, and another week putting those squares into rows.  I used my bed to lay them out to make sure that nothing looked weird in the layout and I just kept sewing.  I used the kitchen floor in the rental unit upstairs from us the day that the people moved out to lay out and spray and pin the second quilt I made to get it ready to machine quilt.  I was 8 1/2 months pregnant so yes, me crawling around on my hands and knees putting in all the pins was surely just crazy!!  

I was at my in-laws this weekend on vacation and finally all these years later, got pictures not only on my phone (which I have done and lost several times over the years) but also, got on my computer to make sure they made it here to my blog.  It was such great timing since I have been systematically going through and posting all my old projects to be able to see these quilts in person again and also, sleep in a bed that had one of the quilts on it.  

I end up making not only the California King sized rag quilt, but a queen sized jelly roll strip quilt.  They turned out awesome.  The queen sized quilt was a surprise but we were able to get them to my mother in law that year for her birthday when she came up to see our newborn son when he was born.  I had so much fabric left over and I did another post of that fabric and the quilts I have made from that fabric HERE.  

Here are some close ups.  I hope that you enjoyed!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Summer dresden in progress

I didn't just spend the last month catching up on posting all the different quilts and projects I have worked on through the past 4 years.  I have also been sewing a ton.  When I cleaned out my fabric shelves in my storage room, I found a bunch of unfinished quilts.  So, I put them in a box and brought them into my kitchen to work on.  This dresden quilt is one of the ones that I found.  I had finished sewing the pieces together on 3 of the 4 dresdens but I had not attached them to the backing and I had not decided on the border fabric or center circles.  I took them to my husband's grandma's house during a visit and I whipped stitched them to the backing.  I think that their progress is turning out super awesome.  Since I took these pictures I have actually added borders and got the backing fabric cut.  I will post pictures when I get some batting and get it quilted. But here is the progress.  The fabric was a line called Riviera from Connecting Threads back in 2008.

Hope you enjoy!!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Organizing my fabric

Last Friday I went to find a fabric I knew I had to finish a quilt.  I walked into my storage room and about lost it throwing fabric off the shelves trying to find what I was looking for.  This was the 4th time last week I had done it looking for something and I had had it.  I had the morning off work so I ran to walmart to buy some cheap baskets that I also use in my deep freezers to organize food.  I wasn't sure how many I would need so I just purchased a bunch of various sizes.  (I went back hours later to get more and someone else had apparently needed the same thing that day because they were sold out of one size that had had 20 on the shelf and at least that many on the top of the shelves that I had seen.)  I took every piece of fabric I had in boxes, in my storage room, on my sewing table, in my name it and I put them all in a basket.  After 3 hours, I had finally figure out how to organize it...some with holiday fabrics, some with large prints and the rest into colors and I put them in the storage room and labeled the baskets.  It was TOTALLY worth it!!!!!  I went to find something this week and I was able to find it quickly.  I just wish I had done this years ago.  



No, I don't think it is ideal that there is a row behind the front row.  However, in the next few months I will be taking some of these baskets and adding them to the cupboards my husband is putting in a sewing area for me.  I was able to take and put the baskets in those cupboards before filling them so that I knew that they would fit well at that time.  So, this 2 rows thing is not long term which makes it even better and more exciting.  I already organized for the moment that the big move happens.  So exciting.  

Hope you enjoyed!!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Sewing Machine Review, for Kids

Back in 2015, my daughter was 5 and had really taken and interest to sewing.  I had found a found a used, small craft sewing machine at the thrift store for $2.  After a couple months of trying to put the bobbin back on the little thing, I was ready to be done!!!  However, she couldn't use my machine because I was always using mine.  So, I did some research on sewing machines to purchase a machine for her for Christmas.  At 5, I think the main thing I was concerned about were the speed and having a foot guard.  I end up buying this cute Janome machine.  Janome 001Graceful Portable Sewing Machine.

Here are my pro's and con's:


1. It is super light weight, 5 lbs.  It is easy to transport and store.
2. It has a foot guard.  I love that I am not concerned that my child is going to get her fingers caught in the needle.
3.  It has all the basic necessary stitches.  Here are the specs right off amazon's website.

4 Stitches with 6 stitch width and length variations:
  • 5 Straight Stitch variations (A – E) - Basic sewing, inserting zipper
  • 3 Zig-Zag Stitch variations (F, G, H) - Basic mending, garment construction
  • 1 Crescent / Scallop Stitch (I) - For embellishment and applique
  • 1 Multi-Stitch ZigZag Stitch (J) - Stretch fabrics like knits

4.  It is the perfect sewing speed for a young child.  It is a medium-ish speed..doesn't go faster.
5.  Threads the same as my Bernina sewing machine, so my daughter is learning exactly how to thread that when I give her permission to sew with my machine.  There are easy to follow arrows on the machine itself.
6.  It fits my bobbins from my normal machine.  Probably not a big deal to anyone else, but if I have a bobbin of one color already somewhere in the house, I don't really want to create a second one.  Laziness and hopefully thriftiness.
7.  If you are into having a fun color....there are a million of options of color.  I bought this machine on Amazon and got an amazing deal on it that Christmas.  Always make sure to check current, past and lowest prices on for all Amazon products so you can see the overall trends through time.
8.  With the small complaints that I have below, I honestly think that this machine is going to last a really really long time and get a lot of good use.  The manual is easy to understand and follow.  When my daughter forgets how to do something when threading the machine, she pulls it out.

1.  #4 above--not a good machine for an adult looking for a take along small machine on a quick get-a-away.  You will want to pull your hair out at the slowness of the speed.  It can't be adjusted.
2.  There is NO light.  When I bought this, I thought, that won't be a problem.  We will always be sewing in a well lit room.  But it absolutely sucks.  You can't see the needle to thread it without picking the machine up and putting it in the light or shining a flashlight on it.  Also, it turns my daughter off from sewing.  She will think she is sewing straight but can't see it really well and then gets frustrated when she has to unpick it.  (However, I found a solution to this problem that I have posted down below)
3.  The bobbin holder, while easy to open, a little hard for my daughter to thread and pull out in the right place.  It has to loop around twice and she usually forgets the second one.
4.  The thread holder in the top back of the machine has fallen off the machine twice.  Not only that, over time it slowly falls backwards so the spool of thread almost won't stay on.  When I see this I can pull it off the machine and pop it back in, but I think that if my daughter were to do it, she might break the part.  I might just have a faulty one, but it is annoying.
5.  There is no on-off switch.  So, if you don't want it to accidentally push the foot, you need to unplug it from the wall.
6.  The foot pedal: tiny.  I think I should maybe put that as a pro for a little child, but even my daughter finds that it is so small and light weight that it really moves around and she has a hard time pushing it down.  But, I would also expect with a lighter weight machine to have lighter weight parts.  I just wish this one had a bit more weight or substance.

Here she is threading her machine.  She is 7 1/2 in this picture and it comes easily now, just takes time like I would expect it to take for a younger child.

Her jealous brother watching her use her machine. He just needs a power tool...but what to give him, I have no idea.  He is just toooooo young!!

You can see in the picture above that she is really bending over to see what she is doing.  You can also see just how dark it is in there.  I got on Amazon to look for some kind of light to attach to her machine.  I found the following.  It is amazing!!!  Look at the light that it produces.  Yes, I used the sticky attachments and permanently attached it to her machine.  Obviously, I am not going to be taking it off since it was meant for the machine and also we can't handle the machine without the light.  I am sooooo excited.  (I purchased this light Jan 2018.)

(Before attaching)

What the light looks like close up

Madalynn checking out how I was attaching it

The bright LED's

From the front.

LED lights are bright, and these pictures make them look even brighter, but they are not as florescent as they appear.  Now that the light problems is handled, it really is such a good machine for her.  I am glad that I purchased it and I am grateful I found a fairly cheap solution to my major problem with it...even if it took me 2 years to do it.

Hope you enjoyed!!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Madalynn's first quilt....when she was 5!!

Back when my daughter was finally old enough that I felt like I could leave her with my machine for a few minutes and she wouldn't kill herself, I pulled out a rag quilt I had cut up many years beforet never finished.  It was the perfect combination of pink and purple fabrics.  It was also the perfect beginning quilt.  The lines don't have to be straight to make the x's across the center of each block and it doesn't totally matter if all the blocks are lined up straight.

I was thinking about this quilt when I was sewing earlier this week.  I had given my daughter a bunch of fabric that I have that I won't use and she was sitting on the table sewing.  The next morning while she was at school and not next to me, I really felt lonely while I was maching quilting a UFO quilt from 2008 and looking at her doodle/sketch book and her unfinished project.

But, it got me to get out the picture of her first quilt and it made me so happy that I have spent quality time helping her sew.  She not only finished cutting the batting for the rag quilt, but she sewed each square together, laid them out in the pattern you see in the quilt and then I helped her bring the rows one by one into the kitchen and keep them in order while she sewed them together.  But, except sitting and watching each square as she sewed to monitor...since she was still only 5 nearly 6, I did nothing else.  Man, I love this girl.  I can't wait to see what she creates over the years.  She is quite the artist in her own right.

The final quilt.  I put it out each year now on the back of my couch and it is so perfect.  I love her and I love the quilt.  

Her 3rd old brother trying to help. man, they were so small!!!!

Hope you enjoyed!!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Coral, Blue and Orange mini quilt

Let's be honest.  While I typing up this post, I have 13 scheduled posts and about 15 more pictures worth of posts I need to finish.  But, this is so far, one of the most recent quilt I have made.  I purchased the fabric for this quilt as one of my few fabric purchases at a local quilt shop in the past 4 years in Spring of 2017.  However, I didn't pull it out to work on until Oct 2017. 

1st.  I have wanted to purchase new fabric for a LONG time.  However, I was determined that I couldn't buy anymore fabric until I finished the stash of unfinished quilts and at least 1/4 of all the fabric in my storage room.  When I purchased this fabric, it was to refreshing and greatly cherished.  Even though I just picked out some matching fat quarters I thought would be great together, I was very aware that I was being conscious of my budget and yet thoroughly enjoying the chance to buy something that would forever make my heart happy. 

2nd.  I have been wanting to make fun quilts that are not holiday themed for a LONG time.  However, that was the fabric I originally purchased so I plugged away at using it.  When it comes to summer, except my 4th of July quilts, I really don't have any other quilt to really put up, so it was time to remedy that situation. 

3rd.  Since I started sewing, I have always wanted to make a quilt with circles or round points in the quilt top.  They are just so beautiful to me.  This quilt really did satisfy that need. 

4th. On my list of things I still want to do is make a yellow and grey themed quilt, take a break from Hawaiian fabric for a little while and make all the mini's in ..... book.  That is the book that I used to make this quilt.

Isn't it just so pretty!!!  I can't get enough of it.  I really really love the border fabric I found to compliment the other colors and I used it as the center small square on all the blocks to pull it into the quilt itself.  I LOVE big borders.  Hence the huge turqoise border. 

When I brought it by one day to show my best friend, I knew that she really loved it.  I was concerned that I would have enough fabric to make a whole new quilt and I needed a couple Christmas presents.  So, I made 6 blocks but split it up into a set of 3 blocks for this table runner for my best friend and 3 pillow covers for me, my husbands aunt and my own aunt.  I drove out to my best friends new house which is now an 1 1/2 away from my home as they recently moved and dropped it off before Thanksgiving.  I was slightly proud of myself for not waiting until the last moment this year!!!  Hurrah!!   I think that I might have just enough fabric left over to make myself a table runner here in the next couple months.  That will be a fun fun project!!

I have found that I really really enjoy white borders with white binding lately to really help the other colors and shapes of the quilts really pop.  This one made me super happy.  

 Hope you enjoyed!!