Friday, April 3, 2020

April is Finally Here

So, thankfully we have turned the page from March to April, even though not much else has changed in the past few days. I am keeping busy here, as always. One thing I learned when I was going through cancer is to get up and get dressed every day. Make the bed. It is a feeling of normalcy and the best thing for starting the day.
 This week's baking was Granny's pan dulce. This is a Mexican sweet bread that is not too sweet, actually, and is flavored with Anise seeds and crumbled cinnamon sticks. We love this so much and it reminds us of our childhood. Granny would make it and within a couple of days it was all gone.
 This is the cover of a small pillow that Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt made for me back when I was doing my cancer treatment. I just love this little pillow.
 And this is the back. It has an envelope closure and has been used so much it is pretty worn. So I decided to make a new cover for it.
 And what could be better than a Heidi Staples tutorial for the new cover? I love these little cross stitch blocks. The tutorial for these can be found on her blog, Fabric Mutt.
 This is the back with its envelope closure. So glad to finally be able to use this pretty fabric.
 Next, I have been working on four Santa ornaments for the grand children for next Christmas.
 And, I am pleased to say they are done! Here they are, all lined up on my cutting table.

 The pattern for these is available from Larissa at Mmm Crafts. She has lots of patterns that are fun and gorgeous.
I also started posting pictures daily on Instagram, of the earrings I am wearing each day. Why? Because it is a daily exercise designed to make me wear all of these beauties. I need a routine and a daily post on IG is part of that.
And lastly, I finished this stitchery from Cozy Blue. She runs her business out of her home and has lots of stitching kits and iron on transfers if you don't need the kit.  I am always needing a diverse set of crafts to keep me busy. Maybe you are too?
Stay safe my friends and I will talk to you again soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Same Stuff, New Week

I hope y'all are hanging in there and doing okay. I really feel for the parents who have their kids at home right now. It is tough. Keeping them busy, and happy is a hard thing. I just have to worry about myself, a much easier task. My husband is still working for now, although reduced hours and only a small group at his big warehouse place of business. Plenty of room for 4-5 people to distance themselves. Here is a peak into what I am up to right now at home.

I made this last Christmas, and decided it would be perfect for the Grandchildren for their Christmas ornament for 2020. I made that decision early, so I could work on them throughout the year since I have 4 to make. This is the perfect time to move this project along.
 I have already completed a pink one for Miss N. So I decided to do the three for the boys all in one big swoop. This is the beginnings of the hats.
 Coats and hats. Still need to stitch the trim on the coats here in this picture, but that is done now.
 Putting the bodies together with the pipe cleaners inside for stability and so you can pose them a bit.
 Santa heads with their hats on. I did all these yesterday and now wait for the glue to dry for the next step. I did so much these last few days, I may take a day off from this.
Also have the arms glued on and when they dry, I will stitch them to secure them. I feel like a week of intermittent work should finish these up. The pattern is from Larissa at MmmCrafts.
 This is a crochet project I am working on . I can't reveal it all just yet, as it is not finished, plus, it's a birthday surprise.
 Reading this. I love the shows on HGTV and Home Town is one of my favorites. I am enjoying this immensely. They seem like such nice people.
 I baked some sugar cookies last week, and my sister and I painted them with royal icing and a couple of clean water color brushes I had on hand. A fun technique to try.
 Here is another of our ways to spend time. We love puzzles and this one is 1000 pieces. It took us a couple of weeks to get it done. At times it is frustrating, but it really occupies your mind, which is good right now.
 And yesterday I used up some cherries I had in the freezer to make these scones. I do love to bake and it soothes me to do so.
 Here is the picture of the finished heart quilt top that I couldn't find the other day. I was able to cobble together several white on white fabrics and make it look intentional.

I hope you are keeping yourself occupied with lots of sewing, baking and puzzling. This may take awhile and we don't yet know what is on the other side. See you soon my friends.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sign of the Times

Sign in, sign out. That's what made me think of the title for this post. And it's true. I do love to sew and as I am retired, I do sew every day. But now, it seems imperative to do so. It helps me focus on something besides the dreadful news that is everywhere. So here is some of what I have been sewing:
 A fun embroidery piece by Liz, of Cozy Blue. I love this so much I am doing another one called Mushroom Girl. I think this one is called Home Girl.
 This is the hanging diamonds block for my Penny Sampler Club quilt. Made with V and Co. ombre with the little white flowers on it. I can't remember the name right now.

 These are my pinwheel blocks for the Penny Sampler. They will go in the sashing strips that will be the same pale green as you see here.
 Here are my double diamonds for Penny Sampler. Not sure if I showed these before, but hey, no biggie.
 This is my first attempt at drafting a paper piecing pattern. I wanted a tea pot that looked more like a tea pot for my Penny Sampler. Not a bad first try. I am going to use it, even with it's imperfections.
 This is the bird block. I have decided not to embroider the feet on mine. But after seeing so many on Instagram I kind of want to make a quilt of them in different colors.
 These next three blocks are the beginning of something. I'm not sure what, but so far, I like them. I really need to use some of my Heather Ross pretties so this seemed the chance.

 Still crocheting too. This is my Dahlia blanket from the pattern by Attic 24. Love the happy colors in this blanket.
 I bought the umbrella fabric a couple of months ago, and the one with people with umbrellas. They are from the same line. All the rest came from my stash.
 It seemed like a good time to use them for something like this. The corners of the snowball blocks and the inner border are Ombre Confetti Metallic by V and Co.
close up

I finally finished piecing this small heart quilt, but don't seem to have a picture of it. I must remedy that.
And of course, Saturday was Pi day. So, I made chocolate cream pie. Recipe is on the King Arthur web site. I highly recommend it. Not too difficult either.

So that's what's going on here in my little world. Stay safe and healthy my friends. The world needs us quilters. Talk to you soon.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Let's Talk Sewing Machines

I want to talk about sewing machines today. I have two machines: my grandmothers Singer featherweight and my Bernina 440 QE that I bought in 2010 or 2011. That machine was my first big purchase for my sewing and quilting. I did not buy the embroidery module, since I knew I would never use it. This machine has made so many quilts and clothing and pouches and bags.
I sewed in my kitchen and finally in my sewing room after my daughter got married and moved out. I bought this machine, my first new one in over 20 years, because it came with a walking foot, lots of decorative stitches and the BSR-Bernina Stitch Regulator. That helps with regulating stitch length for free motion quilting.

But now, this machine is 10 years old and it has a few hiccups. I do take it every year for a check up. I clean and oil it regularly. But that costs me $100 every year. I have now spent almost as much keeping it going as I did to purchase it. And still, it doesn't seem to run as smoothly as it once did.

So I have begun looking at other machines. I have looked at pricing and reviews. There are lots of brands out there. It scares me a bit to contemplate such another big investment. I am wondering if a less computerized machine would be better. This will likely be the last machine I ever buy, so I want to do this right.

I am not married to any one brand. My Bernina has been good to me, but I do not feel compelled to spend quite that much again. Their machines are pricey. So, what am I looking for?

1. Not more than $1000. Preferably less than that.
2. Good harp space for quilting.
3. Reliable and long life of machine.
4. Don't need a lot of fancy stitches, but zigzag would be nice.

So, tell me, what machine do you use? And would you recommend it? Would you buy it again?
It may be awhile before I buy a new machine, but I want to start gathering info. Thanks for all your help, in advance.
Have a great week.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Hearts Hearts Hearts

I was busy with other things in early February, and if I'm being honest, was quite unmotivated to sew very much. I was looking for my sewing mojo. So, I did not make anything heart shaped for Valentine's Day, even though a part of me wanted to. So I did what any quilter would do when I found my mojo, I started on a heart quilt.
I think it was this little guy that got my mojo back for me. I won this amazing hand made Tomte Stitching Station from Moss and Lotus for the December Tomte Sew Along. When I saw it, I immediately felt better and more like sewing. How's that for magic?
 I had a wonderful bundle of fat quarters that I bought from Fort Worth Fabrics that I just knew would be perfect for hearts. I used Allison's at Cluck Cluck Sew pattern for the hearts. You can find it at her blog.
 See how pretty they are? This bundle of fabrics really makes my heart sing...lol.
I think this one is my favorite print in the bunch. The color is just so vibrant. And I love the touch of gold.
I currently have it up on the design wall . The rows are all together, and I am trying to make decisions about the vertical sashing strips. This cutie will be done soon, though and then to quilt!
 One bonus of this quilt is the leftover triangles from the bottom of the hearts. I decided that the fabric is way too pretty to waste any of it, so I sewed them right up as leaders and enders with the hearts.
  And now I am going to have this little wall hanging for my efforts. Isn't she pretty? I will be back soon, with completed projects to show to you. Have a great rest of your week.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

My Penny Sampler Quilt Club-February Blocks

I have just finished my February blocks for the Penny Sampler Quilt Club. I am making the Dutch Version of the quilt. The other version available is the Nordic version. Here we go:

 The first task was to select the fabrics for this unique courthouse steps block. I laid out my background fabric and set all the step fabrics in order on top of it to make sure what I saw in my head was what I really wanted.
After taking a picture and looking at it, I decided to move the larger white polka dots down one position. I was going for a kind of ombre look with this. That made me happy, so I was ready to sew.
I put this little sweetie in the center. This is Lola Dutch, by Sarah Jane. I found her in my scraps that were left from a skirt I made for Miss N for Christmas. The perfect touch.
 And this is the end result. I am very happy with it. My husband says it looks like stacked wedding cakes. :)
It is quite a large block, one of the largest in the quilt. I love that it just shouts "Look at me!"
 Nest up was the double diamonds block. I chose this solid red to really make the blue pop, and I think it worked.
                  Here is one of the four diamonds in the block.
And here are all four of the diamonds together. This quilt is really a balancing act of colors. Some soft, some not. Choices are based on the position each block has in the finished quilt.

My last set of blocks is thirteen small pinwheel blocks that will go into a sashing strip later on. This is the first one, and I am showing you the back, because it is paper pieced. I don't like all the bulk in the center where the seams meet. So I decided to try piecing one the old fashioned way and trimming it to size.
 With a block like this, I like to press my seams open to achieve maximum flatness in the center.
See how much flatter the whole block is? I was much happier with this option so I made all the rest using this technique.
And here they all are lined up and waiting. And now, February is done and I can sew some other things while I wait for March.
Enjoy your day.