Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My sewing area

My very first post to my blog was about organzing my stash and scraps. For 20+ years, this fabric has moved all around the country with me in big garbage bags. When kiddos #4-6 came along, I had to stop all my sewing/crafting as I didn't have any time. It has only been the past few years that I have been able to pick it all back up. Anytime I wanted to do a project, though, I would have to go buy more fabric because it was too daunting to go through those bags of wrinkly, odd shaped fabric.
Then I discovered Bonnie Hunter and her scrapsaver system over at Quiltville. I just loved this idea and took off with it. I washed all those fabrics and scraps and then organized and cut them up into the desired sizes.
I started off with this:

Now I have this!

What a difference, huh??

Here are my fat quarters separated by lights and darks, then the bigger yardages also done by lights and darks.

On this side are the bins of precut pieces and strips.

Here is a peek inside one of the bins. Most size strips are separated by lights and darks, but on the sizes I don't have as many, they share the same bin, I just keep them neatly piled up.

Here is a pic of my sewing area:

On the wall next to me when I sew, I keep these two blocks:

They are the same exact pattern, just with different number of fabrics used and different placement. I love that!!
Last but not least, no sewing room of mine would be complete without a cat or two to keep an eye on my progress. Here is Buddy making sure the flimsies stay safe!

I just love being able to sit and sew whenever ready. I was shocked to see how much usable material and scraps I had in those bags that I would never have used if I didn't invest the time into getting them organized. Big undertaking, but so worth it!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Love this table topper!

I am not sure if you know it, but I am by day a pharmacy technician at Target. Yes, I am a drug dealer. Or, more accurately, a pill counter. Anywho, tomorrow is one of my pharmacists birthday, so I made her this table topper:

Here is a darker shot that shows the quilting a bit:

I really hope she likes it. I made it completely from stash, including piecing the batting together as I didn't want to cut into one of my big rolls. First time I have done that! I cut out enough pieces to make two of them, so in the next few days I will complete the second one. Hmmmm...I just jight have to keep the second one. I really like that way it turned out. It's kind of funny, because looking back at the quilts that I have made over the past year, you would never know I really am a traditionalist when it comes to quilts. I really love the old patterns. Yet, most of my projects for this past year don't really have that look to it. Guess that is my favorite part of doing mystery quilts. They cause me to try patterns I probably wouldn't have done if I knew what the pattern was from the start, but I end up loving them! It's good to expand your horizons!
I didn't get the pics done of my fabric organization yet, but will soon...hopefully tomorrow!
Good night and happy stitching!

Last Day of Christmas vacation for me

Here is Christmas Lights all done:

Now I am off to make a tablerunner for a friend as a birthday gift. Hopefully it will go together quickly for me.
I do have exciting(well to me) news! My fabric and scraps are now all playing nicely with each other and are all organized!! When I am up there, I will take pics for you to see. It isn't a very impressive stash compared to some I have seen, but I like it! Like it even better now that everything is folded, cut into predesignated sizes and ready to rumble! I really hadn't been in the sewing mood over the holiday (who would be when they have the most amazing family all around to spend time with!!), but I did use small amounts of time to get in there and finish this project up. I swear, I think I could never sew again if I was able to just go in and touch and feel and play with my fabric!
Well, I will check in later, hopefully with lots of pics!!

Frugal tip of the day: Use that water you boiled your potatos in to water your plants. Why just toss it down the drain?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The finale

Well, Christmas Lights is all quilted!!! Yes, yes...loud fanfare is allowed!! It went sooo much faster than I expected. Kinda worries me. Hmmm..maybe I am not doing this free motion stuff right. It looks good. Stitches are still irregular, but better than the last time. Doesn't seem to have too much distance between stitches. Well, I'm not going to second guess it. It is done, it looks good and I am happy! I even got the binding all cut and ready to go. I was going to start putting that on tonight, but I think I am going to just call it a night and quit while I am ahead. Another quilt almost ready to move off the to do list to the completed list. Oh...guess what?!! This is the second quilt done since I made the promise to myself to not start another top until I got 2 quilted!!!
Wooohoooo!! I am FREE!! Oh, wait. This getting stuff completed feels purdy doggone good. Hmmm..maybe I will sandwich and quilt another top before I start another one. Who woulda thunk? Had you told me a few weeks ago that I would not JUMP at the chance to start another top, I woulda laughed. lol...such dilemmas!! Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!!

A little quilting

I know I should be kicking my sewing and projects into high gear, especially if I want to end the year with a few more quilts done, but I just haven't been able to get into it. I have actually spent a few nights reading, something I haven't done in a long time (Thanks, Marie..your new book was GREAT!!), watching Gilmore Girls with Hannah, watching Christmas shows with the whole family, and just relaxing. I did fit one night (after 4 nights of needles breaking, tension being messed up, and ripping out TONS of quilting) quilting my Christmas Lights quilt. I am going to work on it again tonight and will, hopefully, end up with it being at least 2/3 done. Then, just one more evening of quilting it, one of binding and I will actually have my Christmas quilt done before Christmas! Here is a pic of it while being quilted:

I really love the way it turned out. A) it was a mystery so you just never know (even tho Bonnie Hunter is generally pretty reliable with great quilts, I know some were not happy with this one) and B) other than the red, it was made completely from stash, including the back which I had to piece together.
I am still practicing my free motion quilting, so I am just doing a large meander on it with the occasional free formed star.

I have a long, LONG way to go before I could be considered good at free motion quilting, but I am starting to enjoy it and relax with it.
Here's to hoping you are all enjoying and relaxing this holiday season!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spring already?

Next to where I park my car in the garage is a shelving system that contains all my gardening items. When we cleaned up the yard late fall for the impending winter and snow, my son put a bunch of my flower pots on the shelf. When I got home from work today, look what was waiting for me:

A brave little johnny jump up was waving at me! I swear it was even smiling. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was Dec 15th..that 4 inches of snow was falling even as he popped out to party with me. Sigh..I hope he comes back in the spring, but if not, I hope he knows he made my day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Two more things...

Duh..I was so excited to get my gift, I forgot to mention that I also finished one of my Mystery #11 tops.

I will get a better picture later when I have my trusty quilt holders home to help me. I really like the way this one turned out. I don't think I am going to add borders to it. It is already really big (can't remember the dimensions) and I think a nice dark binding will do the trick.
My other big thing I forgot to mention is that I am meeting up with Shellie, a pal from both the Tran-Quilt-ity yahoo group and a fellow block swapper in Marie Bostwick's "A Quilted Christmas" swap. I hosted that, and I got to meet Shellie for the first time last weekend when she delivered her blocks to me. This weekend, I get to pass all the blocks back to Shellie. I will post pics of the blocks later. It was amazing how tuned in to each other we all were..the blocks fit together PERFECTLY!!

A Christmas surprise!

My drinking/quilting buddy, Pam, surprised me with my Christmas gift this morning. Look at this wonderful table runner she made me!!

Now, if you are like me, you ARE the one who makes gifts for everyone, but since everyone knows you quilt and sew, no one EVER makes you anything. But..she DID and I am so tickled I can't even tell you. You might also remember me mentioning that she is also the one who thought I was punishing her when I signed us up for a quilt class last Christmas as her gift. The teacher did NOT teach to new quilters, though it was called a beginning class. Poor Pam thought she was out of her league. I kept reassuring her it was the teacher and not her. Now, a year later and she has 4 finished quilts and at least 3 table runners to her credit!! Ah...aren't best friends the GREATEST?????

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What a Pickle!

One of my new friends from Marie Bostwick's Quilted Christmas block swap, Dorothy, sent me an email saying instead of sending an extra block or fat quarter, she ordered me a little gift. Well, I got it today and look what I got!!

It is a pickle ornament signed by Mark Lipinski of Pickle Road Studios! My favorite part is this:

I know it is hard to read. He signed it with "Quilt Naked"! LOL...what a concept...does he know I just cut my fingertip off with the rotary cutter?? Haha...the visuals I am getting of what else could get snipped.....
Thank you, Dorothy!! This just made my day!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Meet my family

I am busy quilting away, but have no pictures to show yet, so I thought I would take this time to introduce you to my family...at least my kids. This picture was taken August 2008 at my daughter's wedding. It is getting harder and harder to find time for us all to be together! I hate this growing up business. I am going to make sure we get another pic of everyone in a few weeks when we get together at Christmas. Pics of the hub and I will be added shortly! So, here is my amazing crew:

First on the left is Joe. He is 16 and one of the funniest people you will ever meet. Joe should be a politician. I think he could probably talk just about anybody into anything. I think he would collect older people if he could. He just thinks they (this group probably includes me) are the cutest things ever and he always has an ear to listen to their stories.
Next is Hannah. She's 15. Always on the high honor roll and is in track now. Yup..she is a headturner. She is my sunshine child..always upbeat and can laugh at the world..and herself.
In the wheelchair is Patrick. He is 17. He's a real ladies man and his brothers would love to know his secret..girls go crazy for him. Maybe it is because he calls them all Honey. lol. Patrick's official diagnosis is periventricular leukomalacia. Boils down to spastic quad cerebral palsy, seizure disorder and he is legally blind. He is also the best kiss blower, happiest guy and my hero.
Next is Dan. He is 21. He is currently in Massachusetts in the Job Corp studying auto mechanics. He has the biggest heart of anyone I know. Mention something you like and he'll remember it and get it for you first chance he gets.
Tom is next. He's my oldest at 28. He works at a nursing home as a CNA and is getting ready to go back to school for his RN. He is another one with a big heart. He always puts others first..even at his own expense. Hm...he and Joe must have inherited the "loves older people" gene from their mother.
Greg is next and is my newest son as he was the one who married my daughter. He is a CPA with Ernst and Young and stole not only my daughter's heart, but all of ours. Anyone who can put up with this crew is a keeper!
Jess is the amazingly beautiful bride. She is 25. She got her Masters degree in education and now manages an Auto Zone. Yup..that's right. While looking for a teaching position she got a job as a driver for AZone and worked her way up. She LOVES her job and the men who come in there just love having this gorgeous little thing come out and help them on their cars.
Well, that's my kids in a nutshell. I have no idea why God blessed me with the 6 most amazing kids ever born, but I am thankful daily that He did.