Friday, June 29, 2007

Strips, Swags, and Steps

Late yesterday evening, I cut some strips to ruche. These ruched strips will become bluebonnets on the Conway Album I making for DD. I had found this shaded blue that works well for them. I pressed and marked the I'm doing the stitching to gather them.

I also made the swag templates that will be appliqued onto the center medallion. The placement on the background is a bit tricky since the book does not give a full size line drawing. So, I always make the templates and work out the placement before I cut out the pieces. If you enlarge the picture, you can see my freezer paper templates of the swags. These are going to be made from the same dark burgundy fabric that is the center of the very center flower. The center of that flower is ruched, but it is difficult to see that in this photo. I plan to work on this block this weekend. I still have so much more to do on it. I will try to post a photo of my progress early next week.
No steps to report today as it is still raining at my house.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Finished Projects, Old Projects, and Birds

Yesterday I said I thought I would finish the hand quilting on my project from the class I took. Here it is with the quilting all done! I am even more convinced that it needs to become a pillow.

I also did a little more sewing. I made some simple valances for the bedroom windows in DS's apt. They are made from some red and white strip fabric I had in my stash. I'm posting a picture of them on top of the quilt that has been on DS's bed in our house for many years. He really likes the quilt even though it was more appropriate when he was younger. I made it in the early 1990's. Took these pictures last night as the movers are coming today to inventory the kids stuff to see how many boxes will be needed to pack it properly. Thought I better get the photos before it goes away to live at his house and keep him warm!

Rose Marie also requested that I post a picture of the heron that visits the big pond by my house. My photo is not nearly as closeup as hers was! Can you see him? He's sitting on the black metal fence between the trees in the center of the photo. There is one lone heron that comes to eat fish from the pond beside my house. There has been only one coming to this pond for the 6 yrs. we have lived here. I feel that it is the same bird returning each year. He has always been a silent bird until this year. This year he decided to start making noise. Sometimes when he is flying in or leaving, he lets out the awfullest screech. In flight, he reminds me of some of the flying dinosaurs my kids were fascinated with when they were little. He is a rather ill-mannered bird. He swallows his food whole (no mother appreciates a child who does that)! And then when he eats his fill from the big pond....he often goes into my neighbor's yard to the small pond that he built by his deck and eats the little fish from the neighbor's pond. In the picture, the metal fencing is my neighbor's back fence. That day, the heron was slowly making his way toward the small pond. When I notice him being sneaky as he was that day, I will go out my back door and that is usually enough to get his mind off the neighbor's fish, and make the heron refocus on the fish in the big pond.
No walking at my house today. It's raining again. I won't complain though because there is nothing as wonderful as Mother Nature watering the plants!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Since I posted pictures of my messy sewing area, I thought I would post a picture after I cleaned a little. It's going to be much easier to work there now.

I had very little time for any sewing yesterday. I did get a few stitches done on the handquilting piece from the class I took a few weeks ago. Thought I would show you my progress on that. I may actually be able to finish the quilting tonight. I'm thinking this will become a pillow top.

No walking this morning. It is raining at my house. Yesterday I was really good. I walked 10,608 steps. I did my usual morning walk and also mowed my lawn. The lawn surely needs the rain it is getting this morning.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Messy, Messy, Messy

What a mess!! My sewing room has gotten to the point of messiness where I can no longer stand it. This photo doesn't show the half of it. It's too awful to even post the other side of the room. So, it's cleaning time! The whole room needs rearranging, but I'm going to wait until the movers come for DD's things as I may decide to move my sewing room into her room which is larger. Still thinking about that as I do have a nice view out my current sewing room window. It overlooks the neighbors yard. He loves to garden and has lots of flower beds, a pond with waterfall and fish.

I have been a bit under the weather with an awful cough. No cold...just a cough. I take blood pressure meds because I am diabetic and one of the side effects of that (ACE inhibitor) is a dry cough. The cough would come about every 2 to 4 hrs. and the only way to stop it was to suck on a cough drop. It was so bad, I wasn't getting enough sleep. Talked with the dr. and she changed me to another blood pressure med (ARB). Within 48 hrs. of the change in meds, the cough is virtually gone. I actually got a good nights sleep last night for the first time in weeks!! Guess ACE inhibitors are not the med for me!!

Going to be hot and humid at my house today, so I walked at 6am.....4203 steps. Will wear my pedometer all day today to get an idea of how many steps I take during the day. I know I make lots of trips up the stairs as my computer and sewing room are upstairs.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My current projects

I'm up early this morning and have already gotten my walk out of the way...4254 steps. Not as many steps as I would like, but better than none! It was best to get that out of the way early as today is suppose to be hot and humid. I don't like heat because I don't like to sweat.

I mentioned in my entry yesterday that I would show some pics of my current applique project. I guess I should give a little background before the pictures. In 2004, when both of our children were entering advanced degree programs, I decided I needed to make them both a quilt as a graduation gift. These quilts needed to be special since I knew they would both work very hard to graduate. Something really special....hmmmm! So, being the kind of person I am....never picking something easy....I selected Dear Jane for DS and the Conway Album Quilt for DD. Along the way DD happened to find out about hers, but DS did not. I started the applique in Aug. 2004 and the DJ in Sept. 2004. Since that time, I worked on nothing but these 2 quilts and my work for an applique class I take. Other than starting a new project as I really wanted to finish these (my mystery quilt I just did is the first new project since 2004!). Time did run out, but I was able to get the top finished for DS. DD had told me to get his top put together as she was content just knowing that I was working on hers. He graduated a week before her and after her graduation, we had a little family get together. I gave him is top...and gave her "blocks in a box" along with a picture of a finished quilt. They were both very pleased and said they were happy to wait however long it takes me to get them finished. I told them I would not start quilting his until I had her top finished. I think I will actually prepare them for quilting at the same time. They both know about the quilts....but they do not know that I have kept a journal for each of them as I have worked on their quilts. I started each with an entry telling them why I was making them, what I was thinking when I selected fabrics, what was going on in our life and the world, and I even kept the receipts from the fabric purchase and have attached them in the journal. I tried to make an entry every time I worked on them and I will continue to keep the journal until the last stitch is in the binding. Then I will give them the finished quilt and the journal. This is a picture of them as they opened their packages.

This is his quilt. I decided not to do the triangles! To be honest...I grew really tired of working on this quilt. I don't think I will do another like it or at least not anytime soon. I do not enjoy doing paper piecing, so many of the blocks are hand pieced. The easier ones with larger pieces were machine pieced.

These are the blocks for her quilt that I have finished. I still have one of the 12 1/2 inch blocks to finish and also the large center medallion. I don't know that I would make this one again either, but I do enjoy working on it. It has a lot of rusching which is going to make the top very heavy. I think I am just an "applique person!" I look forward to posting a picture of a completed top with these blocks!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I am always on the hunt for good containers to keep my sewing items organized. Today I went in my local HobbyLobby after my dental appointment. In the beading area I found a small, pink plastic box that I think will make a wonderful small sewing kit to carry when we travel. It is about 3 1/2 inches x 4 1/2 inches in size. It has one large compartment that will hold my applique scissors...and several small ones to hold needles, pins, small amounts of thread, etc. I also have another one of these that I have had for a while. It is green and about 3 1/2 inches x 2 inches, but that one was not large enough for my small scissors. I had to buy folding scissors to fit in the green one. When I carry small things like this, I usually wind small amounts of the threads I am working with bobbins. They fit nicely in the little compartments. I'll post another picture when I get the pink one completely stocked with my sewing items.

Oh....and also....I'm quite proud! The dentist says I was a very good girl again. NO cavities! I love it when she calls me a girl, especially since I am getting on in years.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's Almost Finished!

I sewed until late last night and got the mystery quilt put together. It was fun to do and used up some of my stash fabric that I've had for years. Now I have to decide whether I want to do the recommended border or whether I want to come up with something of my own. I have Wed. sewing group today, so I think I will let some of my friends there give suggestions.

One nice thing about this sewing friends there are willing to give suggestions and they don't get bent out of shape if you don't use their idea. I have heard others complain about giving an idea and then "they didn't even use it, so I'm not going to bother anymore." I'm glad my group isn't that way. I avoid groups and guilds that are known to be like that.

Now that I have this top almost finished, I'll be getting back to a long term project I have been working on. It's applique and I'll share about it in the next post.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mystery Quilt Progress

The mystery quilt is slowly coming together. I stopped sewing to take a picture of the first block I got put together. Some of my points are a bit chopped off, but since I'm using old stash fabrics on this....I'm not too particular. I am also not an ultra-perfectionist on most of the quilts that I know will be receiving heavy use and this will most likely fall in that category. I'm anxious to see what the finished pattern will be!

A beautiful, sunny day at my house today....mid 70's....low humidity....with a light breeze blowing. I would enjoy having days like this all summer!

Monday, June 18, 2007

What's the weather like???

Can you guess what the weather is like at my house from looking at the photo? Yep! It's raining...and it is hot and muggy. Not my favorite kind of weather. I love the cool, crisp days of fall and would be most happy to have that year round.

Today is my day for running errands, so there won't be much time to sew. I did however make it outside for a few minutes this morning to snap another picture of my clematis. There are several more blooms opening up, but I think the rabbit has found it. On certain stems, the leaves are shriveling and turning brown because the stem has been cut. If it is the rabbit...he better leave my clematis alone!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sewed most of the day yesterday and late into last night on small triangles and squares for the mystery quilt I am working on. I was so anxious to see what the next unit would look like when put together. I was going to take a photo of the unit alone, but I took the photo with all the units in it first and my battery is no more photos until I recharge. There are some large print squares, solid rectangles and solid squares to add when putting the units together. I probably won't get anything done today. However, I am anxious to find time to sew so I can see how this is going to look. I would love to have part of it put together before Wed. sewing group so I can show it, but I'm not sure I will have the time to get that much done.

As a new blogger, I have lots to learn. Thanks to those who have visited my blog and to those who have left comments. I'm slow....but I am learning!

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day! With the kids being far away....I'm in charge of special treatment for Father's Day. DH took up golf about 2 yrs. ago. I don't play, but being the good wife I am.....I will frequently go with him to the course....I walk and look for lost golf balls.....he plays. It's good exercise for both of us!! That's just what he wants to do this afternoon.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

There wasn't a lot of sewing since yesterday. Most of my time was spent cutting. This quilt requires 192 two inch squares cut from each of 2 colors. Then 96 squares 2 3/8" from each of two colors. These 2 3/8" squares are then sewn to make 192 half square triangles. I got those all made and today I'm sewing the half square triangles to the squares.

This morning DH and I went to a local restaurant for breakfast. We usually do that on Saturday morning. It is a time we can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while someone else cooks the meal. It is usually quiet and we can talk. One thing I really dislike about going out to dinner in the evening is most restaurants are so noisy...making conversation a challenge.

Seems that summer is finally making its appearance. It is hot and humid today. I hope tomorrow is a nice day since it is Father's Day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My photo isn't very good, but at least it gives you an idea of what I did on the mystery quilt project I started sewing on last night. I'm sewing and cutting again this morning and will try to take pictures again tomorrow of what I finish today.

This is the very first time I have ever done a mystery quilt. Sure hope this all goes together OK. I have extra pieces left of the 4 patch. The instructions said nothing about having extra pieces of that, but it did mention extra pieces for some of the other parts. Knowing me....I've done something wrong and will have to go back and cut more....or do the dreaded "frog sewing" it, rip it. Yeah! I know it is corny, but that is what we always called ripping back in the ancient days when I was taking home economics. It is a habit that has stuck with me for years. Besides...I hear lots of other ladies calling it frog sewing too.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stitched a little more on my practice piece from hand quilting class. I was on my own for dinner last night since DH had clients he had to entertain. I actually enjoy a night like that on occasion because I don't have to worry about cooking! That means more time for stitching. I may have the same opportunities tonight because he has a different set of clients in town. He will either be taking them to dinner....or taking me to dinner because I'm not cooking again!

I am going to start cutting pieces for the mystery quilt I mentioned in an earlier post. I had planned to get started several days ago, but it seems something always got in the way. I have also decided to add one additional color to the fabrics I had pulled from my stash...a light purple.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I love flowers! I noticed this morning that my first clematis bud was beginning to I snapped a picture. That was around 8am. Then I snapped another this afternoon around 3pm. Look at the difference!
My last quilting class on Monday night was fun. We did some show and tell, learned about adjusting border stencils to fit your quilt, and learned some miscellaneous tips. The class only met twice, but I learned a lot in the two classes. Hope someday I can get my stitches like the teachers. Her's looked like a machine had made them because they were so small and consistent.

I didn't do much sewing last night. I am working on stitching some strips that will be rusched flowers on DD's quilt. I still have lots to do on her quilt. Today is my weekly sewing group, so I will try to finish the rusching and get it made into flowers and on the block. I need those flowers placed before I can continue with some of the other applique. Rusching is pretty, but I am not sure that I want to do another quilt with it as it makes the blocks heavy. I'll try to share some pics of it soon.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I have been working on my handquilting. Still have a fair amount to do. Tonight is our last class. We are going to talk about marking for quilting, making stencils fit borders, etc. I'm looking forward to this info as I sometimes struggle with making a stencil pattern repeats fit the border.

No walking this morning as it looks like it could pour rain at any moment. I also have to look for my old pedometer. I had my newer one on Saturday. I was mopping the kitchen and it popped off my waistband and fell in the mop bucket. Somehow.... water isn't good for electronics! If I don't get to walk today, I will do double duty tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I haven't done any actual sewing today. I did go to the Machine Quilters Showcase in Overland Park KS today. Saw lots of lovely quilts. Found a few items that just had to come home with me! I've been looking for a bluebonnet pattern that I could applique. I found one today that has bluebonnets and a mockingbird. It's really a pattern for doing as a crayon quilt, but I can easily adapt the drawing to fabric applique. I also 2 Dover coloring with birds and one with butterflies. Their coloring books have drawings that are also easily adapted to applique. Then I also bought some fat quarters in shades of blue. Now all I need it time to finish UFO's so I can let myself start these new projects.

All in all a fun day!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007


I've found that part of life in the Midwest is being tolerant of wind. I've never lived where the wind blows like it does here. Today is especially bad since we have the possibility of severe weather. Warm, humid and windy!

Today I plan to get a start on the mystery quilt our Wednesday sewing group was doing. I'm behind everyone else since I had graduations to attend. I do have some fabrics selected which you can see in the photo. I reserve the right to change my mind or add some more colors because I'm not sure the yardage is adequate. I'll figure it all out when I get started. These are fabrics I have had in my stash for a long time. Using them will be a start in reducing said stash. I REALLY need to work hard on stash reduction. My shelves and closet are full. If I never buy another piece of fabric, I not sure I can sew up all that I now have during my lifetime. I should be ashamed.....but I'm not! There's just something therapeutic about touching fabric for me, so if I'm ever asked....I just say that fabric is my therapy! I'm sure it is much less expensive than professional counseling.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Nothing quilty on Tuesday night. Today I did go to my Wednesday sewing group. I didn't sew much....but I did do lots of talking! Maybe tomorrow will be a better sewing day!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Quilting class last night was fun. We were given a practice piece that you can see in my photos. The instructor also gave lots of little tips. Some I knew and some were new to me and will be helpful. There were 6 of us in the class. I am to work on my practice piece through the week and we meet again next Monday.

I am going to make it a goal to try to reduce my stash of quilting fabric. I read several blogs on a webring called Stashbusters. Some of those ladies seem to be truly working hard at reducing their stashes. I am going to try to take some hints from them.

Yesterday was DS first day at work. I think he was anxious to start. Now comes all the paperwork and decisions concerning benefits. Of course, who will he call for advice....Dear Old Mom. I don't mind in the least as I am just happy to have a wonderful relationship with my 2 kids.

My walk yesterday was 6406 steps. I wear a pedometer and count steps rather than distance. Won't take a regular walk today as I have tons of errands to run.

Monday, June 4, 2007

My First Entry

I'm so proud of me! I created this blog all by myself! I've always had help from others with the computer because I am one of those who didn't have them in school and have not worked in a place where I had to learn them. Everything I know....I've basically learned from my kids or by reading.

Our kids...and I say our because I do have a DH...recently graduated from college with advanced degrees. They have both moved out of state to work and this blog will be part of my way to cope with my sadness of them going. Both have gone to college out of state, but I have always looked forward to those long visits over the summer and at the end of semesters. That won't be happening anymore. Now begins a new phase in their life...and in mine as I cope with "This Quilter's Empty Nest".

I plan to post about my quilting and other interests. I take pictures from time to time and will try to post some of those. This will also be a good place for me to log my progress with walking. I am a diabetic and exercise is important. Sometimes writing it down makes me do it more faithfully. Basically, I plan to write about whatever occurs to me as I sit in front of this computer, but I will always try to include something informative about my quilting or needlework.

Here's my first needlework entry. To date, all my quilts have been handquilted. I do a fairly decent job of quilting, but I want to get better. As part of my adjustment to this "empty nest", I enrolled in a handquilting class. We meet for our first class tonight. This class meets on 2 Monday nights for instruction. Then plenty of practice will be required. I'm really looking forward to the class.