Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Was So Bad!!!!

Yesterday was my Wednesday sewing group. I stitched some green stems on the center medallion block for DD's quilt. Nothing exciting there so I didn't take a picture. I should have taken my camera to group because one of the ladies showed some little bags she had made to carry her rotary cutter and other larger sewing implements in. It was made of window screen mesh and was trimmed with bits of fabric and other little notions. They were so cute.

On the way home.....I was so bad!!!!!!! But I was really doing something good. I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics. They had flannel on sale. Hmmm! Christmas will be here before you know it, so I better look at this flannel and see what pops into my head! Sure enough....and idea...more than one idea! DS could use a lap quilt made of flannel for those cold nights to come in Maryland. And, wouldn't you know it, I found the perfect flannel to make one for him. This is what I bought.
The fabric on the left is what really caught my eye. DS can really say he is a rocket scientist, so I thought that was perfect. Even though this is a kid type print.....DS is the kind that will love it anyway. This project is one meant to receive hard wear and be loved to rags. I already have flannel bought and squares cut to make one of these for DD. This project is done totally on the quilting required after piecing. I will share pictures when I get started sewing on these.

Then I also found something for DH. This is going to be a joke type gift for him and I need to give you a little background info on this one. When we married, we couldn't afford a honeymoon, so we worked a year and saved our money. Instead of going on a cruise or to a resort....we went camping in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. It became a tradition with us to go camping every year on vacation. When I say camping, I mean in a tent and usually in a national forest ...primitive style. It was fun with the kids and they loved it. Now that I'm older,my idea of roughing it on vacation is at the Holiday Inn. No more tent camping for me. He keeps saying he wants a Teardrop camper so I can have some conveniences and we can go camping again. Here's a link so you can see what a Teardrop camper looks like. Anyway, when I was in the fabric store, I saw this piece of flannel.

Notice the little campers on it. I decided to make a pair of flannel boxer shorts for DH and give those to him. My note will tell him he has finally gotten his one and only Teardrop Camper! I think he will love it because he is such a joker anyway. I'll share pics when I get these sewn too.

Next week I need to drive right past the fabric store on my way home. Seems that every time I stop, I find something that has to go home with if my stash isn't large enough already.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nothing Quilty....Baking and Ironing

Yesterday was not a quilty day at my house. It was hot at my house again, 99. I decided it wasn't hot enough, so I thought I would do some baking to warm things up a little more and make the house smell nice. I made banana bread.....mostly because I had 4 bananas that I needed to use. I make banana bread in mini loaves and put them in the freezer for DH or for when we have company drop by and we want to serve a little something with coffee. I love banana bread, but don't eat it anymore because this recipe has a lot of sugar. Then I also had enough blueberries to make a batch of muffins. I do eat these because they only have 2 tablespoons of brown sugar for 12 muffins...and no oil. They are made with good things like oatmeal, yogurt, and apple juice. I had a muffin and coffee this morning for breakfast!

Today I have to iron. I have to be in the mood to iron, but DH is running out of slacks and shirts for work and I have got to get busy or I just might lose my job as " Head Household Engineer". Yeah!...Right!...Like anyone else would want my job. Once I get going on ironing, I usually do a's just the getting started on it that is a problem for me. I had a friend ask me why I don't send his things to the laundry and let them do it. If I did that....there would be less $$ to spend on quilty fabric and I certainly wouldn't want that! I wish someone would invent a miracle home ironing machine. I would be the first in line to purchase one.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I've been tagged by Pam to tell 8 things about myself. The rules are... I'm suppose to link to her and then tag some others I would like to learn about. it goes. Boy is this going to be uninteresting!!!
1. I am the oldest child of 5....4 girls and 1 boy....all with names that begin with "B".

2. As I was having children, I was terrified of having twins because my mother is a twin, my maternal grandmother had 3 sets of twins, my maternal great grandmother had twins, my paternal grandmother had twins, my paternal great grandmother was a twin. Boy, do I feel lucky! 2 twins!

3. In my BC (before children) life, I was a bookkeeper. I retired when the oldest was born and never returned to that type of work. When my youngest started school, so did I. I enrolled in college classes and thought about becoming a math teacher. While taking math classes and being a wife and mother, I also started substitute teaching on the days I didn't have class. I substituted for 5 years. What an eye opening experience! I formed a new respect for teachers and decided that wasn't really what I wanted out of life. Oh well, I have 63 hrs. of credit....a lot of it in math...and I can say that at 38, I survived and passed Calculus. I decided I like being a wife and mother... and having plenty of time for quilting!

4. I wear glasses and have since I was 3 years old. I tried contacts and hated them.

5. I have lived in Texas, Virginia, and Missouri. I really liked living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It's beautiful there. I love the colors of fall and the crisp, cool mornings.

6. I met my husband at age 16 in the parking lot of the county courthouse where we were waiting to take our test to get our driver's license. I really got to know him at age 18 when we were trying to pair up our best friends who were interested in each other. Our friends never got together, but we ended up dating and marrying at age 21...and we've been married 31+yrs. now. He supports and encourages my quilting habit, so I'm planning to keep him. :-)

7. I have been told numerous times that I have a pretty handwriting. When I was in elementary school, I always looked forward to penmanship practice. I still enjoy writing on paper with a nice writing instrument. I do keep a journal. There is just something soothing to me about sitting with pen in hand and putting my thoughts on paper.

8. I love birds and flowers. My favorite birds are hummingbirds and my favorite flower is the bluebonnet.

See, I told you I was boring!

Since I don't know who all has participated in telling about themselves, I'm not going to tag anyone....but please feel free to tell us about yourself if you haven't already. We would really like to know more about you.

A UFO out of the way!

I didn't do much quilty yesterday, but I did do a little something. As I was waiting for DH to get home from he could take his lovely wife out to dinner.......I came upstairs and decided to practice machine quilting on a block I made long ago. It was actually fun! However, I realize I still have a LOT of practicing to do on my machined quilting skills. This morning I put a back on it and made it into this.
I accomplished 2 things with this...getting an old block actually made into something and getting a little machine quilting practice.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bren asked today if we could take pictures of how we store books in our home and share them on our blog. My methods are a mess and on shelves that are not fancy, but they do the trick...hold the books. I'm hoping showing my messiness here will be the motive I need to clean it up!

The first shot isn't a bookcase. It's a table in my bedroom. Not pretty, but since I don't have a shelf in my bedroom and I read at night, I keep books on my side of the bed. This table catches the mess. I have been thinking about getting a small oak bookshelf for the bedroom. Looks like it is time!!

The next location is in my living room. I don't keep a lot of books there...just a few. Those are on the bottom 2 shelves. The top shelves have a couple of DD's porcelain dolls and some clear glass items that belonged to my great grandmother. we are to my sewing room and the bookcase I have there. This is where I keep my sewing, quilting and a few miscellaneous books. It is difficult to take a picture because it sits in a little recess right by the door that would otherwise be unusable. It's about 14 inches wide and 50 inches tall. It will actually fold flat, so it is easy to move around. I bought this at Bed, Bath & Beyond several years ago. I know they still carry them but in dark wood. Target also has them. They are also available about 2 ft. wide and 50 inches tall. DD has several that size from her college days.

Now we are moving into shared territory. The next shelf is in our unfinished basement. DH bought it from a company that was going out of business. It is metal and very sturdy. Not pretty, but it doesn't have to be since it is down there. I thought it was filled with DH's engineering books, but I was wrong. I see a couple of my Norton Anthology books there, some other college books and some old books MIL gave us. There's some kiddie books there too. Notice the Dutch Oven on the top shelf. Every bookshelf should have one of those!!

This last photo is ALL DH's books. The shelf is again one he bought from the failed business. You can see my DH wouldn't qualify for the "Mr. Neatness" award either. If you enlarge the photo and notice the brown isn't a beer bottle. It's a sarsaparilla bottle that one of my kids got when we visited the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View AR. I still have a few of those keepsakes from their childhood. I think this was one DS would never let me throw away.

Bren showed an Aunt Martha's quilt book she has. I wrote and told her I had the same one plus a few others. These were books my mother had when I was growing up at home.

Guess I will be busy tomorrow doing a little housecleaning! I hope someone else will show us some of their book storage without doing a major cleanup first. Sure would make me feel better to know I'm not the only one that needs to work on cleaning!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Love a Bargain!

I love a bargain. Today at Wednesday sewing group one of the ladies was talking about the local Bernina store moving. She said they were having a moving sale with some machine accessories at really good prices. So...on my way home, I took a little detour and stopped by there. I got 3 specialty feet for my Bernina that I didn't have and paid $5 each for them. Most of the extra feet I have bought have been in the $25 to $40 range. They also had DMC 50wt. cotton machine embroidery thread for 50% off. I bought 6 spools in colors I didn't have since this is the thread I really like to use for my hand applique and it was only $1.50 a spool. The really great part about this store moving is.....they will be less than a mile from my house in their new location. Right now they are about 13 miles away. It will certianly be closer to take my machine for professional TLC.

Monday, August 20, 2007

I made some more of the muslin foundations for my Cathedral Window quilt last night, so I really don't have any pictures to share today.

Each year at this time I watch the Little League World Series. That's what I was doing as I stitched last night. I don't watch professional baseball, but I like watching the little guys who play simply because they love baseball. No big salaries...just a love of playing the game. My grandmother always loved watching baseball. She watched the pros though. As a little girl, I can remember her getting so excited and yelling at the tv as she watched on Sunday afternoons. She passed away suddenly at the age of 85 at home in her rocker and they believe she was watching a baseball game. I always found comfort in thinking about that because I know she was doing something that she enjoyed and that she wasn't sick and suffering for a long time. She has been gone for many years now, but I think of her each time I watch these little guys play.

Friday, August 17, 2007

What I've done this week

I promised pictures yesterday of what I've done this here they are.
On Wednesday, I went to sewing group and was able to finish the last of the 12 1/2 inch blocks for my version of the Conway Album quilt for DD. Today I will be working on the center medallion again. Even though the small blocks are made and the medallion is nearing completion, there is still a lot of applique to do on the borders.
This is my ruched bluebonnets block. The blue fabric I used to make these was Benartex Gradations by Carol Bryer Fallert. It gave me the shading I wanted without having to piece together different blues. This quilt has a lot of ruching, and I'm really getting tired of doing it for anything requiring ruching that I haven't already made up will remain a blank spot for a while until I feel like making more. I may even decided to replace some of the ruching with a different flower that I like better.

Yesterday I went to LQS for my monthly applique class. I worked on this.
As you can see, I still have most of the leaves to stitch. The pattern is a Botanical Tiles design by Dinah Jefferies.

We had a lot of fun in class. The ladies are a wonderful, fun group. We share, joke, poke fun, and laugh together and Dinah has about as much fun doing that as we do. I was awful yesterday. Some of the ladies who had not done ruching before wanted her to show them how to do it. Oh my....just what I wanted to do after all that work on the bluebonnet block! They worked on ruching...and I just stitched away on my block you see above. I did listen and picked up some tips to try when I do work on my ruching again. So, maybe I wasn't so bad afterall.

Since this class is held at a LQS, I always go a little early so I can shop. As if I really need to do that!! I wasn't going to buy any fabric, but they had gotten in some new batiks. They were just to beautiful to resist, so I bought a few fat quarters. Here's what I got.
Since I have been complaining so much about the heat, I'll have to say it is so much better today. We are starting the morning about 10 degrees lower than it has been. The weatherman says we may only go to the high 80's today. A huge improvement!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Enough already!! People are dying from this heat. DH and I went to Barnes and Noble bookstore around 6:30pm yesterday evening. It was like a blast furnace walking across the parking lot with the wind blowing and temp of 102 with heat index of 115....but the store was nice and cool. When we came out, there was a young woman laying on the sidewalk. She was conscious, but had passed out and fallen. The fire dept. and paramedics arrived and took care of her. I'm careful to drink lots of water and not over-exert myself with it being so hot. If you are in an area of extreme heat...please be safe and do the same.

I don't have any pictures to share today, but I will try to get some taken later today or tomorrow. I did go to my Wednesday sewing group and I am proud to say I have finished the last 12 1/2 inch block for the Conway Album. I am still stitching on the center medallion. It will be a while before I complete that. Today I am going to my monthly applique class. This is the one where I work on the botanical blocks. I'll also try to have a picture of something from that tomorrow. This is my third day in a row to go somewhere and stitch with friends. It's fun to visit, but I'm a homebody and looking forward to a calm week at home this next week.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Please notice the scratch marks on the front of the rocker in my post about my Cathedral Windows. Forgot to tell you that I proudly leave those marks there on purpose. They are the marks left by my 2 little ones as they were teething. Little one who are now 25 and 27. Ah! The memories! :-)

Here's a picture of the guilty parties.....after they both have a full set of choppers! Both are wearing fashions proudly sewn by Mom!

My Cathedral Windows Projects

I have something quilting related to share today...and yes, I did a little stitching last night. I think I have mentioned before that I have a Cathedral Windows quilt in the works. I experimented with a couple of methods of working on this. The first thing I made was this little wall hanging.

It is made with scraps of a Trip Around the World that I made for DD. With this wall hanging, everything was stitched by hand.

Then I decided I was going to make a pillow top to go with some of the other pastel things I have on the rocker that I used when my kids were babies. I made the rectangle you see draped over the back, but I never made it into a pillow. I just leave it draped there over the quilt. I'll post about that quilt another day.

I decided I wanted a Cathedral Window for my bed. This is a project I started with no deadline and assuming it would take years to do as it was to be what I work on when I'm between projects. Reading several books, I found a method where I could do the sewing on the muslin squares mostly by machine. I start out with a 7 inch square and I sew them like this.
Then I sew another seam...leaving an opening for turning. They look like this with the second seam.

Then I turn and press and have a square like this, but they are still are not ready for the fun part yet.

I still have to fold the corners to the center and secure them with a stitch so I get squares like this. This stitch is the first handwork I do to them, but from this point on....I do it all by hand.
Then I take these squares and I have decided to join them into a 9 patch configuration so they look like this. I decided on the 9 patch configuration because I thought it would be easy to handle as I sew in the colored squares. Later I will join the squares and fill in with color in the joining areas.
Now comes the fun part...adding color. I am using scraps of all colors to do this project.

You pin a colored square into a square on the muslin foundation, fold the loose edge over the edge of the color square and stitch into place. Because the loose edges are on the bias, you get a curved effect that makes this such a pretty piece.Last night I did a complete block of these.

This is a project that I plan to take a long time working on. No pressure, just a hand sewing project to fill those times when I want to stitch and don't feel like working on applique or whatever. The nice part about this is when the last block is sewn together, the quilt is finished! There is no layering and quilting to this. The layers are in the folding of the muslin squares.

Today I am going to quilting group at the library. I am putting the Cathedral Window back in its box and I will be taking the Conway Album to sew on today. I am in the mood for applique again. Finally!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Today was a cleaning day at my house. Mopping floors, dusting, vacuuming, etc. Tomorrow will be more fun. Our local library has a quilting time each month. Anyone is welcome to bring the project they are working on and we sit and do handwork for 2 hours. There are a wide variety of ages and skill levels. We all help one another and just have a fun time talking and stitching. On Wednesday I have my weekly sewing group and on Thursday I have my month applique class. This is going to be a busy week, but at least it will be with things I enjoy.

Since I didn't have anything quilting related to show, I thought I would show you a picture of another thing I enjoy doing. I don't know if you will be able to see in the picture, but there is a hummingbird sitting on the tomato cage in my flower pot.

I put a tomato cage there each year because the little birdies seem to like sitting there to rest. I love watching these little guys. There were 2 at my feeders this evening and they were playing chase. Wish I could get up closer, but they fly away when I go out.

They like my feeders, but they also like my flowers....what little there is left of them after all the heat lately.

My lantana is doing well. It likes heat anyway. I'm not a big orange fan, but I did really like the yellow and orange combination of this lantana. I also have them in white and then in a solid yellow. It is nice to have something blooming and pretty to look at in the heat of summer. I think the hummingbirds like these also....and so do butterflies.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Very First Bag

Bren asked to see the very first bag I ever made....the one that gave me bagophobia. After making this one, I said I would never make another. I didn't either until the one pictured in my previous post.

Here's a little history of the "Very First Bag". I made it in 1983. My husband had returned to college.....we had 2 babies.....and NO money. I needed a new purse and couldn't afford one. I thought I could easily make one because I sewed everything we were wearing at the time except my husbands jeans. I dug in my fabric scraps and found the fabric. The only cost was the booklet with the pattern which I purchased at a TG&Y variety store in College Station, TX for $0.50. It wasn't really hard to make....but I just hated all the bulk. I swore I would never make another.
I did enjoy doing the little cross stitch initials on the front pocket though! I used waste canvas to do them.

And, yes Bren....this one has zippers. In fact, it has 2.

I used this purse for several years and washed it multiple times. It is a bit faded...and the binding on the front has come unsewn a bit, but it is still very useful. It now holds all my threads for tatting and crochet when we travel.

Friday, August 10, 2007

TaaDaa! It's done.....and here are some pics.

I wanted something small that I could carry just a few things like credit card, a little cash, driver's license, etc. (so my hands will be free to pull bolts of fabric from the shelves at the quilt shop!) Vogue had a pattern with this small neck pouch that is really meant for carrying ID and passport when traveling. I thought it would be perfect for my purpose, but I think I will make another later and make my own adjustments. As you can see it has a nice small pocket with a clear plastic window for driver's license and credit card. There is a small piece of velcro at the top so those items are securely in the pocket. All the other pockets do not have any fastners. That is one thing I will change if I make this one again. Also, the other pockets are a bit deep, so if you need to put small items will be a bit challenging to get them out. It has 2 pockets on the back and 2 on the front. If you know a little about sewing, this pattern was easy, but if you are a my opinion.....the instruction weren't written as clearly as they should have been. But, it's's a bag.....and I am planning to try another using some of the other fabric in my post from I guess I can say, I'm dealing with my bagophobia issues.

My reason for trying to find a small bag is that I have been having pain in my shoulder. I normally carry a small purse with a wide shoulder strap. I know it is the cause of the pain in my shoulder because I have experimented and when I don't carry the purse....the pain goes away. I can't find exactly what I'm looking for in a bag, so I'm trying to find a pattern. I have some good possibilities, but not exactly what I'm looking for.

Yes I did!!

Yes I did!!! I sewed last night. After I ate, I cut out the pieces I needed and headed up to the sewing room. Here's the pieces for the back....sewn together and you can see my mechanical pencil in the area for that. I'm still working on the pieces for the front.
I'm off to the grocery store early this morning. I usually go early anyway, but especially so during this heat we are having. My poor flowers are about shot even though I water them twice a day. Hope it is nice and cool in your little corner of the world; it miserably hot in mine.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I'm such a slug! One day of my time alone gone and nothing to show for it. I forgot that yesterday I had a meeting I had to go to, but it was for a good cause. I serve as the patient representative on a board for diabetes education in my area. We meet once a year to review the program and set new goals for improvement of services provided to those who are newly diagnosed or living with diabetes. I hope what I do there makes things easier for someone who is just learning they have this disease or who is struggling to cope with changes they have to make in their life because of it. I know from experience that it is not easy.

Now, on to what I have done today. No....not sew...or at least not yet.....but I did take myself over to the local JoAnn's to "fondle some fabric". And no.....I didn't just touch.....I also bought!!! Here's what came home with me.
I have several projects in mind here, but will just wait until I get some of them "in the works" before I tell you what they are. You can get an idea of what one of them is buy looking at some of the items in the photo. Some of this is Bren's fault. She talked about bagophobia on her blog and I told her I had the same disease. Seeing her conqueror the demon......I decided I could too!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Busy....No Stitching

A busy time at my house. I'm trying to get clothes ready for a business trip for DH. He leaves on Wed. and then maybe I can find a little time to do some stitching. I'll have 3 days where I don't have to cook or clean or do anything but sew if that is what I want!!! I love DH, but I must admit I enjoy a few days to do only what I want every now and again.

Stay cool....suppose to be 100F this afternoon with heat index around 110F. Looking forward to autumn!!!

Friday, August 3, 2007

It's Here!!

Look at what arrived at my house in the mail today!! The beautiful pin cushion I won over at Darlene's. It's awful hot here today, but I thought just maybe there might be something in the mailbox for me. I opened my box and inside was the key to open the box where the mailman leaves a package if you have one. I put the key in, opened it, and sure enough.... inside was the box from the Surface of the Sun, AZ. I was like a kid in a candy store....just couldn't wait to get home and see what Darlene picked to send me. She must have remembered me mentioning that blue is my favorite color because that's what color she sent! Thanks Darlene! I love it and will think of you each time I sew.

I haven't done any sewing again today. We sold the old car our kids drove throughout their college years....a 16 year old Toyota with 195,000+ miles and still going strong. I had the paperwork on that to take care of. Dept. of Motor Vehicles in MO doesn't make doing anything simple!!! I've lived in Texas and Virginia and dealing with DMV in those states was easy, but not here. I won't rant anymore, but dealing with that is why I didn't sew today.

DH asked me for a date tonight!! Think we are going to dinner and then a movie. We haven't seen Harry Potter yet, so that's a possibility.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I didn't stitch yesterday, but I did do something stitch related and important. After talking about machine care was time to give my machine some TLC. I thoroughly cleaned the bobbin area with alcohol as I was taught to do. I then reapplied the oil recommended for my machine. It was also time for a new needle and to clean the outside surfaces of the machine. Now it's ready to go again for about another 8 hours of sewing. Here's a pic of what I use to clean the insides of my machine.

Since I'm talking about machines, I'll show you a sampling of the machines I work with. My main machine is a Bernina 930. DH bought it for me in 1986. It was a reward to me for being a good wife who was very supportive when he decided to return to college to get his degree. We had 2 babies....need I say more. Right after he graduated and we were back on our feet financially, he insisted we go buy it. I love this machine as the straight stitch is wonderful. It has several decorative stitches too, but I have rarely used those. I did use them when my kids were small, and I did lots of garment sewing. I don't do much of that my need is mostly for an excellent straight stitch. The only down side of this machine is it is VERY heavy and difficult to take for a class.

Since the 930 weighs a ton, several years the urging of DH....I bought a Singer 301. This is the machine that I take if I go for a quilting class or if our sewing group has a retreat. This little machine weighs about 16 lbs. It also has an excellent straight stitch, so it is ideal to carry whenever I want to sew away from home.
A few years ago, I was trying to find an old sew cabinet for my daughter to sit her portable machine on. I stopped at a local thrift store and found a cabinet that was good condition. The lady told me $25 as there was no cord or foot pedal and the machine probably didn't work. I was happy to get the cabinet for that as the cabinet was in good shape. When I got it home, I took a cloth and wiped across the label area to see what kind of machine it was. An old black Singer! As I continued to wipe away the grime, I got pretty excited as the gold lettering and the black paint looked like new. It looked as if the machine had never been used. Then I happened to notice that the area where the cord plugs into the machine looked just like the cord for my I got the cord and gave it a try. It worked. I called Singer to see if I could get a replacement cord and foot pedal. The lady said they were still available and she told me that the machine was a Singer 15-91 made in 1951. She also told me that if the machine was in reasonable condition, it would be well worth the price of the cord because those old machines are workhorses. So, I ordered the cord. Then I found an online manual so I could disassemble, clean, and lubricate the machine. When I completed the cleaning and gave it a test drive, it worked like a new machine. I feel that it had been used very little and really is a new...old machine. The stitch on this one is also very good. I guess I don't have to tell you that DD did not get the cabinet. I didn't need another machine...but how could I not keep it! I have practiced machine quilting on it with a darning foot. I plan to do more of that this winter. DH was also very supportive on me cleaning and getting this machine in working order. Do you see a trend here??? He actually supports and encourages my sewing habit! In case you haven't guessed...I do plan to keep him since he is so good to me.

I have a two more very old machines. I'll share those with you on another day as I don't actually sew with those.

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