Wednesday, December 31, 2014

SBOW: Finished Center!

Tonight, to close out 2014, I finished up adding the extra appliques that extended outside the blocks.  I am still unsure if I am going to do the last applique border, it is already larger than the space I planned to hang it from.  Though, the applique would not take very long so I won't make a decision for a couple more days.  Right now I will keep it up on my design wall so I can admire it before I decide the next step.  As usual, it was hard to photograph, but you get the idea. I really do love it.

SBOW: center blocks finished

Little closer for the center where I changed out my initials for the cat:
SBOW: center blocks finished

2014 had some good and some not as good.  2015 is going to be great with adventures I am positive!  Happy new year!

(Just wanted to add, this quilt is from Primitive Gatherings called Sunflower Gatherings)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

SBOW Block 13... again

I have sewn down all the pieces that were extending beyond the original blocks in the quilt top (that were already fused underneath pieces already sewn).  This morning I decided to prep the blocks that need more pieces and embroidery, that's when I discovered that I wasn't paying attention to block 13 when I first prepped and appliqued!
SBOW Block 13... again
All those leaves... they needed to be under the yellow flowers.  In order to make them fit I had to adjust and trim down.  I was already wondering when I finished block 13, "is this it?" because it kind of seemed bare.  Too bad I didn't double check at the time.

Here's what it will look like when it is finished.
SBOW Block 13... again
I have five blocks prepped with the extra pieces now.  I plan to watch the Seahawks and sew away!

Friday, December 26, 2014

SBOW #13

Finally... I am mostly finished with block 13.  I still need to add on the flower blossoms once it is attached to the quilt top.  At this point I need to finish sewing the middle row which this block is a part of (13 is the center of the quilt), and then start attaching the pieces that extend from the original blocks.  Hopefully that won't take me long, but seeing that my "block of the week" has turned into a 7 month project, there's no telling when I'll be done.

Block 13 is suppose to have the quilt maker's initials in the center of the ring, but I decided to add my cat instead since she was such a huge part of my life. Losing Gracie this past September has really left a hole in my heart.  I decided to honor her in this quilt.

This weekend I plan to sew up the rows and then get started with the applique that needs to be added.  I am unsure if I am going to add the final border of applique as well, but I will decide that after I am done with the block steps first.  The pieced borders are all ready to be attached now as well (I finished up all that sewing while on retreat in September! Whew!  A lot of four patches to be sewn!).

Thursday, December 25, 2014

God Jul!

A Savior was born!  I hope everyone has had a nice Christmas, whether filled with family, friends, children, or not.  Enjoy the holiday especially to those who are finding the new normal as life changes.
Merry Christmas!

I have had a difficult time with the changes following my parents' deaths 11 and 12 years ago, so many changing traditions.  While getting ready to prepare our Christmas Eve dinner--which our new tradition has become a rib roast we save from our 1/2 beef we purchase every summer--I was remembering all the holidays with my mom and feeling pretty sad.  Kevin came in and we talked about the changes and how I am still trying to find "it".  Holidays can evoke such emotions that are strong because I assume so many of us don't have that Hallmark movie ideal, so we believe we are missing out.  Kevin and I talked about how the new traditions need to start again with us, and we are finding that way now.  We do have traditions now that we've started with the kids (finding an annual ornament together with the boys--which involves at least an hour pressing buttons at the Hallmark Store in order to find the "right" one), prime rib of course, Christmas cookies, and the first Christmas gift by Dad on Christmas eve.  I think sitting around in jammies all day is also a great tradition :)
Merry Christmas!

Anyway, however you celebrate or not, please remember that you are cared for by the Father.  If you are sad, feel free to message/email me and I'd be happy to chat with you.  In one more week we will be celebrating a new year, may it be even better than 2014!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A New Finish, A Remembrance

After I finished Kevin's Father's Day t-shirt baseball quilt in June, I asked my friend Julie if I could make her a quilt using some t-shirts from her son.  If you don't already know Julie, her son passed away too young from really unknown causes (though, related to his heart).  He was a remarkable young man, follow this link to his obituary. Further, he was honored this past July for his work in the wheat breeding program at the University of Idaho: link to article here, and one more.  I was very happy when Julie said yes!  Now, she is a very prolific and wonderful quilter, so there was a bit of pressure I put on myself to try to make sure it turned out well.  I had a few issues here and there, but I think most quilts do as they are being constructed.

For Kevin's t-shirt quilt, I did not frame the shirts.  I think the effect would have been much better if I had.  So for Brad's quilt, I did frame them and I am pleased with the outcome.
T-shirt Memorial Quilt
I remember meeting Brad when he was about junior high age.  He wanted to collect pine cones from our trees because they were different than those where he live in Idaho :)  He had an interest in science at a young age, that was definitely apparent.

The back of the quilt is made from two flannels, one dog paw print to represent his dog Kenobi, and a fabric that has depictions of the outdoors.  I also had an extra John Deere shirt fabric that I set within:
T-shirt Memorial Quilt
When I was making Kevin's t-shirt quilt, I had an idea in mind for Brad's quilt (this was before I even asked Julie), but in the end, I did not do the wheat quilting design I doodled.  I did find wheat fabric though, perfect.  It is a directional fabric, so I was glad that I didn't mix up my strips.  The wheat is all going in the same direction :)

I had a helper when I was sewing down the binding:

T-shirt Memorial QuiltT-shirt Memorial QuiltT-shirt Memorial Quilt

Julie and Doug received the quilt today, and I hope it gives a bit of comfort to have something to hold on to that was Brad's.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I think my most favorite part of working on hexagons, is seeing the bead box nearly filled.  I like seeing them all together like this.

I am now on my final sets of flower pieces.  I still need to baste four more sets--which will end up filling the entire box.  And then I will be on to the black hexies that I will sew into triangles.  I believe I am finally set on a design for this quilt.  I saw a quilt that had a layout of diamonds with flowers that I liked.  Since these two flower sets have the most (of the same fabrics used), I have been playing around with design ideas.  The rest of the flowers may have a duplicate or two, but aside from these flowers below, the quilt will be scrappy.


And because I had an extra yellow center basted, I am making 75 (instead of 74) flowers.  Who knows if I will need more, but if there are extra I will just put them on the back.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Darrin and I looked through amazon's costume section to see what sort of costume he might want.  He decided (after I nixed horror stuff, Halloween already isn't a favorite holiday, the boys know I have my limit and that is it) that he wanted to be a soldier.

I found a few military costumes, but they seemed sort of cheesey... and then I found a company that makes smaller BDU's for kids!  Perfect!  It also came with some patches that could be sewn on, very cool!

Halloween Soldier

It arrived, and Kevin decided to pull out his old Army jacket and offered up his patches for Darrin.  So cool!  Darrin loves his BDU's and I think he looks adorable.  He also wants a helmet that Kevin has, but it's a bit big for his head so that won't be happening :)

Halloween Soldier
Two shoulder patches which came with the uniform.

Halloween Soldier
Hell on Wheels: 2nd Armor Division, dates back to WWII.  From Kevin's jacket.

Halloween Soldier

Happy Halloween, enjoy some Snickers :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Slow Stitching and SBOW 12 Finished

It's been a while since I have worked on my Sunflower Gatherings Summer Block of the Week, but today I can say that I am done with #12.  I've had it waiting to be worked on for a long time, but once I got to working on the blue round flowers and leaves, I hit a brick wall.  I couldn't do anymore!  Last night I decided to do some stitching while watching Netflix and the World Series... I was able to get everything but two leaves finished because our power went out.  I was happy that even though the power was out, there was still some buffered video left from Netflix so I happily stitched away by the glow of the laptop until I no longer had any video left.
SBOW: 12
Looking at the stitches today on the leaf I stopped on... well, I can sure tell the power went out (or it was an intense moment on Walking Dead)!  Yikes.  At least power outages don't happen very often here so we are very fortunate.

I just have one more block left to do, and I currently have most of the pieces cut for it.  Maybe this week I'll be done with that.

We finally got power back today at noon.  We spent most of the outage time cracking walnuts while listening to the Seahawks on the radio.  Kevin received two grocery bags full of walnuts from someone at work who has some trees in eastern Washington.  What a great gift.  We managed to shell 4lbs of walnut meat to save for baking and eating.  Kevin did say that we could crunch up the shells so I could use it for pin cushion filler, but I decided not to do that :)  It was nice he thought about me :)
After finishing up SBOW 12, I pulled out my hexagons that I haven't looked at in over a year.  I only have 23 more to go, with 51 finished.  74 was a number I came up with when I found a layout I liked, but right now I am seconding guessing and considering something different (but I will finish up the 74 for sure and decide from there).  I have enough pieces prepped for 10 more in my box, and fabrics for the final 12 cut and separated in baggies.  Maybe I need to get back to my one a day until I finished?  I did finish one flower (like the one partially made in the photo), and tonight I plan to finish up that partial.

It's hard not to want the hexie quilt to be finished faster, but most of all if I just keep at it I will have a finished hexie quilt.  For all the quilters that make multiples of hexagon quilts, I am amazed at your perseverance.  I get distracted so easily--or I get to the point that I just can't even look at one more.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

That Crazy Fabric

I unearthed the fabric I was looking for yesterday that I was considering first for the tee....

Crazy 60/70's fabric
Am I right?  It's crazy 70's! Maybe even late 60's.  I am pretty positive it's polyester, not rayon but silky-ish.  It's by Hi-Fashion Fabrics, about 2.5yds, likely a Joann's purchase I had to wait over during her many trips (I HATED going to the fabric store as a kid... funny now).  I'm sure Mom was going to make a blouse with this.... perhaps I can make a shirt and a cape to go with it and go as a magician for Halloween?

So, if you had a fabric like this, what would you do with it?

A Little Sewing

Ok... I hate taking my picture.  Especially since all the loss I had in the the weight department found its way back.  I'm a work in progress, no doubt about it.  But I am not posting about that (you are all saying thank you, I know!!).

I went to a retreat in September and one of the quilters was working on a shirt pattern called Simple Elegant Tee.  I love how it looked, and her choice of fabric was a rayon batik which hung really nicely.  I ordered the pattern a few weeks ago but last night I finally decided to dive in.

It has a kimono, cap, and dolman sleeve.  For the pattern I cut for a dolman because I like longer sleeves.  I may play around a bit with this in the future.  For the fabric, I really considered using this funky fabric (very 70's) that I saved from my mom's stash.  It is a psychedelic print that reminds me of the Johnny Depp version of Alice in Wonderland.  It's bizarre to say the least.  The fabric is somewhere in my closet, but I couldn't find it.  Instead I found a jersey print that I bought years ago with the intention to use as a maxi skirt.  Since I'm not in love with the fabric, I felt this would be a good first attempt at the pattern.

The pattern was very easy to follow and I finished it up fairly quickly this morning after cutting for it last night.  The only problem I had was that I attempted a rolled hem for the bottom of the shirt and it ended up too ruffled.  I cut it off and followed the directions from the pattern :)

Simple Elegant Tee

Simple Elegant Tee Simple Elegant Tee

That could be my before (once again) picture. sigh.  Anyway!  I did french seams, but I found it to be bulky at the ends so next time I would probably pull out my other machine and run a zig zag stitch.  I would have liked it a little longer--if only followed the directions to begin with, it would have been.  And I see I pushed the sleeves up a bit.  I would never make it as a model.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

One more attempt at a yellowed stain...

and I don't notice a big difference.  At this point I think I've done all that I can and am willing to try to remove the stain.  I don't want to destroy the quilt by experimenting beyond the soaking and using a Shout Color Catcher.

The first picture is from after I finished the applique and before the binding, the second picture is after the second attempt at soaking.  I tried to keep the lighting the same, and no photo alterations other than cropping.  It might be a little brighter, but for the most part I don't notice a difference in stain removal.

Last of Pansy Kit Quilt Repair Last of Pansy Kit Quilt Repair

Two Finishes

I finished up the repair quilt tonight, including a soak in Quilt Wash.  I don't really think it helped get a stain out though.  I am going to leave the rest up to the owner, I am really not sure what else you'd attempt to get out a yellowed stain.

Repair Finished, stain before soaking

Repair Finished, stain after soaking

Repair Finished
In the end I decided to cut away the old binding and attach the new in a French fold binding.  I am happy with how it came out, and the corners came out very nice.  I attempted to practice the other method on a small practice square and it turned out pretty terrible.

And finally part three is finished with my stitch along.  The reds made my camera go crazy!  I had to redo two sides and when I reattached it, I realized that the flying geese weren't going around in the same direction. Sigh.  I'm not ripping and redoing again.  I have part four ready to go, maybe I will get to it next week.
SAL: Part 3

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Autumn! The season for...

Dewy spiderwebs.
Spiderweb Season

As much as I dislike spiders (mainly in the house), I think they are fascinating to watch.  The webs are huge in the bushes next to our driveway, and one of them even had a web that extended over the middle of our garage!  That is one industrious spider who did some traveling to build its web!

Spiderweb Season
It was windy by the time I shot this web.  The strength of the web is part of the fascination.  As much as the spider blew back and forth, everything stayed intact.

Spiderweb Season

And of course the best time to take pictures of spider webs is in the morning when the dew is attached.  This guy can stay here until I finally get around to doing a fall cleanup in my garden.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Repair Project

This past summer I was approached by a family member about repairing a family quilt.  I was happy to oblige, though it does make me nervous to work on other people's vintage quilts.  Through my research I found out that this is a Lee Wards quilt, #08-90541 Pansy applique kit.  I have been able to find one online person that has this particular kit for sale (unmade top, fabrics and pattern).  If it didn't have a price of $425, I may have considered it for replacing the black pieces in the pansy blocks.... but I didn't purchase it.  This quilt is about 81x100".

Anyway, here are the images that were sent to me:
Lee Ward's Pansy kit quilt #08-90541

Lee Ward's Pansy kit quilt #08-90541

Lee Ward's Pansy kit quilt #08-90541

In working on this quilt, I have found that everything, EVERYTHING was hand pieced together, including some of the leaves that use two different greens (sewn in the centers).  The quilting and binding (both sides) are also hand pieced.  That is a lot of work, and I am guessing that this great aunt (of hubby's) must have really enjoyed hand work :)

Here is the quilt with all the black fabrics appliqued over (I did not remove any fabrics):
Lee Ward's Pansy kit quilt #08-90541

Lee Ward's Pansy kit quilt #08-90541

Lee Ward's Pansy kit quilt #08-90541

I am not really sure how to tackle the binding.  It is about an inch wide, single and bias.  I don't plan to do bias, but I will attempt single and not French fold.  Typically I cut my bindings at 2-2.25" and French fold, so they are very narrow... I have never finished a quilt with a binding this wide before.

My plan is to practice on a small square, after doing a little research on how to do this.  I am also thinking I will use my machine to do one side and hand sew the other... would this give me bad quilting karma?  I think I need a lesson on this technique, anyone know of a good tutorial online?

This quilt has been washed often and I think that was probably why the blacks deteriorated as they did.  It's interesting to see the other fabrics being as bright as they are though.  When I finish the binding I am planning to soak it in All American Quilt Wash to see if I can get some of the stains out.  I'm hoping to be finished with this by the end of the month.  Goal set! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

SBOW: Block 11

Finally, a new update.
SBOW: Block 11

I finished up block 11 tonight.  I really should have finished this days ago, but I have been in a bit of a funk and sewing just hasn't been calling to me.  This block has (I think) four more flower pieces to add on after the top is sewn together.  They remind me of Christmas lights, and I can't say that they are my favorite of this quilt.  I should have changed them up a bit.

I have two more blocks left and the top will be finished (minus the applique border--still thinking on that).  The center applique block of this quilt has initials appliqued of the maker, but I am thinking about putting in a cat instead in tribute to my Gracie.  I am pretty sure losing her is a big part of the reason for my moods recently too, she has really left a huge hole in my heart.  I have a facebook friend who recently wrote something about our pets aren't kids, basically to stop referring them in this way (and he does have a dog).  I didn't respond to that, nor did I ever reference Gracie in that way--I know he wasn't talking about anything I said, but the fact is that some pets just leave huge holes in our hearts.  Seeing that he posted it so soon after I wrote about her being put down was not great timing however.

They become a big part of our families (if we are lucky) for  a large number of years.  I think sometimes people say things without thinking--or in an effort to just be a curmudgeon or sarcastic, but quite honestly I have loved our family pets more than some people I have to be in contact with.  Pets have a way of bringing out joy and calmness in people who are otherwise stuck (be it depression or mentally incapable for whatever reason).  If animals didn't bring out these human emotions, service animals would be ineffective and non-existent.

So no, our pets aren't human kids, but you cannot dismiss or diminish their part in the lives of people who love them entirely.  Anyway... I guess I had to get that all off my chest.  I can't say I feel better, but eventually it will be as with any loss.  And for anyone who doesn't know my story, I have buried two parents when I was 32 and 33, along with grandparents, mother in law, uncles, and a nephew.  I do know close loss of the human kind.  Maybe they are different to some, but that loss is still there and the pain can last for a long time.

Maybe now I can get back to sewing again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SBOW Update

I am a couple of days after getting home from the latest retreat I attended at Royal Ridges in Yacolt, WA, and I think I have my stuff finally organized and put away.  I mainly worked on getting all my four patches and alternate blocks made for my Sunflower Gatherings quilt.  I was able to finish those and the pieced border, though I was two four patches short so I had to wait until I got home to be totally done with the alternate blocks and border.

Yesterday I received the applique border pattern and pieces, but I'm still not sure if I will complete that or not.

Block 9 finished at the retreat:

Block 10 started, and almost finished.  I want to do a little detail stitching on the large leaves and I still need to stitch down the small leaves:

And what I have finished so far.  The outside pieced border is not arranged on the wall yet, but it is finished:

I am so close to being finished.  After getting the last three blocks done I will put the top together and then sew down the applique pieces that extend.

I had a great time at the retreat, but I didn't take any pictures.  Still waiting to see if any show up :)  I think I am fully rested from lack of sleep, but I may need to try an afternoon nap today just to make sure!

Monday, September 15, 2014

SBOW: block 8 finished

Just a quick upload, not a great picture, but it will do.  Beyond the bird tail and branch, there is one more flower that extends to the alternate block.  Not feeling very inspired to prepare block 9 yet, maybe this weekend.

SBOW: block 8

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Gracie 2 months old

She came into our home on December 26, 2003.  She departed our earthly home on September 13, 2014.  Gracie would have been 11yrs old on October 23rd but her poor body started growing intestinal cancer.  She had been throwing up hairballs and some food, but honestly with cats that is to be expected (though the frequency had grown over the spring/summer).  When she stopped eating and drinking, we knew it was time.  Her last few days were painful to watch, but she never stopped purring for family that loved on her.

She seemed to perk up a bit last week, but she needed to be checked out, Gracie just did not look like she felt well.  Then the vet found a lumpy mass in a place that I wouldn't have found.

Gracie as a kitten and again in 2007 when we brought Darrin home.
Gracie, hard to believe she was tiny!Darrin and his babysitter

New Puppy!
And checking out the new puppy in November 2011 (likely telling Dad that dogs belong on the floor!)

I brought Gracie home just two months after my mom died, and two months after having to put down one of my other cats due to her body shutting down.  We never were able to get answers as to what happened to that kitty, but that was a rough year (especially since the year prior to that, my dad passed away).   I lost my Bonnie dog three years ago to Hemangiosarcoma (we had the lumps removed twice until it affected her too much).  Before Bonnie was Bose our black lab who died from just old age about a year before Bonnie passed.  I feel like we've had to say so many goodbyes to family members over the past 12yrs, that my heart just hurts.  It is all a part of life, but it is never easy.  Three parents, a last living grandparent, two uncles, and five loved pets.  Enough already.

Gracie 1.5yrs old

So I am saying goodbye to my lap warmer, my quilting friend, my fly and spider chaser, my companion.  She rarely hissed--maybe once (hard to believe! but typical with Ragdolls), she always greeted people and wanted to know what was going on.  Gracie always had a purr for you, and endured a puppy and kids with a lot of joy.  She was very loving and lived to be with everyone in the middle of whatever was going on.

Christmas Gracie

Good bye sweet girl.