Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dog's Best Friend

   I was commissioned to make a memory photo quilt via my etsy shop. The client told me her  young sister was recently widowed. Her husband had loved the outdoors, canoeing, his family, the color purple, and his dog. I wanted a simple, classic frame for each photo, and decided on a bear's paw design. Searching for a dog pattern, I found this "Dog Gone Cute" pattern at SewFreshQuilts. It is an instand pdf download, and very easy to follow.

48" x 48" with soft flannel on the back for lap snuggles

Vinyl pleather made the eyes and nose shiny
Getting into blogging and sharing online has helped expand my creative flow. There are so many inventive sempstresses out there, and they make my quilting world go 'round.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Welcome January

I have been pondering my 2016 Sewing Manifesto. Apparently it is NOT to use only the fabric I already own. ha! Today I was in McCall, the closest town with a fabric store, 45 miles south of our home. I had to stop in at Huckleberry Patches to see what was on sale and say hello to my friends. After selling lots of fabric strips and scraps, I have less than a quart zip lock baggy of yellow fabrics, which is so very pathetic. So, I had to buy some yellows for stash building purposes. I chose 4 ~ quarter yard bright saturated pieces (long quarters, not fat ones) and a yard of a sale 30's yellow. I had used some yellows for a set of cheerful pineapple blocks. The pattern is here.

One for Stash Bee block exchange, one for me!
I framed mine with a strip of white on white, and then a strip of olive green. I think I'll FMQ it with pineapple peel designs. I like that pineapples are signs of hospitality or welcome. This will make a nice addition to the entry way in our almost completed home.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Holiday Wrap Up

As 2015 winds down, I am thinking of what I've accomplished and which goals I have for next year. This month I finished Addison's A quilt. This was a start from June of 2014. The client had a change of mind, and this quilt got relegated to the UFO box. I knew from the start that it would be a gift for my granddaughter. The backing is soft pink pin-wale corduroy with little embroidered flowers.

I quilted this in an all over scroll. I bound it with bias binding in hot pink, aqua, and white. This photo is the only one I have of the quilt. (I lost some photos in their transfer to my laptop.) My granddaughter loves the quilt, She wrapped it around herself as soon as she opened the package for her 6th birthday.

I did catch a few of my holiday gifts on the camera,

Nautical theme potholders for my sister's boat.

Mail Sack cross body purse by Pink Chalk Studio
One of my new year's resolutions is to spiff up my blog, the photos and the layout. For now, this will do.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Meet My New Brother

After my last blog post and a facebook rant about a recalcitrant sewing machine, I got a new one. The old one is at the shop for the third time, for a new thread uptake lever. Meanwhile, meet my new Brother, a Brother Nouvelle 1500s. It is a speedy, hardworking quilting machine that sews up to 1500 stitches per minute. The link just previous has all of the particulars, needless to say it is bona fide.

Bee and dragonfly stickers and a new pair of quilting gloves.
This machine has rocketed me into the fourth dimension of quilting. I have done free motion quilting before, but the speed and ease are charming. (Charm: that ability to make others feel good about themselves.)  It came with a carry case and the cat accessory.

Earl in his natural habitat.
I recently bound and attached a sleeve to this little cutie for one of my fabric enablers, Sonja the Moda rep. It was quilted by my sister, Pam, who did a wondrous job. It is from a kit by Laundry Basket Quilts. The finished size is 14"x18."

At first it reminded me of an entomologist case. 
Each butterfly is unique.

My goal for  this month for  ALYOF is to finish quilting Addy;s  A quilt. It is nearly finished, thanks to my new brother, but I have to unstitch a pucker in the back. Photo to follow. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On the Fritz

Nothing like the last day of the month to hasten a blog post, whether or not I met my goal for the month. I did not finish my September goal of completing Amber's baby quilt, but it is NOT my fault. My sewing machine is on the fritz again, and I am taking it to Boise to get to the bottom of this.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos of the almost completed baby quilt and big sister dolly quilt, with some of the fabrics I auditioned in the last post.The inner purple borders are folded and dimensional.

Sweet and simple.

Dolly's quilt is 16" sq.

The back of each is soft flannel.

My favorite fabric enabler, Pam, sent me some super duper Kaffe Fassett fabric for my birthday last summer. I finally got around to setting the colors, along with some Moda fabric from a local shop. As I admired the colors of the fabrics hanging on the clothes line, I realized how well they work together. The coral and tangerine don't quite match the Kaffe colors, but all the better. The colors are pushed and really glow. The lime green really makes the aqua and turquoise ZING.

My solar dryer.

Mmmm baby, I love colors.
Today's harvest included chokecherry bark for cough drops. I also gathered hawthorne berries for heart tincture, and elderberries for Wild Elderberry Chutney. Spoiler alert!! Holiday gifts!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

My Busy Happy Life

I am always busy at the end of summer, garden produce on overdrive, quilt club starts up again, weather changes and it's time to pull out warmer clothes, fall birthdays coming up, literal and figurative harvesting and storage. I have to keep reminding myself that I have time for all that needs to get done. Enjoy myself, it's later than I think.

I am almost finished with the last bumper pad that I mentioned in the August post. I have one more to sew. Here's a sneak peak, they all have jungle babies on side A as well as some fun zebra stripes, and side B is coordinating with the changing pad and crib skirt.

Prairie Points coordinate with the quilt (see June's post.)
And, my next goal, patiently waiting it's turn, is a little baby quilt for Amber's soon to be born Kinsley. Amber asked for purple, grey, and aqua. I have some left over grey and lavender squares, and will put these pieces together into something modern and sweet.
I think the batiks may pull it together. 
I am settling in to my work schedule, and have found my energy groove. It means letting go  of some other activities, and remembering where I get my strength. Being outdoors and either gardening or harvesting wild plants is my solace. I have harvested hawthorne berries and chokecherries on our road and veggies in the garden. AND, sewing is my solace. I got my beloved Viking machine back and it works great! Yay! I am making time to sew every day.

And, the other fun event in my busy happy life is participating in Stash Bee. This month is my month to post a tutorial and get blocks from the other busy bees. I chose this wonky churn dash:

I have already received 4 blocks in the mail, and they are adorable. How fun!! Dreaming of sashing, maybe in yellow piano keys... I love the impracticality of a red and white quilt in my home with black fur babies.

A couple of eternal optimists. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Show Must Go On

   This post is different from all of my previous posts. I have been struggling the past few weeks with sewing withdrawal, and adjusting physically to a new job (cashier at a grocery store.) It has been a difficult time for me, and the things that have pulled me through this are gratitude lists and perseverance. I seldom air my dirty laundry. Describing my difficulties and sadness is way too vulnerable for my comfort. I am usually a happy camper, and even when I'm not, I fake it till I make it. Well, screw that.

   Some other writers have been honest about their struggles, and I found it helpful to find out that what I am experiencing is bona fide. I am not crazy. By that I mean, it is not just pretend. I am validating my own experience, since I have not shared this publicly, so how could anyone else validate it???

   Being too tired to sew makes me sad. This is not depression, this is SAD.  Being tired narrows down my peripheral vision (a borrowed phrase that fits.) It is hard to see the end of the tunnel.  Learning new job skills is tough for this old dog. And standing on my feet for a long work day is the hardest part. Good shoes help a lot, but they don't turn a 59 year old into a spring chicken. I know it will get easier as I get in shape. And then I'll have the energy to sew, and then I'll be over my sadness.

The gratitude list is mainly about having a job and therefore having money for my expenses. Car insurance and license tabs are due this month. Check!!

My 1998 Chevy Blazer. Perfect for navigating mountain roads.

Getting my Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine serviced is overdue. Check!! It messed up July 9th. That was 35 long days ago. Here's my facebook rant: " If you can't decide whether to shoot your sewing machine or yourself, and you have tried cleaning, rethreading, different thread, different bobbin, new needle, cussing, prayer, tears, and repeat, try reinserting the needle one. more. time. "  The underside thread kept bunching up, and even vacuuming the machine only helped for a few minutes. There are lots of helpful sites on the internet, and yes, I looked at them ALL. A good one is on Sew4home.  My favorite repair advice was to floss the tension discs with dental floss. Didn't help. 

   I called a couple of repair shops to see if I could try anything else at home, aka take another run at the wall, or whether I was smart to admit defeat. The first shop, which did not earn my business, told me to "bring your little punkin' in and we'll fix it right up. It will probably take a couple of hours and cost over $200," The second shop gave me several likely causes. (the take up lever needs adjusting, lint in the tension discs, or a scratch in the bobbin case) Each are easy shop fixes but which I can't do at home, in fact, the machine probably just needs to be serviced, to the tune of $69. I appreciate sew much this shop's willingness to discuss possible issues. Thank Goodness. I can admit defeat.

Know when to surrender, Dorothy.

   Last week I saw a sign at the grocery store for sewing machine repair. The gal takes the machines to Boise at no charge (150  miles away) and the repair place is an established business; cost: $69. I took my machine to her today and will have it back next week. Being able to pay for this and getting it done is on the top of my gratitude list.

I do have my mom's Singer Featherweight. Old Faithful. Without it, I would probably have had to shoot myself. Must. Sew. This may sound like whining to a non-sewist. But, I am spoiled for my nice fancy Viking, and the show must go on. 

I have a goal this month to sew nursery decor for Brandee, the recipient of the baby quilt in June's post. So far I have managed to sew the changing table cover. 

The zebra panel is fabric made in Tanzania.

The bumper pads and dust ruffle will match, and coordinate with the jungle baby theme, and the baby quilt.  I will share photos by the end of this month. Just in time for baby Kelton, who is due in September.