Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Random Notions – Getting Dizzy

For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a secret quilt – it is to be a gift and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.  However, I can share part of the back-
That’s half of it.  The back is all polka dots, with the exception of a small piece of what is on the front.  That is a LOT of polka dots, and it made me dizzy sewing it together.  I love polka dots and collected many, thinking I would someday do all dots, but after seeing a BOM quilt made from all dots, with only a white background fabric, I just couldn’t do it.  I found that this particular quilt was a good place to use many of them up, especially since I only used a couple on the front and a few on the back and they work well with the focal fabric.  It is now with Janet and I probably won’t get it back til sometime next month. I promised this person a quilt a long time ago and couldn’t decide what to make until inspiration finally hit me and now I can’t wait to give it to her.  This was also the first time I had to piece the batting together and it was a lot easier than I expected.

So I am in the mood to start <yet another> kaleidoscope wall hanging – I have a huge pile of fabrics set aside just for kaleidoscopes and I almost couldn’t make up my mind which to use.  But I finally decided on this one, which has been waiting for attention for a long time-
It’s actually a bit darker than this picture came out – very rich colors with bits of gold.  I only had 1 ½ yards of this, just enough for 4 repeats, so it will come out small.  I have already lined it all up and cut groups of 4 ½ “ squares and I feel like I’m not getting enough variation out of them, so I may have to add something in there.  Not sure what yet.  Going through the stash now to see what might work.

That’s it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Random Notions – May the Fourth be with You

The last couple of months have been brutal.  Not that I had a lot of stuff to do, it’s just that I am such a procrastinator, I drug my feet constantly. I was in such a funk, I could not raise myself from the near-dead. Yesterday I turned in the last paper due for my winter semester classes – I probably could have had it done a long time ago.  It wasn’t even very hard.  I just didn’t want to do it.  But it’s done and now I have summer free from school work.

One bad thing happened a couple of weeks ago – my credit card got hacked.  Someone had a joy ride shopping at some high end stores – Hermes, Saks, and Yves St. Laurent, plus a couple of nice meals at a couple of expensive restaurants, all to the tune of $2500.  My bank account was frozen for 2 weeks and I had to go in to beg for bits of what little money I did have so I could pay a couple of bills and buy gas.  I hope the idiots had fun.

But there was a silver lining to that black cloud.  Saturday, my account was unfrozen and I got a little spending money out of the ATM - it took me a minute to remember my pin and $20 seemed like so much after the last couple of weeks! 

I went to a yard sale that had advertised some sewing stuff – I got there after 12 and they had started at 8 so I figured the sewing stuff would all be gone.  But it wasn’t!  I was so excited about a rolling storage container full of stuff until I saw a price tag on top that said $40.00 firm.  I glanced through the drawers and got sadder as it looked like there was come cool stuff in there.  The lady came over and I told her I would love to have it but I didn’t have that much.  She said, “Well, I suppose I could go as low as $20.”  OMG - I could not get the $20 out of my purse fast enough!  I barely said thank you and was rolling it off to my car before she could change her mind!
Okay, so you may be asking, what could possibly be in this thing to cause so much excitement for me?  Well, first off, I had never seen one of these storage things with this nifty top-
That is fabulous – all the ones I have, about 5 of them, are flat!

So then I started going through the drawers.  There were loads of crochet hooks, including some bone ones-
A few of the metal ones are rusty, but I will try to clean those off.  The ones on the right, with that long needle-y thing –
the hooks are SO tiny!  I thought maybe one of them would be good for pulling threads out of tight places.  There was also a set in a pouch– 
I don’t crochet even though I know how – the yarns make my hands itch – but my mom does, so she will enjoy having most of them.

Then, along with all the hooks, all of this came out –
There are so many packages of sewing needles, I will never run out for my entire life.  Whoever gets all my treasures after I die will not run out for their entire life – and maybe several lives down the line.  There is a little sewing kit down at the bottom left that still has the paper tape measure in it.  The round thing under the little appliques (Heart, bee, flowers, star) is another tape measure that I am almost afraid to unwind.  The box at the lower right held many more treasures-
That small pile of white between the safety pins and the pink box is a few grains of rice - there was less rusting in this small box than in the rest of the drawers so I guess it works.  More needles in original packages – you can’t buy packages like that anymore!  I had to take a picture of the back of a couple of those packages-
In this drawer was also another needle package, but it was empty.  It’s very cool though-

There was a bottle that had a bunch of needle threaders in it, and then this bottle that had long needles -
It also had this nifty little tool in it, which kind of looks like a leather working tool to me –
Next up was this old Raggedy Andy panel to make a doll-

He's dated 1974.

This is a stamped cross stitch panel someone started and a couple of small patterns – the first is in an envelope marked “Baby Soft Sounds Coat Pattern” and it complete with the instructions, but I can’t find a date – it was apparently a Fisher-Price doll.  I haven’t unwrapped the other yet because it seems kind of brittle, but I think it is another doll clothing pattern.
Moving on, I found zippers – all but one metal – in another drawer.  I love metal zippers and my pile was getting a little low.
Then a couple of patterns – I will have to check them for dates, but the Butterick pattern had a printed price of $1.25 and the McCall’s was $2.00 – who remembers pattern prices like that?
In this drawer was also that pattern to the right, which I found the started project in a later drawer.

As I was setting the camera down after that last picture, it took a picture on its own.  I was very surprised that it took a great picture of my “helper” Max-
The next drawer had a pile of embroidery floss - I think that’s kind of standard because in so many boxes of sewing stuff I usually get a like pile-
Those pink things to the right are a pair of baby booties - one finished, one not.  That made me sad.

With the embroidery floss was a crewel project someone had started, still in the hoop, with the instructions-
I don’t do crewel but I do regular embroidery, so maybe that is something I will work on in the future.  I took the hoop off and put it with what I found in another drawer towards the bottom-
Lots of hoops!

Next up was some embroidery transfers-
I love those things – I think they are so much fun.  I am going to try to get Layla to embroider some with me this summer!  There was also a stamped cross stitch kit and an old magazine-
And the started project from the pattern I had found a few drawers up-
Okay this left me with the very last drawer that got me SOOOO excited.  First off, there was some thread – some on those old Styrofoam spools- 
That’s not so exciting, right?  But take a look at these-
I LOVE WOODEN SPOOLS!  I already have a couple but I nearly fainted when I saw all those!  I am going to have to be very careful taking all of them out as some of them have needles still pushed into them.

This rolling cart was well worth the $20 and it really perked me up.  I am very grateful to the lady having a yard sale that wanted to get rid of it all and hope she knows that it has gone to a very happy home!  <happy dance>

Okay, other news – one of my most favorite people in the world is leaving town – she is the lady who has cut my hair for the last 10 years - at least.  I am so sad she is going – it took me years to find her – before her, I never let the same person cut my hair twice.  (And of course, it’s always all about me!)  Linda, I am so going to miss you and wish you all the best!!

I got the Scrappy Batik Stars and the small kaleidoscope quilts back from Janet the Longarm Lady.  I put the binding around the small one already –
I have the binding sewn to the front of the stars quilt, I just have to hand sew it to the back.  Gonna try to get started on that in the next couple of days.

That’s it for now.  Happy Star Wars Day to those celebrating!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Random Notions – Moving Along

The batik stars are with Janet the longarm lady now. I don’t have a picture of the entire top together because I had nowhere to hang it to get the whole thing in the picture.  I didn’t want to lay it on the bed because of cat issues – I know Janet has allergies and I didn’t want to add to what was already on the quilt top.  I try very hard to keep cats out of the sewing area, but even though I close the door, I have a little friend (Harry) who is constantly opening it.

It took me forever to get the back put together.  I pieced the entire thing, so it’s kind of a quilt unto itself.  After adding the extra inches, I knew I wouldn’t be able to just piece it all at once, so I divided it into quarters and then put them together.  Here is a pic of just one of the quarters –
Believe it or not, I still have a nearly full tub of batik fabrics, in addition to all the charm squares.  Need to find something good to do with them all.  I think I will use some of them to make some pillow covers to match the quilts.

For the next couple of weeks I will be making the binding – which will be white, but it means I will have to put a lot of pieces together.  It would be nice to have it all together and ready by the time I get the quilt back, and I probably have until the beginning of April because Janet was pretty booked up.  That’s good – I’m sure I will need the time.

The next big project I will be tackling will be mainly pink, of which I am not a big fan, but it will be for a special little girl I have been meaning to make something for quite some time.  Layla may be helping me on that one.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Random Notions – Not Much to Say, Except…

...the side borders are on! 
I like this so much better than my first idea of having a wide white border. And I was very relieved that the squares worked out evenly down the sides, since I didn't do any mathematical figuring before I got started and just played it by ear.  However, the top and border are going to require cutting one square in half which I will put in the middle because they won't work out evenly.

This is the biggest quilt top I have made yet.  So big I couldn’t get it all into the frame for the picture.  But it would help if I had a better place to hang it to get a picture straight on instead of at an angle.

Hope to get the top and bottom borders on in the next two days and start piecing the back – it’s been so long since I saw Janet the longarm quilter I’m afraid she won’t remember who I am!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Random Notions – Lots of Cutting

Here it is the end of February already.  I haven’t really been able to keep up on my resolution of sewing every day, but it’s for a good reason.  After putting a narrow white border around the batik stars quilt, I had to figure out what I was going to do for a final wider border.  At first, I wanted to make a folded border of batiks on the narrow border – it will finish about 1.5” – and then put a wider 3” border of white around it.  I was thinking of making the binding out of the batiks.  When I sat and thought about that, I decided that no, I didn’t think I would like it.  So then I decided I wanted a border of batik squares all the way around, finished up with a white binding.

So I needed batik charms – lots of them.  I only had 4 left of the original packages I made the stars from, and buying more charm packs is not in the budget.  So I pulled out my tub of batiks and hand dyed fabrics and started ripping away.  First I decided which fabrics I wanted to use – there were about 20 I didn’t.  Of the ones I did want, I ripped off 5” strips to cut 4.5” squares – I want them to finish the same size (4”) as the squares in the stars.  After ripping them, I had to iron them before cutting.  This doesn’t sound too hard, does it?  Well, it wouldn’t have been had there not been 80 different fabrics I decided to cut!

Okay, I did cut way more than I really needed, but I love these stars so much and I have been trying to figure out what to do with my batiks for so long, I figured, heck, get a whole bunch ahead for another scrappy batik project! 

Some of what I cut I only got maybe 2 or 3 charms out of, others I got as many as 9.  A couple of scraps in the tub yielded only 1 charm each.  I kind of laid them out by color –
Then I took 1 from each fabric to start my borders with – here is the pile of 80 next to what I have left –
I have no idea how many there are in the tall pile, but it has to be about 5 times the short pile, which makes it close to 400.  I’m sure I can find something fun to do with them.  If I run out of my short pile as I make the borders, I will just take some at random to finish.

Anyway, this is what I have been doing for at least 2 weeks!  Some days I only had time to cut 1 strip into charms and also, my cutting surface is on a folding buffet table so it’s short and it kills my back to stand over it very long.  I wanted to do a jig when I finished cutting them last night - I’m so excited that I will get to start sewing again!

With these 80 different fabrics, this quilt will be really scrappy – the charm packs I used had 115 different fabrics in them.  Along with 2 whites – almost 200 different fabrics!  Can’t say I have ever done that before.  And my collection definitely had different fabrics – the charms packs did not have many designs on them, maybe leaves or flowers and that was about it.  In this batch from my stash there are all kinds of designs, including the ones I bought in Alaska that have whales, moose, turtles, polar bears, and something else I can’t think of.  Not too worried about none of the border perfectly matching the stars – and that is so progressive of me!  And I still have enough batiks and hand-dyes to piece together the back.

On the days my back wasn’t up to cutting, I still spent time in a quilt related manner.  I recently bought EQ7 and have been learning how to use it.  Previously I had Design Wizard and while it was fun, I felt it was really limited.  I found the EQ7 at the best price I have ever seen it and had to snatch it up.  Can’t wait to make my own designs!

Other news – I mailed a birthday card to a friend in Oregon on the 14th and yesterday I got it back because they said it was insufficient postage!  Argh!  I am so mad!  This friend’s birthday was the 16th!  Thanks a lot, post office people!  So, dear friend, if you are reading this – please know I did not forget!  Now I will have to find a new envelope and I will go directly into the PO this time to make sure it arrives!

That’s it for me right now.  Hope you are having a great day and, as always – thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Random Notions – A step closer to a finished project

My resolution to try to sew every day has been good so far.  I only missed one day, and that was yesterday.  In my defense, it was a very long day where I was in the car practically as soon as I got up early and didn’t stop running until I got home mid-evening and collapsed into bed.  There have been a couple of days where all I had time to do was a short seam, but I did it and it made me feel better, so I think maybe it will be good to do as much as I can everyday.

The blocks of the Scrappy Stars quilt top are together.  Here is a look at the 20 stars I made over the last few weeks –
Yup, that is quite a pile o’ blocks even if it doesn’t look like much!  I was beginning to think I wouldn’t get through all of them.  Then I started making rows of 5, then I put those together and this is where I am at – 
Is it just me, or do those white squares on point just jump out at you?  It’s kind of an optical illusion for me – they look like they are standing up from the rest of the top.  You can’t see it well in that picture, but here is a close up of how the two whites I used are different –
There must be something to this making something scrappy, because my inner control freak is not shrieking out, “It’s just not right!!!”  In fact, I’m perfectly okay with it.  This has been really good for me to do something I am trying to NOT control for a change.

Next up is to make a narrow border of white, maybe one that will finish about 1.5” – 2”, and then a scrappy batik border, much narrower next to that, with another white one that is much wider to finish it up.  I am also going to make a scrappy batik binding for it.  I have only a couple of charms left, but I have a huge tub of batiks collected over the years so I know there will be plenty to finish it off.  I may even make a pieced batik backing for it. 

While working on this, I am already trying to figure out what to do when I get this off to Janet the Longarm Angel. 

Going to leave you with a smile for the day – 
I wondered for quite some time who was destroying what was once a beautiful jade plant in my bathroom.  Max and Dexter!  Finally caught them red-handed –or is it red-pawed?  (For more antics of these guys and their friends, please visit Rules of Standard Cat Behavior.  I had way too many pictures of cats, I had to create another blog!)

Have a great day!  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Random Notions – Sew in 2015!

I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions, and since I was successful with one for once, I decided to try another.  I finally decided that no matter what, I am going to sew every day, even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes.  I am tired of telling myself I can’t sew til I get something else finished, and I am such a terrible procrastinator.  So now, I am going to do something every day, probably first thing in the morning, and take a picture of whatever I do, just so I will have 365 pictures to make a collage next year!  LOL

Classes start tomorrow so I have been sewing like crazy since last weekend.  It was so nice to sew guilt free – not worrying about school work that needed to be done.  Here is the finished wall hanging top I made with the floral I wrote about last week –
My mother and daughter didn’t like the dark pink border I stuck in there, but I do.  I guess it’s true that you can’t please everyone all the time.

The same day I finished that, I pulled out another fabric I wanted to make kaleidoscope blocks with –
I love how this fabric looks like someone has water colored on it.  It made really fabulous 4 piece blocks –
Both of these wall hangings turned out approximately 50” square.  There was practically nothing left from either piece of fabric.  I love using up what I have!

So then I was looking around for something else to work on.  I turned to the four charm packs of batiks I had bought a few months ago-
I had gotten 4 packs because I had an idea in mind for them, that after thinking long and hard about them, I decided I didn’t think I would like it.  So for quite some time, I have been looking for something to do with them.  Earlier this week I was looking through a quilting book and I saw a star – just a plain old star – that I started thinking I might like done in batiks.  So I set about doing it.

It was so hard for me to get started - I finally figured out that even though I like the scrappy look, I have always tried to make things match or go together.  I never thought I could make something look as good as what I see other people do with lots of different fabrics.  I was actually trying to match up colors as I was pulling charms for each star.  I was being fussy and saying “no, that looks wrong” until I finally figured out that in scrappy, there is NO wrong.  You just have to let it go and do it.  And when you do finally let go, it is such a freeing experience.  I really like what I have so far -
I suppose if I was going to really completely let it go, I would have made all the triangle squares and then mixed them up, but I did stick to using both halves on the same block, just making them opposite each other.  Maybe next time – baby steps, right?

I have enough charms to make 20 blocks, but the white background I was using – I didn’t have as much of it as I thought I did.  Of course, it’s something I got a very long time ago and I can’t find it again, so I had to get another piece of white.  I keep saying, hey it will add to the scrappy thing.  I figured I would make the other 10 blocks with it and alternate them.  It’s okay – I am only making it for myself.  I have never had any interest in any kind of competition quilting, so I only have to please me.

The blocks will finish at just under 16”, so I think 5 by 4 rows will make a nice size bed quilt after all the sashings and borders. 

I didn’t sleep well last night, and it finally occurred to me why.  Last week I mentioned that I had stayed away from Starbucks for a year – and I did make it through that last day.  But I had a $5 gift card and while I was out yesterday, I thought I would use it.  So I went through the drive-thru and saw the sign for the new Flat White drink they are making.  I figured since I wasn’t paying for it, I would give it a try.  My first couple of sips were like – wow, this is the strongest coffee I have ever experienced - I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not.  But I kept drinking it.  By the end, I decided, yeah, I could drink this again.  However I was not thinking about the fact that it was already after 3 in the afternoon!  So I bring this up to let you know – if you decide to try a Flat White, do so very early in the morning!

Hope you have had a great start to your New Year!  Thanks for stopping by!