Sunday, September 30, 2012

More thread on sale......

I walked to the post office (7 blocks) to mail some I Spy kits and continued the 3 1/2 blocks to the sewing machine store to see what was on sale on their last day of business.  The Blendables 12wt. threads were down to $2 so I got a good assortment of them.  Here is a link to the Sulky site which shows a sew out of each of the colors.  They are regularly priced $5.99 so this was a good deal.  I can also use them for edging on fabric postcards and as a decorative looper thread with my serger.
12 weight thread is quite heavy and you have to use a topstitching needle with a large eye to sew with it.  I want to use it for quilting like I did on this table runner.  I showed this one the first time in 2007 when I was first blogging.  I decided I needed a better photo than the one I took with my old camera.
This gives you a better view of the quilting.  I believe I did that one with 30 weight thread so the 12 weight will show up even more.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nature rules..........

The beauty of nature at this time of year just takes over the conversation everywhere you go.  The trees are turning early and I'm glad they are colors and not just dried up and brown after the drought this summer.
Every year I threaten to dig out all of the volunteer asters but this year I had to leave them there to shade the small delicate perennials that couldn't take the heat without rain.  Aren't those 2 photos a great color scheme?
I only have to fill the bird feeders twice a week now that I have chained this one shut and the squirrels can't pop the lid open any more. Of all of the greenery you see in the background over 75% is weeds.  They survive when everything else turns brown and curls up.  Next year I hope we have good weather so I can spend some time cleaning it up.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cable fixed, blooms, squares...........

I transplanted all of my cacti last week and look--- I have buds already!  I put the plants outside for the summer and bring them in right before the first frost.  Two years ago I rescued a bunch of them when W*lm*rt stopped watering them and was going to throw them out.  I suspected there were 2 plants in each pot because they were so crowded in the little pots.  So 10 cacti became 20 and the large one I bought last year at the end of the season had 3 plants in it.  Add that to the orange one a friend gave me and I have a lot of them.  I gave 2 away to the freecycler that got peony roots last week and gave 4 to my sister in law and niece yesterday.  I guess that still leaves me with 18 so I should have lots of blooms this year.
I cut some more squares for the quilts of valor from the donated fabric.  The piles are 1 3/4" tall so there are a lot packed into this box which I will hand off today to our leader.

The cable guy came yesterday and he determined that the signal was a little weak in my basement and he said ABC and WGN are on the same signal line so that is why both of them were affected with the interruptions.  He replaced my splitters and the cable leading into the garage.  He said my splitters (I had 2 and he reduced that to 1) were sending the weak signal because they weren't powerful enough.  They were from the early 1990s when the cable signal was a lot weaker.  I now have almost all new lines and fittings so I should be good for a few years.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

From one kind of cutting to the next.......

I finished the I Spy kits and now I'm on to the next cutting project for the Quilts of Valor projects.  One of the groups is using 2.5" squares so the last time I went to choose fabrics for kits I brought home a bunch to cut with my die cutter.  I like to cut the pieces to an easy to handle size for the die and then stack 10 pieces and cut.
Here are the rest of the fabrics to cut.  Most of the pieces I brought home (from donated fabric) are quarter and half yards.  I have to press them first so I did that while I watched some of the new season shows on TV.
Some of the trees are starting to change color.  I took this photo with my zoom lens from my kitchen window so it isn't real clear.  That may be because the window needs washing, but we won't go there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thread sale.....

The sewing machine store that I used to work at is closing their doors in Sandwich.  They have another store in Geneva, IL which will remain open.  I took a break from kit cutting and went down there to turn in my key.  She had a table of a variety of thread on sale for $2 each.  The Bottom Line which I use in the bobbin on my longarm is normally $7-8 so I stocked up on some unusual colors that I may not have purchased at regular price.  I use the variegated YLI quilting thread on all of my machines so it was a good buy too.  There were lots of serger threads there too. Good quality thread on sale is always a good buy. Saturday is their last day to be open.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Interrupted TV.......

Last night I went to the basement to do some more cutting on the I Spy kits and I turned on TV so I would know when Castle was coming on.  Every few minutes this sign popped on my screen.  It has happened before but maybe a couple times and then it was fine.  I decided to call and see what it was all about.  The lady at the other end reset my cable box remotely and then the signal came through after about 5 min.  The sign came back on again though so I have a tech coming to look at it in a couple days. (35 min. on the phone) Meanwhile I quit cutting and went back upstairs to watch Castle and to separate the 5" squares into kits.
The new Hoffman batiks of the season have arrived at Batiks Plus.  They always get them before anyone else.  I admit it, I'm a Hoffman snob.  I like them better than any other brand on the market.  Check out the Batiks Plus blog and see the whole 300 new styles and colors.  I just had to have a couple new purples.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cutting kits.........

I decided to dive right in and start cutting the I Spy quilt kits.  Each fabric has to be spritzed with water and pressed to get out the fold marks from storing the fabric folded and stacked on shelves.  The pressing takes as long as the cutting.  I have 37 fabrics cut so far.  3/4 of the kits are spoken for already so I hope to finalize the number of pieces in the kits by Tuesday night.  There are bug prints in the kits.  The kids love them.  There are grasshoppers, dragonflies, butterflies, ants, and prints with lots of different kinds of bugs on them.  Cutting the fabrics brings back the memories of being the buyer for the quilt shop.  We had a reputation of having lots of kids prints for the I Spy quilts and floral fabrics for Colorwash Trip Around the World quilts.  I left that store 12 years ago and selections have changed.  In case you are reading this at a later date than when it was published, all kits have been spoken for.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Playing with blocks....

I had 3 sets of blocks on my little design wall.  Some were all dark, some all light, some diagonally half light/half dark, and some darks and lights across from each other in the block.  I had sewn those groups to use for a demo at a guild program I did in May.  I decided to try all 3 types of blocks together and see if they would play well together.  I think this might be interesting but I really won't know until I sew a bunch more blocks and transfer this to a larger design wall.  I don't design my quilts in a computer program because if I knew what it was going to look like, I wouldn't need to actually make it.  For me the thrill is seeing the patterns emerge on the design wall.
I stayed inside all day yesterday.  It never got out of the 50s and turned cold again by evening.  I had to empty the dehumidifiers and put them away for the season.  There were a few other maintenence jobs and then I worked on the pillowcase kits for Monday's church sew in.  I have 20 kits ready now.  Today my cousin and his wife are in the area and are stopping by to see me and then going to see Dad. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kid prints, sharing plants......

Would kids love this one or go screaming from it?  It is pretty realistic..........
I went through all of my yardage of kids/I Spy prints and pulled a group to possibly make kits to sell.  You know the have to buy at least 1/4 yard and that is about 6 times as much as you need for your quilt.  I have 60 prints on the pile on the left that would do pretty well as a random cut.  The stack on the right has the motifs spaced farther apart and would need to have the motifs centered on the chosen shape for your quilt.  If I cut 6.5" squares so the buyer will have a large enough piece to cut out their hexagon or square or whatever shape easily, then I will only have 6 kits because at least half of the pieces in the pile are 1/4 yard cuts.  If I cut 5" squares I could have 8 kits to sell.  Decisions, decisions.............
Yesterday a freecycler was coming for some peony roots so I went out between rain showers and dug a few, and also some goldenrod and lily of the valley that were in a place that I don't want them.  When she got here she helped dig a few more and she took the goldenrod too.  She had moved to a new place that has no plants, just bushes.  I also gave her a few hostas that I had given up trying to find a place for. 
It was in the 50s most of the day so I finally gave in and turned on the heat since the next 2 days are going to be cold too.  My gas bills for May - Sept. are down $149 from last year.  I think the actual price for gas is down a little this year but a lot of that savings is from not having the old fashioned pilot light flaming away all summer.  The new boiler has an electronic pilot.  I'm looking forward to more savings all winter and I won't have to be shivering any more while wearing at least 3 layers.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Trading fabrics........

The I Spy fabrics that I showed a couple days ago were for a trade with the lovely Laura from Artfabrik.  If you have never been to her blog you need to visit.  She has written a couple books, the latest one about using hand embroidery stitches to embellish fused quilts.  I met Laura way back when.  She was a garment maker and had just made her first quilts.  We're talking early 1990s.  She is now a famous lady who travels all over the world to share her techniques. 
I chose mostly small pieces of her hand dyed fabric for the trade. A lot of them are strips about 2" wide.  The stiffness from all of my digging caught up with me though so I didn't do anything after I returned home from our lunch at Smashburger's.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Sept 6 visitor....

Mary has made it home from her trip so now I can post our photo.  She visited me and her husband went out to the county fair and had a good time.  You can check out her blog and see her story.  I knew she was making a Dear Jane quilt with batiks so I let her go through my pile of small pieces and we cut off a chunk of each that she liked.  We had a great time talking 'quilt'.
She brought me some real Texas goodies.  The Texas Wildflower Honey is really good and is different from our local honey.  There is a tote bag in the bottom of the basket and a pincushion on top.  I need to take a better photo of that and post it later.
Yesterday afternoon I was carrying the pots of hostas from the front of my house to the side where I had my wheelbarrow.  I felt a spider web brush the side of my face as I set this one down.  It's a good thing I didn't see the spider while I was carrying it or I would have dropped it and screamed.
When I was a little kid on the farm we used to see this kind of spider in the corn fields.  Once I saw one I never went back to the field again that year.  Then I would forget about them over the winter until I saw the first one again the next year.  His zig zag part of the web is over to the right in front of a leaf.  I took the plant over to a bush with a protruding branch and scraped him off the plant and onto the branch.  It sat in the same spot on the branch for the longest time, probably in shock!  About an hour later it had disappeared.
My job yesterday afternoon was to clear an area that is in the shade and plant all of these potted hostas.  They are the ones I dug up early this spring from the area that was going to be in the sun this year.  I fit 15 of them into the spot that I cleared of volunteer trees and bushes, weeds and violets.  I still have 4 left to plant.  I gave away the ones beyond the front of the wheelbarrow to my neighbor.  She came to get some peony roots and I sent her home with 4 hostas to plant under a pine tree in addition to the peonies.
Today is a day off the hard work and I'm having lunch with a friend.  I hope I won't be too stiff to get up after eating.  I'm not used to 3 hours of digging.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A mostly leisurely day.......

The last time I taught an 'I Spy' quilt class was about 10 years ago and I made kits of 6.5" squares and kits of 3.5" squares to sell.  In the basement I found 2 medium size bins that had most of the fabric scraps in them along with some of the squares that were left over.  It was fun to see all of the prints again and sort the fabrics into piles of small scraps and large scraps. Then I went to my yardage to pull a few more prints which I cut last night.  I hope to meet with my friend soon and see which ones she will want.
I wanted something to do while I watched the 10 o'clock news last night so I pulled out the box of fabrics from church sewing circle.  One of the other ladies washed and pressed all of the donated fabric and I just needed to cut pillowcase kits from it for next Monday.  There is a little more to cut after I re-press a few of the fabrics.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sharing plants........

Some of my art quilter friends expressed interest in cuttings from my coleus plants.  It is supposed to go down to the 30s here tonight so it is time to bring some in and root them.  I just stuck all 4 in the same cup to start out.  I'll check on them every couple days and when they start rooting I'll separate them out so their roots don't get tangled.  I have a couple more kinds in another container.  I would like to say I'll pot them right away too but I know better.  I have good intentions but.........
I have a friend who needs some kid prints for her new grandson so I started looking through my fabrics last night.  I spied this one and thought 'a nice cow print'.  On second thought I'm not sure this is appropriate (or a nice cow print for that matter) for a little one!
This one might be a better choice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Only a little sewing.......

I always have to do 2 loads of laundry the day before the art quilters group comes to my house.  The washer and dryer are there in the basement and I don't want a bunch of smelly clothes sitting in the hampers when company comes.  Add that to baking 2 batches of cookies and vacuuming one last area and I really didn't do much sewing.  Over the last week I have sewn these strips sets to prepare for making another piece in my Prismatic Garden series.  I have a pile of triangles left over from the last 2 quilts to add in with the triangles I will cut from these sets.  I will make about another 20 sets before I am ready to go to the design wall.  I am ready for a fun day.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My visitors....

Betty has returned home from her trip and sent me the picture from last Monday to post.  We are from left to right, Bunny, me, and Betty at the Bull Moose Bar and Grille in Sandwich IL.  I had met Bunny at a QOV sew-in last year and she dropped off some quilts that her husband has quilted for Land of Lincoln QOV  for me to pass on to our leader.  She and Betty have been friends for years.  Betty travels to IL occasionally so we made plans to get together.  They are true kindred spirits.  They knew their quilt books and the famous quilters as well as I do so we had lots to talk about. 
They brought me fabric.......because I don't have we ever have enough?  Aren't they pretty? Betty works at Jinny Beyer's shop and she brought me some of Jinny's new fabric line.  I love the large florals from Bunny.
I'm baking 2 batches of cookies today for the art quilters group tomorrow.  It is so nice to get up to 50 degree temperatures in the morning.  Fall is here!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Another method of zig zag.......

My friend Diane gave me a link in her comment the other day for another method of zig zag.  It is done with 60 degree triangles sewn in rows.  I had some triangles already cut to do a little mock up with.  I will have to cut a lot more if I make this one.  My die cuts 10 at a time and 10 layers deep so pulling the fabrics and pressing them will be the time consuming part.
I think that if I do put a border on this quilt it needs to be something neutral, like black and white.  I thought of zebra stripes but didn't have one that I liked.  I pulled my favorite stripe.
I tried a stop border first but unfortunately it did what it was supposed to do and stopped the flow from the quilt blocks into the border and I don't think I like it.  I don't want it to scream "I have a border".  Today I need to vacuum the basement and clear off the tables so I'll glance over at it several times and see if I'm liking it or not.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Getting back to normal..........

The painting is done, most furniture is back where it will stay, some will still get moved to new spots.  My brother and wife will leave today to visit more friends and family in MI.  I laid this quilt top over the couch to see how it looks in the living room.  I had made it in May intending for it to be finished and hang on this wall.  That was before I had any idea that I would be painting the living/dining room.  I think I will still like it there.  Here is a full view of the top the week I finished it.  Today I will reorganize my thoughts and prepare for my art quilters on Monday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My final layout....and sewn...........

Here is the final layout and I sewed it together yesterday morning.  It is 63" x 81" right now so the next step is deciding if I want to add a border.  I'll wait until after my art quilters group comes on Monday to make that decision.  This was fun to make with all of the different fabrics, some high contrast blocks, some low contrast.
My brother painted the high area behind the cornice board and the room is all painted now.  It 'only' took 2 weeks!  We had a pizza party at my other brother's house last night.  We're meeting cousins tonight.  Quite the social week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

They're here!........

My brother and his wife are here from TX.  This is their fancy vehicle!  Baby brother turns 70 today.  I told my dad that all of his kids are in their 70s now and he just looked at me and then smiled.  I'm going to finish my painting today with a little help.
I wore out my first tray for my Accuquilt studio cutter.  They said if you aren't getting good cuts check the tray for flatness.  When I lay it on a flat surface and push down on one edge, the other side raises high enough for me to slip my fingers under.  I guess I can say it is warped!  I had purchased a new tray a couple months back to make my order over $100 so I would get free shipping.  I was glad I had it on hand.  I have done a lot of cutting in the past 15 months.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wonderful relaxing day.......

I had the best time with Bunny and Betty yesterday but the photo of us is in Betty's camera and she will send it to me soon.   I had emptied this cabinet of quilts when I was moving it to paint behind it.  I decided I would just leave the quilts out to show to them, let the quilts lay in a pile unfolded for a few hours and then refold and put them away. I try to fold them a different way each time I return them to the shelf.  Then we went to my studio and then to the basement play room.  I think they decided I have a lot of fabric......  We went to lunch at Bull Moose Bar and Grille.  There is a tab with the history of the railroad car which is part of the restaurant.  If you are ever in Sandwich IL you should check it out. 
I made the last 6 blocks last night and moved a few from their positions in yesterday's photo.  I think I need to take one of the darker ones in the bottom row and put it farther to the left instead of 3 dark in a row at the end.  I need to make the final decisions soon because I have these 2 design walls leaning against the washer and dryer and I need to do some laundry.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Getting closer to a finish.......

It is amazing what a photo shows that I can't see by just looking at the piece.  I can see I have more rearranging to do.  I put the blocks up on a double design wall first thing yesterday morning so I could determine what I need to make to finish the last row.  Then I went back to my painting.  I finished the 30' wall and did the baseboard heaters on that wall and on the last wall which has another picture window.  I had enough paint in the tray to paint one of the narrow side walls by the window and the space under the window above the baseboard heater.  That leaves the space above the cornice board that goes all the way across the 15', the cornice board plus the narrow wall on the right and the window frame.  I have to finish taping the ceiling line and the corner where the 2 different wall colors will meet.  Today however I will just have fun with 2 of my readers, talking 'quilt' and going out for lunch.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I've turned the corner......

I got the 30' wall done yesterday and turned the corner and painted 12' of the next 30' wall.  I moved the desk back and reloaded the drawers, moved the side table back against the right wall, taped the front window, moved more furniture on the 18' stretch that is left.  I hope I can get the rest of this wall painted today.  I have 2 blog readers stopping by on Monday and my brother and his wife will be here from TX Tues. - Sat. so I need the room mostly back in place.  I never even made it to the studio.  It was nice and cool yesterday, didn't even get up to 70 degrees so it was perfect painting weather.  Today promised to be similar weather.  I guess I won't make it out to the fair this year.  It ends today.
I added my "film debut" video to my right side bar in case you missed it on the post or want to watch it again.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rain, painting, grouping fabrics........

I thought I might go out to the fair yesterday but it rained the night before and yesterday morning stopping at 9 a.m.  Since I would have to park in a grass field and walk to the entrance, I decided I wouldn't be happy walking around in soaking wet shoes so I stayed home.  I moved the roll top desk with the aid of the sliders.  The right end of the wall above is where it sits.  Then late in the day I decided to get a head start on my Sat.-Sun. painting and do the baseboard heaters on this 30' wall and about a 7 foot section of the next wall.  I'm using flat paint on the walls and this is satin finish on the woodwork and heaters.  That is a 14' stretch of picture window and 2 side windows.
After lunch I grouped some of the leftover triangles of the hand dyed fabric and made some 4 patches.  They will finish at 6" so I will cut some 6" finished triangles and make some 2 triangle blocks to go with them.  I might also put some plain 6" squares in with them too.  I won't know until I get to the design wall with them.
I chose some more groups of 4 for a time when I just want to sit and sew and not have to make any decisions.  I think there will be some of that time today as I finish an area of painting and just need to relax.  With 6 walls in the room there is a lot of furniture sitting in the middle of the space while I paint.  I'm hoping to get about half of it put back in place by tonight.

Friday, September 7, 2012

A fun day......

It was so much fun yesterday morning meeting another blogger.  I can't tell you who it was until she gets home from her trip but I can tell you we had a great time talking 'quilt'.  Her husband checked out the fair and was impressed with the size of our fairgrounds.  After they left I got out my helpers, super sliders and started moving furniture away from the next wall to be painted.
I'm going to show you why I hate my carpeting.  I had it put in 17 years ago and painted the walls the same shade of taupe and was very happy with it.......until the carpeting started changing color.  The pink area is where furniture was sitting. The carpet has a green cast in some areas and some areas are still taupe.  The dark area near the wall is the rust from the bleeder leaking earlier this year.    The only good news in all of this is that furniture will always cover the rust, and the carpet doesn't look as sick with the new contrasting paint color.  I got the ceiling line taped on 20' of this 30' wall and I need to move the roll top desk before I can finish it.  I will have to take all of the drawers out and then I can lift the corners just enough to stick the sliders under.  I have moved the desk before so I know I can do's not fun, but I can do it.
My reward for prepping the wall was sewing the 5 strip sets that I chose the day before.
Here is the reward I will have after painting on Saturday and Sunday.