Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Design wall

Hey everyone!  Just a small update on the sewing room.  No stitching yet (sadness!) but a major step forward-- I now have a design wall!  Whoo-hoo!  Odd how that can make me so danged happy.  Here it is:

Well, I wasn't going to take a picture of a blank wall, was I?  I put up the Grandma's blocks just to have something good looking and inspirational in there.  They're really lifting my spirits.  Plus it lets me rearrange them every time I walk by, which may or may not be a good thing.

This project cost me about $25 or so.  It's constructed of some styrofoam panels covered with an old--but clean and still useful!--flannel sheet. I used these panels, which I found at Home Depot:

I got these because they were the cheapest ones I could find, they were fairly thin, and they were easy for me to get in the car and to wrestle upstairs and hang.  I got two packages, which was 12 panels, and I used all of them except for a little bit that I had to trim from a couple of panels because of the way I arranged them.  I hung the panels on the wall with these Command hangers:

I used these in case I ever want to take it down or arrange it differently, but you could use small nails, or screws or maybe even hot glue.  (Just kidding!  Do *not* hot glue your wall!)  My wall ended up about 8 feet high and 7-1/2 feet wide.  I'll need to get a small step stool or something if I want to put blocks at the top since I'm not 6 feet tall, but I'm okay with that.

After I got everything up, which was really easy to do by myself, I hung the flannel by pinning it into the styrofoam around all of the edges.  Here's my advice for this step--enlist the help of a supportive friend.  The flannel gets heavy and it helps a lot to have someone hold it so it won't fall while you're trying to pin.  Note that I said "friend" and not  "spouse,"  because that person is likely to say something silly like "what you really need to do is. . ."  after you have done hard work and have everything the way you want it.  That never turns out well, does it?

Flower picture to add a little color!

Anyway, another step forward!  I put together the new sewing table today, so let's hope that I've used the machine by Friday.  Starting to get itchy without it, even though the work we've been doing is exhausting.  Hope you're all having a good, non-itchy week with lots of stitching!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday and Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Leaves of fabric

Hi everyone!  How was your week?  Mine was very, very busy, but now the sewing room is painted.  Yay!  Today I am planning to put up the design wall in there, and maybe, if I am very ambitious, put together the new storage unit.  After that the boxes get emptied!  I probably won't be that ambitious until next weekend, but you have to have goals, right?

You may have noticed that it is no longer summer; it has actually become autumn.  You may have missed this because the temperatures are still in the 80s and 90s, but really--it's fall.  It happens that I love the fall, maybe because my birthday is the first day of autumn.  Really!  So today I wanted to show off some great fall-themed fabric I recently got for a special project coming up at the end of October: 

Don't those look yummy?  Don't know why this looks like night time, because it wasn't, but those fabrics shine anyway.  These are from the Into the Woods line from Paint Brush Studios, which is a sponsor of this special project.

The camera doesn't really capture how pretty these fabrics are.  The leaf print on top has very rich colors and I wish I had gotten more of it.  The others are also really rich and remind me a lot of the colors we'll soon be seeing on the leaves if it ever cools down.

These are great fabrics, but for my project I also added in a few of the Paint Brush solids, just to add a little dash of spice:

This is the print I'm going to use the most of, along with the solids.  Two golds and a purple!  Purple adds so much to fall prints and quilts, although many lines of fall fabric leave out purple.  Most leaves don't turn purple, but check out how the purple mums enhance the yellow and maroon ones:

Okay, the maroon ones aren't quite open yet, but don't the purple, yellow, and green look nice together?  These are on my new deck and are making me insanely happy.  I have flowers again!

So that's the sneak peek at an upcoming project!  Look for the completion of this coming up the week of October 24th. There are some other people involved too, and I've heard a rumor that there *may* be some giveaways. Everybody loves those, right? 

Hope you're all getting in some fun stitching and getting to pet some pretty fabric.  If we all make things from fall prints, will the weather get the hint?

Sharing at Sunday Stash with Molli Sparkles.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Hey, guess what?  We moved!  We've had a few hiccups (getting my name wrong on every single closing document) and a few big surprises (not a single appliance worked, leaving us with 40 gallons of water on the floor at one point), but altogether we are really happy to be here!

I haven't even come close to finishing unpacking, but there are a few things to show you.  First, the view from the new place:

I love it!  There will be a lot of leaves to rake, but there are also a lot of really cool backgrounds for quilty pictures.  Here's the other side of the house:

Sadly, the inside is not as great right now!  This room will be my sewing room very soon:

I'm planning to paint it this weekend and then there is some furniture to move in.  I'm thinking of painting it a pale yellow.  Or maybe green.  And yesterday I went and got some big construction foam panels for a design wall, which has me really, really excited.

So where is the fabric now?  Well:

If you said "garage" you were correct!  It's not as bad as it looks and there is a lot already upstairs.  I even started opening some boxes:


Seriously, I could weep.  Can't wait to get this on the shelves!  I also found some notions I haven't see in a long time, some specialty rulers, a bunch of batting, and a box of books. 

Just so you don't think I'm slacking off, there has been some hand sewing happening:

More to come on this one!

Don't know if anyone was interested in this status report, but I feel good being back online.  Hope you're all feeling just as good, and that everyone has spelled your name correctly, and that all of your appliances work.  We're going tonight to buy some new ones, which I'm sure will not be as much fun as it sounds!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Framed in

Hi everyone!  I hope your week is going well!  As you read this, we are actually moving at long last.  It's amazing, but a lot of work.

While my sewing room is disassembled, I thought I'd share some beauty shots of the Framed quilt, which is now all quilted and finished:

It turned out so great!  Hard to get a picture of the whole thing because it's so big! (About 87 by 103.) For those who don't know, Framed was one of my projects for last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  It was quilted by Alycia, who did an amazing job. (Email her and maybe she'll quilt one for you too!)  So much great texture on this one. 

I used this batting in the summer weight, which is so soft and turned out really well.  (I bought this when we were in Maine, so I don't know how easy it is to get anywhere else.)  I think the thinner batting kept the quilt from getting too heavy.

This quilt has a scrappy binding, which I almost never do, but should do more often.  You know how something always gets broken when you move?  Well:

Yep, I broke the jar where I keep the leftover bits of binding.  Nothing to do but use them, right?  They're already cut and just need to be seamed together, so why not?  I'm sad to tell you that I had enough binding pieces here for at least 3 quilts.

I love how this binding came out!  I don't usually do the "rolled quilt" picture, but this shows off the binding really nicely.  Yep, there were some short pieces in there, but I like them!  And it used them up, so it's a win all around.

Framed is destined for the bed in the guest room, since it will fit and will be nice to sleep under.  I confess that I spent a little time snuggled under it and can certify it as extra cozy.

As I said, the moving truck is coming!  Keep your fingers crossed for us, and I'll see you soon from the new sewing room!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finish it Up Friday, and Finished or Not Friday.   (If we have Internet by then--who can tell?)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's a Halloween party!

Hi everyone!  I'm coming to you today from somewhere in the middle of cardboardland, from deep within my well of boxes.  Who knew we had this much stuff?  Where did it all come from?  Who knows?

So, it's 96 degrees right now (totally not kidding!), but sooner or later fall will get here, with all of the crunchy leaves, cooler temperatures, and fun holidays.  One great thing about this fall will be this-- my friend Bernie at Needle and Foot is having a Handmade Halloween party at her blog next month!  Her first post about it is HERE.

Isn't Halloween one of everyone's favorite holidays?  When our kids were small, I used to make them costumes for Halloween.  Our older daughter was always a challenge because she had such outlandish, amazing, creative costume ideas.  One year she was a self-portrait, another she was a traffic light, and another one she was an much more authentic, non-Disney Pocahontas.  Our other kids were also really creative.  I know I have pictures from those times, so I'm planning to find those photos and create a post about them.  Maybe it will give your kids some good ideas!

I've also made a few quilty Halloween things, though I have to say that I usually have other projects going on during that time.  I'm looking forward to getting this one out of storage:


I've been wanting to make an orange quilt, definitely with some white but maybe also with some navy (or another blue?), so I'm hoping to get some good quilty inspiration.  Regardless, it will be fun to see all that Halloween stuff in one place.  So looking forward to it!

I forgot to say one of the really important parts--I understand there are some really cool prizes from the sponsors!  I'll let Bernie be the one to spill the beans, but they are terrific! So, get your Halloween stuff together and come on along and join the party!  I promise it will be fun.  And I might even have some things unpacked by then.  Either way, I'll see you at the party!  You know all the cool kids will be there, so come on along!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Intricate Stitches--Red

Welcome back to the Intricate Stitches BOM quilt!  It's time for a red block at last, which will certainly give the quilt a shot of nice, warm color.  This is our eleventh block, can you believe it?  At this rate, we'll be done in no time.

Here is this month's block:

This block is called Arrow Crown, from a book by Thelma Heath from 1940.  This is #1164 in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia.  Like all of our blocks, it looks complicated, but is made up of really common units that come together in a nice pattern at the end.

Let's make this block!


You will need two main colors plus a background and an accent color.  I used a deep red and gold, plus a shot of yellow-green for an accent.  I almost went with orange, but the green gave it a nice zing, don't you think?

From the red, cut:

     1 4-3/4 inch square*
     3 4-1/4 inch squares
     4 2 inch squares

From the gold:

     2 4-3/4 inch squares*
     1 3-1/2 inch square
     4 2 inch squares

From the white:

      1 4-3/4 inch square
      2 4-1/4 inch squares*
      4 2-3/8 inch squares
      4 2 inch squares

From the yellow-green:

      8 2 inch squares

*These are for making half-square triangles, so you can oversize these if you need to.

Done with cutting--let's go sew this block!


The first step is to make the half-square triangles.  Since we need 8 of each of the colors, let's use the "Magic 8" method, okay?  It's fast and easy!  Use this tutorial and the red, gold, and white 4-3/4 inch squares to make 8 gold/ white, and 8 red/gold hsts.

If you normally oversize your hsts and cut them down to the right size, you can use 5 inch squares and have plenty of room for trimming.  In no time at all we'll have a couple of nice, colorful piles of hsts. These should be 2 inches to finish at 1-1/2 inches in the block.  Here's a tip--if you press the squares after you stitch them together, it's easier to get accurate cuts between the stitching lines.

Is anyone else thinking "Gryffindor"?

Done with those! On to the flying geese--

Take one of the 4-1/4 inch red squares and the 4 2-3/8 inch white squares and make 4 flying geese using the "heart method," found HERE.  These should each measure 2 by 3-1/2 to finish at 1-1/2 by 3 in the block.

On a side note, I've never oversized these to make larger geese to cut down, but if you have, just be sure the final geese measure 2 by 3-1/2 so they'll be the right size in the block.

One more unit to make!  On to the quarter-square triangles--

Take the remaining red and white 4-1/4 inch squares and cut all of them from corner to corner twice to make 4 triangles:

Position the triangles like this and stitch them all together in red and white pairs:

Press the seams towards the red. Stitch the pairs into 4 quarter square triangles that measure 3-1/2 inches to finish at 3 inches in the block.

Yes, there are other ways to make quarter square triangles, but I think this is the fastest way and it goes pretty quickly.  It's also really accurate because you only have to cut and stitch once.  Try it--it's fun!

That's it for the units, now we'll move on to putting them together!


First, take the quarter square triangles and the flying geese and stitch them together as shown:

These are the side pieces.  Make 4 of these.

Next, gather all of the hsts and the squares that you cut at the beginning.

Set aside the gold 3-1/2 inch square for the final assembly.  To make the corner pieces, lay out the squares and triangles as shown to make 4 blocks.  Notice that there are two different layouts and that they are mirror images of each other.  Make 2 of each, paying extra attention to the positions of the hsts.  The golds "kiss" in the center like fun little butterflies.

That's it!  For the final assembly, lay out the corners, side pieces, and the center yellow square as shown:

Stitch the units into rows and then join the rows into the final block.  Press and then stand back and admire your beautiful block!

As noted above, this is block number 11!  Just as a reminder, there is one more block for the sides of the quilt, and then in November will be the center medallion block for my quilt.  If you don't want to make the center medallion, you are only 1 block away from a finished quilt! And if anyone has any great ideas for a medallion block, I'd love some suggestions!

Have fun making this beautiful block and come back on October 4 for the 12th Intricate Stitches block!

Sharing at Linky Tuesday, Let's Bee Social, and soscrappy for RSC16.