Sunday, January 31, 2010

Slowly Returning Mojo

As I was deciding what to work on today, Jack was busy head butting the snowman pillow. He does this to me at night and often sleeps with his head like that up against mine!
Jack and the man 02
I decided to finish cutting the blocks for the redwork for Rabbits Prefer Embroidery, so I did. Then I traced all the embroidery for the 8 blocks I had not traced yet. I had to stop when it was time to go to the grocery store. DH and DD1 were working down the basement doing some MUCH needed cleaning. It is more than a one day job. In fact it is so bad I will NOT take any pictures for the blog until it is cleaned up! No, I mean it!! Don't even ask!!

Finally got back home and put all the food away. Now what to work on? Well, The Replacements was on and I love that movie, so I sat down and watched the end of it. Groan, now I really did need to get moving. I had several UFO choices (mild understatement) which one? Which one? The "water" quilt won out. I made it once before and cut another one at the same time. I loved how it turned out and wanted to do another one someday either for DD2 or for me!! The pattern is from this book by Evelyn Sloppy.
40 Fabulous Quilts
I will give you a peek at the beginning.
Water Quilt beginning
You can see all the fabrics and the photo of the quilt as it appears in her book. She used red, black and cream. I will use blues, greens and white. I know you are dying to see what the first one looked like, right? I changed the border a little bit but here it is.
Kate's quilt
This was a graduation quilt for one of DD2's friends (that she is no longer in touch with, *sigh*). What do you think? Sweet, right?? I really do love this quilt and all the water types of fabrics that I used. I may even have enough to make it larger so it will fit my queen size bed, who knows?

I hope you all had an enjoyable, productive weekend too. Yeah, my Mojo seems to be slowly returning!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sunny Saturday

I just thought I would let you in on the latest update with the gym etc. I went yesterday and worked out for my 40 minutes then my team leader was going to show me how to do the weight machines. Not too bad, right? We went around to each machine and she showed me the correct way to use the machine and loads of other useful information. I learned that my lower body is so much stronger than my upper body (well, duh, have you seen my thighs??, LOL) Also that on machines that work your muscles in opposite ways (flex vs extend) you should use a similar weight or you can get lopsided. We wouldn't want that, I have enough trouble already!! So after another hour, I got to go home. I ate dinner and collapsed in a heap on the couch. I was so tired I ended up in bed at 9:30. Wait, the BEST part is I was asleep almost instantly! Unfortunately, I couldn't trick the old bod and woke up around 2:30am. I stayed in bed though and dozed until around 8 when I got up. I was so stiff and sore and this morning is weigh in at the gym and then aerobics for an hour followed by and hour abs class, groan! I took some ibuf and hauled my butt to the gym. I won't post my loss until I weigh in at WW on Monday though (I did lose). I sweated my kiester off (oops nope, there it is!) and came home and showered and ate. Now on to quilting right?? RIGHT!!

I actually had quite a productive afternoon. I suspect my Mojo is creeping back slowly! First up, the back for my City Scapes quilt. I decided to piece it as I didn't have the full 5 yards of one fabric that the pattern called for. I used royal Kona on the top and navy Kona on the bottom using the colors from the front to make the pieced strip. I like how it came out. Check that off the list!!
Back of City Scapes

Next I cut all the binding for that one and sewed that together. Awesome!!

Then, PTM and I had exchanged quilts in the gym parking lot. I gave her one from LTW that needed binding and she gave me back the HUGE Dragon Lone Star that I had made for my DD1 for Christmas with all the binding turned and sewn down. She really is a life saver!! My hands thank her!! Unfortunately I can't open it up enough to get a good picture of it today. I will bring it with me to Wed night quilting and open it up and get some great pics then. In the mean time I will show you some up close of the quilting done by LTW. Since the dragons look Chinese I wanted the quilting to have a Chinese feel about it. This shows an outside border.

Dragon quilting

Here you can see the outside border next to the corner of the inside of the Lone Star.
Dragon Quilting corner of LS

LTW quilted Chinese dragons on the actual arms of the star but you can't see them very well because the fabric is so busy. I will try to get some photos of the star and the entire quilt on Wednesday.

I have decided that I am less excited about added labels. I don't like how they break up the back of the quilt so I have decided to avoid this whenever possible and write directly on the back of the quilt. I also am using the pinwheel stamp to mark that the quilt was made by me.
Dragon quilt label

As I was trying to take pictures I had a helper...
Jack helping on Dragon LS
He always has to be where the action is! I had just stepped away for a few seconds to do something and found him laying there. oh cats!!

I can actually cross this off my list and this is my first finish for 2010!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

God Loves Glitter, Who Knew?

I know this is not the best photo, it was difficult to get a good one in the dark, but tonight when I walked out of quilting this beautiful, sparkly, glittery snow was lightly falling all around me. It was just beautiful! It felt like God was dusting my world in glitter! I tried to capture this but it is difficult to do at night but you get the idea, right?

Glitter 03Glitter 02

So you know that my mojo has been flagging right? I had cut this out before Christmas and I sewed it together in 2 nights! It is an easy quilt to make but isn't it striking? I have to make the back and I think I am going to make it plain with a pieced strip to use up some of the Kona cotton I used to make the quilt. The pattern is City Scapes, and I wrote about it before.
City Scapes 02

PTM and I decided to work on Bunny Hill's Rabbits Prefer Embroidery together. I wanted to try the raved about Cosmo floss so we ordered some up and this is the result. (BTW I finished the one on the right tonight). I have the next 2 traced and ready to go. Unlike PTM who has the entire set done and is working on her second set!!! SHEESH! Darned overachievers! About the Cosmo floss...have any of you used it? I don't think I like it any better than DMC. Actually I think it tends to "fuzz" more than DMC does. Not sure it is worth the extra money. Anyone else feel like that?
RPE flower block 1RPE Bunny block 1
I will have to cut the fabric and trace the next few blocks, so I can try to keep up!!

I am going to try to talk my hubby into going to see the Gees Bend quilts on Saturday after the 2 hours of torture work out at the gym. I hope he is up for a drive to Flint. They are on display at the Flint Institute of Art. Have any of you seen them? Is it worth the hour drive?

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate everyone that stops in and I love it when you give me feedback! I am especially thrilled with all the encouragement you are giving me in my weight loss journey, THANKS!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

City Scapes

I finally started to sew yesterday. I had cut out the pattern City Scapes before Christmas when I had no sewing room and it was the most appealing quilt for me to finally work on. I blogged about the pattern and fabric here. I started sewing late yesterday afternoon and finished the top tonight. Once I worked out the color scheme it went together in a snap. I have to trim the bottom edge though and that is not done yet. I am hoping to get some pictures either tomorrow or Wednesday (more likely). It is quite a modern quilt and I just love it! I think it will go in my living room, if it is not big enough for my bed. The other option is to make it bigger, but I kind of like it how it is now.

I just wanted to let you all know that I did go to the gym tonight and I even took a Pilates class. Boy am I sore, but it is good for me to do that kind of stretching. I had to weigh in at WW and I lost 2 more pounds! Slowly it is coming off but soooo slowly!! I sure enjoyed putting in on better than taking it off!! LOL.

That's all for tonight. Have a good sleep and thanks for stopping by!

Help Wanted

I just wanted to ask you all a favor. A very dear friend of mine has a very dear friend of hers that had to leave a very bad situation with just the clothes on her back, her 3 kids and the cat. They have nothing! The mom is a size 2-4 for clothes and 7-7.5 shoes. There are 2 boys age 3 and 7 they are size 3/4 and 7. There is one girl and she is 6 years old and wears a size 6 clothes.

I am going to try to help with whatever I can get donated. They would be so grateful for anything you might be able to send. Money, of course is always welcome. If you can donate something please email me and I will give you my address so you can send what you are able to donate.

I think I will work on getting some pillowcases done and finding quilts for the entire family. I will go and buy pillows for them too.

I appreciate any assistance you can provide.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stuff and Things

How is your weekend going? Mine is not very quilty I have to say. Where oh where has my mojo gone? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

I received an email from a woman doing the My Neighborhood blocks. She is unable to see any of the 6 recent houses (all the green ones). Is anyone else having trouble with that? I can see them fine using 2 different browsers and I called a few friends and made them check but they can all see them too. Weird huh?

Yesterday I did 2 classes at the gym. Body vive, an hour aerobic class that kicked my butt, followed by 45 minutes of AB work. I was exhausted! I am so sore today. My shoulders and the muscles under my arms are killing me! I slept like the dead last night!

Friday I went to the gym with PTM and then we went out to JAF where we were both BAD girls. Although we did get some Kona cotton for half price which was good. My receipt told me I saved more than I spent. Oh whatever, it was a fun day.

While on my Flickr account I found a fantastic, modern cross quilt here. I think it will have to be added to my to do list. I will use some of the Kona Cottons I bought on Friday. I think I will do mine in all solids and use different blues so it will be a little different. Not sure why but that one really appealed to me! If you go to the link let me know what you think of it.

I found out on the internet that Heather Ross will be in Portland teaching a class about designing fabric. Spoonflower had it on their blog. If I lived in that area I would take that class. I guess they have a whole theme about making stuff at the university that weekend. It would be neat to go and take some classes. If anyone living there goes let me know so you can tell me all about it.

I have the house all to myself right now and don't know what to do. I need to do some more laundry, dishes are washing, cats are napping, maybe I need to get out stuff for dinner and then choose a project and start working on it. I vote for that. Maybe I should eat something first.

It is rainy and gloomy here and good napping weather or a movie. I could hear that from my sewing room.

What are you up to today??

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Light House Quilt Number One

I haven't done anything quilty for awhile but LTW has. Do you remember the light house top I pieced for her? Well, I actually did 2 of them. One had a fossil fern background and one I used Kona Snow for. This is the fossil fern one. She is going to give it to her mom for her birthday. She quilted it up so I thought I would share it with you.

Blue lighthouse quilt finished
There are light house squares in the center of the BIG stars.
Lighthouse up closeLighthouse stars

You can see here how she did the border and the open white space. I like the movement in the open part. I don't know if you can tell from this but she used a varigated purple thread and it is so pretty!
Lighthouse borderLighthouse alternate block
She embroidered a name tag for me for this one quilt group I belong to but I had not sewn it to a tag. I did that tonight. Woo Hoo, maybe I am ready to begin some real sewing. My Bernina purred like a kitten. I love her so much! In case you were wondering, I have made it to the gym every day this week so far. It is hard to make yourself go every day though.

Well, need a bite then off to the quilt meeting!! Have a productive evening!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Viva The Revolution!

Congratulations to the newest senator of MA. I wonder if Washington is finally listening? First Virginia, then New Jersey and now a seat that hasn't seen a conservative republican in over 6 decades! I feel like there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you all the good people of MA that voted to end the madness that has overtaken Washington. You sent a loud and clear message to them. Listen to the American people! Use your voices and tell congress we will not roll over and play dead.

Please, God, show us the way to take back our great nation! This is a good beginning.

God Bless you all!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Weigh In

OK, I just got back from working out, meeting with the team leader at the gym and then to the WW meeting. I lost ...4.6pounds!!!!! YEAH me. DD lost 5pounds w/o going to the gym, just goes to show you what a young metabolism will do for ya, eh? I am proud of her too.

Got home and DH had made a turkey breast with some potatoes, so cut up some veggies and cooked them and had a great dinner. Wow, life is good!

Just finishing up the dishes and then watching 24 with DH. I hope you all had a good day too.

And thanks for all the love and support and encouragement!! Keep it comin'!!!!!!!!

Inspiration Anyone?...Anyone??

That's right. I am asking for inspiration. I know I have a list of things to do but those are "things that must be done". You *know* that is not the fun list, right? Oh it begins innocently enough. The things begin as fun things you want to do and then they turn into "things that must be done". UGH!!!

I have my machine out and it is all serviced and ready to go. I have lots of "things that must be done" quilts I could work on. I just have no desire to do any of them right now. I remember feeling like this last year at this time too.

I did a lot of cleaning and laundry this past weekend, that was good. Should have freed up my Sunday for sewing. Nope, found more cleaning and laundry to do along with grocery shop. I decided I had to do a couple of things so here is what I did in the sewing room.

I found this charm pack given to me by one of my CL's that I adore (thanks RAW!!). I cut it into coins for another coin quilt. I cut the white fabric she had given me to go with it into the borders and then decided that it is too white to go well with these coins. I need to cut some snow. Of course, right? I will use the white eventually when I get something to put it with and it will be all cut and ready to use. I even cut the rest of the white into sashing strips for a second one. There was not enough to get 2 backs cut but I did cut one.

For new coin quilt
LTW and I had ordered some Kaffe and Phillip Jacobs fabrics from a place I found them on sale. We each ordered half a yard cuts so I cut them all into FQ and bagged up half for LTW. You guessed it, that was the extent of my "quilting" this weekend. How pathetic!
Kaffe and Jacobs
When I leave work today, I will have DD drop me at the gym and work out. I will meet with my team leader for the first time and that should be interesting. I am on the purple team, along with PTM. Then I will ask DD to come and get me and go to the WW meeting. Then home for the evening. DH is home and hopefully will make the turkey breast I left for him to do! He made some fabulous squash soup last night. I just wish he had made more of it! I ate the rest for lunch today. Very low points!! I am anxious to see if I have lost any weight according to the WW scales.

Is anyone else having difficulty getting motivated to quilt? I have lots of ideas. I am working on some embroidery though and have almost gotten another one finished. Will show it to you when it is complete.

I did list another little thing on my ETSY. A vintage compact. Check it out if you get the chance.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What are you up to today?

Having made a comittment to weight loss including Weight Watchers and the gym I spent 2 hours at the gym this morning. I know right? What's up with that? Well we had to get weighed and measured for a challenge I am doing with my friend PTM. Then I worked out for an hour and then there was an ab class for an hour. It was a good class. Even I could do some of it without feeling like a fool. We used the big ball for some of it. Kinda fun, although I believe this will help my balance too.

I am still trying to figure out how to fit the rest of my life in around this but for now this is the priority. I need to go 20 out of the next 30 days and they are closed on Sundays. So I can't miss too many days! I am on the purple team with PTM. We kind of wanted to be on different teams but it didn't work out like that.

Anyway, laundry and cleaning top the list for today. I would like some sewing time so that maybe I can get going on some thing. I really need to do some designing but that is less appealing right now. My goal is to have installed EQ 6 by the end of the month and begin working on figuring it out. This means less sewing time with going to the gym and all. My "real job" kind of gets in the way. There are just not enough hours in the day right now (if you include sleeping, which I am doing very little of anyway and I am working on that too).

If you are interested I will post how much I am losing. I have 3 scales to go by but will use the WW weigh in as the one that counts, I think anyway. I can let you know the inches lost too, hopefully I will have both weight and inches lost!!

Thank you so much for your encouragement. I need all the good vibes I can get!

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Exposed Seams Pillowcase Tutorial

You all need to know that I went to the gym every day so far. I am excited to weigh in on Monday at WW. After the gym last night PTM and I went back to her house and we did a photo tutorial on how to make a pillowcase with no exposed seams. I took a lot of pictures so here goes and I hope it all makes sense!

The sizes of fabric I am using are for a standard sized pillow. You will use a 36" piece for the body if you are making king size pc. Also VERY IMPORTANT, make certain you back stitch to secure your stitching as you are making these. You wouldn't want your pc to pull apart. We washed and pressed all the fabric before beginning. PTM told me I *had* to do this and for me this was the most tedious part of the whole thing! I NEVER wash my fabric first. Variable shrinkage can cause a real problem with these, so ...just DO IT!

First you will need at least 2 different fabrics (3 if you make the accent). We used 3 and did the accent. You will cut the body of the pc at 27" X WOF (width of fabric). The cuff will be cut
9" X WOF. You can cut your accent piece anything from ~ 1 1/4" - 2" depending how wide you would like your accent to be. We cut ours at 1 1/4" to begin. after you have them cut you will lay them on top of each other (folded in half) to cut off the salvages on all the fabric. You do this at the same time so the widths are all the same! Clever, eh? Pauline (PTM) told me about that! We had already cut ours so I used a different one to show you how we did that.

Take the accent and fold it in half, wrong sides together, just like you do binding and press. Open your cuff and lay your accent piece on top of the right of the cuff. matching raw edges, fold facing you. (If you are not using a accent piece, skip this step!)

1-Layer cut fabrics2-Fold accent lay on Ws of cuff, raw edges matching
Then you will take your body of the PC and line up the raw edge to the cuff/accent piece with the right side down. Next you pin all the layers together across the top.
3-Lay bocy on cuff rst4-Pin all three layers
PTM is big on pinning. It helps everything stay in place.
5-Pin all across top
Now you bring the bottom of the pc up near the top where you just pinned. Not all the way though and then you roll the rest until you are about half way or a little more up the cuff, like in the photo on the right
6-bring up bottom and roll7-Until you see the cuff
Then you bring the raw edge of your cuff up over your roll and match it to the pinned top. You will then make sure all the edges are even and pin them all together. We just moved the pins we had already pinned with from the underneath area and pinned all the layers together.
8-Bring cuff up to pinned edge9-Pin to top(replacing pins)
It should look like this photo.
10-It should look like this
You will then take your sausage to the sewing machine and sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge. We used a walking foot to keep all the layers feeding evenly. This was especially important when I did a flannel one.
11-Sew along pinned edge
This part is kinda fun. You will pull the inside out of the tube. It is like magic, you'll see!

12-Pull to turn out13-Keep pulling
Here you see the front and the back of the cuff area, no raw edges on the front or the back!
14-It should look like this on the front15-And this on the back
Take the pc to your iron and give it a good press from the back at the seam line, turn it over and do the same from the front side and then press the crease into the cuff where it is folded along the edge. We did it this way so there didn't end up being any unwanted creases pressed into the cuff.
16-Press from back17-Press from front
You will need to take your pc and fold it with the wrong sides together (wst), pin and sew a 1/4" seam along the long edge (side) of the pc. I like to begin sewing at the cuff end so I can make sure my cuff seam matches. I would not like it if they didn't match when I was finished!!
18-Fold so wrong sides are together19-Sew QI seam beginning at cuff end
After you are finished sewing this seam you may see some stray threads, use your rotary cutter and ruler to trim them. If you don't you may catch them in the next part and will see them on the finished edge of your pc. If you don't have any, you don't have to trim.
20-Trim any threads off edge21-ATrim all loose threads along edge
You will then fold your pc right sides together (rst) and pin and sew a 1/2" seam down the side you just did the quarter inch seam. Again, I like to begin at the cuff end and sew down. It is kind of bulky (especially when you use flannel ) where the cuff/accent seams meet. You may have to push/pull a little to get over the "hump"of seams. You are basically making a "French seam" and enclosing your quarter inch seam inside of it.
22-Fold rst (enclosing seam)23-Sew half inch seam down the side
This is what your side seam will look like on the wrong side.
24-Seam should look like ths25-No raw exposed edge
You will now do a repeat of this process with the bottom of the pc. Fold the pc WST and sew a 1/4" seam, trim if there are loose threads, turn and press. At this point you will have RST and sew a 1/2" seam over the quarter inch seam you just sewed. Where the side enclosed seam and the where you will now sew meet you get this weird little fold. I tried to show you how this looks in the photo on the right. Just play with it a little bit and make it play nice because you will just be sewing right over it.
27-Turn and put rst28-It will look like this at the sewn corner
In these pics you can see that PTM started sewing right at that place rather than at the other end. She sewed with the folded area on the bottom.
29-Sew half inch seam beginning from corner where seams meet30-Sew half inch seam
Here you can see what it looks like once sewn, from the wrong side.
31-It should look like this
Now comes the TA_DA moment. Are you ready?? Turn your pc right side out...

32-Turn pc right side out
And...TA-DA!!! You have a beautiful new pillowcase you made all by yourself!! Who would want store bought when these are so darned easy!!
34-TA-DA Finished!
I know you want to know this. The accent is loose, not sewn down, see, that's my own hand showing you that!
33-Accent is loose

I hope this has been helpful! (Or at least interesting!!) If you have any questions, please email me and I will do my best to help you. I think you should be able to make these in about 20 minutes, once you make one. There are several places taking pc donations right now too. So make them as gifts, make them to donate, make them for yourself, whatever. I am using up some fabric I bought that I am no longer in love with and will probably donate some and give some to friends.

Please let me know if you make some and if this was a useful tutorial! I have a few photos from PTM's that I will share with you tomorrow. Have fun making pillowcases now!!