Saturday, October 31, 2015

October finishes

   I can't believe the month has flown by.

 Small finishes for the month.  I have enjoyed using this hanging hoop pin cushion on the design wall.  It was from a Friday Finds
  I need to remember to look for more hoops!

 Plume practice piece was turned into a small candle mat.  The background is strips of leftover neutrals that are always useful.  I was testing the layout and arrangement of the different size plumes before using them for a border on the quilt.

   Plume Crazy was the quilt finish for the month.  Originally begun as a scrap project for the Let's Book It challenge.  Small bricks of scraps were sewn in vertical rows.....a different setting for me.  It was looking a little plain as I got the center to the size I wanted.  And no exciting border fabric jumped out of the stash closet.
  Then I heard about an impending surgery a friend was facing.....and heavenly inspiration came in the shape of lots of plumes.

  Thanks to some loyal readers and their excellent advice, the plumes added the perfect finish to the border.  Not too much, just a colorful delight.
  My friend is healing wrapped in the plumes awaiting the results as to further  treatment.   I told her each plume was a prayer for her healing.

   I ended the day/month flat  on my back side on the sidewalk yesterday.  Yep, I fell.    We stopped for lunch and were walking into the deli.  One second I am facing forward and the next I have the sensation of flying and falling.....and ended up on the sidewalk facing the opposite direction with my head cushioned on my purse!    I am fine....nothing broken, no bruises, no pain....only a very minor scrap on my palm.

  There was a water meter cover in the sidewalk that had sunk down about an inch.  I thought I stepped over it.....but apparently my heel was not on solid ground.   I have replayed it in my head and have no idea how I twisted around and flipped over, and ended up with my purse under my head.   I think the purse actually saved me from a major disaster.   And I thank my guardian angels for gently guiding my fall.

  Or was it a reminder to "fall back"......Sir Old Man says I will have an extra hour to sew  I think I am just getting back the hour stolen from me last spring.  Now I will spend the next week just getting my body time clock reset.  I need more chocolate!  
Happy stitching.

Friday, October 30, 2015


   Just to tempt your taste buds, I thought I would switch things up a bit.  Quilters have to eat, too.

The Amazing Amish Cinnamon Bread Alternative.  No kneading, you just mix it up and bake it!:  
Amish Cinnamon Bread from Redfly....recipe here.   I have made this one several times and it is good!  I cut the recipe in half when I am in a hurry/ or short on ingredients.    Otherwise, the second loaf freezes well once cooled.  

Mennonite Girls Can Cook:
From Mennonite Girls Can Cook
  I love the recipes I find at Mennonite Girls Can is one for a stuffed pork loin.  I plan on trying this soon---maybe without the sauce, as I picked up a pork loin on sale this week.
Be sure to check out their recipe index while many things.   If you make cinnamon buns, they have an excellent recipe.  So good!

I mentioned I made apple bread last week and the house smelled wonderful.  I forgot to take photos before putting/ hiding them in the freezer.  Sir Old Man can devour a whole loaf in a day!   But I thought I would share the recipe.  Be forewarned, it takes a while to put together and an hour or so to bake (depending on the size pan you use).    The original recipe I found is from 1982 Southern Living cookbook.....Fresh Apples Loaf----we just call it Apple Bread!

4 cups peeled, grated apples
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
  •  Peel apples.......I like Red Rome apples.  Once peeled, I give them a dunk in a  lemon  and water bath----about 4 C water with 2-3 tablespoons of lemon  juice until ready to grate.  It keeps them from turning brown.
  • Grate the apples.   I use a large food processor to speed up the process and save  my fingers. 
  • Place grated apples, raisins, and sugar in large bowl.  Stir and allow to sit about an hour for the juices to run.
3 C of all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sift all dry ingredients together.
2 eggs
1 cup butter.....2 sticks, melted
2 teaspoon vanilla
  •   Once the juices have run from the grated apples, add the dry ingredients.  Mix well.  
  • Add vanilla, butter and eggs.  Mix well.
Grease 2 loaf pans----9'' by 5''.   Spoon the batter into the pan and bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  
If I make smaller size loaves, I  check to see if done at 45 minutes for the mini loaf pans, and at 1 hour for the mid-size loaf pan.   I use a long wooden skewer to check to see if this recipe is dense and moist.  I like Red Rome apples, and I use a food processor for the grating to speed up the process.

As always, please visit the sites for pinning.

   It's errand day and my list is calling.  I added "candy" to the list, just in case a couple of costumed goblins show up.   If not, the resident mischief maker will have some sweets to snack on.  She loves candy corn  :)
Happy stitching.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Let's Book It.....still working on it

   End of the month means an update on the current Let's Book It project.  Mine is a Birds in the Air project done in blues, greens, and purple scraps.  I added a few more small block units to what was on the design wall.

  These are small units....only 4'' when finished.  I have more of the larger HST units, and need about 10 more smaller ones  to get a small throw size.  So this one will continue for another month.  I haven't played with the layout much to get a balance.....that will come eventually.

The Let's Book It project  at Vrooman's Quilts has been a big motivation  for the last two years.  I was encouraged to dig out some books and printed patterns.  All I had to do was start them......and of course once started I could carry on to the finish.  It was great to get a few designs scratched off the "I want to do this one" list.  

   Some projects followed the pattern exactly, and others were adapted to smaller finishes or changed up a bit.   I pulled together a few of my favorite ones from the last 2 years in this collage.  
  Plume Crazy got the border added to a simple brick scrap quilt.
  Charming Bricks became a table topper as well as a wall hanging.
  Tripping thru the Flowers was my version of the scrappy trips pattern ala Bonnie Hunter.
   Where My Feet May Fall is the English Garden pattern from an old publication.  It's a twisted log cabin block with blended floral border.
   A Nickel Saved is a slashed charm square pattern.
   Catching the Light is a bargello  wall hanging done in floral fabrics.

I might not have ever started a couple of these without the nudge from the Let's Book It a huge, big thank you to Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts for giving me a reason to start.
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

From the workshop

     Remember the bed?
   Unfinished wood laid out awaiting the finishing.  Then the problems with the finishing during the summer months, and Sir Old Man had to sand it all down again.

We have finish on all the comes the assembly!

I only wish you could run your hand over this wood.  It feels like satin.....and smooth as glass.

   This photo is truer to the warm rich color of the wood now.

  Each slat in the head board and foot board has to be fitted into position.  They will be free floating---not glued down---to allow for expansion due to humidity.  Sir Old Man will be gently tamping them into their appointed spots today.  I tried fitting a couple of them.....not exactly easy as you would think.  Things must be aligned just right for each one to slip into place.

   There are top pieces that will be added to each section.  Once they are added, we are looking at the home stretch.  Only the side rails remain to be have one more sanding!

  Can you tell I am excited?  Now, if I can remember where I stored the Buzz Saw quilt for this new

Now off to make saw dust/scraps!
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Orange Peel ----some details

 I am working one the Orange Peel blocks in an off and on  tempo.  The steps get tedious, so I am just working a few at a time.   Here are 4 I completed.....all light value.  Along the way in this process, I realized I was doing a couple of things that I had not mentioned in my previous post.

  Thus for the record, here are some details.

  • Trace pattern on to the fusible interfacing onto the non-bumpy side.  
  • My fabric is cut into hunks....not cut out by pattern.  The interfacing is placed bumpy side down onto the right side of the fabric. 
  • Stitch completely around the drawn pattern.  Use a very tiney stitch length....I am using a 1.8 length.
  • Trim away the excess.  I am leaving about 1/4 seam allowance on the sides/curves.  At the point I am trimming very close....1/8'' probably.  
  • Cut slit in the interfacing for turning.  Carefully turn right side out.
  • Smooth the side curves with finger or  "the purple thing" tool---my choice.  Gently poke out the ends with the tip of the tool.  I found that if I carefully kept the purple tool  against the fabric (not the interfacing) I could nudge it out better.  Note here:  You might have to use a pin at the point to get it pulled out.
  • Turn the peel over and finger press....or use the wood clapper to flatten!
  • Fuse peel to background and stitch in place.

  I did a finger press to establish the diagonal line on the background fabric ---4 1/2" squares--- before fusing the peel in place.   I am using a buttonhole stitch with a deeper bite/wider width and a shorter stitch length than the factory settings.  My width is 2.5 and length is 3.5.  Slow sewing, especially at the tips!

Sir Old Man has been in the workshop for a whole week.....and I have been summoned for a preview.  It's windy and raining and to grab a jacket and  Got to see what is happening there.  Then I will get the soup on for dinner tonight.   And I will add a couple of slices of bacon for flavor, no matter what the world powers think!   :)  Happy stitching. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The other project

 Birds in the Air units of triangles are beginning to stack up.   They are triangle units for that other project I am working on...since June/July.  Here's the post where I began.  I haven't been working on them steadily.....just when I want to switch up  my stitching.
Sew some triangles, square up, press, and then assemble smaller units.

  This morning I noticed a few had taken wing and flown up to the design wall.   Lol......very random nesting layout.  Looks like I need to sew up some more smaller units.  So I won't make any judgement calls just yet.

  I am using purples, and greens, and blues....just to see how it goes. I needed to free up some space in the small piece bins.  Anything in that color range that was large enough got chopped into 5'' and 3'' squares for the units.
Otherwise, I was very lazy today.....I am blaming the weather change on that.  Not to mention the major event that occurs next weekend.  You know the one that happens twice a year and throws my mind for a loop.....spring forward, or fall back.   Maybe I will don a bear costume and sleep 6 months.  Or else I will hibernate in the sewing room.  Come to think of it, that sounds like a great idea.  
  Happy stitching.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday finds October

GO! Strippy Catch-All Basket (PQ10430)
From Accuquilt
    Need a catchall basket?  This cute pattern is from Accuquilt.  Here's the link to the free pattern.   Of course, they give the instructions for using the cutter to make the fabric strips......but we have plenty of leftovers to sew together.  Right?  This version gives 2 sizes and a little different way to put them together.  I am debating on making a few to hold a loaf and bread and mug rug for Christmas gifts.   Or someone cold give me one stuffed to the brim with fabric.....I would not mind  :)

EQStitch Sunday Stitch #6 | The Electric Quilt Blog:
From EQ Stitch

  Guess you recognize those plumes?  From EQ Stitch blog comes a lesson on drawing your own plumes.   So they shared an idea on how to use them to create a Christmas tree which can be used for applique along with a tutorial.  This would be cute on a table runner, tote bag,  or apron. 

.owl applique:

   An owl for applique.....just in time for a seasonal banner maybe.   I won't get to it this year....maybe next :)
Here's the link to my saved image.......I can't remember where I found it.   If it is yours....please claim it and I will update post.  You will need to save it to your computer and then print for use.

As always, please visit the original source if you can for pinning.

  I am elbow deep in apples.  That means it is time to make apple bread and stock up the freezer.  I am making a double batch of loaves so I can have enough for gift giving.  The house smells so good.  Maybe I can squeeze in a little sewing before I collapse.   Happy stitching.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Testing a design pattern

   It's no secret that I prefer simple patterns that allow the fabric to do the heavy work.  When I am bored or need some mindless sewing, I pull together a rail fence quilt or even a simple 4 patch. This time I thought I would begin one I have not done.....ever.   I started collecting ideas and tutorials for an orange peel quilt......often called a pumpkin seed quilt.   And there are a lot of them out there.  Big, small, and in-between.....pick your size.

I decided to do a test version and be sure I liked the size and the technique I chose.
  Size....this block is made of 4 units each 4" square.  The appliqued orange peel is just under 2" wide.

  Technique......I did not want to do Heat and Bond fusible on this one because of the stiffness of the fusible.  So I tried the applique method using fusible interfacing.  More on that later.

  What I determined:   While I like the technique---I have used it before---I did not like it for this size of applique.    This size of orange peel is a little tedious to work with for me and my stiff fingers.  So for a quilt of many pieces, I was going to try it a little bigger one.

The stitching was also tested.  I picked the buttonhole stitch on my Janome and played with the width and length of the stitch to find one that took a large enough bite of the applique without being too big.  I shortened the length some also so it was easy to work around the ends.

I went searching for a larger pattern for the orange peel.....and chose the middle one from   Sewcanshe.     Nice and fat ones....easier on my fingers, too.  The block size only went up 1/2'' to 4 1/2''.     I have been cutting fabric over a few days to get a jump on these.

There is also a good tutorial on using the  fusible interfacing technique there.  Mine in a condensed version......draw pattern for stitching onto the interfacing smooth side.
Place "bumpy" side of interfacing face down onto the right side of fabric.  Stitch.
Slit the interfacing enough on the back to turn right side out.    Finger press and work out the tips before pressing onto the background fabric.  Fuse to fabric and sew.

I only need to make about 160 of  Since I have at least that many floral fabrics in my stash, it won't be a problem.  Then I can have a design wall party and see what happens then!
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It was a knot

  When I was quilting the Plume Crazy quilt last week, I hit a section where the quilting went haywire.  But it seemed to improve with cleaning and de-fuzzing everything.  So yesterday, I went to finish up a small project----my test sample of the plumes.  I turned it into a table mat.

  I began to outline the plumes and move on to some McTavishing style texture.   Almost immediately, I hit an area and the stitches went bad again.  I thought it was because I hit a seam or such.  Anyway, I cleaned the bobbin and went to rethread the top.  I made sure to "floss" the thread in the tension disk---that is the term for making sure the thread is seated between the tension disks on top.

  I needed more thread length to reach the needle and used my thumb and forefinger to open the tension disk to pull the thread through.  And out popped a knot of thread!  It was not huge.  It was a small knot of thread with about 1/4'' tail.  Now where did that come from?  I should have grabbed the camera, but I was so surprised to find that extra bit in the tension disk!  That bit of knotted thread caused those poor stitches last week.

  So lesson learned....blow out the upper tension disk on those sit down machines for free motion quilting.   I use Aurifil thread, and never thought to find a pesky knot included!

By the way, my friend loved the quilt, and almost started some teary stuff.  I threatened to take the quilt back if she did!  So extra hugs all around and we were both smiling.

  The design wall is clear....time to move on.   Here's the next test block....I will share my tests, and changes next time.

Happy stitching.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Plume crazy!

A simple setting of scrap pieces got a little dressing with a lot of plume shapes and turned in to Plume Crazy!  

A few weeks ago I shared the progress on this leader/ender project as it became a Let's Book It     I knew this needed a border but was quite undecided as to what to do.  So I added a darker frame to anchor the center and ended with a very wide off white border.  It was almost boring at this point.

That is when I added a few plumes to the border and  asked "Is this working"  in this post.    

I received  many comments and ideas, which were greatly appreciated.  Just having another/many sets of eyes on the design pulled it together.

  For the quilting, I used a large meander thru the center....on Dana's  of Stormy Days  suggestion.    The plumes were outlined and some stacked teardrops added to the border before I got to some feathers.

Binding.....I followed the instructions and tutorial from Missouri Star to make a scrappy flange/faux piped binding.    It worked great....I only had a problem in one corner.  It just gave me fits for some reason, but I finally made it behave properly.  The flange is very narrow, but just enough to stitch down on the front of the quilt and give a piped look to the edge.

  The plume shapes.....each one was fused, and stitched down with a zig-zag stitch.  Over 100 of these things....I was plume crazy for sure.  But I love the whimsical effect that they made along the border.

  They may have made me crazy, but I have a feeling I will use this idea again!

And I am glad I got good input from Jasmine at Quilt Kisses and Janet  at Rogue Quilter about the layout.  Thanks!  The asymmetrical  layout was just what I wanted.  Placing plume vines in the opposite corners was much better than all the way around.  That would have been too much.

  Note the "new bench".....Sir Old Man worked his magic on a broken down and worn out park bench that was in pieces. New paint for the ends and supports brought it back to life.  He used cypress for the seat slats with an oil stain.  Each slat had to be "shaved and shaped" for its position.  A beautiful work of restoration, wouldn't you say?

  Plume Crazy just needs a quick wash and fluff before being given to a friend who is facing surgery.  She made sure we were fed when I broke my shoulder, and I want her wrapped in comfort  for the next few months.

   I felt the deadline to get this one finished, but I am almost sorry to see it end.  The creative design  process was motivating and gave me a boost.  Taking the basic pattern and adding elements I love was very satisfying.  It lifted me up even if I went a little crazy with those plumes.  Taking a chance made all the difference in this one for me.

Time for some slicing and dicing....cutting up fabric that is.  A new project or two taking shape because there are more people to cover.  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Been quilting

    I spent a lot of time with Hot Legs over the weekend.  Quilting away on some plumes and border.  I have thread tails to hide.   I am using the "looper" method for this.....see the video on youtube here.   

   I did have one bad episode with tension.....luckily I was paying attention to the sound of the machine and stopped with only about 6 '' of loopy/messy  threads on the back to rip out.   As it happens, I had watched a webinar a few days before on the T word....Tension....from Handi-Quilter.  It is archived here, also on youtube.   It was a good refresher and glad I had seen it.  The problem was the top thread, which had jumped out of the tension disk.  And easy fix, and something that will happen at some point when you do free motion quilting.

  Now I am on to the binding.  I  am attempting to do the flange binding with this pile of scraps.  Crossing my fingers that I got the directions right and that this one will work.

But first thing today is to make lasagna....the freezer is empty.  Then I probably need to spend a couple days of cutting strips and squares for things I am planning.

  And just wondering if anyone has a GO Baby, etc. they want to sell......I am contemplating getting one.   That's what I get for thinking/saying never!  And of course, I don't have room for it.  But that doesn't usually stop us, does it?
Happy stitching.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Finds

  Before I share some finds, here is a peek at where I am with the plumes.   I need to add and fill in a bit on the bottom corner.  The bottom side needs some darker ones added and I think it needs just a little more height.  The upper corner is just about right.  Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions......each one helped my direction on this.  I will be quite busy stitching these down, as I got a little plume crazy.  I have a friend who is facing a major health crisis and I think she will need some comfort.

For your weekend fun, here are a few finds.

Another label idea was shared with me from Sylvia..  This is from Sewcanshe blog.  A folded corner label  plus an additional corner label with extra info equals a quick way to hang up with a dowel.  This is especially great for wall hangings.

VROOMANS QUILTS: House Block Tutorial:

  I have been waiting for this tutorial!  From Vrooman's Quilts, Sharon shares her house block in tutorial form.   She has made them in all colorways, and each one is so cute.  A couple of these and those trees from last week would be a great banner.


  I love this pineapple block.  I found this at Havelssewing and it is design by Beth Novak.      Four of these blocks make a wall hanging....perfect for the season.  An excellent tutorial for making the block.

Crazy Old Ladies Quilts: Orange You Glad- a tutorial:

   I started a new board just for Orange peel/pumpkin seed quilts.  I am collecting ideas.....and that's enough of a hint.

From Crazy Old Ladies blog.  The quilt is great and so is the tutorial to make the "peels" using fusible interfacing .    I have used this technique before and it works great....especially for larger applique pieces like these.

As always, please visit the links for details and for pinning.
I will be cutting plumes, and stitching away, enjoy your weekend and the sun!
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Is this working?

   I added the two rounds for the border on this vertical strip quilt.  The first one stops the design and the second makes it float.....but seems so boring.  Or it could be that I have just made too many this way.
   So my thought was to add some  applique in the final border.  As I had extra small pieces left over, I applied fusible to them.  I cut different sizes of the plume shape.

  I began to pin them in the lower corner to create a vine type shape.  I cut a few more and moved them all around.

  I had to fold up the lower part of the top to get to the corner without sitting on the floor......that's why you see the fold.
  Anyway, here's what I have pinned on so far.  My this working?  I like that it softens the vertical pattern and is unexpected.   The mixed plumes can move the color and the eye out to the edge instead of staying focused on the center/vertical lines.

 My thought at this point is to create sprays in the four corners leaving some open space on each side.  I am not sure why I am doubting myself on this one.   Maybe I just need some more time in the sun.....the rain has finally stopped.  I think I will just keep playing.
Happy stitching.  

Last doll quilts

Even though the doll quilt project has been placed on hold for now, 2 more boxes of doll quilts came last week.  Mrs. Claus is ageless and tireless.

   A large group came from Mrs. Claus in California.
 Mrs. Claus is Jan and she apparently has a very willing helper....her granddaughter.  Together they made 10 doll quilts, and her granddaughter experimented with machine quilting to finish these up.

  Lots of wonderful color.....and I think the quilting is great!   She will be ready to tackle new patterns soon.

Cute prints for these two.

  More cute prints and a clever idea.  The little quilt on the left that appears to be a striped fabric has vertical rows of  eyelet sewn over the strips.  Very clever and so cute.

Thank you, Mrs. Claus.

   The next duo is from the Southwest.  Mrs. Claus from New Mexico is/are Ellen and Kathy.
  Three little quilts made from "crumbs"......I bet they laughed and giggled their way through a sewing session when making them.

  Isn't this one adorable?  Their note said they were sending southwestern love and it is expressed so well in this little doll of a doll quilt.  It just makes me smile and will surely be enjoyed by a little girl soon.

  The last two are  a pair of cool blue ones with bright yellow flowers appliqued on.
  A wonderful collection from the Southwest.  Thank you, Mrs. Claus, Ellen and Kathy.

    I have so enjoyed showing all the great creations from the Mrs. Claus participants.  I hope you gained some inspiration  along the way.   The woodworkers have made no final decision and are still seeking a volunteer to lead the program for the next year.   I am asking that you hold off making or sending any more quilts at this time, as we are covered for this year and have some for next year.  Instead, please check around your local community for a need and share your love in fabric with them.  That way, Mrs. Claus can keep on stitching.   Big hugs to all....thank you.  
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