Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Still fighting

   Do these hands belong to Rocky?    Ready to fight, maybe.  
    I am wrapped up-- almost 3" thick-- and able to move fingers at least.  I have to keep them elevated as much as possible.  The pain is minor so far, and for that I am very grateful.   No lifting, tugging or pulling for 3 days.
    Can't say it was easy as I had a panic attack when they strapped both arms down, inserted  3 IVs, and put the blood pressure cuff on my leg.   I had a nightmare with my eyes wide open of the horrors from this past summer in the hospital.  The nurse anesthetist  said "Time to sleep" .....and that's all I knew until I woke up in recovery.  

  The doctor said all went well, and that when he snipped the ligament, it snapped back.  Pressure is relieved, and maybe, just maybe......I think there is a bit more sensation in the right hand.
  I thank you all, faithful readers, for the notes of encouragement and prayers and hovering thoughts around me.  Just know how much I appreciate them and how much strength I gain from them.
  I can't do much, barely can I hold a cup of coffee.  But I have permission to try and stitch strips together today.  Still fighting, happy stitching.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Deciding on Geese

   These wild geese were flying every where as I pulled out several fabrics to try as sashing.  There a dark blue, a grayed-black, and a dark tonal green.  I tried a red, but quickly knew I would not be happy with it and put it away.  Of these 3, I liked the dark green best.  The black needs to be darker and truer with out the grayed splotches.  So since we were planning a quick trip to Fletcher, NC, a short stop at Foam and Fabric would solve the black dilemma.

   I did find a beautiful black tonal fabric I will use for the geese.  But I will save  photos of it until I get some geese strips sewn.  Nicki suggested the name of Flight in the Night if I used black.   We will see......
    I also picked up a couple of books at 50% off....I am such a sucker for quilt books.    The Color book is by Becky Goldsmith  of Piece O Cake fame.  Lots of great projects in it to entice me.   I am reading thru it right now and will share a review maybe of wisdom I gleam from it.

   Sir Old Man spotted this one on the flat fold table.  I did not need this, but loved all the sentiments/sayings expressed on it.   So one yard will make a ton of mug rugs and snack size mats for using, giving, or donating.  I love making the small size projects in between the big stuff.

   I will probably be silent for a day or two.....carpel tunnel surgery is tomorrow.  Thank you all for the support.  I will be back.  Happy stitching.  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pantry re-do is done

  My pantry closet was never large, but I was always glad for what space I had to work with after 26 years of no pantry in the old house.  The challenge here was wasted space.  The original 18'' deep shelves needed to be reduced in depth.  Items were easily lost in the back of that cave. 
  First everything was removed.  Wire shelves were cut down to 13''.  Once the closet was painted, the wire shelves and supports were replaced.  


   Cutting back the wire shelves, left a good bit of usable space on the side wall.  Narrow shelves there could hold a lot of small items.

  Sir Old Man designed side shelves and supports that he could fashion from wood .  He used cleats as support for the shelves.

   Just so you know how much work Sir Old Man put into this.....each side shelf had to be measured, cut and fitted for each individual space.   It seems walls are not square anywhere😒.

  A perfectionist he is, and was in agony over the gap in the miter for the un-square corner.  I finally convinced him that pantry police, like quilt police, will not be allowed in for inspection.

     The side shelves are in and working great!  Sir Old Man also added a metal clip to the end of each shelf that  locks into the wire grid shelving.  Believe me....those small shelves are not going anywhere.

    Then my work began, as I was filling the shelves.  I have a feeling that we will be moving and shifting things around for a few days before being finished.

   A quick idea to share.  Sir Old Man brought up an extra unpainted shelf.  Since I wanted nothing sitting or stacked on the floor, he simply placed the shelf on top of the floor molding.

  Now to get it all organized and enjoy the improvement.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Favorites from Let's Book It!

  Saying good bye to major motivating force in my last couple of years of quilting is not easy.  Let's Book It has been fun and liberating to participate in each month.....many thanks to the  scrappiest quilter who devised and lead us each month,  Sharon at Vroomans Quilts.

  So here are my favorites from the monthly event.  It was so difficult to settle on these few projects!

  • The Charming mini and the larger Charming Bricks version just propelled me to look for a project to work on each month.  
  • A bargello I called Catching the Light  came together when I found the border fabric.
  • A table runner, scrappy and lots of plumes used in the border.  This is a  small version of the  full size quilt below.
  • A welcome banner of a scrappy to make, and I love the topknot Dresden plate pieced for the leaves.  
  • Where My Feet May Fall took several months to make, but the border of blended floral fabrics turned out exactly as I wanted.
  • Plume Crazy was gifted to a friend in much need of comfort.  My favorite quilt of 2015.
  • Trippin' Thru the Flowers......I use this as my blog banner.  The pattern is Many Scrappy Trips from Bonnie Hunter.

    The Finale is the Pineapple Blossom top.  I began this in September as my Let's Book It is the post.  I began with a test block, then a set of four, and finally a top with borders.  Thanks to Let's Book It I was motivated to get this together by month's end.   The quilting will wait until the new year until the arm strength returns after the carpel tunnel surgery.  

    Things go on, time marching forward to new motivations.  There are several sew alongs, and monthly challenges of them will probably fit me and become a new motivator.
    I just wanted to give special tribute to this idea that kept me moving  and stitching.  It has been great.  Thanks, Sharon!✂
Happy stitching.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What color am I grateful for?

 I saw  this list of  prompts  for a gratitude journal.  As I read through them one caught my eye.  

    I remember saying that my hospital stay this summer was so devoid of color.   I felt starved from it and took great delight in the blue sky as Sir Old Man finally took me home.   I commented "I forgot how blue the sky can be", and then I cried.  I am grateful for blue....always.  Here are a few of my favorite things in blue.

   This quilt used blocks from a monthly block exchange at guild from many, many years ago.   When I decided to clear out the UFOs, this was the first project I completed.  Simple and serene.   I love the classic look.

   Some of the blue baubles on a winter wall hanging from a few years ago.  All the shades of blue from icy light to dark of night shades created this
 one .   I used decorative stitches on my machine, with blue threads, to create the  bead/chain between the ornament shapes.

   In the garden window in the kitchen are an assortment of a pale  blue vase, a bottle,  a canning jar, and a small pitcher.  I enjoy the light reflection during the day when the sun is shining on them.

Blue is my favorite color and I will always be grateful for it......
And purple runs a close second.

  And on this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful to still be blogging.  I am grateful for all the emails and comments, and notes that were sent this summer and fall  during my health crisis.  Not only did they lift and carry me, but each one meant a great deal to Sir Old Man.
   I am grateful to my therapists that pushed, and prodded me to keep going by their belief in me.  They challenged me to go home and live.  It was a challenge I took to heart.  Today, I can walk, I can sew, and I can be semi-independent.  That is so huge.  Yes, I have much to be grateful for.  ♥💙💙
Did you know Blogger has added symbols/emoji, and etc that we can now use?
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Time for another re-do

Since our Thanksgiving will be quiet, we decided to use the time for a pantry re-do.  OK, it was my idea, and Sir Old Man is fulfilling it.  That is usually how it goes around here anyway.
  Our pantry closet is not large, but enough for us.  The original shelves were just too deep to be really functional.  So Sir Old Man took them down, and has cut the wire grids to 13'' from 18''.

   That means food items were moved to the garage and dining room too.
The photo has the additional wood shelves in the bottom left corner.  Sir Old Man devised shelves that are about 8'' deep that will go along the side of the closet .  They will be cleated and have a metal hook attachment to keep them attached to the wire shelves.

  The end result will be less wasted space, much more usable space, and nothing stacked on the floor!

   The nail holes from the supports have been filled.  And a couple of spills wiped up.  Today will be the painting and prep for the shelves to be installed tomorrow----we hope.

On the design wall......

 Wild Geese.......I have about 90 of these sewn.  They were spilling out of the box, so up on to the design wall they go.   The colors and prints are wild and varied.  Just lots and lots of scraps and gifted fabric.

    If I use this vertical setting,  I think I need  to use some solid gray (maybe) for the setting sashing.  Gray should help unify and settle all the bold colors.   I will play with a couple of other layouts over the next few days.  Suggestions, and thoughts welcomed.

   Giving thanks for a handy/capable/willing husband as he fulfills my wild ideas.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Venture down the Rabbit's Hole

  Have you ventured down the rabbit's hole?  You know the one I mean, don't you?'s a handy tool for inspiration for design ideas, or it can suck up your time and deplete your vision.    I have shared many quilting hints, tips and finds on my Friday Finds posts.  Readers asked how I found's a few things I  have learned/discovered along the way.

  •      I ran across a couple of small wood working projects that I showed Sir Old Man.  He said to save those......instead I had him create a new board for his pins.  I also had him make it private, so only he or I can view.  That will keep those pins from overwhelming my followers view with wood working ideas.  

Pie Lady Quilts Tutorial  Improv birds to piece:    So where is the rabbit hole?   When I click on a photo to pin to a board, it is isolated on my screen.  A pop up window shows up for me to select the board to save the pin to.  So I can save it and view any time later, and go visit the original source to get the details.   This is a recent find.....improv birds from pieladyquilts blog. 

  •  But, you can also find and view other pins that may be related in description or subject,  just by scrolling down the page.  And that is where the rabbit hole begins.  

  Like a detective unraveling clues to the mystery, one pin leads to another and another.  Ideas begin to appear and expand on the monitor.  You save one and find another.  Surprises happen, you find a better idea or unexpected solution.

  • Follow people who like the things you do.  I don't really follow a lot of pinners, but when I see some one that likes much of what I like, I follow the boards on their page that I have an interest in.  If your taste/style change, just unfollow that board. 
  • Their pins will appear on your main feed.  Of course you get some ads....hint, click on the small "x" of the ad and answer you don't like ads/or that they are offensive (the latest buzz word it seems).  Lol....many disappear.

star aqua teal turquoise quilt - love this! Colors & off-centeredness. Would make a cool wall hanging or framed/hooped piece!:  
I have a link button on the side bar or click here to my main page on Pinterest.    Don't be afraid to try Pinterest or to set up your own boards.  Just be smart in how you use it and don't stay down the rabbit hole too long. :)

There you have it....find some pins, search for ideas, and enjoy!

A quick update;  Some of you offered prayers for my friend's daughter who was facing a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.   I got an update email this morning that precious Carlin came thru 9 hours of surgery and over 500 stitches!  She is beginning to walk and regain strength, and will have a follow up with doctors tomorrow.  This amazing young wonder woman will hopefully be home by Thanksgiving.  Thank you for the prayers.
Happy stitching.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Pineapple Blossom top

   We finally had a day of less smoky conditions and I grabbed a couple of shots of the completed top.   It's my version of pineapple blossom pattern from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.   The colors are a bit more vibrant than the photo, but for now you get the idea.   It will rest until I am able to quilt again.

  Today was my final day at PT...bittersweet.  Glad to have conquered the balance box, and have confidence and skills to resume most daily activities, and sad to not see my wonderful therapists twice a week:)   But they are there if I need to return for advance skills---like driving again one day.   Each one is special and have been my constant cheering squad for each skill I conquered.

  So in 10 days, it will be the carpel tunnel surgery and back to FMQ and Hot Legs!  I have had enough doctor's visits and check ups this week.  I need a rest:)
  And  I got the watercolor banner sewn together.  Actually, I think it would look better turned 180 degrees....I will just take another photo to check.  And I am planning a bit of applique for the accent to this.  And to border or not..... still undecided.   Maybe this weekend I will get to it.

   Happy stitching.  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hazy Monday

    I intended to take photos outside this morning before the day got away from me.  But the smoke and haze from the wild fires north of us in NC put a damper on that idea.  We are at a lower elevation, and the mountains have a down slope effect that carries the haze from the fires to us.   The burning wood smell is blanketing everything.   Counties and towns are being evacuated, and arson is suspected.  We are all desperate for rain....a good soaking rain would be so welcome.

  So I snapped a photo inside......
 Pineapple Blossoms got sewn into rows over the weekend.  I added 2 plain borders to bring the size up to 45'' by 64''.   I am feeling the borders are too plain, but not sure if applique will distract from the center.    I will hang it up on a hanger for now----that will give me time to think about it and search out some ideas.

   A few string blocks, some applique and this table topper came together too.  The applique will get stitched down, and maybe some easy stipple quilting.

   For my finale......some flying geese units were sewn together just to see how wild they could be.  These are cut with the Go! Accuquilt and are 3 1/2'' by 6 1/2''.  Big fat geese will make a good donation  I love the accurate cutting that makes for easy sewing.
   This afternoon I hope to start stitching on that water color banner.  Once the rows are sewn, I will decide on applique accents.

Happy stitching.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Recycled ----my good deed

   In an effort to clean up the landscape, or rid our roadway view as we were driving to therapy yesterday, I insisted Sir Old Man stop.  I got out of the van on the side street and plucked 2 campaign signs off the right of way.  He only raised an eyebrow.  He knew what was coming.
   Then again this morning, more stuff littered the road side.  Sir Old Man was a true gentleman and he did the work of clearing those annoying/in the way things.  By the time we got home about 8 more signs were in the back of the van.

  After making Banana Pudding for my nephew and brother for tomorrow, I washed the things off first.   Then the cutting began.

  I use a long ruler, craft knife (not the good rotary cutter!) to score the corrugated signs.  Then fold them over. and cut through the fold on the back side.  Done!  Free insert support for my mini bolts!

  I had several pieces of over a yard pieces in the stash closet that got wrapped onto the cut up signs.  It's much neater in there now.

Oops!  More yardage discovered that needs to be washed first.

   I set aside about 5 of the signs.....they will be a good size for small portable design board  for the next (if I do one) class for watercolor.     Or for a bit larger size ....2 signs could be taped together and covered with flannel or batting as a design wall.  Matter of fact go bigger, tape 4 together and cover with batting.  Use the black office clips on the upper corners and hang it up for a very movable  design wall.  Be sure to have the Command hangers on hand to hang on the wall.
  No matter the final outcome, I am glad to do my part to recycle/clean up/rid the roadways of the extra clutter.  And rolled mini bolts make me happy.
   The carpel tunnel needs to be taken care of.....the pain under my upper arm is increasing from pressure on the Median Nerve.  So surgery it will be at the end of the month.  So Hot Legs will get to rest for a couple more weeks.  I will just plan, cut, stitch, fuse, and so on until then.

   In honor of the men and women who served our country  to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.  I thank you.
Happy stitching.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Playing with a watercolor

 I have the two quilts pinned and ready to quilt, but the hands and arm are not cooperating this week.  What I thought was tendinitis is really carpel tunnel and this week is painful.  So....guiding a quilt around under the needle is not a smart thing to do.  I did manage to get all the Pineapple Blossom blocks together and decided on borders......those will wait until the arm is better.

  What to do?  I had a full day yesterday to enjoy, so play time with floral squares sounded good.
  This close up shows how I move from dark in the upper corner to medium values to a light area.  Variety, variety, variety....never enough to get the cut you need or want to move the design along.

It looked good on the design wall until I took the photo, and I noticed one square that jumped out at me.  You can probably spot the switch I made for a better blend.

  The squares were not sticking as they normally do to the I pulled out my travel size iron to lightly fused the squares down.    I can press directly onto the design wall because of the foil covered insulation that we used.  It is covered by flannel.

  If I need to change or move a square or two, they are easily pulled off--gently.  The heavy steam and fusing occurs when I am finished and satisfied with the layout.

This is meant to be a long banner, even though I worked on it turned sideways on the design wall.  I see some tweaking I need to do, so it will be on the wall for a few days.  I have therapy today, the Hand Center tomorrow, and another appointment Thursday.  And a banana pudding to make for Remy who is going to be here with his Dad this weekend.   That cuts into the design or sewing time.

And cooler weather has arrived and stayed this week.  It has been nice to open windows in the afternoon.
Enjoy your week and happy stitching.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Finds November!

The end of the year approaches already!  So I gathered a few crafted items to share.

These non slip easy sew ribbon bookmarks are fun to make, and stretch to fit your book. These make perfect gifts!
From Sparkles of Sunshine

I admit I like books.  There is something about the written word on the pages I can touch.  No ebooks for me.  I want the real thing.  So when I saw this project it was for me.
    I love these book marks!  From Sparkles of Sunshine  blog.....a good tutorial for making them.  They would be cute gifts, or stocking stuffers.  How about the ribbons we hoard from fat quarter stacks, or other I have a use for them.

Riley Blake Designs Blog: RBD Back-to-School Blog Tour: Scrappy Bookmark DIY:
Anoither version from Riley Blake

  I also saw another version at Riley Blake Designs.  Note---the directions have been removed now :(
Perfect for marking pages in my favorite quilt book or cook book.

Hello everyone! Today I'm sharing a few more of the wine cork ornaments that I made. They really are simple. I just dril...:
Wine Cork Ornaments....from Renlymat's World blog .  I spotted several versions on Pinterest.

Got corks?  Use beads, metal charms, buttons, ribbon, wire to make some ornaments.    You will need a hole drilled through the center of the cork.

And a couple of quilting ideas.......

From Humble Quilts blog
  Humble Quilts shared photos from a quilt show in Aurora, and this one caught my eye.     Not only is the applique unique, but I loved the setting.
    I have plenty of left over 9 patch blocks that do not match.  Now this idea will put leftovers to work, to say nothing of all the leader/ender piecing I seem to do.

This post has been edited to remove possible harmful link.....Thank you, Trish for alerting me.

  Please visit the original site before pinning or linking.  I am just sharing some inspirations.

Remember to set back the clocks tomorrow night......enjoy the weekend.  Happy stitching.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Some bits and pieces

    I finished up a few more Quilty 365 circles that I had partially done.  And then I added  quite a few half circles that I will use on the ends of my staggered rows.  My tally is 275 circles and half circles.  That is good for me considering the year I have had:)
   So all the remaining circles will go into a second quilt.....just adding it to my list of "to-dos".

    Nope, not starting it until I move something else along.  Why?  It's my Rule of 3 in the sewing room.  I mentioned it before and got a ton of questions/comments about it.  I was going to do a post on it and thought to look back into the past.
Here is the post where I completely explain the Rule of 3 and how it came to be.

   I have 2 tops to pin and quilt and one on the design wall.....the pineapple blossoms.  I am letting the blossoms  simmer while I get the other 2 pinned.   Not sure if I want to go any larger, but do think I want a let it simmer a while:)

   I keep 2 journals close to my sewing machine.  The Scrabble cover one is for free motion quilting motifs that I have conquered or used on quilts I have made.  The extra papers in the back are motifs that I want to try my hand at.

  The open journal is my idea and thoughts journal.  I note future plans by month maybe, or list quilt ideas that I want to explore.  And all important....lists of needed things to get/order, ---like fabric, thread, etc.   I am really glad I started these a few years ago, since the lack of  B-12 has affected my short term memory.    The memory has improved but still needs help like my lists.

Clock, Time, Stand By 
   Sir Old Man started it already...... messing with my mind over the time change that happens this weekend.  Just wake me up in time for coffee, okay?
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Creating Labels.....revived post

I get questions all the time about the labels on my quilts.  Here are the answers.   This post is revived from 2009, and linked to Tuesday Archives at Val's.

  I always name my quilts and create a label for them with details of inspiration, the pattern used, and who it is for. Why? This is my art form and I put a lot of effort and work into each quilt. They need to be signed, even when I give them away. Besides, I enjoy designing the label as an extra bit of art.

  A few years ago I began using a simple greeting card program for this. I love the wonderful graphics in the program that make wonderful frames or borders for the label. I can usually find a graphic that just fits the theme or mood of the quilt. I create the label and print onto Printed Treasures sheets. Printed Treasures is a pre-treated fabric designed for inkjet printers.   ( Note: There are new and additional products on the market today.  Experiment and find one you like.)
 I try to create 2 or 3 labels at a time and use a whole sheet. But if I have a half page, or even a quarter page left over, I have found a trick to use. See the end of this entry for details. 

   I find it very difficult to hand stitch through the Printed Treasures, so I add 2 inch strip of fabric around all sides. I press under a 1/2 inch and spray starch it to get a crisp edge
  This photo is an example. The label is in a jacket I made from fabric my daughter, Deana, gave me from her stash. It was in black, grey and white with art deco-style ladies and graphics. I saved one lady to add to the label. The border graphic is a black line style that is art deco also. Then a 2 inch strip is added to all sides, pressed under and stitched to the lining.

    Multiple graphics can be added too. For this mystery quilt label I used a full page. First I found the "footprints" border and set it. Then I ran across the wonderful profile graphic of Sherlock Holmes. I had to include it because I had named the quilt "Sherlock I am Not".  I placed it in the upper corner area. For the title and the rest of the text requited 2 different text boxes to fill in the awkward space. To finish the label off, I used the "red herring" clue pieces (the tiny pinwheels), and leftover strips from the binding to create the border. Note that there is a second round of strips added on this one to have a good allowance to turn under. 

   Another thing I like about using the greeting card program is that you can easily import photos for your labels. That can really personalize the label and make it very special as a gift. One year my guild had a Red White and Blue Challenge. I made a Celtic knot inspired quilt--from a Karen Combs class. The label had to be covered as part of the challenge. So I created a "book" style label complete with a knot closure. 

   When opened you see the label text on the right and the left side has the photos of my Dad and Russ, my husband, who both served in the military. I used a Celtic knot graphic on the text portion, and a military banner graphic under the photos.
    The two sections were created and printed separately and the joined with a 2 inch strip of fabric and bordered on 3 sides. The cover was strip pieced on the diagonal with fabrics leftover from the quilt and a narrow strip added to all 4 sides as a border. The cover was then stitched to the photo side pillow case style. Then turned right sides out. Only the text side is hand stitched to the quilt. The frog closure was then added.

   I don't always make complex labels. Some are very simple with just a basic scrap style border. But I always include some type of graphic. This label is one one of my watercolor quilts, and has just the simple 2 inch strips added around it.

    One final note...when I create a label I always do a test print on paper before printing on the Printed Treasures. Then I have a file of ideas for label styles and graphics. I use these when I do a guild program presentation for other guilds.
Printed Treasures is too expensive to waste from typos or low ink! So I use every leftover bit.
     If I only have a single label to make and I have a small--quarter page--bit of Printed Treasures that needs to be used, here's a trick. Create label in the program and print it on paper. Check the size by laying the Printed Treasures over it. Hold it up to the light and check to see that the printed graphic and text fit and that there is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on all sides. If your label size if too large, then adjust in the card program and reprint and check again. If it fits, then use scotch tape and tape the Printed Treasures --on all four sides--over the label you printed. Be sure the tape covers no more than a 1/4 inch on the edge of the Printed Treasures. Then place the paper with the taped on Printed Treasures section back into your printer. And print. You will have exact placement and no waste.

Linking to Vals' Quilting Studio for Tuesday Archives.
Happy stitching.
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