Boo!

I really like Halloween things. However, you can only use them a few weeks of the years. That, however, does not stop me.

I made this table runner almost a year ago at a mini-retreat with my quilting partner in crime, Lynn. I thought it was cute. However, this involved a lot of stitch and flip which I find annoying and wasteful. But I finished it. I had the blocks done last November, but finally sewed them together and put the finishing touches on. I feel like the only thing I make lately are table runners. It is sort of true. Made tons of them after my neck surgery. Smaller projects were easier to focus on.

I decided to quilt this on my long arm. Was initially disastrous. Somehow, not paying attention, I loaded it incorrectly and managed to sew it together. Had to take the pole off to get it off and take out the stitching. Don’t even bother to try and imagine what dumb a$$ thing I did. I am not sure myself. Almost threw it in the trash and then I remembered how much I hated stitch and flip so thought better of it. All that to quilt a lazy meander.

I am adjusting to life with my daughter away at college. It is quite different for me. I call her most nights before I go to bed and she usually calls and texts randomly throughout the day. It helps. Family weekend is at the end of the month, so I will likely go visit then and take her some college necessities.

Now that she is not here, it makes me feel old. I try not to feel that way, but I do. Such is life,

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

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I am not a bag maker.

Nope, nope, nope. Making bags is not something I do very well.

So, I made a test bag a few weeks back. It had issues, but OK, I tried. I decided that I wanted to make another, so I had 2 and I could make emergency “stuff” bags for my daughter and her future college roommate. I was going to make 2 more after the trial, but Haley loved the purple bag even though it had issues. That was the one she wanted. Ok, I cut out two more anyway.

So, I found the instructions rather difficult to understand. I even read them this time because I had no idea what I was doing. Shocker.

For the first bag, I used regular quilt batting. For the next one (yellow) I used the fusible foam. I thought it would give the bag a better shape, which it did. It was just a bit harder to manage. It quilted nicely though.

I have put a million zippers in things. I put zippers in all the charity dog beds I make so they can be washed. I found the zipper instructions over complicated and the foamy stuff did make the zipper more difficult.

What was frustrating…..It had instructions to make bias binding and cover all the seems inside the bag with this bias binding. Umm OK. I did it on the purple one and found it difficult and did not really improve the inside look of the bag (mostly because I sucked at it). It was even more difficult with the foamy stuff. I gave up.

The pattern also called for you to zig-zag all the edges prior to sewing them, which I did, so it did not look completely unfinished. If I ever want to try again I will likley have to figure out how to rethread my serger UGH (a monumental and frustrating task.) and use that to finish the inside seams.

I will pack them both full of “emergency” college supplies, whatever that may be. Haley and Hailey. Yep my daughter, Haley has a roommate named Hailey. Both are studying the same thing. Odd coincidences. I have already apologized in advance for my daughter’s sarcastic sense of humor. I believe they will both get along well.

I, on the other hand, will be struggling with my new normal. I have been unsuccessfully preparing myself for her departure.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

I don’t want to jinx myself

Two posts in the same week? Does that mean Normal is approaching? One can only hope.

I have spent some time getting a few things organized and that helped. I now have things in baskets ready to sew, should the mood take me. Honestly, I am preparing for the fact that my daughter is going off to college. Not much time left (Sad). She has been spending a lot of time working this summer, so it has been different for me. My life is changing. I know this happens and I remember thinking about the day she would go off to college. Now that it is nearly here, I find I don’t like thinking about it. It has been her and I against the world and now she needs to learn to navigate the world on her own ( as Mom wipes the tears from her eyes).

I am also trying to get things out of the sewing area so maybe someday I can actually be organized. Unlikely, but sounded good.

CUTTING – The bane of my existence. I think I despise it because…well, I suck at it.

I really try to be super careful, got my Creative grids ruler, and still, I stink.

As I sewed my strips together, I attempted to be careful and make sure they are accurate. Yet, cutting them apart? I was constantly evening up, which just wastes fabric. They still do not look square, but wonky. The cutting is so important and I am just awful at it. Maybe I need to watch some Youtube videos or something.

This is what the quilt is actually supposed to look like. I am using what I call “weird” batiks. They were in my stash and I am pretty sure that I have had them for years. They are colorful though.

The book is called “Jelly Roll Quilts” by Pam & Nicky Lintott. Nanette gave me this book. It has some great Jelly Roll ideas.

So I am in the process of sewing the blocks together. Have not even tried to see how square they are. Ugh. I am not looking forward to that.

I welcome all advice, on cutting, sewing, squaring, well everything.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

And Just like that…it’s nearly Christmas

Good thing I finished those placemats.

They came out OK. It does make my dining room look festive. My Santa chair covers also help. The stuffed dogs? Well, Raising Cains chickens sells them every year. I recently got 2 new ones (Charlie Brown and Snoopy). Proceeds go to help dogs. My daughter thought they needed to be in the photo. They are always yellow labs in a costume. Super-Cute.

The placemats came out ok. After I made a couple, I was unhappy with my thread choice. It was a pretty red/green twist. It just looks dark to me. Fortunately, my lines are pretty straight so it does not look that bad. I wish I had used thread that matched the background fabric. Next time.

So, I sent my Plaid Challenge Quilt to my brother-in-law. He had a rough year, so I thought it might make him happy and he does have to live with my sister. LOL. They sent me this picture last night of it over thier love seat.

I do love it when I see one of my quilts in use or displayed.

Everyone at my house is not feeling well. Not horrible illness, just enough to annoy you. Makes it difficult to get things done for the holidays. We have been avoiding everyone because it certainly could be the “Rona”. My daughter and I lost smell and taste. I am about 10 days in so on the back side. It just felt like a crappy head cold.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

OMG, it’s December?

Where does time go? While sometimes it seems to be crawling, and then it is December.

I finished something (s)

So, I made this quilt for my Aunt. She is the only relative I have left and I think she will be turning 95. It is scraps, but to me, it felt like all my past projects going into something for her. It went together quickly and looks not too bad. I quilted with my heart ruler and meandering swirls. I hope to get it to her soon. It seems unlikely before Christmas, but hopefully soon after. She lives in Michigan, so only about a 3-hour drive for me.

I put pink and white flowered minky on the back so it would be soft. While I like the softness of minky for some quilts, I don’t find it easy to work with and it is messy. I have done it on my domestic machine and it was super hard to move around. My shoulders hurt for days. So, this one I pout on the long arm. It came out OK, I just had to be super careful with stretching. It is also very difficult to see if your tension is correct with Minky on the back. Now that it is complete, I think the tension could have been better, but it will have to do. I try to keep a notebook of all the things I learn along the way as well as how many bobbins are used and stitched. It helps me plan for the next quilt a little better.

So, I also finished all my Santa Chairs. I have a full set now. Makes me happy every time I look over at them.

Thank you to my daughter who always begrudgingly holds up my quilts for photos.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

A little bit of work….

So, I managed to get the quilt for my Aunt on the long arm. I am about 2/3rds finished. I have to do a bit and walk away and come back to it. Too much standing kills me. I am getting there. Before, I just could not do it. Now I can do some. I’ll take it. I am using my heart ruler and curly q’s. Initially when I started, It would not sew. Screwed around for an hour did some research and figured out I put my new needle in backwards. Duh.

Quilt Police – So, I saw this photo on Facebook and had a good laugh. I am super critical of myself, always. The quilt police would have a hay day with binding like that. Given the true purpose of this quilt, that should never matter. It was made to keep someone warm and I am sure it did a fabulous job at it.

I follow a lot of groups on Facebook and Instagram, mostly for the pictures of quilts. I am sometimes shocked and appalled at things people say to fellow quilters. “Never ever by fabric at JoAnne’s or Wal-Mart. It is horrible quality”. There are quilters out there that can not afford to buy $12-$15 per yard fabric. Our ancestors, including my grandmother, used old coats, clothes, and feed sacks. Quilts were very often made out of repurposed items.

I was once told that the Kona that JoAnn’s was not the same Kona sold at quilt shops. Honestly, not true. I have bought some at both. Each raveled equally as bad. They felt the same. I do not believe the thread count was different. So, yep I used my 60% off Coupon to buy a large piece of Kona at JoAnn’s over the weekend.

I have also purchased Michael Miller fabrics at Wal-Mart. You just have to look.

Someone is wearing a quilt – I did not watch the met gala, but did see photos of this person wearing a quilt. Thought it was amusing. Turns out that this quilt was actually made by someone’s mother. The photo on the right is of it on a bed at their home. It wound up at a thrift shop and was purchased by a designer to make this…..whatever it is called.

The designer did end up contacting the lady who’s mother made the quilt once it came to light. She just wanted everyone to know that her mother made the quilt that this gentleman wore (rapper I think…can’t remember his name).

So, you never know where a quilt that you make might end up! Who would have thought the red carpet……

Senior Moment – Literally. No, not me (although I have plenty). My daughter is a senior this year., Hard to believe. We had Senior Photo’s taken recently. I cried the night before so I would not do it during the photo shoot. Our Photographer took 350 Photos. Crazy. Pretty sure I had one pose when I was a Senior and that was it. I do like the one with the waterfall, but I have not seen them all yet. That looks like my girl the most.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

Seriously…September is over?

You have got to be kidding. September is over this week? Where is time going? I think there is a black hole and all my time is being sucked into it.

I did get some stuff done. The pictured quilt top I have made for my Aunt. I plan to go and visit her this year. She is 94 (I think). She was always one of my favorite people. She is the only living relative (among the aunts and uncles) that I have left. I remember all the trophies for golf she had in her living room as a kid. They also had a pool table and a bar downstairs where we would often play. She was the oldest of my grandparents children. My Dad was the “middle child” Maybe that is why he understood me so well. While this is a scrappy quilt, as I made it I remembered all the other quilts and projects these fabrics were a part of. I think I will put minky on the back so it is nice and soft for her.

I did get other things done. I bound a couple of of table toppers. I also finished up that binding last night on my “Plaid Challenge quilt” for a competition for my guild. I wont show it yet. The contest is the first week of December. Everyone that wanted to participate had to provide a yard of plaid fabric and $$$. I don’t remember how much money. The money will be divided between the top three quilts, I believe. Figuring out what to do with a bunch of weird plaid fabrics was challenging.

On the Neck Surgery recovery…. Still have issues. I may always have issues. Have managed to lose about 30 pounds. I’ll take it. I can walk over 1/2 mile, but some days I can’t do that at all. Need to figure out how to live with changes. Ugh.

Need to get my Aunt’s quilt pin basted.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

I swear, I really do make stuff….

I do not know why I am finding it so hard to write a blog post. I really do have the best intentions, but somehow it never gets done. I have made things….I did, I really did.

This quilt is the TRIAD Puzzle Quilt. What does that mean? Triad is my daughters school and their colors are red and black (she claimed this one early). “Puzzle”? When Nanette send me tis bunch of blocks. I had no instructions and just figured out how to put them together. Certainly not what it was intended to look like, but it works.

This was also the quilt that sat on my long arm for nearly a year as I recovered (sort of) from my neck surgery. It is an accomplishment that I finished it and got it off the long arm.

As you can see my daughter immediately put it to use. It has a lot of crazy quilting on it. Messages to her…..practice stuff etc… All that matters is that she loves it.

The Recovery

So, I am still recovering and feel like I may be doing it the rest of my life. I have taken my walks from the neighborhood to the walking path. The town that I live in has a very nice/beautiful walking/riding path. I ran out of mailboxes (and sidewalk) on my side of the street and did not like crossing the street. I am just too slow and it is a main road. So, I am not counting mailboxes any longer, but distance. Some days I can get to .64 miles. SO, just over 1/2 mile. Other days, I am lucky to walk 100 yards. I do not understand the rhyme or reason why some days I can do it and other days I feel so weak that I am holding on walking around my own house. To me this is the really frustrating part. I have gone for well over a week without being able to walk very far. When this happens I do try an increase my steps within the house, but sometimes even that is a stretch.

I have been spending time with my daughter. Last week she had her wisdom teeth out. If she knew I even had this photo she would be annoyed. It was last Wednesday. She is better but still can’t open up her mouth well. You would think I have silence, but I do not.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

Another one on point

Now I have something else to complain about. I don’t like to bind pieces that are not square or rectangular. I just don’t know how to do it right. Yep, always something to complain about.

I think I got the on point part straight and did not put exact pieces next to each other. But, I realized that I did not really know how to bind things that were not square or rectangular. I was not sure how to deal with the angled corners. I did it, and it lays flat, but I don’t really like how they look. Always something to complain about.

I did straight line quilting. At this point I have learned that you pick an angle that does not correspond with any seams. That way if you are a little off, no one will see it.

Personal Progress

So, I am really not getting very far. I had an entire week where I felt to weak to walk. Ugh. I finally figured out that I need to walk in the morning. That is the only real shot I have at doing it. I feel like when I wake up in the morning, I have gas i n the tank, however that gas runs out quickly. When it is out I am done for the day. I have zero strength and can not walk far. I even struggle inside my own house.

I have managed to get to the 7th house though. I am not happy about it. It is oddly painful to walk. My neck, shoulders and arms hurt a lot. I have been going on my walks by myself. That way no one but me hears the lovely words that come out of my mouth as I walk. Once I get to that 8th mailbox I will then need to cross the street because the sidewalk ends.

What Else?

We have been going on college visits with my daughter. Two down and one to go. I go to the information session and then Kevin goes on the walking tour with her. Makes me sad that I can not, but glad that he does it. I have a hard time imagining her going off to school and leaving me. But as a “Smother Mother” I am sure she will be glad to get away. Well, I hope not. I have very fond memories of college, and I want that for her also.

My Moka

AKA Moka Monster

AKA Dork

AKA Dorkasaurus

AKA Mokachino

She is a very spoiled girl. She also has epilepsy. She looks forward to her medication every morning and night, since they are stuffed in treats. We refer to her as the “Master Puppy” because she sleeps with Mom and Dad in the master bedroom.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

The struggle is real

I managed to finish something. It is just a baby quilt. My friend Lynn gave me this fabric. It was simple and easy to put together. I quilted this on my domestic, since I am not really able to use my longarm at the moment. I am out of practice, but it is a simple meandering so no big deal. I used a holiday blanket I got for the back. It is super soft, which I love. I did not have a need for this quilt when I made it, so I will just set it aside for the right moment.

The Struggle – So, my most recent visit to the doctor was not a pleasant one. I was told not to expect much more that what I already have. Be grateful I am walking. Most people with your spinal injury never walk again. Ugh. Took that to heart. I am no where near where I was less than a year ago. I can walk about 500 ft. before my legs want to give out. I can stand a few minutes before I need to sit down. I am still attending physical therapy and they claim that my strength has gotten better. I have zero stamina.

This affects my life in every way imaginable. I cant do things with the family that I would like to do. I can’t do the things I would like to do. I do manage to sew, but stick to small pieces because they are easier to manage. Not as heavy to try to push through a domestic machine and well, the long arm…that involves standing and some strength. I waited years to have one. Have not had it long, but cannot currently use it. It is heart breaking to me.

Let’s not mention that I have had continual ear infections, all kinds of stomach problems, and a racing heart since I have had this surgery. Of course, nothing is related to the surgery itself, so they say. Test after test after test, which tells us nothing.

So, my mental happy place is my sewing room. I do force myself to go in there. I do try and work on things. It is not the way it used to be. I am hoping this is not my new normal, but I just don’t know.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting