Monday, April 20, 2015

A long time ago...

in a galaxy far, far away I bought a quilt pattern at Joann's.
This was one of the first quilts I pieced in this house.  Almost eleven years ago.
(shaking my head)
I wasn't new to making quilts, but wasn't much for reading and following patterns.  This one looked pretty straight forward.  No curves.  Easy math.  I had a lot of fun finding fabrics and learned a lot making this top!  I loved how soft and cottagey it looked when I finished it.
Well, I got the top made and then moved on to much more interesting blocks and patterns I saw on quilting blogs, flickr and then Pinterest.
It was a classic case of QADD.
(Quilter's ADD) 
Remember me mentioning spring cleaning my sewing stuff?  I found this top and decided it needed to come away from the dark side and get finished.  I had chosen soft, cottage style prints and colors.  Some of my first purchases from "real" quilt stores are in here.  A lot of my favorite cabbage rose prints.
Beautifully vibrant blues.  Soft as rainfall blues.  Sweet lilac colored purples and tickle your toes pinks.  Warm, happy, sunshiney and buttery yellows.  Spring greens.
Can you tell I fell in love with this quilt again?
The original pattern had the blocks made from complimentary fabrics scattered throughout the top, but I remember not liking that look and deciding to keep the them together.  This created a "four square" pattern.  I bought some cotton batting and backed the whimsy with an old, soft sheet I had in my vintage linens collection.
Straight-line, echo quilting around the inner boxes and fmq-ing the rest.  While I was decluttering and cleaning, I found a white fabric with small white leaves to use for the binding.
This quilt is heavy!  I wanted to take another picture in the sunshine this morning, but someone was still snuggled up under it in their bed.  Just didn't have the heart to wake him up.
Good thing this finished out somewhere between a twin and full size quilt!
Next WIP to work with is this strip of scrappy, mini-Swoon blocks I pieced in the fall of 2011.  This was before the pattern for a smaller block had come out and I just improvised on the measurements.
These finished out at around 11" sq.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for us!  My mom reads every comment on this blog.  We really appreciate you.  My dad, sister and I are tag teaming on doctor visits and radiation treatments.  Knowing we are covered in prayer is a comfort and encouragement!
For some encouragement to be creative, persistent and just sew...

Monday, April 13, 2015

My Soul Is Fed...

with needle and thread.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for my mom.
Every day she has radiation, she is fitted with a mask almost exactly like this and bolted to the table under the radiation machine.  The mask was made of moldable plastic and formed to her skull and shoulders.
 I have to tell you how stunned I was when I saw them pull her mask out of the cupboard and then watched them put her on the table and tighten the bolts. 
She is my hero!
Last week for therapy, I gathered up some of my favorite blue scraps.  I'm currently in the process of changing all of our 18 year old, seen two houses d├ęcor for the living room into coastal shades of blue, green and tan with splashes of beach finds here and there.
So many of our happiest memories as a family are at the beach.  I wanted to capture some of those feelings and remembrances and bring them into our daily lives.
I have always liked the look of this Stacked Blocked pattern and decided to make a new coffee table topper to help make the room feel more "beachey".
Pretty straight forward stitching.  Using some white scraps, I just started cutting the blues into different lengths, none larger than about 7" and attached white strips to each side.
On the machine for some FMQing and....
here it is!  Finished and already brightening the room!  Love!  Love!  Love!
I used an oceany blue fabric from Joann's for backing and some of Kaffe Fassett's stripes in luscious blues for the binding.
Here are some other projects I've crocheted and sewn to help redo the room:

Removing border and repainting comes next.  I'm waiting for warmer weather so I can have windows open while I paint since the smell seems to linger a long time in this house.
In the meantime, I'm still making Granny Square blocks and
putting together Churn Dash blocks for a second quilt for the bunk beds in Ben's room.
Sewing is such a peaceful, creative process for me.  I've learned I like the puttering and putzing of making a quilt more than the idea of setting out to make a quilt and finishing it asap.
Choosing fabrics, appreciating the colors and feel.  The tactile pleasure of measuring and cutting.  Contemplating where a block might go in the overall pattern.  Pressing.
It centers me.  Calms my fearful thoughts and worriful murmurings.
Hope you get a chance to sew some this week. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Catching Up

March was a difficult month.  'Nuff said.
So I was really happy when the weather started turning and Resurrection Sunday was just beautiful!
This time two years ago, Jon had proposed to Rebecca.  They will be celebrating their one year anniversary in June.  They are both in grad school with exciting jobs this summer.  Chris is finishing up his freshman year.  It's been a good year for him.  Lots of growth.  Ben has experienced a lot of new adventures this year, including flying an airplane, and we are so thankful for our kids!
This makes me happy too!  Really pleased with the way the circle quilting turned out.
My spring table topper has me smiling every time I see it.  It finished out at 24" x 20".  I used one of my favorite stripey fabrics in rainbow colors for the binding.
So glad to have been able to save these beautifully stitched vintage posies and repurpose them into everyday use!
I also got to work on a "bouquet" of flowers for my mom.  I can't take her real ones because she doesn't do well with strong smells.  Perfumes.  Potpourri.  Flowers.  Lotions.  She just finished taking an oral chemo pill for the last three weeks and will start radiation tomorrow.  She is such a trooper!  I wanted to give her something bright and cheerful.
I used another hand stitched, vintage piece salvaged from the cutter bin at a thrift store, some Heather Bailey charm squares and anonymous scraps.  So much fun working with these bright, sweet colors! 
This will be a door hanging for their living room.
Come check out these incredibly inspiring blogs and get your sewing on!


Monday, March 2, 2015

You can almost hear the flowers growing...not!

(in my best, least sarcastic Disney singing voice) 
"Do you want to build a snowman?"
No!  I don't want to build a stupid snowman!
I want to build a sandcastle, on the beach, in the sun, where there is no snow!
Instead of temps in the 80's and the beach, we woke up yesterday morning to about 7 or 8 more inches of snow.
On a sunnier, happier note, I was able to spend some time working with the salvaged corners of the embroidered feedsack.
Carole saw "Down from London" printed on the "back".  Thanks Carole for the super sleuthing!  Makes me wonder so many things: what was in the sack? where did it really come from? how old was it? who got the idea to use it for a tablecloth? where did she live?  did she have children? how many? how did it end up at an antique mall?
KT gifted me some Erin McMorris Wildwood scraps several years ago.  They make appearances here and there, but are mostly hoarded for special projects.  Don't they look fabulous next to the embroidered corners?  The gifted scraps measured 2 1/2" square, so I just went with easy math to build my table runner.  We have an oblong table and I wanted a spring themed one that was longer on one side than the other.  It measures out at 24" x 20".  My family doesn't like to have big table runners that have to be pushed out of the way, so this is a great size!
There are some blue scraps from a Moda line and Kaffe Fassett thrown in there to make the blue pop.
Once I sewed the scraps, middle and corners together, I used a thin cotton batting and some large hand stitching to outline the embroidered corners.  Took a page from Dolly's book and quilted circles...but not on the embroidery.
I love this technique!  I used my walking foot and it lays so flat and has such an amazing look!  Definitely be doing this again.  The look is so peaceful and soft!  Thanks Dolly!
Also managed to add seven new Granny Square blocks to the pile and chose a sashing using alternating neutral fabrics with pink and blue scraps.  I found this sashing idea in a quilt magazine and the pattern looks better when it's all finished.  I'm loving the way it looks so far. 
Now if I can just keep a naughty Gizmo from using it as a Slip-N-Slide!
Well, even if she won't behave, she will sit on my lap and enjoy linky parties!
Come on.  Let's all go!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Spring Posies

A Merry Heart Invites Sunshine
 Here we are again.  Under a white, snowey blanket.  But as Mom and I merrily tell each other, "Hey!  The sun is shining!"
2" x 2" layout 
Finished pillow.
A soft place to dream of the beach!
Found a rare treasure last weekend out having "me" time.  Not a lot of that happens here since we homeschool.  Spent a few stolen minutes at a local antique mall perusing, peeping, searching, pawing through baskets and boxes of fabric and came upon this feedsack repurposed as a square tablecloth fringed with pink crochet.  Again, a "cutter" piece with stains and holes.
In the 1800's, cotton sacks were used as containers for farm and food products.  These sacks had labels or logos printed on them.  Frugal American women would take these sacks and remove the labels and logos using soaks in kerosene, Fels-Naptha soap and bleach or by rubbing them with unsalted lard and giving them a wash with lye soap.  Voila!  Cotton fabric now ready to be used for a variety of purposes from underwear to quilts and embroidery!
On the "front" of my find, you can still see the print of when it was being used for its original purpose.  At the bottom of the picture, you can see where the print has faded or someone had tried to remove the label.  At the top, you can plainly see the word "One" and other letters. 
Another shot where I can clearly make out "ASSOCIATION",  "ABUNDANT" and the rest was blurry.  Can you read it?
On the "back" side, in each corner, were these bright, happy, vibrant baskets of posies!
Someone took some time to prepare the feedsack, trace the pattern and then choose colors and thread to make a beautiful tablecloth for their family to enjoy.  I picture a mother of many, hands already busy through the each ordered day...
...and spending a little time each day working on this lovely to brighten up her corner of the world.
Some careful cutting and I have removed the four, embroidered corners so they're ready to be repurposed into something new!
What were you up to?
Link your blog to the parties below and let us all see!



Monday, February 16, 2015

Repurposing Vintage Linens and Quilt Blocks

"My soul is fed with needle and thread."
I hope your souls found nourishment last week doing something you love!

One of my favorite things to do is go antiquing with the hubs.  Finding soft, beautiful, vintage linens in need of saving is another.  This Grandmother's Flower Garden block came from a "cutter" basket at a small shop last summer.  According to A Linen Collector's Dictionary (Part I), a "cutter" is a "textile which has sufficient damage as to render it unsuitable for its original purpose. Cutters, usually available at a much lower price, are often used as fabric for sewing and craft projects."
This is the back side.  Tiny, tiny hand stitches!  The edges were fraying and I was afraid the integrity of the block size would be lost if I didn't somehow stabilize them.
So, using my Hexagon Ruler, I measured the original hexagons at 2 1/2" unfinished and cut out enough to "frame" the block.
(leaving 1/4" unsewn)
This is where a being able to manage a good "Y" seam came in handy.  In a "Y" seam, three pieces of fabric need to be sewn together in the shape of a "Y".  This usually involves sewing to within 1/4" of an edge to allow another piece of fabric to be added.
Fresh Lemons has a really good tutorial and you can find videos on YouTube showing you this technique.
And this is where I am now.  New, white fabric sewn on to stabilize the fraying edges of this beautiful block.  Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I won't be afraid to put it in the vintage tote again to store away for a future project.
See the quilt behind?  That's my Scrappy Trip Around the World I've been working on.  I managed to piece three new blocks for it last week after cutting out and piecing the scraps for my Shoreline Pillow Project.
My Siamese, Tundra, is helping decide where to add the new blocks in.
This is Option 1.
And Option II.  Which he didn't like and walked off shot to let me know.
Linking up with
for some more nourishment via eye candy!