Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Process

I drove to town today and noticed kids aren't even outside playing. Jeff and I talked this morning and we wondered how many days were over 85*F and yet we have had a record amount over 100*F and the summer is not over with yet. This is what I have been doing in between kids and canning, cooking, and laundry and sleeping. I keep plugging away at these blocks. They are 12.5 inches square and I have 18 out of 24 of them done. You can see the creases in the background I pressed in to make a center point and the radiating seams from the leaves make the pressed seams corner to corner on the block. Great way to center the block and have it look good. They are then appliqued into place and the backing is trimmed away behind the flower. You can see the press line meeting up to the center seam on the hexie seam. This is such an easy guideline to use.

I need to get this one finished and pick out a few more color combos to use to get the 24 done in a few days. I am going to seam then together in rows and then hand quilt each row and piece them together. Easier to handle and not as much bulk to handle in this heat.

Just to hot to be out in it and yet I feel like Winter. We pull the blinds and keep the house all shut up to keep out the heat. This season will go down in the books as a Long Hot Summer to say the least. My electric bill shows how hot it has been. Oh Well can't take it with you Right! Chris

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Never know what quilting design to use.

To begin with I am not associated with Martingale & Company or with Connecting Threads.
I purchased this book through the Connecting threads website. http://www.connectingthreads.com/. I saw it was on sale and thought it would be a good reference book to have on hand to get ideas from. This is a complied book of quilting designs and combination of designs to make the best use of your quilting abilities. Some of the designs could be used in applique and others in combination with another could be used for almost any kind of quilting you would like to accomplish. As you can read it is for hand and machine quilting. Some is continuous line quilting. Borders and small motifs are also in this reference book.

There are suggestions as to the uses that could be done with these designs.

As many great quilters have suggested marking a quilt is very important to the final look of the quilt. Making the right markings for the quilting and planning the final look of the quilt is your final statement as to how the quilt will show when finished.

I am always overwhelmed with how to do this. What if I don't like it? What if it is to much.? Well I can make traced off drawings of these designs in combination with each other on paper and see what the final look will be.

As I said I am not associated with this company and yet I am recommending this book to those that are at a cross roads with their abilities and questions as to what should be used when finishing a quilt with the right quilting design. Chris

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Grandma's don't do for the kids

I guess my house is to bright for my Grandkids early in the morning so they requested sleep masks. We picked out fabric and made two of them today. This one had to be dark and satin on the inside.

This is for the 11 year old. He really isn't effected by the light like his sister, but this way they both have one.

He had to have flannel on the inside of his.

Now if I can get them to bed before midnight I will be happy. LOL Chris

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have you wondered what goes into a yard of fabric?

I thought about th fabric I have on my shelves. Where did it come from? Is it printed or dyed? Is is made in the USA? Is it a quality fabric or did I just like the print?

I have been attracted to prints in the past because of color or the print. I get up close to the fabric and it is quality is not to my liking. So why is that?
I am a touchy feely person when it comes to fabric. I really don't like to order on line because of this issue.

If it is from a well known company maybe I would order it. But at times the fabric lines are made on several different quality of fabric blanks to be sold in different class weights and quality lines.

This is why when you buy a fabric at a LQS and find the same print in a Big Box Store it never matches. The quality of the blank it is printed on is different. Color alone can be different which is a color lot number is different. Each batch of fabric that is dyed has a color lot to it just like yarn. Each batch can vary slightly and also the fibers of the fabric can accept the dye differently. After all it is an organic plant product and it all is different from plant to plant.

Truthfully not sure how much fabric is even made from cotton grown in the USA anymore. Many other countries can grow it cheaper than we can and we buy fabric from these countries.

With cost going up on fabric and the fuel cost let alone the processing fees for getting a yard of fabric we all maybe will be looking at how much we purchase. I know I will. I will be using what I have and not complaining.

I looked on line at the process of making cotton fabric from a plant to a yard of fabric and it was interesting. Lots of handling is done and then we wonder why it costs so much money. Chris

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Forever Zinnias

As I sit and work on this I was trying to think of a name for it. I really don't name anything, but I thought maybe this one should have a name. Forever Zinnias is what I decided on. It reminds me a Zinnia flower with the irregular shapes. Many Zinnias are multi-colored also. I am stitching this on onto the background and it takes a few minutes with the color changes in threads, but I have a system down with multiple needles threaded and it goes fairly fast. Here is the general layout. I have more to come up with and more color combo's to pick out. I think it is appealing to the eye at this point and I have been trying to figure out sashing and also what quilting will be done.

Sanity work for me, but some people would be bored with the process. Isn't it great we all don't like the same things would life be boring. Chris

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pickeled beets and fresh potatoes and fresh green beans

Lots of garden stuff being processed and dug. The last of the green beans were picked today and the potatoes are being dug for this batch. The cucumbers are coming right along and the tomatoes are starting to ripen so it won't be long and I will be canning them.

The lack of rain and the Japanese beetles are taking over what normally would be a bountiful year. We live on very rich black soil, but the well water helps but not the same as the rain. The heat has taken it's toll on the plants also.

I have been doing some hand stitch here and there, but I have been cleaning and rearranging rooms. We moved some cabinets and also a shelf was mounted on the wall in the kitchen for a TV. I dusted down the walls and ceiling and ceiling fans in each room. Then I decided to can.

So I really did a lot yesterday and I paid for it. Now I am trying to get caught up with other things. So I am not spending much time sewing. Stay cool Chris

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Piles of blocks adding up

Been quietly working on some of these blocks. Quietly meaning a lot is going on and nothing is good about it. This time of year my health usually takes a dump. Nothing drastic, but you don't feel yourself. The heat works funny on my system. Just uncomfortable.

I have a tendency not to eat well and also I experience more headaches and I think it is the weather and nothing I can do about it other than cope. Today we went outside and basically trim mowed around somethings we have been watering. The garden and the trees. The yard is burned up and all that is growing is the weeds. Yeah the weeds. The flower beds we worked so hard on are over grown with weeds agasin, but it is to hot to be out there to make a difference right now.

They are talking like we will get rain over the night time and it could be about 1-2 inches. Which is better than none.

Back to the sewing. 30 minutes to a couple hours here and there are about all I get to anymore. The main goal is to keep my hands in it so I don't loose interest before I can find more time to sew.

I have some things I want to make for Christmas presents and I need to get started on a few of them. Some I can show and others I will have to hide because nosey eyes will see them. {Taylor} LOL She always knows what she is getting the stinker. Chris

Monday, July 16, 2012

Taylor won the judging.

Today was the local 4H Fair and she was judged on her baking skills making the dinner rolls like she made the other day. She texted me and she said I get to go to State.

We made another batch yesterday and sent them home with her and she took them today and won. She was so excited. Now we have to make more for the State competition. Have to keep you informed. Grandma Chris

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Few more here and there

8 more made today. Got up this morning early and started in on a pile of 1 3/4 inch squares. I cut a few more to add variety and this is what I came up with in about 2 hours. Adding these to my finished ones and then I can get a few more done in a few days and have a pile before you know it.

They are 5 1/2 inches square in the raw state so they will not make a large showing real fast. The over all look will be a real scrappy quilt. Chris

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Quality is my issue. I have purchase tons of hand sewing needles over the years. With over 50 years of sewing I have gone through my share of needles. The right one for me is not made any longer. It was strong kept a sharp point and was the right length for my hands. The second from the right is the one that works the best. I save it to use when I do hand quilting. At sometime the needles I have will be gone and then what am I to do.

I have tried about every needle available in my area and have ordered some also and nothing works as well as the J. P. Coats needles that aren't available anymore. I have tried Dritz, Prims, John James, Clover, Boyd, and many off brand also.

My choices are getting slimmer as we progress along here. The needles are a stamped item. They are machined and they are not the same as the needles we bought even 10 years ago. Some bend to easy and others dull very easy. What is up with this??

Has anyone had good luck with a needle I am not aware of? I do hand quilting and applique work. I also baste some of my quilts together or baste paper piecing. I would like to hear about the kinds of needles you like. Chris

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2nd picking

This is the second picking of the green beans. We have been lucky that we can water. It doesn't cost us anything. So we have kept the garden watered in all this heat. If we had to pay for water we wouldn't have done it. Here is the second sink full soaking to loosen the dirt. Have to snap the beans and place in the jars.

This was full. It is a 5 gallon bucket. Some of the older plants are starting to slow down, but I will get as many as I can. I have 6 pts and 6 qts all aready done. Today will get about the same. In the next couple days we have to dig beets.

This will all taste good this winter. I pressure can the beans. It isn't safe to do anything other than freeze them. Don't want botulism from beans that aren't handle properly. Back to snap another sink full. Chris

8pts and 6qts and a pan full to cook for supper. Pretty good for a small garden.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ever have one of those days?

Got up early and went back to bed. Maybe that was my mistake. Got dressed got outside and started mowing and weed eating. Got my part of three yards all done. Then the weed eater in my back yard started to act up. I finally gave up. Made a couple phone calls and got chewed out by one parson[my Mother] so I finally gave up.

The TV wasn't working and of course that was my fault. NOT!

I am beginning to think it wasn't my day. I tried to sew a little this morning and lost interest. So maybe the mood will change tonight. The TV works again. YEAH!!!! Chris

A Few Done

Making some progress with the flower blocks. It is slow. I do this in the morning or in the evening while watching TV. I have a few more ready to be stitched to the blocks, but it all comes in good old time. I think the contrast will work with the alternating blocks of light and dark. I wish I had enough of the green, but that is the way it is.

I have more color combinations laid out for more flowers, but wanted to get these stitched to the backgrounds before they became distorted. Bias edges are all around the flowers.

As you can see any colors will work if you get the right two main colors to come together.

This is the next to be stitched. It is pinned within an inch of it's life to the background. I have a tray of threads sitting beside my chair and when the mood strikes me I can stitch a few petals in place.

Weather is cooler today and the grass needs a trim job. We have watered and in spots it is long others it it all brown. I have beans and peppers to pick and do and I will be in and out today. Have a Good One. Chris

Saturday, July 7, 2012

More progress

Here is the green I had to use for ther background, but it wasn't enough to do all of them. I chose the unbleached muslin for the darker flowers. This looks washed out must be the light in the room. This is a better color than the first picture. I have to decide how I am going to make this all work. My mind is going a mile a minute today and getting no where.

Haven't found the applique pins yet. The Cleaning Tornado hid them good this time. Have you ever tried to think like a 13 year old to figure out where they would have put something? It isn't easy. Chris

Couldn't wait a couple days

I said last night I would show you my hand work. I said in a couple days. Well here is some of it. I liked the idea of the green background some of you suggested, but I got to measuring the amount I had and it wouldn't be enough. I bought it over 5 years ago and I am sure nothing would match. So the game plan has changed. I will do the darker flowers on the unbleached muslin and the lighter flowers on the green. Alternate the two in the setting. EPP and hand applique are the order of business her. I think this one will be hand quilted. But I am hand quilting a block at a time and assembling as I go, so it will be a long process. I like the handwork and yet with it being so hot out this Summer I thought a block at a time would be cooler to handle.

Not to self, I need to find the applique pins the Cleaning Tornado put away. LOL She showed them to me and I just said don't mix them in with the other straight pins I had. So wonder where she put them.

This one I got a little to aggressive with the pressing. I need to re wet and press it on a towel to get the wrinkles out of it. I knew better when I did it to. I have some quilting designs I want to try out for hand quilting and I thought this would be a good chance to try them out.

Today is suppose to be the last hot day for several. hopefully they are right. Chris

Friday, July 6, 2012

Enough is Enough..........

Like many across the US we have had really high temps and high humidity. Today is 9 days in a row. I have had enough.

You stay inside because it is so oppressive to be outside and yet if you move around to much inside you feel the heat also. I resorted today to putting sheets over my drapes in the living room. I have sheers up at the west window and heavy drapes over the top of them. I finally put a flat sheet up over the heavy curtain to insulate the window more from the heat. I have kept it to about 79*F in the living room with the A/C at 70*F and running none stop. I hate to see my electric bill for next month.

Jeff has been working in the garage and had a window A/C on out there, but when he comes in at night he shuts it off.

I have tried sitting under the ceiling fan to get a windchill and yet the chair feels warm after you sit there for awhile. Glad I don't have leather.

I have been trying to do something constructive with my time in the chair and I have been working on some hand work. I will show you picks in a couple days when I get a little farther along.

Right now it is 102*F and the heat index for our area is 116*F. We live in the middle of a corn field and the humidity off the corn plants makes it horrible to breath when you go outside.

Check on your neighbors and the animals outside they have water and shade. Stay Cool Chris p.s. They say we only have one more day of this and it will cool down for a few days. YEAH!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Some work here today

This is the dressing table or vanity we picked up today. Jeff is working on getting it cleaned up to varnish. This is the mirror. For as old as it is it is in really good shape. I think it is older than me and we all know how I look. OLD!

He laid it on it's back and started in with the denatured alcohol and it is amazing what it does with the old varnishes. If you try it make sure you were strong solution gloves with it because it can ruin your hands.

It takes out the bad scratches and cleans all the old dirt and cleaning products off of the finish. Then you can re varnish.

I decided I like the looks of the paper piecing, but it looked naked. So I made centers and they look more like flowers now.

Had to have a black center for this one. The gold on the gold didn't make it.

They look more finished now. I just need to decide on the background and I may use two different ones to make them stand out.

This is a very good tool. It was a circle template and it comes from a stationary supply store. I think for less than $5. It has been well worth the price. Perfect circles for applique. They range in size from 1/8 inch to a full 1 inch size. Stay Cool. Chris

No Engery

The heat is still on the heat index is right now 111*F. The Humidity is breath taking. Meaning you can't breath at all. It leaves you wanting to sit in the shower or in a cool swimming pool if it is in A/C.

Some have basements they can sew in and I don't. We have all the ceiling fans on to create a windchill. If 80*F in the house can create a windchill. At least the humidity is out.

Yesterday in the 7am time frame I went out and picked green beans. I picked 4.5 gallons of the beans and got them all canned yesterday. Today in the heat we moved some furniture from my neighbors. I bought an antique dressing table and mirror and a chest of drawers from her and we went and got the dressing table. She has to clean out the drawers in the chest of drawers. It will go in my bedroom. I will take picture of it.

It gives Jeff something to do. He enjoys working with wood an repairing and making it useful again.

Stay cool where ever you are. Chris

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Red White and Boom Day

Been a busy day already. Got up had coffee and went outside and picked 4.5 gallon bucket of green beans out of my garden. This is the first picking. The bucket next to it is a gallon ice cream bucket. So later today the cleaning and canning will get started. We have company coming at 3pm for hamburgers on the grill. The potato salad is made. Need to make the coleslaw and then I have cut up watermelon. Not sure if I will make a fresh batch of cooked green beans also.

I picked these off of the pepper plants last night. I knew I had to do beans, but as I pulled back the leaves the mosquitoes flew up in my face. Today is a very warm day already. One in many. More to come. I have been to the store and got the things I needed and taken a shower in between. Dishwasher is going and the laundry needs to be changed. Just another day here.

Have a Happy and Safe 4th. Chris

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sanity Sewing

The kids are gone again. They were here for 9 days. Grandma and Grandpa are not use to all the confusion. We love them to death, but it was a bit much. Dad had to work all week so it was necessary. Not quite old enough to be by themselves for 9-12 hours a day.

So this was my sanity sewing in the early morning while they were sleeping in. A couple here and there and I have this many done now. I havn't even counted how many. Using up more small pieces and finding different combinations has been fun. They will be sashed but not sure in what color yet. Another hot day ontap. We will bein the three digits again today. The A/C is running overtime and yet the house isn't 72*F in here. If it get to 80*F we are doing good. But I guess if the humidity is out we can tolerate it better. Off to the bank and then to do some trimming in the yard quick and in for the rest of the day. Stay Cool. Chris

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Been up for three hours

Woke up at 5am like I was suppose to be up. I decided while it was quiet I would sew. I made some more 9 patch in a square and pressed them then I went on to sewing rows together. I had four rows of blocks made and needed to ne sewn together to get the over all look going. These are blocks made with 1.5 inch strips sewn together. I have a tub of these cut and then I piece them together when I need some thing to do for 30 minutes. I have four blocks leftover and need to make some more to get the center of this quilt made.

I think some borders and a piano key outside border are i order for this scrapy quilt.
I will make this one close to a twin size for a single bed.

Lots of color going on. Will have to frame this with something fairly neutral to make the center pop. Now I need to get outside and get some bug spraying done. Chris

Are you a Finisher or a UFO Producer????

Confession! I am a UFO Producer. I love the process of doing hand work or machine work, but I get bored with it. I have to be doing something else in between or I get so bored doing the same block over and over. The color changes in scrappy quilt helps somewhat, but I must be easily bored. I have to be doing something different every few days.

Hence I have a hand piecing thing going on and about 4 scrappy block patterns in the process. Confusing no, but a lot of unfinished business is going on in the sewing room. I like the finished pieces and yet they just don't get done.

My husband starts something and stays with it until it is complete and he can't start anything else. He really gets frustrated with me because I have so many things going on.

Grandkids are still here today and tomorrow so I will try and get a few more things done on my 9 patch in a square blocks and not drag anything more out so I get in trouble. Hopefully I will be able to get the cabinet filled in the kitchen we brought in and get some things straightened up around here. Going to be hot and also humid. Stay cool Chris