Motivation Friday

Friday, December 30, 2011
Its the last Friday of the year and I've been thinking about 2012.  Writing down ideas and establishing priorities.  Nothing concrete yet--have you been thinking about 2012?

I didn't do much sewing--but I have pressed and pinned 25 Anita's arrowhead blocks.  When Mason has time we will sew them together--I promised I wouldn't do any sewing until he could help me.   I would pin a few more--but I'm out of pins!   

Have you seen the soap dispensers that automatically squirt out a dab of liquid soap when you wave your hand beneath the spigot?  Laura Beth and Nick have one on the kitchen sink ledge and I LOVE it!   Nick brought me one in my favorite color---

a green one.  Thank you Nick!   I stuck the arrowhead blocks underneath so I can say it was a quilty picture.  

Remember the Vines quilt I made Mason?  He's been using it--

The rick rack vines make great roads, and you can drive on the narrow yellow road or the wide blue road on the edges.   We park on the grass (green blocks) or in the flowers (yellow flower block) and sometimes on the water (blue blocks).   Grandma drives the red pickup and is chased by Mason's police truck A LOT! 

Design Wall Monday and Weekly Goals

Monday, December 26, 2011
It's a design floor here in Minnesota.   I've been working on Anita's Arrowhead blocks.

Anita's Arrowhead Blocks
I like this method/pattern the more blocks I make.  26 blocks in Minnesota, and there are 10 in South Dakota.  121 blocks needed for a queen size quilt.   That's a start!

Weekly Goals--

  1. 10 more Arrowhead blocks
  2. Think about the next year's goals

Well, I don't like yearly goals--but a general plan--that's okay.  I'll let you know what I've thought about next week.  Here's a few options.   Do I want to participate more with my favorite on-line groups/blogs?  Work on hand applique?  More donation quilts?  Perhaps a few quilts for family?  A new quilt or two for our bed?  Stash reports?  UFO challenges?  More swaps?  Use more of my precut stash---noodles and 5" charms?  There are lots of possibilities out there.  Maybe push myself into using colors I'm not real comfortable with?  How about use more stash than I buy--that would be good!   What have you thought about for the next year?  I'd love to hear--someone else may have a great idea that's never crossed my pea brain! 

Christmas has come and gone.  Mason thought we were NEVER going to open presents!   Grandma--can you do this??

Life got better--

Mason wanted a Dr. kit.  Rest assured--by this evening we've all had "check ups"!   

How was your Christmas?  Did you receive a special present?  Are you thinking of next year?



Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

May all your presents be wrapped, your sewing room dark, and cookies ready for Santa!

Motivation Friday

Friday, December 23, 2011
Has everyone been busy?   Me too!  But I did work on my goals.  15 more Anita's Arrowhead blocks are done--just need trimming.  I worked on them late at night when I was on "Asher duty". 

I think I need a few "murky" colors--maybe closer values of the two colors.   What do you think?

Christmas is almost here.  Ken's coming tomorrow and Mason keeps asking "when".   "When I get up?"  "Before my nap?"  Grandpa---you better not waste any time!  

Holiday goodies continue to be made.  Tonight Mason and I mixed up a batch of cookies.  Mason is very good at cracking eggs and quality testing the M&M's and chocolate chips.   And he got to lick the beaters!

Monday Goals

Monday, December 19, 2011

Time for goals.  Yes, its Christmas week but I'll still try to sew.

  1. Finish 6 Anita's Arrowhead blocks
  2. Sew on a UFO

That's about all I can do, no stash here to tickle my brain.   
I did go to the quilt shop.  Since shops are feeling the recession too--I did my bit to stimulate the economy!

A lot of variety there!  Henrietta has already claimed this piece--

Beautiful bright chickens!  Henrietta has a weakness for chicken fabric--I wanted enough for a backing--but there was less than 2 yds.  Oh well, we'll just be frugal with it and bits and pieces will be tucked into projects.  

And then I saw this fabric----

So many different colors--do you think that is why I like it?   Hmmm--probably--a scrappy fabric!

Tonight Mason and I will make cookies.  Yesterday we dipped peanut butter balls--Mason was all excited until he found out he could only eat ONE--not all of them as he dipped them!   I've decided to stay in Minnesota until after Christmas, I had planned to go home in between--now I'm not sure when "in between" was!   

I doubt Ken has gotten the Christmas quilt out and put it on the bed.  I made it several years ago--yes, its hand pieced---and is made out of all Christmas fabrics. 

Grandmothers Flower Garden
A king size Grandmother's Flower Garden.  I had a lot of Christmas fabrics, and inherited some from my mother and grandmother's stashes.  Friends gave me some leftovers from their projects.  That Christmas stash was pretty large, I made two king size quilts and a queen size---pieced one backing--and the box still has quite a bit in it.  

Christmas Log Cabin
The log cabin quilt is on the wall--it doesn't look very big--but that wall is 8 foot from floor to ceiling--it covers from top to bottom.  The 3rd quilt is on a bed, its a Chinese coins quilt and its the smallest--a queen size.   I put the box of Christmas fabrics away, I'm not sure what to do with the rest.  

A week until Christmas, I have completed all my sewing gifts.  Are your Christmas projects finished?  Or will Santa find you sewing the last bit in place when he's delivering presents?  

Motivation Friday

Friday, December 16, 2011
Friday has rolled around too soon.  How did I do on my goals?  

I did make a few Arrowhead blocks---Mason helped--I finished 4 but have another 10 "in the process".   Mason and I sew together--I run the "gas" and he does the "forward" and "reverse".  

Anita's Arrowhead blocks
No sewing on any of the UFO's--I've managed to keep busy somehow!  

Wednesday night Mason and I went shopping.   We were looking for Christmas ornaments and some crafts supplies for his "arts and crafts" box.   We were in Hobby Lobby--and passed the fabric on the way to the bathrooms.  (3 yo boys can't hold it very long Grandma!)  So--we went back to the fabric because EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GOTTA LOOK!!  Mason saw--bug fabric!  Lady bug fabric!  Mason loves bugs.  (Laura Beth says all little boys love bugs.)  We bought enough for a sheet and a pillowcase for his bed.  

Mason and bug bedding!
Mason and Grandma are having lots of fun.  He helped grandma make an apple pie and cook french toast.  He helps Grandma sew---he removes the pins and puts them on the magnetic pincushion for.  He's found the long tape measure and measured the wall--"it's 8 pounds Grandma!"  He keeps asking when Grandpa will be here.  

I'm glad I can spend time with my grandchildren now---I can sew later!!

Monday Goals

Monday, December 12, 2011
My goals this week will be small, I'm still in Mankato being Grandma.  

  1. Make 6 Anita's Arrowhead Blocks
  2. Sew on a UFO

Can I put "visit a quilt store on my list"?   I just want to look.  I haven't stopped at the one downtown for at least a year!   Speak up--what was that??  I heard all those YESES!!  I agree--I will stop--after all, its the Christmas season--maybe I can spread purchase some joy?  It would make ME joyful!!

Would you like to see my sewing room away from home??

I have a sewing machine, a cutting table, an iron and a lamp.  Underneath the table are the UFO's I packed.  Those EZ Stor bags are wonderful--you can carry them by the handles and are see-through heavy duty plastic. 

It has warmed up a bit here in Minnesota, I was able to run errands today and pick up a few groceries.  How can one such small bundle of joy make 3 adults so tired??!!

Checking In

Saturday, December 10, 2011
We've had a busy week.   New baby on Wednesday---

Asher John -- 7 lbs 13 oz.   Everyone is home and we're keeping busy.  

Grandpa arrived on Thursday---

Ken hasn't forgot how to hold babies--he'll do fine!  Mason likes his new baby brother--

Look Mom--no hands!!  

There won't be much sewing, I brought some binding projects--Mason REALLY wants to help Grandma sew!  

Tuesday Goals

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I managed all my goals last week.  This week, well this week will be slower.   Monday I drove to Mankato to wait for the new baby.  My car was stuffed--I brought plenty of projects to work on "in between".   Today I ran errands so I can stay in out of the cold.  The temp tonight is 11°F.  I brought my warm jammies and my electric blanket is plugged in.  


  1. work on 3 binding projects
  2. make more Anita's Arrowhead blocks

That's enough, I'm sure there will be lots of other duties this week. 

Anita's Arrowhead blocks--these are blocks made using Anita Grossman Solomon's cutting method.  The blocks are complex to look at--but easy to make.  One cutting step, and you do all your trimming at the end when you square up the block.  I love it!  The book Rotary Cutting Revolution
has 8 different quilt blocks made with her one step cutting method.  It's a nice way to relax--I cut a stack of 8" squares so I could piece them while in Mankato.  

A few days of relaxing, sipping hot apple cider while admiring the decorated tree, cookies on a holiday tray.......!  Not here!   Life is Lucky Charms under the couch, Mason wanting Grandma to "play trucks", and Nick dashing out to fetch Laura Beth a sweet treat.  Life is good!!

I've Been Sewing

Thursday, December 1, 2011
Lots of sewing so far this week.  I finished binding the Yin Yang quilt for Henrietta.  The picture doesn't do it justice, it looks very yellowed and its not.  Rusts and browns and golds for the darks, and creamy background strips.  I know part of the background came from a Tonga Treat strip packet called "meringues".  Henrietta made this king size quilt out of batiks--and its gorgeous!   Its already in the mail to her son.

Adam's Yin Yang
It was too big to photograph the whole thing on my hanging rod--there is a lot not showing!   Henrietta doesn't usually make a king size--she was pooped when this one was done.  

Also finished was this QOV "Not So Top Secret 2" from Alycia.  I called this "the quilt that never ends".  Yeah--brain block and lots of frogging.  Henrietta finished piecing it--otherwise it would still be a UFO.  Thank you Henrietta!  

QOV That Never Ends
I would like one more quilt for that box before it goes to Alycia--so far it has the above quilt and the Double Slice Homespun.  I washed the Homespun--the dark tea dyed border didn't fade.  If it fades with time--that's okay--my hope is that the whole quilt fades and wears and sees lots of use!

I finished the binding on "Petey's" quilt and washed it--the leaves frayed nicely and I love the quilt.

Petey Quilt "Garden Lattice"
The backing is a soft blue flannel--snuggly and cozy.  

I know a lot of people wonder about quilting and fleece.  I do it--to get around the stretching and possible tucks is to mount the fleece on TOP.   Your pieced top goes on the BOTTOM.  You don't want to quilt fleece too densely, it gets stiff and hard--so a simple pantograph is all you need.  This is what it looks like when you quilt it----

Fleece being quilted--pantograph is Fantasia
Your thread will disappear down into the fleece when its washed--and the pieced top will look like any regular quilt.    I use a poly batting in these--I don't want to use a batting with lots of cotton that shrinks--the fleece back won't shrink, and with the fleece there is plenty of weight to the quilt without adding cotton batting.   

Last night I just "played" in the sewing room.  I needed a break--nose to the grindstone is wearing!

Monday Goals

Monday, November 28, 2011
Today Ken and I are driving home to South Dakota.  We're taking the scenic route--Ken is looking at farm machinery, and I'm on the lookout for quilt shops.

Goals for the week---
  1. quilt another top
  2. finishing the binding on Henrietta's two quilts
  3. finish binding on Petey's quilt 
  4. Play with a sample block
  5. Work on a piecing project

I'm going to get as much done as I can before I come back to Minnesota.  Laura Beth is due December 10th, and that's pretty close.  I need to start making a list of what to pack.  So far the list is-

sewing machine
cutting mat
sewing table
sewing case

Maybe socks and underwear should be on that list!  I did a little Black Friday shopping--I went to JoAnn's, Hancock's, and Hobby Lobby!  In the AFTERNOON--I knew they would still have plenty of fabric!   Nothing too exciting, fleece for backing a quilt, and flannel for burp clothes and other baby needs. 

I do have new pictures--these were taken in October at Minneopa State Park near Mankato.

Mason, Laura Beth, and Nick

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.  We ate too much turkey (of course)!

A New Favorite Tool

Saturday, November 26, 2011
Do you look at all the quilting tools out there? I do!  I saw a "Bias Tape Maker Machine".  Whoa!~!  Almost $100--no way!!  But then I saw the "tip"--you buy that separately.  I use tips to make different size bias for applique.  Now, why couldn't you use the 2.5" tip to make quilt binding, without the expensive machine?  So--I bought one. 

ITS THE NEXT BEST THING TO A ROTARY CUTTER!!  Seriously--I like bias binding.  I don't mind MAKING the bias binding.  I HATED the pressing of the binding.  I was always burning my fingers on the iron.  Had a zillion pins stuck to hold the binding while I ironed it.  It took forever!  

I made binding for a king size quilt.  Pressed it using the new tool.  Took me 15 minutes--maybe.  I never burned my fingers.  

I took a few pictures of how I use that tip.
First--you make your binding--and press all the seams the same way--AWAY from the tip.

Then--you thread one end of the binding through the tip and pin it at one end of your ironing board.  See the stick pin on the right?

I pull the binding tool with my left hand--ironing it flat as it comes out the tip.  When you get to a seam--you hold the pressed binding down with your right hand--and tug gently to pull the seam through.  You can pull/iron the entire length of your ironing board if you like.  Then--you reposition the binding back to the right (if you iron from right to left) and stick a pin in.  And press another ironing board length.   You only need the ONE pin, and the iron stays away from your fingers. 

Using that tool makes pressing binding a breeze.  I make binding 2.5" wide and then its folded in half--I sew a generous seam when I apply binding--easier to do, wears longer, and fills the binding on the inside.

Want one? Buy it here for $12 with free shipping. 

And that's why I have so many quilts ready to hand sew the binding!  

Double Slice Quilt is Finished

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Last week I saw a quilt on Doni's blog.   What caught my eye was the homespuns.  If you've ever worked with homespuns you understand.  The plaids and stripes are wonky.  It ravels and stretches and generally just doesn't behave!   I had a small stash of homespuns---mostly given to me from my favorite BIL--they had been his mother's.   I starched those homespuns into submission and started cutting.  Ummm--let's just say they weren't eye catching blocks.   More like "butt ugly".   I sent Henrietta a picture of the blocks sew together.  First there was silence---long silence--and then she said they were "Fnugly".  And she laughed hysterically.  Next I asked Ken to look at them hanging on my design wall.  He stared intently for a minute, then turned and said "this is one of those trick questions, isn't it??!!"  Well, THAT was no help!.  Next I asked Elaine.   Elaine had several suggestions and I used them.  Her suggestions helped turn the ugly duckling into a swan. 

Elaine's Double Slice
Elaine suggested a slubby muslin inner border.  Then--a narrow green TOT border.   Last--a brown border.   She said "simple quilting".   I used a cream thread and an allover pantograph.   It turned out exactly like I was hoping---a masculine quilt--there is not one floral fabric--the backing is pieced with more TOT green from the border, and a pretty cream print with pine cones.  The binding was on my cardboard roll--a homespun stripe and a navaho print in earthy colors.   And the best part--it was all from stash!  I almost threw the blocks out, but Elaine saw past them to a finished quilt.   Elaine---its all due to you!!  I'm very tempted to keep this quilt--but its going to be a QOV--I'll send it to Alycia later. 

Have you ever had a quilt that "almost" threw out before it was finished---and then loved how it turned out??

Monday Goals--Thanksgiving Week

Monday, November 21, 2011
My only goal this week is hand sewing of bindings.  I now have a small pile of quilts to that point.

I haven't started hand sewing on these yet

7 quilts are waiting or in the process of hand sewing the binding.  Whew!

With Thanksgiving this week, there won't be much time to sew.  I plan to play with Mason and cook the turkey.  Maybe Mason and I will have time to make cookies.  I miss my cooking buddy.  
I wish you all a Peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving.

Motivation Friday

Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday was very busy--just imagine it's Friday!  Check on those goals---I did finish quilting the QOV and loaded another top on the long arm.  I haven't worked on Petey quilt--but I have a good excuse!  My right index finger has a cut right across the pad on the end--ouch!   I was cutting up chicken breasts--and from the repeated pushing down on the blade of the knife with my index finger (the back side of the blade must have sharp corners) I have a nice bruised cut.  Since I couldn't hand sew, I kept busy quilting and working on machine sewing projects. 

I haven't any quilty pictures--but remember I said I was working with chicken breasts?  I was canning them--I had bought almost TWO coolers full.   Probably at least 50-55 pounds.  Why--they were on sale for $.88 @ lb (whole with bone and skin).  In the fall I usually can three large turkeys.  But these breasts were quite cheap so I canned them.  How much did I get?

Canned Chicken Breasts
35 packed pint jars.  I quickly pressure cooked the breasts one evening---then I set them outside in big pots on my deck--in a wooden box with a lid.  The box kept all the varmints away that might want to investigate the wonderful smells in those pots!  The next day I removed the fat (its cold here--the fat rose to the top overnight on the broth and solidified), cut the breasts up removing the skin and bones.  Packed my jars fairly tight and boiled the broth down to pour over the meat in jars.  I had added lots of chunked onion, carrots and celery with the leaves when I cooked the chicken.  No salt, no other seasoning.  I strained the broth--throwing away the veggies, they were pretty pathetic by then!

Why do I can meat??  Its easy.  It won't take up freezer space.  Laura Beth and Nick find it handy for those days when they come home from work, nothing is thawed out, and Mason is ready to chew on your leg--he's a 3 yo and he's hungry NOW!  Several casserole recipes on hand, and if all else fails--make chicken salad sandwiches!    Its one of those "emergency" foods we have on hand for when you get company unexpectedly and need to cook FAST!

We finished emptying the camper, had the dealer winterize it, and took it to storage late yesterday afternoon.  I'm always sad when I park it--but snow, freezing rain, and high winds were predicted--so its good its put away.  We missed most the storm--but its cold and I see tiny skiffs of snow outside. 

Tonight we have Thanksgiving at a nephew's--all I had to make was a salad.  Next week I am cooking Thanksgiving at Laura Beth and Nick's.   Tomorrow I have nothing planned, I'm going to spend it sewing!  

Design Wall and Monday Goals

Monday, November 14, 2011
I have this Scrappy Blue Bargello on the wall.   So far border fabric hasn't jumped out and screamed "USE ME USE ME".  

Scrappy Blue Bargello
There isn't any of that blue left.  I'm sure I'll find something.  

All the blue "25 in 25" blocks are done.  Next is to do math for the sashing and borders.  I did a little quilting, a QOV is on the long arm.  Not much to see, but I was playing with the camera trying to take pictures of the quilting.
Waterworld on QOV
Its a simple pantograph---Waterworld by Jodi Beamish using tan thread. 
Goals for this week---

  1. Finish Petey quilt binding
  2. Finish quilting QOV
  3. Load another top

I still have a crick in my neck, and added one in my left arm and shoulder.  Nothing new--I've had it before.  Yesterday we carried most the camper "stuff" in and I've been sorting and putting away.  Found two more cake mixes!   

Lots of errands this week, won't be much time for sewing.  

Veterans Day, Motivation Friday

Friday, November 11, 2011
Today is Veteran's Day.  Remember to thank those who served

Time to check on my goals.  There's been a lot of sewing here! 

Quilted Petey top, made binding, sewed it on. Now its ready for the hand stitching

Work on a UFO--pulled out Sunny Lanes flimsey and put on the borders.  Whew--its a king size, was a bit awkward.

Found a quilted scrappy bargello and applied a scrappy binding--two sections I'd saved on my cardboard tube

Trimmed a kids brite quilt, now its ready for binding

Loaded a QOV

Hmmm--I've done my goals from Monday--except a fun block. 

My progress
I decided to start a new project---I love the pattern "25 in 25" and decided to make it in blues.   2" strips---so I pulled out blues.  I cut 50 different blue fabrics.  While I had the fabric out and flat, I also cut 2.5" strips, and if the piece had a chunk cut out somewhere--I evened it out and put those cuts in the scrap box.  I have all the strip sets sewn and pressed, ready for cutting.

Blue 2.5" strips and Extra 2" strips
Here's my extra strips, all tied up nicely with a selvage.    There are probably enough 2" strips for another project.  Unless I miscalculated--which I often do!  And a whole bunch of 2.5" strips---good prospect for a quilt that uses jelly rolls. 

The camper is being emptied.  I've had a bad crick in my neck--just a muscle spasm--but it sure incapacitates me.   Ken brought in the canned goods.   Why did I have 6 regular cans of tuna--and one MONGO size can?   I've not that fond of tuna!  Five cake mixes.   Still more to be unloaded, but I like to put away the stuff as it comes in, lots of sorting.  There are items that will be stored in boxes in the basement until next year.