Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finish #2

I finished the wedding quilt tonight! it is in the wash (with 2 color catchers, of course) as I write this. The picture above shows the dotted binding that I used and I am very pleased with it. I can send it home with the groom's mother and that way don't have to cross my fingers when I put it in the mail. After it dries I'll take more pictures of the finish.

This is the last big thing on my "before surgery" to-do list. I really wanted to get this one finished since I won't be sewing for a while. I'll just be looking at pretty pictures of quilts instead.

I went to the post office today and couldn't believe the new stamps they had there. I just love these LOVE stamps. I don't recall ever seeing such pretty colors on a postage stamp. It almost looks like a quilt, don't you think?

 These stamps were just fun. At least buying stamps you know you can use them. I know I should just buy lots of forever stamps but I love to use different stamps when I send cards to friends.

Last day before surgery tomorrow. Sadly, I think that cleaning is at the top of the list. Oh, what fun!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I love little quilts!

I love little quilts because you can finish them quickly. This is the little quilt/table mat that I started just a few days ago. I cut the fabric into 5" squares and just added the sashing. I do love the black and tan check fabric.  I just finished the binding and now it is in the wash (always with fingers crossed and a color catcher thrown in.). I really tried to make them more random and then of course, you switch something and two of the same are next to each other. Hmmm. I am pleased with the results and can't wait to send it on its way.

The back isn't fancy but I do like the way the binding contrasts with the muslin. I used straight lines again and variegated thread. One of these days I will get brave enough to get fancier but in the meantime...I have a finished quilt.

I did learn one lesson with this quilt. I pieced the binding and without realizing it (that happens when you are in a hurry) the binding at one corner was exactly where the fabrics were pieced. Everything was sewed and cut before I knew it. The corner is a little wonky but then the Navajos do believe there should always be a mistake in their work. I like that idea a lot. Does it make it look more handmade?

My sister sent this link to me this morning. It is truly awesome but definitely not going on my bucket list. Hope you can copy and see the link.

I'm heading back to sewing. Now I have to work on finishing the binding on the big quilt. Won't be as fast but it will get done. I have said how much I enjoy the hand sewing, right?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Post Irene and a little sewing

 The storm came and went and thankfully didn't do too much damage here. I loved what they did at the grocery store to keep their cart hangers in place. I haven't been back there to see if it worked.

These were the ominous clouds before the rain and wind began. Our rain started about 1:00pm and went into the next day. The heavy rain and wind came in the middle of the night and I must admit I slept through it. We were very lucky in our area because there wasn't too much damage and we didn't lose our power. Not all others were so fortunate.

The storm ended here about 2:00 and we even had some sun at the end of the day. What a difference a day makes. These are some of my great neighbors. We got together for a post-Irene dinner. Our patios were too wet so the driveway was our dining spot. Just love my neighbors!

I even managed to do some sewing when I wasn't watching the wall-to-wall coverage of the storm. This is one block for the small table cover I'm making for someone special. I have to make 8 more blocks like this and then put them together. I really like the checked fabric I used in the middle. Can't wait to get back to it. 

If you were in the storm path, how did you spend your time? May there be sunnier and brighter days ahead. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Here comes Irene

No, this is not the view we are looking at now. Living outside of Philadelphia, we are waiting for Hurricane Irene. It is really hard to know what to expect. They have changed the forecast a bit but still expect to have a big storm coming our way. I have gathered together bottled water, some non-perishable food, flashlights, battery operated radio... I think I'm ready.

One of the things they are warning about is power outages. The crawl at the bottom of the TV says they could last as long as 96 hours. I sure hope not!

I do, of course, have some sewing projects ready to go. If we keep our power, I'm going to work on a small table runner/square with the fabric above. This is meant to be a surprise birthday present for a birthday next weekend. Not a lot of wiggle room here since my surgery is on Friday and after that I won't be able to sew for at least 5-6 weeks. I plan to keep it simple and quick so I can get it in the mail.

If the power goes out, I can hand sew the binding on the other quilt during the day. Without lights at night, I will use my book light and read. What a plan. Still hoping that the power stays on but have to be ready just in case.

My day will start with breakfast with a few quilting friends. After that, who knows. Most of the next two days will just be spent inside watching the storm and hoping for the best.

I hope you will stay dry and safe wherever you may be. Take care. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The other side

Okay, so I think my sister is reading this and shaking her head because she can't believe I'm showing this but this is the other side of the bed. The lovely half-circle table is a bit obscured by the books piled on it. I'm showing this since one of my friends commented yesterday that I needed to make sure that I had plenty of books to read while I recover from my shoulder surgery. That is not a problem. I have a book stash to rival my fabric stash. I think I have a deep-seated fear of being without something to read so I enter a book store the same way I enter a quilt shop. Eyes gleaming, heart pounding and wallet wide open.
I am still a book reader. I love to hold the books, turn the pages and visually see how far I am into the book. I'm sure that someday I will succumb and get an e-reader but not yet. The only problem will be trying to decide which book to read next.

I just finished reading Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. It was an amazing book. It is the sequel to her book, Shanghai Girls. I am always amazed by the amount of research authors do to write a book of this scope. It is well worth the read.

After looking at the first picture I decided I needed to show the table without the books. The top is decoupaged with flowers and the legs are painted different colors. I do love this piece of furniture too.

Now back to the sewing. Almost finished!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Almost there

Before I go back to sewing I thought I would share my progress on the quilting. After I ripped out all the stitches, I started over again and used the straight line stitching. I'm stitching in the ditch going in one direction and I really like the way it looks. The thread is variegated and looks good on the backing. I have 2-3 more lines to do and then I can stitch the border and add the binding. I think I'll make it!

I wanted to share my new little find with you. I was at the gift shop yesterday and this came in to be sold. I grabbed it up immediately because I knew I had the perfect spot for it. The one I did have in that spot was too small and had no space for anything. The drawers of this little chest are even lined instead of just plain wood. So happy with this. The drawers already have things in them.

I've made a little progress on my list today. Trying to get some things finished before I have my surgery next Friday. Today I used my little Green Machine and took a few spots off the carpet. It actually worked and then I had to ask myself why I waited so long. Aaaaah, procrastination!

I hope you're making progress on your lists too, whatever may be on them!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quilts and the Outdoors - Perfect together

As I'm reviewing the pictures I took today, I almost don't know where to begin. I traveled to Clinton, NJ today for the Quilts at the Red Mill Quilt Show. Because of thunderstorm warnings, the show almost didn't happen but the weather cooperated and they were able to open. It is sponsored by the wonderful shop, Kindred Quilts, which we visited after the show. Clinton is a lovely town and this shop is one to visit if you're in the area.

We were not at all disappointed. The quilts were exhibited in a wonderful setting and were a great combination of old and new, big and small. My friend asked which was my favorite and that was impossible to say. I am going to try and show you a sampling of the quilts that were there. If you don't like to look at quilts, you can stop here. But you know, you can't look at just one!

Have a bench to show off your quilts?

Or a high staircase?

Perfect for the coming season.

These two blocks were perfect together. 

Over the door?

This hand-quilted whole cloth quilt was stunning!

They were prepared to close up quickly if the rain started!

Wonderful vistas to see.

Perfect walkthrough...

Just love the rustic and the textile.


This center was stitched and colored in with crayons. 

Everywhere you looked. 

Blue and white...

times two

Color, color, color

Flowers in the trees.

Closeup, the leaves were in the fabric. I want it!

Great stone wall

I think these were two of my favorites and so different. The green and white was a first quilt.

And the small ones. 

Simple but wonderful 

Like those funky quilts.

And stars abound.

I hope this gave you a taste of the quilts. There were more than I showed but I figured I had to stop somewhere. If you are in the area next year, be sure to visit this wonderful show!
I'm off to sew!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Starting over and more yummy fabric

The ripping out is finished and I'm starting over. I went to my local quilt shop (Byrne Sewing Connection in New Britain, PA) and got some great advice from a few of the ladies there. I just made the first line and it came out very well. One thing I will do is check each line before I go on to the next. I think that may be like "measure twice, cut once" in a different way. I made the stitch length longer and I think I really like the way it looks. Now I just have to keep on trucking. (Or as Nemo would say, keep swimming!)

In my dilemma over the quilting, I forgot to mention that I got some wonderful fabric in the mail. I am trying not to buy any more fabric but I had to have this Hometown fabric by Sweetwater. This one is filled with hometowns that people submitted. I haven't checked them all but love the idea.

In red,

and gray and blue. Hmmm, I wonder how Paducah got in there?

This one is filled with names related to homes. 

And I love the polka dots that go with it.

I did hold back a lot since I really wanted to buy it all but  once in a while I can exercise some restraint.

We have been having very unsettled weather for the past few days. Some heavy thunderstorms just went through the area and I'm not sure they are finished. I'm going to an outdoor quilt show on Sunday so my fingers are crossed that it stays clear for the weekend.

Have a wonderful weekend, whatever your plans may be. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The seam ripper is my friend

So, I did get some sewing done today but then started ripping it all out. I decided to just use the straight quilting that I have seen on many blogs. That was fine but the thread was not cooperating and I just don't like it. As much as I hate to do it, I'm crying uncle and starting over. I was using variegated thread and I think it might just be too thick. And not crazy about the colors as they show up on the back. I would love to hear from some of you and what kind of thread you use for your machine quilting. I need help.

As I looked through some pictures I realized that I never shared my new chair. This is another chair that was painted by our art teacher from school. Isn't it great!!! I just gave her the chair I had in my house and she painted the seat white and added the wildflowers. So talented. This one is going into my guest room.

Finally, I have to share that I went to see The Help tonight. I read the book when it first came out and loved it. I have to say that I loved the movie too. So run, don't walk, to your nearest theater to see it. It was very funny tonight to watch people come in as I waited for my friends. I think it may have been Book Club night at the movies. Hordes of women were streaming into the show. But, don't be fooled, I think men will appreciate the movie too. Funny, sad and at times, pretty disturbing. Well worth a look.