Holiday Table Runners

I've been sewing Christmas table runners for the last week and a half. They aren't anything all that fancy, just simple patchwork. I want to try and use up my scrap pieces of Christmas fabrics and even though I just completed 7 runners, I don't think I made much of a dent. It feels good to get these done before the holiday season comes.

It's been a very busy time around here lately. Last Friday we had a new furnace and central air installed, Saturday we drove to Madison to pick up my husband's new truck and on Monday, the radon guy installed a radon mitigation system in the house. My husband has been retired since November 1 and we are getting as much done as we can before settling into our new routine. I wish I had more sewing time but it's just not happening and that's OK. It's great to get all these important things completed.


Vintage Farm Girl Sampler Quilt

Vintage Farm Girl Sampler
Today I finished my Vintage Farm Girl Sampler quilt. A few weeks ago I took the quilt to my local senior center and used their long arm machine to quilt it. I just love the way the quilting complemented the top.

I planned on using green for the binding - the same solid green as I used on the back, however I didn't have enough left. So I headed to the quilt shop where I got the backing to get more. Unfortunately the bolt was gone. I searched for some other green since I really wanted the binding to blend in instead of stand out. As I looked around, there was a 1-yard remnant on the shelf and lo and behold it was the fabric I was looking for! I really felt lucky.

I sewed the binding on earlier this week and finished hand-stitching it to the back this morning. I hope it will qualify for the Wisconsin State Fair next summer.


The 'Joy' Quilt

Today I finished up the 'Joy' quilt and I made a pillow cover to go along with the quilt. Working with flannel is a challenge for me and to add fleece to the mix just made the project that much more complex. Let's just say it wasn't all that fun dealing with the stretchy-ness of both the flannel and fleece and then add some tension issues when trying to quilt through the fleece and it was a recipe for frustration. After having the thread break at least a dozen times (whenever I stitched through the fleece) I finally figured out the proper tension setting. I'm not really complaining as all things difficult are learning experiences but I'm certain I won't be doing another fleece project any time soon.
So here's to kicking off the holiday season with a finished quilt and a matching pillow cover. I hope my client likes the finished project. I do love how whimsical this little cutie turned out.


My Latest Little Purchase

There's so much going on around here it seems that lately sewing has taken a back seat (yes, that was meant to be a play on words). Our neighborhood rummage sale is this upcoming weekend so we are cleaning out the garage, the basement, the shed, the closets and drawers and everything else that we can find to clean out. We've set up tables and price marked everything that isn't nailed down. We are ready.

Over the summer, I've been searching for the most perfect little 'me' car. I was hoping to find it sooner but every time I would come close to finding what I was looking for, when I inquired it would already be sold. Then Saturday night, I found this little sweetheart. I instantly e-mailed the dealership and asked if I could schedule a test drive. On Monday afternoon my husband and I took her for a spin and voila! On Tuesday I was taking her home. Since it's already fall I don't anticipate many more top-down days but I will enjoy the ones I can still get - in fact, it was probably better that it took me this long to find this - I got a better deal than I anticipated.

Doesn't this look like a fun way to go shop-hopping to quilt stores and for driving to quilt expos during the spring and summer? I think so.


What's on the design board?

I've had this project waiting for me for quite a while (all summer long) and I am finally getting to it. It's a client project where the request is "can you make a lap quilt with my daughter's old pjs? Her name is Joy and it make a great Christmas present. Can you also incorporate the ruffles in the quilt as well?" After thinking all summer long as to how I was going to go about it, I came up with these large blocks.
I started with some fleece to use as the background fabric. I cut the fleece into strips and hated the bulk of the whole thing. I also wondered how I would quilt something totally made of fleece. I was trying to ignore my general dislike of fleece and come up with a way to make it work. It wasn't happening. So I dug out some fleece from my stash and stitched strips around the fleece. I liked the feel, but hated the colors I used. I tried using a soft pink like the Joy applique and I tried using a bright green that is also found within the applique. Both did not work. After a trip to the fabric store, I had the right colors for the blocks. 

I stitched the strips onto the fleece squares and ended up with the results shown here. I have enough Joy blocks to alternate with the plain dotted fleece blocks. I will end up with 4 rows of 4 blocks each. I think I really need to make this 5 rows of 4 blocks each. I definitely have enough fabric to make more dotted fleece blocks but no more applique blocks. I'm considering adding in some blocks framed with white fleece and maybe even adding back the soft pink block.  I will have to make a white block and maybe incorporate the ruffles then see how that looks before moving to the next decision.  The next think I have to consider is whether I should square up the blocks and make them wonky or just square them up straight. 

For now, I think I need to work on something else and think about it for a while. I don't want to make and decisions I will regret later.


Canning Peaches

Today I canned some peaches. It will most likely be the last time I can get fresh peaches directly from a farmers' market so I thought I should take advantage while they were still available. I always can the peaches in white grape juice, the sugar content is so much less than traditional simple syrup mixtures used for canning fruits. And my daughter loves them as much as I do so it's nice to have someone to share them with so I don't end up with too many jars. I have learned to can the peaches in the small jars. I used to use the pint jars and I would have to each peaches every day for a week to finish them all up or risk having them spoil once opened. With these half-pint jars I am relieved of that stress - ha!


Piece Out Quilt

I completed the Piece Out quilt from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. Block Idea Book - Fall Vol.3 Issue 5. The pattern requires a jelly roll and some yardage for the background and borders. Since it's made from jelly roll strips, this goes together rather quickly.

I grabbed a fall jelly roll from my stash. I purchased it last September at the Madison Quilt Expo so it spent a lot of time just hanging out on my shelf. It was time to use it up. I did have a little hiccup; the half square triangles get sewn to the upper left corner of each block and during my chain piecing, I accidentally turned a group of blocks the wrong way and sewed the half square triangles on  the wrong corner. I realized it a bit too late - after I trimmed away the corners. I ended up having to re-do only two of the squares to finish the quilt top. Phew! That was a close call.

The final result is a warm, fall quilt just in time for the sew season. The funny thing is that the weather here in southeastern Wisconsin is unusual right now. It's been over 90 degrees every day for about a week now. That makes it difficult to think about fall at all.


Bendy Plushie

This is Bendy, a cartoon character from a show called Bendy and the Ink Machine. My granddaughter, Chloe just loves the characters from the show. She watches YouTube videos with Bendy in them all the time.

Last week Chloe asked me if I could make a Bendy plushie. I said sure. I say yes to pretty much everything she asks for that is not harmful (and so far I don't think Bendy is terribly harmful). He's a little creepy but she generally likes those kinds of things. She also likes the big dinosaurs in Jurassic World and all the Pokemon characters.

I took this image of bendy and thought I would start from there. I asked Chloe about the colors and she told me that Bendy is really black and white but this version is more yellowish because there's now a video game with Bendy and he shows up in the game in these colors. She would prefer her plushie was in black and white as she explained that those are his original colors.

So I found another image that would be easy to use as a pattern. I took the image and enlarged it to where it would be a nice size for a pattern and cut it out. The hard part was going to be figuring out how to get the details created. I wanted to just copy the entire image onto a piece of fabric, cut it out and stuff it but that would require lots of expensive printer ink and it wouldn't be very personal. I just did not want to do any hand embroidery. I decided that felt and machine stitches would be a great way to get it done within a reasonable amount of time.

It's not that I'm against spending lots of time on making things for my granddaughter, it's that I don't like spending time on things that she will probably decide she doesn't care about anymore in about a month. Chloe is only 7 and her likes and dislikes change pretty regularly. I think my cheesy replica will do for now. And if she is still enamored with this character at Christmastime, I just might make a bigger, better version.
Bendy and the Ink Machine