My Little Helper

Sewing Room kitty
This is my daughter-in-law's cat, Nomad. He is temporarily living with me; I've had him here with me for 9 months now. He is a very social boy and since I am home all day, he spends the majority of his time with me. Lately in the morning he even beats me to the sewing studio.

There have been many days where I want to check my email before I start sewing but I cannot. I don't want to disturb my little sleeping friend. My desk chair has become his favorite early day sleeping spot. The chair faces west so it makes sense that he would sleep on it, there's no morning sun to overheat him during these summer months.

In the winter he always slept on the blanket chest in my bedroom with the eastern morning sun covering him. His routine is so linked to mine that if I sleep late, he lets me know he is not happy about it. We are so in sync, I just adore him.

Soon he will be moving out and I will miss him dearly.


Memorial Shirt Pillow Cover

A few months back I completed a memorial t-shirt quilt for an acquaintance. At her request, I took the leftover shirt pieces and turned them into pillow covers. Her plan was to give them as gifts to her sons and stepsons in memory of her husband however, she just could not part with any of them. And I made her 8 of them. So she requested 5 more. I incorporated pieces of a few different shirts into each pillow cover thinking that each piece of fabric might represent specific memories. Each rectangle is made from a piece of a polo shirt and the sashing was made from strips cut from a cotton oxford shirt. I think they will make a nice gift for any of her family members.
T-Shirt Pillow Cover


Little Monsters Quilt - Completed

I finished my little monsters quilt today. It's been difficult to find time to sew lately because my husband had rotator cuff surgery yesterday. Not that his surgery is a huge burden on me, however, he did commit to completing my granddaughter's loft bed he's making before the surgery date arrived. That meant I was going to be putting the finishing coats of urethane on the bed frame since I'm home all day.

The project would have been completed in plenty of time but the weather was not cooperating. We needed some days where the temps were over 50 (according to the back of the urethane can) and that's been rare in the past month. I was happy to help out. But it did take away from time at my sewing machine.

So now that the bed is done, I am happy to be back in my sewing room and out of the workshop. After all the applique on this little quilt, I chose to just machine quilt around each block and keep it simple. I found some really cute fabric for the back and chose to use a stripe for the binding. This project allowed me the opportunity to map out each block myself and determine all the block sizes on my own.

Things are much easier with a pattern but this sure was an economical way to get the job done.

Quilts for Kids - Basket Weave Turtle Quilt

The Quilter's Palette pattern
I made this quilt using the book, A Quilter's Palette. I love this book because it gives great suggestions for using a wide range of color options and various sizes in quilt blocks.

I used the Basket Weave block instructions found on page 187 in the book. It tells you how to figure the size of each piece in order to make the block accurately. For example, the instructions read: you will need a small square and a large square twice the size of the small square. I don't have to do any complicated math calculations to use up the fabric that I have. I love that.

I used some quilts for kids fabrics to try out the instructions and the results were great. I just wish my photos came out brighter; the yellow is very pretty and bright next to the turtle fabric.
The Quilter's Palette pattern


Fabric from the 80's

I've been cleaning out the basement when I came across two Rubbermaid bins full of  fabric. They belonged to my daughters and contain the leftovers from projects they completed during their high school and college days. This is definitely stuff they do not want anymore so I sorted through the bins and washed all the fabric pieces that are big enough to be reusable. I think my church sewing group will love getting their hand on this.


Selvage Blocks

Lately when I am in my sewing studio I've been getting a closed-in feeling. It happens whenever my scrap piles start to run over and my unfinished projects stay unfinished. I really need to sort, purge and put things back in their proper places however I find that difficult to do when things are unfinished. The answer to the problem sounds so easy...just finish things but that's not how my mind works. 
Somehow clutter makes my creative juices flow. And I am staring at my selvage basket with its overflowing strips of pretty colors. I stop working on my current projects and decide to make a selvage block. I cut a 9-inch wide piece of muslin from the bolt and make 9 x 9-inch squares out of the strip. As I sort and iron a few of the selvages, I start to feel a sense of accomplishment just from tackling the overflowing basket. But I haven't even made anything yet! Not even a single block. 

I looked at a few blogs regarding making selvage blocks in order to pick up a few tips on how to get started. The best advice I could find was to make a straight line in the center of the muslin in order to keep the selvage strips straight as I build each block. Once one block was done I was hooked. Within two days I made 30 blocks and totally emptied my selvage strip scrap basket.

So now I have another unfinished quilt project to add to my angst but it sure was fun making those blocks.


Tin Can Wind Chimes - WIP

Tin can wind chimesI am working on a project with my granddaughters where we will make some wind chimes out of cans. I've collected soup cans, coffee cans and other cans so I have a variety of sizes for this little project. The only problem I've had is weather. I needed to spray paint the cans and the chances of me having the free time and getting a warm, sunny day at the exact same time needed to happen.  Our Wisconsin weather has been terribly unpredictable this year so there hasn't been very many nice days.

I took the cans outside, shook the chalkboard spray paint can and got it done. I was starting to wonder if it would ever happen. Now I have to get some cording to string the little cans to the big cans. In the meantime, I will have my granddaughters paint some of their wonderful artistic creations on the cans. Once that dries we will use some chalk to draw some more on the cans before we string them altogether.

I think this will make a nice birthday gift for their mama. I will post our progress as we get the painting done!


What's on the design board?

The last few weeks have been rainy and windy and cold. Unseasonably cold. That means there's no spring planting, gardening or yard work going on around here which seems like a great reason to work on a new quilt. 

I will admit that I saw this scary monster pattern online and I loved it. However, the pattern price was pretty steep. So steep that this one-income-family member rarely spends money on anything that is not necessary and this was definitely not a necessary expense. That does not mean I couldn't come up with my own version of said pattern.  

There's an old saying in the web design world...good designers borrow, great designers steal. I think this might be close to stealing. However, in my defense, this project is for my pleasure only, not to be sold or recreated again. It's just a little something that I can have my granddaughters work on with me (they will be putting the pupils of the eyes on all the monsters). Then they can have it when it's done.

So here it is, on the design wall for a little while longer. It's going to be a fun summer project for the girls.
Monster Quilt blocks