New Year's Resolutions (well, sort of)

This is my new year's resolution list for this year. I've wanted to do the bag projects for a very long time. I figured the best way to actually do them is to put them on my priority list and what better way than to call them a new year's resolution!

Farm Girl Vintage Sampler Quilt

Tula Pink 100 City Blocks (this is a very ambitious goal)


A Fall Quilt - WIP

I've been working on this quilt for some time now. It's one of those projects that gets worked on then put aside, then worked on then put aside... So I finally got this beauty to the point where I can actually quilt it! I made the backing from two coordinating prints. They were almost solids; just a little marbling effect in the fabrics made them a bit more interesting than regular solids. One print was a dark green and the other a nice warm orange.

Once I completed the backing, I ironed it flat before I spread it out to make the quilt sandwich. I realized that I was not all that fond of the dark green color. I decided to use it anyway since it was one of the colors that complimented the fabrics used on the front. It seemed too plain but I really thought that after some quilting, it might look more interesting.

After completing the quilting on the center section of the quilt, I looked at my work. Now I really hated that backing. So I let the quilt sit while preparing for Christmas.

A few days ago I decided to take another look at the quilting on the quilt. Still hated it. I decided it's time to rip it out. I think in the back of my mind I was already prepared to do it I just had to pull the trigger. So I started to rip on Monday.

I ripped on Tuesday.
And Wednesday.
Thursday my husband had a heart procedure so we spent the day at the hospital.
Today I finished ripping! Phew! It's all out and now I can start over with new backing.

Custom Sewing Table

Ever since I got my new sewing machine, my custom sewing table has been a little difficult to use. My old machine was recessed into the table. My new machine is much bigger than the old one so it doesn't quite fit in the opening.

My husband has the next two weeks off for Christmas break so he plans on completing some fun (fun for him anyways) projects. Today he decided to tackle getting my new machine to fit into the old space. I am so happy he has decided not to waste a single minute of his precious time off.

He took some measurements and started cutting away. Now I know it's pretty impossible to get it exact when working with a pre-existing hole in the table top, but he was bound and determined to make it work as best as possible.

He is definitely more of a perfectionist than me, I just want a workable space...don't really care what it looks like. He can do whatever is necessary to recess the machine into the table.

After hearing a lot of cutting, drilling and vacuuming, it was done. Jeff says I should use it for a few days and then let him know if he should do any adjusting. So far, I love it. I have to admit that I had a little trouble adjusting to it at first. I was reaching for the controls without looking at them and now that everything is lower, I was reaching too high.
I am so very lucky.


Christmas Table Topper

I wanted a new Christmas table topper for my kitchen table so I thought I would whip one up. I have some leftover 2 1/2-inch strips from another project and I love the fabric so much that I really want to use it.

I cut the strips into 2 1/2-inch squares and made a patchwork top. I made as many rows as I could with the fabric I had. I used some of the larger pieces that weren't cut into strips yet for the inner and outer borders and I used the scraps left after that for the back.

I found a scrap of batting from my stash and free-motion quilted it. I also dug out the leftover binding from the original project and used the rest here.

This is what I came up with:

Sweetwater Holly's Tree Farm Table Runner


Pyramid Power Bag Class

Three weeks ago I took a class called Pyramid Power Gift Bags. We were to learn how to use a Jelly Bean zipper in a funky shaped bag. The instructor was a school teacher who does sewing classes as a side-job. She was a very pleasant instructor with the right demeanor and temperament to teach us old-lady-set-in-our-ways quilters. (OK maybe that's just me I'm talkin' about!)

I liked getting some good instruction on when to use which stabilizer and how to make bags have lots of body. In this project we used different weight stabilizers in both the outside of the bag and the lining. It never occurred to me to do both.

I chose not to use a Jelly Bean zipper but instead use a Jelly Freedom zipper, where you cut the zipper to your specific length then add the zipper pull later. We were supposed to cut the pieces prior to class but I did not do that because my fabric is directional. I did not want to end up cutting everything sideways, if that makes any sense. 

Since the class was small, I worried needlessly about taking up the instructor's time just to get my pieces cut. I cut them during the class then waited for instruction to install the zipper. The instructor showed me how the zipper goes in and I stitched it down. Once I had it installed and top-stitched in place, I sewed the rest of the seams to complete the project. Only there was a problem...

The fabric was directional! I got it cut in the right direction but when I put the zipper on, I did it upside-down. Arrrgghh...Even though it was my fault, I do wish the instructor would have taken notice and mentioned that the finishing seam directions mattered. Oh was a learning experience for everyone.
Pyramid Zipper Pouch


Sweet Sundays Quilts

I sewed labels on the 15 quilts that are set to go to the VA Hospital tomorrow.

I made the labels using my printer and a piece of muslin fabric. It's an easy process where I just iron muslin on a piece of freezer paper, cut it to 8.5" x 11" and run it through my printer. I then peel the muslin off the freezer paper, iron the muslin to set the ink, then apply Heat N' Bond Lite to the back.

I used to try to put the Heat N' Bond on the muslin then run it through the printer but I found that sometimes the fabric jammed in the printer. When that happened, it was an expensive waste of the Heat N' Bond. And freezer paper can be used over and over again so that is definitely the cheaper thing to do.

So I ironed the labels on the quilts then using a zig-zag stitch, I sewed around each label. Done.

My husband's American Legion group will be delivering these to the veterans tomorrow night. My church group is so happy to be able to give these little gifts to them.


Happiness is . . .

This is the view out of my patio door today. It's a good indicator that I made the right plan for the day. And that plan is to decorate the Christmas tree.

My husband put the tree up on Thursday evening. We knew a winter storm was coming over the weekend so it made sense to get the tree into the house before the snow flies.

Yesterday he put the lights on the tree and it is ready to be decorated today. And what better time than to do it than during the Packers game while we watch the snow come down!

Happiness is . . . being home-bound for the day.


Tonka Truck Quilt - Completed

I free-motion quilted this baby quilt for a friend. She made this quilt to give as a Christmas gift so I had to make sure to get it done pretty quickly.

I was happy that I stocked up on Warm N' Natural cotton batting last month for just these kinds of things.

I used a nice yellow variegated thread on the back and I would have taken a photograph of it but the black and white striped fabric is very hard to look at. I used a larger meander to imitate the roads on the fabric print. I love the whimsy and the colors in this baby quilt.


Poppy Bag

I made this book bag using the measurement I found from a free online tutorial. I would post the link here but I can't seem to find it anymore. But I promise that all I used were the measurements of the main bag, the rest was all me.

I made an exterior pocket on this bag and some interior ones as well. I also added a zipper closure. I liked the measurements because they fit a file folder and I plan on using the bag for my Legion paperwork.

I am on the board of directors for Unit 434 of the American Legion Auxiliary and it's best to keep thing organized. I picked up the fabric for this bag because of the pretty poppy pattern. Poppies are a central "theme" for the Women's Auxiliary so it made sense to use them in this project.


What's on the design board?

Batik Fabrics
I used a pattern called Strips and Ladders to make this lap quilt top.

The pattern is not an easy one to follow but with a little maneuvering, I got to this point.

I used a fat quarter bundle made up of some pretty green, blue and purple batiks. I have never used batiks before; I'm not all that fond of them. I do have to admit that they are easy to work with since there's no right or wrong side and the process they go through to dye them makes the fabrics a little stiffer which makes cutting more accurate.

After moving the blocks around on the design board a bit, I came up with this layout. I made these blocks in 1 day. Such a quick quilt to do.