Saturday

Missouri Star Disappoints

The Missouri Star Quilt Company's black Friday special was $200 and get a bolt of fabric free deal. I thought holy cow, that's a lot of fabric. Then my husband challenged me to get to $200. I did that easily and I placed the order. That was on the 24th of November. During the first week of December I got an apology email from them stating that they are way behind on filling their orders due to the volume and their inadequate inventory system which was being upgraded.

They did not waste any time in taking the money from my account back in November for my order.

On December 15th I received a notice in my email that the order had shipped. I got a notice that the box was left on my porch but it was not there. A few hours after that my neighbor called to tell me my package was left on their porch. Grrr!

When I opened the box, there was an apology note stating that this was a partial order blaming that bad inventory system. The packing slip only listed the items that were in the box. So I waited for the rest of the order.

Last week I got tired of waiting and I contacted the company to ask where the rest of my items were. I called the company during regular business hours and I got a message stating that I should call during regular business hours. Feeling somewhat frustrated, I sent an email. 2 days later I got a response saying sorry but your items are out of stock and that I will be getting a refund for the missing items. The refund came 2 more days after that.

It sure would have been nice if they offered me the opportunity to order something else in place of my missing items. But now if I want to order more, I have to pay shipping. More Grrr!  And what if I never contacted them? Even though I did get some really pretty things at great sale prices, I'm not sure I will order from them again after this experience.

Tuesday

Merry Christmas

The Christmas season went by way too fast.
Between cookie baking...

And holiday decorating...

And shopping and wrapping...
Add in some home improvements and before I knew it, it was all over. I must admit though, I will be happy to get back to some sewing however, my next big thing is getting my sewing machines tuned up.

Wednesday

Mini Christmas Stockings

I made these cute little stockings just in time for Christmas. I actually made 4 of them but my granddaughter instantly snatched them up. I convinced her to let me photograph them and she gave me three of the four.

Friday

Table Runners

I've finished quilting 3 table runners for a friend so she can give them as Christmas gifts. With preparing for Christmas, it's the most sewing I've done all month. I really enjoyed quilting these; I think doing small projects is a nice break from all the holiday hoopla.

Sunday

QAYG Christmas Stocking

I got this really cute holiday fabric from my favorite Etsy shop called the Fabric Shoppe. They always have very cute whimsical fabrics which is just my style. I've been meaning to make new Christmas stockings for a very long time and the new fabrics I ordered were perfect for that purpose. I chose to use a pattern I found online called Falling Flakes quilt-as-you-go Christmas stocking. The link for the tutorial can be found here. It's easy to follow and I whipped my stocking up in no time.


Monday

Some Home Improvements

We're all decorated for the holidays. It was a pretty tough road to get here since I decided at the last minute to clean the carpets and paint the living room.
After I painted the room, I chose to paint the mantel around the fireplace too. It really needed an upgrade. However, I've yet to figure out what color to paint it. I put a coat of primer on and after I get used to the new wall color, I think I'll pick the mantel color.

Tuesday

Quilt Donation


I whipped up this simple quilt last week for a charity event. One of the ladies at the senior center is collecting quilts to take to the airport to give to sick kids that are going on an airplane ride. I think the details are a little more sophisticated than that but I wasn't feeling well when everyone was discussing it during an open sew session and I really wasn't paying attention. I did get the part where they stated that they wanted some handmade quilts.

I got out my stash of whimsical fabrics, cut some 5" squares and sewed 2 and a half-inch wide strips around the squares. I stitched the blocks together and added a 3 and a half-inch border around the whole thing. It is simple yet cute. I'm happy to add a donation to the sewing group's effort.

Friday

Sparkle Punch Quilt

I finished my Sparkle Punch quilt today. Yesterday I quilted it on the longarm machine at the senior center and today I sewed the binding on.

The quilt pattern for this quilt seems simple but it did have some complications. Each block had to be planned based on the blocks around it. The star points and centers had to match between blocks so the use of a design wall was very important. I am happy to report that I didn't have to unstitch any pieces between blocks - they all matched up correctly - yay!

I quilted this quilt using a pantograph called In The Clouds. It seemed like a good match for a quilt full of stars - ha!

Monday

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.


Wednesday

What's on the design board?

I delivered fall table runners to one of my clients and she immediately requested some Christmas ones. I am so happy that she likes my work and I look forward to making more table runners for her to choose from.

So today I have some patchwork squares of Christmas fabrics on the design board in preparation to make more table runners. I've been combing through some of my pattern books to get some inspiration however, I will make up my own designs.

I am enjoying getting into holiday fabrics.

Tuesday

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.

Sunday

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.

Wednesday

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.

Sunday

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.

Friday

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!

Tuesday

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.




Monday

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

Tuesday

Fall Table Runners

I finished a few more fall table runners today. I would have completed them earlier however I ran out fall prints big enough for backing. Over the weekend I picked up a few new fall fun prints to complete a few more little projects.

I made one of the table runners using the leftover scraps from my Skip to my Lou quilt I made last year. I also dug up some vintage floral/pumpkin print from my stash and added some borders left over from last year's quilt project as well.

I like having a variety of sizes of runners available for sale at craft fairs and these should be good additions to my inventory. The patchwork runner is 18 inches x 20.5 inches and the fall floral one measures 48 inches x 16.5 inches.





Friday

City Sampler 100 Quilt

I did it! I finally finished my Tula Pink's City Sampler Quilt. Her book, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks was definitely put to use. I did realize that I only made 98 blocks when I discovered I had unintentionally repeated 2. So I went back and made the missing 2. I think my quilt should be called the 102 City Sampler blocks - ha!

I won the fabric collection I used for this quilt top. All I had to do was add the few yards of Kona Ivory for the background. That is until I got to the backing. There was hardly anything left but a little pile of scraps so Jeff and I took a day trip up to Bungalow Quilting and Yarn in Ripon, WI where I won the fabric. I bought about 5 yards of matching fabric to piece the back and make the binding. Not a bad investment and what a fun day trip. It is always wonderful to talk to Judy Gauthier, the shop owner. Being in her presence is refreshing as she is so bubbly and sweet.

I would have finished this quilt sooner, but I really wanted to put it on a longarmer. The problem is that since I do not own one, I had to buy time on one. So I joined the local senior center where they have a Gammill. I got my name on the list and waited for my turn to come. It was late August when I got the call that September 14th was the first available date. Wow! That's a long time but I was willing to wait.

Adventures by Amy EllisSo yesterday I got to use the Gammill for the very first time. It was a lot of fun even though I was quite nervous at the start. I was so afraid of screwing up the quilt, but I reminded myself that I did use a smaller longarm quilter already so it should be no big deal. The ladies who volunteer at the senior center were so very nice and knowledgeable that it was very easy to quilt this extremely large quilt.
They did all the setup. They wound the bobbins with my thread choice, they loaded the backing, batting and quilt top onto the rollers and set up the pantograph. All I had to do was run the machine. Easy peasy. The whole process took less than 3 hours and cost me $59.

When I got home I was exhausted. I wanted to attach the binding but I was just too tired. So I relaxed for a few hours then got up the energy to make and sew the binding to the back of the quilt.

Today I finished the part where I folded the binding to the front and stitched it down. I was a little concerned about the thread. The only match I had was a new spool of Gutermann. There's not much thread on those little spools and this quilt is a monster. With a decorative stitch on the binding, I knew it might be close. With a wish and some luck, the binding went on with almost no thread left. What a close call!
Adventures by Amy Ellis

I am so very happy that this quilt is finished. It's been quite a journey from start to finish. I feel I stepped out of my comfort zone with this fabric collection. It is called Adventures by Amy Ellis. The colors and patterns are beautiful but I don't think I would choose them on my own. And the City Sampler was quite an accomplishment. 100 different blocks. The cool thing is that after making all of them I know I will use some of these blocks again in another project.

Early in the project when some of the blocks were hanging on my design wall my son would walk by the room and ask what they were going to be used for. He really like the color combinations. How perfect...he just bought a house on  Lake Winnebago so guess what he's getting for a housewarming gift? Ha!

Adventures by Amy Ellis

Adventures by Amy Ellis

Adventures by Amy Ellis



Sunday

Madison Quilt Expo

I went on a bus trip to the Madison Quilt Expo yesterday. My plan for the day was to test drive longarm sewing machines. I did set aside some funds just in case I found any great fabrics, but I didn't really plan on purchasing anything.

I don't know why I even think that I won't buy fabrics. With the many fine fabric shops represented at the expo I cannot resist. I found so many pretty things. I even found Pete the Cat fabrics!

I also completed my mission of test driving longarmers. There were at least 10 vendors there and I spent time on the Bernina, Block Rockit, Nolting, Tin Lizzie, Avante 18, Innova 18, and the Gammill. The funny thing is that I was headed to the APQS booth when I stopped at the Gammill. My original plan was to skip that booth thinking that they were out of my price range. As I waited for time with the APQS people, I thought I would kill time with the Gammill rep. The test drive was amazing. I mentioned my concern regarding pricing only to find out it was much more reasonable than I ever expected.

At the end of the day, I narrowed my choices down to two. I have a lot of things to take into consideration before I finally decide. Then there's the issue as to where to install it. I have two places it could go so I'll have to figure that out.

This is such an exciting time!

Friday

Halloween Twister Table Topper

I completed the halloween version of the twister table topper today. I love the whimsical border fabric on this one. The backing is made from fabric that glows in the dark. The skeleton print doesn't exactly match the fabric selections on the front, but that's OK. I just wanted to use the glow-in-the dark stuff!



Thursday

Canning Pickles from a Crock

This year's harvest has been overwhelming. I cannot seem to keep up with all the wonderful vegetables.

Today I canned pickles. I put them in the crock 5 days ago and could not wait to get to this point. What fun!

I used my neighbor's pickle recipe. Every year he brings me a jar of his pickles and they are a family favorite. I mentioned to him that this year I was going to try his recipe.

We cut pickle slices and spears and with 50 pickling cukes, ended up with 7 quart jars and 1 pint jar of finished pickles. It was so fun and easy that I think I will make another batch.

I certainly wouldn't want to run out over the winter.


Tuesday

Fall Twister Table Topper

I completed the fall table topper today. I really love the twister ruler. It makes this wonderful pattern so easy to create. The colors are so very pretty and nice for autumn. I have no plans on displaying this anytime soon. I still want to enjoy summer as long as possible.

Sunday

Garden Harvest

I finished canning 17 jars of raspberry jam today. Now that I've completed that, I still have to can more tomatoes. I've canned tomatoes twice so far this season and I think I will have to do it one more time.

This year's harvest has been amazing. I'm definitely not complaining about all the work. I have pickles fermenting in a crock right now and pretty soon the fall raspberry crop will be ready. For this batch of jam, I used the raspberries I picked in spring. I froze pint sized freezer bags of raspberries which made plenty of jam.

I will still have to freeze peppers and corn not to mention getting the pickles canned.

I really miss sewing but this sure is a rewarding time in the garden.