07 March 2019

February tangents

I think I would have fewer tangents if it weren't for Project Quilting.  Thankfully the season is only 6 challenges long, so I will have less distractions soon.  (But I have a way of distracting myself with other projects so I don't know if anything will actually improve.)  Anyway, here is something Bigger Than a Breadbox.  I was just going to focus on all the projects I had already started, but then I saw this while scrolling through Facebook, and thought it'd be easy enough to make a small doll quilt.  I have lots of 5" squares, picked a few and off I went.  The actual quilting isn't my best - the back is quite wrinkly - but I think it's pretty cute.  A non-pink heart for Valentine's Day (although I was tempted by some pink and purple .. that may have to happen later). 

While basting the blue heart above, I also basted this project too - I finished the top for this table runner before Christmas and now it is all done! It was made from scraps from a quilt that is .. sadly in the UFO pile.  All the blocks are done, but it hasn't turned into a top yet.  It is on the list to finish for Christmas this year, and hopefully a second Christmas quilt as well - I have a stack of fabric but haven't settled on a pattern yet.

I've kept up with my Harry Potter quilt until now.  Ron here was a little late (typical) and Luna is still in pieces.  Her glasses look quite intimidating, so it keeps getting pushed aside.  I won't let myself go too much farther without picking up the UFOs and turning them into completed projects.  This one is slated for a friend's baby due at the beginning of April so I can't wait much longer!

Speaking of Harry Potter... one of the challenges from Project Quilting this season was Pixel Play and I had been eyeing this beautiful Hedwig from the second QAL.  Even though I didn't start it until Thursday (and the deadline is always Sunday) I eeked it out just in time.  I turned the 12" block into a pillowcase for my friend's birthday and she loved it.

Not a great picture, but my Unicorn mini quilt top is complete.  I've got the backing and binding ready, but I haven't been super confident with my basting skills lately so it keeps getting set aside.  It is so pretty though, and I had a lot of fun making economy blocks.  I may have to hop onto a round of Finish-A-Long so I can be motivated to get more things completed!

Aside from quilting and sewing I've been reading and DRAWING!  Look!  Oh it feels good to be drawing again.  This is Salty, and I'm loving how he's turning out.

And finally, the longest running project on the list - the last of the Squared Away Twilt blocks were completed! (Can't call this one Squared Away because it wasn't originally included.)  I ended up doing a second blue pinwheel to bring my total block count to 48.  That is a LOT of blocks!  Trina finished hers up as well and we both got them in the mail.

All of our blocks.  I'm still playing with the layout, and leaning towards a grey sashing with cornerstones.  And that border.  Did some math - I need over 300 2.5" squares to make a double-wide border.  Good thing I've got over 400 cut then!  It's going to take a lot of time to get this finished, and with a July deadline I better not put it off for much longer.

28 February 2019

February's list

1 - Squared Away: the last 4 blocks are DONE!! Hooray! I did the final two sets - dark green and purple, and got everything boxed up and into the mail for Mindy. I was apparently so excited to get them done and out the door, I didn't even take pictures of the last block. Ha! I just got her last two blocks a couple of days ago, so as soon as I get the doll quilts done and on their way, I can lay out this quilt and start putting the full top together. Hooray!

2 - Night Sky: 5 more blocks made, and section 2 of the quilt put together. So the entire top section is now done, and it's 60 inches across. The plan is to make it 80 inches long - right now, it's at 33. I was running out of the gray in the top center spinner, so in the bottom left Hunter Star, I used the gray scraps from SM's apron from last year's theater costume. It will be fun for her to have that memory incorporated into her quilt.

3 - Letter blocks: one so far, for a new mini quilt project. I got this quilting book called Spelling Bee by Lori Holt and it literally is the instructions to make every letter of the alphabet, both upper and lower case, plus a bunch of punctuation marks and some fun extra bonus blocks. The globe was the one that got me to buy the book. I have so. many. ideas. of what to do with the letters.

4 - 15 doll quilts to be sent to A Doll Like Me: the two TA and I made a year ago, the star one that JE started in January, AND 12 more made this month by our church activity group. My part of the 13 made in the past 60 days:

  • organized all the adults for the evening activity, plus some other adults helped with the fabric 
  • cut 230 squares, other people brought more and we had probably around 1000
  • made the "Made by kids for kids" labels
  • after the activity, I finished 4 of the quilts at home
  • made 7 quilt sandwiches, 6 to go but I ran out of pins

Another woman from church, who donated some of the fabric, has agreed to do the bindings. Bless her forever!

Other sewing
1 -  two more scripture tote bags ... I made the ten in January for the church activity girls and had a little fabric left over. So I made two more for my girls who didn't have bags for church items. For our family, the "quiet" materials are sketchbooks and writing utensils (pens, pencils, markers, etc).

2 - more service sewing, this time for Days For Girls. My church's women's organization is part of an interfaith group that makes fabric reusable menstruation products to be taken to developing countries, where the women and girls don't have hygiene items during their cycles. The original intention was to give girls these products so they don't have to miss school during their period, but I'm sure it's spread further than that. Our local group is getting a shipment ready to send to Senegal this spring and I went to a Saturday sewing day this month. I have a schedule conflict for the Saturday in March, so I brought home 25 shields to finish here, and a friend will take them back. They're done and ready to go.

SM goes with me - she and her friend JM put snaps on one of the pieces, and they're knocking out quite a few service hours!

Mending: 8

16 February 2019

A Doll Like Me take 2

Last February - a year ago - there was a sewing challenge from the blog Needle and Foot to make doll quilts for A Doll Like Me, a single-woman shop that custom-makes dolls to match children's limb differences. I set a target for our family to have everyone make one - six or seven (depending on Adam) ... which we did not meet. TA and I were the only ones who made any, and those two lonely little quilts have just been sitting here ever since.

But those two little quilts - staring at my kids for almost a year - have certainly raised awareness in our house. Recently, JE needed to do a service activity for her church award program, so her star blocks last month were the start of a new doll quilt to donate. I need to block in the background fabrics for her, since that's even a bit out of my own range, but she was excited about making the star blocks.

Status: in progress.

Then it was JE's turn to choose the church activity for a Wednesday evening - she wanted to sew doll quilts to donate. So proud of my girl for choosing service instead of just playing games!

We had five adults to manage the ten girls, plus a 5-year-old little sister who was tagging along with Mom, at our evening activity - two per sewing machine. All the girls chose their fabrics and how they were laid out, and got to take turns sewing on the machines.

We labeled them "Made by kids for kids" and they really were. My own daughter, TA, was working with me at my machine, and she and her partner KA charged right in there. If I even looked away, one of them would be right there at the machine. They did not need help, thankyouverymuch! At one point, I walked away entirely to check on some other kids and my work buddies had two rows done by the time I got back.

Status: 9 flimsies done, 3 more with the squares in rows but the rows need to be attached because we ran out of time. So a total of 12 from the church activity, because when our 5-year-old little sister heard that her friend got to make one, she wanted to do one too. So we did. The three from home (2 done last year, JE's stars) make a total of 15 to be shipped when we're done.

Next: I brought everything home to square them. Some got a bit wonky, and one had to have the last row taken completely off and redone. I need to figure out batting - I thought I had some fleece I could use, but it's not going to work out. Then I'll pin them into their 3-layer sandwiches and do just basic straight-line quilting. Another woman from church said that she'll do all the bindings for me - hooray!

07 February 2019

so much for mom sewing

I went downstairs to work on some quilt blocks. I did not. I untangled yarn and threaded needles over, and over, and over. For the entire two hours Dad and the big girls were at church. Seriously. As soon as I had one taken care of, the next needed a refill on her needle. It was a constant rotation. Plastic canvas and yarn, and these girls are ready to get their craft on!

Future Crafters of America

05 February 2019

Monkey Wrench tutorial

Trina and I have been working on the Squared Away block of the month for the past year.  We got to the end and I didn't like the bonus square (and one other).  So I broke the rules and picked one I liked!  I found this Monkey Wrench block here but it used a paper piecing method, which wouldn't have matched the rest of the quilt.  So I had to figure it out on my own.  It was pretty straight forward, but to help Trina out when she was ready to make her own I made up this little tutorial.

Cut your fabric.
one 6" square (for magic 8 HSTs)
four 4.5"x2.5" rectangles
one 10.5"x2.5" strip 

one 6" square (for magic 8 HSTs)
five 2.5" squares
one 10.5"x2.5" strip 

Make your pieces.
-Use your 6" squares to make eight HSTs. - VIDEO on how to make magic 8 HSTs.

-Mark four of the white squares with a diagonal line.  Put it RST on the purple rectangle.  Sew on the line (shown in red in the picture below).  Trim a 1/4" seam allowance (green line).  Press open.  Note: Make sure your diagonals are either going ALL one direction or HALF the other direction.  Either way works, just be aware of them.  I made them all going one direction, so that's what the pictures with show.

-Sew the two long strips together.  Trim into 2.5" sections. (Just like we've done throughout this whole project).

Note: I have no idea the best way to press the seams.  Most of them were open because I wasn't sure.

You should end up with this...
eight HSTs, four diagonal rectangles, four white/purple rectangles and one single white square.

Start with the HSTs.  Sew them in pairs.  To keep it quick I just made them all the same direction and rotated it in my final placement.

Sew the HSTs to the diagonal-rectangles.  Again, all four will look exactly the same. 

Add a purple/white rectangle to TWO sections.  (You can't do all four at once! Ask me how I know.)  While you are at it you can add the lone white square to another one of the p/w rectangles.

These seams will give you three long pieces.  Be aware of the direction you place things.

Finally, sew the two larger pieces to the center strip.  Press and admire!

01 February 2019

January in Connecticut

I'm finally sewing a lot again! Hooray! I missed it. Now I need to get back into blogging too, so things get their own posts throughout the month instead of a big photo dump at intervals.

1 - circle skirt for SM - I watched the video from Made Everyday and used her instructions. It was pretty intimidating at first because of the curve, and sewing directly to the elastic. And ... yeah, don't look too closely at that part. Good thing her shirt covers the top! But it's sufficiently twirly for her, so she's happy.

2 - peasant top for RG - tutorial from Things of Cloth. It's the same pattern that SM is wearing in the above picture, that I made last spring (yep, these are two different shirts in the pictures!). Now RG has one as well, but she's worn it only the one time. ???? Maybe because she has deemed it a spring shirt? Or maybe it will end up in SM's drawer. The peasant top I made for SM last year has been worn SO much that it's becoming very, very thin.

8 blocks for 3 different quilts ... 4 for Squared Away - I'm FINALLY getting back to it! Just two more colors left - dark green and dark purple.

JE and TA wanted to try their hand at machine sewing, and they worked with me on 2 blocks each. I did all the cutting (I don't trust kids yet with the rotary cutter - I gashed my own finger with it a few months ago), and I helped them with the machine. JE learned chain-stitching, which she thought was nifty.

JE made two of these star blocks with her own selection of fabric, to be put into a doll quilt. She did the chain piecing for all the half-square-triangles (HST), and was excited to put them all together into one star.

TA has plans for her own twin-sized quilt for her bed, which obviously I've not made yet ... happy to have her assistance! She did two blocks as well. We're using the house block pattern from Intrepid Thread.

1 - Ten canvas tote bags for a church activity. The 10 girls in my group decorated them with fabric markers, and hot-gluing ribbon and fabric flowers and "jewel" sparkle thingies to them. Yes, I could have bought them. But buying 10 would have cost $45, and the fabric cost only $15. I had the time to make them, and I have other ideas for blowing my budget money this year.

2 - While I had the craft supplies out, JK found some leftover fabric circle flower things kicking around, and decided one needed to be a hair clip. Sure, why not!

3. Edge stitching on a large piece of fleece to make into a throw blanket for the TV couch.

Mending: 5

31 January 2019

January in Canada

I've got to admit, Trina had a good idea last year.  I liked her monthly reports.  I didn't post too often last year because I was working so much on one quilt that still isn't finished.  Other bloggers post progress on projects and honestly it is just as much about the journey as it is the completed object.

So far this year I've been sewing pretty much constantly, with a drawing added in there for good measure.  My house may suffer for it, but it isn't like I can keep up with the mess anyway so I might as well have fun.

Project Quilting mystery quilt along
that I totally tweaked and made my own.

a baby quilt for a friend made in just a week.

I got further on the Twilt 
(or Twin Quilts - the Squared Away BOM from last year).
I'm going to make a scrappy border for it
so LOTS of 2.5" squares for that.

Made a replacement block for the Twilt - 
I just didn't like the original blue one.
Now that we both approve, I need to make a second one.
NEW PROJECT!  Sew Fresh Quilts is making a Harry Potter quilt!
It is more exact that I've ever had to be, but super fun.
I'll just be doing the first four blocks instead of the whole thing. 

(See, this is something that I wouldn't have posted about before,
since it isn't a complete project, just a block.)

And since there's time for something between the HP blocks,
I started a mini quilt with economy blocks, because I think they're fun.  
I plan on donating it to A Doll Like Me like last year.

22 January 2019

chicken and spinach saute

Adam was being inventive awhile back and created this really good recipe. We liked it so much that he hurried to write it all down before he forgot what he did ... which is a good thing, because when I made it tonight for dinner, he'd completely forgotten that he made it at all!

2 chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, chopped
spinach - choose your own quantity
sundried tomatoes - choose your own quantity

salt and pepper
1/2 tsp grains of paradise
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (you could just leave this out if necessary due to nut allergies)
1 tsp oregano

In skillet with olive oil, saute the chicken, onion, spices and extracts. When the chicken is cooked through, add the sundried tomatoes. Cook until soft. Then add the spinach and stir it around until it's wilted.

You can eat at this stage. OR you can make it into a sauce to put over pasta. We poured straight cream over the whole thing, and added a splash of apple juice. Yum.

21 January 2019


So fashionable for age 5.

15 January 2019

2019 To-Do / 2018 Ta-Da!

I know this sort of post isn't required, but I really like to see my to-do list become a Ta-Da! List.  2018 was full of fabric and sewing.  It was wonderful!  My posting dropped off those last few months (my personal blog is at least six months behind!), but I was still very busy - my sister got married and I made four dresses for the flower girls!  And the twin quilts (or Twilts and I've started to call them) that I talk about below...

  • Maple Mission: My own design!  My parents love it.
  • 2 Doll Quilts: Made for and donated to A Doll Like Me.
  • String Bean: My first Project Quilting challenge, and the string piecing I wanted to do.
  • Mini Pink: Little doesn't always mean faster. 
  • Narwhal Quilts: Started and finished in time for two new nieces!
  • Christmas Cake Quilt: All the blocks finished. Hoping to finish in 2019.  I also started a table runner with the scraps!
  • Block of the Month Twilts: This is probably where I put in my most sewing hours, and yet I haven't posted about it at all.  Trina suggested we do the Squared Away Block of the Month on Academic Quilter and then share blocks with each other.  I've made 44 10" blocks - two identical sets of 22, half for me and half for her.  So much work!!  We haven't gotten the last of the blocks sorted out so I can't finish it yet, but I've been cutting even MORE little squares to make a scrappy border for it.  Countless hours of work, but I love it!

As for my non-quilty sewing, I actually accomplished most of what I had hoped to.  My color challenge fizzled out, since I didn't give myself any rules.  And I never made jackets - which I should do soon before Cupcake grows out of the pattern!
  • two sets of pajamas and a sleep sack
  • six towel baby bibs
  • two Mckenzies
  • two baby peasant dresses
  • four baby crinkle toys
  • two Ishi dresses for Easter
  • four Alder skirts for me
  • Maggie Mae sheepy top
  • matching My Little Pony outfits for me and my daughters
  • MLP purple top
  • Strawberry top x4 (two for my girls, two for a friend - they wore them for family photos!)
  • four TMNT drawstring bags, plus four Christmas ones
  • six eye patches
  • Quilt-As-You-Go placemat for a church activity (and helped with many others)
  • Sailor Mercury costume pieces
  • six Garden Party dresses (two for Christmas)
  • four Everyday Necktie (two for Christmas)
  • and mended 49 items.
This year I hope to work on Christmas projects (including at least one [maybe three!] quilts) throughout the year, so I can give more homemade, meaningful gifts. (I'm so over the commercial aspect of the holidays it isn't even funny.)  I've got ideas for ornaments and a few other surprises, so I hope the week after Christmas is full of project posts.  I want another skirt and I've already got some Ravenclaw flannel set aside.  Cupcake will be needing more pajamas.  For quilting: paper piecing and hexagons are still on my list, and I've added economy blocks (unicorn fabric?), perhaps as a pin cushion.  Lots of ideas but I also want to be flexible enough to join in on Sew Alongs as I am inspired (I've already got my eye on a few blocks from this Harry Potter one).  Happy sewing to you!