Thursday, September 18, 2014


So hard to resist!
I purchased this fabric up in Prescott months ago, and then I saw the Temecula Quilt Co.'s Back to School Sew Along, Little Letters.  Perfect quilt for gifting to my grandchildren!
You noticed I said grandchildren...plural!
My son is expecting his first child right around my birthday...a little boy.
I will make two of each letter each week and have two quilts when all is said and done.
Now that is a BOW I can handle.

And speaking of done,
quilted and bound.
I used a stripped homespun for the binding and cut it on the bias.  I cut my bindings 1 7/8" wide and then slightly tug on them when sewing them on the quilt...something I learned from Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  
Well, I learned something new!  Cannot pull on a homespun binding cut on the shrinks.  Next time I use a bias homespun, I will cut the binding wider.

I will not meet my goals this month.  Life just gets in the way sometimes.  Last weekend I was in California for the estate/garage sale to help my mom downsize.  It was a huge success, but an emotionally exhausting experience.  On the day of the sale, we also learned that mom's home had sold, cash deal, 20 day close.  We could not be more blessed.  The home was built by my father, husband, and brother.  It was hard to say goodbye, although I had never lived in the home.

The one decision I have made is to focus on one UFO, Pennies from Heaven.
Here is my abbreviated version.
I have worked hard in the mornings getting all the setting triangles done.  Next step is to piece all the blocks together.  I have ordered the border fabric and will decide on what I will do next when it comes.  It just might be to stop here.  It will look lovely on the wall in my 'green' guest room.

This weekend I will be working at TOWQS to help with Shop Hop and then we will head back to Colorado to winterize the cabin, so I am prepping a lot of handwork, including finishing Penny Garland and working on Sunflower Gatherings.  
Back to work. The day is short.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cracking the WIP!

Summer is over and it is time to get back to some sort of discipline when it comes to finishing up my WIPs. 'In the Meadow' is ready to go to the quilter. I just need to get a backing put together. 'Lunch Box Social' is off to the quilter.  I finished my 'Autumn Pinwheels' by Primitive Gatherings and it is on display at TOWQS.

I will also continue to work on my blockhead projects, 'Christmas Magic' and 'Le Jardin.' And I hate to say it, but 'Sunflower Gathering' will become a WIP.  I will make it my goal to make a block a month. Perhaps I will make Wednesdays my WIP day like many other bloggers have.

But, and this will come to no surprise to anyone, I have to have a new project for the month...
Kim Diehl's 'Penny Garland' from her book, Simple Appeal.
I have been using the Soft Fuse Premium I spoke of before and I can report that it works well on wool.  Not perfect, but what fusible is. It is easy to trace the shapes on to, the paper peels off with the greatest of ease, and it is almost imperceptible since it is so lightweight.  It has one downside...the wool shapes do not adhere to the background as nicely as cotton did, but only with lots of handling do they come off.  Therefore, I can only place 6-7 shapes down at once before I have to stitch them on.  Maybe that is not a downside, since I would tend to place all the shapes and then claim I would stitch them down later...yeah, maybe much later.  I like the design portion of the process way more than the work portion. As a result, all those shapes are stitched and I can now proceed to design the outer border of wool shapes. The middle wreath gives it a Christmas feel, but when the multicolored shapes go on, it will be a year round topper for a round table in my home.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Binge Sewing!

I have been home a little less than a week now, all by myself...hubbie will come home sometime this week...and have been doing nothing but hanging out in my sewing room.
That's cooking, no cleaning and no laundry!
I do shower and get dressed each day, but usually not until late in the morning. 
Needless to say, I have gotten a few things done.
'Autumn Pinwheels'
by Primitive Gatherings
I worked 2 days at TOWQS and just could not help but buy a NEW project.
Lots of stitching to do now on the wool vines and leaves!
Thank you, Lisa, for the inspiration temptation.

Pieced the center of 'Idaho Lily' for the Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots Club.
Next, prep the applique and make the 76 half square triangles that are 1" finished.

I made two blocks for a new Mystery Sampler quilt with a spring theme.
Here is a sneak peak:

There is one downside to binge just might have an OOPS!
I spotted some "leftover" strips sitting on the ironing board from the first little KD quilt and thought...why not make a small quilt out the them.
As I was cutting into the 6th strip, I noted that they were all nicely cut into 1 7/8" wide strips.
OOPS, they were the strips for the scrappy binding.
Oh well, I had some other scraps to replace them with and now I have this cute 12" x 12" quilt to start my one day, small quilt collage.

Hope you are having fun times in your sewing room, but without the OOPS.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow!

I took my last wildflower hike yesterday to Fourmile Falls, which is actually 4 miles round trip.  Most of the wildflowers were fall asters, but my DH enjoyed feasting on the wild raspberries.  Then a farewell luncheon at Farrago Market Cafe for salmon tacos...a must do if you are ever passing through Pagosa Springs.

Just like my At Home in the Woods quilt, I started working on a perennial garden 4 years ago.
Here is the result of the years of experimentation.
The Russian Sage, Midnight Sage, and Purple Coneflowers have been steady performers and the Snow in Summer is the best ground cover.  Beware though, the Coneflowers and Sage free seed themselves everywhere!
Spring is predominated by Bearded Iris, but they are long gone now.
Then there is the jewel of our garden:
Colorado Columbines.
My daughter carefully tends these babies when she visits and most have been started from seed.
She has several varieties, including white, yellow and pink ones.

This year I added some red-orange Gaillardia to the mix and hope it is a survivor. 
This entire patch is free seeding volunteers and transplants from the native areas of our land.

Along the border of the property, cheery sunflowers grow.

There have been many failures over the years.  The plants have to tolerate some severe conditions.  Pagosa Springs is a very arid location and the garden must tolerate long periods of drought. Then there is the severely cold winter.  Some years there is no snow pack, which is the hardest on my garden. The snow actually insulates the plants and provides water until we can return and start up the sprinkler system.  But the biggest challenge of all is the deer! 

Now it is time to pack up and head back to the Valley of the Sun.
I will miss the afternoon thunderstorms and the cool nights of sleep, but I am ready to return to my sewing room and community. 
Okay weeds, you can reclaim the garden!
Miss Izzy will miss romping through the grass, playing in the dirt and just exploring the great out-of-doors!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Decorating with Quilts

I started this quilt in 2010 and only work on it while at the cabin.
At Home in the Woods,
by McKenna Ryan.
It will occupy a large, blank wall at the cabin.  
The only problem with working on a quilt over a period of 4 years is you do not have access to the original fabrics anymore.  I have one more long block to fuse and a few accents and it will be ready for the border.  What I like about her patterns is how the shapes spill into the border.  The star of this quilt, in my opinion, is the Aspen Tree in the upper left border.  You can only see the beginnings of it right now. Perhaps it will be a flimsy by Summer 2015.

In order to finish this project, I visited the Durango Quilt Shop. Our local little shop here in Pagosa Springs closed in March...boohoo! The Durango shop has a fabulous collection of batiks! The best thing I came home with though was a new fusible...Soft Fuse Premium.  I am impressed, but have not tried it on wool yet. It is, however, extremely superior for a fusible applique project like this one. Very light weight and strong.

The cabin is the perfect place for decorating with quilts.
 A flannel quilt draped over the chair with a Kim Diehl design on the wall.
 A Kathleen Tracy quilt draped over the staircase railing. See that big blank wall...that is where the McKenna Ryan quilt will hang.
 Bear in the Woods, by Liberty Homestead alongside some of my photography. I am a wanna be wildlife photographer. LOL! The quilt hanger is by Summer Sky Creations. They do a great job at custom hangers!
Seasonal small quilts.
Small quilts on the dining table, designed by Miss Rosies Quilt Co.
A log cabin quilt on our bed, designed by Kim Diehl.
The guest bedroom with another Kim Diehl quilt on the bed and a Jo Morton design on the wall.

Hope you have enjoyed the quilt tour.
How do you decorate with quilts?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grandmother's Vintage Sewing Machine

Years ago, my parents gave me a box that contained my Grandmother's sewing machine.  All I knew was that it was an Elna and needed repair.  I never opened it and packers put it into a collection of boxes over the years as it moved from place to place with us.  This year I finally opened the 4 layers of packing materials and this is what I found.
An Elna Lotus SP, designed by Raymond Loewy.  
I learned from the International Sewing Machine Collector's Society that it was made between 1969 and 1977. The Museum of Modern Art in New York selected this compact machine, with its clean lines, for their 'Design Collection.'
 Like a lotus, its petals open up to reveal a compact, but utilitarian machine, with a variety of stitches and functions. The top of the machine has its own built-in tool caddy, but a few of the tools are missing.
Raymond Loewy also designed the Avanti.
I had a friend in college who drove one. I thought the car was so James Bondish and he was just the coolest for driving it! Unfortunately, I never succeeded in getting more than a spin around the block (in the car, that is.)

How does it sew??  It has a beautiful stitch, but is probably better suited for garment sewing.  I have a very hard time getting it to stitch over bulky seams and I have to give it a little manual help every once in awhile to get it to start a seam. Each time I use it, I learn a little more on how to make it function the way I need it to.

Why am I sewing with it???  We moved up to Colorado in mid-July and I brought both my daughter's Bernina (lighter than mine) and the Lotus.  The Bernina will not turn on, so the Lotus is all I have to sew with.  I have restricted myself to sewing things I can over-size and custom cut to help deal with the lack of precision.  I sure miss Bernie and now have more empathy for students with older machines!

And besides, I have not done all that much sewing. Here is what I have accomplished:
From Kim Diehl's book, Simple Appeal.  The name of the quilt escapes me. 
I love the graphic nature of the quilt, but had a hard time picking the border.   
My progress on 'Sunflower Gatherings' by Lisa Bongean.  The wool applique extends into the pieced setting blocks, so each block is only partially done.  Wow, each block is so detailed with lots of embroidery...not my favorite thing to do!  Like my Pennies from Heaven quilt, I think this will also be a scaled down version of the original.   

And finally, 
'Mini Around the Pumpkin Patch'
Red Button Quilt Co.
16"x 19"

I did not lug my Sashiko machine up here, so this one will have to wait to be finished until I return home in mid-August.  

Now back to gardening, hiking or anything else we can think of to do in the glorious out of doors!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Laundry Day and a Winner!

My 'Laundry Day' flimsy is done!
I love the aqua and violets that Kim has in this line, and that limey green is fun too.
This quilt makes me smile.
It is rather small measuring about 20" square.

And Linda has won the market day bag.  Thank you to everyone who commented.  I wish I could send one to all of you. BTW, Linda, I have contacted you by email.  You have until Wed. evening to respond before I select another name.

Today I am working on a fall mini from the Red Button Quilt Co.
Those 9-patch blocks finish at 1 1/2".
I love mini quilts!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.
We are just trying to stay cool here in AZ.
Lots of indoor quilting time!