Friday, August 19, 2016

5 Things to Be Happy About #3

It's hard to believe it's mid-August already. Summer always seems to fly by, especially for those of us who wait nine months for it. Kinda like waiting for a baby.

Here's my 5 things that made me happy this past week. Listed in no particular order.

1. Mister Crabby Pants! I saw this little guy at the library and couldn't resist asking his mom if I could take a picture of his shirt. She didn't mind at all! Of course, the hardest part was trying to get him to stand with his back to me. I imagine not many folks ask for a picture of his backside!
Love that shirt.

2. Woohoo! My quilt in the previous post was chosen as the featured post on Quilt Fabrication's Midweek Makers! What an awesome honor and one I'm pretty tickled about. Of course, no one but a fellow blogger would understand my enlightenment. Not even my husband. Oh, well.

3. I saw one of my bibs in person at a local eatery. I've been making personalized bibs for several years for baby gifts. I'd guess I've made about 100 of them, but I've never seen one out in public on a baby until this day! Of course, I asked Lila's mama if I could take a photo AND post it on my blog...all was OK with her. Her mom said, "Say cheese" to Lila and she replied "Amen"! So cute!

4. My best friend had a birthday this week, so I made her a card. She loves blue, so I used some blue scraps to sew up 2 Bluebirds of Happiness on a limb carrying a message. Of course, the poem inside might have said something about "crap". She loved it!

5. Now this is a rare one! You won't find a photo of me too often, so pay attention! :)
I was in the "pucker" Kim Kardashian pose...my lips don't really look like that. My husband and I were celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary. We've gone to the very same place every year to dine on our anniversary. It's the same place we had our reception back in 1983.
Gosh, I love that man.

I am linking up with:

What made you happy this week?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lap Quilt for Marie

I finally finished this beauty! A few months back, we visited my husband's aunt who lives near Branson, Missouri. She had a paralyzing stroke several years ago and is confined to a nursing home. She still has her lovable sense of humor and tendency to shake her finger at you while talking.
(I'm keeping track, cuz I want to be like that when I'm old!)

Anyway, I thought she'd enjoy a pretty lap quilt during the winter months. If she doesn't want to use it for that, she can fold it up at the bottom of her bed and use it for a runner.
Possible layout

I used Moda's Paris Flea Market fabric collection to create this quilt. I hunted all over for a quilt pattern that appealed to me. I didn't see one I liked well enough, so I created one! I had a layer cake of the bundle and just sliced each one diagonally, mixed up the fabrics, sewed them back together with a 2 inch strip of green fabric and arranged the into a pleasing layout.

For the back, I bought yardage from Etsy to match the layer cake and added a chevron block to give it some character.

Up close, you can see my quilting. I mainly followed the lines of the squares.

Of course, I added my label!

I also hand-stitched the binding on the back.

I don't usually enjoy hand-stitching, but this time it was very relaxing!

I added a pocket to the front for Marie to hold her treasures...she doesn't go anywhere without her tinted lip balm and a tissue! I even embroidered her name on the pocket, so it doesn't get "lost" somewhere. Knowing that Marie only has use of her left side, I put the pocket on the left side of the quilt and near the top. That way she can always find the top too!

Measuring at 31" x 37", I think it'll be the perfect size for Marie
to snuggle under while in her wheelchair.

Marie's quilt will go in the mail this week.

I am currently working on something with this:

Hmmmm...odd combination, eh?

Sleepy Sophie says "Hi"!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Five Things to Be Happy About #2

Here we are in the second half of 2016 already! Where has the time gone? If one more person tells me that the summer is more than half over, I will scream!
I love summer and all that goes with it, including the items listed below.

1. Slow, hand stitching. It doesn't always make me happy, but when it goes so smoothly and looks pretty good when it's done, it sure makes me happy! This will be the object of my next post.
It turned out pretty cool. I think so anyway.
If I don't get back here within a week to post, somebody get on my case.

2. Reading a good book. I've always loved to read, but summer reading is the best...sitting on the porch; laying in the hammock; staying up late in bed; in the passenger seat on a road trip...it's all good! I finally got my hands on this book at the local library. Good read!


3. Long walks. Summer in Iowa doesn't always supply the best walking weather. Can we say humidity so thick it can be chewed? This is the trail we often walk and it's so pretty in every season.

4. Summer birthdays. Mine was just last week and it was a beautiful day to celebrate. The photo above was a friend's brother who turned 60 about the same time. We have a tradition here to hang underwear in the yard of those who celebrate a decade birthday. Always fun, always a bit embarrassing for the birthday gal/guy, but always memorable!

5. Hugs! Friends, family members, neighbors, pets, anyone you like enough to hug...go do it!
I especially need to thank my friends who posted on my Firecracker Table Runner and talked me into loving it instead of focusing on the mistakes.
Blogging friends are wonderful and I'd hug each one of you if I could!
(I'd also hang underwear in your yard on your decade-birthday if I could! Ha!)

I am linking up with Gypsy Moon Quilt Co. Five Things Friday

Monday, July 4, 2016

Firecracker Table Runner

I know you all have been sitting on the edge of your sewing chair waiting to see the final product of my 4th of July table runner, right?
It's only been 3 weeks since I first posted about it.

OK, refresher here. I had in mind to make a patriotic piece with fabrics I had on hand and had always wanted to try the Disappearing Nine Patch block. I played with various layouts, chose one, didn't like it, then tore it apart and started cutting the blocks in half. Sewn together, I ended up with 4 blocks similar to this below.
I was liking that little pinwheel in the center!

I also teased you about some new-fangled (to me) way of making a traditional block.
This is a shortcut to making Flying Geese! You can find the youtube tutorial here:
OK, on with the show now that your memory is coming back!
I'm not particularly happy with the outcome of this project, but it was fun and I learned a few things along the way. I thought about not even showing the whole thing.
I bruise easily.

I love the striped binding, but it is a bit too wide.
 The corners turned out perfectly, tho!

The Flying Geese blocks made a great border,
but the points got covered with the binding. Ugh.

One of the blocks I had to cut down to make it fit with the Flying Geese...
bad math on my part. Another ugh.

So, there you have it.
My Firecracker Table Runner.
My MIL would be proud.
Or would she?
Probably not.
Happy 4th of July, my friends!
Let's go eat ice cream!



Friday, July 1, 2016

Five Things to Be Happy About

With so much negativity in the world and so much sad news and tragedies surrounding us, I am joining in a link up with Gypsy Moon Quilt Co. to dwell on some happy sightings in my life this past week! We all need a little more happy.

In no particular order, here are my top 5:

1. Southern Style Loaded Potato Skins
Doesn't the name of these just make your mouth water? Look at that picture! Michele at The Scrap Shop Blog posted this recipe on Monday and I served them that evening. All I needed to buy was the potatoes. I put the pork in the crock pot with some BBQ rub and slow cooked them for a few hours. I had enough to warm-up for dinner on Tuesday too! Good thing my sweetie doesn't mind left-overs. If he did, he'd be real skinny. And he's not. :)

2. My husband took Monday off work and we decided to trim several trees in our woodsy backyard. I bought him a chipper for Christmas, so we were finally able to use it. It was hot, sweaty work, but I got free mulch for my garden and the yard looks much better! Definite smiles with a beer in hand that evening. (click on the arrow to watch short video of this limb-eating monster)

3. Surprise mail! On Wednesday, our mail lady brought me a lovely gift! I have no idea how I won this or who to thank, but I'll surely enjoy it. It is a $100 gift card from Walmart and has some connection with Better Homes and Garden. I've done every Google search I can think of to find a source for this, but have come up empty-handed. Take it and run, they say!
4. Moss Rose or Rose Moss? These little pretties re-seed themselves every year in my front garden... to the point that I have to pluck some out so I have room for other annuals. They are so bright and cheery and THICK. Each blossom lasts just a day and new ones are always ready to take their place.
5. Yesterday, I was shopping and had one of my impromptu, never-appreciated, clothes-drenching, deodorant-testing hot flashes. How many years must we have these dreaded things anyway? I felt a slight breeze of air coming from the shoe department and like a bee to honey, I followed it. There I stood soaking up every moving molecule of air...with a smile on my red, dripping face. I was so thankful for this fan and its huge propeller-sized blades that I had to take a few photos. It's ginormous!
Last, but never least, my dear little Sophie always provides reasons to be happy.
She's just a kid in a dogsuit and always ready for loving.
Thank you to Tami from Sew Much For Free Time for encouraging me to link up!
What made you happy this week?


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Nine Patch Teaser

I've never been much of a patriotic sort to enjoy the 4th of July. I blame that on my husband...or more specifically, his mother. Her birthday was the 4th of July and she always expected us to be on the farm in this itty-bitty town in SW Iowa to celebrate. It's hot on the 4th of July and this fly-ridden farm was no exception. Especially with no air conditioning. No ice, either, unless you brought your own. Yes, there was a fan or two, but that just confused the flies and then they'd head for your mouth.
Oh, I could go on and on about my MIL, but I should let her rest in peace. She never liked me. I married her only son. She'd send HIM a letter on MY birthday. Then a few days later, I'd get one of those freebie birthday cards from the Paralyzed Veterans that folks get in the mail asking for a donation. Only she never sent a donation. She kept those cards to send to her only DIL.
OK, I said I'd let her rest. Rest I will. Unless you want to know more. Just ask.
Something happened over Memorial Day that made me feel very red, white and blue...in the stars and stripes way. Maybe it's because MIL's been gone for 12 years that I can finally feel some love for the patriotic holidays. So, I decided to gather my reds, whites, and blues from my stash to make a table runner. I've always wanted to try the Nine Patch block, so why not give that a go?

My husband didn't like these fabrics together, but who cares?
I didn't like his mother either. :)
I sewed twelve of these blocks in the exact same formation.
I laid them out in different ways. I didn't like any of them.
Maybe I wasn't ready to feel the patriotic love yet.
I was about to just ditch it all, but I chose this layout. Whyyyyy????
I still didn't like it after I stitched it all together, so I cut every
block apart on either side of the seam.
 I was too lazy and frustrated to use a seam ripper.
Out came my rotary cutter and I started slicing like a Pizza Hut chef
on those bad boys.
I put them together and found a sweet pinwheel in the center!
Love pinwheels. They're kinda patriotic, right?
I've now got 4 new "pinwheel" blocks made from those nine-patch blocks. If you're good at math, you're thinking, "There must be some leftovers?"
Yes, there are. A+ for you. :)
Then I found a youtube video that was a real game-changer for me. 
 I am going to add those blocks to my table runner.
Any idea what these will be?
Pay no attention to the scissors...they're there just to fool ya.
I hope to get this guy done in a week or so.
I'm in the middle of a big landscaping project right now.
When it's done, I'll be back with photos.
I'll end with another photo of Miss Sophie.
She was born in July too.
But she likes me.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Filling the Gap

Lots of "everyday crap" happening in the past 2 months since I last posted. Of course, spring time is the busiest time for substitute teachers, so that's kept me out of trouble and out of my sewing room. I also put in 3 weeks of working with 1st and 2nd graders with state-mandated tests. Spring is my favorite season, but it's never a relaxing one for teachers. Our Spring has been, for the most part, a wet and chilly one. We were still running the furnace last week!

Since I couldn't be outside in the garden or walking the dog on those wet, chilly nights, I propelled myself up to my sewing room! Yes, there is a silver lining with Mother Nature and her moods! I found a quilting improv block that I liked by Christa at Christa Quilts. I enjoyed making one so much that I continued on and made 8 more for a baby quilt. I used many of the same fabrics from the Tula Pink City Sampler blocks, but chose the "boy" colors.

Above are 2 of the 9 blocks.
These gave me very good practice with getting those corners and points just right!
A photo of them arranged together, before the stitching together and the borders.
Love my purple-polka-dotted feet?
Sewing them together was a breeze and I even enjoyed the quilting and binding steps!
I think I'm getting hooked on this quilting thing.
Somebody once told me that could happen.
Then on one of the first sunny mornings, I took my finished quilt outside for a photo shoot. Shoot, I think they turned out pretty good!
My label!

The pieced back.
The front.

And another front shot.
I used a simple cross-hatch to quilt it together.

Leaving you with a photo of Miss Sophie.
She does NOT like her photo taken (kinda like her mama).
In fact, her facial expression rarely changes.
I snapped this one when I asked her, "Are you hungry?"
Yes, yes, she was hungry.
*Thank you to Lara at BuzzinBumble for encouraging me to get another post up!
Have you heard about her newly published book Crafted Applique?
Check out her blog!