Saturday, November 29, 2008

Charming Quilts

The beginning of my Benartex Sweethearts Charm QuiltThis past week I started sewing on a Sweetheart Charm quilt. I purchased 2 packs of 5" squares (a charm pack) of Benartex Sweethearts sampler fabric squares a short time ago. The blue and green companion fabric is from a line called Clara by P&B Textiles. I thought it made a good match with the color combination.

I absolutely love the colors in these fabrics. They seem so refreshing to me with the blues, greens, and browns. Plus the addition of spots of color with pinks, yellows, deep berry reds and other colors makes it seem so lively.

Benartex Sweethearts Charm PackI cut 2 1/2" strips of the companion fabric to create sashing between the sweetheart fabric blocks. I am just starting to combine them together so have a ways to go on creating this quilt.

I want to use my Husqvarna Viking endless embroidery hoop to create some lengths of embroidered fabric for some sections of the quilt. I think I'll be adding some strips of embroidery within the quilt. I'm thinking of having some pieced rows of blocks alternating with the embroidered rows of fabric.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Metallic Threads and Fancy Stitches

A closer look at the runner with its metallic thread detail.My friend, Patty, shared with me the beauty of her new table runner. It is a superb sample of using a good basic technique for a big "WOW!" effect.

The runner is made up of a series of decorative stitches carefully placed and sewn. It is absolutely stunning with the use of all those metallic threads in golds and silver. She tells me the piece is sewn with Kreinik threads.

With the proper needle (metallic or topstitch) metallic threads provide such a lustrous result with ease of stitching.

Patty's beautiful table runner.
From a distance it looks almost as if there are braids or trims sewn into place. But upon closer inspection you will notice it is really just row after row of decorative stitches. Fabulous!

The beauty of the piece is the combination of decorative stitches. This stitch stacking method is really a simple method with wonderful results sure to impress your friends and family. If you have always wondered what to do with all those stitches on your machine, this is a perfect example of the potential for using them.

Details of Patty's runner features metallic thread and gorgeous machine stitches.Patty has created some visual variety in the pieced background for the stitching. It consists of a black shimmery type of decorative fashion fabric alternating with another black with a more matte finish and plain weave. This matte fabric serves as a fine choice to support and show off the metallic decorative stitches. What a great combination of fabrics and stitches. The long tassels hung from either end of the table runner were also hand-made.

Great job, Patty! I love, Love, LOVE it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sewing Day

I spent the day sewing with a friend. It was a good day. I didn't do anything extra special or different, just a regular sewing day. I enjoyed the day. My husband came home and commented that I had a smile on my face when he came home. Knowing I spent my Mondays (day off work) sewing he commented that I must have had a good day of Sewing Therapy.

Yep, It was a good day.

I'm working on another scrappy quilt. It's based loosely on a quilt in McCall's Quick Quilts, the January 2009 issue. It's a quilt called "cozy cabins" using the log cabin pattern - courthouse steps. One change though, my strips are 2 1/2" rather than the 1 1/2" strips shown in the magazine. So my quilt will be a bit larger than what is shown.

I took a photo of my progress. It's scrappy, with a lot of black, gold, orange, purple and green. So far I'm liking this color combination. There is one print focal fabric I'm pulling the colors for my fabric from. I still need to add some other fabric colors. There's lots of room for more color since it's a scrappy quilt. I just love Scrappy Quilts. I'll keep you updated with photos as time goes on.

The previous quilt I was sewing on is awaiting the blocks to be squared up and sewn together. Then it goes on my quilting frame. The frame was cleared off a few weeks ago. I need to get that quilt framed up and start the actual quilting process. That should be interesting . . . afterall, it will be my first try at quilting on my own quilt frame.

Yep, there will be photos taken all along the way. Hopefully I catch on to the quilting process quickly with that first quilt.

More to come on that . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday

Make a wish, then blow out the birthday candles.We had the pleasure of seeing one of the boys this weekend. We celebrated out son's birthday while he was home. This photo is the best. Look at all the smoke from all those candles! Guess that's what happens as one gets older, more and more smoke with all the candles.

Cut the cake.Taking the honors to cut the cake . . . there was plenty to go around. It was a yummy lemon cake with low sugar vanilla frosting. There is lots of cake left over.

Yummy birthday cake.I haven't had lemon cake for a long time. It sure was tasty. We enjoyed the visit with our son and his fiance. It was fun to have the opportunity to get together over the last couple days. We had lots of catching up with the two of them. We got out of the house to see the new James Bond movie last night.

All in all it turned out to be a great weekend. They headed back home this evening in order to be at work tomorrow. Now it's back to just the two of us in the house (and our three dogs) again.

I ended up going through some of my stuff in the red room and the studio this weekend. Turns out I found I can "donate" some of my extra stuff to my son's fiance. She's nearly done with her teaching degree. She's starting to collect things she would find useful for teaching classes. I have lots of extra "stuff" so we went through some of that. I managed to send several boxes of "stuff" out the door with them when they left. I have so much though. It's hard to tell anything of it is gone. Now that I know there are things she might be interested in using with her future kid's classes I can put some more things aside as I continue to sort and purge while I organize my studio and all my "stuff".

I still want to go further in sorting, purging and organizing my stuff. Just this weekend, looking in boxes I haven't opened in so long, I find I'm in need of being more critical and ruthless in disposing of things. I am liking the idea of getting rid of more stuff to open up the feel of the room. There are just too many boxes and containers of stuff that it feels crowded and closed in. When I see photos of some sewing rooms and studios I find I like the ones that are open, well lighted and airy. I like the idea of more space. That's what I'm aiming for. It'll come one day, I just need to pace myself and keep working in that direction.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pin Wheels and Couching

I bought the Pfaff Yarn Couching foot - I've been playing lately.I recently purchased the Yarn Couching foot to use on my Pfaff sewing machine. I think this foot is really cool. The project I'm working on right now uses this foot to help couch down yarns. I'm embellishing a sweatshirt to make into a jacket. This project is being used at work to teach sewing techniques and tips. I'm planning on doing a different step of the process each week to feature a different sewing techniques for this class.

I've been sewing on this project.Each of us at work sewed up aprons for the sewing sessions mentioned in the previous paragraph. These Thursday classes we're offering at work are being held each week during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I followed the purchased pattern, but with a few minor changes.

My new apron - made for use in a class - will come in handy for my holiday cooking.This apron will come in handy over the Thanksgiving holiday. There is a tablerunner and a couple of potholders with this pattern as well as the apron. I plan on making those also if I can fit in the time to do so within the next couple weeks. I like the look of these items. The pattern for the apron is ideal for embroidering an endless hoop design. I may make another apron with a strip of embroidery inserted in place of the pin wheels.

a close up of some of the pinwheelsHere's a close-up shot of some of the pin wheels on my apron. I goofed up by making one too many pin wheels, but left the extra pin wheel in place rather than ripping it out. I just added a bit more fabric than the pattern called for to accommodate the extra width of the extra pin wheel. It's a minor change, and makes my apron a little wider. I'm okay with that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yay! We got snow!

We got our first snowfall of the year yesterday, officially nine inches where we are, and it's great! I just love the first big snow of the year. My dh took the day off, got up as usual and started clearing snow. He got to use the snowblower we purchased a couple years ago. With so little snow over the last couple years, this ended up being its first day of real use. He got our driveway and walks cleared and went on to help the neighbors get theirs done. A big job this morning, and he's pretty relaxed and worn out tonight.

I went to work. It was quiet. We were working on clearing up and organizing around the store along with some other things. Fewer customers because of the weather meant we had more time to get some of the mundane but necessary stuff taken care of.

Green CV pillows in the red roomI thought I'd share a photo taken in the red room. This room in our house is set up with most of my scrap booking supplies, my computer books and study materials, a drawing table and a place set up for the computer and printer when I wanted some extra quiet to study for my on-line classes. I decided I wanted a red room one year to spice things up a bit. I got a bit tired of the same old dreary neutral room colors.

So here's a photo of some pillows I made for work a couple years ago when the Pfaff Creative Vision was first released. The pillows were samples for a promotion we did at the time to show off the new machine. I love the bright, neon green, the ribbon accents on the lower pillow and the gold trim on the top one. I'm thinking these might end up in my Etsy shop one day soon. I'm not really using them, and need to make room. I've clearly got more stuff in this house than I need and think it's better to release some of it out into the world.

Painting supplies ready to goA friend at work invited me to oil paint with her. I managed to get my paints out of storage and gathered together. I haven't decided yet what I will paint. I'll look through some photos over the next few days and decide. We go to painting class on Tueday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Plushy New Bed

Ginger enjoys her new plushy bed.Ginger seems to really enjoy her plushy new bed. My dh just finished repainting this kitchen wall. We were talking about getting a new bed or building something to keep the dog from leaning up against the wall when she sleeps so it stays fresher looking and not quite so grungy after time of rubbing up against it. I found this bed at Pet Smart today. It was pretty pricey, but decided to get it anyway. Now Ginger relaxes in style and isn't rubbing up against the wall like she used to.

Aahh! The luxury of a new bed!She was in and out of her bed several times today and seems to have accepted it as no big deal. We had moved her other big pillow bed to the living room to allow her to lay in front of the entertainment unit. Since she seems to do well with sleeping in the kitchen better at night (must be warmer in there) we put the new bed there.

As evidenced by all the white dust on the leg of the kitchen pedestal table, there's still alot to get done, and clean up. It's a work in progress. I REALLY want to pull the old carpeting up out of there. It's so dingy from years of use. But we're not quite ready to replace the cupboards yet and replacing the flooring needs to wait till then. There is currently sheet rock dust on most every surface from the recent mudding/taping/sanding of the walls prepping to paint. But it looks 100 times better with the new paint on this wall. I can't wait till it is all completely done. One day at a time though since it's an after work, on the weekend type project.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Doing the "Happy Roll"

Computer game = Intense concentrationGinger was beside herself tonight when one of my sons came home for a visit this weekend. She was so overjoyed and excited she couldn't sit still for very long. Here she is wagging her tail, rolling over and making herself the object of attention while we were visiting in the living room. My son and husband will be taking her out for a long walk in the country on a hunting trip tomorrow. That's bound to wear off some of that excitement. All the walking they do usually wears her out.

Ginger doing the A quick log onto his dad's computer had our son finding a free downloadable game to play for a short while. Notice the concentration required to master this computer game.

My son and I have had an opportunity for a short visit, but I'll be putting some time in to work tomorrow. I think I'll probably miss the send-off since my son has to get back on the road and head home while I'll still be at work. It's always fun to see one of the boys, even if it is a short visit.

A friend at work mentioned she was thinking of taking an oil painting class. I commented that it has been so long since I did any oil painting. That got us onto a conversation about painting. It's fun to find out she and I have so much in common when it comes to favorite activities. We're discussing the possibility of taking a painting class together. That would be a lot of fun and give me a great reason to get my oil paints out of the closet. How fun that would be!