Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Heart happy!

Have you ever had one of those times where you felt like you couldn't get moving?

Well, that happened to me with quilting.  I couldn't get off the dime.  

I started cutting fabric for my Through the Ages quilt and then mis-cut a piece.  And couldn't fix it.  First, I didn't realize I should have fussy cut it a little more because I cut off the head of the knight and the seam would take off the head of the lady.  Then I realized I cut it 1 1/2" too narrow and didn't have enough fabric left for a second try.

Thankfully Fabric.com still had that particular print available. Through the Ages website did not.  For $2 more, I bought a yard rather than a 1/2 yard of fabric and it's on its way here!  $15 later including $5 shipping.  That hurt my feelings! 

That really took away the little head of steam that had been building up so I looked around for a new project.  Preferably quick and easy.  The latest issue of the BLOCK magazine had a table runner of hearts and I had some Michael Miller bright solid precuts that I've been saving.  It all worked together and I came up with this tabletopper!

Perspective:  This is laying on our family dining table that seats 6, and it takes most of the table.  

My heart is happy and feeling up to another project now.  Hooray!

This post was first published on costumesandquilts.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Regency period and gratitude for modern sewing conveniences

My daughter has a huge creative streak and especially loves costuming and dressing up as characters in books and movies.  She has a Cosplay party coming up and she decided to step outside of her usual mold and take a fictional/historic character from the Regency period.  Channelling Jane Austen here.

Nearly there now.  Now I get to tackle buttonholes, which I have never done on my Janome.  The dread of new things is probably worse than actually doing it, don't you think?  I have a quilt that took nearly a week to begin cutting fabric for it.  So far I've only made one cutting mistake and hopefully that will be the last one but I've got three more fabrics to go.  The dress from the front:

Okay, not exactly true to the period.  We picked a cotton and another fabric would probably be the more likely fabric.  Softer too.  And I used elastic to gather the neckline because I can.  I would give anything for a zipper in the back instead of the cumbersome way they handled it.  (I didn't do so hot back there so I'll be using buttons instead of leaving it open.  They used to use overskirts to hide the open part, I guess.)  Hopefully the buttons will hide my mistakes.

My daughter has decided she's not really fond of how the dress fits, thinking it makes her look fat.  I suspect, given how exercise seemed to be frowned on for women, that most gentlewomen were fat and these dresses made them look more svelte.

Mostly though, I'm thinking we are spoiled with modern conveniences like elastic and zippers.  Those two items would have made a HUGE difference to their fashion lives!  We just don't know what we have!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wrapping up the holidays

My hexagon block is finished for the Amy Gibson modern quilt.  I'm not a big fan of doing hexagons and I have one more quilt block using them.  I suspect paper piecing will be something I'll do when I have to do it.  It takes considerably more work although Amy's video instruction makes it simple.  I used regular copy paper for templates and can see the advantage of buying pre-made hexagons.  Mine weren't perfectly sized either but it worked.


This year we finally bought an emergency kit of food for our family.  120 entrees while they were on sale.  We've often put in 72-hour kits using regular canned food but that food takes more space and doesn't keep as long.  Now to figure out where to store water.

I found a new recipe for Hamburger Stew.  Originally I used radishes instead of potatoes to make it THM friendly (which I liked but my husband did not), and then I made it again with potatoes.  The Pioneer Woman definitely knows how to cook!  I think I'll be buying her first cookbook soon to help my son become a more confident cook.

Tis the season for movies.  We saw both Rogue 1 (Star Wars) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Harry Potter).  So good and we found an incredible theater about 30 minutes away from our house that makes the movie-going experience worth it.  Matinees are also my favorite way to save money and not deal with gross highway traffic.

On to failed gifts.  I made placemats with this fabric, an artist special:

They looked really nice until I rinsed off the blue marker I used to guide my quilting stitches.  If you look closely, you'll see stray pink marks from the burgundy color in the binding fabric.  I was really upset.  I learned to pre-wash fabric, especially dark fabric.  I washed them with color catchers but it wasn't enough.

Here's another set I made:

I like the quilting better on these anyway.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Husband's surprise

My husband's Christmas gift was another hard one to keep under wraps.  A couple of months ago, he turned me onto ceramic potter Jessica Putnam-Phillips' @jessputnamphillips Periscope and I learned that he would love to have a large mug made by her.  While watching her make some bowls and mugs, she displayed a jade green mug that she had made previously and commented that she had some others in progress.  Instantly I knew what I wanted to get him.

Because Jessica makes one-of-a-kind work, I emailed with a request for one of those mugs.  Since my husband watches her Periscope posts, I knew it would be tricky to pull it off.  I also use his Paypal account rather than creating my own so I knew paying for the mug would be even harder.  Thankfully, Jessica was willing to work with me and I got the mug right before Christmas.

I just realized that this picture doesn't show the carving details and he has it at work so I can't take another picture.  I stole a screen shot off his Instagram account though.  Isn't it gorgeous?!

As Jim handled and admired it, he wondered out loud if there was something he could put on the bottom to keep it from breaking.  I went into the sewing room and came out a little later with this little mug rug, just big enough for the mug.  So pretty!  

Monday, January 2, 2017


How was your Christmas?  Mine was fantastic!  I got to spend it with most of my family and talk to my missionary son.  


I finished some more projects too.  My phone rang a few days before Christmas and it was my quilter calling to tell me my disappearing 9-patch Christmas quilt was completed!  Her husband has been terribly sick and in the hospital so I had told her not to worry about getting it finished before Christmas.  She got it done anyway though!  What a nice surprise!  It was also wonderful to learn he was home in time for Christmas!

I hurried to add the binding so I'd have it for Christmas morning.

I made some last minute Christmas Eve presents for Santa to fill Christmas morning.  Yes, we still do stockings.  Santa has always only brought things that can fit stockings because I've never liked the idea of something for nothing and the very-noticeable unfairness of how "Santa" brings marvelous gifts for some children and nothing to others.  My kids were long familiar with the idea that Moms and Dads help Santa.  One of my favorite Christmases was when we taught the poem, "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.  My daughter's cowboy boot is suede with a bit of leather around the ankle, and my son's has the horses and cowboy hats and leather.

Several years ago, I bought the center cowboy boot that my eldest twin son immediately commandeered.  I used it as my pattern for the other two.  They were immediate hits!  All 3 love their boots, and my daughter had received new suede boots for her December birthday.

I received this scissor holder from a quilting friend and thought it was so clever!!!

The back with its magnets:

I finished my daughter's Christmas quilt and am THRILLED to be able to share it now!  My inspiration was Missouri Star Quilt Company's stacks quilt along with her story about how it looked like stacks of books.  My daughter loves to read and tested above high school reading level while still very young.  I've always meant to keep a list of her favorite books but never done it in a permanent form.  Well, I did it this year.  While driving to a vacation destination last spring, she told me what books had been her favorites through her life.  Later I searched her bookcase for some forgotten tales and stitched them into a Book Stacks quilt for her.  The directions for this quilt is included in the Summer volume of the BLOCK magazine.

I did the quilting myself and had to unpick the wrong colored thread strips!

Some of the titles: (yes, she loves Shakespeare)

A few more titles.  She got to meet Brandon Mull at a church youth activity last Friday night.  What a grand finale for the year!

We always read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, followed by my son reading The Grinch and my husband with The Night Before Christmas.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you have peace in your heart in this new year.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

This n that

I'm also on BlogLovin now: <a href="https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18313149/?claim=j9n4n6k9uuw">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Today I spent more time on a Christmas present that I will not be able to reveal until after Christmas, and I'm bursting to tell!  I am quite excited about it but I can't tell yet.

Yesterday my son and I spent some time together at the Krohn Conservatory for the 2016 Holiday show to see the Christmas decorations.  I enjoyed touring it with him, and then we hit Five Guys for lunch.  Yummy!

Steven in a train carved out of a tree trunk:

Pretty cool, huh!

Finally a view of part of the holiday scene.  The buildings are miniatures of buildings in Cincinnati, as is the train that circles throughout the whole thing.

And finally, some quilting!  I cut out 13 hexagon shapes from paper for my modern quilt from Craftsy's 2012 Block of the Month by Amy Gibson, and 13 3 1/2" squares.  Here's decision time for fabrics.  I hope they work!

And cutting around each paper form on my new rotating mat!  I used my glue stick to keep the fabric squares attached at this point.  It worked!

Next up:  hand basting.  This from the girl who doesn't do hand sewing.

Oh, check out Sew Mama Sew for giveaways, but they're almost over so hurry!

One more for those who like art of all sorts:  check out JessicaPutnamPhillips.com for a ceramics artist.  I've been following her on Periscope while I quilt my surprise.  I've learned a lot about ceramics watching her scopes.  I still choose quilting, but what she does is amazing!  She shares my view that art allows me to focus on what I'm doing instead of worrying.  It's a way to just be and find my place.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!

It's time for caroling and happy energies this season because of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Peace can be had in spite of the world's turmoil.  In spite of personal turmoil.  It really can.

Add a bit of quilting to lessen anxiety too or at least something creative helps spill off stress.  Maybe it's cooking, coloring, dog training, or biking.  Find it though.  I'm not being overly light about it:  stress is real and so is anxiety.  Add some scripture and meditation time and this season should feel lighter still.

I added another journal to my collection.  I've been wanting a paper journal again rather than typing up entries on the computer.  This takes me up to three journals.  A small 5-year journal that I'm gleaning events from past calendars and Facebook, a spiritual journal, and now this one.  After I took the picture, I colored on the front cover since it looks just like the backside!  Another way to de-stress.

Today my son and daughter put up the Christmas tree and we discovered we have too many decorations.  Nice problem!!!

We put this new Christmas tree skirt I just pieced and quilted under the tree.  Our tree, as my kids put it, is a 3D family history tree that commemorates all our major events through the years.  We have tried to collect an ornament that marked something of the past year; some years that resulted in homemade ornaments.  Long story short:  our tree is a scrappy sort of tree so the scrappy tree skirt fits beautifully!

Our beautiful tree, Smith style:  

And Saturday I picked up the Olfa 17" rotary mat for a song, courtesy of JoAnn's 60% off coupon.  Gotta love those when it works out!