Thursday, March 31, 2016

Finished my first quilt!!!

I've been busy for the last couple of days and I'm going to show you the results of my labors because I'm so stinking excited to have pieced, backed, quilted, bound, and made a hanging sleeve for one of my quilt tops.  FINALLY!

My husband has been giving me a hard time about all these works in progress (WIP), and I finally decided to select one that I could finish the most quickly. 

So . . . drumroll please . . . 

The Advent calendar!!!

In the process, I learned to do a bunch of things in the process so I'm super glad I chose a small project to learn on!

First, the quilting:

I copied the quilting from Jenny Doane from MSQC because it looked simple.  

It was.  It took a little bit of time, but it was simple and easy.

Then the binding:

First I cut 2 1/2" strips from leftover fabric I had.  I only needed 4 strips.  In the end, I think I only used 3 strips.  Then I pinned two strips right-sides together at the corner at right angles, making sure the Christmas trees would face the same direction when I opened them up.  I connected all 4 strips in this manner.  I hate eyeballing things so  I marked the stitch line.  Frankly, I could have used a Sharpie because this will never show.  (I didn't--I used a washable fabric marker.)

Next I clipped the extra corner pieces:

Ironed the whole length in half, 

Pinned and sewed the binding onto the edges of the Advent calendar, 

Turned the binding to the outside and then stitched in the ditch on the front side to stitch it down.  No picture--oops.  I learned some valuable things though.  I tried to join up the beginning and ending on the corner.  BIG mistake.  I ended up unpicking a bit so I could join them on the straight side.  There was too much bulk at the corner, making it unmanageable.  No pictures though. :-(  Also, I folded both ends under about 1/4" before tucking the one end inside the other and stitching down. 

Then I thought about a hanging sleeve.  I messed around with it a lot, first trying a loop and realizing that the quilt would not hang straight without more support.  Then I went online for instructions to make a hanging sleeve.  I followed these directions on with one modification.  I chose to sew the top edge into the binding--actually on top of the binding since the binding was already attached.  I got that idea from MSQC.  Again, I stitched it on from the front so I could stitch in the ditch of the binding.

Then I hand blind stitched the bottom edge to the quilt as the allpeoplequilt instructions.  (I skipped some steps here so go to the above link at allpeoplequilt; the instructions are quite good and the finished product looks so polished.)  I'm quite pleased with it.  I never would have thought of folding the sleeve up 1/2" from the bottom before stitching, but it gives ample room for any kind of rod.  My rod doesn't need it because it is tiny, but I might change my mind in the future.

The finished back:

I still need to figure out how to make a quilt label.  I have some ideas, but I wish I had added it before I put the back on.  Then I could have quilted it onto the Advent calendar and made it a permanent part of the quilt.  Instead, I'll be blind stitching it onto the back.  Next time . . . .

And thank you, Jim, for teasing me about finishing one quilt all the way!  This was terrific motivation to complete more!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Yesterday's blog post was so lengthy that I didn't want to add one more thing, but that one thing was the last block before catching up to the Minecraft sew along.

Enter this freaky dude:

My husband plays hardcore, which means that you can be destroyed and the world you create as well in a single stroke of bad luck.  I guess the other way gives you multiple chances and maybe doesn't destroy the world you made?  My kids and my husband have enjoyed this game through the years although my husband is the only one who prefers the chanciness of the hardcore game.  My kids would interact with each others' worlds when they played although they tried not to mess each others' games up.

Jim, my husband, tells me that you know when Enderman comes into play because the music (if you can call it that) sounds like nails on a blackboard.  Really pleasant, NOT!  So sinister dude, he is.

Today is the day for the squid and it's already up at Seriously I think it needs stitches!

This week's project is getting the sashing done.  My daughter and I found some awesome fabrics so I hauled my husband to the Cabin Arts store in Kentucky to pick out his favorites.  That's a tiny cabin crammed with fabric from top to bottom!

That grey fabric facing us is the one Jim chose for the sashing!  It reminded him of the rock in Minecraft (that he spends so much time chipping away!!!

Here's the shop in all its quaint cabin goodness. They're on Facebook too and they keep that page current.

Racked and stacked with delicious fabrics!  Along with the sashing, Jim picked out the backing and binding fabrics:
The grey sashing, brown backing (reminded him of dirt), and charcoal black for the binding.  All 3 fabrics have black running through them.  If you've been reading my blog for long, you have probably picked up that I'm good at completing quilt tops, better at buying more fabric, and lousy at getting the backing fabric.  I think I may have found fabric for this violet/pink quilt although I only need a 60" width, not 120" backing.  At least I have a direction, and I guess I could always use the leftover fabric if needed.  I found some black corduroy in my stash that I might use for the Advent calendar.  Not very Christmasy, but nobody will see the back right?  I have some really cute Christmas fabric, but it seems a waste to have it facing the wall.

And I may have succumbed to my love of all things Independence Day (USA):
Quilt shops are dangerous places, I tell ya!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Where my head's been at . . . and introduction

I have been working hard all week to get these blocks done and catch up to Kelli over at Seriously I think it needs stitches and I've wondered if I would ever get these done.  Have you ever had times that you simply felt overwhelmed and it takes everything you've got just to kick it in gear?

Yeah?  That's been my week this past week.  Sometimes it was 10:00 at night before I finally got to it.  I can't say I've gotten an exceptional amount of work done--my yard work still needs to be done for example.  We've had a lot of wind this past winter, and a bunch of trees came down in our wooded area so that is a MESS!  The weather was nice so I kept thinking I should get out there, but I didn't.  New week now, right?  Our lawn mower died at the end of last summer too so we need to buy a new one, but you got it--that hasn't happened either.

I've just felt overwhelmed these last few weeks.  I have twin sons, and both have left home for 2-year missions for our church in the last 6 months, the last one 3 weeks ago.  I've missed him a lot, and it brought back some homesickness for his brother who has been gone longer too.  So I think I've been grieving them being gone a bit.  They are good company and I've had them with me much of the time for the last 19 1/2 years.  We homeschooled them all the way through school so the ties have been even closer.  They both started working full time about 1.5 years ago and they worked until right around the time Steven (actually the 4-minute younger twin) left.  James (the last one gone) quit his job about 5 months before he left and has only been working part time at a ranch so we have had more time to spend together.  It was wonderful to have a little bit of time with each of them individually before each of them left.  I still have one daughter in high school so I've been spending a little more time with her after she gets home from school.  Still, I'm home all day with no one else here and it's taking a bit of adjusting!!!

Steven (the first twin out) with his beloved truck right after he bought it.  He sold it before he left.

My daughter often curled up in Steven's room to study because it was warmer than her own room, but then James came in and they started playing a game on her phone.  So much for studying!  

One more of James goofing around at the Aquarium when he and I went shortly before he left:
My life has been closely intertwined with all of my children's lives so I guess it's natural that I'm at a loss right now.  I'm pretty proud of what they have accomplished to date! Both boys earned all their mission money before they left plus what their success with their high school studies while we homeschooled.  Good young men.

Onward to the Ocelot.  Jim (my husband) has been helping me pick out the colors, and he pointed out that the colors are a lot more true on the computer screen than on the page I printed.  So be forewarned:  If you print out the directions, refer often to Seriously I think it needs stitches to compare shades of colors.  I bought the fat quarters from the Fat Quarter Shop but the link to that collection seems to be defunct.  Maybe they've sold out that bundle?  They have some other luscious bundles though!

I followed the Ocelot instructions exactly.  I love Kelli's diagrams!  They are fantastic!  I was a little worried about the top strip with the dark and light yellow rectangles because that piece was much longer than the pieces underneath, until I realized I was forgetting about the dark yellow strip down the left side!  Then it fit perfectly.  My 1/4" seams are getting better too.  Yay!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The villager and the pig

I'm still struggling with the scant 1/4" seam.  I think maybe I'm starting to get it, but I don't have it every time.  That makes the pieces not line up exactly, but I'm getting closer I think.



He kind of reminds me of Bert of Sesame Street fame!  However, I'm out of the fat quarter for skin tone now so I'm wondering if I just need to switch to the next color closest to skin tone or what.  My villager is paler than Kelli's.

Speaking of Seriously I think it needs stitches, Kelli has created this pattern:

I'm thinking of my missionary son Steven in the California Fresno Mission.  Change the bike color to lime green and eliminate the basket of flowers, and I'd have his bike.  (Sorry, I couldn't find one with him riding it!)

Here's a better one with him on the bike although it's still dark at night!  Dark suit, dark night--not much detail to be had!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Having fun!

Tonight I got two more Minecraft character skins finished.  (Aren't you impressed? Kelli at Seriously I think it needs stitches taught me that these are skins.)


Alex:  (Who is this character anyway?)

I made the modifications to Alex that Kelli noted at Seriously I think it needs stitches.  The pale pink mouth is really pale!  I'd probably step it up a shade next time.

NOT on topic

I am including this little parable because I've been thinking about it as it pertains to my children and their experiences as well as my own.  While it isn't gospel, I believe it is wisdom.  I have copied it from Carol Tuttle's book, Remembering Wholeness.


The following is a parable excerpted from Conversations with god: An Uncommon Dialogue; Book 3, that helps us understand how we can truly love those we have perceived as our enemies.

[God talking]  “You may choose to be any part of God you wish to be,” I said to the Little Soul.  “You are Absolute Divinity, experiencing Itself.  What Aspect of Divinity do you now wish to experience as You?”

                  “You mean I have a choice?” asked the Little Soul.  And I answered, “Yes.  You may choose to experience any Aspect of Divinity in, as, and through you.”

                  “Okay,” said the Little Soul, “then I choose Forgiveness.  I want to experience my Self as that Aspect of God called Complete Forgiveness.”
                  Well, this created a little challenge, as you can imagine. 

                  There was no one to forgive.  All I have created is Perfection and Love.

                  “No one to forgive?” asked the Little Soul, somewhat incredulously. 

                  “No one,” I repeated.  “Look around you.  Do you see any souls less perfect, less wonderful than you?”

                  At this the Little Soul twirled around, and was surprised to see himself surrounded by all the souls in heaven.  They had come from far and wide throughout the Kingdom, because they heard that the Little Soul was having an extraordinary conversation with God.

                  “I see none less perfect than I!” the Little Soul exclaimed.  “Who, then, shall I have to forgive?”

                  Just then, another soul stepped forward from the crowd.  “You may forgive me,” said this Friendly Soul.

                  “For what?” the Little Soul asked.

                  “I will come into your physical lifetime and do something for you to forgive,” replied the Friendly Soul. 

                  “But what? What could you, a being of such Perfect Light, do to make me want to forgive you? The Little Soul wanted to know.

                  “Oh,” smiled the Friendly Soul, “I’m sure we can think of something.”
                  “But why would you want to do this?”  The Little Soul could not figure out why a being of such perfection would want to slow down its vibration so much that it could actually do something “bad.”

                  “Simple,” the Friendly Soul explained, “I would do it because I love you.  You want to experience your Self as Forgiving, don’t you? . . .

                  “I ask only one thing in return, “ the Friendly Soul declared.

                  “Anything!  Anything,” the Little Soul cried.  He was excited now to know that he could experience every Divine Aspect of God.  He understood, now, The Plan.

                  “In the moment that I strike you and smite you,” said the Friendly Soul, “in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could ever imagine—in that self-same moment . . . remember Who I Really Am.”

                  “Oh, I won’t forget!” promised the Little Soul.  “I will see you in the perfection with which I hold you now, and I will remember Who You Are, always.”

The Lord said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” . . . because they may have been your best friend in heaven.

                  I know that God will give liberally to those who ask.  Prayer will help us draw more fully on the powers of heaven and the powers of Christ’s atonement.

                  Therefore, lift up your voice and ask God to remove any perceptions that are stumbling blocks to you forgiving and feeling whole.  Many, many times I have asked God to change my perceptions to ones that support me in feeling peace and harmony and showing up in unconditional love and allowing.  I know he has assisted and will continue to assist you and me each time we ask.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Creeper and Cow

So this was a fun (and easy) block to make:

Hello, Creeper!

The cow was also fun to see take shape!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Minecraft begins!

After finally getting all the pieces cut and laid out for the first Minecraft block, I made the Advent calendar.

Yesterday, I put Steve together!

Meet Steve!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

#MakeSomethingToday Advent Calendar

I did it!  I completed another quilt top.  This one is a Christmas Advent wall hanging.  I totally love this idea.  I got the inspiration and direction from Missouri Star Quilt Company at

Here is mine:

I really like this idea.  This is made with one-seam flying geese and the upper edges of the triangles are open for suggestions for activities.  Missouri Star included a .pdf file for an Advent calendar.  The next picture shows a few of the cards sticking out of the pockets:

Up close:

I've thought about doing something like this with inexpensive date ideas for newlyweds, activities for what to do when bored, and so on.  I really like the idea of doing a spring-themed one with activities.  When I was homeschooling, I could have put assignments in each pocket and had a strip for each child.

It is nice to finish something!

Okay, so I still have to get the batting, then put the back on, but this is further than I thought I'd get at noon today.  Oops, that would be yesterday as of a half hour ago!

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Here's the floating square quilt.  I still need to put a border on this, and then the top will be totally finished.  I wanted to show it now though!

And I also ripped off the top of a sheet (that was already torn) and re-hemmed it and put a decorative edging on it because the sheet is perfectly good other than that top.  Sometimes I think my alter-ego was born during the Depression era!  You know, the use it up, make it do, wear it out era.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

New beginnings (again)

I just sent my second son off on a 2-year mission for our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He will be serving in the Portland, Oregon, area after spending 3 weeks on a crash course at the Missionary Training Center learning how to contact and teach people the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He gets one more week than his twin brother did about 5 months ago!  It was so hard to come into our house after dropping him off at the MTC.  Usually if I went out early in the morning, my son James would meet me at the garage door into the house.  (Actually, if he was home, he would always meet me at the door if he heard the garage door go up.)  Then he would take off for the farm.  I will really miss him.  Watching him walk away from us at the airport felt like I was watching a huge portion of my life leave.  He and his brother are two of the brightest jewels in my life that I could ever hope to have.  At least I have my daughter at home still, but she had to be dropped off at school after leaving the airport and my husband went straight to work so I returned home alone.

Here he is this morning around 5:45 after eating his breakfast burrito (made by his dad) and an oatmeal banana THM shake (made by me.)  The best things in life are found in the home! He had to be at the airport at 6:30.

When I came inside, I went upstairs to his room--just like I did when his brother Steven left.  I'm so glad he is so full of life because his personality is right there in his room.  Nope, I don't think I'll redecorate, even temporarily.  

Eventually though, I had to come back downstairs so I'm looking over my recent fabric purchase as well as contemplating stitching together the baby quilt today.  My daughter needs dessert for an activity tonight too.  When missing someone, you can never have enough projects to complete!!!

The fabric I just received?

Love the ribbon!!!

It's the Minecraft fat quarter collection from the Fat Quarter shop over here.  They are having a 24-hour flash sale today!  Love that yardage with the scissors on it!

The Minecraft sew along is happening over here!  That Looks Like It Needs Stitches is running directions for making the quilt pieces, and my husband loves both the game and the quilt.  So first the baby quilt then get started on the Minecraft blocks.  Hard work overcomes challenges.

One project at a time.  Here's where my oldest twin son is right now:

Sharing helps me so thank you for being there!

Monday, March 7, 2016

New week, new quilt--oops! UPDATE

Last week (or maybe the week before that), I cut out a bunch of squares for a Floating Squares crib quilt.  Here is a link for the tutorial:    I thought it would look so cute with these charms.  I admit that I may have fallen in love with the charm on the front!  It didn't hurt that the charm pack was on their daily deals list.  Yeah, that list is pretty much my downfall!

However, I wanted a colored background so I crossed my fingers and chose some fabric yardage online (I think it was 1 3/4 yards).  It turned out to be a little stronger of a color than I wanted, but I think it still looks good.

The cutting turned out to be the longest part of the whole process so far.  Here are the steps:

1.  Separate 30 charm squares.  I took out the reds and oranges because they seemed a little strong for the violet-pink.  These 30 charms (5"x5") will remain in a whole piece.

UPDATE!  2.  Cut 5" strips of the solid color fabric yardage and then subcut those strips into 5" squares so you are basically making charms.  Don't buy a solid color charm pack since you need 49 of these, which is a little more than one charm pack.

UPDATE!  3.  Cut 40 2"x5" rectangles.  You need 40 of these rectangles.  Do NOT cut them out of the 49 squares you just cut!!!  You can still use the same cutting strategy as step 2 by cutting 5" strips and then subcutting the strips into 2"x5" rectangles.  Much less waste that way too.

Sorry, no pictures of this one! 

4.  Now take about 5 of the leftover charm squares, and cut each square into 4 little 2"x2" squares out of each charm piece.  You need 20 little squares.

Nothing here either.  I need to remember to take pictures of the process!

That, my friends, is the hardest part of the whole quilt!  Now you are ready to sew the floating squares block.  I'm not even going to try to explain that in print; watch the tutorial.  Jenny Doane explains it very well.  Take my word for it though:  I'm a novice, and these were quick to put together!

I'll put all of the squares together into the quilt and post it later this week.  My son is leaving for a 2-year church mission early Wednesday morning so I don't anticipate having time to do anything further until at least Wednesday.  Glad and sad all rolled together into one.  Mostly glad though.  That will help me through the missing-him spells.  That and quilting. :-) 


I just laid this out, and discovered this is going to make a large crib quilt--very large 58"x48"--or a small quilt.  The patterned pieces are fine and the pieced pieces are fine, but there aren't enough solid-colored squares.  I need to figure out what I'm going to do now.  I'll get back to you as soon as I figure it out! 

Okay, you need 49 squares for this quilt and then you still need to cut 40 rectangles 2"x5".  It is about double the size of a crib quilt too.  I have revised the directions above.  The tutorial is a good one, but this part was misleading.  The binding tutorial can be found here.