Postings and ponderings of a quilting and knitting addict!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Guess Where We Live!

Well, of COURSE, it is on Fancy Stitching Lane (and on Mars). HAHA!

Have your own fun by visiting here... SIGN GENERATOR.


Monday, August 24, 2009

AWOL Again...

I'm so sorry I have been AWOL from Blogville... I seem to be running 5 directions at once (Is that possible? N, S, E, W... ). There is... quilting, church, quilting, birthday party, quilting, another birthday party, quilting, church, quilting.... you get the idea.

I'm up to my eyeballs in customer quilts and a supposedly "quick" project I am working on to give to someone. It really does go quickly, but ONLY if you sit down and work on it... just walking by and looking at it does not get you anywhere!! I'm hoping to get the rows joined and borders on today but ONLY if I get back in there and finish the customer quilt that is in the machine. (Pictures coming soon, but get your sunglasses out... it is BRIGHT!) Then of course, there is bowling tonight, so things shut down early for that. SIGH...

I'm not complaining, I am BLESSED to have so much business, but it does cause me to get rather frantic sometimes.

So that's it, and I deeply apologize to those who keep clicking on the link to see what is new and nothing new is posted! I'll really try to do better, but I think I have something EVERY weekend in September, plus quilting like crazy...

Who said retired folks have NOTHING to do?? I think I'll flog them with jelly roll strips!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Natchez Trip

I just read several days ago of someone complaining that they keep forgetting to take their camera with them so they can get blog pictures... I'm worse than that. I TAKE my camera, but don't take it out of my purse to USE it. Now that is pretty sad!

So you will have to endure another post with no interesting photos of all my Arkansas friends that we met in Natchez, MS this weekend. We really enjoyed seeing them again at the "Rocking Grandma and Grandpa Bowling Tournament". This is the one time each year we get to reconnect with them and it is great to visit and catch up on what is going on in their area. Although we love living here in LA, we miss all the great friends we had in Crossett, AR.

We also got to visit with a couple that live in Natchez. I met my friend Carol and her son at a church retreat six years ago and we instantly became close friends. Her husband George is also a real sweetheart, and we enjoy visiting with them 2 or 3 times a year when we are heading through that area.

For a change, we actually bowled OK this trip. We did not do our usual embarrassing bowling, and both managed to get close to or exceed our averages. BUT today was a WONDERFUL day on the lanes for me!!! My last (of 3 games today) was a 221, with a series of 6 strikes in a row!!! That is not the highest game I have ever bowled, but it is the first time I have had 6 strikes together. I had a total series of 586!! That's not my highest ever, but very close to it. AND our whole team of 4 ladies bowled very well, so we will probably have a little return on our money. When we left, we were in first place, with one more weekend of bowling before the tournament closes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we can hold onto first place.

OK... enough off-topic (non-quilting) post... and next time I promise to get pictures!!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

YUM!! Moda Sweets!

YUM YUM! Look what the UPS man dropped at my house! I absolutely LOVE Moda pre-cuts!! I have done a couple of quilts using them and have several more in the works. My latest order includes layer cakes... this will be the first time I've used those but several of my friends have whipped up some wonderfully quick quilts with them.

In this shipment we have: (jelly rolls) Miss Jumps Scrapbag, Spring Magic, and Wonderland.

(layer cakes) Hello Betty 30s, and Wonderland

They all have WONDERFUL fabrics in them and I can't wait to get started (forget finishing up any more UFOs... JELLY ROLLS ARE CALLING!!).

It's terrible what these new things do to me... I am SUPPOSED to be finishing up my bookkeeping today (which as usual I was several months behind on) and entering my business mileage (which I have not done since the first of the year), BUT instead here I am dreaming of what I can do with these yummies...

At least THESE sweets don't go straight to your hips!!


PS: Local quilters, if you need any of these sweet treats give me a call to reserve yours... same great price as usual. Also, I still have a few IMQA calendars for sale.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Teaching Children to Sew

I don't think I need to explain to those reading my quilting blog about how important it is that we teach the next generation/s to sew. Back in "my day" most moms sewed clothing because there were not many places to buy clothing in the small, rural area and most every girl took Home Economics in school, which consisted of 1 semester of sewing and 1 semester of cooking/home management. I did not particularly care for Home Ec. My Mom taught me to sew many years before I got the opportunity to take Home Ec. my freshman year in high school. I was bored with the simple sewing projects they had us do, so I chose other electives for the rest of my school years.

Today's kids just don't have that opportunity... many mom's don't sew (or even own a machine!) and Home Ec. is now a completely different course with very little hands-on sewing involved. So... we who DO sew must teach those who don't and the best time is when they are young!

I taught Kindergarten and 1st grade for 20 years, so I have some tips if you are interested in passing on your sewing knowledge to a young one.

The most important thing to consider is the attention span of the child... AGE is not the determining factor here, it is their ability to pay attention, follow directions and stay with the project long enough to complete it. That doesn't mean complete in one session, but for long enough at a time that at the end of each session they can see progress being made. What age is that? It might be as early as 7 or 8 if it is a very simple project. My grand-daughters are 9 and 10. They were able to stick with this project for several hours. I probably could have taught them several years ago but they really did not have an interest in it. It is not something we can force them into... they have to want to do it (sometimes with a little motivation from us) and it needs to be a fun activity because we want them to develop a love of sewing, like we have.

Choose a project that is age appropriate and INTEREST appropriate. If your child enjoys cooking then a very simple apron could be made. The pillowcases we made this weekend were simple, straight sewing with easy cutting (which I let them help cut using a rotary cutter and VERY CLOSE supervision... me holding the ruler in place. ). Small pillows from character prints would also be a good starting place. Keep it simple, especially for a younger child.

Start with a safety lesson. You don't want to scare the child, but you want to develop a respect for the machine. In plain language explain where you CAN and CAN NOT put your fingers. I demonstrated this and showed that I could place my fingers right in FRONT of the foot or to either SIDE of the foot, right against the edge of the foot. But do NOT put your fingers anywhere on TOP of the foot! Ditto on the rotary cutter... we want them to respect the cutter. Show how to open the blade, how to close it EVERY TIME they set it down, and monitor to make sure they do that. Demonstrate where their hands should and should not be placed while cutting.

Zarina asked about my starting them out sewing on the paper, and here was my thinking...
1. I did not have any fabric at hand that I wanted to use for practice sewing.

2. Paper has enough stiffness that it takes the difficulty of having to work with a squirmy fabric out of the equation... they just had to worry about keeping the firm edge of the paper next to the 1/4" sewing foot. It is harder to do this with fabric because of its flexibility.

3. I do not feel sewing on paper would in any way harm a sewing machine. I sew through MANY thicknesses of fabric from time to time. If the machine can handle this, it can surely handle the paper. Also, as quilters we might do PAPER piecing, which entails sewing through paper. It may dull the needle some, but we need to change those occasionally anyway.

4. The confidence they built by using the easy-to-handle paper transferred over when they worked on fabric. I think it really did help.

5. If you want to teach sewing straight lines and curvy lines you can just draw on the paper and then have them stitch on top of the drawn lines. However for this project they only needed to know how to make that 1/4" seam so that is what we did.

6. She also wondered about type of machine to be used. My suggestion is use what you have! I let them sew on my Brother machine, but had my Janome MC9000 been behaving right I was planning on setting up both machines so they could both sew at the same time. Now that would have REALLY kept me hopping! Both machines have the "needle down" feature which is really great to have when sewing with kids. Both machines also have the speed control. I set them at a medium low speed to start practice and them moved to a medium speed. Once they get used to sewing a line they really can get STRAIGHTER lines using the med. speed rather than a pokey speed.
REMEMBER: You do NOT want to have a child sew on a junky machine that YOU would not want to sew on. If it is frustrating for you, then it would be even more frustrating for them!!

I hope these tips maywill be helpful to you. Katelyn is already saying she is going to be a quilter because she sees how much joy I get from it. And that's the key to getting interest... let them see you really enjoying what you are doing.

Happy sewing to you and the young people in your life!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bug Sisters Visit Farm

We have visitors! The "Bug Sisters" (better knows as Haley-Bug and Katie-Bug) are visiting with us this weekend. We had a full schedule of activities planned and I am worn out after being camp director all day... but we have had FUN!

We started with sewing pillowcases this morning. Actually, we started with basic sewing machine lessons... this was Haley's first time to sew on a machine. We began with sewing on paper, 1/4" seam around the edges. She caught on to this pretty quickly.

Although Katelyn insisted she was an "expert", I quickly discovered that she needed a refresher course because it has been a long time since we sewed. So she also got to sew around folded paper, and she remembered very quickly about how to handle this.

We cut, pressed, folded, and layered the fabrics according to directions. Here is Katelyn pinning layers together, preparing for sewing.

Let the sewing begin! Haley has fun sewing for her first time, and she did a wonderful job!

Katelyn is really "intense" when sewing... very focused (unless the TV is on) and carefully maneuvering around the fabric stack.

I had planned on serging the inside seams so we did not have to mess with French seams. The serger was not my friend today... I started on Haley's but when I got to the thick seam intersections it caused needle flex and a bent needle. Changed needle, same thing again. After wrestling with the thing for about an hour and being very tempted to say not-so-nice-words, I finally decided French seam would be just fine... so that is what we did.
And they are done!!

Other farm activities today... making chocolate chip cookies, helping Grumps give PJ a bath, eating watermelon, Grumps giving them rides on the 4-wheeler.
Tomorrow... church, lunch, going to visit my Mom, and then taking the girls home. What fun they are! This was our last summer blast before school starts.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You Just Never Know...

You just never know...

how the little things you do in life can affect and help others! God gives us gifts and talents but WE assume sometimes that they do not help others as much as the spiritual gifts. But we just never know... until someone tells us.

Want to get the "rest of the story"? Visit my sister blog, Enjoy the Journey to find out more!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Diane's Red and White Quilt

As promised, here is Diane's Red and White Quilt. Diane tells me the pattern came from the December 2005 "Quilters World" magazine. The magazine titled it "Christmas Dreams". Just looking at it, you would not believe there are 2 block patterns that create this wonderful look... 9-Patch and Bow Tie. Yep! That's all!

I think you can zoom in by clicking on the pictures. If you start looking in the lower corner on the one below you can clearly see how the 9-Patch (all of which have red outsite corners... no light-cornered block are used) and Bow Tie come together to make this design. Who would have thought???

Can you tell that I LOVE to quilt feathers? This one has them everywhere!

The border treatment is a technique borrowed from Carla at Feathered Fibers. She really has some great quilting shots on her blog! She has her own special flower design she puts in there, but it just did not fit these narrow borders, so I improvised.

And of course, my favorite shot is on the back. I did not get a full shot of the back, just this folded version. What was I thinking?? Obviously, I was NOT thinking at the time!!

So here you go, Diane. I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek at what is coming to you in the mail!


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Guys Will Be Guys...

Life on the farm can get very interesting. I'm busy cleaning my sewing room (see previous post) when I am interupted...

RING RING: (Me) "Hello,"

DH: "UM... would you please get in the jeep and come down to the barn, then go down to the big green gate, go through the gate, down to my deer stand, cross the creek, etc. etc., and come help me get the tractor out of the creek."

Yep, you read right.... TRACTOR in CREEK!

So I ask..." How did this happen?"

DH: "It's all PJ's fault (our recently adopted dog). She ran in front of me and I dodged her, and ended up in the creek."

ME: "OK... be right there."

RING RING: "Hello,"

DH: "You might want to bring your camera for blog pictures."

HMMM... This must be interesting, so I grab the camera and head out. Does he really want the evidence captured on film (UM... I mean DIGITAL media)?

I cruise past the barn, through the gate, down to the creek... no sign of him. I hang a right, go to the other end of the pasture where the creek is accessible... no sign of him.

DRAT! I forgot to bring my cell phone so I could call him and get further directions! While contemplating whether to go back to the house and get the cell phone, I hear him holler. I go that way... I follow his directions and cross the creek, go through the pasture, and this is what I see.

How to get it out??? Our trusty Jeep, winch, and a small tree (to keep the Jeep from moving forward) all work together to retrieve the tractor from the creek.

Hook the cable to the tractor...

I operate the winch, he handles the tractor... making progress!

It took a few minutes, but it worked. And now the truth comes out... I guess most guys have told the tale that they were dodging a dog in the road when they ended up in the ditch. Most dads don't fall for that excuse when their teenage son tries it because they know better. It seems he was backing up on the creek crossing he had almost completed constructing when a tire slipped off the edge, and the tractor kept sliding further and further as he tried to get it out.

So sweet PJ is innocent! She receives a doggy treat as an apology for the story that was told on her. I'll know better than to believe that story NEXT time.

All's well that ends well!


Cleaning Out... UGH!

OK... You all KNOW how I procrastinate. If you need proof, see THIS BLOG ARTICLE from the past. Today I am really making myself do something I have put off for months now... I am cleaning up/out my office/sewing room. It seems to be the catch-all room in my house for those little things that I can't decide where they should go (Just stick it in there... I'll put it up later. Yea, right... we all know that later has a hard time coming at my house!). I guess that is because since getting the 2nd sewing machine I prefer to piece/sew at the dining table where I have plenty of room. Of course, I also prefer there because it is such a MESS in my sewing room!

I considered showing you a "before" picture, but I was honestly too embarrassed at how bad the room has gotten. I DO plan on showing an "after" picture, but that may take a while as I only have small spots of time to work on this. I'm taking the "Fly Lady" approach to this. I'll get as much done today as I can, and then each day I will work 15 minutes on it. Eventually, it will get done!

THEN, I plan on re-organizing my fabric stash. I washed all of my new (in the last 3 months) purchases this week and was shocked by what I discovered! For some reason I have been on a fabric buying binge lately, and I have very little time to piece! So why am I doing this??? I've got to change my ways and get around to working with what is in my stash.

You know, I really think getting the Jelly Rolls is what started this. You have to have "just the right border fabric" to go with them, and that means going to quilt shops, and that means that even though you may not find exactly what you are looking for you see all these other wonderful things that call your name. And they are very hard to resist!

I seem to have run out of steam as I was working on this today, so I am taking a lunch break and then will get back to work, hopefully with a little more energy and a lot more accomplished. Maybe if I dangle a bribe of CHOCOLATE under my nose it will help keep me moving on this.

I promise to post pictures of the red/white customer quilt tomorrow sometime. The customer is back home and I must get her 3 quilts boxed for mailing first thing Monday morning. Since the Post Office in the small town we have moved to does not open on Saturdays (that took some getting used to!) all such activities must be done M-F.

Have a wonderful day, and tell me, what are YOU accomplishing today? It feels really good to actually write it out sometimes (plus that gives a little bit of accountability when we have written down what we are going to do).

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