Thursday, November 7, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 11/7/19

Happy November 2019! This is a print I ordered from my favorite graphic artist, Molly (@tokodots) (minus the "November 2019"). I loved the enclosed thank you card--it shows a set of notecards based on my Delta Breeze quilt  (lower left corner)
Janice and I went out for lunch to celebrate her birthday on Thursday (Halloween). I took her to Seasons Bistro in Shaver Lake. Lunch was sooo good!
 The last time Mark and I were there, the waitress had recommended ordering the bananas foster, which turned out to be a superb recommendation.

Halloween 2019:

Good friend, Jane, had invited me to a craft and cocktails night. I've heard of these before, but had never attended one. It was such fun--the perfect combination of friends...

and a great craft to enjoy.
 This was trickier than I thought it would be.
 Karen and I have known each other for nearly 40 years, since our kids were babies.
Jane, Karen, me, Kristen, Christa and Jill
Haha, number 1.
On Sunday, we went to Palm Village to celebrate my father's 92nd birthday, although he insisted he is now 93.  He probably doesn't even remember that we were there so he can be 93 if he wants to be 93. Even though the delicious pineapple upside down cake we brought clearly came from a bakery, he later told my brother that Mark had baked him a delicious cake. 

Charlotte has one of the lead parts in her school's upcoming performance of Guys and Dolls. There she is in the bottom right. We are really looking forward to seeing it.
I've been wanting to see Downton Abbey before it's no longer on the big screen. So Monday night, Mark said, "Let's go to the 9:55 p.m. showing," even though he never really kept up with the series. 

There were only three of us in the theater. And about 45 minutes into the showing I started to feel sick and we had to leave. Stomach virus. Super ugh. We are going to give it another shot tonight.
Haha, number 2.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Break Dance Bag

In July while at my annual quilting retreat at Gruber's, I purchased a kit for the Break Dance Bag. The first thing that caught my eye was the luscious hand dyed orange wool. And the cute ribbon with the sheep. And the awesome black and white striped zipper.

The pattern shows three cute wool applique' sheep, but I decided just to use the ribbon as embellishment.

I also loved the bright striped lining that was included.
Although I sewed countless zippers into garments when I used to make my own clothes in high school and college, for some reason zippers in pouches intimidate me. Which is weird because they are pretty easy to install. Also, I have a love-hate relationship with my zipper foot. Let's be honest--mostly I hate it. I never feel like it has enough pressure to keep the fabric from slipping, and also I don't like that one side of the needle is exposed. So when I saw someone rave about a Juki zipper foot I ordered it immediately from Amazon.
Life changing! At least when it comes to zipper installation--ha!
PATTERN: Break Dance Bag by Tracy Trevethan.
The zipper (which was included in the kit as well) is from Studio Kat Designs (12" separating zipper), and for sure I want to purchase a few more of them.

REVIEW: The construction was easy and straightforward, although when it came to boxing the corners, I felt like you needed some previous experience. You cut a piece out of each corner, and there is a photograph showing that. However, there was no dimension given, so I kind of eyeballed it and cut a 1" square out of each corner.
 Also, I wish I had added some fusible interfacing to the lining to give it a bit more structure.
And now I'm off to order some more of those amazing black and white striped zippers. :)

Mini Maker Station

I'm embarking on a new project for the month of November--something my friend Rene' calls "3D sewing"--anything not flat like a quilt. I follow incredibly creative people on Instagram and   routinely purchase patterns for pouches, pincushions, tote bags, drawstring bags, etc. The problem is that the patterns get filed away and most often never get made.

A couple of weeks ago, aproaching my one-year anniversary of a breast cancer diagnosis, I suddenly realized that I felt great! My energy level seems to have returned to normal and overall I am feeling really good. It renewed my excitement to sew.

I am hoping that the projects this month will be low stress, fun, and bust through some of my excessive fabric stash--all that super cute fabric that I've been reluctant to cut into needs to be made into something fun.

I begin my journey with the Mini Maker Station, designed by Nicole of Lillyella Stitchery. It is a free download, and a project I've been wanting to make since she first released the pattern.

There are four parts to the Mini Maker Station: the main body, which drapes over the arm of your chair, the pincushion, the fabric basket, and the thread catcher.
I was making this for my friend, Janice, who had a birthday in October. She loves both Tula Pink and Kaffe Fasset, so I jokingly said if Tula and Kaffe had a love child, it would be this Mini Maker Station. :)

For the main fabric of the mat, I used my all-time favorite Kaffe print, Guinea Flowers. It comes in lots of gorgeous colorways, and my favorite (no surprise) is a luscious orange. But this was not for me, so I chose the Cobalt. Then I added another Kaffe fabric in the same colors, and three Tula Pink fabrics from her All Stars line--two polka dots and a stripe.

The main body has pockets on each side--great for storing your scissors and seam ripper. My friend, Stephanie, made one for me, and I also have wonder clips clipped along the top of one of the pockets. In the center portion, you insert a thin piece of sheet metal (hardware kits available from Nicole's etsy

Next up is the pincushion. The hardware set includes four round disc magnets, one for the pincushion, and three for the fabric basket. When I took them off the sheet metal, they immediately stuck to each other. When I say they are strong, that is no joke. For awhile I wasn't sure if I would be able to separate them from each other! One goes in the bottom of the pincushion (I didn't take a good picture of it, but you can see the top of it resting in the fabric basket).

The fabric basket uses Peltex 71F fusible interfacing to give it some good structure. Three magnets go in the bottom of the basket. And I added this adorable label from Kylie and the Machine (who has a lot of really cute labels--I think I may need to stock up on more of this particular label).
The last item is the thread catcher, an easy make. Or should have been, but by now I was kind of tired. I had cute twill tape and wanted the words "create" and "believe" to show. But I sewed it to the thread catcher wrong side out. I get confused sometimes because you have to think ahead about how things will be facing when you turn the lining to the inside of the completed project. Also, the fabric sizes are cut at 4.75" by 4.25" for both the outer fabric and the lining. I wasn't paying close enough attention so which way I oriented the dimensions, and ended up with a thread catcher that was long and skinny.  But since I had messed up on the twill tape, I needed to remake it anyway. :)
I found the most perfect iridescent button to attach to the mat.
I also added a Live a Colorful Life label on the inside (also upside down, but I wasn't inclined to make it for a third time. Good grief...)
PATTERN: Mini Maker Station, by Lillyella Stitchery (free download here).

REVIEW: This is a well-written pattern and I wouldn't hesitate to make it again.

Vintage Hexie Quilt Repair

In what will surely come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog, I will be posting things this month other than Really Random Thursday posts!

Several months ago, a friend approached me about working on a quilt that had been made by her grandmother. It was a hexie quilt, hand pieced in the shape of diamonds, probably out of feedsack fabric. It was really beautiful. Someone had added borders on both long sides, but in the process of adding them had stretched the sides so that it rippled. She asked if I would take a look at it and see if it could be repaired and completed.
I thought, "Sure, how hard could this be??" Just remove the borders, get a backing and hand it over to Darby, who does all my longarm quilting.

So I removed the borders, and then realized that a lot of the stitching of the hexies along the sides needed to be repaired. And the top needed pressing. That wasn't too bad. I got a cute daisy print from Joann Fabrics for the backing, and handed it off to Darby.

Then came the most time-consuming part, which I had not anticipated--the trimming. When I receive quilts back from Darby, they are always always nice and straight, with 90 degree corners. So that was not the problem. It's that it was not straight to begin with, due, I think, to the hand-pieced nature of an English paper pieced quilt top. I finally chose a line through the center and measured out to each side and started trimming. The half-hexies along the edges are not all equal, but I don't think anyone will really notice.
I was able to use the removed border fabric for the binding.
It's a beautiful quilt and was certainly worthy of being completed to pass on to future generations.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 10/31/19

Boo! It's the Halloween edition today. I love the smoke in this picture.
Mark smoked a brisket on the Traeger the other day. And wow, did he work up some good smoke!
Charlotte was part of the worship team on Sunday. And for the first time, she and Christa sang together.
Gabe turned 8 earlier in the month, and to celebrate Mark and I took him to John's Incredible Pizza the other day. In the past he has chosen Chuck E. Cheese but we branched out this year. Our consensus: the games are better at Chuck E. Cheese but the food is better at John's Incredible Pizza.
Anyway...we had a fun time.
I finished my cute ghost quilt just in time for Halloween. And apparently I'm on a smoky theme--the background on this quilt is one of my favorites ever.

This was my favorite decorated pumpkin at the skilled nursing facility where my father lives.
I've been catching up on TV shows lately. This is the truth! Back in the 1970s when the mini series Roots was on TV, I remember the high school changing the time of some of the basketball games so people wouldn't miss any episodes.
Happy Halloween!