Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Quilt Finish!!!

I've been working on a "Rainbow Baby Quilt" for a friend of my daughter that is pregnant with a baby girl and is due this month sometime!  

My daughter told me that her friend had seen this quilt online and really liked it.  However, the free pattern on that blog was for a much smaller baby quilt than I like to make AND it was missing the INDIGO of the rainbow.  You remember the ROYGBIV of the rainbow, right?  Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, INDIGO, violet.  My kids had to memorize that for school and to this day I can recite it with ease!  LOL

Anyway, I could have just made the free pattern and made the blocks bigger to make a bigger quilt, but that still would have left out the indigo part of it.  And if I added three rows of indigo, it left me with a white blob over to the left hand lower corner.

So I drafted my own pattern and went with it.  :)

All fabrics for the front were pulled from my new ones were purchased for this quilt!  YIPPEE!

I love scrap quilts, but my daughter told me that her friend doesn't really care for "scrappy", so I only used one fabric of each color instead of scrapping it up!  However, I did decide to bind with a scrappy binding using the leftover fabric!   Hey, you can only hold me back just so much!  LOL  A scrappy-quilting girl's gotta do what a scrappy-quilting girl's gotta do, right?  

I machine quilted this quilt on my new Juki TL2000Qi and boy does that machine sew fast!  It made short work of this quilt and it was pretty easy to keep my stitches uniform!  

For the backing I used a yellow and white striped 100% cotton sheet from Pottery Barn that I found at a thrift store while in Tennessee!  People often ask about using sheets for quilt backs and I tell them that I ONLY use them if the quilt is going to be machine quilted.  They are just too tightly woven to hand-quilt through.  They do make a great backing for a machine-quilted quilt, though....especially for a baby quilt as sheets hold up very well through all the washings that baby quilts go through.  I don't use sheets all the time, but I do keep my eyes out at thrift stores, yard sales, etc., for sheets that are 100% cotton, in a neutral print (I love stripes for this reason), and are in good shape without any fading.

Despite the issues I had in the beginning trying to design this quilt and figuring out just what size to make all the pieces to get it the size I wanted, I really like how this quilt turned out.  :)  I hope that mom and baby are both happy with it, too!  


Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Gardening Tip...

The weekend before we had to make our emergency trip to Maine in June for Joe's funeral, I had planted a small "container" vegetable garden in the walkway that runs along the side of the house. 

While we were on our trip to Maine and then our vacation to Tennessee, our neighbor kept it watered for me.  :)  I have very nice neighbors!  :D

I now have baby green tomatoes, a couple of banana peppers, and lots of sweet basil!  The zucchini are having trouble because something keeps eating the leaves.  I think it's a ground hog because we have trouble with them here.  The hot peppers aren't doing great, either, so I moved the pot so it gets more direct sun.  I hope that will help.

Yesterday I dried some of the basil, so I thought I'd do a post about that.  :)

Instead of just pulling of the leaves, I actually cut the top half of the stem off, brought them inside and washed them under cool running water.  I patted them dry with a towel to remove the excess moisture...

I plucked off the leaves and placed them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper...

I had read of two different methods using the you just turn the light on and use the heat generated by the bulb to dry the basil.  The other hint was to turn the oven on, let it warm up, then turn off the oven and just use the residual heat.  I did a combination of the two...first I turned the oven on for a few minutes to warm it up and then turned the oven off, but left the light on.  I placed the cookie sheet with the basil inside the oven.

I left it overnight and this morning I had dried basil!!!

After crumbling it up...

...I placed it in an airtight jar for storage.

All that I need to do now is to label the jar!  And I now have dried basil as well as the fresh basil that is still growing outside!  :)

I'm going to start growing more of my herbs.  I'm planning on putting some shelves on the inside of my kitchen windows so that I can grow things indoors in the winter!  Eventually, I'd like to have something like this going on in my kitchen...


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Starting Off Healthy...

We are currently in Tennessee spending time with Erin's family and our newest grandson, Clark!  He is sooooo precious!  :)

Today was Erin's first post-partum chiropractic adjustment, so I went along to meet her doctor, Dr. Nicole Zyla-Herrera in Franklin, TN.  Last fall Erin asked me to ask my own chiropractor if he knew of any good Atlas Orthogonal chiropractors in her area.  He recommended this particular doctor and Erin started going to her.

Her office has an open adjustment area so I was able to watch the doctor do an adjustment on one of her patients and I was very impressed with her thoroughness.

After Erin had her own adjustment the doctor adjusted Clark....

Birth is a very rigorous activity and if you think of what the baby's body has to go through to get out of the birth canal, you realize how important it is to get a newborn adjusted!  

Clark had been fussy and crying the during the 40 minute car ride to the chiropractor's office, but as soon as she started adjusting him he became quiet.  Then the doctor put a couple of dabs of lavender essential oil on the padding on his car seat straps and he proceeded to go to sleep and slept all the way home and even during a stop at Joann Fabrics!   :D

We are enjoying holding and spoiling the newest member of the family!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Latest Quilt Top...

My daughter, Erin, has a friend who is pregnant and due in July with a baby girl.  Erin asked if I would make a "rainbow" quilt for her friend.

I did a search online for "rainbow baby quilts" and came up with several free patterns before settling on what I wanted to make.

My daughter said that her friend really liked this pattern that she had seen on Pinterest.  

The problem is that I like to make my baby quilts big enough so that they can be used into toddlerhood and even longer.  Not only is this tutorial for a small baby quilt, it also is missing the green stripe of the rainbow.  :(

But since her friend did like this pattern, I decided to "adjust" it to include the green as well as make the blocks bigger...thus making a bigger quilt.

I got out my graph paper and started designing...

But wait...that leaves a big white hole at the lower corner of the quilt.  Hmmm...what to do???  I got my creative juices flowing, showed my ideas to a non-quilter friend for her opinion, and then got to cutting and sewing.

I finished the top last night and sent a picture to my daughter for her approval.  She liked it!!!

The quilt looks big in these pictures, but unquilted it is currently 55" X 63", so it's really not as big as it appears.

The quilting part of it will have to wait for a couple of weeks, but I bought the backing fabric for it at Marden's when we were in Maine.  :)  This one will be machine-quilted on my new Juki!  


Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Quote for the Day:
"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
A time to give birth and a time to die"
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a, Holy Bible, New American Standard Version

Yes...I've been missing in action.  But I'm back...temporarily, anyway.

We had to make an emergency trip to Maine last Friday because Andy's brother, Joe, passed away unexpectedly.  

These pictures are about 30 years old, but I haven't been able to put my hands on any of the "recent" pictures that I have kicking around here somewhere.  

He will be missed so much by his family and friends...which are many!  It's been a hard week, but we are making our way through the grief.

On our way back from Maine we found out that our daughter had gone into labor!  She and Dale kept us updated with what was going on and then the news came that we had a new grandson!!!

Clark Christopher Paez
Born 6/18/14 at 4:29 PM 
7 lbs 3 oz, 19.5" long

I can't wait till we get to meet him and hold him next week!!!  He'll get all kinds of spoiled while I'm there!!!  :)

And now I need to go finish laundry and get ready for the rest of the week!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Some Quilting Updates...

Quote for the Day:

“It's tough trying to keep your feet on the ground, 

your head above the clouds, your nose to the grindstone, 

your shoulder to the wheel, your finger on the pulse, 

your eye on the ball and your ear to the ground.”

~author unknown

I have that decided that as much as I would love to JUST hand quilt my quilt tops, it is really unreasonable to think that I will ever get all of the quilts done that way.   I'm going to have to resort to machine-quilting some of my quilt tops to get them done in this lifetime.  I don't have the room or the money for a long-arm quilting machine, and if I did have the money I'd buy myself one of the "sit-down" long-arms, anyway.

However, the money issue makes it a moot point.  However, I decided that I was going to buy a machine with a larger throat/harp area that would at least make it a little easier to wrangle large quilts through it so I could get some quilt tops quilted.

After a lot of research and reading reviews, I decided on the Juki TL 2000 Qi.  And as if it was a sign from heaven, offered a $100 off any purchase over $500 for Memorial weekend!!  With the free shipping offer, it was too enticing of a deal to turn down!  :)  

It took about 10 days for it to arrive because there was an "error" on UPS's part.  UPS wouldn't tell me what it was, but I think they routed it wrong and it ended up in Timbuktu!  

But, she finally arrived and she is NICE!!!

The body is all metal so she weighs a freaking ton!  The extension table is plastic, but most are, anyway.  She is mechanical instead of computerized and only does a straight stitch.  However, she also does 1500 stitches/minute, so she FLIES!   She is made for quilting!!  

I put her to work as soon as I got her set up.  I'm using her to piece my next project...a rainbow baby quilt...

When the top is done, I will get to use her to machine quilt it.  For those who don't know this, Juki is one of the primary companies that makes industrial sewing machines, so they are hardy, built to last, and take on the work load!!!

I am seriously thinking about selling my Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 computerized machine and just using the Juki for piecing.  If I need to hem or sew on knit fabric, I can use my Husqvarna Viking Scandinavia 400 machine...which is my "embroidery" machine, but it does regular sewing like zigzag, too.  (When you sew in knits, you have to use a zigzag or a special stitch to keep the stitch from breaking when the knit gets stretched.)

I just don't have room for all of my machines, so I'm giving the sale of the Platinum 775 some serious thought.  I currently have one of my three Singer 221 Featherweights and my Featherweight table up for sale.  There is someone who has expressed interest in it, but nothing is final, yet, so if you live nearby and are interested in it or know someone who might be, pass the word along.   I'm asking $175 for the machine and $75 for the table.

On the hand-quilting side of things, I've finished up the row that I've been working on on the Sherbet quilt...

I have rolled the quilt and am getting ready to start the next row...


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A GIFT...for ME!!!

Quote for the Day:
“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.” 
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Last week I received an email from another quilt blogger, Karen Griska of "Selvage Blog",  to let me know that I had won the give-away she had hosted on her website!  How exciting is that???

I've been following her blog for a few years now and LOVE that she posts pictures of quilts and other items made from selvages!  For those of you who don't know what a "selvage" is, it's the tightly-woven edge of fabric where the fabric is attached to the weaving machine.  

As a quilter, you cut those off because the weave is different and shrinks at a different rate than the rest of the quilt, and also because it usually has writing on it.  This is where the manufacturer's info, designer's info, and color dots are located.  Color dots indicate what dye lots were used in making that fabric.  

For the very frugalest of us quilters, we tend to shudder at the thought of throwing away ANY of our precious fabric, so many of us "keep" those edges with "plans" of putting them to good use one day.  Thanks to Karen, who has posted many links and pictures to fun and cute ways to use the selvages, people like myself have now started putting them to good use!

For example...a couple of years ago, I covered my ratty-looking sewing chair with selvages...

 from this...

to this...

But I digress....

Today when I arrived home from work, there was a little box sitting on the front porch addressed to little, ol' MOI!!!  

What could it be???  

OH....there it is!!!!!!!!!!!

An ADORABLE little hand-made pincushion made from a little ceramic baby shoe and TWO custom hatpins!!!

The shoe/pincushion is about 2.5-3" long and stands about 1.5-2" tall (not including the hatpins!)

Also included in the box was Karen's postcard...

...with a hand-written not on the back...

I've seen her post pictures of the pincushions that she makes and sells in her Etsy shop, but if this little one is any indication, they are even more beautiful in person!  :)  Be sure to go visit her shop and check out her items for sale!

Thanks so much, Karen!  I love the pincushion!  :)