Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More Christmas Blocks

Good morning.  I have been busy with the Christmas Quilt Along that I posted about in previous post.  I am enjoying it so much!  There was one block that I wasn't happy with on the fabric I chose. So I did decide to redo it.  Which meant ripping out several seams, because the section it was in had already been put together.
Here is the mug of cocoa with the new block I did.  You can see the old block in previous post.  I am so glad I took it apart and changed it, or I would have never been happy with it.  My new machine has a blanket stitch on it, and I have been practicing with it.  I always did this stitch by hand before.  Which I like too, but sometimes, you just want to be able to do it by machine.  Going around all of those tiny curves can be tricky.  Here is the basket block with the little candy canes and heart and candy piece, done with machine blanket stitch.
You can see on the red candy cane where I went off a bit on the inside curve!  Darn!  But I am getting better the more I do.  Remember when I did that Halloween piece with all of the black shapes so that I could practice the blanket stitch by machine?  I put it into a frame when I finished it instead of binding.  But I took that out of the frame and went ahead and put a scrappy binding on it.  I don't even want to call it a quilt.  It was just a piece of fabric with some appliques I put on it to practice the machine blanket stitch.
I bound it with some left over Halloween binding and another left over piece I had, but I didn't have enough of either binding to do the whole piece, so I cut it apart, and mitered it together again to use both pieces for a scrappy binding.  For the back I used a piece of Lynnette Jenson's Thimbleberries fabric.  I just love this print.
It was a challenge going around those tiny pieces with the blanket stitch, but a fun thing to use for practice.  I will use it next year as a table topper somewhere.
I put my little Tom Turkey in the kitchen, tucked up under the clasp of my dishwasher that doesn't work!
We have done 14 blocks for the quilt along so far.  The most recent being this darling stocking.
In addition to the stocking, is a wee little piece of candy.  I love the 3D tab on the stocking too.
We have been given instructions to sew two of the sections together now.  Here they are, sewn together, along with the other blocks on my design boards.
For the string of vintage Christmas lights, I used one of the decorative stitches on my machine, that to me, kind of looks like the cord attached to the lights, that is always all kinked up when you take it out of the storage box.
Lori said that there will be one more block, and then we will work on the borders and a label.   I just love walking through my new sewing room, first thing in the morning with the sunshine streaming through the windows, and my blocks all on display on design boards.
I am getting ready to host Thanksgiving here at our house on Thursday.  A smallish group.  Mom is on a cruise in Panama.  It will only be about 13 of us.  I am thankful for so many things!  First and foremost, for my Mom's health, with her recent scare.  She is doing just great!
We had to put our Wheaten down on Saturday.  He had numerous health issues, and they were getting much worse.  He was Greg's dog really.  Greg is very sad.  For that I feel so badly.  But he was not well, and had taken to relieving himself all over the house!  He could not be adopted out, and so he was put down.  Dusty doesn't seem to be confused at all.  I am surprised about that.
Dusty has been my shadow since we got him, almost one year ago.  He is a good boy!
I have been cooking up some good stuff lately.  Sorry, no photos.  I made a meatloaf with homemade bbq sauce last night.  Mashed potatoes and veggies.  Beef barley soup the other day.  Cornbread in a cast iron skillet....Mmmmmm!!  Time for that good old home style cooking.  I even put some new flannies on the best yesterday too!
So, not a whole lot of new stuff going on here right now.  But there will be in the weeks to come.   There are a lot of festive things coming up.  Like the Newport Beach Boat Parade on my brother David's boat.   My First Annual Siblings Only Dinner!!!!  I have invited my brothers and Uncle Johnny, who is like a brother, as he grew up in our home too, to go to dinner with me, no spouses...just us.  We are going to The Summit House, which is a lovely restaurant that sits up on a hill with a spectacular view.  I can't wait.
I am having a Christmas Cookie decorating party with my grandkids and daughters.  I will bake up all of the cookies, and have the icing ready, and when they come, we will make beautiful cookies and memories!!!
We will do our annual enchilada making party here again.  We make dozens and dozens of enchiladas!  Everyone wears a holiday apron, and gets in on the action.  It is fun, messy, and we all take home dozens of enchiladas to freeze for later, and we eat a Mexican Feast on Christmas Eve, starring our enchiladas!!!
What about you?  What do have to look forward to this holiday season?
Tootle Loo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Clog In My Blog

It happened again.  I never thought it would.  It happened once before, and now this time, is the second time!   I have a clog in my blog!  I have nothing to say.  Nothing to blog about!  No photos worth sharing!  What has happened to me?  I hope it doesn't last.  Because I love blogging!  I love reading all of YOUR blogs!!!   It's not that I haven't been busy!  I am always busy.   Since I have moved my sewing room to the front of the house, I am loving it, and sewing nearly every day.
I have recently been working on a quilt a long that is hosted by Lori Holt from Bee In My Bonnet  She has been posting the blocks that we are to do via her Insta Gram feed.  Most of them are from her book Quilty Fun.  And a few of them are new creations that she has drawn up and made tutorials for us on her IG feed.  It has been so fun, and the group is all posting their pictures for all to share.  There are some very creative people out there!
So far we have done 11 blocks.  I have loved them all.
I might redo my mug block.  I am not liking the fabric I used.  I think the present is adorable!  The ornament was so cute too.
They have all been fun to make.  I look forward to her post, and am eager to see what each one will look like!
That is pretty much it.  Nothing too exciting going on.  I had jury duty yesterday.  They catch me once a year like clock work!
I ate my lunch at my cutting table today.
Such a nice little work table, and a good spot for lunch too.
I will try to come up with something a little more interesting next time.
XO  Kris

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quilt Alongs & Grandkids

Good Monday morning!!!  Here we are, well into November already!  How did this  happen?  Even though we are in the second week of November, it has remained warm here.  Hot even, into the upper nineties all of last week.  But today has brought a bit of drizzle, and a break in the heat.  Hallelujah!  
Last week was an adventure!  It began last weekend really, with a power outage in our bedroom.  No light, no fan.  Our favorite electrician and best friend, Tom came to ferret out the problem.  He discovered a bad switch, and came last Sunday to fix it for us.  After he left, Greg and I went into a cleaning frenzy, and removed all dust bunnies behind furniture and in so doing, my canister vacuum blew up!   On Monday, in the bathroom most used, the toilet broke!  On Tuesday, my upright vacuum sparked and ignited while I was using it! On Thursday afternoon, I walked into the kitchen to discover water all over the floor.  The ice was melting, and the freezer was not freezing!!!  The fridge side was only cold on the lower shelf!!!!  I transferred and shoved all I could, into the freezer in the garage, and when Greg got home, he helped me get the fridge transferred.  I was cooling off yeast rolls, and garlic bread that had completely defrosted!  
That night, I was walking through the sitting room off the kitchen, and rammed my toe into the wooden bun foot of the ottoman.  I am not sure if I broke it, but it hurt like a son of a sea cook!!!  Black and blue, swollen, and ouchy!!!   In between all of the flurry of breaks and mishaps, I was in a frenzy of cleaning out, clearing away, tossing, donating, and organizing!  I took trip after trip to the Goodwill.   And it felt good!!
I have been sewing a fair bit too.  So loving my new sewing nest!  I have been making oodles of the Lori Holt travel bags!!
The two on the right, I modified to make taller.  For gifting a bottle of wine.  The one on the right has the wine bottle in the bag, with the top turned down to expose the lining fabric.
I made some pretty black print bags for my Mom.  She is taking a cruise to the Panama Canal in a couple of weeks.  I guess I didn't get a picture of hers made.  But this is the fabric I used.  It is inside out in the photo.  A pretty black print on cream background.  I did a black lining with black ties.  I gave them to her when she was here the other day.
I made them for my granddaughters, who both celebrated their birthdays recently.  Hannah turned 8, and her birthday was on Friday.  Claire will be 6 on the 17th.
Their new pajamas that we got them are packed into their bags.  Along with some socks and a few of the smaller gift items we got them.  Hannah's is on the right, and Claire's is the ladybug fabric.  The perfect size for Claire to bring her My Little Pony toys along when she goes somewhere.  Their uses are endless.
I am joining in on a Christmas quilt along too.  So far we have made 4 blocks.  This is a quiltalong series by Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet  If you want to join in, you can follow her on Insta Gram @ beelori1  She is posting the blocks on her IG feed.  But you do need to have her book for most of the blocks.  Quilty Fun can be purchased on her blog, or found at your local Joann's, if you are lucky, like I was.  Also Amazon has it.
Here are the first four blocks we have done.
I am really enjoying this series of Christmas Quilty fun!!!
In my frenzy of cleaning and clearing out, I have been trying to declutter my sewing room as best I can.  I want everything I need in the same room.  But it was just too crowded for me.  So I had to clear off my sewing table of all things unnecessary.  I removed the little Featherweight, and will keep it nearby for when I am doing a lot of piecing.  And always, I use that little gem for taking to classes!  I put my little collectibles and gifts over on the armoire, and set a shelf in the back to raise them up, and put my books in the front.
I put my antique Commander on the top, along with a few more hardback books, and my sweet little Teddy.
The little antique sewing machine on the left in front of the quilts, was Nana's as a girl.  She actually learned to sew on that.  I have the instruction booklet that came with it as well.  The tall mason jar  holds my vintage threads.  I don't sew with these, I just love the colors!
My sewing surface is much better now, and I feel like I have everything I need at my fingertips.
To the left of my Farm table, I have set up a small pressing station.  I can roll from my machine to press, and back with ease, with the office mats on the floor.  My cutting station is to the far left, and it all works out perfectly now.  If I am ironing larger pieces, I can just quickly set up my ironing board.  But keeping it folded up for the most part makes this room more functional.  I love my little apple lazy susan.  It is easy to spin around and get just what I need very quickly.
I keep a small dish next to me on both machines, to hold seam rippers, thread snips, and stiletto.
 These fluted, pale blue custard cups were a thrift store find.  I also keep a small screwdriver in the cup for quick foot changes on the machines.  And my little red binding clips come in handy for so many things.  I always keep a mug rug at the ready for my drink.  And my favorite stiletto is a tool found in a nut cracking set.  You can find these at the thrift stores all the time.  They have a wonderful curved foot that is perfect for not only holding the fabric in place, for for lifting it to move it easily as well.  Oh, and chapstick!  I am a chapstick lover, and have it EVERYWHERE in the house!!
Yesterday morning, when I was walking down the hallway, and into the sewing room, I saw my wedding dress on the wicker dress form, with the sunlight streaming through the lace back.  I was stopped in my tracks, to look at how beautiful that was.  At least, to me it was.  I love having my wedding dress to look at every day!!!   Oh, and as you can see in this photo, I did decide to hang my bunting in here.  I will have to make new curtains now, as these just don't work with the colors anymore.
I loved my wedding gown!
Ah the days when I had a waist!!!  I raised the wicker form up onto a small bench to prevent the fabric from puddling onto the floor, as my Dusty boy likes to lay in this room with me whenever I am in here.  He has many times, cozied up to the edge of my dress, and I don't want it covered in Chocolate Lab Hair!!   This makes the bustled train prettier from behind as well.
Yesterday, we had made arrangements to take the girls to lunch and the movies for their birthdays.  
Noah and Erika joined us for lunch first at BJ's.  And then Noah came along with us to see Big Hero Six at the movies.  We all had a great time.  Afterwards, Geeps took us all to Cold Stone for ice cream.  A big day was had by all!!!!  
Thanks for visiting, and following along with our busy life!  Happy November!!!!!!  Very thankful today for the much cooler temps!!!!  
XO  Kris

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Popping In To Say Hi

Hi everyone!  I am just popping in quickly to say hello, and let you know that I am alive and well, and have not stopped blogging!  I have just been busier than usual.  I am way behind on all of your blogs!  But I will try to do some catching up this week.
So many of you continue to ask about my Mom.  I am so happy to report that she is doing great!  I went with her yesterday to her 6 month check up.  She had done a few tests the week before, and the results were all good!  She was quite worried about this appointment.  Who wouldn't be?  She has been through a lot.  She doesn't have to go back until March now!  We went to our favorite place, The Summit House, and sat out on the patio with our favorite Prime Rib Sandwich on a pretzel roll!!  And we toasted to health.  And to my Dad.  It would have been his 78th birthday yesterday.  We brought flowers to he and Nana before the doctor appointment.  I feel his presence, and know that he is watching over us.
In other news, I am SO enjoying my new sewing space.  I find that I am in there sewing every single day!  I am making some gifts, and quilting up some WIPS that have been waiting in the wings for far too long!  I am also joining in on a Quilt Along with Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet, haveyourselfaquiltychristmas.  I placed my first order with Fat Quarter Shop and purchased Lori's Circle ruler set.  And a bit of her beautiful fabric, a well as a couple of other fun notions.
I have now gotten my little sewing nest just the way I like it.  I have moved a few things around, and although it is packed in pretty tight, I have everything I need in one room, I am utilizing the space well, and it is working out great for me to be in that room!
Making travel bags, sewing patches on Brownie Uniforms, quilting wall hangings, and piecing blocks for a new quilt along!  I am busy, and enjoying every second of my time in the nest.
I hope to be back with a full post in the next day or two.
Miss all of you!
XO  Kris

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quilting Fun

 I am loving the new location for my sewing room!  It is light and bright.  I can be in the center/front of the house, and feel more a part of what's going on.  I am sewing every day.  Nothing big.  Nothing fancy.  But I am getting more familiar with my new machine, and learning what all it does.
Last week one day, I decided to make the cake block I was seeing all over my friends' blogs.  It is a Lori Holt design, and she provided it for free in celebration of her book Quilty Fun.  If you go visit her blog, you can also print out the instructions to make this block.
I made a little boo boo.  If you have already made this block, you can probably spot it.  I loved this block.  I used scraps from my scrap bin.  The cake fabric, is from a quilt I have that my Great Grandmother, (Nana's mother) made.  I have several of her quilts.  A couple of them were in pretty bad shape.  One of them, was very bad, so I snipped off all of the usable backing pieces that I could save, and then I made a couple small blocks with the front that I saved.  The back of that quilt was done with flour and sugar sak fabric.  It is a very thin, and beautiful floral.  Mom and I figured that this must  have been made sometime in the 20's, when Nana and her siblings were small.   This is what I used for the cake piece on this block.
I love that fabric, and am so glad that I saved it!  I quilted the cake in a sort of upside down U shapes, to simulate icing strokes.  The rest of the piece I did a small stipple.  My stipple has gotten better with each piece I have done.  I am getting more and more comfortable with it.
I added a small applique flame to the candle on top of the cake.  I added red borders to it, and bound it in a floral pink.  Then hung it in my sewing room to enjoy.
Fun block...go check out Lori's blog, Bee In My Bonnet, to download the instructions and make one.  The link is included in the top of this post, just click on her name to get there.   Also from her blog, I saw that she made these darling little design boards for keeping your block pieces together when piecing a block.  You can make them in any size.  They are simply portable design walls.  I have a large design wall in my sewing room that is nailed to the wall for larger pieces.  But these are terrific for small pieces and classes!!  So I made one for me, and one for my friend Jae.
She has a good tutorial on her blog for these too.  I think that these would make a great gift for your quilting friends!!
The little mug rug I have on the design board is just a small block I did for practice with my machine blanket stitch, and then a couple small appliques.  I added a green border and stippled it, put some definition on the pumpkin, some eyes on the ghost, and machine quilted the word Boo down on the bottom right.  I bound it with some left over binding I had.  A mug rug was made!
I am certainly enjoying my new sewing room!!!  I have been in there every day!  So have my dogs.  This bad boy won't stay out of this chair no matter how hard I try to keep him from it!
These chairs were in my living room  But I moved them to our little dining area off of the kitchen, and made a sitting room.  He looks pretty stressed doesn't he?
And then my Dusty Boy.  He has to be as close to me as  he can be.
We had our granddaughter's over for the night last weekend.  We had so much fun.  They got into my bag of scraps and a bag of costume fabrics, and they designed dresses on my wedding dress and wicker dress form.  They had some pretty creative ideas too!!
They had a blast, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their creative play!!!
A really fun twist on playing dress up!  If you have little girls, or granddaughters, and a box of fabric you don't mind them playing with, let them have a go at this.  So fun!!!!
Today we are going to my Mom's for a Halloween party for the kids.  Her neighborhood hosts a darling carnival, and then on my Mom's street, they all go to the culdesac where their garages are, and they set up their tables in front of garage and the kids all trick or treat through in a long parade of cuteness!!!!!  It is so fun.  We usually have a simple dinner and sit out there and watch the fun.  So our grandkids are all coming, and very excited for the festivities to begin.  I will see you soon with a new post.
Til then, get out there and make it a GREAT day!!!
XO  Kris

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October Quilting

Hello and happy Sunday!   Since I have changed my sewing room to the living room, I have been busy working on some old projects left undone, and then also managed to whip up a couple of Halloween things.  I am a big fan of Lynette Jensen's patterns and fabrics.  I also have a lot of her books.  I made this little Halloween pillow the other day from the Treats No Tricks book.
I debated whether or not to do any quilting over the appliques, or to use same color thread if I did.  But I wound up just doing a meander all over the top.  I am  loving my new machine, but was having some trouble with the free motion foot, and knew it wasn't installed right, as the fabric was not easily gliding along, and the needle was too close.  Finally, after nearly finishing it, I realized that I had to move the needle position, and then it was smooth sailing.  But I got some pretty wide spaced stitches during the troubleshooting.  Oh well.  This is how you get better at machine quilting.  You quilt everything you can get your hands on.
The pillow back is also a Thimblerries fabric from several years ago.  I love this pillow pattern because I like to do the envelope fold over style of pillow for easy laundering.  And also, this makes such a nice crisp, neat back for the pillow too, when using a large piece of fabric doubled to size, using the fold as the opening pieces.
Once you sew the back to front, the entire piece gets bound exactly as you would a quilt.
I thought it turned out really cute.
In the same book, I used the pattern sheet to make up some appliques for another Halloween piece.  And actually, this isn't a quilt.  It was just to do some practicing on my new machine.  I have never had the blanket stitch on my machines.  I always did it by hand.  But I was really wanting a machine that had this feature to secure appliques onto a quilt top.  I just took a scrap of lighter background fabric, and using heat n bond, I adhered the appliques to the background piece.  And using three leftover pumpkin appliques I had from a group project I was part of years ago, I did the same thing, leaving the edges free for easier sewing, as these were already two thicknesses of fabric.  I had a long time ago, used my older Viking to try to do blanket stitching using another similar stitch.  That was done in a beige color, so it is still visible.  Like I said, this is for practice.  Note to anyone who is trying to blanket stitch for first time on applique pieces......do NOT use small shapes with lots of curves and sharp edges!!!  Do hearts, pumpkins, circles, etc, but NOT what I did.  The spiders and the witches were murder I tell you!  Since I have done it in dark thread, the oopsies are not quite as easily visible.  But you can see my bloopers all over the place!!!!  I wanted to put some leaves on the pumpkins, but not necessarily with fabric.  So I thread painted them with green variegated thread.  What fun!  I have done a little bit of this before on some pillows and it is fun to play with.  Just use your free motion foot, drop your feed dogs, and go.  I did trace out a pumpkin leave onto freezer paper, and then ironed the paper onto the quilt, and simple went around it on my machine.  Then peeled it off and did the veins.  I went over them all several times, taking so special care to stay on the previous line.  In fact, the more wiggly it gets, the better it looks.  Since I was just playing, I did not use any stabilizer on the back to prevent for distorting the fabric.  I will certainly do that the next time.  
If you have not tried using freezer paper before, it is some great stuff.  You draw out your shape on the dull side, then cut out and iron onto fabric with the waxy side. It will stick very well into place for you, and it can be removed and used over and over.
I was going to bind this, but then I had a lightbulb go off, and remembered a frame I had in the garage that was about the same size.  Sure enough it was, and even though I had to hide the green borders on the sides, one side shows a wee more, because it looked best in the frame slightly off center to show the stars and moon.  I used my stapler and tacked it down on the backside of the frame, and voila....
I am limited and learning with my machine quilting.  I have really only done meandering.  On this I tried my hand at some echo quilting around the black shapes, and then some free hand waves on the border.  It was fun to make.  Just for play.  Certainly not worthy of gifting, but good enough to put up on my fireplace.  I call it Pumpkin Patch At Night.
I have begun to turn my old sewing room into the new guest room.  I still have much to do in there.  The closet still holds my things for sewing, and the walls need some patch and paint.  A rug for the side of the bed, maybe some pillow shams. But it is a nice room for a guest room.  So bright and cheerful.  We have a sliding french door that goes out onto the patio with a view of the pool and grove beyond.  We had our first guests last night.  Our two granddaughters Hannah and Claire.
I left the bunting up in this room, and with the quilt I used for the bed, it fits perfectly.  The only room in my house with soft and feminine colors.  I had this wreath in my living room, and after cleaning it, and drying it, I thought it would like nice on the wall in here.  The pretty little wooden scalloped tray is just for pretty.  I removed that as soon as the girls arrived.  I smile every time I walk down the hall and see this room.
Those two wooden chairs are extras for my dining table.  I want to find a small comfy chair for one of those corners.  A place to toss your robe.  I have removed the closet doors in here, and wallpapered the inside of my closet in a tiny pink rosebud paper.  I love it.  I made a floral curtain to hand low enough to cover the things stored on the shelves in there, but high enough to clear a head peeking in.  I had my friend Jae's husband, Tom install an electrical outlet inside the closet so I can have a small lamp inside, with a pretty soft glow for the night.
I put the carved wood table that was in our entryway in here, and also a lingerie chest I brought down from the cabin.
This room was our oldest daughter, Gennifer's    I had gotten this white eyelet pleated duet shade for the room.  It was so pretty and feminine.  As well as private for the night time.  But she loved to burn candles in her room at night, and the shade got sooty.  I have no idea how to clean it, and restore it to it's original white.  I never had it drawn when I used the room for my sewing room.  But for sleeping in here, it is a must.  
 The girls arrived and were raring to go!!
We had a really great time with them.
That was our weekend.  Geeps is out back grilling up some hot dogs.  We are having chili dogs tonight.  Easy peasy.  Geeps and Gramma  are kind of tuckered out!
See you soon!