Monday, July 17, 2017

more Monday miscellanies

Another kid is taller than me.

Darn that Jeremiah!


Along with my wheat, grains, and sugar,
I have temporarily given up coffee.
and dairy.

We'll see if anything comes of it...

It was actually much easier than I expected
but I gotta be honest,
I was really hoping yesterday
that Tyler would forget I wasn't drinking coffee
and make me a cup.

I would have had to drink it to not be rude....


My Juki is in the shop.

Brandon took her up to Fayetteville for me on Saturday.

I was hoping he'd also
come back with her
on Saturday,
but they don't have technicians over the weekend.



Tyler and I spent 7 hrs 
out working in the house Saturday.
we've got everything but the upstairs bathroom 
and the media room primed.

It was soooo hot!

I told him I'd never sweat so much in my life.

He said, "You said that last year.
Doing electric.

I told him this year's sweat trumps last year's!

I was chugging water
and pouring salt in my mouth,
but it wasn't enough, 
and that night,
I also had the worst headache I've ever had.

It. Was. Miserable.

I had it all day yesterday, too,
but the pain had lessened considerably.
I still have a remnant of it this morning.


I absolutely
have to have paint picked out and purchased
by Friday.

I can do this.
I can!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sojourner and Sparkle

I finished two quilt tops this week!

Remember a few weeks ago,
when I shared my new project sketch?

It was paper pieced,
darn it,
but it was perfect for the quilt I had in mind.

Meet Sparkle

I got off to a super rocky start,
which isn't all that surprising,
seeing as how it's me.
But it's such a simple pattern,
I sort of expected I could handle it,
since I've had a good bit of practice...

The first day of paper piecing was absolutely awful
and if I hadn't already cut up all of my fabric,
I would have gone back to my original
(much easier, much less 'wow')
of 4 patches on point.

The second day was a smidge better,
and the last 2 dozen units
were made without any mistakes!

(I still don't like paper piecing, though ;-)

I'm going to try a minky backing with this one,
which will be a first for me,
so if you've got any tips, I'd love to hear them!

My second finish, 

I am really pleased with how it turned out!!
I had several 'I'm not sure about this' moments along the way,
but I am soo happy with it now.

I accidentally gave myself a ton of partial seams in this quilt,
so it took a lot longer to sew together
than I'd anticipated
once the blocks were all sewn up.
Fortunately everything fit together really well,
so it wasn't hard
as much as it was overwhelming.

It was inspired by Kathleen Riggins version
(although I have already reminded my client 
that my quilting 
will be nowhere near as spectacular as Kathleen's.

Mercy, that girl has skills!)

My sewing machine needs to go in the shop
before I attempt to quilt either of these, though;
my machine won't allow me to move the quilt in all directions : /

I hate to make a trip to Fayetteville just for that,
but I also don't want to have to wait too long to get started....

linking up with pincushion queen Amanda Jean

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Miscellanies

You know life has been extra full 
when it's been over 10 days since I last posted,
and Tyler hasn't even mentioned it.


Still no main paint color.

But you know what?
we aren't done priming everything 
and painting ceilings yet,
so that's okay.


We had a super laid back 4th of July celebration
with the McC's.

My chest only tightened about 2 dozen times,
so that's a definite improvement over recent years.

Tyler and Jeremiah went on a little crappie fishing trip last week.

It wasn't a crappy fishing trip;
they were fishing for crappie
(in case you were confused... ;-)


While they were gone - 
I spent 14 hours on Friday
working on my commission quilt.

I took up all but about 5 inches of the kitchen floor 
for most of the afternoon 
and all of the evening.

I'd made most of the blocks,
and cut all of my  background strips
before I took over the floor,
but I'd saved all of the flying geese blocks,
and about half of the square in a a square blocks
so that I could make what was needed to fill in color gaps.

I ended up deviating from my 'pattern' a bit
and moved a few blocks around,
remade a few others,
trimmed a couple,
and vetoed some completely,
so I ended up hogging the kitchen 
much longer than I'd anticipated.

The kids were so sweet about it though,
and since we couldn't cook in there,
with a quilt all laid out on the floor,
Brandon picked up Taco Bell for their dinner.


Brandon got a 90.07 in his Summer I  class
(Cal 3)
so he still has a 4.0

Way to go, Bud!!


I can't even begin to guess how many collective hours
we have worked,
(mostly the kids and I,
(girls more than boys)
but Tyler has helped some)
to get all of the drywall mud and mess off of the floors.

we spent an hour out there
(so, 5 hours of labor all together)
and we finally finished the downstairs!!

I don't think you can fully appreciate this
if you haven't experienced it.

Tyler actually started the whole cleaning process
several weeks ago,
because I was so completely overwhelmed with the mess,
I couldn't even figure out how to begin.

If we ever build another house,
we are putting brown paper down
before any drywall related person
sets foot in our house,
I can tell you that!


Tyler had his first experience of being referred to as
an 'older guy' on Saturday.

He was a little miffed about it.

Which is kinda funny,
because he's always running his mouth about how 
he likes getting old.

I guess he doesn't like (over)hearing 
that other people think he is, though ;-)

We went to the Windsor library the other day
which is the one that we usually go to,
but hadn't been to in a while.

The librarian was so happy to see the kids!

She told me she'd called the other branches
to see if they'd stolen her family!

It's nice to be known
and wanted.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

progress report

I figure it's high time 
for a little update on my latest commission project.
Here is my collection of blocks to date

I try to make a few blocks
a couple of times a week,
but there've been some weeks
where I've not managed to make any.

I don't have a definitive deadline,
so I don't stress about it when that happens.
But I don't want it to drag on forever, either....

I color in my little block map when I finish a block,
but my colors aren't very spot on most of the time, 
so I'm not sure if it's really all that helpful.

If nothing else though,
it looks nicer than marking a big X across the block
to signify it's 'made' status.

Since many of the blocks 
I just made up,
I'm also just making up how to make them as I go.

I should probably work out some of the maths more.

That's all I'm going to say about my
'winging it' approach ;-)

Of course, there have been times when I have 
worked out the maths,
I didn't work them out correctly.

It doesn't help any
that the Cotton & Steel jelly roll strips I bought
'for greater variety'
aren't quite 2.5 inches wide,
and my entire quilt is built on 2" increments....

Tyler has a work dinner tonight,
which means I get a few extra hours to sew:-)

this is one of my favorite blocks!

I can't decide though
If I'll knock out a few more of these blocks,
or get started on a new project.

decisions decisions...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

picking paint and looking old

I really want to throw my arms across a bar,
lay my head on them,

I'm beginning to think my dad was right;
am incapable
of picking paint.

I've lost count of the number of trips I've made
and how many paint samples I've bought.
If we haven't hit double digits yet,
we're close.
But still,
I am no closer to finding 

It's all making me very weary.

In addition to the paint choice angst I'm dealing with,
when I was at the paint store today
(not to be confused with when I was there yesterday.
or Friday (twice).....)
a lady (probly 10 yrs older than me) and I were chatting,
and she asked how many kids I had.
I told her 8,
and added that they were spread out over 22 years.

And she said,
"You must have waited a while before you started."


I'm still trying to come up with a response.

But you can see why
I'd really like to fling myself on a bar,
and cry


*I don't necessarily mean a bar bar,
it's just that a bar is the right height for upper body flopping on.
(for a short person)
(which I am)
(though I am apparently an ancient short person.)

**to be fair - Dad was joking.

*** but it does sorta feel as if he was being prophetic...

****I checked the mirror when I got home;
I wasn't looking especially haggard

*****If you're curious,
(and I'm sure you are ;-)
this elusive color is a light grey/blue/green
it's more color than white,
but it reads as a neutral - not really a color,
and makes the space feel 
and inviting
Like a slow contented sigh.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sleeping Porch, Sparkling Stars

And now,
we've reached the third, and final installment
my family's favorite - Sparkling Stars

This one was (mostly) fun.

I drew up a design on graph paper
using  30 8 inch blocks
in a 5x6 configuration,
and just plugged in different sizes and styles of stars,
making it so that I have very few seams to match up
when joining blocks, to speed the process up a smidge. 

I made notes of how many I needed of each,
and also how many filler squares,
and rectangles,
and which way the rectangles were oriented.

I chose fabrics for,
 and cut and pieced 
a few stars at a time.
I cut a few of the squares and rectangles as I went, too.

Over the course of a few weeks,
working 20 minutes here, and 40 there,
I managed to get most of the stars made,
and one Saturday in mid-May
Tyler let me have the day off from working on the house
(we are building a house on our property.
We've been at it a little over a year,
and the end,
though still a ways off,
is finally in sight)
and I laid out the quilt,
made a few more stars,
and cut the rest of the filler blocks,
rearranged things a few times,
and got the top sewn together.

This one got a fun big polka dot thrifted sheet backing,
and then I got right to work learning a new quilting motif - swirls.

After practicing for about an hour,
on both paper and fabric,
I felt confident enough to start quilting
for real.
I think the swirls are a great complement
to all of the angles of the stars,
and coupled with the warm and natural cotton batting,
they create great texture, too.

Sparkling Stars got a lawn binding also,
because it's just so delightfully soft,

This one is also in the shop,
and all proceeds from the sale of it
will go towards the purchase of a sewing machine for Rahab's Rope :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

feeling groovy

There are people who just do everything fast.

I am not one of those people.

I wish I were.
There are certain tasks
 (vegetable chopping, for instance)
that I've done so much - I've naturally gotten faster;
but as a rule,
I'd say I'm average, at best,
and even sometimes, downright slow.

Bag-making is pretty much my molasses.

I'm usually tickled with them in the end,
but goodness, the making of bags
takes me a dang long time!

I do believe this one,
clocking in at 7 1/2 hours,
is the record.

It's a good thing I really love Amy,
and I think she really deserves it,
because that is just about ridiculous!

But -
it's a really cute bag!!

You might remember that Lily had a really rough night at camp,
and Amy helped her through it,
so I was already thinking I ought to make her something as a thank-you.

But then,
when she up and went to Lexi's camp also
(and changed her bandages
because Lexi wasn't sure the nurse would do it properly)
I knew I needed to.

Amy is a little bit of a hippie,
so I was kind of already thinking maybe something with a VW.
I found out that she drove the big ol' church van
(through the construction area that brings me to tears 
nearly every time I drive in NWA)
she loves Volkswagen Beetles,
and well, that sealed the deal.

I added elastic to the inside of the bag,
so she could securely carry essential oils in it if she felt so inclined.

And then, thinking that 
if she did carry oils in it,
maybe there should be some padding in the center, too,
so the glass bottles wouldn't be hitting each other,
so I made a padded pocket divider thing.

And after I had the entire bag done,
and the opening sewn shut,
I discovered 
that when you add a divider
to a zip pouch with boxed corners,
you must remove some length from the divider.

How much length 
seems to be determined 
by how much you box the corners.

It took me about a half hour to fix my error,
so I guess, 
the bag only took 7 hours.

But that's still a record, I think...

In all seriousness,
I am so grateful that Amy sacrificed a week of her life
to love on my girls,
and I was happy to spend a few hours of mine,
to make a bag that says
thank you, sweet friend!! I think you're groovy!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sleeping Porch, Squares

Continuing in our Sleeping Porch Series,
(3 different quilts, made with the same line of fabrics,
Heather Ross' Sleeping Porch,
and some Art Gallery Fabrics' Specktackular, in gold)
next - we have Squares.

This one was a bit of trickster.

When I saw this quilt,
I knew it would be perfect to showcase the unique SP fabrics.

Instead of piecing it the way Shannon did,
(sew a corner onto 4 squares, then join those 4 units into a block)
I thought to myself,
'why not just applique those squares on?
that would be so much faster,
plus - no seams in your beautiful fabrics....'

I am here to tell you 
that it is not faster to applique those squares
on point
onto larger squares,
even if you don't calculate in the time it took 
to prep the squares
(also - do you know how hard it is to press 4 sides and 4 corners
into a perfect square??)

I took to Instagram to see if I was ignorant of some all-important
applique knowledge that would speed up the process,
but no,
the consensus was - it just takes a long time.

I foolishly thought that so many people enjoy this applique thing,
surely it doesn't take forever;
but I was wrong.

Applique takes for-ever.

But look!
Invisible stitches!!

Once I got the darn 2 1/2" squares sewn on,
sewing the 10" squares together into a completed top
was nothing.

Because I had anticipated
 I would have very little labor in this quilt
(cough cough)
I had decided to splurge on a yard and a half 
of the moths on green
for the backing.

I may have seriously underestimated my time,
but y'all,
that backing was a good idea,
because this quilt is positively the most delightful quilt
I've ever felt.
It is so light and airy;
it's the quilt angels dream about, I'm pretty sure.

After lots and lots of practicing,
I free-motion quilted feathers around all of my squares,
and I must say,
I am really quite pleased with how they turned out!

Then I added hand-stitching to all of the appliqued squares
with magenta perle cotton
and inside that,
machine quilted 4-petal flowers

I finished off the quilt
with pink lawn,
machine attached on the back,
and stitched down on the front
with big stitch hand quilting.

At approximately 40x48,
this quilt is perfect for growing with a baby for many years,
and it'd also be a good car quilt,
or even a small lap or wheelchair quilt.
It's beautiful to look at,
but honestly,
this one is far too scrumptious to hang on the wall!

Sleeping Porch Squares is available in my shop
(and 100% of the profits
will go towards buying a sewing machine for Rahab's Rope)