Thursday, April 20, 2017

pattern testing for a rock star

maybe Judi Madsen isn't a rock star,
but she is a rockstar in the quilting world!!

She's best known for her quilting
(which is a-MAZing)
but she's also a pattern writer.

And I got to pattern test for her this week!!

It's not like she hunted me down 
because she's heard I was a great pattern tester
or anything;

she needed a few people who could make a test block super quickly
and I was available.
(the fact that I even responded is kinda funny,

But still I was tickled to get to do it.
(and maybe even a little bit braggy - 
I told Tyler I couldn't do anything else yesterday,
because I had a gig with a really famous quilter! :-)

I'll share my thoughts on the pattern soon.

California Dreamin' - how I love you. I thought I had used up all but a tiny tiny scrap of this pink on Jordan's quilt
and then I found 2 yards in my cabinet. I'd totally forgotten I'd found it on ebay and snatched it up. Happy day!

Now..... how to quilt it.... hmmmm

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

yes. I drank the (Sleeping Porch) koolaid

I confess.
When I read the word 'lawn',
I was hooked.
Add to that, the colors are so bold and summery
and the prints are just plain fun.

Heather Ross - Sleeping Porch - Half Yard Bundle (25pc prints and solids) Windham Fabrics - Shipping January 2017

we aren't really spending any money right now,
unless it's for building the house,
or other necessaries.

Every time I would see somebody get their grubby hands 
on a bundle of  Heather Ross' Sleeping Porch,
I tried to figure out a way
that I, too,
could get my grubby hands on one.

one morning, 
(the morning I saw this picture, actually)
I walked by my dresser
and noticed the envelope holding last year's birthday card
from Mom and Bill.
With money still in it!

I hadn't spent my birthday money yet;
I could buy a Fat Quarter Sleeping Porch bundle!

And so I did.

It arrived last Monday.
I starched and cut fabric for 2 baby quilts on Tuesday.
Wednesday, when my Art Gallery Specktacular in gold arrived
(yes. I totally copied Gina's brilliance.
Why recreate the wheel?!)
I starched and cut it, too.
Thursday, I sewed and trimmed half rectangles
(I should have done a few test blocks first. 
my points are nowhere near perfect : /
but I decided the fabric shines enough
that it's okay.)
and laid out the quilt.

For someone who likes 
using all the fabrics
limiting ones self
to just one fabric line
(especially with lots of repeats)
is tricksy! 

I sewed the blocks into a completed top
and Saturday,
when Tyler ran to the hardware store,
I ran outside with it
and snapped a few pictures.

to be continued....

Saturday, April 8, 2017

fun with a friend

I got to go up to NWA today 
to a quilt show
with a quilting friend.

We looked at quilts, and fabric,
and talked quilting for 8 hrs.

It was so much fun!

We even tried out an Innova long arm.

We tried out a smaller Babylock long arm (mid arm?) too,
but neither of us were impressed.
It wasn't smooth and the stitches didn't look nearly as nice as the Innova's.

My favorite quilt was a reconfigured rendition 
of Lori Holt's Farm Girl Vintage,
made by Barbara Hamernik
and quilted by Darlene Szabo

We got to talk to the maker for 10 minutes or so,
which was great.

I recognized it right off as (sort of) Lori Holt's pattern,
which I am not at all fond of
as written
(sorry, Lori)
but  made up like this,
with differently sized blocks,
(and some of the most 'country' blocks eliminated)
and in all reds and whites,
beautifully quilted,
I really like it.

(the judges really liked it too,
because she won first place in Judges Choice category)

We also visited for several minutes
with a spunky 75(ish) year old lady
who just recently started quilting.

I liked her!

That's all for now;
I'll share a few more pictures later...

Friday, April 7, 2017

won't you be my neighbor?

Back in November,
when I was finishing up collecting fabrics

It was a touch on the bright side,
but I figured it'd be the perfect fabric 
to add to the collection of prints anyways.
Jordan loves big cities,
and her (new at the time) fiancee was living in Chicago,
so 'city' really needed to be represented somehow...

no - you haven't missed the 'finished quilt' post :-) we're waiting for the full photo shoot :-)

The problem was,
the gal only sold it by the yard.
I had already bought waay too much fabric for this quilt,
and I knew I would only use a very small bit,
as the plan for that quilt was use all the fabrics!
so I couldn't really justify buying a whole yard.
I had recently purchased a different 'city' fabric
and the scale was too big, so I was especially gun-shy.)

I sent a convo to the shop
and explained my situation 
and asked if she'd be willing to sell me just 
a half of a yard or, even better - a fat quarter.
I also asked what it would cost.

Sally wrote back simply,
'what is your address?'

I kinda thought 'what does it matter?!'
but then figured she probably needed it 
to give me an accurate shipping quote.
So I gave it to her.

She wrote back and said,
I'll send it out tomorrow. It's on me. 
Good luck with your quilt!

This was right after the election
 and there was just meanness everywhere.
But here was this person,
choosing to be kind.
(to a stranger, at that)

She could have sold me a FQ, or a half yard,
and that would have been plenty kind,
and I'd have been pleased,
but she went totally 'above and beyond'
and sent me a half yard cut 
for free.

I knew right then
that I wanted to do something to honor Sally,
and 'pay it forward'.

This week,  I sewed up a zip pouch
using a bit of the fabric she so graciously sent,
and I want to give it away.

To be entered in the drawing,
simply leave a comment
(make sure to leave an email if you're a no-reply blogger)
and tell me about a random act of kindness
that you've witnessed,
or been the giver or receiver of.
Or tell me about an idea you have 
to bless an unsuspecting person,
but you haven't had a chance to carry it out yet.
(or just leave a comment and say 'nice bag'
but I do love a story... ;-)

There is one tiny little catch.
If you win the giveaway,
I'd like you to 'pay it forward', too :-)
Make it a point 
to make someone's day,
like Sally made mine.

Shoot - you can do that
even if you don't win the giveaway ;-)

Sally has graciously given me a coupon code to share with you,
good until May 15th.
For 10% off
 your entire order in her shop (Fabrics by Sally)
use code: tracylou

Thank you, Sally,
for being such an excellent example of kindness and generosity,
and by your actions - reminding me to love.

linking up with Spring-y Amanda Jean :-)

Edited to add: Giveaway is over;
the zip pouch goes to Tami,
and I will make Sally a little something, too :-)

Thanks to everyone who shared their stories!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lex's DrEAMi project

A few weeks ago,
Lexi (8) had a wild hair to make a 4-patch quilt.

I reminder her that she already had a project to work on;
her cat block was cut and laid out,
ready to sew.

She wasn't interested in sewing her cat;
she only wanted to Drop Everything And Make her quilt.

I taught her about leader/ender projects,
and we compromised.
She worked on her cat block 
and this mini quilt,
at the same time.

When she had both 4 patches
(front and back)
all sewn together,
she stopped working on her cat block,
and focused on finishing the quilt.
(she still hasn't finished her cat block,
and all it needs is 2 borders attached!
I'm trying not to be pushy about it...)

She chose wool batting
and red thread
and we spray basted the layers together

She drew out some quilting,
then practiced a bit 
on an already quilted on practice sandwich,
then went to town on the real deal.

We'd forgotten to check the bobbin,
and darn it if she didn't run out mid-quilting.

I apologized for the oversight,
and turned it into another lesson
(well, 2, really,
the first being - make sure you have plenty of bobbin thread...)
and she learned how to go back
and lock those last stitches made before the bobbin emptied.

She did all of the sewing and pressing,
though I did accidentally take over for a few minutes
pressing the binding to the back,
before she fussed at me
and I turned the iron back over to her.

She did want me to make the label for her
and I opted for the speed of the machine,
rather than stitching by hand.
We tucked it into the binding
and I helped glue baste it down,
then she sewed the binding down by herself
(she also attached it to the front totally by herself,
after I helped with the first corner to refresh her memory)

She didn't make this for any particular reason,
other than
she just really really wanted to.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

talk to me about IG

picture by Jeremiah. 

I told y'all a few weeks ago that I finally joined Instagram.

I'm using it mainly as inspiration for quilts
 and quilting and pretty house things.

With that in mind - who should I follow??
(and if you want to follow me, I'm here.)

Is there any Instagram etiquette I need to know,
so I don't accidentally offend?
(or look like the complete ignoramus that I am)

How does one decide what hashtags to use??

Can you 'follow' a hashtag?
Like - say I want to see whenever someone posts something
with the selvege sewing hashtag,
is there a way to do that?

Is there a way to search for a hashtag
within a person's instagram account?

And what is it with filters?!?
I just want my pictures to look like the thing I took the picture of.

I see a lot of people say
'link to blog is in profile'
instead of including their blog address in the post.
why is this?


I started this post probably a month ago,
and I still have all these questions,
so please answer; they're not rhetorical ;-)

I've discovered that I am a little annoyed and confused
when people post the exact same thing
across social media platforms
(Instagram / blog / Facebook)
because I'm not sure where I should comment,
(certainly not both/all??)
and annoyed,
because I feel like it wastes my time.

(to clarify,
I think it's great to post a 'teaser' on IG or FB
and direct to a blog post
but the same exact entire post?


tell me, Wise Ones,
what do I need to know??

Monday, April 3, 2017

the gloves

You probably see a perfectly worn in set of work gloves;
I see love.

Tyler surprised me with them
 when we were prepping for chickens
(wow - that was almost exactly 4 years ago)
(Man, I miss having chickens! )

He doesn't surprise me with gifts very often,
but when he does,
they're good!

For starters, these gloves are made of the softest leather
(cheery yellow leather, at that :-)
they have hot pink little beads 
on the ends of the adjuster strap!

They fit perfectly,
and needed no 'breaking in' to be comfortable.

 I have worn these gloves for every chore imaginable,
from pulling weeds,
and dragging brush and trash to the burn pile
And every single time I pull them on,
I feel loved.

Thanks, Love

(his most recent surprise gift - a central vacuum system!!
We finished installing the 'plumbing' for it this weekend :-)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday snippets

It's a quiet, rainy Sunday afternoon.
Absolutely perfect for snuggling under a quilt while hand-quilting.
Except that my right hand has been hurting since Thursday,
and I'm not sure that I could even hold a needle,
 much less sew with one,
so, I figured I'd just write up a post.


Marin squealed when she opened Milo's shoes,
so I am thoroughly compensated for my hours of sewing them.
If he actually wears them, that will be bonus ;-)


Brandon took Josiah to a percussion recital Friday evening.
As part of his music appreciation class,
he was required to attend 3 performances this semester,
and since Josiah is interested in drums,
he brought him, too.

Speaking of Josiah and drums,
Brandon made him a cajon a few months ago.
2 weeks ago, he brought it to church,
and helped Brandon lead music during Children's Church.

Y'all just don't know how that blessed me!

Firstly, it never would have happened 
if Brandon hadn't built the drum for him,
and taught him how to play it.
And also,
Josiah is quite shy,
so it took a lot of gumption 
to put himself out there like that.

I didn't even know he was going to do it,
until he leaned over to me during church and said,
"I've got to go down to help Brandon lead worship"
as if it was the most natural thing in the world.


I love that Brandon so freely shares
what he learns.


Lily helped me thread baste my quilt
because we were out of 505 basting spray.

It took us just a little over 3 hours.

Without her help, it surely would have taken me 5!


I ordered more spray immediately.


Lily turned 10 last week.


I'm having a hard time comprehending that.


Work on the house
during winter
was super slow.
But now that the weather is more agreeable
we are itching to make some real progress out there!

we have no plans next weekend,
so we should be able to make a big dent in the
'before drywall' list.

It's not unrealistic
to think we could actually be getting drywall
not long after Easter!
From there,
things are going to get real crazy...


No plans for Saturday and Sunday.
There is a quilt show in Springdale on Friday
that I hope to attend...