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Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Where am I?

Buried in scraps!  And books.  And threads.  And UFOs.

We’ve been feverishly working in the palace and I’ve had no time for anything else!  I think it’s finally under control.  I can’t believe the difference!  I hope to have pictures very soon.  Alas…work gets in the way today!

I’ve had a bit of trouble accessing my reader this weekend.  Fingers crossed….it appears to be fixed now.  Maybe  I can catch up with what everyone has been up to.  But for now I’m off to my “slaving’ job to get my pay.  Takin’ care of business……”.   🙂


It’s here!

My cabinet was supposed to be shipped on Friday and delivered next week.  I planned on organizing the palace this weekend.  I came home from work Wednesday afternoon and hit the couch for a well-deserved nap when there came a knock on the door and my husband answered.  I was expecting a new light for my new cabinet.  The light doesn’t come in four boxes.  Mr. Fed Ex Guy kept bringing in boxes.  We closed the door and stared at the boxes.  No nap today.  The best laid plans…..

We sprang into action.  I went into the palace and opened the closet door.  I nearly wept with frustration.  Oh dear!  So  many boxes and piles.  I started to pull down boxes from the top shelf labeled with #2 son’s  ten year old penmanship.  They were filled with crap baseball cards.  Not wanting to be the mother that accidentally throws away a potential fortune, I called him.  We went over each box–want it or not?  Not too many “no”s.  Hmmm…this wasn’t going to be easy.  I asked him about a particular game and he informed me that it wasn’t even his.  So I’ve been storing someone else’s stuff for twelve years!  As if I don’t have enough stuff of my own to store!  We decided what would make the trek with us this summer and what would wait and vacation with us next year.  I gained a half of a shelf.

Packed up the magazines and hauled them out before I could change my mind.  I did find some old flour sacks and 50s era kitchen linens and embroideries.  Kept them.  Put UFOs that are in the “dream” stage–pattern, fabric thread, no stitches (essentially “kits”) into a pile.  I piled the true UFOs together so I know where each and every one is.  I also found a stack of orphan blocks that I can use for fmq practice.  Now, I can open the door and see what I have.  It’s still jam-packed but it’s organized chaos!

Convinced the husband to order pizza for dinner so we could continue working.  Moved out the cutting table and the old computer table.  Moved my current sewing table to the other side of the room for my computer.  That was a challenge because the table is actually a big corner unit and there wasn’t a whole lot of room to turn it.  But after several bad words (my husband even made some up when he ran out of the standards) and some smashed appendages, it’s found its new home.  Set up the computer, turned off the light and had a glass of wine.  Whew!  I was tired!

So here are the last photos I took in there before the “renovation” began.  The Gettysburg Sun is coming along nicely.  I have two spots where I didn’t stitch in the ditch very well.  Looked like I fell into the ditch once too often.  I totally roamed.  When I feel like something doesn’t look right, I walk away from it and the next day the mistakes are not so glaring.  Coming back two days later , these still jumped out at me.  There’s nothing to do for it now except to “unsew” them.  I don’t think I’ll be happy with the quilt if I don’t.  So “unsew” I will!  😦

Here’s hoping I’ll have things back in place soon and the “magic” will once again flow from the palace!

I’m so excited!

And I just can’t hide it!  I’m about to lose control and I think I like it!  OK…we can all stop dancing now.  Except for me!  I ordered my sewing cabinet yesterday and it should be delivered next week!  Uh oh!  Stop dancing, Candy.  This means you have to empty out the palace!  Egads!! But  I do have a plan…of sorts.

Stage One is emptying out the closet and rearranging it.  Oh how I dread this!

See, I told you it was messy!   This is just a peek inside.     << Insert horror scream here!>>  Most of the things on the top shelf belong to #2 Son.  He left the nest–flew the coop–around twelve years ago.  Initially, he didn’t want any of the stuff–I was the hoarder who kept it.  Sunday, I told him I was getting rid of it and now he wants to know what’s up there.  He’ll find out in July when we go to visit him–it will all be in the trunk!  🙂  Won’t he be surprised!

I save dumb things–like empty boxes from Apple products.  Yes, Apple devices come with awesome packaging.  But do I really need the ipod box?  Really, Candy?

I have a partial shelf stacked with Quilter’s Newsletter magazines.  I haven’t looked at them since I stacked them there.  And I seriously doubt that I looked at them before I stacked them there.  But I’m torn…I don’t want them any longer but I hate to just toss them out.  But I also hate to take them to my guild meeting because if no one adopts them, I have to haul them back home with me.  I’m not wanting to do that!  I’m looking at their shelf space with the green eyes of envy.

The embroidery blanks–some I’ll keep, some I’ll donate.  I always have such grand intentions.  But I can never find that 25th hour in the day.  So this closet is where those intentions go to die–they languish in the land of what might have been!  Hopefully, they can find a place where they can revive their dreams–preferably in someone else’s room!  🙂

This will be a daunting task and not for the faint of heart for sure!  But I know I can do this.  Hard hat is ready!!!!

He’s the best!

In my post Warning! about running out of room in my sewing palace, pearlygirl03 posted this link to plans for a cutting table.  My husband agreed that it was do-able.  I was hoping it was do-able in this lifetime…he works sloooowly.  (Maybe that’s where MiniQuilter gets it!)  We were discussing it this morning before I went to work.  I thought that rather than a plywood top, a laminate countertop would be better.  Probably pricier…but better.  I came home from work today and there was piece of laminate cut to size and finished on all edges!  It was even blue!!  He is absolutely the best!  Fortunately, he doesn’t read this blog so he won’t get the big head because I went on about him.  🙂  Too bad we can’t get to Ikea before next weekend.  Darn!!!

I was quilting on my Gettysburg Sun quilt this afternoon and decided to quit.  I could not fmq a straight line to save my life!  I was trying to stitch in the ditch.  Let’s just say that if I were driving a car, I’d be sitting in jail right now.  Those lines were just weaving all over the place.  Thought I should quit while I was ahead.  Decided not to sew any more tonight.  When I get everything set up for fmq, I hate to undo it.  Pretty lazy, huh!  I want to watch the hockey game anyway!

To keep things interesting, here’s a sneak peek at Gettysburg Sun…without any quilting.  🙂  Before I ran into the ditch!!

Update:   Looks like I’m having some issues with the photo I inserted.  Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t.  I took the easy way out to edit it and I think it wasn’t such a good idea!  I’ll fix it…I promise!  And…does anyone know why sometimes I can insert a smiley and sometimes I can’t?

In my other life…

When I’m not working or quilting or “family-ing”, I love photography.  As much as quilting is my passion, my camera is a close second.  Having said that, you might think I was good at it.  Not so much.  I’m much better than I was but not at all as good as I hope to be someday.  My friend Debbi and I have been taking some photography classes from her DIL’s friend…a professional photographer.  That girl has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone.  The difference in my photos is amazing…even realizing how much farther I have to go!  Debbi and I began the classes to take better pictures of the grandkids.  I was tired of getting snapshots.  I wanted photos.  I wanted images!  And I have been able to achieve that with them.  Sure, I delete a lot of pictures.  But at least I usually get that one great shot!  I moved outside to our yard and snapped a few of the spring flowers in the back yard.  Thought I might share some of them with you.

My goal this weekend is to take MarioFan to the park and try to get some good shots of him.  Where MiniQuilter poses, he just gives me that cheesy eight year old smile.  God love ‘im!  He promised to cooperate because he’s helping me with my homework.

The real reason why I’m sharing these photos is that I don’t have anything quilty to show you.  I just ran out of time to work on anything this week.  However, I did get to the store and bought lots of batting so when I get time to quilt, I’m ready!!  One quilt did actually get pin-basted.  And Leah didn’t give us any homework this week.  There was nothing to motivate me!  Perhaps a cattle prod….

MiniQuilter wanted to work on her quilt so we sewed together one more row of blocks.  Her progress is slow.  She may have it completed before the fabrics go out of style.  🙂

And, to tie my camera and sewing together, I found this wonderful tutorial!  My camera bag has seen better days.  I looked around for a bag that had a little bit of style.   Guess you have to pay for style!  A lot.  I think I would really like to try to make this bag.  But I’m thinking that cotton fabric would probably not hold up.  What do you think about an upholstery fabric?


The following images may not be pretty!  They are a peek inside my sewing palace.  If my husband (aka Felix Unger, neat freak supreme!) knew I was sharing these images with you he would probably turn purple and pass out.  Before you view this little slide show, please know that the rest of my house does not look like this.  I’m truly not a slob.  Only in this room.  My issue seems to be organization.  I do not have a place for everything and everything in its place.  I have too many “things” for each thing to have its own place.   Which brings me to the reason why I’m even letting you glimpse the chaos in which I create!  I need help!

I’m planning to purchase this baby here at the end of May.  To be able to assemble it in the room, everything must come out.  This seems like a good time to organize…maybe find a different method of storage.  I’m getting a headache thinking about it.  I may have to lie down for a while!  🙂  I know I’m not the only one of us who has an extensive fabric stash and too many books and tools that just can’t be thrown away.  My question is this…how in the world do you organize your space?  How do you store your rulers and cutters and scissors?  Where do you put your books and patterns?  How do you hide your UFOs?

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present my chaotic sewing palace!  Please don’t judge me!  🙂

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Itty bitty baskets…

I’ve been on a tear to finish up projects.  I just got so tired of going into the palace and seeing those unfinished projects wistfully looking at me and begging to be finished.  I ignored them as long as I could.  I finally decided ENOUGH!  So, I’m now going to finish one project before I can start another.  There is no way that I can promise to finish up all UFOs before I begin another.  I’m not sure I’ll live long enough to do that!  But I’ve made a start.

First up is my little Civil War baskets quilt.  I’m not sure it counts as a UFO because I began it just last week.  But, heck!  It didn’t end up on the Later Tater heap!  I cheated a little bit.  I used my walking foot.  Shhhh……….don’t tell.  🙂    I can see where doing straight lines in fmq would be beneficial sometimes.  But in this case I was doing a lot of stitching in the ditch.  The walking foot is there to make our quilting life easier.  Why not take advantage?  I did fmq around the baskets and the little handles.  It was funny…I had a problem going around each handle in the same place.  I think I hit a blind spot when I was quilting.  I quilted in a little scallop in the borders and did the border Leah’s way.  Corners were much  nicer this time.  One thing you’ll notice that is missing….stippling.  I’ve been on stippling overload lately…seeing stippling in my sleep.  It was so nice to quilt straight lines for a change!

These little baskets finish up at 4 inches.  It’s a pattern taken from the book Remembering Adelia by Kathleen Tracy.  My husband bought this book for me a few years ago when we were in a quilt shop in New York.  He was thumbing through it and found that Adelia lived very near where we live.  It was an interesting read even if you never make a quilt from the book.  I find it interesting to read diaries from the Civil War era to see how people lived in that time.

Here’s a close up of one of the blocks.  I love this cheddar color!  It adds a little bit of a  color punch while still keeping with the feel of the era.  You can see the scallop quilting in the border.

And you can also see that it’s more than finished…it’s displayed!!!

Having finished that, I decided to move on to my Midnight Stroll quilt.  My sister and I went to a national quilt show in Chicago about five years ago (or maybe longer) and saw this quilt.   We had to make it!  The vendor had one kit left.  I was nice and let my sister buy it.  Then the search was on for another kit somewhere in the HUGE merchant’s mall.  We found one right before we were to leave.  I clutched it close to me all the way home.  And then didn’t look at it again for at least a year.  Of course my sister’s was pieced, quilted and hung on the wall before I even started.  (Sometimes, I think one of us is adopted.  🙂 )  But I finally got mine pieced, appliqued and assembled…and added to the heap.  I had this fear of quilting it.  I had of fear of quilting anything…I didn’t want to mess it up.  Anyway, I pulled that quilt from the pile.  I had the backing and thread (of course) but I didn’t have a quilt batt big enough.  Sigh….

So, I unearthed another top.  I had an idea how I wanted to quilt it so I began to mark it.  An hour or so later, I  so proudly took it downstairs to pin baste it and guess what!!  The batting I was going to use was not big enough.  Said a few swear words and made some blocks for my veteran’s charity quilt.  You know tomorrow I’ll be out buying batting!!!

The Mad Quilter

I went downstairs to my sewing palace today and realized how completely unorganized I am!  I sew in a state of controlled chaos.  The  most amazing thing is that it doesn’t really bother me.  Well, it begins to bother me when I can’t see the tops of any tables or desks.  Where would I put my new fabric?  🙂  But then I decide I’d rather sew than organize.  I organized the room…once.  It didn’t stay that way.  Besides, it’s so unfair!  This is the room where everything ends up.  What’s that?  It’s my books and magazines and “stuff”?  Hmph!

My husband (God love him) is a neat freak.  When he dares to enter the palace, I can feel his blood pressure rise and his stomach tighten.  He usually comes down with a pile of “stuff” that he leaves on the cutting table.  Hey!  I left that magazine in the kitchen for a reason!  The reason being, of course, that there’s no room for it here!

I read one time that creativity is rarely neat.  That being said, I must be as creative as they come!  Since I don’t have the time I wish I had to sew, I sew in a flurry.  I have more than one project going at any one time and I jump back and forth. So, therefore, I have piles of fabrics and patterns and threads setting out waiting for their turn when the spirit moves me.  I have to see the things I want to do next….out of sight, out of mind.  I need for the future projects to be visible so that I can touch them, read the directions, look at the pictures and assure them that their time is coming soon.

I envy the neatniks.  I wish I could be one of them.  On the rare occasions the palace is neat and organized, it only stays that way until I glance at the clock and realize I only have a short time left in there.  I fire up the after burners and then the scissors fly!

So, what kind of  quilter are you?  What does your quilting space look like?

Finished…I can’t believe it….

It’s hard for me to believe but I finished the whole cloth quilt for Leah’s Quilt Along!  First I want to thank Leah for answering my question on Thursday about not lowering the feed dogs.  The answer made perfect sense and the implementation worked great.

Now on to the whole cloth quilt.  As I’ve said before, it’s just not my style.  But this project packed a whole lot of learning into a small quilt!  I learned how to mark a whole cloth quilt…something that obviously has greater implications…marking motifs and borders.  I learned that if  I’m going to use the back door window for a light box, I have to either: 1. grow 2. start lower on the window or 3. get the step stool.  I had some pretty tired arms by the time it was marked!  I learned to keep the feed dogs up and the stitch length set at zero.  If I had only believed that would work earlier, I would have saved beating my head against the wall a few times.  I got a beginner’s idea about making feathers.  The drawn feathers were not as difficult as I imagined them to be.  Freehand may be another story.  But another story for another day!  I learned the importance of planning a quilting strategy…know where you want to go before you get there and know the route you’re going to take.  The most important thing I learned was to accept where you are with your skill level and understand that even if it’s not where you’d like to be, it’s where you are.  That doesn’t mean you have to stay there.  Accept where you are right now and know where you’re going.

And…last but certainly not least…I love the way Leah taught us to attach binding!  I’ve tried to join the binding at the end in this way before but found it extremely confusing.  I would finally get it to look OK after several attempts.  And, by that time, I had no idea what I did to make it work!  But this was a very simple and straightforward explanation and it actually worked the very first time! Of course there are four corners.  I would have been a fool to think all four of them would turn smoothly.  The first three were wonderful.  The fourth was a little bugger.  No matter what I did, it wasn’t right.  I finally got it as close as I could and let it go.  I have enough real stress in my life to add unnecessary drama to it!  🙂   Bottom line is this…I still don’t like to attach binding.  But I dislike it a little bit less now.

Last week, I was going to chuck this quilt in the trash.  Now, I’ve become quite fond of it.  I even gave it a name.  I decided to call it Summer Sherbet.  Just looks like a bowl of sherbet.  I’m thinking I’ll keep it.

Just for giggles, here’s a picture of the Bunny Butt cake I made for the grandkids for Easter dessert.  They thought it was pretty funny.  Of course say “butt” to two eight year olds and they lose it!  I got this recipe from the Betty Crocker website.  Believe me…it was easy to make!  I don’t do hard when it comes to baking!

I hope everyone had a nice holiday.  And now it’s back to quilting!!

Watch this space for the Civil War basket quilt.  It’s assembled and basted and ready for quilting.  The plan is tomorrow…

I’m not the stipple queen….

…the  joker maybe.  But definitely not the queen!!  🙂

This week in Leah’s Quilt Along, we moved on to micro-stippling.  I had a very difficult time getting my stippling “micro” enough.  I nearly threw in the towel but decided that it had become personal and I was going to finish that whole cloth quilt.  Along the way, I learned a few things.

1.  My idea of micro and everybody else’s idea are not the same.  I could not get my stitching small enough.  I was cross-eyed trying to get them as small as I did.  And, I’m not sure I like the stippling that small.  If I could do it, I might like it.  🙂

2.  Last week, I had issues with “pokies” on the back of my quilt when I stitched the outline.  A few people suggested that I keep the feed dogs up and set my stitch length to zero.  I know Leah has been saying that from Day One but I couldn’t wrap my brain around how that worked.  Didn’t make sense to me.  (Kind of like how I don’t fly because I can’t understand what keeps that massive hunk of metal in the air.)  But out of desperation, I tried it that way.  Guess what!  It worked.  My stitches were much better on the back this week.  Go figure.  Who knew that following directions might pay off!

3.  If I concentrate too much on the “shape” I’m trying to stipple, I can’t get a good rhythm.  If I try to make a lobster claw, I get so focused on that shape that I lose focus on what to do next.  I find if I just move the fabric in little “bumps and swirls” I can develop a smoother motion.  Maybe I’m making this harder than it has to be.

I have a question for everyone.  How do you stipple inside a motif….for instance the heart?  Do you start and end at the same place or just stop when you run out of room?   An example (of sorts)…my husband hates to dance but with a Miller Lite or two, I may get him to dance at wedding.  He has this theory that you must end up where you started when the song ends.  I think that’s so he’s close to the table and he won’t get corralled into another dance!  So, do you dance around the motif so you end up at the table or on the other side of the room?  It just seems like if you end where you began, it sort of completes it.

So, at least I completed the quilting.  Although I don’t think I’ll ever make a whole cloth quilt, I can see where these skills can be useful.   After having seen some of the finished quilts this week, I’m not sure I want to put mine out there but anyway, here goes!  Actually, I like it…wonky shaped hearts and all. ( They look a little stretched out to me.)  I know it could be better…alot better.  But it could also be alot worse.  I’m not striving for mediocrosy…I really want to improve.  I’m just accepting where my skill level is at this point.  Anyway, it’s bright and cheerful and makes me think of summer!  But it certainly won’t be hanging in any shows.

Update on the Civil War basket quilt.  When I finished stippling, I uncrossed my eyes and cut the sashing strips and corner squares for the quilt.  I managed to sew one row of blocks together before dinner.  Next week, I’m off work so I’m hoping I can finish it.  It’s just so cute!!!

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