Monday, January 18, 2021

Resolutions

 Does it seem like the start of this year seemed less about resolutions?  I really did not hear much talk about them.  I've never been a fan of new year's resolutions so I've never participated in the sport of making them.  I know what I want to accomplish, but nothing really changes just because a new date has rolled around.  

Always on the list of "guilts" are UFOs.  Somehow, those guilty feelings can be cast aside when something sparks my interest.  Squirrels....isn't that what those are called?  

One major eyesore in my creative space are the endless 1.5" strips that multiply like rabbits.  Why is it so hard to throw something that small in the trash???  Having finished a leader/ender quilt using many of them, one would think the bin would have been diminished.  Nope!  So....I decided to reduce the number of them more quickly by sewing up log cabin blocks.  (Why is it that everyone seems to be sewing log cabin blocks right now?) They go quickly and once I get a decent sized quilt done with them, I am going to dump the rest of them.  I promise....no more guilt!!!

I do think that I am going to have to seriously consider figuring out a way to add some sort of design wall.  The floor just is not working anymore.  I'm not really sure why it is that the dogs cannot stand to see me put my blocks on the floor.  My problem is that I do not have a lot of wall space in my studio.  What I do have is taken up by bookshelves or my cutting table. I hesitate spreading into the adjoining guest room.


There is also this little problem with my scrap basket.  They all fit in the basket until I started pulling them out to sew them.  Now, it's as if they have been freed and are taking over the sewing room like an erupting volcano.  


The weather has been absolutely beautiful for the last week.  We need rain so badly, but it has been perfect for getting out, soaking up the vitamin D and pruning roses.  I had several grandsons come to help me with the task and nearly one hundred roses were completed in record time.  It was tough to prune them as they were still blooming. 



Colette had made a great looking loaf of Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin bread.  Since I am always looking for recipes using my starter, I had to give it a try.  It was, as Colette said, absolutely delicious!  Everything about it was fabulous and I am sure it will become a frequently made bread here. 
 


I've been a part of a group of six gals who have sewn together for a number of year.  Each year we choose a different project and this year we are doing what we call our "Sow's Ear to Silk Purse".  We sent and unloved piece of fabric to our partner and they were to create a "silk purse" and return it.  Irene sent me the blue paisley fabric and, in return, I created a table topper for her.   
 

One of the younger granddaughters has been over and learning to sew.  She is doing a great job and thoroughly loving it.  I have had her using an older White sewing machine that I bought when the local college ended their homemaking courses many years ago.  There were a lot of labels added to these old machines by the different manufacturers.  It is basically a Dressmaker machine, a model of the Singer Class 15.  The tension knob is located on the side of the machine rather than on the front. It is a real workhorse and sews very well.  After doing a good servicing of it and replacing the tension spring, I am sending it home with her so she can have it when she gets the urge to sew.   These old, heavy duty workhorses are so great for young seamstresses.   It is also such a pretty color!


That's been my NO resolution January!  Are you one who makes resolutions?


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Farewell to 2020

 I can't say that I am one bit sorry to see 2020 ending.  It has been one crazy year that was devastating to the world we knew.  I really hope that 2021 will be a GREAT improvement.  I am definitely ready to move on and put this year to bed once and for all.  I hope that I never experience an event that will forever be recorded in history again.  Once was more than enough.

Christmas here was wonderful with family.  Like the Grinch, Covid did not stop Christmas from coming.  It may not have been as grand as normal, but it was a celebration nonetheless.  

There was a lot of Christmas sewing happening in my studio over the last month.  The granddaughters were home from college and ready to sew,  We had so many fantastic days together.  I'm sure it will take awhile to find things in my studio with the way fabrics were flying!  lol  Needless to say, I did not have much of a chance to get to my own sewing with my machines in such demand, but I did get a few things done.

One of the granddaughters loved my Grinch that I did several years ago and we ran out of time to have her do one before Christmas so I sewed one up for her as a surprise.


Jumping off from a beautiful coaster that Maria sent me, I made gift card holders for some of the grandchildren who were getting gift cards for Christmas.  


I also sewed a couple more flannel nightgowns for some of the granddaughters.  As well, there were many mask requests for the holidays.  It's fun to sew masks that reflect a person's interests. 


My Escher Cubed got completely pieced in spite of a little help from the two dogs.  I think I am going to leave the points on it when I quilt it.  They just seem to finish the design a bit better.  However, binding will be interesting.  




I'm looking forward to the new year with new projects to tackle.  What are your plans for 2021?  I have a million ideas, but just wish I had enough time in my lifetime to do them all.  

Happy new year to all.......


Friday, November 27, 2020

Happy Post Thanksgiving

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving arrived.  It has been such a strange and unwelcomed year, but it has helped us to count our blessings.  We have found blessings in simple things this year, things we generally take for granted.  We have found time to explore new avenues, some because we wanted to and others because we had to do so.  Now we head into the Christmas season and the putting of 2020 to bed once and for all.

My latest adventure in my creative world has been working on a quilt filled with luscious Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  I was so inspired by an Escher quilt that Ramona made and knew I had to tackle a similar  project myself.  The geometric design is right up my alley.   This is a quilt that could go very wrong VERY QUICKLY, but my first four rows have gone together well.  I love it.  The depth of the interlocking cubes is fascinating to me.  


This one is called Escher Cubed and it is constructed using 60* triangle pieces (with y-seams) in proper color combinations.   



I also finished my fall quilt that was this year's Autumn Jubilee quilt from Carole at From My Carolina Home.  I believe it is still a free pattern. We have been enjoying it throughout the season and look forward to decorating with it for many more years. I quilted it using Dream Wool batting so it has a marvelous texture to the quilting.



Of course, any quilt on the floor is meant to be slept on.  There were two on it until I admonished them.  Note how one takes the discipline!!  Sigh.  

Our Gridster Bee block for the month of December is for a feather block.  I love the block even though I did have some issues with printing it out.  My first one ended up being a smidge too small so I have one to keep for myself!  It is a free download from Zen Chic.


As the weather has turned a bit more fall-ish here, I have had requests for some flannel nightgowns from the granddaughters.  I used my ruffler attachment on my Singer 201 and just loved how it did the ruffling so perfectly.  



While working out in the garden, we came across these two little guys.  They must have hatched sometime this fall and managed to survive.  I did not see the momma lay this batch of eggs.  We did adopt them out to new homes as they needed to be rescued from the birds who like to eat them when they are small.  

In the garden, the pomegranate tree is absolutely loaded this year.  We've been juicing them and giving them away as fast as we can!  As with any tree like that, when it rains, it pours.  They will be good for Christmas decorating too.  


We have just finished off what I assume will be the last of the tomatoes for the year.  The temperatures have been a bit too chilly for fruit to set these late November days. 
 

Onwards into the Christmas season.....






Friday, October 30, 2020

Face Mask Tutorial

 I had several people ask how I am making my masks so will do a quick tutorial on a compilation of techniques that I find work well for the style that I am currently making.  There are so many great mask patterns out there now and I have tried many of them over the months.  I find this one to be the easiest for me to wear.  I feel it gives more room to breath, fits well and does not slip up or down while talking.  


I've come up with four different sizes, large (men), medium (women/teens), small (children 6-12) and extra small ( kids 4-6).  

First off are the measurements I use.  You can adjust them to your preferences.  

LG.....11" x 8"

MED....10.5" x 7.5"

SM..... 9.5" x 6.5"

XS.....9" x 5.5"

The measurements I used to cut the corners are as follows:

LG....2"

MED....2"

SM....1.75"

XS.....1.5"

Elastic measurements

LG....10.5"

MED....8.5"

SM....7.5"

XS....6"

Here we go........

I first cut a lining fabric and a mask fabric using the previous measurements.  If you are using a directional fabric you must make sure that you cut it with that in mind.  The short measurement will go vertically on your face while the long measurement will fit across your face.  I also find that doing two or more masks at the same time saves time and thread.  

Mark each corner with the above corner measurements like this:



You will then make a diagonal cut on each corner by placing your ruler diagonally, lining up the markings you have just made.  

If you have this nifty Bonnie Hunter Simple Folded Corners ruler you can pass on the marking and just line the fabric up with the ruler.  


You will now cut a gentle curve for your eyes along one long side.  Again, be careful here with directional fabrics.  Can you tell that I have had too many upside down cats and pigs?  Find the middle on the top of the long side of the fabric.  From the edge corner to the center draw a gentle curve, going no deeper than 1/2".  Repeat from center to other corner.  It will look like a very lazy "w".  Cut both layers of fabric, right sides together.  My granddaughters call this the "batman" curve.




I have made templates to use on my masks to avoid doing this with each mask.  

You're now ready to sew.....

Again with right sides facing each other, start sewing midway along the bottom long edge. You will sew with a 1/4" seam, pivoting at corners and continuing around the mask, leaving about 1 1/2" opening.


Clip corners and the curved eye seam.  Turn right side out and press well, making sure to poke your corners out crisply.  


The shaping of the mask begins now as you will turn the bottom long seam upwards and the eye seam downwards, using the points as your reference points. Press the folds well.



Returning to the sewing machine, top stitch close to the edge of the "Batman" curve.  At this point a nose wire can be inserted if desired.  I use a 4" length waterproof, plastic coated wire.  A gardening wire works well.  Fold the wire in half and slip it up through the opening, wiggling the fold into the point between the eye curves.  Finish pushing the wire up along the curves and clamp in place.  Stitch down from the top, across the curves while following the wire and then up to top again,  Be careful to not sew over the wire.




Top stitch across bottom, closing the hole that you left for turning.  

You will now form the curves to your mask.  There are many You Tube videos on this process.  One is HERE.  On the back side of the mask you are going to make two "N" folds on both edges.  Take the top fold and fold upwards forming the N.  Repeat with the bottom fold.  Stitch straight down from the top, backstitching at the top and bottom.  It will look like this:


Repeat on other side.

Place a piece of elastic, lengthwise, in the middle of the area between the N fold stitching and the edge of the mask.  Fold edge back up and over the elastic and stitch down, enclosing the elastic.  Again, backstitch at the beginning and end.  Repeat on other side.  Tie ends of elastic or leave loose for recipient to size accordingly.  Once tied, the knots are pulled into the channel.






If you are doing several different colored masks you can match the threads to the mask by simply switching out the bobbin when doing the top stitchings.  These are the masks I made yesterday while doing the tutorial.  They go up so quickly.  



TA DA....you are done.  Now you can do 50 more this week.  






Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Autumn in the Air

 As slow as the year has been, it seems hard to believe that we are now into autumn.  It will be an autumn and winter like no other that we have seen, but how can one not look around and breathe in the luscious colors and scents of autumn?  This is "my" season!  I don't know if many of you remember having your "colors done".  It was a big thing back then, but I turned out to be an autumn.  My wardrobe changed and I dove into autumn colors.  I still enjoy the rich colors of reds, golds, greens and browns, but do not look forward to the winter months ahead.  


Each year Carole, who blogs at From My Carolina Home, has an Autumn Jubilee where she shares many different ideas - quilting, tablescapes and greeting cards, to name a few.  I joined in on her QAL this year and have managed to keep up with the schedule.  You can find the patterns on her blog.  These are our rows so far. I misread the sashing size in that bottom row, but it is fixed and is the same length of the others now.  



We managed an escape for a fall road trip.  We put 4.600+ miles on the odometer and had an amazing time.  This was really a National Parks tour.  We visited Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Moab, Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks on our journey.  With our senior pass, they practically paid us to visit them!!!  lol  We made it as far as Kansas City and took three granddaughters out for dinner and visited their college campus.  








While in the Tetons, I managed to grab a photo of my finished Memoirs quilt.  This was a kit from Moda by Three Sisters and I loved the colors of it.  


There has been LOTS of mask making going on here.  I admired Ramona's Snoopy mask and she generously sent me her leftover fabric.  I was able to make two masks from it!  One was shipped off to my dear friend in England who loves the Peanuts characters.  I've had lots of requests for special masks as well.





Has this series been exciting or what????

Masks for granddaughter's senior business project

Day of the Dead masks

Lisa (no blog) was our queen bee for this month and these were her block requests.  I'm looking forward to seeing this Betsy Ross quilt come together.


As a leader ender project, I have been working on some tulips, a Bonnie Hunter design.  My bouquet is growing!





Today my challenge is making a saint costume for the Halloween saint program at the grand's school on Friday.  Enjoy your fall!