Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Halfway finished...

Well, stuffing the pincushions is going much faster than I expected.  Isn't that always a nice surprise when a task takes you less time than you anticipate?  I'm usually on the other side.  More often than not, things take me twice as long as I think they will.

I've already managed to stuff all 8 sunflowers pincushions and glue them onto their pots...

8 Sunflower pincushions

Someone asked how I put the green rick rack on and the answer is - I didn't.  The rick rack is actually machine embroidered on along with the seed lines.  Here's a closer look...

I then glued the cushions onto the top of 2 5/8" terra cotta pots using Fabri Tac.  I'd like to find some small ladybug buttons to glue to the top before I call them done.  I'll look while I'm out of town this weekend.

I also prepped all of the tart and pie dishes to receive their cushions...

These are Wilton silicone baking cups that I bought at JoAnns.  I used a kitchen and bath adhesive and sealer to 'glue' the Styrofoam to the bottom of each cup.  I use the same adhesive to fix the pincushions on top too.

Whenever I've made these in the past, I always had my husband use the caulk gun for me.  But I thought I'd do it myself this time.  I struggled with it for a while and was beginning to think I was very, very weak.  I had so much trouble even squeezing the handle.  But when I was about ready to call it quits, the stuff finally started to flow smoothly.  It seems that a bunch of it in the tip had dried out and took a long time to work itself out.  But now I know what it's supposed to look like!  And knowledge is half the battle.  (I think that's a quote from the GI Joe cartoons I used to watch as a kid.)

6 tarts

I also finished stuffing all 6 of the cherry and blueberry tarts.  I hope to find some floral berries to glue to the top of each of these.  Besides that, I only need to finish stuffing 10 more pies before I can check this project off my to-do list.

I took this closeup of Sam the other day.  I love when I can catch them in unusual poses or angles.


She's due for a weigh-in tomorrow morning.  So far, she's lost about half a pound.  Here's hoping she's at least maintained that.

Until later...

"His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure" 
Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Plodding along...

I've managed to spend a few cycles in my sewing room the last several days.  This is what I've been working on...

 Blueberry tart

It's one of the pincushions I'm making for my guild's 25th anniversary.  They plan to give each of the charter members one at a party in November.

They don't take long to embroider and it's fairly monotonous work.  However, because there are several different steps, I really can't do anything else at the same time.

Unfilled blueberry pincushion

Except for snapping funny pictures of my dog...

Gabriel lunging at camera

Doesn't she look rabid or something?  So far, I've managed to get 6 tarts and 10 pies done in a mix of blueberry and cherry fabric.  I've also finished 3 sunflowers.  I'd like to embroider another 5 sunflowers - perhaps this afternoon.

Unstuffed pincushions

I'm going out of town for the holiday weekend and figure this will be a nice project to take with me.  I can stuff and sew them closed while visiting with family.  Perhaps when I return I can show you a finished one.

I'm bringing Gabriel with me when I travel so she can visit with her new best friend, Chance (aka mini-me).

My sister's dog Chance

After playing with him for 5 hours last time, she was passed out for 2 days.  Any bets on how long it will take to recover from a 3 day playfest?  Although Gabriel needs to lose some weight (about 10 lbs) so the activity will be good for her.

Until later...

"Take the time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit."  
1 Timothy 4:8(Phillips)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stash Report Week #34...

August 20-26, 2010

It's that time of the week again where I have to fess up to my fabric expenditures.  And truthfully, they're much more than I expected.  Much, much more.  Oh well, here goes...

What I bought - 6 yards of Black Kona Cotton for my Sister's Choice quilt and a charm pack (or .75 yards) of Rural Jardin for a Schnibbles quilt I have planned.  I also spent the day in Charlotte yesterday and made my first ever stop at Mary Jo's Cloth Store

How have I lived in NC all these years and never been there?  I feel deprived somehow.  Besides Hancock's of Paducah, it is easily the largest fabric store I've ever been in.  And I have to say their selection and prices were amazing.  I think I know what I'm going to ask for come my next birthday.

I didn't have anything in mind to purchase when I went in, except for some needles.  But I still managed to walk out with a small bundle...

Fabric from Mary Jo's

When they came out of the dryer, I showed them to Mr. Quilting Bug and asked him what they reminded him of.  I can tell you, he reminded me of a deer in headlights - like I asked him to divulge state secrets or something.  This was the answer I was looking for...

David in the box

When I returned from my last quilt trip, I talked to him about turning this picture into a quilt.  However, I have so many ongoing projects, I understand why it slipped his mind.  "Too much info + too little interest = blank face."   I bought 5 yards total of fabric to make this quilt and I have a deadline of December 25th to finish it.

But of course, that's not all.  I made another 'quick' stop today and walked out with the following...

For the new quilt

I'm in the middle of designing a quilt and am trying to decide on my color palette.  So I bought 1/8th of a yard of each of these to play with and see what works best.  There's a total of 3.25 yards.  I'm excited about this quilt because it will be completely my own design and will include a good amount of applique as well (which I love).

So that's an astonishing total (to me) of  15 yards added this week.

As for what I've used - I've been working on making a bunch of pincushions for the charter members of my quilt guild this week.  They're very cute, but really, they're just pincushions.  So how much fabric could they use?  Not much.  Plus I don't count fabric as used until either the quilt top is complete or the entire project is finished (which it's not).  However, I did manage to make a single angel gown, size XXL, and that used 5 yards.

Purchased-this-week: 15 yards
Used-this-week: 5 yards
Purchased-to-date: 197.25 yards
Used-to-date: 326.5 yards
Net used: 129.25 yards

Here are some pictures I took of Jack grooming herself.

I don't know what she sees here.

Until later...

We are each responsible for our own conduct. 
Galatians 6:5 (NLT)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Moses!

Our little girl, Moses, turns 6 today!  (Yes, she's a girl.)  It seems like just yesterday that my mother-in-law rescued her from the pound.  She was only 6 weeks old then.

Happy 6th Birthday Moses!

 And another 6 weeks after that she came to us - her forever home.  She was so small and scared that I remember her curling up in Mr. Quilting Bug's lap for protection.  And at night, she would sleep in a ball under my chin.  I don't know if it's true of all siamese cats, but her internal body temperature is much higher than our other cats.  Sleeping with her is like curling up with a hot water bottle!

Her favorite pose - arms out in front, paws crossed

I have fewer pictures of her than any of the other pets for 2 reasons.  First, she's very camera shy.  And second, she blends into everything in our house so it's hard to get one where she shows up!

Laying on the curtains I temporarily took down

I thought it might be nice to share a few of her favorite things:
  1. When I rub deep inside her ears.
  2. Sleeping on top of mommy.
  3. After I make the bed, burrowing under the covers to find the perfect napping spot.
  4. Temptations.
  5. Boxes, laundry baskets, etc.
  6. Practicing her flying somersault kung-fu moves on Sam.
  7. Catnip.
On the cat scratcher absorbing the catnip

What's a box without a cat?


And the things she hates:
  1. Visitors to the house
  2. The Vet
  3. David (her own personal stalker)

Moses slapping David

So Happy Birthday my sweet, pretty girl!  We love you!

Moses in the linen cabinet

Until later...

"Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."  
1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (NIV)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welcome to the family!

My sister adopted a new puppy about a week ago.  His name is Chance and he's about 5 months old.  He's a cross between Gabriel and Yoda.

Gabriel and Yoda

He's an adorable bundle of energy.  Lots and lots of energy.  Welcome to the family Chance!

New puppy Chance

He came up for a visit yesterday.  And before he even made it into the house, Gabriel was all over him.  They played and played and played and then played some more.

Chance and Gabriel

It got to the point where they were both completely exhausted, but if one of them twitched, they were right back at it.  Once he left yesterday, Gabriel passed out and she's slept all day today as well.

Get a load of those ears!  Aren't they just the cutest things ever?

He's definitely a lover and a keeper.  Which is good considering he's not yet potty-trained.  I remember those days with my dogs and I have tons of sympathy for my sister.  And unfortunately her house is mostly carpet...

But it would be difficult to stay mad at that face - and those ears!

Gabriel is looking forward to another longer visit - hopefully in the next couple of weeks.  I understand that Chance was exhausted yesterday as well but full of energy again this  morning.

He's constantly on the go but if you start to rub his belly, he just stops whatever he's doing.  It was a real pleasure to meet you Chance and Gabriel's looking forward to many more playdates!

Until later...

"There is nothing I cannot master with the help of Christ who gives me strength."  
Phil 4:13 (JB)

All Tucked In...

Back when I first started quilting, I made this green quilt that hangs in my bathroom.

Green quilt in bathroom

I'm not sure how big it is.  My guess would be around 36" square.  I used Cotton Theory Quilting to make it, which I learned on Sewing With Nancy.  It's kind of like the 'quilt as you go' method.  I have to be honest and admit I really struggled with it.  I didn't find it nearly as easy as the lady makes it look.  Of course, being a new quilter probably had something to do with it too.

I found the instructions for the 'tucked' blocks in the book "Creative Tucks and Textures" by Jennie Rayment.

There are a lot of really neat projects in this book!

Whenever people come to my house and use that bathroom, they always comment on that green quilt.  And last year my mom talked about how she'd like to make one for her house when she got better at quilting.  Right after she said that, I went out and bought these fabrics...

There are 9 different ones - each 1/3 of a yard.  I made myself a color chart so I could see where their placement should be...

color chart

And then this project sat waiting in my queue of things to do.  Initially I thought about making it for Christmas last year, but didn't have enough time.  Fast forward to summer of this year - I was determined to finish it for her birthday in August.  I put the final stitches in it on Thursday - on her birthday!

And I have to apologize because I didn't manage to get even one good picture of the entire quilt.  I thought I would when I gave it to her but with the excitement of visiting family, it just didn't happen.  Instead I have a bunch of partial photos of it - mostly covered by cats...


I'm calling this quilt 'All Tucked In' and it's 48" square.

Lower half of Moses

I wanted to make it the same size as the green one but forgot that I had made the blocks smaller in the first one.

Moses and David

Here a few closeup shots of the blocks and quilting...

Close-up of tucks

The tucks are sewn in before the blocks are assembled together.  I think there are around 22 tucks in each block.  After the quilt was quilted, I went back and sewed the tucks in different directions to get the textured look.

Because of the linear nature of the blocks, I wanted to quilt straight lines in the sashing and borders.  I've had a problem in the past when I used the guide on my walking foot to space the quilting lines, that eventually the lines would end up a little bit off - not perfectly straight.  So this time I drew each line with a Clover white marking pen.  Then I quilted it and finally ironed over it to get the pen to disappear.  And it worked!  The quilting turned out just like I wanted.

Straight line quilting

I've started to do my hanging sleeves differently as well.  Instead of one long piece, I now create two smaller sleeves.  I attach them to the back leaving a gap in the middle.

divided hanging sleeve

I'm afraid it's difficult to see in the picture because both the backing and hanging sleeve are blue.  Moses is looking right down at it if it helps.  I buy these oak boards from Home Depot that are 1/4" x 4 feet long.  My dear husband cut it down to the length I needed (in this case 47") and put a sawtooth picture hanger in the middle of it.  My mom can slide it into the sleeve and hang the whole quilt with a single nail.  You can also  change out your quilts without having to make any new holes in your walls.  Home Depot sells longer boards if you have a bigger quilt to hang.  And the best part is the 4 foot oak board only cost me $2.62 each.  It's the cheapest method I've found for hanging a quilt up.  If you do yours differently, please share.  I'm always looking for new ideas.

And I'll leave you with this cute picture I took of David napping the other day...

My, he's a big boy!

Until later...

"Your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well what you need and he will give it to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to."  
Matthew 6:33 (LB)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stash Report Week #33...

August 13-19, 2010

After some lackluster stashbusting weeks, this one makes a nice bump in my numbers.  Maybe I can still make my goal of using twice as much fabric as I purchased this year.  There are still 19 weeks left, so we'll see.

I bought a half yard of Bone colored Kona Cotton this week for a project for my mom.  I'll add it this week, expecting it to be out of here by the end of the month.  And that's all I purchased!  Yeah!

And this week saw the completion of several projects.  First I finished making 5 angel gowns for my church.  I had 10 to make, but the rest are on hold right now.  Each gown was serged, hemmed, velcro attached, invisible zippers inserted and size tags added.  The ones I completed were all a size medium and each one used 4.75 yards of fabric - for a total of 23.75 yards!

Angel gowns

I also finished my mom's birthday present.  I'm giving it to her tomorrow so I'll share pictures then.  It used 6 yards for the top, backing, binding and hanging sleeve.

Purchased-this-week: .5 yards
Used-this-week: 29.75 yards
Purchased-to-date: 182.25 yards
Used-to-date: 321.5 yards
Net used: 139.25 yards

If I purchased no more fabric for the rest of the year (yeah, like that's going to happen), I would only need to use another 43 yards to meet my goal.  Perhaps I'd better try to finish the other 5 angel gowns sooner rather than later.  They give a nice boost to my used totals.  Plus the remaining gowns are size 2XL and 3XL so that's even more fabric!

Until later...

Better to be poor and honest than rich and dishonest. 
Proverbs 19:1 (LB)

Monday, August 16, 2010

September's Snowman...

I'm feeling ahead of the game (in one respect) because I've already finished September's Camelot Snowman wall hanging.

September's Camelot Snowman

This will go in my mom's package for this month along with another wall hanging I'm working on for her.  It's also her birthday on Thursday and I'm almost done quilting her gift.  Hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow.

So for September's snowman, I had to make a few changes.  This was the original pattern...

Original September snowman

But my mom doesn't drink at all, so I didn't think it was appropriate.  I tried to modify it to represent the start of a new school year by changing the sign to 'Bus Stop' and adding some books...

Modified design

I think he looks cute, but could maybe have used some arms.  I liked the bee on the original drawing and so left him in place. 

He doesn't really have anything to do with the theme, but I think he's adorable.  The buttons came from my stash again.  They're a very pretty apple green color. 

Buttons from stash

And the surrounding apple fabric was also from my stash.  I didn't know I had it until I went digging through some piles.  Isn't it great when we find stuff we completely forgot about?

Apple fabric

Luckily these wall hanging don't take much fabric and I had enough to cut the print so that all my apples ended up in the same direction.

I've also packaged up most of my orphan blocks to send to a new home.  These are extra blocks or pieces of blocks left over from quilts I've made in the past.  It seemed a waste to throw them away, but I didn't have a use for them.  Shannon over at pieceful kwilter is making a 'Kitchen Sink' quilt using all those leftover blocks.  It'll be great to see them get a new life...

Orphan blocks

And I mentioned earlier that Sam had lost some weight.  Well, she's gained it all back plus some.  In the past 10 days she's gone from 17.9 lbs to 17.1 lbs to 18.3 lbs to 18.1 lbs.  Is my scale just not sensitive enough to accurately keep track?  (I'm using the Wii Fit board.)  Could she just be really constipated right now?  I have no idea.  If you have any weight loss suggestions for a cat, please send them my way.

Sam - on an unsuccessful diet

If she were healthy at her current weight, I'd leave well enough alone.  But she's has degenerative arthritis in her elbows and the weight makes it more painful for her to jump up and down.  Plus you can hear her coming from rooms away because the joints pop with every step she takes.  She really needs to lose weight to improve her quality of life.  By the way, she's turning 10 in a few weeks.

Until later...

"There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it."  
1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NRSV)