Monday, December 7, 2015

Snowman Table Runner, Hopefully Finished by Christmas

This is going to be the quickest blog post ever.  While I was cleaning out my closet, I found this great snowman table runner that I started about 5 years ago. I got to the point of putting on all the little, teeny, tiny eyes - and abruptly stopped. I couldn't find small enough buttons, so I got some blacks beads. I'll give that a try.


So my goal for December is to get all the snowmen's faces sewn on, and put on their happy little carrot noses.  I know that's not a finish, but realistically, I don't think I can get it quilted and bound by Dec. 31.  Why? My kids are coming home for Christmas (big smiles over here!!!), and my in-laws will be here (more big smiles), and mass confusion will abound (LOTS of big smiles). So that gives me only a week to do this.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Treats and ALYOF Finish!

I did it! I completed my Triangle Quilt. I actually had it done almost two weeks ago, but with my busy work schedule this month, I am just not getting this post written. Just in the nick of time!

This was definitely a project that needed finishing! I started along in the spring of 2014 with The Sassy Quilter's Triangle Quiltalong. But starting was about as far as I got on it.  For about eight months I had the fabric starched and ironed and sitting in a pile in my sewing studio.  I'd move it from place to place because it was always in the way. What a pain!

One day I decided to cut out the triangles. That made the whole project much more Out-Of-My-Face. But it also made it Out-Of-My-Mind and I forgot about it.

So then the summer of 2015 came along.  I decided it was high time to tackle this project.  I had always wanted to do a triangle quilt, and I felt badly that I totally missed the mark with the QAL.  So I set it as my August goal for ALYOF.

But did I do then? Nope. Didn't touch it.  Oh, woe is me! Too much drama was going on with my Day Job, and so I basically put all my quilting and long arming on the back burner until things settled down. Doing two jobs at once is very taxing, especially when one of those jobs deals with tax accountants day in and day out! (Inside business humor there.)

So, when October came along, I decided to go for it again.  We had our guild's annual Quilt Retreat and so I took this as my project.  I'm proud to say, that I completely finished piecing it at the retreat. I brought it home, loaded it up, and got it quilted with a fun wavy edge-to-edge free motion design.  For the back I just pieced my leftovers.

Tah, dah! That was my goal. Maybe this month I'll get the binding on, but I'm not counting on it. I'm scheduled to do a Christmas Bazaar the first weekend in December, so I'm sewing like mad to get some new products sewn up to include in that show.

It's always something, isn't it? That's what makes life fun. 

So while we're speaking of October, I'll just throw in this fun photo I snapped when we were out golfing a couple of weeks ago. I can't take photos to really capture the true beauty of the area in which I live, but I always try.  This was the view we had as we teed off one of the fairways at the Elkhorn Golf Course. Just lovely.

And since it's Halloween, I'll wish you all a hauntingly good day! And with the clocks going back an hour tonight, just think! We'll have an extra hour to quilt tomorrow. Life is good.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up to:  ALYOF
Sew Cute Tuesday
Linky Tuesday
Needle and Thread Thursday

Monday, October 5, 2015

October Goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes

I started out this post in a very negative fashion, realizing that I hadn't finished my August Goal for ALYOF. Shoot - I didn't even pick up that project and work on it!

All of that made me feel bad, to notice the shortcomings in my life. But then I did a swift kick to my brain, erased what I wrote, and restructured my thinking to "So what, Barb, if you didn't do what you intended. Life gets in the way. Deal with it, and move on."

So I am moving on to declare an October Goal for ALYOF. Go, me!

I've been rather slow on getting my triangle quilt together. I originally started it as part of the Sassy Quilter's Triangle Quilt Along in the spring of 2014. Oops. I really wanted to do a triangle quilt. Now I am!  I spent the weekend at a quilting retreat with some good friends and got a lot of progress on my version of a triangle quilt. 

So, with three weeks left in the month, I am going to set my goal as getting the quilt top finished and quilted.  I'm not going to go as far as to say I will get it bound by Oct. 31. Don't want to get too crazy! But I will have it quilted.

Whew - that feels good to set a goal, and aim to get it accomplished. 

Quilting with a smile,


Monday, August 3, 2015

August ALYOF Goal - It's About Time!

It's about time is right.  I put this great table runner together last fall and had every intention of getting the leaves machine appliqued so I could get it quilted and bound.  But did that happen? Nope.

But I'd really like to use it this year so I know if I make it my August goal, I'm more likely to get it done.  I toyed with the idea of stitching the leaves down with my long arm.  Has anyone tried that? Maybe the points of the leaves are too small.  The largest leaves are just 5 inches across. Hmmm.  Decisions, decisions. What would you do?

Quilting with a smile,


Friday, July 31, 2015

July ALYOF Finished With Hours To Spare

I truly sneaked in under the wire on this one. My husband is waiting for me so we can head off to a great music festival, but I finished the binding on this today, and wanted to make sure I got a photo or two snapped before we took off.

Just a nice patchwork quilt. I let the large prints do the talking in this one, and simply quilted it with a large, wavy line across.  It gives it a very nice texture and will make a very comfy quilt.

These photos are awful - but no time to retake. Maybe I'll post new ones tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend,

Pink Doxies Pet Project Show

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Make Your Own Numbered Pins

Today I wanted to share a nifty little trick I came up with that saves me a lot of time and trouble. And money!

It's my Do It Yourself Numbered Straight Pin Trick.

In the past, I have torn up little squares of paper, numbered them, and then pinned them to the top left side of each row in my quilts as I have laid the pieces out for stitching together.  I don't have a design wall, so this entire Laying Out Process takes place in the middle of my living room, or as in this case, on my dining room table. (There's half a quilt laid out in the photo below.)

That method worked well, but takes time.  Then one day I saw a product online that had the pinheads engraved with numbers, so you could just grab those to mark your rows. Marvelous idea! But they were $25 for the set. For that much, I could rip up a whole lot of scrap paper to make my own rows.

But then one day the light bulb went on. "Why not make my own?"  So I did.  I simply took plastic, flat-headed pins, a fine point permanent ink marker, and numbered a set up to 21.

I then placed them in even and odd numbered rows for easy access, and put then in this cutest little chicken pin cushion that a local quilting friend had made for me.  Viola! A handy tool that looks fun sitting in my sewing room, too!

Bad lighting, I know, but I didn't want to move the entire quilt to demonstrate these pins!

What handy, time-saving tips would you like to share today?

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with Pink Doxies The Pet Project 
Linky Tuesday 
Tips and Tutorials Tuesday 
Sew Cute Tuesday
Needle and Thread Thursday
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop 200th

Monday, July 13, 2015

Going for the Piggy Bank Challenge with Val

I'm always game for saving money! And found money is the absolute best.

In fact, when my kids were little, we'd go out for walks around the high school near our house, and often find all sorts of coins and the occasional dollar bill in the parking lot. Score!

And then one day, I decided to start collecting aluminum cans which were carelessly scattered around the parking lot.  Sounds odd now, but back in the day, cans were worth a pretty penny, and it was like a scavenger hunt for the kids to see how many cans they could find each day.  All in all, when I emptied the piggy bank, and cashed in the cans, we had $90. Which was enough for a shiny, brand new, red, Diamondback bike for our son. SCORE!  His first bike and we didn't have to 'save' for it.

So I like Val's idea of stashing money away for some quilty pleasure.  I'm in!  I picked up this great little glamping trailer piggy bank last year and it sits on my kitchen counter. Now I'll put it to good use.

Val's Quilting Studio

What am I saving for?  Hmmm.....I think I'd like to make another quilt camping quilt with great outdoorsy flannel, none of which I have in my stash.  Yep, that's what I'm saving for.

Join in the fun and see how much you can stash this year.  You know we quilters are good stashers!

Oh - while I'm at it, here's another fun pic.  It was my Christmas present from my daughter who is very talented at web graphics,  Illustrator and who knows what other programs.  Left to right is our son (a great Portland Timbers' fan), Me!, my husband, our daughter, and our hopefully-one-day son-in-law. And Misty and Camber, too. This is how we look when we get up on Christmas morning to exchange gifts.  My family!

Quilting with a smile,

Friday, July 10, 2015

Colors of Nature

This was the true color of the sunset last night as seen from our front yard.  It was astounding and the photo doesn't truly capture the intensity of the moments.

Now I ask you:  is there any doubt that man has a need to recreate the glories of our surroundings in art and items of daily living?  I know there is no doubt as to why I love working with a wonderful hue of colors in my quilting.  It's like bringing the outdoors inside!

Quilting with a BIG smile today,

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July ALYOF Project

I'm running by the seat of my pants!  Here's my July project for ALYOF. I will get it quilted and bound. Yep, yep. I will!

Can't even get it to download right side up. Oh, well. I think it's Happy Hour . . . somewhere! 

Linking up with ALYOF

Quilting with a smile,

Monday, June 29, 2015

Taking A Chance Paid Off

An accountant friend of mine was administering an estate for one of her clients when she casually mentioned that I might be interested in some of the quilting items that were going up for auction.

What? Me interested in quilty items? She got my attention.

I looked through the listings of the online auction contents and was immediately drawn to a 1905 Singer treadle sewing machine that was in its original case, in excellent condition. Or did I want to bid on the Singer featherweight complete with carrying case, the original handbook and spare parts? Or wait - what about the multiple listings for quilting templates, scissors, thread, Otte lights and finished quilts?

Be still my aching heart. Just too much for a girl to decide upon.

So I made a list, wrote down the top amount I was willing to pay for each lot I was interested in, and then watched the bids throughout the week. When it came down to the wire, my plan was to wait until close to the buzzer to place my bids.

But then the worst happened. Our power went out! OMG. No lights. No internet. No computer. No air conditioning. No way to bid. What?

My husband, bless his heart, came to the rescue with his iPad and so we got online via his cell connection. Whew.  For the next hour I watched the bids, placed a few myself, and waited for the final hammer to come down.

I didn't get the featherweight - it went for $360 and was above my price range. I didn't get the treadle machine - it went for a whopping $2,600 and was WAY above my price range.  The lot that looked like it had every quilting ruler imaginable went for $205!  But what I did get was the lot that included, from all I could see in the photos, at least three pairs of Gingher scissors and a travel iron and some misc. quilty items.  I knew the value of the scissors, and so took a chance. My final bid was $92.50 and I prayed that I hadn't thrown my money away as we drove the 150-mile round trip the next day to pick up my allotment.

My goodness, I was not disappointed. Here is just part of what I hauled home:


In addition to the pair of Gingher scissors, there were more Ginghers. About 15 pairs more! And rotary cutters, a couple still new in the packaging, and replacement blades, and boxes of pins, and four measuring tapes, and snippets, and even a set of antique scissors.

And then there were the art supplies! Pastels and enamel paint and drawing pencils, crayons and Pentel markers, Micro pens galore, paint brushes of all sizes and descriptions, templates, compasses and graph paper.

And an entire box filled with containers of pins. And needle cases. And unfinished applique projects. And unfinished needlepoint. And redwork embroidery.

And oh my goodness.  For $92.50 a very special part of someone's life passed into mine. All I could think about as I sifted through these belongings, which were amassed through her lifetime as tools to aid her creative energy, was that she had lovingly used them for hours on end. Because you know, whether you know her/him or not, you know that every quilter quilts with love.

There are more scissors than I can ever use in my lifetime. But it's good. Because when the time is right, I can find someone special to pass some along to in the form of a gift or giveaway.  Yep, it's a good thing!

There was one item in this bunch that I don't have a clue what it's use would be.  It looks like a humongous clothespin. Does any one know what it is? It looks fairly old and is fashioned out of wood with a metal hinge. Maybe a very large binding clip?

Well, I need to get back to organizing this treasure trove and figure out where to put everything. My daughter is going home with a bunch of the drawing pens and supplies - she's a jewelry designer and was she ecstatic to see those micro pens.  Sharing the wealth is fun!

Quilting with a smile,


Linking up with Mollie Sparkles Sunday Stash

Friday, June 26, 2015

Goals Met for June's ALYOF!

My goodness! June has been about the busiest month yet this year, and I am so pleased that amidst all the drama and long hours with my Day Job, I was able to etch out a little time to finish up my goals for A Lovely Year of Finishes!  I know this looks like two finishes, but I'm only counting it as one. I basically quilted them at the same time to make good use of the backing fabric and save time.

I must admit, this was a fairly simple goal - I already had the table runners pieced and so I had to get them quilted and then bound. I've been enjoying them as they grace my coffee table and buffet . Very definitely a summery addition to the house.

And I am excited now because I have cleaned up my sewing studio and am now thinking about which project I shall finish for my July Goal. Hmmm....several possibilities come to mind. Doesn't it feel good to get a project wrapped up and put to good use?  Very satisfying.

Click on the button below to see what projects others have been finishing up this month.

Quilting with a smile,

Linking up with Pink Doxies Pet Projects

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm Not Missing June's ALYOF!

Boy, I sure spaced April and May for my ALYOF projects. Well, I didn't actually complete anything of my own in those months, so I guess I'm good on that account.  But this month I did want to be accountable for something of my own, so here it is.

I've made two spring/summer table runners out of a charm pack of Moda's Somerset.  I was piecing it in March when we were waiting for spring to get here. Good therapy! Putting different colored borders on them certainly makes a difference in the look, doesn't it?

This is a happy project to quilt this afternoon during this rain/lightening/thunder/hail storm.  I'll just unplug my longarm if I hear it thundering again - I've got it on a surge protector, but I'm just not the risk-taking type.

What are you up to this month?  Be sure to link up your projects with A Lovely Year of Finishes with either Melissa or Shanna.  I don't know about you, but having a goal is the Golden Ticket for me getting things done!

Quilting with a smile,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Quilting Happiness

Last week I had just a really fun time quilting! Most of the quilts I quilt are fun, but this one was just a joy!

I had this Metro Rings Quilt on hand for several weeks before I started on it because I had signed up to take a quilting class from Helen Robinson and Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful at the Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake City.  It was a good move to wait, on my part, because I gleaned the knowledge they presented in class. And best of all, I bought the Quick Curve ruler (for quilters) which tracks fairly closely to the curves in the rings. With the ruler, I was able to quilt rings to my heart's content, echo them, and move on to make even more rings. Talk about fun!

This quilt, sent to me by Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts, has the perfect amount of negative space to create some gorgeous designs. See? Fun, fun!

The backside

I used a double layer of batting. All I had on hand was Hobbs 80/20, so I just doubled up on that.  It gave a great texture and shows the relief around the rings. And it's quilted with Fil-Tec's Glide, which gives it a nice sheen.

All in all, there are an estimated 4,220 pebbles floating throughout this piece. OMG - around, and around, and around, and around! But hey - who's counting?

 Now I have the bug to make a Christmas quilt just like this for myself. of these years....

This is why I quilt with a smile,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

HMQS - Stunning Quilts and Fun Times!

Quilters are the nicest people. True fact.

I think that's part of the reason I love long arm quilting so much - I get to spend time with ladies who have spent many hours creating quilts for people in their lives. Those givers touch a cord in my heart, and through my ability to help finish their quilt tops by quilting lovely patterns all over, I get to play a small part in their gifts. How special is that?

I'm being kinda sappy, for sure, but again, true story!  A week ago I returned from spending three days at the Home Machine Quilting Show (HMQS) in Sandy, Utah.  I've been there twice before: once as a brand spanking new quilter who had just bought a long arm and didn't know quite what to do with it, and then a year later with a little experience under my wings but still feeling very much like the novice.

Oh - there's my friend. I think she's camera shy....
This year, I returned and had every bit as much fun as my previous trips. I went with a quilty friend, and we talked our heads off about quilting. Good thing our husbands stayed home because I don't think we stopped talking once during the five-hour drive down there. Or back! My time at HMQS was filled with classes, checking out the vendors, and of course, oohing and awing over the awesome work that went into the creation of each and every quilt on display. And there were some stunners!

Quilting Sampler for Class by Judi Madsen

I took classes from Judi Madsen, Angela Walters and Jenny Pedigo & Helen Robinson (Sew Kind of Wonderful). Could it get much better than that?  These are all women who fell in love with quilting, kept at it, and developed their own style to turn it into a business which gives them a good livelihood. And the best part? They like to share with us.

Angela Walters giving instructions for FMQ at the HMQS 2015

Sisters Helen Robinson and Jenny Pedigo make up Sew Kind of Wonderful, best known for their Quick Curve Rulers and curvy quilts. Class was fun!

I won the drawing for the quilting sample that Jenny Pedigo did during class. It's even signed :)
I also ran into people I knew from my local quilt guild, an old friend, and I even found myself in class with a blogging buddy whom I had never had the pleasure of meeting in person before. Val Reynolds of Val's Quilting Studio. What are the chances of that?

Oh - and I ran across a quilt that was entered by another blogging friend, Helen Ernst of Till We Quilt Again from New Jersey.  Her quilting is stunning, although it doesn't show up well in this photo. I snatched up an unsuspecting attendee to snap this photo of me in front of Helen's quilt.  Poor lady, she had no choice in the matter and I then proceeded to explain to her the story behind the quilt and how far it had traveled to get here, and that it had become lost in the mail, and fortunately found, and now graced this spot in the show!

If you zoom in you can see the quilted helicopter. Very impressive work by Helen Ernst of Till We Quilt Again

Anyway, I learned lots and had fun in the process.  I'll leave you today with a bit of quilty bling in these photos of some of the wonderful quilts on display. I took more than 150 photos, so count your lucky stars that I'm not posting them all!

I cannot figure out how to get these to appear upright - my apologies!

That's all for now.

Remembering All The Little Things

I have let my blog side away in lieu of posting photos and updates over on Instagram. For me, it takes less time, and is a faster way to doc...