Friday, April 9, 2021

April Snow Showers

I just want to make others feel great about their weather...cuz here in Eagle River, Alaska...we are still getting snow...and we already had plenty. It snowed most of yesterday and our temperature dropped to -6 this morning.

We are breaking records for the coldest March and April.

Woo Hoo!

 Might as well make our mark in history for something other than COVID related stats.


I have finished the cross stitching on my latest Mill Hill kit.
Time to add the beads and a little backstitching.

I've been alternating between my cross stitch project and my Bucilla project in the evenings.
Two more ornaments completed...very fun to have Santa's face hidden on the backside.


I did some quilting on pieces for the bag I am working on...wow...lots of preparatory work involved in this project. One of my orders that included the vinyl never showed up so I am awaiting the replacement package and then I can start making this bag.

 I'm trying very hard to stay on task and not get intimated.


I actually have a Sew-in Saturday tomorrow with my Material Girls retreat group...it doesn't take much to get me excited. I prepped the first border for my Sky Full of stars quilt and also spent some time with the EQ8 program determining additional borders to make this a king size quilt. 


So much for fighting my mysterious inner need to make every quilt bigger! 
Original size...64 x 80-inches.
My version, 104 x104-inches.

And while I was playing with EQ8...and awaiting vinyl...I started playing with ideas for borders on "Royal Gardens." I spent a lot of time in Pinterest trying to get a scrappy border idea. I found an idea that I think will be easy and accomplish the look I want.


The original finished size was 65 x 83-inches. This is a bit bigger, 83 x 100-inches. I think this will hang in my bedroom as I already have a king size quilt that will look great with this quilt! 

I'm very excited about my border additions. I managed simple solutions...no complex piecing but it gives me the scrappy look I want.
 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

March Projects

 I am patting myself on the back for making some great progress on my projects the last 10 days...hmmmm...wonder if that means my housework has been a little ignored. Oh well!


I keep looking for that perfect top pattern that only takes me a couple of hours to make and fits great. I was pretty close on this top but I don’t see any benefit to the black insert other than color variation. I have trouble fitting my broad shoulders for pull over tops...if the shoulder area fits...the rest of the top is huge. This design has a raglan sleeve cut and that works better for me. I bumped up a size for my shoulders but trimmed each side by 2-3 inches.


I also finished my granddaughter’s dress...though I will wait to hem it when I see her later this week.


The smocking was the easy part...the dress construction was a challenge. The bishop collar design makes it pretty flexible for sizing so I am confident the dress will be on the big side for her.


I got all 25 blocks sewn together for the top, “Sky Full of Stars.” I even have a wide back piece of fabric in my stash that might work. I still need to add some borders and I have part of that planned...still thinking about how to actually finish this top.

 

One more block was added to the bonus project with the leftover HSTs. I need to figure out the border finish before touching any of the leftover white background fabric. That means I need to finish the big top before pecking away on this little quilt.


Two more little ornaments finished in my current Bucilla kit. These are tiny...together...both fit in the palm of my hand.


And several nights I stitched on my latest Mill Hill kit. Still lots of snow at my house so this feels like the appropriate season to work on this project. 

That "spring forward" business with the clock always messes with my mind and body. Extra cup of coffee in the afternoon was required several days. My international pilot husband thinks it is very funny how a one hour time change wrecks me for weeks...it is pathetic...but I just kept telling myself to focus on projects. Of course I had to rip out the first two rows of the smocking...had to rip out the embroidered faces on the Bucilla ornaments...lots of ripping out to get those 25 blocks sewn together. Lots of bonding with several seam rippers throughout my house this past week. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Really...I have been busy

I do have a few little finishes.

I started a vintage Bucilla ornament kit several weeks ago...okay...maybe it was months ago now. There are lots of details on these tiny ornaments but I am at the halfway point and getting a little more motivated to finish the last six. 


I finished two of the little bears that sit in a series of quilted stockings. 
Four in two different colors are yet to be completed. 


I have a visit to see my grand daughter coming up so I feel the need to make her a smocked dress. Below is a photo of a dress I made at least 24 years ago. I am making this dress.


I am stumbling through the preparation process but the smocking part will probably be the easiest and that is the next step.


I made a visit to a local quilt shop that I  hadn't been to since the shutdowns in March of 2020. They were having a big sale and rayon batiks were $7 a yard. Several pieces came home with me so I am trying once again to make a few blouses. 

Below I am making view D with long sleeves.


And also this pattern in view D


With clothing projects I have the advantage of being able to sew for a few minutes a day and get a lot accomplished...at least that is what I keep telling myself.

In cleaning up my cutting table I opened the box with one of my quilt projects that I worked on at retreat and then quickly forgot about when I came home. I finished the final four blocks at retreat and started making blocks from the scrappy HSTs I have collected from the leftovers.


Somehow this quilt became a victim of my tendency to make designs bigger so I added five blocks to the original design. The blocks finish at 16-inches so I may add a border or two and get it useable on my king-size bed. So perfect for a winter quilt.


I have been spending days...no...weeks...prepping projects.
 All because I spend so much time on Youtube getting pulled into more things I want!
 And there is only one way to get them...make them.


So I've been making my own cross stitch kits.


This process is very time consuming. 


I couldn't resist starting a kit someone else put together.
It feels good to just start stitching another cross stitch project.


But the biggest project I am hoping to tackle soon is a bag for organizing my sewing notions for classes and retreats. The colors of the fabrics don't look so great in this photo but I have a lime green sewing machine roller case so think, "lime green" when judging these fabrics.


I've been watching videos by Tula Pink about all the bags she has made from By Annie and I want them all too! Such an enabler! Gathering all the supplies is really daunting...and...expensive. My goal is to have it made in time to use for the next retreat in May.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Finished Projects and More

 Life has almost felt normal lately.

My Material Girls quilt retreat the second weekend of February was a blast. I didn’t accomplish much in the quilting world but that really wasn’t my primary goal. I was there to “talk story,” and laugh. Lots of that happened, 

My primary retreat project was making a border for, “Stomping Ground.” 


This will be a fun top to quilt...someday!

I finished getting the binding sewn on, “12 Days of Christmas,” for retreat show and tell but the button embellishments were added back at home in the studio.


A few closer looks at the blocks...




The Mill Hill frame arrived and it looks great with the polar bear cross stitch piece.
So glad to have a quick way to finish this project.


I finished a few more small cross stitch projects. 

I picked up this Shepherds Bush kit, “Spooky Night,” off of eBay. I made a counting mistake and since it was a kit with limited floss I had to work around that mistake...I’m pretty proud of my recovery.


I’ve had the most fun making these little skull ornaments. Two more in the series to make.


We made a quick trip to Hawaii...where I got to shop at a Swatch store. 
This has to be one of my favorite destination watches.


But we didn’t travel to Hawaii for the shopping. 
My oldest son got married!


We are very happy to have a new daughter.

Monday, February 1, 2021

February = The Return of Sunlight

 My mood always lifts when we hit February because the sun is rising higher in the sky and our sunlight hours have increased by almost two hours since the winter solstice on Dec. 21st. We usually get really cold but sunny days in Alaska during the month of February and that is just what we have today. It is minus-six-degrees this morning.

I buckled down last week and finished up the elephant blocks for, "Stomping Ground." There are no other borders in the original design but I am really leaning toward adding a piano key border...so many pretty colors.


On my recent trip to visit my granddaughter I took a couple of small cross stitch projects to work on and got two of these mini Halloween skulls done. Very fun kits from Mill Hill. There are a total of six skulls in the series.


When I got home, I got back to the polar bear piece. I have to stitch six rows of the aqua color on top just like the bottom band. Once I finish all the cross stitching I will add the beading.


And I did a little embroidery on baby Kate's dress. Since the dress just fits I only did a few watermelon slices on the bodice. She was a tentative walker when I arrived and was much less wobbly when I left. She just turned one in January...a very fun age.


I have a quilt retreat in two weeks!!! It almost got cancelled but we managed to get enough participants to make it go. Now I really need to get focused on the projects I will take for the long weekend.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Yes! Projects!

 Just a brief reflection on the,”Year of COVID,” and some of the changes it brought about in my quilting/crafting world.

I discovered Flosstube and quilting videos on YouTube. 

I have been reading the blog, The Polka Dot Chicken, for many years and she turned me onto the mother and daughter team, Chelsea and Pricilla Barnes, who design cross stitch charts and have very creative finishing techniques. From reading Pricilla’s blog, I discovered their Flosstube show that airs every Saturday. 

Since late March 2020, I have had almost no regular live adult interaction with anyone but my husband...I was thrilled to discover their videos. Pretty much, the show rolls forward with all of life’s little speed bumps. It feels so authentic to watch their shows every Saturday. 

Turns out, Priscilla and Chelsea are great friends and business associates with Kimberly Jolly of the Fat Quarter Shop. So that led me to start watching all of the Fat Quarter Shop videos on YouTube.  They do a live Flosstube video every week and also a live quilting video every week.

Talk about going down a rabbit hole! I love the live videos with all their little imperfections. I feel like I am really in the moment with them when I am watching even though I don’t watch them “live.”

The Fat Quarter Shop offers so many free patterns for quilting and cross stitch. I love learning about Kimberly Jolly’s business, especially since I’ve been shopping at her online business for years. She publishes beautiful books for several designers and also has such a talented staff behind the scenes. 

YouTube will suggest other videos for me and that has led me to watch Pat Sloan’s videos which air live, six days a week! 

I could go on listing several more YouTube video channels that I watch regularly...but you get the idea.

Of course these shows have influenced what I am working on currently. Pat Sloan is doing several  Sew Alongs (SALs) and I did get pulled into “Stomping Ground.” I ordered the pattern from Fat Quarter Shop as instant PDF download. I had two elephants done on my last post...


I am taking my time on this project. Cutting out each elephant is the most time consuming step but it sure makes sewing these blocks super quick.

I like to work on my cross stitching whenever I am watching a “Flosstube,” video. I did order some new projects inspired by what I have seen on videos but decided first to start with a  Mill Hill kit that is not an ornament or holiday themed.


It is a mama polar bear with two cubs. It is s full coverage design on perforated paper. It has been waiting long enough for my attention.

I am still working on Bucilla felt kits. I decided to start officially giving my sons and their families a set of Bucilla ornaments every year.


These two identical ornaments are from a vintage kit from 1991, the year my oldest son was born...perfect! 

But I am most happy to share my quilting mojo is still going strong. There was a brief time where I wondered if I would ever stand at my quilting machine again...scary how all the anxiety of being locked down from COVID squelched my creative process. I think I just reached a breaking point with all the election news along with COVID and just turned off the news as much as I could. Watching others create on You Tube helped but so did filling my time with music, audible books and lighthearted videos. (I really enjoyed the "Bridgerton," series on Netflix...read the books years ago. Love the sets, costumes, and especially the point that it is not realistic at all. Very much like a fairytale.)


I approached quilting, “12 Days of Christmas,” a little differently. I basted it all together so I could move to whatever part of the quilt I wanted to tackle. Oddly enough, I did the sashing first as the idea of how to quilt it came to me first. 

Then I quilted all the borders of the blocks. 
Finally, I got the block appliqué areas quilted with monopoly thread. So far the Quilting Goddess has seen fit to keep my tension great during all these thread changes. I did change my needle before starting the quilting around the appliqués...very good idea I think.


Just a quick look at a couple of the blocks...


And as I was looking for the original book for this quilt, I discovered another set of appliqué blocks for the  Art to Heart quilt, “I Believe.” I completely forgot I had put them together the last year I was living in Paris.


Looks like I have my first project for the upcoming Material Girls retreat in February. I did all the black blanket stitching on the, “12 Days of Christmas,” on my Bernina 440 which is my Bernina that travels...which means it goes to retreats. A good project to work on a couple of hours a day.

No critter visits lately. The pups and the cat are all doing great which is awesome because they will be going to the pet motel. In a few days I will fly to California  to visit my son and his family...which includes my one and only grandchild...can’t wait!

I am taking a little denim dress to embroider on for her...but making sure it fits first. Nothing fancy...just a few flowers in DMC floss...and maybe a butterfly...and maybe her name...we'll see!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Welcome 2021

The New Year is off to a great start.


Eli is no longer wearing the cone of shame!
A food allergy is the suspected problem. 
He is on a special diet and getting a dose of Zyrtec everyday as he still has a rash on his ears. I have now acquired the new skill of being able to “pill” a cat. It’s actually pretty easy.

And my quilting mojo has returned. 

Yesterday I finished quilting the dark green background spaces. This is the first quilt with appliqué that I have quilted so looking forward to the challenge of outlining all those adorable designs.


I completed one last Bucilla kit for 2020, giving me 10 official finishes.


Cross stitching was the one daily project I managed to keep doing in December.
I started working a on a series of mitten ornaments.

I also decided to join a SAL with Pat Sloan. The pattern is Stomping Ground.

Hard to resist elephants.

I like it when I can finish with a photo of the latest visitors.


These two young bulls spent about an hour roaming our yard last week and would occasionally butt heads. The bull on the left has dropped one of his antlers...wonder if it is in one of my neighbors yards.