Saturday, March 29, 2014

What are you up to?

Not much sewing going on as of late - but when I do I am having loads of fun!  I think?

I really don't want to start anything new just yet, seeing I still have numerous projects to finish (that's another story line for later!!) and that is a priority for this year, again...still....YET!   Well maybe not "finish" all of them but at least get a good handle on them.  HAH yah right, who am I trying to kid?  "In what century?" ask me, myself and I!  LOL  

As of the beginning of this month (March), I have purchased 10 large quilt backs.  Yes, I do have that many ready to quilt, and maybe 4 or 5 more not to mention the smaller projects/quilts.  
I must confess.....
 
I am a "Quilt-top Maker"!!  

There!   I said it. LOL.  We will see just how many I get quilted after my "sandwich-fest" (that's putting the quilt/batting/backing together for quilting) at camp in May; just have to purchase all that batting now!!  Yikes!

With finishing things up come the scraps.  Oodles and oodles of scraps!!!  So this month I have been trying to tame them, although I am not very successful at it.  You see, I think they are multiplying by the hundreds every time I touch them.  Here is where I am working tonight and this is only one of four totes, with this being the smallest and most unorganized. It sits right beside me in the sewing room so everything gets dropped in there when I'm sewing.
 


Now I have taken quite a few bigger pieces out of there (doesn't look like it does it?) and cut them into usable sizes for later and now I'm taking some of the strings out of there to make these scrappy blocks and make into "something"...some day. ��
 



Wonder if I will have enough pieces to work with?  ��

Back to sorting!

 
Keeping you in stitches till next time,
Choux

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Finally hanging!!

No, I'm not hanging ... well unless you count the time I spend in the sewing room "hanging" LOL

I made this piece for my son for his 38th birthday, in 2013, after he asked if I would make him "something to hide the back room" in the basement.  "Something like you made my sister".  Well for his sister, Laurie, I had made two full blown quilts which she uses as drapes for a patio door in their living room.  It was a great challenge, fun to do but would I do it again?  No ... well not until my son asked.  He normally doesn't ask for anything unless it is something he truly wants and cannot get it for himself.  And for him to ask "me" to "make it" ... well that was special.
7 months in the making for daughter and hubby's home (2010)
So, in August 2013, I had an idea of what I was going to do. Or so I thought!  

I saw some beautiful embroidered owls and outlines of fish from Embroidery Library and I just had to have them.... now the original idea has just changed!!   I asked Lorrie, our dear daughter-in-law, what colors she would like down in this room.  "You know what colors we like."  LOL  Yes, I guess I do.  They both are a little bit country/outdoorsy people, so I set off finding just the right colors to use.

The owl that caught my eye!


After purchasing the embroideries, I just let them "sit" for a bit and wore the thinking cap for a day or two, that was in September 2013.  One thing that came to mind was a big tall tree - yes that is where I will start!!  Quickly drew a tree on a scrap piece of paper and had something to work with, so ditch the first idea!!  





The next day, during my lunch hour (that's for the friends who keep telling me to take my lunch hour!!) 
I started piecing scrapbook paper together to get me the layout of the center of the curtain so I could make my pattern.  

And the design changed again - just slightly when I drew it to paper that lunch hour - a real challenge for me as I don't draw very well!   

The next week I went to Camp Wanna Sew (Sept 2013) and this all came to life there one nite and part of the next day. 

Now I could see the sky a certain way and had a hard time finding what I was looking for.  The fabric I did find wasn't the right shade as it had a white tone to it, although the design of it certainly was what I had envisioned!  Looked at the fabric again and said, "I can change that - no problem!".   Took it back to camp and then "tea-dyed" it to give me the right tone to work with the colors I had on hand.  
Tah dahhh!!  Sometimes I amaze myself.  LOL 

Bottom of curtain

Finally hanging!!


I brought it home after that sewing week, to quilt and gave it to dear son for his birthday on Thanksgiving weekend  2013- ALL quilted!

I waited for my "grommet man" (Bob) to come back to work and he did a splendid job on attaching the grommets,  once again!  

I was most proud too that the owner of The Quilting Barn, Ron Smith, wanted to hang this for a couple weeks to show!

So here it is, now "finally hanging" in it's rightful place in dear son's man cave.

This was all done within a three week span versus the 7 months it took for dear daughters.  Then again, there were two of hers to make versus one.


So... would I do it "again"?   
Never say never!!

Keep your stitching close at hand,
Choux

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Time to Practice!

It's the beginning of March, already!  What have you done?  Well I have been sewing - although not as I would like due to brain-drain, but progress has been made even if just a little bit!!

Last month I did a demo class with the very basic skills needed on how to get started with free motion quilting, to my guild.  We had a blast with it!  At least I think we did?   Most times when they tried something they would say it didn't look very good.  Of course I would say "Practice, Practice and you will see how quickly you get better".   That class brought me to the subject of this post, and had me realise just how much I missed/loved instructing/teaching! 

Pattie and I should have been quilting up a storm by now but alas that four letter word still gets in the way.  But this week I'm on holidays trying to recover from the "brain-drain" before I head in for my next session of it called "year-end".  So, we (Pattie and I) decided to "bond" a little better today by quilting on my Challenge Finish, which I pledged to have done by next meeting.  That date just happens to be next Wednesday!!  See what I mean by "March already"!!   Pattie and I were going to "practice" what we were preaching at the little class I gave.   Today, I decided that by the time I was done certain sections of this wall hanging, I would be comfortable quilting "pebbles".  

Pebbles, you say?  Yes, free motion quilting round to oval little shapes in a continous motion on fabric.  Simple - right?   NOT!  At least not for me.  I really don't draw (which I guess I should practice too?) so I have to really get a good mind-set going, and sometimes the hands have a mind of their own!   But as you can see, I did get the pebbles to be sort of round and some are actually oval and feel most comfortable now with this design, that I won't be afraid to try it on another project later.  There were 20 of these little sections to do so that was some "real" practice.

Practicing pebbles - March 5/14
Until the next post - keep your motor (sewing machine) running!
Choux

Monday, February 10, 2014

Know what I bought??

Every quilter dreams of finishing their own quilts.  Well, okay, most of them do LOL   And I'm am one of them.  Don't get me wrong - it is nice to have someone quilt them for you when the tops are made but really - did you really "make it?"   Hmmm... not really.   But that is MY opinion, right?

No, really - think about.    Yes, you may have created the top and it's beautiful ... but "sometimes" your quilter is the one that brings it to life and makes it downright gorgeous!!   Did you do that?   Hmmm... No.  See, that is MY opinion.  I did design one top a couple years ago (for McCall's Quilt Designer Challenge) and it was my favorite piece as a "top".  My quilter/friend, Suzanne Gauthier, quilted it for me in ways I never dreamed it could be done.  You always - ALWAYS - acknowledge your quilter as they are really part of that quilt.  Suzanne - she brought "Breaking Free" to life!  It actually took on a whole new look once it was quilted.    

With all that being said, I decided it was high time I do something about making my quilts "all mine", even if I do give them away.  Just before Christmas, I bought a Husqvarna Viking Platinum16 and named her "Pattie".  She is a sit-down quilting machine where I am the driver and the designer.  It looks like a sewing machine but has a longer sewing area - for quilting ��  Now I still have loads and loads of practice to do what I dreamed of doing but that is all in the learning process, and I'm up for it.  I think.
 
 
After a little tweaking, (very little I might add) I sat down and quilted my first piece on her just to get use to her.  And she stitches like a dream!!  So, in my free time (yah like I have lots of that when I'm working!) I will be practicing with "Pattie" doing a dance on quilts!�� 

Happy quilting!
Choux
 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year.... almost!

Yes, I live!!!   I live!!  Woo Hooo... I'm here!!  Okay ... you can sit down now ☺

Checking in just in time to celebrate a new year.  Can you believe that 7 months has pasted since my last post?  I won't go into all that I've done in those 7 months, but rather start "anew" with blogging.  I know - blogging is NOT my forte but we can see about posting once a month for 2014.  No promises!!  I'm giving those up!

With "no promises" comes the thought of New Year's resolutions.  That is something I have totally given up on, will not do, nadda - no way.  Not because I don't keep them, but because I have realized that they are things that should come naturally or be part of everyday life to begin with.  So why resolve every year on January 1st, only to break it come day 30 (if you are lucky!) or day 2?   Really?

Resolutions I've made:
I want lose 20 lbs. - should have done that years ago and each year it makes the list.
  I still have the 20 lbs. to lose and then some, so where has making that resolution got me?

I want eat better/healthier - heck this should be a given at our age!! (okay, so some of you are not at the age of caring how you eat right yet - but it will kick your butt before you know it.  Ask me how I know!)

I want to be a better person - Don't know how I can get much better, but heh I can still work at it. (enter HUGE belly laugh here LOL)  You (meaning no one in particular) should always strive to be the best you can be and don't let anyone or anything stop you or bring you down!  Poohy to those who make it their life's mission to bring people down!

I want to quit swearing/using profanity - Well okay, I don't actually do that one.  Find is most unbecoming of people but to each their own; I am not the judge of right or wrong for others.   You won't hear me use such language.  Unless you have totally and utterly tipped my bowl of patience over.  That bowl is pretty big.  Believe me you best run and heaven help you if a swear word escapes these lips - cause you are going to pay dearly - very dearly for upsetting my bowl of patience!  Ever notice how everyone will listen to someone who uses the cussing words?  No one listens to me ... Hmmm maybe I should start! LOL

See what I'm getting at?   Why resolve to do something on what should be a given every day anyway?  Hence me giving up on resolutions; I have to do all those things for me - not because it's a new year!

For the past couple of years, I have taken a word and made it mine for a year and I've tried to live by it for the whole year.  This year is no exception.  A friend of mine (Sarah Vee) put the meaning of her word on her blog and thought it so very appropriate in understanding the meaning of the word chosen and why.  It's taken over a week to find my word, but I found it!  My word for 2014 is "Realize"

re·al·ize  (r-lz)v. re·al·ized, re·al·iz·ing, re·al·iz·es
v.tr.
1.  To comprehend completely or correctly.  (understanding me, how I work, what makes me tick and of course to comprehend my never ending need to Study - PHD's!!)

2.  To bring into reality; make real: He finally realized his lifelong ambition to learn how to play the violin.  (realizing that my ambition to finish PHD's may or may not come into reality and learn to live with it;  realize I can only help those who want to be helped and don't waste my time on those that don't;  realize I, me & myself is really only one person and quit trying to do the work of 3 - it's time I started to have fun again!)

3.  To make realistic: a film that realizes court life of the 17th century.  (life and work in general not to mention a number of other things)

4.  To obtain or achieve, as gain or profit: She realized a substantial return on the investment. (maybe I will sell some of my items this year.  And to realize that I can make "work" something I enjoy again - that would be a gain for me.  (really??? That's gonna be a hard one - might take two more years for that one! )

5.  To bring in (a sum) as profit by sale.  (same as #4, maybe go into business for myself? hmmm)


So there you have it.  A new word to live by with no resolutions to follow.
I have been writing down in a journal things I "may like to do" for 2014, but that doesn't mean I resolve to do them.  Notice the difference?   I sure did - There is no failure!

Wishing you and yours a very safe and Happy 2014! 
I'm ready - let's ring it in!!

Forever with needles,
Choux

Thursday, May 2, 2013

That "four letter word" got in the way Again!!

Can you believe I missed a couple of posts yet again? That four little word I don't like to say got in the way, yet again. You know the one? Starts with "W" ends in "K" and has "OR" in the middle. Yah! That one!!! But never mind....we will start again.

I've been super busy, as you already have guessed, but not much of it has been sewing. I have put in a few hours at the machine and it sure feels good. I even created a little wall hanging and it won first place at Quilt Day 7. The theme was Canadiana and what would you think would fit the bill? Moose? Beaver? the Nickel? Heck no! I thought of something so very near and dear to my heart!!
Yes, my Timmies!! and the idea came to me the weekend before the event. But that wasn't the best part!!
See I speed read and sometimes "miss" the important part. Well I really did it this time...I thought it was 100" minimum....but it was MAXIMUM!! This was originally approx. 28" x 32", which meant I had to cut this baby down to roughly 25 inches square! What a challenge! and I only started to put it back together the Friday nite before it was to be shown. I did win even though there were only 8 entries, but it was a win. Moral of the story, "as in quilting you measure twice and cut once; so read twice and twice again, then and only then do you proceed!!"

More projects next week ... yes I have some catching up to do!!

Sew happy you read this today,
Choux

Sunday, March 17, 2013

15 minutes anyone??


Trying to fit in 15 minutes of sewing when you are "brain-dead" at the end of a day is truly exhausting!!   So, I started working on my redwork blocks during my lunch hour.  Yes, you heard right.  I am taking "MY" lunch hours to do for me!  Mind you, not every day, okay not even every second day, and not the full hour but I am getting my 15 minutes in every now and then.  Two more days and this is supposed to be a habit - that will make 21!!  Here's hoping!!

I took a free motion quilting class two weeks ago and I totally loved it!!  (Mr. V was along with me that day too!!)   Someone asked, "why are "you" here?"  "To take the course" was my answer!!  For me this course was to take the time to try and then practice all what free motion quilting is about - I don't have that time at home.  When I'm at home sewing, I'm creating - NOT practicing!  Now I don't think I will be afraid to venture beyond the stippling of free motion quilting!  Stay tuned - I plan to work on a project soon!!

Hexies being made into "twosies"
And I'm using up 2 1/2" squares from a swap I did in 2000, known as the "Y2K Swap", and traded over 2000 squares!   Each person who swapped blocks was to send 25 - 2 1/2" squares and a "siggy" square, which has your name and where you are from on it.  I treasured these and could never bring myself to use these squares.  This year I said I MUST use them - somehow, some way!   Finally I found something to use them in and I started to work on a hexagon project doing English Paper Piecing. All by hand!



Hexies being made in to "flowers" all by hand!

And then did a hands on demo thinking I could get "help" to move this project along.  Didn't work quite work out like I had planned - ce la vie.



 Oh well, they have only been hiding in a box for 13 years and want them used up - like now!!
 
The hexie project I do at nite when I need to get my 15 minutes in!


 
So, I started using the "rest" (still many hundreds!) in a quilt block called "Traffic Jam" by Pat Sloan.  http://blog.patsloan.com/2013/02/pat-sloan-name-this-block-contest.html   I followed along with her through her newsletter (that's where we all found out what to do) which you can sign up for about half way through her blog on the link I just gave you.  I still have quite a few hundred left which will be for the hexie project. 

Here are my blocks so far for Traffic Jam.....

Traffic Jam with Pat Sloan


I was going like gang-busters on it and had my 12 blocks all done and ready for the next step.   Then someone mention having all 20 blocks ready to go.  WHAT???
I re-checked the pattern again and low and behold I needed 20 blocks!  So back to sewing I went.

 Today I almost finished the last of them and have also started to add the sashing.  This quilt will be my practice quilt for free motion quilting.




 Hoping I can show you progress on what has now become another UFO next post.  A friend and I started this last Sept and well....  you know the rest! LOL

So till next time - keep your stitches even!!!
Choux