Friday, May 30, 2014

Bad Dryer! Bad!

I have a confession...

Laundry is my most only favorite household task. I love the sorting, stuffing, setting dials, adding soap, watching bubbles, transferring between machines, and especially folding the warm fresh out of the dryer loads. Not a fan of putting things away for some reason. I guess the fun can't go on forever.

For a couple of years now my reverie has been occasionally dampened by a sudden "frump" emanating from my dryer. When I hear that sound I know I will find a wispy item hanging between the drum and rubber gasket. Bummer.

I usually find one of my Hubby's handkerchiefs (I think he's the only male below the age of 80 who still carries one daily), one of my white or yellow napkins (we don't use paper) or a particular pair of ecru and gray polka dot undies. I paid $14 for one pair of undies at Soma and that's the pair my dryer targets! I'm sticking to Target unmentionables from now on.

Well, I think the dryer has upped its game. Last week I found a pair of my son's unmentionables hanging. Darn! And yesterday I found a pair of my PJ shorts. Double Darn! 

But it was a good excuse to do a bit of machine applique.

Kate and Birdies Bunnies survived the audition. I starched the stew out of the shorts and the bunny patch and used spray adhesive to baste it to the shorts. I put on my open toe foot and set my machine on a tight zig-zag and ran around the edges twice since this location is going to get a fair bit of wear and tear.

Let's hope the dryer behaves from now on. I don't want to become known as the lady with bunny patches on all her clothes.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

May "A Lovely Year of Finishes"

I did it! I finally finished the Man-Quilt. I've even tried it out a few times and the Flame Stitch FMQ makes it so comfy and soft. It is quite large for a lap quilt, 63"x74".  It is officially my largest finish to date.

Good thing I have this great wrap-around-porch because these photos had to be taken in the rain.

I sat in the chair on the right and listened to the Old Crow Medicine Show play Wagon Wheel at Lady Antebellum Amphitheater last night. How great is that. I got to listen to incredible live Bluegrass on my evening dog walk. We sit here and watch our community firework displays too. There are  benefits to living within a mile of an outdoor amphitheater and community park.


The Back 
(I think I like it the best)

FMQ close up

This Flame Stitch FMQ makes this quilt move like liquid. It is so over the top cozy. I was afraid my over zealous FMQ style would make it stiff but I was wrong. I like this so much better than my Hounds Tooth quilt that has much sparser straight-line quilting. 

Progress pics: L-Additional yardage to expand the pattern to Man-Size and R-squared and ready to bind.

For more information about the history of this quilt please visit my original Post for AYofLF.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Basic Trial and Error with HSTs

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

I went to Joann's on Sunday to replenish my collection of DMC floss. I've been working on embroidery projects lately and my floss stash was looking quite drab for the projects I have planned. I started my collection during the late 1980s when the country look was in so I had an abundance of brick reds, drab browns and cornflower blues. The few bright colors I had were used first by my 3 nieces during summer stays to make friendship bracelets, followed by my sons for the same purpose. 

I can't go to Joann's without checking out the sale fabric rack. I'm on the lookout for a Jack Russell friendly piece of fabric to cover an Ikea pillow form I bought a few months ago. He has an orange velvet covered version that is his absolute favorite but the cover just doesn't look good for very long since he is a super-shedder. I am hoping to find that perfect remnant that will meet his approval for comfort and my approval for hiding his hair.

What I did find was 6 bolts of one of their designer lines for $3/yard. I've been dying to try some out so I bought a half yard of each. I unfortunately used chain store fabric for my first quilt attempt in the early 1990s. I just couldn't commit myself to the process as can be seen by the tools I purchased. 
I cut WOF with this little setup. It is no wonder almost 20 years would go by before I would try quilting again! Dinky tools, cheap fabric=not very much fun. 

So, I was a bit nervous about trying this line out but I have to say I have been impressed. I added some pieces from my stash to the set of 6, including some Kona Bone, and cut a stack of 10" squares to try my hand with the 8 HST as once technique.

Since I am a fairly new quilter you will get to read about my experiences trying out some pretty basic techniques.  My plan with this stack is to play with HST and value. 

I have paired my fabric squares, marked them and have sewn over one diagonal. It looks like it will go pretty fast. 

I completed all the seams on one 10" test square and started cutting. It didn't look right. I realized at that point that I had sewn over all the lines when I only should have sewn over the diagonals. Whoopsie, out came the seam ripper and all is well. Now I know that I don't have to mark so many lines next time. I should have reread one of the tutorials. I was going from memory. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No DogEar Glue-Basted Quilt Binding Tutorial

This post is linked up on Let's Bee Social by Sew Fresh Quilts

My very first original Tutorial! 
Well, I hope it is original. Apologies to anyone who may have posted the same technique. It is pretty simple and I wouldn't be surprised if someone had the idea before me. I've just never run across it and I made up several of the details in my own little mind. 

I do want to credit three sources for inspiring me to try Glue-Basting, which I absolutely love, love love!!!

Now, my personal spin for making a neat binding with reduced waste and none of those pesky dog-ears to snip off.

Note: Do not use Glue-Basting on a project that you do not plan to launder or that will not be finished in a timely manner. Glue will attract pests if left unattended. I do not tend to have long term WIPs or collect UFOs so this is not an issue for me.

Ruler with a 45 degree line. ( I like to use my 4.5 inch square)
Elmer's School Glue (This one washes out)
Narrow Glue Tip (Optional, you can do it with the regular tip but the narrow one is more precise)
Marking Tool (My choice is the Frixion)
Iron (I prefer a dry iron)
Rotary Cutter

Step #1    

Line up your ruler on the 45 making sure it kissed the top corner.

Step #2

This is my personal spin on the technique.
Using the edge of your ruler, run a bead of glue along the edge. Do Not get glue in your seam allowance.I know, this is the part of the binding that will show but I like to glue in this area and not in the seam because it makes it easier to pop the glue when you have more fabric to grip. It also reduces the chance for seam warping that you get when you try to grip and pull the little triangles on the seam alliance side.
 Step #3

Line up your strips matching the corners to the edges.(Usual pinned strip placement)

Step #4
Iron to set your glue basting. Do not skip this step. The glue will not hold until it is set with heat.

 Step #5

Line up your ruler on the 45 mark making sure it meets the corners of the top and bottom binding strips. Draw a sewing line along the ruler's edge with your marker.

Repeat these steps until you have all your strips joined and marked.

 Step #6
Sew along the marked lines as usual. (Standard pin basted seam)

Step #7

Snip threads and pop your Glue Basting. 
Grip the binding side (not the seam allowance side) and pull to release the glue to the sewn seam. 

Step #8 

Line up a ruler on a Quarter inch line and trim your seam allowances.

   Note the lack of those pesky dog-ears! (Pin basted sample trimmed)

Open and see how nicely your strips are aligned.

Iron your seams open as usual.
All the glue bits will wash out when you launder your quilt and your binding will be beautiful.

 Step you get to skip
                        Ugly Dog-Ears

Cute Dog-Ears

Side-by-Side Comparisons

Those little dog-ear snips create quite the mess!

Thank you for taking the time to read my tutorial.
If you try it, please feel free to leave a comment with any critiques, suggestions or praises.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Graduation and a Gift

What a great weekend. We celebrated the graduation of our oldest son from the Brock School of Business at Samford University. It was so special to see all the young people crossing that stage and receiving their diplomas. Samford is oh-so-beautiful year round but especially in the Spring.

It was a bit sad walking the campus knowing that this chapter has come to a close for our son.  The bright spot is that Drew will continue working with the campus population next year. There will be another group of Launchers to mentor and the pancake parties will go on.

We helped him move out of his dorm and into his new apartment in Bham. He will be home for a few days next week and then back to his new home for good. It feels good to have him successfully leave the nest but we are sad to have him five hours away. At least he is not on the opposite coast (like me) or other side of the world. Though that day will come.

Now for some crafty updates...

I finished my first project with Heather Bailey's Birds and Branches. I did the cover since it had the photo I could follow for color placement. I have never done a needlework project that did not have a legend to follow and I am finding it a bit intimidating making those choices myself. I have jumped in on bird number two. I am sure I will embrace having color choice freedom in short order.

My plan is to complete three of the birds and incorporate them into some scrappy minis to hang in my future studio. Why don't I have a studio now? I'll save that for a future post. It is a slightly interesting topic in itself.

But, I will tell you why I have chosen Birds and Branches for this project. My husband has always come up with interesting nicknames for our pets, me and our boys. It started with our first fur-baby, a miniature dachshund named Wee Woodman Editsto or Woody for short. He called him Woody-Gator because of his big mouth. It did not stop there, the silly nickname list was quite long.

Now for the birds...Shortly after we brought our first son home from the hospital he started calling me Mommie Bird. The nickname lives on more than twenty years later and has made me love all things birdie. You would think my home would be full of birds but it isn't. I am not much of collector. I prefer less clutter. But this is a "wall" project so it is okay.

On a related note...

When I came home from Alabama this weekend I found a little box in the mail. Look what was in it! An adorable blue bird figurine. It is from some dear friends who live overseas.

My New Blue Birds

Bird on the shelf with a broom from India, family figurine from Kenya, egg from Romania, original painting of our surname initial with the Chinese symbol for "Family" decorating the "F",  and Three Wise Men from Puerto Rico. All special international gifts we have received.

I have a big finish that I am dying to share but will wait until the end of the month since it is my A Lovely Year of Finishes project for this month. Plus, I still need sunny day photos with the real camera.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

It is always such a blessing to see all the babies get dedicated on Mother's Day at church. Our church is not that large but we had nine in the 9:30am service and fifteen in the 11:15am service and we have two more services to go. Wow!

On the way in they handed out stickers. I am "Mom-tastic" today and my husband is wearing "I (Heart) My Mom." We had our picture taken in front of an adorable backdrop.

I have a finish to share but it will have to wait until we break out the Nikon. This one was a year in the making. Not because it was difficult, just because it was the project that kept getting put aside for projects with deadlines. I will be sharing it in a couple of days. You can see a progress picture here.

For now I will share my crafty Target finds.

I went in for cards and a small pair of craft scissors and couldn't resist checking out the Clearance end-tops. I love those things don't you?  Now, it had been about a month since my last visit and my search for scissors took me back to the back wall. Look what I found on clearance!

So cute and my favorite color to boot. These cases may be old news but I love the simplicity. It was less than $8.00. Not as cheap as my last iPhone case find. This Double Wedding Ring design was only $1.00! It is a near perfect case too. 

Slick back for easy pocket stowage and retrieval and slightly grippy sides to reduce unexpected flights. Its hard to tell in this picture but there are tiny orange dots at the intersections and the grippy sides are orange too.

I also found these beauties in Bed & Bath for $1.48 each. Just what I needed for craft storage. The canister is now set up with supplies for my Heather Bailey embroidery projects.

A neighbor had a yard sale on Saturday and I picked up a Linda Seward book for twenty-five cents. There are two patterns of interest in this book for future projects.

Well, my younger son just got home from Formula Drift at Road Atlanta. Time to celebrate the day with the two guys I have at home. Older son is still in Alabama. I'll be there later this week to see him graduate! Let's just call this Mother's Week for me this year.

This post has been linked up to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.
My WIP is the Heather Bailey Birds & Branches cover project. I am down to the last three colors. My plan is to make several of the designs into wall hangings.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Joining "A Lovely Year of Finishes" in May

I have been working on this project for about a year. It is a quilt for my husband and I keep putting it aside to other finish projects with deadlines. My goal was to have it done for him to enjoy last winter but weddings, birthdays and babies kept happily getting in the way. So, I have decided to join Melissa at Sew Bittersweet Design's "Year of Lovely Finishes" to light a fire and get it done this month.

FMQ in Flame pattern. (As you can see my FMQ skills are a work-in-progress)

One of the early projects in my first year of quilting was a lap quilt for our living room. The two guys at home love it but they complain that it is too small. I really can't blame my youngest son, he is six-foot-five! So, a man-size quilt for my husband was put on my short list. I didn't plan a jelly roll quilt but I found a Comma roll at one of our local shops. Shock...our shops tend to run more traditional to cutesy. I settled on a pattern by Sweet Jane.

I ordered some extra yardage for the backing and to expand it to a more man-size proportion. I am on the home-stretch now and am down to just the squaring and binding. The only thing slowing me down at this point is that I am oh so busy at work! And, since we are small business owners work comes home with us. My free time has been starting late so that I have been working on a very old UFO embroidery project instead of this quilt. I have a 9:00pm cut-off for sitting down at the sewing machine and I can't seem to make it.

Finished Top.

Previewing backing design.

Baby Hunter's quilt moving ahead of the Man-Quilt.

                                A Lovely Year of Finishes

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lily's Quilts Small Blog Hop

Lily's Quilts

My blog is so new and so small that I have only one follower on Bloglovin. I have no idea how she found me but I am so grateful that she did.

I have been using the Sew at Home Mummy "Beautify your Blog" series to build my new site. Thanks again Erin for all her help.

My blog is pretty basic right now. I haven't officially shared a post about any of my quilting projects yet but I have added an Instagram widget that shows a bit of my work. I have had the account of some time but I only started using it after I started building this blog so it is pretty light on subject matter too. It did get its first comment today!

Our mom and pop business has been over the top busy lately so it might take a few weeks to get some of my projects shared on the blog. I hope you all will check back with me from time to time. I am looking forward to freeing up some time to participate in some of the online bees and sew-alongs. Right now I'm under orders from the boss not to start any new projects or even work on the one that is almost finished. We are that slammed and I am in total agreement. So, I better sign off, cycle the laundry and get some sleep. Tomorrow is another busy day.