December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

Just for the memories---This is one of my vintage post cards. It's dated Healdsburg, CA Dec. 27 canceled at 8:00 am with a one cent stamp. 1909.




I just got home from town with these. Fresh crab!


Upcoming event: Crab Louis salad for New Year's Eve dinner. Sparkling white wine and some whole grain french bread. Fresh crab on crisp greens with slice hard boiled eggs and Thousand Island dressing. I waited in the crowd with few hundred other people for 45 mins. at our local G & G grocery which is totally famous for the best fresh crab in town. It will be worth it! Guaranteed! Yummy!

Happy New Year!


December 20, 2009

Christmas Memories





Christmas memories pressed between the pages of my mind. Our kids back in the 60's.




































































December 18, 2009

List and Deadlines

Here with my morning coffee, and a nasty cold germ. Tis' the season I hear.

I was browsing reading some of my favorite blogs on this overcast Friday. The topic for most is about deadlines, and future quilting or sewing goals for 2010.

I used to be very goal oriented with my quilting up until the last year or so. I had a very detailed list of everything that needed to be done. I had a pencil attached to the list so that I could cross items off. However, I really felt stressed by this list, rather than free to enjoy the time I spent sewing and quilting and finishing those list projects. The "list" was stifling my imagination. Sucking it right out of my thoughts and dreams. How dare I think of anything "new and creative" when the "list" was there to be finished. No new patterns or fabric or anything for you ---Missy! (I would scold myself)-- You get busy and finish those projects, or else. I always wondered what "or else" would happen. I didn't notice anyone else complaining---

It all eventually started feeling like a chore, or a job. What was that about? I started weening myself from the "list". It's very difficult to not be "accomplished" with the "list" starring at you. No more joining stash busting lists, or challenges, groups, or forums that have to do with how much I can get accomplished in x amount of time. No more sewing & quilting resolutions or reminder notes on the wall of making this or that each week or month.

I've also re-evaluated why I sew and quilt. Why or how did I come to love and enjoy this hobby. I seemed to recalled it was to relax, and have fun. I spent a great deal of time setting up my sewing room so that I had a designated place to come into and sit and sew at my leisure, turn up the music, enjoy! Create ---and not because I had a made myself a deadline or expectation of sorts that I was committed to.

Now I just sew and quilt when I feel like it. I have found I accomplish much more than I did with the "list" starring back at me! It was like I was defeated by the "list" before I even started.

Now I just pull out a container with a project in it, or start a new project--- and just do what I do---when I do it.

I have way more fun doing this! Some time I spend a huge chunk of time sewing or quilting, other times not a all. For weeks at a time I don't sew or quilt. Then suddenly like the recharged energizer bunny I feel very creative and crank out some pretty neat stuff, and have the best time doing it.

Whoo-eeh! Don't look for quilting or sewing goals or lists or commitments here on this blog for 2010. There are none. I haven't a clue what I will sew or quilt in 2010. But, it's going to be so much fun!


December 16, 2009

Chenille Potholder Tutorial

My friend Barbara just called.
Barbara: So, your sewing on the chenille potholders---where is the tutorial?
Me: How do you know I'm doing that?
Barbara: I see all the fabric for making them on your blog picture. So, where is the tutorial?

For Barbara, and for everyone who would like to make the "Chenille Potholders".

Ingredients Needed: Good quality cotton fabric for the back of the potholder: It can be whatever you want. Kitchen themed---or not. Have fun picking out the backing fabric!

Batting: Regular cotton batting like Warm & Natural or "Insul-Bright" which is a heat resistant type batting used for this type of project. When I first started making these potholder several years ago I used regular cotton batting. I have since switched to Insul-Bright as I like how it adds insulation to the potholder, and a nicer firmer feel to the potholder after washing and drying.

Top Layers of the Potholder: A variety of homespun plaid fabrics. You will want at least 3 or 4 different plaids, or I have done them as solids with only one homespun fabric. Thread: Neutral thread for stitching the chenille lines, and thread to match the Wright bias binding, or your own binding. Binding: I used to make my own bias binding, and you can if you wish. But I now buy Wrights Bias Tape Binding. 7/8" Wide Single Fold in 3 yd. packages. You can bind 3 chenille potholders with one package of 3 yds. of binding and have a bit left over. Matching thread for the binding. A good Chenille cutter. I like the small Square Olfa Chenille cutter. The blade can be rotated with a built in dial so you get a lot of use from one cutter blade. Small sharp scissors for making the initial cuts on the homespun fabrics to start the chenille cutter across the fabric.

Your sewing machine Walking Foot to stitch the lines to create the chenille, and your regular sewing foot for sewing on the bias binding. Rotary cutter, cutting mat and square ruler.

You can buy all the supplies needed at JoAnn fabrics.

Your washer and dryer with a load of jeans or towels to fluff your finished Chenille Potholders!

Instructions:


Step #1 The Layers:
Cut your potholder backing 9" square. the back of the potholder can be any type of fabric. It is the first layer or back of the of the potholder. This fabric is placed right side down. Cutting batting or Insulbright batting 9" square. The first layer of Homespun fabric is cut at 9". The remaining 3 layers of homespun fabric that creates the chenille top of the potholders is cut to 8.5". Use your machine walking foot to create channels of stitching approx. one half inch wide diagonally across all the layers of fabric and the batting. Start at one corner and stitch to the next. Then continue stitching rows until the entire surface a series of channels.
Step #2 Sewing the Chenille Channels:
Attach your machines walking foot and a neutral thread top and bobbin. Sew 1/2" channels diagonally back and forth across the potholder layers. You can also use the edge of your walking foot as a guide. It is approx. 1/2" between each channel.




#3 & 4 Snipping the Edges:
Make small approx. 1/8" cuts with your scissors along the edges of the channels you have created in the first 3 layers of the homespun cotton fabric. This makes it easier to use your chenille cutter. Be careful to not cut the 4th layer of Homespun which is your inner layer of the potholder and the layer of fabric you will see inside the potholder after it is chenille.











Step #5 Squaring the Potholder:
After you have snipped and used your Olfa Chenille cutter on the first three layers of fabric square the potholder to measure 8" square








Step # 6 Starting to Sew on the Bias Binding:
You can make your own custom bias binding, but I prefer to use Wrights Bias Tape. Wide Single Fold 7/8" wide. It comes in many solid colors. Turn the potholder so that the back is facing you. Unfold your bias binding and find the first crease on the left of the edge of your potholder and the edge of the bias binding. Adjust your needle sew in this crease. Start sewing at one of the back corners of the potholder. Pay attention to the channels you have sewn. Where you start sewing will determine the diagonal direction of the chenille and how it appears when it's washed and completed. I like the channels to go diagonally with the corner loop.





Step #7 Sewing the Bias:
Start sewing near the crease of unfolded bias binding at the corner. I place the edge of my foot right on the bias and potholder edge and move the needle just over the crease to sew. Sew to just within 1/4" inch of the first corner of the potholder.






Step #8 Mitering the Corner of the Bias:
With your bias binding unfolded start your miter just like on a regular mitered quilt corner. Flip up, finger press, and fold down. Start sewing right at the edge where you folded the biase down. (white thread is so you can see the stitching)




Step #9 Mitered corner:
This picture shows the completed bias binding mitered at the back of the potholder. Continue doing this to all the corners until you get to the last corner. This last corner is where you will form the bias hanging loop. Read on.

Step #10 Back of Last Corner:
This is where you started sewing and this is where you will end. BUT, just before you stitch right up to the corner, stop and roll over and refold the original bias binding fold so that it is now folded neatly to the front of the potholder. Secure with pin or finger press to keep the binding turned to the front if needed.





Step #11 Bias Folded Under:
This picture shows the starting point of the bias on the back neatly folded over to the front of the potholder. Now lay the remaining unfolded bias flat against the neatly folded bias at the corner. Stitch right off the corner edge. Clip your threads.

Step #12 The Binding Tail: You can now flip over the potholder and measure 4" from the completed corner. This 4" inches of bias binding tail hanging there will become your loop to hang the pothlder. Finger press the very tip of this 4" inches of bias e to the inside fold so that it will not fray. Refold the bias binding using the original creases as a guide.

Step # 13 Unfolded Bias Stitched to Corner:
After you have stitched the bias binding all around the back of the potholder stopping at the corner. Measure 4 inches of unfolded bias binding starting at the corner. Cut, this 4 inches of binding. This will form the hanging loop eventually.

Step #14 Stitching down the Bias Tail:
Starting at the finger pressed edge of the bias binding sew towards the corner of the front of the potholder. Stay just on the left edge of the bias and sew onto the corner and continue stitching. Pulling the bias around to the front of the potholder as you stitch holding it in place as you sew. Mitering all your corners as you go just like you did on the back.


Step #15 Completing Bias Hanging Loop:
After you have taken the bias binding loop and formed your hanging loop stitch it down to the front of the binding. Reinforce stitch this a few times. Now you have completed your potholder hanging loop






Completed Potholder with Hanging Loop:
Once completed wash and dry the potholder(s) to form the chenille. Reaching into the dryer and pulling out a potholder! You never know what the different homespun fabrics will look like once they chenille! Have fun!




















December 15, 2009

Through Rain or Sleet or Snow

Through rain or sleet or snow---is that not the old postal service motto. Well not where we live. Our mail carrier will not trek up Timber Hill to deliver packages. So, if we are not driving out on any particular day---we hike out to the mailbox. It's not that far unless you wait until it's getting late in the day and think you can make it back home before dark---which I did one day last week and found myself down in the lowest dip of the road in the dark with creepy creature noises starting to rustle through the woods.



But this made it all worth the hike in the dark. When I opened the package--ta-da!



A table runner! Why is it I never make table runners? I make a lot of other crafty-quilt-e things. But, I always forget about table runners. Not only is this one very pretty table runner--- Flip it over and I have another wonderful table runner!



I've been wanting something special for this shelf on the maple hutch. Thank you Jane! It's perfect, and very special to me.




December 11, 2009

Stitching

I welcomed todays rain not only because we need it, but that meant I wouldn't go to town just one more time to shop for some of those last minute stocking stuffers--- and because I really didn't want to anyway, and it gave me a reason to put some logs on the fire and sew on some last minute projects.

and quilt on this

(Quilts of Valor quilt)

November 26, 2009

Waterworld on Fleece

"Waterworld" by Jodi Beamish (Willow Leaf Studio) is one of my favorite pantographs which I used on this contemporary blue watercolor looking fleece quilt.


Happy Thanksgiving


(wild turkeys on our back lawn at Timber Hill)

Today is Thanksgiving. The one day a year that gives us all the opportunity to reflect on the past year, and even the years gone by, and give thanks for all we have. There are so many things to be thankful for. So many friends and family have touched our lives. I am so blessed. Just the fact that the list of "blessings" would be quite long is just one of the many things I'm thankful for. Life is good.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to know so many inspiring quilters and crafters since I started blogging. Learning, sharing and being inspired by so many of you. You brighten my day! Thank you also for reading my blog and for taking time to leave comments. You are all very kind. I hope you are having a blessed Thanksgiving Day.

November 21, 2009

One More Fleece Quilt

I've had this fleece for a long time. Another fleece quilt completed. I seem addicted to doing these fleece quilts! I have one more bundle of fleece sitting under the quilting frame---and then I think I will quit. (maybe) :o) It's hard to pass up these sales as fleece is so fun to quilt on with the quilting machine, and they make great gifts!

I did see Joann's has Anti-Pill solid fleece on sale for $4.00 a yard----hmmmm.



November 19, 2009

Quilting a Martha Quilt


(60" x 75")

I've been doing a lot of fleece quilts with my new long arm. I'm sort of tired of those---Yesterday, I loaded a Martha Quilt top that Cora had given me and had some fun! I started at the upper left corner with some peacock swirls and twirls--swooped into some leaves and tendrils---swooped into stem of feathers and then into some ferny leaves, etc. etc, etc. All over the quilt.

I used some of the new 80/20 Legacy batting. It quilted beautifully! Not as puffy as Hobbs 80/20. A flatter look to the quilting I think, but after washing it may puff up more.



I don't spend a lot of time doing custom quilting on 'scrappy quilts' like this top. Frequently I do pantographs, but it was great to let loose and just quilt whatever came to mind.




November 12, 2009

Meet Polly!



Since "Rosie" moved to a new home in September, quilting friends have been asking what I was planning to name the new long arm...I'm pleased to introduce you to "Polly".



It took just a few quilting projects for me to decide on the name "Polly". Machine quilting has always been been fun for me---now this new machine takes it to a totally awesome level! All the controls operate so smoothly. The power take up roller and height adjustments controls just move up or down at the flick of the handle controls with the least amount of effort . The stitch regulator is so smooth that's it's difficult to tell if the stitch regulator is on, so I've never turned it off! Normally with most long arm quilting machines you can tell by the feel and sound the stitch regulator is operating---not so with the Prodigy Quilter. The first stitch is as evenly spaced as the last stitch! No slightly elongated first stitch leaving points or moving into a fast curve. In fact the Prodigy stitch regulator keeps up at whatever speed I'm quilting. No annoying sounds or bleeps, ever.

video

Here are a few projects "Polly" and I have finished quilting. Zoie's baby Quilt.



This medium size fleece quilt.



And this larger fleece quilt.



I have another fleece quilt on the frame and will post photos tomorrow. These are a lot of fun to do. Very forgiving. Quick projects.

As I glanced out the kitchen window this morning sipping my morning coffee, I was greeted by this beautiful early morning visitor. He watched me, as I watched him--- long enough for me to snap these pictures. The he slowly crossed the parking area and headed down into the forest of Timber Hill. Elegant!