Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Twister Jack is nearly done--I'll be spending Halloween night finishing up the binding while I'm answering the door to greet all the little ghosts and goblins.

Bonnie Hunter posted a photo of a Thanksgiving quilt I did a few years ago on her Facebook page, and I've been getting requests for the pattern for the letters.  Here's the photo--

There's a link for the quilt-making directions in my sidebar under Quilt Tutorials and it's called Homespun Thanksgiving Quilt.  (Yes, now that Halloween's here, it's time to move on to the next holiday, right?!)  The letters are a separate PDF file that I can email out, and I've received a number of requests for those.  I'm happy to send them--just click on my profile and grab my email address to send me a request.  But here's why I'm writing--I had at least one request from someone who was "no-reply" and didn't include an email address in her comment on my blog post.  If you requested the letters and didn't receive them from me, please email me directly.

I hope you and your family have a fun Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Easily Distracted

I planned to spend the entire day on Saturday locked in the Sweat Shop, but it didn't quite turn out that way.  Oh, I sewed and sewed on Twister Jack in the morning until I thought I needed a break, and then I got on the exercise bicycle for awhile.  I usually do 40 minutes but it takes about an hour because I often take a little break about half way through, or I might refill my iced tea or ice water or whatever I happen to be drinking.  So an hour was lost from sewing.  But by early afternoon, I was back in the Sweat Shop, working on Twister Jack again.  And that lasted maybe about an hour or two until I started thinking about shoe shopping.  And then I was lost.


I found some cute shoes though.

So I got home again just in time to cook dinner, and then after dinner, I got distracted by my clothes closet--I got busy trying on a couple things to see how they looked with new shoes and remaking a couple items of clothing.  You know those fake front things they sew into the neckline of tops so they look layered?  I had a top with one of those that I didn't like, so I cut it out.  And I found a dress at Goodwill last week; I liked the print and fabric, but I didn't like the weird gathers just in the center of the front and the center of the back.  I also thought it was longer than I wanted it to be.  So I ended up cutting out the middle of the dress and removing the gathered sections and then sewing it all back together again and adding some elastic all the way around just a little under the bustline.  I think it turned out kind of cute, really, and taking out the middle took care of shortening it too.  So I sewed; I just didn't sew on Twister Jack right then.

Then I got back on the exercise bike--sometimes on weekends I go for a second "ride."  Half way through, I stopped to have a snack of grapes.  I told Hubby I'd ridden my bike to the fruit stand.

Finally, I got back to Twister Jack for about an hour, but I'm not even close to having it all sewn together.  Oh, well, maybe I'll work on it a little bit tomorrow, although I have a pumpkin-carving party to go to and a house to clean, so maybe not.

Is anyone else getting stuff done?  Are you playing with scraps?  Would you like to show us? Here's Mister Linky--link up and we'll come visit you to see what scrappy project you've been working on.

Happy quilting! (Or shopping, or whatever else you're distracted by this weekend!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

More Inspiration to Share . . .

Luana, whose projects I've shown before, sent me a photo of her recent October projects, so I thought I'd share them with you.  I particularly like the apple runner, which she said was a Shabby Fabrics pattern.  The first two are Cheri Payne free patterns, and then there's the fall/Halloween courthouse steps.

I'm happy to know SOMEBODY's getting a lot done, even if that somebody isn't me!  So far, there's been absolutely no sewing done in my house since Sunday--unless Hubby's developed a secret hobby while I'm away at work.

Speaking of going off to work, my car's been giving me a hard time lately with an intermittent inability to move the shift lever out of "park."  Each time it's happened, when I've tried again, it's released, but when I tried to leave for work this morning, it finally got the better of me.  So now it's in the shop.

You know all that overtime I've had to put in lately at work?  Doesn't it always seem that just as soon as you get a little bit ahead on money, some unexpected expense comes up?  Sheesh!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Winner, Winner . . .

Ah, no chicken dinner, but how about a box of scraps?  The winner this time is Julie in GA, who entered about a week ago and said:

"I hope you got all your chores done on Saturday and have lots of time to quilt today. Count me in on the drawing for the box of scraps--love other people's bits & pieces!"

Over this past weekend, I managed to cut all of the twisted squares for Twisted Jack, but he still needs to be sewn together--not to mention the fact that he'll need to be quilted too.  I need a day or two, I think, to hide in the Sweat Shop and do some serious sewing, but I'm not sure when that will happen.  Ah, well . . . .

Julie, please email me your mailing address, and I'll get a box packed up and in the mail sometime this week.  Happy sewing everyone!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Scrappy Idea to Share . . .

Ronda doesn't have a blog so I've shared her scrappy quilt photos before.  She sent me another one that I thought looked like a fun idea.  Instead of cutting her scraps into uniform sizes, she just added sashing and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle.  It looks a bit like a stained glass window, doesn't it?

Cool, Ronda!  Thanks for sharing!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I've Been Missing, Haven't I?

I keep waiting for life to slow down a little bit, but so far no luck.  What have I been doing this week?  Well, I sure can't say I've done a stitch of sewing!  But remember this quilt?

We sold a bunch of raffle tickets at my office and drew a winner this week--Riesa, one of the secretaries, won the quilt, thanks in part to all the tickets her boss bought in her name.  All the proceeds are being donated to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk here in Sacramento today (October 20th).  Between raffle tickets and donations made over the course of the last month or two, the office raised over $1,000!

Did you know last Wednesday was Bosses' Day?  I headed up a committee with two other ladies from my office to organize a celebration.  Just about everyone joined in to make it a fun event.  On Wednesday, each of the bosses received a coffee mug ("Best Lawyer in the Room" with their bar number written on the back).  The mug was filled with a snack mix and an invitation to breakfast on Thursday morning.  Then, of course, many of us brought breakfast casseroles, fruit, muffins, bacon, sausage, etc., for the meal.  We decorated the lunch room late in the afternoon on Wednesday and got in early, early on Thursday to make sure everything was prepared and ready by 9 a.m.  Two of our new secretaries organized a trivia game and had funny "boss/office" prizes.  It turned out great!

I also had a fun filled week of dealing with computer issues at work.  The hard drive in my old computer died a month or so ago and I'd been working on a temporary one.  They brought back my old computer this week, fully repaired and restored . . . except it was missing one key program and there were glitches all over the place because they hadn't quite gotten the settings back to where they should be.  I spent three hours on the phone with our computer support who remotely installed and uninstalled the "missing" program four times, but it still didn't work.  Finally our office IT person tracked down the program disk, and I installed it myself.  But all those other glitches were still present, so the computer geeks are supposed to be working out all the kinks this weekend--hopefully when I go back on Monday, things will run smoothly.  But as a result of the computer issues, our Bosses' Day celebration, and the breast cancer fund raising efforts, I spent a whole lot of overtime at the office.  And when I wasn't at the office, chances were I could be found at the CrossFit gym ("box").

Wednesday was my daughter-in-law's 33rd birthday--you remember "the Lovely Wife," right?  She's been doing CrossFit with me, so after our workout on Wednesday (33 repetitions of about 10 different exercises in honor of her birthday), our trainer and the five of us ladies in the class walked next door to a little hole-in-the-wall bar for a celebratory drink.  Or two.  Okay, it was one celebratory drink for me, plus a diet coke and ice water, but the bartenders (there was a shift change while we were there) had fun making mystery drinks for my daugher-in-law and the other young lady in our group.  When I left, my friend Missy said she'd drive her own daughter and the Lovely Wife home.  That was the night, too, that Missy and I had to go home and cook stuff for the Bosses' Day breakfast the next morning.  I'm not sure either of us got much sleep that night.

AND on Thursday, my new boss, his old secretary, and I took a client out to lunch.  This client is someone I'll be working with quite a lot in the future, so it was an opportunity for us to get to know one another.  The timing could have been better, but we had a good lunch, a nice time, and a relaxing interlude with good weather on the patio of the restaurant.

So I've been busy, right?  Then on Saturday, instead of being able to hang around the Sweat Shop and play with scraps of fabric or do anything else of a quilty nature, I had to run errands, get groceries, and shop for a few new clothing items.  Nothing too exciting, but I needed some new workout wear because it's starting to get a little too chilly for me to want to wear shorts much and my trainer thought my longer pants were so baggy he couldn't see my legs, and he was worried I was going to smack myself in the kneecap with a kettlebell.   Yeah, that's not likely since I know exactly where my kneecaps are, but I decided it was time to look for something else.

I hope to find a little time on Sunday to spend in the Sweat Shop although Hubby and I have some social plans in the afternoon and early evening, so I'm not likely to get too much time to sew.  Oh, well, someday I'll plan a whole day free and I'll lock myself in there.  In the meantime, I don't have any progress to show you on the Pie in the Sky project (or the Twister Jack for that matter), but I'm hoping you have some scrappy goodness to share.

Remember this is the last weekend to link up and then comment if you'd like to be entered in a drawing for a box of my scrappy leftovers.  I'll draw a winner from the entries on Monday night and announce it on Tuesday--unless life doesn't allow me the time on Monday night and I'm running late.  Sheesh!

Monday, October 14, 2013

More Off Than On . . .

I DID get my chores done on Saturday, which meant quality time in the Sweat Shop on Sunday, getting tons of projects done!  Well, not quite.  I actually didn't get tons of projects done after all.  I didn't even get to work on the scrappy sashings for the Pie in the Sky quilt.  Nope, instead I was anxious to get the project on the design wall done and down off the wall . . . and I really had absolutely no idea the darn thing was going to take this long.

I've been working on this project off and on for the last few weeks, although with all the exercise, work, and everything else filling up my time these days, I haven't had as much time to work on it as I would like.  But I remember when I talked about it before, someone commented that I could probably get it done in a weekend, and I believed I could too.  Ha!  Not even close!

So here's where I am so far . . . and this is after sewing almost all of Sunday on it, except for a little time for a grocery run, peddling some miles on the exercise bike, and cooking and eating a couple meals.

Twister Jack!

I cut the squares (I'm using 5" squares) some weeks ago and positioned most of them on the wall, although the last couple of rows didn't fit until now.  I had even sewn together a lot of those squares into rows, and rows into sections.  But in order to get enough room on the design wall to audition the blocks for the last few rows, today I started sub-cutting the sections using the Twister template and positioning the pieces on the wall.

I still have all of the last three rows of squares to sew together, then I need to add the borders to those rows, and finally I need to cut them using the Twister template.  After that, of course, I still need to sew all those smaller pinwheel-looking blocks into rows and sections.  Still a lot of work to do, right?  So I guess I'm not going to be able to clear the design wall for a little longer.

I wanted to be further along when I showed you what I was up to, but I'm just too slow I guess.  I hope to get more time to work on it this week, so maybe by next weekend I'll have some progress to share.

I hope you found time this weekend to do whatever you really wanted to do.  For those of you celebrating, I wish you a Happy Columbus Day here in the US and Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in Canada.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hurray for the Weekend!

If you're like me, you probably have several things planned for your weekend, but I hope at least one of them involves some quality quilting time.  I don't think I'll find time to fit in some scrappy stitching on Saturday, but my Sunday is wide open right now--assuming I get my chores done on Saturday!  So Sunday is earmarked for spending a little time in the Sweat Shop where I hope to work on a couple projects, including my scrappy Pie in the Sky project--more sashing strips to assemble--and the partially stitched project that's taking up valuable real estate on the design wall.  I need to get that OFF so I can put up the Pie in the Sky blocks and see where I'm at with all the component parts.

Remember if you link up and show your current scrappy project on your blog this weekend or even during next week, leave me a comment telling me you'd like to be entered in the drawing for the next big box o'scraps--I think I'll give it this week and then draw a winner right after NEXT weekend, so you have two more opportunities to enter the drawing.

Here's Mister Linky so you can sign up--remember to post your project to your blog first because people will want to click on the link and see what you've been doing.

Happy scrappy sewing and happy weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Entertaining Read . . .

Every now and then I find a book that makes me laugh out loud, and the one I'm currently reading has done just that.  I'd say its hilarity factor ranks along with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books.  And the book I'm reading is the first of a series, so I know I'll have endless hours of funny bone-tickling to look forward to.  What is is?

Yes, I pulled this image off Amazon--as I did with the following review:

"From Booklist

Fans of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series will enjoy this clever debut (the first in a series) featuring Izzy Spellman, an irrepressible 28-year-old sleuth who works for her parents' San Francisco PI firm. Members of the dysfunctional and relentlessly nosy Spellman clan include Izzy's 14-year-old sister, Rae, who engages in recreational surveillance (a fancy term for tailing people just for kicks), and her uncle Ray, a cancer survivor and recovering health-food addict who regularly disappears on liquor-drenched "Lost Weekends." Scenes showcasing the relationships among the various Spellmans are often laugh-out-loud funny. (The novel's prologue is an amusing example of the boundaries--or lack thereof--between Izzy and her mom and dad). Alas, bit after comic bit does not a mystery novel make, and only toward the end does Lutz pick up the narrative pace. Addicted to Get Smart reruns and forever attracted to the wrong kind of men, Izzy Spellman is definitely an appealing heroine; all this series needs to become a smashing success is a more generous dose of story and suspense. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved"

It's available at Amazon for Kindle, but you can also find it in hardcover and paperback and maybe even at your local public library in some version.  Time for me to get back to my reading . . . .

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Postcard Cuties . . . Progress

Just a really quick post tonight--I thought you'd like to see my progress on the Postcard Cuties for Winter applique project (a Bunny Hill pattern).  This one uses white wool combined with Primitive Gatherings fabric and embroidery.

I think all of us who are working on this one were surprised at how small it is--you can probably tell a little from the 1" grid cutting mat it's sitting on.  It feels like there's just as much work, though, as there would be if everything were larger!

What I've gotten done is about a quarter of the center of the quilt, I think.  I'm working on this project with a couple other people, and as far as I know, we haven't scheduled our next meeting to get started on row 2, so at least I'm not behind on this one!

Monday, October 7, 2013

One Ton Tomato

There's a Cuban song whose lyrics sounds like "One Ton Tomato" to those of us who don't know Spanish--you know which one I mean, right?  It's actually called Guantanamera, I believe, but part of me always associates it with tomatoes and this morning was no exception.  No, I didn't actually have one ton of tomatoes, but it kind of felt like it.  In reality, I "only" had 20 pounds.

Why did I have 20 pounds of tomatoes?  Ah, good question!  I thought, since summer is almost over, I'd hit the farmer's market yesterday (Saturday morning) and stock up on tomatoes so I could roast a bunch, make spaghetti sauce, and freeze it for use through the winter.

So much of Sunday was spent humming Guantanamera; cutting up tomatoes and chopping onion, garlic, and basil; roasting tomatoes; and making sauce.  Now I have 10 plastic containers ready to go into the freezer--yum!  Want to grab some of the last of the season's tomatoes and make some for yourself?  I showed the steps and gave my readers my recipe exactly a year ago--you can find that post HERE.

While the sauce bubbled on the stove, I watched a little Sunday evening television and sewed up another 30 sashing strips for the Pie in the Sky quilt (Kim Diehl's pattern).

I think I might be ready to start sewing the blocks and sashing soon, although I have to clear the design wall first.  I have a little Halloween project taking up wall space that I need to finish up.  I hope you had a lovely and productive Sunday too, whatever you ended up doing!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Other Sewing . . .

Saturday night is my firm's annual event; this year, although the details are a mystery, we know we're having dinner at a local hotel, and it's a dressy event with men in tuxes and suits and women in evening and cocktail dresses.

As you know, I've been exercising, dieting, and losing weight, and the LAST thing I wanted to do was spend a lot of money on a gown that would--if things go as planned--be too large for me to wear in another couple months.  The other women at the office suggested I look for something at a thrift or consignment shop or one of the many discount department stores, such as Marshall's or Ross's.  So during my lunch hour on Monday, I headed out to search for a suitable dress.

I pulled into the parking lot of a collection of stores, including Ross's and Marshall's.  My first stop was Ross's where they were having their "fall dress event."  And while they had plenty of dresses, none of them seemed suitable.  For one thing, I'm not big busted, and some of the gowns I saw needed a bit more than I have to fill them out.  Many weren't dressy enough.  Some were too fussy.  None were just right.  I checked the blouse rack--if I could find a glitzy top, I was sure I could pair it up with my normal black slacks and fit in well enough at the event, but there were no dressy blouses on the rack.  So I thought I'd check the dress racks one more time on my way out, but this time I'd check a range of sizes "just in case."  So I went through everything once again and again found nothing.  BUT . . . as I went around to the other side of the rack, I came across the clearance section, and there was a dress, in my size, in a simple style.  It had an under dress of a stretchy black fabric and an overdress of black lace.  I tried it on--perfect!

Well, nearly perfect.  I thought, but I wasn't sure, that the hemline of the under dress might be a little longer in spots than the lace overdress, but I knew I could handle a simple hem.  And the price of the dress?  $8.99.  Seriously, $8.99?!  How can I beat that?  And the style is so simple that if it's too large in another month or two, I can belt it and get a little more mileage out of it.  Or take in the side seams.  Or use it to dust my house, because at $8.99, who cares?

So tonight, Friday night, I pinned up the hem and I'm spending the evening with needle and thread.

I expect I'll have a much more active evening on Saturday, and I'll tell you about it later.  In the meantime, are you ready to be creative with your scrappy leftovers?  Post your project and your progress on your blog and link up to Mister Linky below.  And once you do that, if you want to be entered into the next drawing for a box full of my leftover scraps, add a comment telling me you want to be entered.  "See" you on Sunday!

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Complete Finish . . .

Well, except for the label.  But other than that, I've finished Canasta, the Schnibbles quilt for August.  Here are a couple views--the darker one was taken without a flash and shows the quilting a little better, I think.

I'm planning to sell raffle tickets at work for this quilt, and the money raised will go to my firm's team's contribution to the local breast cancer walk a little later this month.

I may have another project or two to show you soon.  In the meantime, start thinking about this weekend's scrappy sewing--another scrap giveaway will be coming up soon!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

As Fall Nights Come Earlier . . .

. . . and our cozy bedrooms seem more and more attractive and welcoming . . .

It's time for a tour of my fall/Halloween bedrooms and bath. Let's step into the Wild Child's room.

The Ghastlies also live in here.  I have more Ghastlies fabric that I want to use for this room, but no time to make anything with it so far this year.

A few crows stand guard over the slumbers of whoever sleeps here.

This year, one of my favorite quilts is in the Wild Child's room.  If you haven't read my blog for long, you may not have heard the story before.  I used to be part of an online Thimbleberries group and we had a Halloween block challenge one year.  The blocks were submitted anonymously and voted on with the winner receiving all the blocks.  My block was the one in the second row with the bat against the moon.  My friend Eileen won the blocks with her block of the barn next to mine.  She pieced all blocks and hand quilted the quilt and then gifted it to me for Christmas a year or two later--she knew how much I loved those blocks, and now I have her hand quilting too!  The quilt will always hold a special place in my heart and home.

I don't have much decoration in the master bath, but I have a few things in the guest bath to show.

The shelf you can see running around part of the room at the top of the photos holds rolled towels and other items.  Now step into the master bedroom.

The "polka dot" quilt on the amoire was a thrift shop find a couple years ago when Hubby and I were vacationing in Pismo Beach.  I love it!

This quilt is a Bunny Barn pattern called, I think, If the Hat Fits.  The legs and shoes of the witches dangle free--a really cute design!

And finally the Hallowe'en 1904 quilt designed by Blackbird Designs.  (And that's Spike curled up on top, taking a little nap.)  I added a bit of sashing and extended the piano key border to make it large enough for my king size bed.  (Each time I change the quilt on my bed, I change out the fabric on the fabric covered panels on the wall.)  One of these days, I want to make some pillow cases to match better and maybe a couple of throw pillows.  Again, it's just a matter of finding the time . . . .

Speaking of time, it's time for bed.  Thanks for stopping by for the rest of the tour!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Step Into the Kitchen Where The Potions Are Made and the Spells are Cast . . .

Something else missing from my decorations are many of my Halloween plates, dishes, and general kitchen decorations--I'm sure there's a box or two in the rafters.  But I found enough (and bought a few things--shhhh!  Don't tell Hubby!) to round out the kitchen decorations.

The Hey Ghoul Friend quilt greets everyone as they come into the house.  As we move toward the kitchen, you can see it a little closer.  That sure was a fun quilt to make!  The pattern isn't very easy to find, so if you want to make it, click HERE for a source.   The same designer has another pattern, Santa Pause, that's on my "to do" list.

Moving to our right, we'll walk into the kitchen.

A better look at this little corner of the room . . .

Looking past the stove (which is missing its burner grates because they're in the dishwasher), you can see my Halloween apron--a gift from my blog buddy Dianne over at A Month of  Sundays.  She and her daughter Auntia share my love of Halloween. Fun, isn't it?

Then there's the table and the hutch--more fall than Halloween this year.  On top of the hutch are some of my jars filled with various Halloween-y things, like orange corn puffs, sunflower seeds, etc.

Finally, remember the magnetic curtain rod I mentioned a few months ago?  WalMart carries them.  It's the perfect way to hang a small fall quilt.

Oh, I still have the bedrooms and bath to show you, but it's getting late.  Come back tomorrow for the rest of the tour.