Monday, November 23, 2015

Monthly Quilting Saturday and Fakesgiving - our testing of new recipes

First,  had a wonderful time at the monthly quilting session.  I put the label on my hour glass quilt and turned it in, then I basted two charity quilts for a different charity, Quilts for Kids.  I did one of them so there will be no binding as it's turned inside out and the other one I will probably do one of my wide bindings after quilting it.  Unfortunately neither of these are very pretty quilts but they will be warm for someone and I plan to practice more of my FMQ, including feathers in the corner of at least one of them!
Two projects ready to quilt. Going to use gold
thread on the front one - click to see the color!

Since then, I'm all about recipes and shopping list, so didn't do anything in the sewing room, and Shasta, I haven't done any decluttering or cleaning beyond straightening up the downstairs.  
My circle would be out of bubbles as our clothes washer has decided to not work - the lights are just happily flashing at me.  Of course I discovered this after putting in kitchen towels and putting in some bleach directly on the towels.  I had to pull out the towels and put them in a container full of water so they wouldn't be destroyed by the bleach.

Kaja has made my day and written to tell me about the linky she has on the last Tuesday of each month where people share their projects. Link up your recent improvisational quilt, top, block, plans, or ideas. Sounds like great challenge to share this way.  I added a button to my side bar on the blog!

On Monday before Thankgiving three kids that went to high school with my son are coming over with two new-to-them recipes and we will all taste to help determine if they will bring to their Thanksgiving dinner with family.  They are bringing bread pudding and 'pink stuff' something one of them remembers from her childhood - involves cool whip and cranberries.  Sounds very interesting.  I'm not sure if the cranberries will be cooked or raw, whole or ground up.

Last year we did the cooking together the same night as the test tasting, but it took a long time so this time we are doing the prep work before.  (I guess we should have done this in October so we would have more time for fall back plans - and so we wouldn't have to eat the same thing so many days of the same week!)

So tomorrow my DH and I are making:

  1. General Tso’s Cauliflower -
  2. Slow Cooker Sunday: Honey Garlic Chicken-
  3. Salad -Broccoli, red onion, cashews dressing 1 c mayo, ¼ c sugar, 2-3 T red vinegar
  4. Pumpkin Dinner Rolls -  I'm only going to completely bake one for each of us to taste, but will par-bake the rest per this website:
  5. Grapefruit Cornmeal Cake -  DH is going to half the recipe for the testing - if we like will make a full recipe for Thursday.
  6. Pumpkin Ice Cream - Might make double recipe of pumpkin ice cream -
Everything except the Honey Garlic Chicken might make it to our Thanksgiving dinner.  We we decide after we taste!

Or maybe my circle would be a happy face, feeling very good about the quilting, the ladies in the sewing group, that I have a sewing room, that I have online friends, and that we are going to have our recipe testing session tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cultural Fusion: Charity Blue and Green Hour Glass

So finally, I have finished the blue and green charity quilt.  I started the blocks in a workshop taught by Sujata Shah using her Cultural Fusions book.   It took about two hours to get the sides trimmed and binding done.

I did it all by machine and had wide binding so it was pretty easy to do.  I wanted to add some inches by keeping the batting, but the backing wasn't large enough for me to do on the sides.  I goofed when measuring the bottom but just kept going.  So the binding at the top is wider than the bottom and the sides.  The last border was left unquilted as I think it will be pretty puffy when washed.

So next time:
Write down the measurements when trimming.
Add more hour glass blocks instead of just borders.
Find the pressure feet for this machine, so I don't have to use the darning foot when putting on the binding!
Pay more attention to the colors and placement of blocks.

Now a break and then bookkeeping!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sewing Room

Our son is married now so I'm able to take over his room and use as a permanent sewing room.  I had been using the guest room or the dining room or our bedroom and always needed to pack up and put away when folks came over.  It will be a luxury to be able to leave things out.

I packed things away when we went to Cambridge in 2013 and still have not recovered from that decision.  My friend was staying in the house while we were gone so I thought it would be nice for her to have empty closets and cupboards so she could really move in.  Anyway since then my sewing supplies and projects have been moved round for house painting, for new carpets, and for major parties.

But now I have a room.  It was empty when I started moving things in.  I would like to paint the area, but a higher priority was to start to get settled in.  I got several shelf units from someone giving them away so put two of them up in the room, then moved boxes that were in the garage on the shelves.  In theory each box is labeled.  I haven't checked yet.  I just wanted to have all my sewing things in one area - but gosh I have a lot of stuff!

The quilt on the table needs to be finished as it is a charity project.  That monthly group is already meeting this Saturday.  So either I will finish it before I go, or that will be what I work on there.  I can't stress about it.

Minutes before the photo was taken there was a pile of fabric on the table too, along with other charity quilts that need to be finished up too.  Tomorrow I want to spend some time sewing and then would like to keep sewing a bit every day.  That's really the only way my skills and confidence will improve!

Here are other photos of this room:
Shelves showing how some have shorter height so smaller items can be put in smaller boxes.

Window with pile of projects underneath ready to sandwich and finish up!

Sewing table and ironing board.
Showing the wall opposite the window with design wall, closet not even pretending to be organized.

Boy, I have new appreciation to people with attractive blogs!  So difficult to format things in blogger, much easier to do in Dreamweaver with a regular page, or even with HTML.  But this is easy to post ugly photos...

The guest room is ready now for one person to come stay, soon we'll get a full or queen bed so a couple could stay.  Last year had a friend stay for a month and it worked out well.  She had her own bathroom, and the bed room.  Next time she comes there will be empty closet so she can hang things and even empty drawers!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Odds and Ends from the Week

This was a strange week.  Can't put my finger on it...

Anyway, so no sewing again.

Walked in neighborhood by San Diego Zoo and saw this different looking cactus with very smooth round pears.
Did have a gathering of mainly my husband's students for a game night and dinner on Wednesday night.  We've been doing each fall for several years.  Always make Shepherd's Pie and Salad.  This year only made vegetarian version and it was gobbled up.  I also made a Magic Pumpkin Cake, that was a hit.  I used regular whipped cream instead of cool whip but followed the rest of the recipe.  It's a lot of calories, but was well received and I'd make again in a flash!

Friday I had friends over for the extra casserole that I had made, and brought over some for our neighbor and left some with our son when I had lunch with him.

Saturday we met with a friend's son for Indian dinner.

So it wasn't a lonely week - but it was strange.

 Saw this interesting design on wall of Indian restaurant last night.

Looked like it might make a neat free motion quilting design.
 Went to dermatologist last week for exam. Misplaced my parking ticket so thought I'd have to pay the maximum fee for the day instead of the one hour rate.  Decided since I had time to go to the hospital to have lunch and to walk my 10K steps before leaving.

Saw this chair with interesting back in one of the lobbies I passed thru several times.
There was a wall of different mainly paintings by patients or employees, I'm not sure who they were by.  Each had a contact card so think they were for sale.

This was the only fabric piece I saw.  Each time I passed it looked more interesting.

(I had considered attending a few quilt guild meetings this week, just to taste them.  But decided to not do that this month after all.)

Some of the hospital office doors had little windows.  This one was semi-blocked with stickers either for decoration or for semi-privacy.

My husband has a similar office window. But his is floor to ceiling next to a solid door.  He wants to block the view completely.  I guess the students are staring in on him as he works and it bothers him to be peeked at.  He is getting a chair to sit in with his laptop.  Perhaps he doesn't want them to see him if he happens to nod off while working in that comfortable chair!!

In the end I only had to pay a dollar more than the regular fee for medical office parking, but I was glad to have my steps in especially since my usual Tuesday and Thursday walk partner wasn't available this week.

I was walking Friday while the tragedy in Paris was happening.  So very, very sad. There is a lot of sadness around the world, difficult to understand people needing to be so horrible to others.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Quilting from Every Angle: 16 Geometric Designs

Quilting from Every Angle: 16 Geometric Designs
By Nancy Purvis

Just read a post that makes this book look like it would fit right in my new sewing area!

The little pebbles and pointed pillow - fun right?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pineapple Plus - Exploding Block

Just adding this note to remind me about this video and the book:

This video shows with extra tips:

This is a variation:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm back

I had a wonderful summer!  With my DH drove up thru CA to Newport Oregon then over mostly Route 20 to end up in Boston!  Then my husband had to return for work, so a friend from Sweden came and we drove the way back - it was a wonderful trip.

I stopped at a few quilting shops along the way on the way east. I had planned to keep track of my expenses, but now see that all my purchases did not get recorded with receipts or prices - or even the names of the stores - so I did a lousy job of keeping track.

I was overwhelmed with all the fabric in the stores, and in the end just picked white on white.  I'm hoping the fabric gets used and isn't just packed away...!

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

QFK Green Quilt Finished and Baby Quilt with Block Lotto Winnings Finished too!

I finally finished the green Quilts For Kids (started Jan 2015) project last summer.  I brought it with me to the east coast and used it to help my friend make a quilt for her granddaughter.

We only had the regular walking foot for the machine so were only able to do straight stitching.  I was disappointed to not be able to introduce her to FMQing, but it was very freeing also to just do the stitch in the ditch and to get the projects done!

First went around each block.  Goofed in one place near the middle so just added another line so the quilting was symmetrical.  Then went around the borders.

When it was time to do the borders realized:
1.  I didn't have enough pins with me to pin the bindings the way I have done in the past, and also didn't have any glue or snapping pins to keep the border in place.
2.  There was extra batting and fabric all around the quilt.

So instead of trimming the batting even with the top and wasting the batting, we cut the batting so it was even on all sides (but sticking out about an inch) and trimmed the background so it was even and would cover the new batting plus about inch so the edge could be finished.

Then we just folded and sewed, pinning on side down at a time.  I did the top then the sides - but now I'm not sure that is the correct order.

The binding then added two inches to the size of the quilt and looked like another border instead of binding.

The wider binding made it very simple to finish this quilt and I think I will just do it for all my charity quilts. Then it will mean I can finish them so they can be donated and used!

As a lesson I showed her how to do a step with my green quilt, and she then did the sewing on her baby quilt.

We'd prefer more quilting, but sometimes it's better to just get something done...

If you look closely you can see the extra lines that do not follow the outline of the blocks.
Much easier to see the extra lines here, but they just look like a design pattern.  Not a mistake!
Wider binding added to the size of the project, followed the design in the borders, and was so easy to do!
A finish!
I brought blocks I had won in the Block Lotto and my friend
picked some to put in her daughter's baby quilt.

She sewed nine blocks together, then added two

We folded the backing over and extended the
size by trimming the batting so it was
about 1 inch wider on all four sides.
Machine sewed the binding and project was done!

A finish!  Here is where I wrote about the Block Lotto blocks... 

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Houzz 7 Tips to Get With a New Minimalist Mentality

T-shirts Refashions

My husband and I have been dieting.  That's a different story.

The side effect is that we are able to go through our closet and are finding many pieces of clothes that no longer fit.  So far I'm just removing and not really replacing a lot of new things.  When we took our road trip we would stop at different thrift shops to get new pants that fit better so I do have those.

Amazing that I had so many clothes in different sizes waiting to be worn again for so many years. Some had never been worn before. They were just taking up space and making me feel like I shouldn't buy any new things!

We take things we are no longer using to Goodwill or if Amvets are coming by I leave them for them to recycle.

I've been putting some denim items in my to-be sewing room, thinking that I'd use the denim in some other project.  But lately I'm finding t-shirts that aren't good enough to give to goodwill, but not bad enough to cut into cleaning rags, so I'm starting a stack of them too.

A few years ago - gee it might have been ten years ago - I gave my son's girlfriend a book with ideas for revamping t-shirts along with a stack of used t-shirts.  She had come over a few times to sew and I was dreaming this would be a new project for the two of us to bond over.  I'm not sure if she ever did anything with the book or shirts.  She was a confident and skilled sewer, much better than me.  She has been pretty busy with gainful employment and living.  I know she is not painting or knitting or doing any of her crafty things. When they have spare time they rock climb!

Anyway, I'll have this stack of t-shirts and have found some nice posts with ideas of things to do with them, so just posting here to remind myself of t-shirt refashions...

For many years I was the one wearing the plain t-shirt and jeans. No style. Just clean. At some point I discovered (make that was-horrified-to-realize) that I was more comfortable in men's t-shirts. It's nice to be able to go into a store and buy regular women's sizes again.

But since I have these used items it might be good sewing project to remake them just to practice learning the procedures and concepts. Would be fun to have my own large t-shirt made into a dolman t-shirt!

It's hard to know what to keep and what not to keep.  It's a burden and a gift to have so many things.

Found a post today on decluttering that was interesting.
She says each year she cycles thru the house to get rid of things and to clean up (she also does many beautiful projects in the cleared out spaces).  In 2011 she started with that area so she had energy to really do it completely. Also, because previously she had been putting things she wasn't using in the basement she already knew much of it was going out the door. I just left a comment on her blog asking how the basement looks now - we'll see if she posts a new photo to inspire me!  : )