Thursday, February 11, 2016

cute cowboys

Wow, whoever picked these fabrics has a really good eye for color.  These little cowboys are so adorable.  If you haven't made a Quick Strippy quilt yet, you really should.  They take an hour or two to sew and then just a bit of time to quilt, depending on your favorite method.  You can make them little or big and I love them because they look great as lap quilts or baby quilts or can be sophisticated or adorable.  Check out all of the great free patterns at

Can you make a quilt and donate it to your local school?  Elementary, middle and high schools are full of students who really need to know they are cared about.  The student I gave the quilt to who tried to commit suicide tells me almost every day how much she loves her quilt.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Halloween in February?

Who says you have to keep your holidays in the right month?  When you have the right color backing fabric on the machine, you go with the theme.  I love these black cats among the pumpkins and I'm sure some child will too.  The backing fabric is a gorgeous orange flannel.

I bet there is someone out there who loves Halloween and would pick this quilt out of a stack.  When my brother was little, everyone had a favorite color.  Since everyone in the family had picked the common favorite colors, red, blue, green, yellow, the only color left that had pieces in a game was orange.  So, my sister and I told my brother his favorite color was orange.  He didn't get a pick, we chose for him.  I'm not sure if he ever wanted to change to a different one, but he's a pretty easy going guy and was happy enough taking the orange piece in the game every time.

I don't know why we wouldn't let him share a favorite color.  It's not like I am the only person in the world who loves red.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

a special quilt

This was a special request quilt for the Vice Principal at my school.  He has cancer and started chemo today.  When I found out he had cancer, I asked what his favorite color was so I could make him a quilt.  He said purple so I gathered all of the purple fabrics that weren't flowers and got started.  The blocks are 4 1/2 inch x 8 1/2 inch and the squares are 8 1/2 inch.  It is a random pattern of color and my design wall isn't big enough so everything is just put together as I went along.  The only thing I was watching for was to make sure the squares didn't touch.  The rest just came out however I happened to grab a square.  I believe I will be making more quilts like this.  I'm thinking it took about 6 hours from cutting to binding, with quilting time included.  It's a really big quilt too, being 64 x 88 inches.

When I gifted it today, the VP wrapped it around himself and said that at his church they bring the new babies up to the front of the congregation and wrap them in handmade quilts.  I told him he makes a really big baby!  He was quite happy with the finished quilt and excited I actually finished it and gave it to him.  He was surprised I kept my word and made the quilt in time for his first treatment.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February quilting

So February is already a week underway and I haven't shown you any quilts yet.  I've got 4 done and one on the machine that will take a while because it is so big.  This week has been long with two parent conferences that didn't really amount to much.  I'm trying to hold out hope that behavior and academics will improve for both students.  It really does take a village to raise a child and that village starts at home.  When a parent expects the school to do everything for the child, including discipline, things start to fall apart.

I'm so glad to have my quilting machine working again.  It gave me a bit of a scare this week when I turned it off over night and the next day came back to it acting up.  It wouldn't work and then started racing.  I was afraid I was going to lose it and then started wiggling some wires, unplugged a few of the wires and plugged them back in again.  That seems to have fixed things for now.  It scared me a second time after turning it off a second time and it wouldn't start.  Again, unplugging several wires and plugging them back in got it going.  I'm not sure why other than the cables have loose connections.  There doesn't seem to be a problem if I just leave it on all the time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Egyptian Keychain

 My son's class is learning about Egypt and he gave his report on Egyptian Gods and Goddesses on Friday.  I worked on keychains for his class for the past couple of weeks.  These were pretty quick to stitch out on the embroidery machine, but then there is the cutting out and attaching the snaps.  He told me he didn't want to take them in, but I convinced him they would be a big hit.  When he took them in, the kids loved them.  Many of them asked for a second or third keychain!
I forgot to take a picture of the first batch I made, but since his class and another class buddy up and switch for science and social studies, I needed to make a second batch for the other class.  These pictures are of the second set.  All together I made about 80.  This group is for the other class of kids.  He gave some of the extra ones to the principal and librarian.

I love being able to share my love of crafting with so many people and I'm glad the kids liked them.  Now, 6th graders don't have keys (well, most of them don't anyways) but my son put his horse keychains on his backpack this summer.  They could also put them on a jacket as a zipper pull or on a suitcase to make it easier to identify which one is yours at the airport.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hello February

This is the final quilt of January but I didn't get time to post last night.  I have one quilt on the machine that I hope to get finished before I head off to bed, but there is a long piece of backing so there will be probably three quilts worth there.

We had a gorgeous day today, although it is very cold.  I know, most of you are dealing with snow, so cold is relative.  Cold for California means 50 degrees with a bit of a breeze.  My nose got a bit of a chill and I had to wear a jacket, although I didn't button it.  But, that's why we pay so much to live here.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

last day of January already?

Not all of these quilts were done today, but I've been saving the pictures so I had something to post every day.  I know you love to hear the troubles of my life, but having a nice quilt to look at makes the story go down a little easier. :)  Since it is the end of the month, I figure I had better show the rest of the quilts I did so I can start February off with February's quilts.
I was hoping to get one quilt done every other day and I've passed my goal so far this month.  I still have a quilt on the machine and the day is young, so I may get that one and one more done before the day is over.  I have a killer migraine and had to sit down because I started feeling nauseous.  The pain of the headache isn't as bad as the other symptoms that go with them.  Earlier my ears were stuffed up and I was so dizzy.  I find that if I distract myself with keeping busy, I can get through the day easier than if I sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself.  Plus, at the end of the day I have something to show for the time spent.
I don't understand what people do with their time if they don't have a hobby.  How are their days spent?  Just sitting and watching TV?  Surely they must regret all of that wasted time.  Or, maybe they enjoy cleaning and keeping things spotless.  I know it takes a lot of effort to keep the dust at bay.  I've never gotten much satisfaction from organizing and making things tidy.  I know the inevitable will happen and the next thing I know, the piles will have grown back and the job will need to be done again.  Cleaning must be done, but it isn't something I look forward to on the weekends.
You would think with all of the quilts I've been cranking out lately that the piles would be getting smaller.  I'm pretty sure someone is breaking into my house at night and sneaking more quilt tops, fabric and scraps back into the piles.  I have managed to move all of the quilt tops into my son's closet and matched up 75% of them with backing fabrics.  It makes it so much quicker to grab a quilt and backing and throw it on the machine when they have already been pared.  Especially if the backing is already the right size.  I really love it when I can get two or three quilts out of the same backing fabric.  But, the closet is jammed with more than enough quilts to keep a small country warm.
40 finished quilts will be going to Middleton, Ca for the families who lost homes in the fires this summer.  Our school district union meets with theirs on a regular basis and I will give the quilts to our union president who is the mother of one of my son's friends and she will give them to another union guy who will deliver them.  It's nice to have connections.  I think that will be the last batch to go, but I never quite know if more are needed or if people are still wanting to make more.  I had a cut off date of Dec 31, but the quilts keep coming in.

I've also been giving quilts to kids at school.  One of my students had surgery because his ribcage was pushing on his heart and he had a bar inserted in his chest.  He ended up in the ICU on Friday because the doctors think his body is allergic to the bar.  You would think they would check for that before doing the procedure.  Another quilt went to a student who attempted suicide and I have another one in the works for another student who is out for the same thing.  Being a teenager is no easy task these days with social media and the bullying that goes on.  I think I also told you about the one I gave last week to the middle school boy who lost his home in a fire over the Christmas break.  I'm glad to have so many helpers so that I have lots of quilts ready to go to offer comfort.

penguin dog

 Poor Star doesn't know what to think when I try to dress him.  He just sits there and will not move until I take off the jacket.  I wonder what goes through his little mind?  He must think I am trying to kill him!
 Lily on the other hand is a good sport about it all.  She just puts up with me trying these silly outfits on, but is happy when I take them off.  This penguin dog coat was pretty easy to make, after I figured out how to sew the front and back together instead of sewing the wrong pieces together and having to unstitch.  I thought about several ways to change the pattern to make it easier to sew and nicer once finished and can see myself modifying it to make different animals.
 But, who wouldn't want a penguin puppy?  My son's favorite animal is the penguin, so I had to get this pattern when I saw it.  I'm hoping to make several and donate to a local dog rescue group so they can make some money to help find homes for more dogs.  I know, call me crazy.  Dogs shouldn't wear clothes, but if you are never going to get grandbabies, you have to make cute little clothes for someone right?
And I don't think it is illegal to torture your dog by dressing them up.  I swore I would never put clothes on a dog, but it is kind of fun making things for my dogs.  My time would probably be better spent cleaning or grading but things just get dirty and the piles of paper seem to reappear again so quickly.  A simple diversion is better than therapy sometimes.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

relaxing? what is that?

 Star does not like to wear sweaters.  The fact that this is purple, probably doesn't help, not that dogs can see color.  When you put a sweater on him, he freezes.  I guess that would be good for making sure he doesn't run away!
 Spot on the other hand could care less what you do to him as long as you play with him.  I made this sweater a week ago and in that week, the poor toy as lost the battle of tug a war.  Its head has separated from its body, but now there are two toys to play with!  Win for Spot!

I would say this is a winning crochet dog sweater pattern.  I like the texture on it, but the one thing I don't care for is the neck.  It isn't stretchy enough, so I will have to do some modifications on it the next time I make the pattern.

It was a free pattern found here

I made this quilt top a long time ago and bought the backing fabric for it.  I put the backing fabric some place safe when my quilting machine broke.  I have been looking everywhere for it and finally gave up last Sunday and went out and bought new backing fabric.  It is now bound and ready to gift.

It's nice getting back into the quilting mode again.  I just wish I could quilt and sew and crochet all day and that the house would clean itself.  I wish I could push a button and dinner would be on the table, the dishes would self clean AND put themselves away.  Oh, well, I spend too much time on the computer dreaming of my next project.  I'm sure I could get more done if I unplugged for a while.

Friday, January 29, 2016

I survived the week, how about you?

Yesterday I had the worst migraine and ordered pizza for dinner.
I'm happy this week is over and the weekend is finally here.

I have lots of plans to sew, sew, sew this weekend. I printed out a few patterns for dog coats and hope to try out a few of them. I know, I need yet another obsession to keep me busy.  What I really need is to win the lotto and be able to stay home so I have more time to make all of the things I'd like to make.