Saturday, July 31, 2010

more vacation photos

This is the whole gang, minus my sister and my husband. The guy on the far right, hiding behind my daughter is my mom's cousin from Germany. His English was better than our German, but we tried our best to communicate. The funniest part of the trip was when my mom gave him a root beer instead of a real bear. He opened it, took a drink and said, 'what is this root beer?' My daughter tried to explain what root beer was. He didn't like it one bit! We all had a good laugh at my mom :)

We had a great time in Colorado. Here are some pictures from our hike around Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

We drove a couple hours to get there, hiked the .6 mile trip around the lake and headed out to another spot for a picnic.

The kids wanted to climb every rock and jump over every stick. I got a little nervous when the rocks were in the middle of the lake. Nobody fell in, despite their best efforts!
Here, little guy holds up a big rock so his brother can take a look underneath for something interesting. Good thing he had a good breakfast!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back from vacation

I got back on Monday and here it is Wednesday night already! Trying to catch up from my vacation has taken more out of me than I thought. I'm trying to get my garden weeded and dig my iris to make room for the 27 iris rhizomes my dad got me at the sale in Colorado before they come in the mail tomorrow.

Just a quick picture for tonight and then off to bed. More later. This one is of my mom and dad and older sister at Bear Lake in Colorado.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2 more for Rebecca

Rebecca, inbetween trips to San Fran and watching embarassing home videos (what else are you supposed to do when you meet the boyfriend for the first time!?!) I've finished quilting two more of your quilts. Only two to go and I will get them shipped out to you.

San Francisco trip

Fantastic day in San Francisco yesterday.
The weather was beautiful.
Lunch at Hard Rock Cafe.
A spin on the carousel at Pier 39

picture in front of Alcatraz


the gang looks happy!

Rocket Boat was really fun. We got soaked!

We were so cold that we took pictures from inside the gift shop!

Hubby and son walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The rest of us picked the up on the other side. They were soaking wet, but said it wasn't so cold.
We had a great time!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The thing I love most about living in my house is how close I am to nature. I found this snake in my vegetable patch the other day. It was so nice to let us play with it. Of course, the boys wanted to keep it, but we let it go back where we found it and I'm sure it is happily eating the baby mice living out there too.

What motivates you?

I hate cleaning! I would rather pull weeds and mow the lawn and dig a ditch. But, when company is coming, I go into a cleaning frenzy. For the last 3 days I've been claning like crazy and you can see why. My daughter's boyfriend is here for a visit. My kids love him because he will play video games with them. Not much quilting will be going on until Monday :) Looking forward to getting to know him better.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Going to Town!

Boy, I wish I had the quilting machine fixed when summer started. I only have 4 weeks of vacation left, have a visitor coming this week and am going on vacation next week. Time is going too quickly!

But, while the machine is working, I'm going to town! I'm having so much fun and getting a lot done. More quick stripie quilts from if you need a quick gift, or love charity quilting.

Tomorrow I'm going to drop off quilts that will go over to Rwanda with a friend and pick up more finished quilts and drop off binding for these and other quilts. I love having helpers so I can get so much done. Now if only a cleaning fairy could come and pick up after me. You should see the mess in the sewing room. That has to be picked up before company comes over :)

These last two quilts were made by Rebecca in Alaska. She sent me 6 quilts way long ago and now that my machine is working, I'm going to get these all done and shipped out by Wednesday before my visitor comes. Her blog is listed on my sidebar as Rebecca's Quilts and Things, eventhough she changed her blog name, for some reason the blog tracker thingy didn't pick up the name change. I hope she likes them. She did a great job on the sewing. LOTS of half square triangles. Wow, I'm impressed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It was the FOOT!

So after fixing my friend's machine yesterday I came home and thought about mine. I thought and thought and couldn't figure how the frame could be affecting the stitches and thread breaking. It just didn't make any sense.
I messed around with my machine and worked on a couple of quilts and every time I went in the same direction (away to the left) the thread would break. No problems going any other direction, but always in the same direction. I could count on it to break. It reminded me of when I first got my machine and the thread broke because of a burr in the throat plate.

So, last night I was thinking that the only thing I hadn't tried on the machine was the foot. This morning I got up and looked closely at the foot. I have a metal foot with a plastic ring inside. For some reason, the needle has hit that plastic part many, many times and it was all scratched. Especially in the direction that would catch the thread when you pushed the machine away from you to the left. I took the foot off and tried to file it down to smooth. I put it back on and tried sewing again. Still broke the thread.

I looked up on the internet and found a sewing machine shop in the same town my daughter had a tennis tournament today. Happy coincidence or devine intervention? We stopped in after she won :) and I explained my troubles. The two ladies were very busy because I think they were having a class today. I'm definately going back when it isn't so busy. They had a lot of things I wanted to look at in there. The second lady to help me was very knowledgeable about machines and frames and thread. What I thought was very funny was the guy who fixed my machine recommended Aurafil thread. This lady said that Aurafil is terrible for machine quilting and will break every time. I always have to laugh at how different people are so opionated on their thread choices. She recommended Maxi Lock Serger thread. For $3.95 for a spool of thread, who can go wrong? I said I was willing to try anything.

I got a new foot for my machine--the Janome foot didn't fit the machine, but the Juki foot did--go figure! And came home to try it out. Finished the first quilt and no breaking thread. Loaded a second quilt, no breaking. Loaded a 3rd quilt and no breaking. I still have to try the new thread, but I think I figured out what the trouble was.
And to think I was ready to spend $1,000 for a whole new setup. It cost $35 for a new foot. Now to be careful not to break this one. I think this is the 4th foot I've gone through since owning the machine :) Good thing I don't wear out my real feet this quickly. That's my excuse for not running a marathon!
Back to work. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A long wait

After 3 years, I was finally able to help my friend by working together with my other friend and get the quilting machine fixed. Every summer for the past two years, I have called my friend Jenny to see if her quilting machine was working. Every summer I have gone over and messed with the machine and every summer I have gone home frustrated.

Today, Carla and I went over, ready to tackle the machine. I took every kind of thread I had

and started with King Tut. That is the best I own and I figured why not start with the best and strongest.

We started sewing on the practice fabric she still had on there from 3 years ago and wouldn't you know? The thing worked perfectly! We adjusted the tension just a little and the new combination of the bobbin in correctly and the new thread and we had a working quilting machine. Jenny was so happy.

She has been frustrated for 3 years. Made me not so frustrated with my own least until I got home and started playing with my machine again.

I switched to the Aurafil thread that was recommended to me and that worked well too. I did something wrong and didn't thread the machine correctly, so there were loops at first, but once we figured that out, there weren't any other problems. If you go to fast, or try to move the machine with the needle down, the thread will break, but at least that make sense.

It felt good to help out a friend and gave me some hope for getting my machine working again.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wanting to buy

I'm looking to buy a frame like this. Do you know anyone selling one? I don't want to have to pay full price. :) I've been searching ebay and craigslist and haven't found one yet.

They are $399 online at places like so I'm hoping to find a used one.

I got my machine back from the shop again today and played with it. The guy at the shop said he used a whole bobbin and couldn't get the thread to break once. I had it on the frame and got through 3/4 of the quilt and then adjusted the frame to move it up and the thread broke every 10 inches. Sooooo frustrating.

Of course, what I really want is a real longarm, but unless someone wants to give me one :) there isn't a chance of affording one with three more kids to put through college. The great scholarship my oldest got has run out and they are not offering it anymore. She is covered, but the other three are on their own. Oh, well. We will make due with what has been provided and push on.

But, if you hear about anyone who wants to sell a quilting frame for a good price, please let me know!


I have been busy working this summer on the Great Garage Cleanout! It seems like every summer I do the same thing and I'm not sure how exactly I end up with this task every summer. I am a stasher when I clean, meaning, when company is coming, I grab a bucket or 10 and shove things from the house into them and then shove the buckets into the garage. But where does all of the stuff come from to go into the buckets in the first place?

SO, every day this summer I have been working in the garage and getting rid of things. I have sorted, cleaned, dumped and organized thousands of items. I am finally starting to see a dent in the pile of stuff out there. I am finally starting to see the floor.

I am so thankful for Freecycle. If you haven't heard of it, go to and search for your city. At first, I thought of Freecycle as a place to get things for free. Just what I needed, one more place to bring un-needed things into the house. But this summer, it has really been great for helping me find homes for all of the unwanted things I have been keeping for years.

I found a great lady who has taken all of the double knit fabric and all of the bottom weight fabric that I'm never going to use. I've been keeping it for years and even went out and bought storage buckets for it and had it nicely folded in the garage and never had a plan to use it. She also took the baby weight yarn that I just don't have the time for. I have at least 10 buckets of 4 ply yarn out there, waiting for me to find the time to get to. I'm hoping to bring some to my next charity crafting meeting and pass it along to people who will have more time to work with it.

About 7 years ago I thought I wanted to spin wool into yarn. I bought a spinning wheel, took lessons and bought fleece. Now, when I start a hobby, I really jump in. I didn't just buy one fleece and spin that. Oh, no. I bought probably 5 fleece. For anyone who knows anything about spinning wool, it takes some time. Time to wash and time to card and time to spin. Some of the fleece got washed, some got carded and some got spun. Most was still out in the garage...until yesterday. It went to its new home. The lady was very happy to get these lovely fleece and I'm sure next summer I will be happy that I don't have to clean up the space again.

I have 5 weeks left of summer vacation. For some of you, this may be a long time. For me, time has gone by quickly. I don't want to spend the rest of my vacation a slave to the junk in the garage. I'm ready to finish this project and move on to having fun.

Hopefully, my sewing machine is back from the shop today and it works. If not, I'm going to buy a new machine. Either way I will be quilting before this summer is over :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday #13

Our traditional birthday breakfast at IHOP. Happy Birthday dude!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I want to cry

My sewing machine is still giving me troubles. I have so much I want to be doing and the machine is still skipping stitches and breaking thread every time I move the machine to the left and away from me. It is so frustrating I'm about to cry. I've had it in the shop 4 times this summer already. The guy at the shop said it had something to do with the height of the needle bar. I tried opening it up to adjust it myself because the machine weighs seriously like 50 pounds and it is so frustrating to have to take it off the frame, load it in the car, wait a day to get it back, put it back on the frame and sew for 2 minutes to see that it hasn't been fixed only to take it off the frame and take it back to the shop.

Well, I opened it up and can't find a screw to loosen to raise or lower the needle bar. I've searched the internet in vain trying to find instructions somewhere on how to do this. I've found instructions for a singer machine. If only I had a singer machine :)

Then, this morning I was messing with it and the plastic part of the quilting foot popped off and hit the needle and now it won't even pick up the thread from the bobbin. UGH> I think I will go have a good cry and do something else for the rest of the day.

Back to the shop it goes tomorrow. My husband says to just go buy a new machine. Ugh. Frustrating. I've had this machine for 2 years. The first month it gave me nothing but trouble because there was a burr in the needle plate. Once I changed out the needle plate, things were great for a year and a half. I made over 300 quilts on this thing. Then, it decided to just die. Or try to kill me. Either way, maybe I should take his advice and get a different machine. What I really want is a longarm machine. But those cost as much as a car. That isn't going to happen anytime soon so I'm looking at a Juki 98.


I did manage to get another quilt done, while messing with the machine.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The great garage cleanout

This is the first of many piles I plan to make this summer in the Great Garage Cleanout! I have been given so much fabric, yarn, stuffing, and misc. things that I haven't used in the last 5 years and it is time to pass it along to someone else to store in their garage for 5 years. I picked out things that I will use and am passing these along on Freecycle. Nothing wasted!
A lady is coming by this morning to pick it up. I will be starting a new pile again. I can't believe how much yarn I have. I've picked out the baby weight yarn and I think three of these black garbage bags are full of just that. I hope it gets used and turned into something practical.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've been busy around here the last few days sorting, cleaning and trying to organize. Not too effective, but I have been getting rid of junk. That is a good feeling.
Can you tell my group of ladies really loves the quick stripie quilts from

This one was just a bunch of 3 inch strips I had sewn together. Mindless using of the scraps and a great place to practice free motion quilting in a small space.


and more...

and more stripie quilts. I love quilting these because my machine can only do about 6 inches at a time and these have the perfect space for quilting. Takes about 15 minutes to quilt one of these guys after pinning. On and off the machine in under 25 minutes. Not bad. SO, why do I have so many quilt tops waiting their turn?

Here are 150 crochet squares I sent out to a lady in Ohio. She started a Binky Patrol group and was having a hard time getting volunteers. I remember those days. I had all of these squares sitting around and I don't really like sewing them together so she said she would take them and make them into blankets. She can probably get 3 blankets out of this bunch. I have so much yarn in the garage, I could probably make 1500 squares and still have yarn left.