Thursday, July 31, 2014

Final day of July-great day for a marathon

I have nothing on my schedule today, no place I have to be.  Of course, plans can change since it is summer vacation.  But, for now, I plan a marathon quilting day.  I'm hoping to get 10 quilts done by my check in tonight.  Think I can get it done?  I have three more Margaret's Hope Chest quilts, one is really, really big! and then on to other things.  That should fill the box I'm sure.  I have to finish up the backing fabric for those before I can get them on the machine.  My goal is to get started by 8am.  I better get started quickly, 10 minutes left until my marathon begins.  And you thought I'd be running somewhere.  Silly you!  I only run if someone's chasing me!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

how cute is this?

Quilted again with the sailboat design, these are 6 1/2 inch blocks some are the rail fence (2 1/2 inch strips sewn together) and then alternate plain blocks in the cute sail boat prints.  You can't get much easier to make, but this quilt is just adorable for a little boy.  It's 54 inches square so a good size to snuggle under for mom too.  This is another one going to Margaret's Hope Chest.  I told you this week was for MHC.  I know for sure I have 5 more quilt tops waiting and there may be another one after that.  I have to dig through the stack and double count.

I had to go get a TB test done this morning for school.  I got the letter in the mail last week saying mine ran out Aug 2.  Thanks for the early warning people :)  It only took 5 minutes at Kaiser this morning, but that cut into my quilting time and since I was out I figured I might as well stop in at WalMart and do my back to school shopping for my classroom.  Any teacher friends if you haven't heart, WalMart is giving back 10% on whatever you spend on school supplies for your classroom.

It was really easy to fill out the information and the website says it will take 1-2 weeks to get the refund.  Not sure how they will know I'm actually a teacher, but what normal human being needs 200 3 prong folders and 20 reams of lined paper?  It ends tomorrow so you still have time to get all those things you know you are going to buy for your classroom because the kids never come prepared.  You know, like pencils and paper and rulers and a new stapler because the kids broke yours last year and the school isn't going to buy you one.

I had to laugh and then cry a little.  Yesterday my daughter came home and bought Microsoft office 2015 for $9.95.  Yep, it's normally $399.99 but she got it for under $10 through her work because it's something she needs to do her job.  Guess what?  I need it to do my job too, but I have to pay retail for it if I want it.  No discount for teachers and our school certainly doesn't have money to buy it for us.  Just another difference between the education world and the 'real' world of working people.  I asked her if she could buy it for more than one computer, but unfortunately, she can't :(

Oh, well, Google Docs works just fine as long as I have the internet available.  Or, a pencil and paper like we used to use back in my day :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

finishing the day well too

 More quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest.  The box is getting full, but there's still more room.  I have one more quilt from Carin and I think 4 others that were sent to me.  I will dig those out tomorrow and see how many I can get done.  I don't think I have any other plans for tomorrow.  Today included swim lessons for my little guy.
He's doing really well at his lessons.  He started the summer afraid of the water and now will float on his back and put his head under the water.  I'm really glad I got him lessons.  They are expensive, but worth it.  It was $320 for 10 private 30 minute lessons.

My boys also started piano lessons.  Jenny, our almost adopted daughter is giving them.  She was in my very first 9th grade science class 14 years ago when I started teaching high school.  She was on my husband's tennis team and was his TA.  She practically lived at our house through high school and babysat our kids all the time.  She gave our kids lessons a long time ago when my older son was about 5.  He's 17 now and she was laughing that they both can't sit on the piano bench together because his arms are too big.  It's good to have music in the house again.

more quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest

 These two quilts were supposed to be one.  The one above was supposed to be the front and the one below was supposed to be the back.  But, the back was just too cute to be a back, so I split them into two quilts.  I put a light blue star backing on the one above and a deep blue backing on the one below.  Don't you love the quilting design?  It's just perfect for these quilts.
 I used the same deep blue for this one.  The backing fabric that came with it wasn't quite big enough.  It was about 2 inches too narrow so I used it on the blue tumbler quilt from last night and had exactly enough for both of these quilts.  I love being able to search through my huge stash of fabric and pick out the perfect fabric for quilts.  I feel very blessed to be able to share with great causes like Margaret's Hope Chest.

starting the day off right

I finished this one last night right before bed and pulled it from the machine this morning.  The perfect way to begin the day.  Makes me feel like I've accomplished something already, even before the day has begun.  I love that there is a clean sock peeking out from under the quilt.  That lets you know there is a pile of laundry waiting to be sorted under the quilt.  First things first!

A pile of laundry means I have a healthy family that needs my attention too.  A pile of laundry means there are probably dishes in the sink and floors needing vacuumed.  But those chores can wait until another quilt is loaded and started.  The great thing about a robotic machine is you can push a button, walk away and do something else while it quilts the row, come back when it is at the end, roll it and let it do it's thing.  Multi-tasking at its finest.  Of course, that should mean I have the cleanest house in town.  I always find other, better things to do than clean my house while Rebecca is quilting away.

Today I am supposed to be making zippered pouches for my daughter.  She's always finding projects for me on Pinterest.  They never turn out as cute as the pattern.  But, I'm game to try.  I got a zipper foot for my sewing machine if only I could find where I put it for safe keeping.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Sometimes all you can say is wow when you look at a quilt.  This one is made with 2 inch squares and each one is different.  There may be some duplicates in there, but Wow.  Just look at all of these beautiful fabrics and scrappy goodness.  Lots of boy prints here and so colorful.  Another one for Margaret's Hope Chest.  This one is quilted with lots of spirals and it took a long time to quilt, just because of the busy quilting.  But, I figured this quilt could handle it.  The backing fabric is stretchy and got a couple of puckers in it.  I always feel a bit guilty when that happens, but I am not sure there was anything I could have done to prevent it.  I always try to be sure and check the back every time I roll the quilt to keep from getting tucks in it and sometimes it just folds over as the machine moves along if the fabric isn't 100% cotton and has a good stretch to it.  I don't think a child will complain (I hope) and they are pretty small so once the quilt is washed, I doubt they will be noticed.

Anybody else get tucks in a quilt back sometimes on a long arm machine?  What do you do?  Take it out and fix it or just leave it in?

I get far fewer tucks than I used to and wonder if there will be a day when I never get them.

more quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest

 Have you had a chance to check out Margaret's Hope Chest yet?

Here's the link so you don't have to go searching.

I know sometimes I'm just that lazy too. :)  I think, hey that sounds like a great idea and then never take the time to go searching for something.
 I was supposed to meet someone today in another city where my daughter had jury duty.  But, she thought it would be totally embarrassing to have her mom come with her to jury duty.  After all, she is a full grown adult now and can certainly take herself to jury duty right?  Well, I didn't go with her and it's a good thing because the lady was not able to meet me anyways.  She didn't get picked and was released at noon.  She said it was just a two day trial anyways.
 So, I did my grocery shopping and the two things I really needed from WalMart, I totally forgot.  I hate when that happens.  Good thing I shop there like 3 times a week!
So, I'm finishing up the last few patches and quilting as many quilts for Margaret's Hope chest as I can today.  This one has a cute butterfly design.  The one at the top has a cute ladybug design.

If you have any quilt tops you want me to quilt for you, just send me an email and I'd be happy to give you my address.  I'm hoping to have this box filled by the end of the week.  It's a pretty big box.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Margaret's Hope Chest week

 I have overwhelmed my binding ladies so I think this week will be quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest.  I have about 15 quilts here needing quilting for MHC and I think I can blast through them all this week and get them in the mail.  I have a huge box ready to fill.
If you want to learn more about Margaret's Hope Chest and the great things they do for kids, there is a link on the right side bar.  If you would like me to quilt for you and send the finished (ready to be bound) quilt along for you, let me know and I will give you my address.  I'm happy to provide batting and backing fabric.

Do you have a quilt top sitting around that you know you are never going to finish?  MHC gives quilts to kids of all ages and also gives quilts to women suffering from postpartum depression through A Mother's Hope.

If you love to make quilt tops, but don't really have a way to finish them up, think about supporting Margaret's Hope Chest.

Final QOV

This is the last Quilt of Valor from the first round.  The lady who is in charge for the quilt guild will be picking them up today and says she will be bringing me some more later in the week.  This one I quilted with the pattern called A Hero's Heart.  It's a cute pattern too.  I have a horrible migraine today and feel very shaky and weak and just yucky.  I felt great going to church this morning.  Had to get to JoAnn's for their 70% off the notion's wall.  I figured by the time I got there it would be empty, but there were lots of goodies still left.  There were a couple of ladies just filling up their baskets.  One lady was buying everything and said she had no idea why she needed it, but for 70% off it must be a good deal.  She was ahead of me in line and spent $125 on notions.  Now I understand why people donate so many snaps and buttons and bits of elastic to me.  I must have thousands of dollars worth of notions that people just had to buy on sale they had no idea what they were going to use on.

I bought 5 seam rippers.  Every time I am looking for a seam ripper, I can't find one.  I got one for my sewing machine, one for the embroidery machine, one for my travel basket, one for the quilting machine and a one extra because I know in a day or two I will have lost one of them.  I also got an extra long measuring tape because those are always wandering off.  I just found one yesterday, but who knows how long it will stick around.  I only spent $7 on stuff I don't need :)  I felt pretty good about myself.  I went looking for something to put on the back of the patches I'm making.  You know, some type of mesh to cover the stitching and everything that was at the interfacing area I already have at home.  The line at the cutting table was so long, I decided not to stick around.  I already wasn't feeling very good and had to get milk before coming home.  I guess I will do a google search and see what I come up with.  I can always order something on line, or just leave the back of the patches alone.  They don't look that bad.  Besides, they get sewn on to a jacket or shoved in a drawer anyways.  I just wish my memory wasn't so bad.  I know I've put something on the back of the patches I've made in the past, I just can't remember what I've used.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Late start today

 I just had no energy this morning and finally about 3pm I decided that rather than waste the day, I would at least get one patch done and load one QOV.  Well, the last 3 Quilts of Valor needed backings made.  If I'm going to make one backing, I might as well make all three and do the quilts one after another.  I can get them done much faster that way and before I knew what happened, I had 3 patches done and two quilts finished.  I have the last quilt loaded on the same backing fabric and want to look for a different quilting design before starting it up.  It will probably wait until morning before I get started on it.  My back is killing me now.  I even cut up a bunch of fabric.
I really like this quilt.  So simple with just one block and plain setting squares, but so striking.  I used a star splat design for quilting, which took longer than the meander star design on the other 4 quilts, but I like the feather effect of the splat part. Something different anyways.  I'm also using a very thin bobbin thread which means it will do a whole quilt without running out of bobbin thread.  I love being able to do that with the bigger machine.  I didn't load these sideways, which would have made it go even faster because the backing fabric I had was only wide enough to go the short way on the quilt.  I should have planned better.  Next time.

A call for quilts

Quilts are needed for the more than 300 families who have lost their homes in Washington State.  More information is on the Layers of Hope Quilting 911 blog.

We have a big fire locally that has burned 5 homes and is threatening about 250 more.  We have a bad drought here in California.  While the mountain is a beautiful place to visit, I'm glad in times like this I don't live up there.

Friday, July 25, 2014

more Quilts of Valor

 My younger son had his best friend over today to play video games all day.  Heaven for him!  I've been working on patches for my husband's tennis team and am almost done with them all.  I need 6 more and hopefully will get them finished up tomorrow.  I think I could make them in my sleep.  White, yellow, grey, black, green.  Over and over and over again.  I sewed two quilt tops as well while waiting for each color to finish and be changed.

These quilts for Quilts of Valor were blocks of the month for the quilt guild.  Can you see how these stretched stars have blocks of white fabrics with blue and red triangles on the corners.  If you look closely, you will see a red or blue star in the middle.  The bottom left block has a little boo boo in it where the red triangle got flipped.  I bet nobody noticed until the whole thing got put together.  I didn't notice until just now :)

How clever is that?  Have everyone in a big group make the same block and then put them all together to make a quilt!  Many hands make light work.
And here's another way to make a great QOV.  10 fancy star blocks and 10 plain red blocks.  Easy peasy and looks great too.  I love the bottom right block with the blue and gold sparkly fabric.  What a great way to highlight a fabric that you only have a small amount of.

I quilted both of these quilts sideways on the machine.  Much faster because you have to stop the machine at the end of each row and roll it.  Well, going sideways means less rolls of the machine and less stopping.  Aren't I clever?   Actually I had to do it that way because the backing was pieced so the long seam goes up and down.  The machine doesn't like it if you put it on with the long seam going that way, so since it fit going side ways, I figured why not.  Faster and the machine was happy.  Everyone was happy!

Quilts of Valor

I am now a Quilts of Valor quilter!  So excited to be asked to help out my quilt guild (even though I'm not an official member because I don't have time to attend the meetings).  I was asked if I could help out because so many other quilters are super busy.  6 quilts were dropped off yesterday and they need 18 by March.  Yeah, I think that's a very doable goal.  I'm happy to help with this very worthy cause.

And for anyone who has a robotic machine, check out Intelligent Quilting's Deal of the Day.  Every day there is a different quilting design for half price.  It's a great way to build up your design stash.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Purple is so not my color

 Quilted this huge quilt for a friend today.  Man is it heavy!  And lot of work went into it with all of these tiny squares that are sewn together oh, so perfectly.  I'm appreciating good workmanship these days as I get to see well put together quilts.
Yes, my carpet is purple and so is my toe.  I kicked a bag of quilting magazines that were sitting in the hall last night.  Really hard!  My #2 toe is numb now, I can't move it and such a lovely shade of purple.  No, I didn't pick the carpet color.  It was there when we bought the house and will be changed out once the kids leave and the dogs are gone, which will probably be never.  I don't figure that even if it is broken the doctor will do anything, so I will just feel stupid for a couple of weeks until hit heals.  And, no, I didn't move the bag of magazines, but maybe I should :)

love hate relationship

How do you feel about batiks?  Do you love them?  I sure do!  They are gorgeous.  The bright, vibrant colors.  The patterns to die for.  The soft feel of the fabrics.  The way they make you want a smoothie every time you sew!

Do you hate them?  I do!  They way you can't tell the front from the back of the fabric when you sew because instead of being printed, the color is dyed and sometimes it is so subtle, you sew the wrong sides together and then, when you are all done, you notice you sewed a wrong side together.  Ugh.  The way, when you are quilting, sometimes the fabric is so dense, the quilting machine hates you and skips stitches, just because it can, just because the fabric is so beautiful and then you have holes in the fabric that will never, ever in a million years close up to remind you that you hate batiks!  That the fabric stretches sometimes, just because it is a batik and is oh, so beautiful and you just had to have it because it was so pretty, but you knew you were going to regret buying it!

Yeah, that's my life with batiks.

Well, a long lost friend brought this quilt by yesterday for me to quilt for her for a friend who has cancer.  Of course I wanted to get it done quickly and that always means trouble. :)  The back is batik too and gave me a devil of a time stretching strangely.  Of course it didn't stretch the same in all directions.  Why?  Because it is a batik and can do whatever it wants to do.  I had to babysit it and hold it and make sure it didn't get a fold in it when it was quilting.  More time to look at the gorgeous quilt I guess.

And then, when I put the quilt on the frame, I was thinking, she didn't get enough batting.  That's really weird. She got everything at the quilt shop, but the batting is just barely wide enough for the quilt.  It was really stretchy, so I was able to make it fit, but usually the quilt girls are really great about making sure you have enough of everything and measure twice before cutting.

Well, I figured out the problem when I got to the end of the quilt.  The batting came up about 6 inches short at the end of the quilt and I could see the last 2 inches that it was folded over.  UGH!  How did I not notice that the batting was double when I loaded the quilt on the frame?  It is a poly batting and I use poly batting all the time.  But it is a very thin poly batting even when it is double, so if it was a single ultra thin poly batting WOW.  So, when the lady comes to pick up the quilt, I've got some explaining to do.  I was able to add some extra batting on to the end because as you know, I have about 72,000 extra pieces of batting of all different kinds around here and just happen to have the same kind laying around, but man, how did I not notice?  That stuff sticks together really well.  Then, I go up to the top, and that has popped apart and it is totally obvious it is double.  I feel really stupid.

Oh, well, the quilt is gorgeous and soft and not too fluffy :)  I hope she likes it too.

And since I don't quilt for hire, she can't complain about the price.

To console myself, I had another cupcake.  Boy, those things are good.  It's a good thing they are $2.50 each because if they were cheap, I'd weigh 400 pounds by the end of the year.

so yummy

 We have a gourmet bakery in town.  These yummy cupcakes were EXPENSIVE, $29 for a dozen, but oh, so good.  The bottom right one is a bacon cupcake.  I'm going to try it today.  I got it for my husband who said they are the best.  Um, ok, if you say so!  I tried two yesterday and they were quite delicious :)
 This is a little cutie, perfect for an incubator quilt and perfect for finishing up the last bit of backing fabric on the roll.
 I used the jumping trout quilt design on this quilt.  I'm finding it's a perfect design for guy quilts.  The date on this quilt is 03.  It's waited long enough to be finally finished and gifted.  The woman who donated all of these quilt tops said her mother was an OB nurse and loved children and would have been happy to know the quilts were going to kids.
I just wish I could have met her and we could have worked together so she could have seen her quilts finished up.

If you have a bunch of quilt tops sitting around not getting finished up, I encourage you to find a Binky Patrol group or Project Linus or even to start a group if you don't have one close to you.  Binky Patrol is a great group to work with and it's really easy to start a group.  The founder, Susan Finch is a really great lady and makes it really easy to run a group.  There's no pressure to make a million quilts and you get to meet a lot of great people, plus you get to give your quilts to kids who really need hugs.

Check out the website.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Middle

 Daughter #2 had a birthday today.  I surprised her at work with flowers and mini cupcakes.
 She hadn't told anyone it was her birthday so having cupcakes means everyone knows now!
 See what a huge desk she gets!  Looks like she needs to bring some pictures.
 She sure looks grown up.  Where did the time go?
You make me proud to be your mom every day!  Happy Birthday Beautiful.

So glad I have my quilting

When life is spinning out of control, I have my quilting to give me time to pray and meditate.
The humming of the machine means leave mom alone and give her some time to herself.
What do people without hobbies do all day?

I'm so lucky

 I get to quilt these gorgeous quilt tops!  Yep, yep.  These are more of the adorable quilt tops that were donated on Sunday.  Small pieces, each one different and each one perfect to bring comfort to a child.  The woman who made them put a paper tag on each one with the name of the pattern and the size and even if the binding was already made.  So totally organized.
I'm leaving the tag attached so the person who does the binding will be able to find the correct binding in the huge bag.  Each binding is labeled as well.

When it's my time to go, the person who gets my stash will not be as lucky.  They will have more of a treasure hunt trying to figure out what I was thinking when I cut out this or that project.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two different worlds

I work in education.  I've been a teacher for 24 years now and things in the education field are VERY different from everywhere else.

My daughter is doing an internship at a credit union this summer.  Here she is with the other interns and the incoming and outgoing CEO's having lunch.  See how nice they all look in the company polo shirts?  Yep, we have polo shirts too for our school.  The difference?  We have to buy ours, they were given theirs.

We go out to lunch sometimes as a staff too.  The difference.  We each pay for our own lunch, even if it is a 'working lunch'.  They didn't have to pay.  We get 37 minutes for lunch.  I can tell you how long 37 minutes is because I've shoved food in my mouth, run to the bathroom and helped 14 kids finish a test or do homework in 37 minutes for 24 years.  They took 90 minutes to eat and talk.

In the 24 years I've taught, I don't think I've ever gone out to eat with the Superintendent, incoming, outgoing or just passing through.  I'm sure most of them didn't even know my name.  I try to make an impression on them by greeting them every time I see them and sending emails about the great things we do at our school through the clubs, science fairs or just in the classroom.  I like to let them know the kids are important and that the teachers are really working hard and making a difference.  But it would really be nice to sit down for 90 minutes and talk to my boss about things that are important.

I just think this is so neat that the Big Bosses are taking such an interest in the interns and investing so much time and energy in them.  These kids are learning so much (at least my daughter is) and I really appreciate their investment.

Quilt Day

 The rule at Quilt Day is if we find an article of clothing in the donated fabric, someone has to wear it.  My son 'volunteered' or at least didn't run away when we put the wrap around skirt on him.  He's a good sport.
 And a good worker
 The kids got 6 really big fleece blankets done today in 3 hours.
 I think they were starting to go a little crazy at the end.
 The ladies made 26 quilt tops.  Yep, that's right, 26 quilt tops.  And I was starting to worry that I was going to run out.  Silly me!
 Nancy was busy with the Studio cutter.  She was on a mission to make tumblers.  She loves to sew them together.  She cut up all the 7 inch bits and we worked on the 4-5 inch bucket.  I swear we cut and cut and didn't even make a dent in it.  I even cut 4 1/2 inch squares using the strip die.  She took the Studio home for the week.

 We had ladies sewing binding
 And ladies sewing quilt tops

 It doesn't matter how old you are, everyone can help make quilts for kids.
 My son even wore the skirt as a cape.  It gave him super powers.
 The girls made scarves out of the selvages.  Oh, so pretty.
 He really got into his work.  Whatever it takes to make these blankets, he's willing to do.  Or, maybe he was just taking a nap and testing out the blanket.  At least the cape matches his outfit.
 I tell you, working with teenagers is the best job in the world!
 Who needs to spend money on a date when you can make blankets with your best friend/girlfriend.  These two are inseparable.
 And these blankets are big kid size.  Perfect for teens in crisis.  We will be donating them to foster youth.  I picked out boy fabric this time because often the quilts we get are very girl oriented.  Teen boys sometimes get forgotten.
We had a few minutes at the end of the day after all the fleece blankets were made so we had the kids cutting with the Studio.  They made quick work of some fleece scraps and some tumbler pieces too.  I'm looking to get a second Studio cutter.  I'll be watching ebay.