Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very blessed and meaningful Christmas
and a Happy New Year!

I'll be back soon with news about my current quilting projects. I confess with only just a little encouragement from Linda, I began working on Quiltville's latest mystery quilt, "Roll, Roll Cotton Boll" (RRCB). Did you know we grow cotton in Kansas?

So, now I'm working on three bed size quilts at one time - the Selvage Quilt, the Clamshell Quilt and RRCB. I may need an accountability partner to help keep me on track to finish all of them!

Again, Merry Christmas and many thanks for reading my blog,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Some of my favorites

Our house will never look like something out of a magazine and we're happy with that! At Christmas, we like to "decorate" with things that are meaningful and have special memories for us. This is our piano which, unfortunately, no one plays anymore so I decorate it with some of my favorite Christmas things.

The framed, limited edition picture hanging on the wall is very special to us because I purchased it years ago as we were becoming more and more disappointed with the overcommercialization of Christmas. Week after week I admired this picture in the store but I wasn't able to afford to purchase it. Finally one of the clerks arranged that I could purchase it through layaway, something they normally did not do. I hope you can see the details in the picture but if not, try clicking on the photo to enlarge it. It's a boy and a girl surrounded by toys gazing into a nativity scene globe.

On the left is the Weihnachtspyramid we purchased when we lived in Germany 20+ years ago. We've set it up every year since then but rarely light the candles. Too afraid we might set the whole thing on fire! I need some advice though, how do you dust one of these? I'm seeing dust and someone has left a very noticeable thumbprint behind. I've tried using a clean, soft paintbrush to get between the little figurines but I invariably break one off and have to glue it back in. Any suggestions?

In the middle you might notice a kind of shabby looking creche. This was the nativity scene my parents owned and I remember my sister and I setting it up under the Christmas tree. I'm sure my parents purchased it secondhand because we rarely bought anything new. The stable is made of cardboard and there are still some wood shavings on the roof but its missing camels for the Wise Men and there is only one shepherd. A puzzler for me, although I think I know the answer, there are three angels?!? Obviously, two belong to something else but they all look like they could be one set. Whenever I see a nativity set for sale at an antique store, I always check if there are camels or shepherds which are the right size for my set but so far, I haven't found any.

And, last, in the very front is the book Take Joy! by Tasha Tudor opened to one of my favorite illustrations. For some reason, I just like the aqua color so much. I didn't know anything about Tasha Tudor until about ten years ago but now have several books about her and her gardens.

I enjoy baking cookies almost anytime of the year but I have several recipes I usually save especially for Christmas time. I've gathered them from magazines, books and friends so as I share them, I'll try to give credit to where its due. Here is the recipe I plan to bake today:

Poppy Seed Hearts

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Lemon Frosting

In a large bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar and salt until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in poppy seeds.

Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. (If chilled overnight, let dough stand at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before rolling and cutting.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough, half at a time, to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using 1 1/2-to 3 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutters, cut out the dough. Place cutouts on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool.

Spread or pipe Lemon Frosting onto cookies.

Lemon Frosting

In a medium bowl, beat 6 tablespoons butter, softened, with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar, mixing well. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Gradually beat in another 1 cup powdered sugar. If necessary, stir in milk or lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make a frosting of spreading or piping consistency.

This recipe is from the Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Cookies 2006 magazine, P. 103.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Christmas!

... Or perhaps a better title to this blog post would be,
"What have I been doing instead of blogging for nearly a month?"

Life seemed to get a little busy just before Thanksgiving. My husband was quite unexpectedly hospitalized with Atrial Fibrillation, no past history of heart issues. He's now on medication and doing much better. The day after he came home from the hospital, I received a letter from my doctor telling me I needed a repeat mammogram. Thank you to all of you who were praying for me, the second mammogram was clear! Since then there have been several more routine end of the year appointments to keep us busy.

Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to sew/quilt. In fact, yesterday was the first time I'd been able to sew in over 3 weeks. With the help of my family, I finally finished decorating for Christmas today. The picture above was taken in our entryway. I purchased the Drunkard's Path quilt but did make the table runner. I'm in the process of writing notes for Christmas cards, have done a little baking and the shopping is almost done so perhaps I'm making progress!

I'll blog again soon about the snail's pace progress I'm making on the clamshells and the selvage quilt. And, I'd like to share some special Christmas decorations and memories. Be back soon!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Selvage Quilt update

I'm working on my selvage quilt blocks again. This is a photo of a block I put together to show some women who have given me selvages. No one could imagine what a spiderweb quilt made with selvages would look like!
Each block uses 8 subunits and there are usually 8-10 selvages in each subunit.

After working off and on sewing selvages together into subunits, I only have enough subunits to make almost 9 blocks. Obviously, I have to make more time for this quilt as I'd still like to make it a throw or twin size. If I stopped now it would only be about 45x45 or if I still wanted a throw or twin size, I'd have to add really wide borders!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Want to see one of my P.I.G.S.?

OK, not this kind of pig! Sorry, I found this photo on the internet and just couldn't resist.

Here is one of my P.I.G.S. (Project In a Grocery Sack) Of course, someone might argue its really a Flimsie, which it is, but since its also not finished I'm calling it one of my P.I.G.S. Its been laying on an antique washstand in our bedroom for years because I haven't gotten around to having it machine quilted. One clue why it isn't quilted yet is that I dislike sewing together backings for large quilts. You can see the backing fabric under the quilt top in the photo.

I've always wanted to take beautiful photos of quilts hanging on a wash line gently blowing in the breeze. As you can see, its just a little too breezy in Kansas this morning. By the way, we're expecting winds of 20-30 miles per hour today which is not terrible but since its so dry, the fire risk is high.

Here's a photo of the quilt top taken inside. Its a large queen size and I'd originally thought of using this on our bed which probably will still happen if I ever get it to a machine quilter. I've been saving the border fabric for years and finally used most of it on this quilt.

A few more photos of the scrappy nine patches. Some of the fabric was old when I made the quilt. All of it is older now!

This past week I spent quite a bit of time at the hospital with my mother. She's back at her home but between the two of us, we have enough appointments to keep us busy! Thanksgiving seems to be right around the corner too. Its looking like I won't reach my goal of finishing all the full clamshell diamonds this month but that's OK. I'll check back in when I've actually accomplished some quilting!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Clamshell Update

This was my first month working on the clamshells and here's my progress!

I have finished appliqueing 5 of the clamshell diamonds, 2 more of the diamonds are glue basted and another 2 more ready to be glue basted. As you can see, this is going to be a very bright quilt! I may name this quilt "Myriad Gardens" so I'm trying to think of each diamond as a garden. A little blue for water perhaps in the form of a fountain, bird bath or pond, some brown and green for trees, shrubs and grasses and some color for flowers. Some of the gardens have more attitude than others!

Sometimes its been difficult to use both my older fabrics and the contemporary fabrics. They might look OK together but don't have the ZING I think is needed. I'll soon need to cut more clamshells and am seeing which fabrics work better than others in this quilt.

This past weekend, my husband and I took a quick trip to Illinois to see his family. I was hoping to get more of the handwork done in the car but I quickly discovered how difficult it is to make tiny stitches in traffic! Threading a needle was a challenge too so I was only able to work on it during the evenings. I'm happy with my progress though and hope to finish or come close to finishing the full diamonds during November. Next will be the half diamonds and corners but at this point, I'm trying not to think about how much handwork is left to do!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yes, you need a grid

The next very important step for putting the clamshells together is one I probably would have ignored if I hadn't read the other clamshell blogs! You most definitely need a grid or some other way of keeping your clamshells straight and spaced evenly whether you intend to put them together in a straight row or another shape.

Some of the bloggers are using a fabric grid but after reading Journey of a Quilter's blog post about her grid drawn on paper, I decided to try it. I taped sheets of copy paper together to make a large enough grid for my diamond shape and started drawing lines. I'm not sure I can easily explain the lines but perhaps you can figure it out from my photos and her post.

Here I'm laying out my first clamshell diamond. Notice that not all the clamshells have turned out the same size so the grid is very important to keep them aligned. See the glue dots? I'm using a fabric glue to baste the clamshells together until I applique around each one. Just a word of warning, do not put too much glue on because it does seep through the fabric! Luckily, I had covered my paper grid with contact paper so its not sticking to the clamshells.

These are the first two diamonds on my design wall. I try out colors together until I'm "satisfied" and then transfer them to the grid to be glued together. I enjoy playing with the colors but working in my old fabrics has been frustrating sometimes. As my daughter said, "Somehow it all works together!"

These two diamonds have been hand appliqued together and more in the works!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prepping clamshells the beginners way

This is how I made my clamshells, a very basic way to prep applique which works for me! There may be some people who don't know about this technique so I'm documenting how I go about it.

This is a fat quarter from my stash and you can see that I've used part of it. I'd like to use it up so its prime fabric for any scrap quilting projects!

Also in the photo is a pigma pen but you could use any kind of marker or pencil you like to draw around the template. Important - I'm using heat resistant template material. I've traced my clamshell template from Kaffe Fassett's Museum Quilts book. It includes the 1/4 inch seam allowances around all edges. If I were to do this again, I might draft my own template because I don't think that my template is an exact copy. In fact, I know it isn't.

I choose to draw around the template on the reverse side of the fabric. For this particular quilt, I will need 4 clamshell templates of each fabric I use for each diamond except for the very middle shell. There are 49 clamshells in each diamond.

Here they are cut out. Its an easy project to do in the evenings.

After the clamshells are cut out, I sew a basting stitch around the top of the shell about 1/8 inch away from the edge. For the next step, I spray some spray starch into the lid of the starch can and allow it to bubble down. You will also need to make a finished size clamshell template.

Here's the clamshell with the finished size template laid on top. Again, its important the template be heat resistant. The blue line on the template transferred from the pigma pen ink I used to mark the fabric. This may not happen to you and it would probably be better if it didn't!

I carefully eyeball the template into the "correct" position. If I were to remake the template, I would make only the rounded curve on top the finished size. This would help keep the size more accurate and help with layout of the clamshells.

Next, I pull up the basting stitch to fit the curve of the clamshell and swab the edge with the spray starch using a Q-tip. Then lightly press with an hot iron. Careful about your fingers! Heat resistant template material can still get very hot.

Here's the finished product.

If I want this to be a bed size quilt, I will need 1226 clamshells according to the instructions. I find I can prep about 100 a day before my back starts to hurt! Of course, the 100 a day means no interruptions, no laundry, cooking or phone calls, etc.

I've begun stitching together the first diamond but there's another step in the process that I'll show you next time!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A clamming I will go!

I'm not even sure where or when I purchased Kaffe Fassett's Museum Quilts book but I'm sure I bought it because of the colors of the quilt on the front cover! This has been one of those quilts that will not go away and I've finally given in. I'm going to make it or maybe I should say, try to make it! He calls this a "challenging quilt" which should tell me something, shouldn't it?!?

My version will be made from both my stash of the past 30 years and from contemporary fabrics some of which are Kaffe Fassett fabrics. When I first saw his fabrics, I thought they were so ugly! I was especially turned off by the cabbage and roses fabric. Ugh. BTW, fat quarters of both the yellow and purple color ways of this fabric are now in my posession. I've decided I like the intensity of the colors. I'm not sure yet how well they will play with the dusty rose and sunflower fabrics from my crafting days!

I've been busy cutting out clamshells and preparing them for putting together the diamonds. Because I took the "Process Pledge", I've decided to take you along on this journey so my next post will show you how I've been preparing the clamshells.

I've made over 700 of them so far so please (!) don't tell me I've done it wrong! I still need to make around 500 more but I've decided to start putting together the diamonds first. Does the amount of time spent on making something with that many pieces scare you? I found this quote on Journey of a Quilter's blog.

"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish
something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will
pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to
the best possible use."
- Earl Nightingale

To help keep me motivated and encouraged, I've joined the Clamshell Club a group of bloggers working on clamshell projects! If you'd like to see our progress, click on the button in the upper right hand column. Click again on the end of the month updates (top of the page) to see a list of bloggers who are sharing what they've accomplished on their projects.

Spiderweb Selvage Quilt update - I've found some wider bright selvages so I can make more blocks! I'd really like to finish this top before Christmas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Canadian Kristin is the winner of my Fall into Fall Quilters Giveaway!
She wins these beautiful fat quarters from Kathy Hall's Indian Summer fabrics, a package of John James quilting needles and a pair of stork scissors.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Its almost over!

Probably some of the last blooms on the zinnia flowers for this butterfly to enjoy!

The Fall into Fall giveaway is almost over too! If you'd like to enter my giveaway, be sure to leave a comment on this post before tomorrow October 15th. at 9 AM CST.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Color in my Home

I'm not working on a fall project right now but I thought you might like to see some of the wallhangings I put up in my house each fall.

I made this wallhanging from a pattern called "Fall Memories" designed by Edyta Sitar. Cutting out and fusing the pieces for those skinny blackberry branches was interesting! I machine quilted the leaf veins, pumpkin and stitched in the ditch around the border but didn't do anything in the background. I wish I were a better machine quilter but I simply don't take the time to learn and practice.

Here's my Purple Pumpkin Berries quilt hanging in our entryway. The pattern is by Needl'Love. Keeping it real here - that mirror needs cleaning and I just cleaned it a week ago! Guess I didn't do a very good job. If you'd like to know why there are purple berries on this quilt, go to this post. You can also see better photos of it and the beautiful quilting done by a local machine quilter!

On the top of the dresser is a log cabin doll quilt I made and hand quilted for the Small Quilt challenge earlier this year.

This wallhanging was a BOM at a local quilt shop but I waited until it was nearly over to sign up and then waited even longer to work on it. Its called "Forgotten Farms" and was designed by Bee Creative. Its fusible applique and I did machine quilt it myself, a mistake as the stitches are very close together. I drape it from the plant ledge in our living room and secure it with some crocks.

Fall is really my favorite season of the year and its probably the time of the year when I start the most quilt projects! This year, however, instead of starting something new, I'm continuing to work on the selvage quilt and have also been mostly cutting and prepping clamshells from my stash.
Will give you a peek at my projects next week!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Unofficially, it looks like cleaning the bathroom is winning the least favorite chore with dusting coming in second! I was surprised how many of you didn't like unloading the dishwasher or folding clean laundry. I wasn't surprised, though, about all of you who don't like cleaning ovens! Guess what I had to do tonight?

Dinner exploded quite literally when the glass baking pan shattered in the oven. There went the Kickin' Chicken and the baked home fries I was planning to serve for dinner tonight. The pan shattered into lots of pieces and there was sauce all over the oven. Thankfully, my oven is self cleaning but first I had to clean out the glass and wipe out as much of the sauce as possible. What a mess. I must have done a fairly good job of cleaning it out because so far, the smoke detector hasn't gone off! (That's what usually happens when I run the self-cleaning cycle on my oven.)

I've been feeling quite restless lately but I have been doing a little quilting as I have time. The stack of spiderweb selvage blocks is slowly increasing. BTW, Thank you to everyone who's contributed selvages recently! I'm trading off working on them with working on my clamshells.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment about your favorite or least favorite cleaning chore on my previoius post!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall into Fall Giveaway!

Today is October 1st. and the first day to enter my Fall into Fall giveaway! Yesterday I teased you with a photo of wheat as a hint of what you might win. Today I'm revealing the prize - Five fat quarters from Kathy Hall's latest group from Andover Fabrics, a package of John James Big Eye Quilting Needles and a stork scissors! I'm afraid the picture doesn't do justice to the beautiful colors in the fabric but trust me, they are beautiful. Yes, that's wheat on the lower right fat quarter!

Here's how to enter: Leave a comment on this blog post (and only this post) about what your favorite or least favorite cleaning chore is and why. You must include this in your comment to enter my giveaway. There must also be a link back to your blog or be sure to include your e-mail address. If you'd like to become a follower, that would be great but its not a requirement. I will ship international.

I shared with you yesterday that I don't like to clean wood blinds. The reason is that you have to wipe each slat down separately and I never feel I get all the dust and cat fur wiped off of them.

How about you, what's your favorite or least favorite cleaning chore?
P.S. - The drawing will be October 15, 9 AM CST.

Winner Update - The winner is Canadian Kristin who has been notified! Thanks everyone for entering my giveaway, Mayleen

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scratch & Sniff the Cleaning Solution

Remember the sunflower hint for the give away? Well, scratch that as life happened and my idea for the giveaway didn't work out. Instead, this picture is a clue about what will be given away! No, you're not entering to win a bushel of wheat. Sorry.

I'll be posting about the prize Friday morning or early afternoon so check back then. You are eligible to enter my giveaway by leaving a comment on tomorrow's blog post. In your comment, you must tell me what your favorite or least favorite cleaning chore is and why. If you'd like to become a follower, that would be great but its not a requirement to enter.

Its been a crazy week here and tomorrow will probably be more of the same. I'm scheduled for my annual stress test in the morning and then need to finish doing some deep cleaning.

Does anyone else remember being taught in school back in the 1960's that by the time we were grown up, there would be self-cleaning houses? I keep wondering what happened to that idea! Today I cleaned the entry way, living room, staircase woodwork and part of the dining room. My least favorite "serious cleaning" job is cleaning the wood blinds and I cleaned six of them too. Husband just got done shampooing the living room and dining room carpet.

I smell like cleaning solution, my hands are dry and need lotion and muscles throughout my body are sending me messages like, "What were you thinking?!?" I'm going to stiff and sore tomorrow. I hope I don't smell like cleaning solution when I go to my appointment!

Even if cleaning is not one of my favorite things to do, I'm thankful I can still clean. Thankful I can still get up on a ladder, thankful I can still pick up furniture to move it around and even thankful I can get down on my hands and knees to scrub something if I need to. I may be a little slower but I can still get it done!

Remember, check back on Friday and leave a comment on Friday's post about your favorite or least favorite cleaning chore to enter my giveaway!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Giveaway Hint

It seems that I brought home something from our trip besides good memories - a stomach bug. Ick. I think I'm finally on the mend and trying to catch up on life around home!

Remember the Fall into Fall giveaway? My prize will involve something similiar to what's in this photo. Be sure to check back on October 1 for all the details! Maybe a few more hints along the way.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall into Fall Giveaway

Its the Fall Into Fall Quilters Blog Giveaway! Follow the link to Debi's blog to read all about it and see the other participating giveaway-ers. I'm sure that's not a word but that link is where you'll find links to all the bloggers who are hosting a giveaway. If you're a blogger and would like to be part of the giveaway, join the rest of us and sign up too.

You'll have to wait until October 1 to enter but I'll be giving you hints about what my prize might be and establishing a few rules too. The drawing will be October 15. Why does that sound so far away but yet I know its just around the corner?!?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The 5300 mile wedding trip

The newlyweds: our son and his wife -

Brendan & Megan Vinson
married September 11, 2010
Nevada City, California
Our daughter, Micaela, is the middle bridesmaid.

... and now for just a few of our trip photos!

We decided to drive to California for the wedding and see some of the national parks and sites that we've always wanted to see. We were also trying to transport 10 pounds of frozen BBQ Brisket for the rehearsal dinner. If anyone needs tips on how to keep meat frozen for 10 days on a road trip, I can help you!

Hint: dry ice and the right way to pack the meat.

Okay, so this isn't a national park but we stopped to see Carhenge out in the middle of a pasture near Alliance, Nebraska. We'd heard about this place and when we saw the sign for it, decided to stop in.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
We took an all day bus tour that included Mt. Rushmore and the area. I was so glad neither my husband nor I were driving the road through the Needles Eye Tunnel! I'd recommend the bus tour if you're planning a trip to the area.
We also saw the Crazy Horse Memorial on the tour.

Right before we left, we realized we'd need more dry ice to keep the brisket frozen. Its readily available in our area at grocery stores and Wal-Mart so after many phone calls and starting to panic, we were surprised to find that its only available at one grocery store in Rapid City, South Dakota. If you're going to use dry ice, make sure you know where to find it before you leave home!

We made a short stop to see the Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, established in 1906.

Here's Old Faithful Geyser erupting in Yellowstone National Park. We took the "Yellowstone in a Day" tour to get a good overview of the park and let someone else do the driving and parking. It was Labor Day weekend and the park was busy.

This is a beautiful waterfall at Yellowstone but unfortunately I can't remember if its the Lower Falls or the Upper Falls! Can anyone help me on this? I think its the Lower Falls.

This was the view from our Gardiner, Montana hotel room one morning - snow on the mountains! At 7 AM the morning we left Yellowstone, Sept. 7, our SUV's thermometer registered 16 degrees. Brrrr.

While we were at Yellowstone, we also took a short trip south to the Grand Teton National Park. Wish we could have explored more of this park but we ran out of time and began the final leg of the drive to California for the wedding. We stopped for a quick look at the Utah Salt Flats and were on our way again.

For those of you wondering, the BBQ brisket arrived in California frozen hard. I slowly thawed it, reheated it in a crockpot and it was enjoyed by the rehearsal dinner guests.

After the wedding, we drove to Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park in California. This is the General Grant tree, the third largest tree in the world.

This photo is about where we noticed the SUV's brakes were overheating! If any of you have driven through Sequoia National Park, you may agree with me that some of the roads twist and turn a bit, especially for someone used to driving flat straight roads! The road was under construction and traffic was only let through on the hour so we parked and let the brakes cool. This was the beautiful view from our car while we waited to be allowed to drive on.

The next day we drove on to the Las Vegas, Nevada area where we saw the Hoover Dam. As you drive in, cars are stopped for a security check and we were wondering what the officers would think of the blanket draped load of wedding presents in the cargo area of our rental SUV. Apparently we have honest faces because after a few questions, we were allowed in.

After staying at a "luxury hotel" for the night, our next national park was Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. By now, both my husband and I were tired so we just took a 2 hour driving/short walk tour of the park. This is a photo of the Delicate Arch.

We made it to the Colorado National Monument before my husband said, "I'm done travelling." Spent two more days in Denver before driving home, 18 days and about 5300 miles on the road.

I'm definitely looking forward to some quilting time soon but this week looks a little full so I may not get to blog or sew much. Check back again soon!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Be right back!

The bridesmaid dress is done and so is my blouse! I'll post a photo later so you can all to see what I've been doing lately. I think they turned out fairly well for not having sewn clothing in years. Those 5/8" seams sure look huge compared to a quilt's 1/4" seam!

My husband and I will be travelling to the wedding in a few days so a blogging break is in order. See you soon, Mayleen

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sewing project update

Just an update on my sewing projects - my daughter's bridesmaid dress and my blouse. I've sewn in the invisible zipper, altered the side seams numerous times, replaced the bodice because of a pulled thread in the fabric and basted in the chiffon sleeves twice but now I'm at a standstill because my daughter has come down with the flu! I still need to line the dress and do a rolled hem (another first).

The dress is still not fitting as well as I'd like but we've decided to not push it further. My sewing rule is that I will take apart things only three times and after that leave it. I find that after that many times of picking seams apart, the fabric is deteriorating and the results of further picking out and resewing will usually not improve.

I needed a lot of M&Ms this past week! You will notice they are not in Roy G Biv order. When stressful times arise, I'm not too concerned with the color wheel! I shouldn't be eating all those M&Ms if I want to fit into my blouse so a prayer request for me - please pray that God will give me the wisdom and skill to finish the bridesmaid dress and that it will fit well and look good.

So not being able to sew any further on my daughter's bridesmaid dress until she feels better, I've been working on my blouse. I decided to make it in the matte side of a teal colored polyester Charmeuse fabric and save the bright pink fabric for another project. This fabric is not normally one I would choose because I don't like shiny fabrics and it can be difficult to sew. A challenge but so far, so good.

Vogue classified this pattern as "Easy" and perhaps it would have been if I hadn't altered the size and lined it. Click on the link to see the blouse view I'm making with the draped front and no collar. After I sew on the front facing, I'll be ready to insert the 3/4 length sleeves. Finally, the hem treatment and some handwork, a good going over and a final pressing. I will probably need another full day of sewing with no interruptions before its finished so that means at least two normal days around here!

I am trying to read a few blogs every day but am unfortunately, not able to keep up on answering everyone's comments. I have only a week and a half to finish the dress and blouse so am fully focused on those two projects.

Looking forward very much to sewing mostly straight lines on cotton fabrics! Be back to quilting soon, Mayleen

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chiffon - A word that strikes terror into a quilter's heart

I know some of you are wondering what I am doing since I haven't posted anything for days! Well, I'm still working on my daughter's bridesmaid dress and trying to find something for me to wear to the wedding.

The bridesmaid dress will be made of wine colored satin with chiffon sleeves and belt of the same color. Definitely not fabrics I'm used to sewing or even enjoy sewing! I am doing OK with the satin but the chiffon ... oh my. Anyone who has sewn chiffon have any good tips? I had to buy more of it today because I made a mistake on the belt. Tomorrow is another day and I've already got plans how to not make the same mistake.

Meanwhile, I've given up on finding something ready made for me to wear and today I purchased a pattern and fabric for a dressy blouse. Its been a really long time since I've sewn a Vogue pattern and we shall see how "Easy" it really is!

I'm not convinced I picked the right fabric though. I wanted something that didn't clash with the wedding colors (wine and black) and complimented my gray hair and complexion. This shouldn't surprise me but I bought my favorite color - a bright pink crepe fabric for the blouse. Not so sure that it really goes with the wine color so I'm still open to other possibilities.

A close second choice was a green chiffon print but as soon as I checked the fabric content on the end of the bolt and saw the "C" word, I put it back on the shelf! Need something a little less stressful than that.

If you e-mailed me and I haven't responded its because I'm trying to finish the bridesmaid dress and my blouse. Hopefully, I will be able to post photos of them soon. You probably have no idea how much I'm looking forward to sewing with 100% cotton fabrics again!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Its scary in there ...

... and that's why the door is closed to my sewing room!

I took the Process Pledge so I'll tell you its a messy process in there with three projects + going at the same time! There are selvages every where, strips in a neat stack (at this point) and clamshells divided by color. There's also fabric that's waiting to be cut into strips and then clamshells. Trying to be organized but its a challenge for other family members to find the ironing board!

However, it is not this bad! This "100 Ways to Hide Your Stash" You-Tube video is by Cathy Miller, the Singing Quilter. At least my selvages and fabric are not falling out of the microwave!

This afternoon, I added more confusion to the sewing room by making a large crazy quilt block for me to stitch on tomorrow at Threshing Days in Goessel. I'm doing a crazy quilt embroidery demonstration there.

I recently read an article about copyright issues for quilters in a McCalls Quilting magazine. Anyone else read it? If its correct, we will have to check with the quilt designer before we can post photos of our finished projects on our blogs. As I understand the article, before we can enter a quilt into a judged quilt show (for prize money), we would also have to get the designer's permission. I'm probably not being very clear but if you can find the magazine, read it.

To end this post on a happier note, look what's blooming in my flower bed! This spring, I dug up some orange daylilies at my mother's apartment to transplant into my flower bed. The others all bloomed orange much earlier but this pinkish purple one is just now blooming. Interesting that my mother never had daylilies this color.

I also accidentally brought home a white hibiscus plant and a blue morning glory plant which is starting to vine everywhere! Most people wouldn't get excited about morning glories since they're sometimes considered a weed but I've never been able to get them to grow until now. If I could only get hollyhocks to grow and bloom!