Friday, February 26, 2010

String Finish afterall!

Here's my string cell phone holder!

Something's bugging me though! What do you think of that bottom string? I may leave it and I may applique another string over it but for now, it's done!

I'm heading out of town this weekend. I'm going somewhere its going to be a high of 33 degrees. Here at home its supposed to be a high of almost 50. Life isn't fair, is it?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Run for your lives ... !

... Anaconda on the loose! Today I began quilting my string quilt. This morning found me sandwiching it on the basement floor. You know, tape it down, stretch it tight, sandwich it flat. That sounded like such a good idea, oh my. My body parts are so stiff and sore! Obviously that technique is meant for people who are in much better shape than I am. At least I didn't have to call my husband down there to help me off the floor!

The quilt is so large and heavy that I've decided to just stitch in a ditch on the seams. I may try quilting an interesting design on the borders though. We'll see how much energy I have when I get that far.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to finish quilting it this week and that means I won't meet my goal of one string project finish a week. I guess I'll just have to do two next week!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cookie time!

I thought I was going to sew today but that's not what happened. Instead I baked Monster Cookies! I think they're also called Dishpan Cookies. The idea is that the recipe is huge and thus the name.

Half the recipe makes about 9 dozen cookies for me. I've never made a full recipe because 1. My KitchenAid Mixer is not large enough and 2. If I did, how long would it take to bake them, probably all day?!?

So maybe you're wondering what I'm going to do with 9 dozen cookies? I'm freezing 3 dozen for later, giving away 2 dozen, 1 dozen has already been eaten and I think that should leave about 3 dozen for my family to snack on through the weekend. It won't be long and they'll be gone!

Monster Cookies (1/2 of the original recipe)

Cream together:
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 1/2 cups peanut butter
6 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon + 1 tsp. baking soda
Mix in:
9 cups oatmeal
1/2 lb. chocolate chips
1/2 lb M&Ms
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
(There isn't any flour in this recipe.)

Tomorrow's plans - sew!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! Its been fun to read your posts, check on your blogs and get to know you. I'm looking forward to getting to know you even more!

This morning I had my daughter (she said she was totally impartial!) draw the giveaway winner and she is Betty! Please send me your mailing address by e-mail before Friday and I'll get my package out to you by the weekend. If I haven't heard from Betty by Friday morning, I'll draw another winner.

The String Challenge runs through the end of June and my goal is to finish a project every week. Since I usually make them in multiples, there will probably be another giveaway here soon!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Anatomy of a Potholder and things I did today

Warning - I have been in the house most of the weekend because of the weather.

Those giveaway potholders have been on my mind a lot lately! I guess this is what happens when you're a bit of a worrier.

The loops, oh my goodness, they are not centered. One definitely looks like it has a crick in its neck.

My potholders are stored in a drawer so I never paid much attention to loops until now.

And then there's this issue - Could they be just a little bit skinny?

Like they've been on WW too long? This is the first time I've used InsulBright as batting so I'm a little skeptical.

Then I noticed the Housewife Needle Case I made for the giveaway and decided to try it out.

So I opened it up...

... and loaded it up with things I think I'll put in my own needle case.

Very convenient. Presently, I'm carrying everything around in a sandwich keeper so this will be a big improvement!

This last photo is of the Candy Sticks blocks I've made so far. I'm planning to alternate them with string blocks.

I really enjoyed working with the bright cheery colors because today was another dreary cold day. I'm thankful that instead of the ice we were expecting, our area got rain. Husband says we're getting a little snow now though.

Its easy to complain about the weather we've been having this winter but today's "For Better or For Worse" comic strip really hit home. At the very end, Elly tells John, "... If all we have to worry about is the weather - we live in a perfect world." Now really, I waste too much time worrying about things. Like potholders. Relax, Trust and Enjoy Life! Remind me of that the next time I start in, OK?

Don't forget, I'll be drawing the winner of the giveaway on Tuesday morning!

Friday, February 19, 2010

String Project finish

Here's my string project finish for week #5 - two Housewife Needle Cases made from the book, "Remembering Adelia" by Kathleen Tracy. The needle cases in the book are not string projects but I easily adapted them. There's room to put quite a few small items in the three pockets. I'm going to put my thimble, thread, a small snips and, of course, needles in mine. (I'm sorry about the photo quality. Click on the photo for a better look!)

This will show you how tired I'm getting. While I was working on the needle cases, I kept thinking that they remind me of hand puppets. I don't think I ever had a hand puppet to play with but I did watch Fran, Kukla and Ollie on TV. The felt for the needles sure looks like a pink tongue to me!

I plan to keep the case that's folded and tied shut for myself but the one that's open will be part of my giveaway! I'll be drawing for my string giveaway winner on Tuesday, February 23 so you still have time to enter if you'd like. Check out my February 16 post for details and leave a comment to enter. You must tell me what your favorite color is to be entered in the giveaway.

Okaaay, building enthusiasm here for one more project for the Friday Night Sew-In, (maybe). So far, I've made the two needle cases and cut some strips for a future string quilt. I had planned to work on either or both of the two string throw projects which are partially finished. Which one will it be?!? Z-Z-Z-zzzzzzzzzz

Tonight's the night!

Tonight's the "Friday Night Sew-In"! This is the first time I've participated in something like this and hope to get a lot accomplished. Unfortunately, I can already tell you I'm not going to last very far into the night and it may be a "Friday Afternoon & Evening Sew-In" for me! I woke up at 3AM today. How long do you think I'll last? I'm thinking that by 9 o'clock tonight I will be asleep at the sewing machine or at least, groggy.

Some of the things I want to work on - my strings challenge project of the week absolutely must happen today, then I'd like to cut some strings for a future project and finally work on either or both of two string throw projects.

I may have to run some errands before I get started at the sewing machine today but I'll post some pictures and updates on projects as the day goes on!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Its a Giveaway!

Okay, here it is - part of my string projects giveaway! To have a chance at winning this lovely prize package, make a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite color is. I'll draw the winner (or have someone totally impartial do it!) on the morning of Tuesday, February 23rd. Please check back to see if you're the winner!

What did I mean when I said "part" of the giveaway? Yet to be included is whatever string project I make this week. At this point, I haven't started on it yet which means I really don't know what it will be! But it will be something, it always is.

Already included in this prize package are two of the strawberry pincushions I made back in week 2 of the string challenge, a tissue pack holder made in week 4 (added bonus - free tissue pack) and also two potholders which should have turned out looking something like Stephanie's but didn't! Seriously as I was making them, I was wondering how difficult making a potholder could possibly be! Finally, there are three fat quarters of 1980's era fabric - two are Ginny Beyer and the other is unknown.

And then there's the chocolate - Premium M&Ms - "truly tempting layers of milk chocolate, white chocolate and dark chocolate". You probably can't see it but they're a very pretty irridescent color of blue, purple and pink. Mmmm. Let me know how they are because they're not exactly what I can eat these days! BTW, there are 4 servings in that box. Plus, two Cadbury Easter eggs. Oh yeah, that should send you over the sugar edge!

I know my blog is only about a month old and not a lot of readers flocking here so I'm going to leave the giveaway open for a week. You can either decide that fewer entries mean a better chance of winning for you or you could share the news about the giveaway with everyone you know!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our 30th. wedding anniversary & a giveaway!

Today is our 30th. wedding anniversary! My husband and I spent the weekend in Kansas City and managed to leave town yesterday before the road conditions deteriorated. We browsed through antique malls, bookstores, ate some of our favorite food and enjoyed being with each other. Hope that wasn't too much excitement for you all!

I think our anniversary is a great reason to have a giveaway of some of my string projects. They're starting to accumulate and I'd like to share with someone! (Please let me share!) I'm sure there will be some chocolate involved too. Sometime tomorrow, I will post details and a photo of the giveaway items so check back then.

While we were in Kansas City, I purchased a new quilting book by Elsie M. Campbell titled, "String Quilts". No surprise, I'm so very tempted to start a few new string projects! She'll be coming to speak at Wichita's Prairie Quilt Guild in April. Maybe I can finish them by then!?!

Please save me from myself as I'm supposed to be finishing up the embroidery on my crazy quilt wallhanging before the PQG's quilt show in June. The stitching is done on the front but I decided to also embroider a wild and crazy bush/flowers/bugs/whatever strikes my fancy on the back. Why? Just because I wanted to, that's why!

Anyway, I'm planning to enter the crazy quilt in the judged portion of the show. It won a blue ribbon in the Kansas State Fair this fall and now we will see what a professional quilt judge thinks of it.

The photo shows just 1/4 of the front of the crazy quilt. It's machine pieced and hand embroidered. It has great sentimental value to me because of what was happening in our lives while I was stitching on this quilt. Perhaps I will share that story with you another time!

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the giveaway details. Please!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Log Cabin doll quilt

I'm in between small string quilt projects right now. Still have the Chocolate Box quilt and the Candy Sticks blocks to work on though!

I thought I'd show you one of the log cabin doll quilts I recently made. Its pieced entirely from Jo Morton fabrics and is hand quilted in the ditch. This was part of a challenge from the Small Quilt Talk group. Kathleen Tracy has written several books about doll quilts and the challenge was to make one of the designs from her book, "Prairie Children and Their Quilts".

Here's my version of the log cabin doll quilt in her book:

I won't be at the computer most of the weekend but next week, expect some progress on the string quilts from me! Be sure to hold me accountable on that, OK?!?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Easy String Project

Since my week has been a little stressful and busy, I chose another easy string project to fulfill my goal of one string project finish a week. Here are 3 Facial Tissue Pack Holders made the string project way!

I made these using the "Share the Love" tutorial and found the instructions very easy to follow.

This was a project I never thought I'd make. I'm really a "Less is More" kind of a person and thought tissue holders were kind of cutesy and unnecessary. Perhaps you're wondering what changed my mind?

I should start off by saying that since I'm getting more "mature" every year, I've noticed my hearing becoming more sensitive to noises around me. Apparently, I am easily distracted! When I'm sitting in church or really in any gathering of people, I can pick up candy wrappers crackling, gum being chewed, tissue packets being opened, etc. And no, I'm not sitting in the children's section but you might be surprised whats happening over in the senior section!

I know some of my own little habits must be distracting to others and annoying too. For instance, I tend to brace my foot against the chair ahead of me. Someone once did the same to me and tapped their foot against my chair's seat for awhile. Very special, maybe they were trying to make sure I stayed awake! Or they were trying to make a point?

So since I don't want to be a rattler, a scruncher or a tapper I decided to make the tissue packs. In other words, I just want it to be a little less obvious when I get out a tissue in public!

PS - Please don't worry about making a little noise if you sit near me. Just make sure you bring enough candy to share!

Need your advice!

I've been putting off sandwiching my string quilt for too long! Before I start though, I need your advice because once I've sandwiched it there's no going back. Spray basting and all the work involved with sandwiching makes it a one time deal for me!

Here's the problem: The string quilt blocks have a muslin foundation which makes the border of single layer fabric very flimsy compared to them. I think I know the answer to this but would you "line" the border with a layer of muslin to make it drape and wear better? Obviously if I don't, the weight of the body of the quilt will be very different from the border.

I'm concerned that I may get a wrinkle in the muslin or border and it won't lay flat. Also, I just want to finish this quilt not spend more time on it! On the other hand, I don't want to look at it later and wish I'd added muslin behind the border.

There aren't many of you out there reading this blog but those who do, would you please leave me a comment and tell me what you think I should do? Thanks!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Threadcount Week 3 - 0 (!)

I pieced, I sewed but I didn't use up any spools of thread from the tub! It looks like it may be a repeat this week. Too many commitments in the next few days for me to make much progress on my string projects.

I thought by now I would be starting to machine quilt the Chocolate Box string quilt but realistically, I might get it sandwiched this week or I might not. Since I have a goal of finishing at least one string project each week of the challenge, I'll be making another small project this week. Pictures coming soon! Hope to work on it tomorrow before my quilt guild meeting.

Have you ever made a quilt because it just wouldn't let you alone until you made it?!? This afternoon, I had about an hour and a half to sew and even though I knew better, I gave in. I started two new projects, one throw for me and one throw to donate.

I"m going to make the two throws using these block designs. I first saw the "Candy Stick" block on Lori's blog, Humble Quilts. It has been lurking in the cobwebs of my brain for several months now. I plan to alternate the "Candy Stick" block with a string block like she did.

The block was designed by Karen Griska and published on the Empire Quilters Guild Blog but is no longer available there. According to the website, the pattern will be included in a spring Quiltmaker issue.

So now I've got a piecing project, a machine quilting project and a string project to work on! Not to mention the hand quilting and embroidery projects and the numerous Works In Progress. At least I'll have something to keep me busy during these long winter days.

By the way, we got two inches of snow at our house today but we actually saw the sun before it set tonight and that was a definite mood lifter!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Update: Tutorial for facial tissue pack holder

Later today - This is a tutorial for a facial tissue pack holder which is similar to the one I was (still am) looking for: Polka Dot Pineapple.

Still later today - You're never going to believe this! I have spent quite a bit of time today looking for a tutorial's blog address and its been on a piece of paper in front of me all day!!! Sigh. Here is a link to the tutorial in case anyone is interested. Share the Love

In a fog, again

Growl, it's another dreary morning. Gray, gray and more gray. Since the beginning of the year, we've had 20 days of fog and more predicted which is very unusual for us. Some days it goes away and some days it just sticks around. I usually think of winter in this area as brown with occasional white happening. This year, its brown with a lot of gray and the occasional white. I will be so happy to see sunshine again and I don't think I'm alone!

Because I'm in a bit of a dreary mood, I need a quick project to make. You know, something I can start and actually finish in an hour or two. I have a project in mind but I can't find the blog with the tutorial on it! Its for the little kleenex tissue pack holders and the tutorial is called "Share the Love" something or other. I've gone through my blog list and checked out a few more but still can't find it. Might have missed it though because I found all sorts of other things to look at.

All I remember about the blog is that its written by a woman who quilts and the tutorial is listed on the right hand side. Ought to be able to narrow it down with those hints right?!? Ha. Does this tutorial sound familiar to anyone?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cheddar Cheese & Crackers doll quilt

Just to let you know, I do have a quilting life outside of string quilts. Last month I made this "Cheddar Crackers & Cheese" doll quilt from Lori's instructions on her blog, Humble Quilts. If you go to her blog, you can see the vintage full size quilt in this design and other versions of the doll quilt.

The fabrics in my quilt are all Jo Morton. I like small quilts, easier to finish and I like their charm. This quilt is about 25 inches square and the little squares measure 1 inch.

Here's a photo before I started hand quilting it. Sorry about the quality of the photo, the fabrics are just not showing very well. Click on the photo for a better look. Lots of intersections to quilt through and some of the quilting will only be 1/2 inch apart (on the cheddar blocks). This may take me awhile!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Gertrude and the string apron

Meet Gertrude who's wearing my latest string project finish - the Four Corners Apron by Vanilla House Designs. Besides the obvious lack of a head, arms and legs, Gertrude also has a ridiculously small waist and hardly any hips at all! Seems quite unfair to give her the job of modelling my apron but you're not gonna see me in a photo anytime soon.

That is actually not my oven Gertrude is standing next to. I took this photo in the Friesen house kitchen at the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel, Kansas. They're in the process of redoing their website so I'll link to them another time. Has anyone reading this ever actually been to Goessel?

The apron was fun to make and another good way to use up strips. I had to piece some of the strips to make them long enough but that just adds to the charm for me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wrestling advice needed!

I think I got a little carried away making the blocks for my Chocolate Box quilt. Today I finally sewed on the borders and noticed that it turned out a little on the large side. (No kidding!) The quilt now measures 75 x 91!

Here it is in all it's glory, notice the bottom border dragging on the floor.

I didn't plan to use this quilt as a bed quilt but just to stay warm on the couch during a nap or watching a movie. I like to pull a quilt up under my chin and still have it tucked under my feet. And I really hate it when I roll over and feel a draft on my backside! Coverage is important in this family.

Back to the quilt - First it didn't seem long enough so I added a few rows. Then it seemed too narrow so I added two columns. Sigh. Now its a large twin, so large that the polyester batting I bought for it earlier is three inches too narrow for the quilt. Of course, I'd already opened the package before I realized it was too small. A very nice lady at my LQS gave me some of her own polyester batting scraps so I can piece the batting larger. (I usually use cotton batting and don't have any polyester.) I've never pieced batting before so I hope it looks OK when its all said and done.

When I realized how heavy the quilt top is since its foundation pieced and when I considered how large it turned out, I decided perhaps it would just be better to have the quilt professionally machine quilted. So I called up my machine quilter and she told me she's booked through April! I really don't want to wait that long so it looks like I'm going to have to wrestle that Anaconda afterall! Any advice from other wrestlers out there?!?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Threadcount Week 2 - 1 1/2 spools

One and a half more spools out of my thread tub! I've been using my old thread to sew strings down on the muslin. I started with the red thread and am now trying to make a dent in a sea of pink spools.

I've been so proud (in a good way, ha) of myself for using up some of my older thread and fabric! Unfortunately, today, because I'd used it all up, I had to go buy red thread to stitch on the string apron. There was just no way I could use any color of thread I had in the tub. Since I won't use all of the red thread, I guess my one new spool cancels out the spool I used up last week. Anybody else ever try to use up something but end up buying more new? At least the new thread is a lot prettier to look at than the old thread!

Project update: The string apron is coming along very nicely and should be finished tomorrow. I still have the Chocolate Box quilt to finish, hopefully, before I start a new project. And, yes, there's already one perking in my brain. Don't get too excited though. This is something small I thought I'd never bother to make but is looking better all the time!