Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Little Winter Warmth

The Shoulder Warmer is my design and should
be considered copyrighted.  If you use my
idea, please give me credit.
Living in the Midwest, one thinks about the cold.  Being part of an elementary school staff has you thinking about the cold of recess.  Kids are so much more tolerant of the cold than adults.  My sister requested hand-warmers, a shoulder warmer, and some medium size warmers.  I make them with flannel and fill them with dry rice.  The Shoulder Wwarmer is an experiment of sorts.  But I tested it last night and will probably offer some directions after Thanksgiving if it lives up to my sister's expectations. 
As we travel over the next couple of days, my needle will be sealing up the ends of the hand-warmers.  Once they are sealed, you simply pop the hand-warmer size into the microwave for a minute.  (Longer  than that makes them too hot to handle, especially because they are moist heat.)  The other warmers heat up at 2 minutes.  They make great, inexpensive, quick gifts that are very welcomed all winter long.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wanted to Share

This is a customer quilt so I don't want to reveal too much, but this is a memory quilt created to mark a young woman's passage from high school to college.  Friends and family wrote messages and then her mom created this wonder quilt full of love and great thoughts.  I know it is for a special young woman because I had a chance to read the messages.

How can you create something like this? 
Pick a plain light background fabric and provide either fabric pens or permanent sharpies for friends and family to write messages.  Then use this blocks as parts of each block.  The picture does not communicate just how special this quilt will make the owner feel.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend Efforts

Yes, I did do a little quilting.  I am doing some stitch in the ditch on to small Christmas quilts using panels from Nancy Halverson's collections.  I am good at straight seams, but there are a lot of small curvy places on one, and I am seeing improvement as I go.  Figure that it is an Advent calendar and will only be up for a month each year, so I can handle "coloring outside the lines". 
I am also continuing to do all the cross-stitch on my grandchildren's Christmas stockings.  I believe that the letter "Y" is my least favorite especially because it follows "r" in both cases.  Can you say rip-out!
The highlights of the weekend surrounded the visit of my daughter and family.  Had hoped to have both kids and their families, but Jon had overtime for the weekend.  Rats!  Thought I would include my favorite part of the aquarium adventure.  (We go every time the kids are in town, and sometimes without them.)  The movie is in sideways, but I thought it would still be fun to show my sisters why I think jellyfish are so soothing to watch.  Turn DOWN your sound because the background noise of pretty loud on a Saturday.

The next couple of weeks will be busier than normal because I have several customer quilts and a few of my own projects to finish, but with a forecast for ice and snow today, where else would I be going???

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today's Quilting

I had pie-in-the-sky hopes of finishing 4 or 5 sets of HeartStrings Quilt of Valor blocks today.  We have more like 2 1/2 but they are from 5 different sets of centers.  I am going to work for about an hour on one of them and then need to work on some cross-stitch for the remainder of the evening.  Ho!  Ho!  Ho! (My daughter reads this blog.)

I am a bit concerned about making my goal of 10 more by mid-January, but think if I whittle away at blocks over the next two weeks, I will feel like the group can finish all of them if we meet 4 more times.  I have several trips planned so I will have time for binding, and several others seem to volunteer to do this, as well.  We might even have total of 23 done.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tomorrow is HeartStrings Day

We are trying to meet at my house twice a month to work on HeartStrings.  Currently, we need to finish about 12 more Quilts of Valor by the end of January.  I received a bag of blocks at guild this week so I worked ahead a little.  I put this top together today and made 9 more blocks.  The stars as  center strips are going to create a very interesting look.   The touches of gold create a little different feel, as well.  My goal for our group is to put together at least 3 sets of finished blocks tomorrow.  Then I will quilt them over the next few days and find others to finish off the binding.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weather Outside is Delgihtful!!

  Just like Mary, I like in the Minneapolis area and am enjoying the first snow of the season.  However, I have actually had to do the shovelling.  This is one of those really wet, heavy snows, so I am pacing myself.  I have been out and done the walk and driveway twice.  Used a ruler to measure and found that it was a total of 5 inches so far.  More is still falling... 

I live across from a golf course, that is a gorgeous sight with all the untouched snow.  Funny, but they just closed the course at the beginning of the week.

I am using the rest of the day to work on binding and embroider more of the stars for my husband's
retirement quilt.  Took me a lot of time to find theright font, but I am almost ready to start appliqueing the stars to the rest of the quilt. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cat and Mouse

This another of those not quite "quilty" posts.  Today during water exercise we had lots of laughs.  Imagine for a moment, 30 women between the ages of 50 and 83 playing a chase game of cat and mouse.  It was quite the workout trying to either stay ahead of the cats or to be the cat trying to catch the frisky mice.  The stomach muscles are stronger for all the laughter if nothing else.  It is a memory that will keep me smiling for days!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Several Not so Quilty Things

1.  My husband will retire after 30 years of active duty service in July.  Today I am working on creating some "save the date" postcards to send out to some family and friends.  Biggest problem was finding his ensign photo.  I knew it had to be here somewhere.  It is not like we have moved 17+ times in this 30 year time period.  Turns out it was hidden in plain view with other framed photos of the family.  This party will mark our move from military to civilian life, and we are planning to celebrate with abandonment or at least with some of the important people in our lives.  The military experience has brought us many benefits and unique life experiences, even if we also had to endure many separations and changes of location.

2.  Although this is about a special quilt, it also about memory.  The original stars I machine embroidered for my husband's retirement quilt just seem to big, so I am redoing them two sizes smaller.  Can't seem to find the right font, but I will.  I want to start sewing them on this weekend so I will find the right version today!!! If you remember, I said that this quilt was inspired by a Quilt of Valor that I quilted.  Ran across the photo of it a few days ago and was really surprised how different it was from how I remembered it.

3.  Met with my personal trainer for the second time yesterday.  I believe that the stability ball will become my best friend in time, but I did feel a little AWKWARD yesterday.  Oh well, I did not get into this shape in a day, either.  lol

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ready to Deliver

 Since November is a time to be thankful and count our blessings, I thought this would share some of what my guild, my FIL and I have done to let others know that we want to pay forward all the blessings we have in our lives.
Today 9 of these quilts are being donated to
the Women's Advocacy program in my area.  It feels so good to have this many ready to go.  I made a few by myself, but 5 of the 10 were made with the efforts of my quilt group and 2 were made with the efforts of my FIL and me.  I have been collecting for about 5 months.  I also have 4 other small quilts plus one in this pile that will be headed to another organization that helps babies and young children.  This is a real "feel good" experience.

We have also made part of the 20 HeartStrings Quilts of Valor for a special delivery at the end of January.  Tonight I hope to receive a few more back that are quilted and also give out several more of the kits for making the blocks. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Finished Last Night

Yet another UFO finished.  Yet another one quilted on my swirly day (or was that squirrely day?) This one is small - 38 x 40.  It will be donated as a baby quilt.  It came from the same pre-cut fabrics as the blue, green and yellow quilt.  I really am moving forward in the finishing of my UFOs.  Of course, I chose the easiest ones to finish first.

Now I need to focus on getting my husband's retirement quilt finished.   It is not one of my UFOs, but it is an important one to me.   I already quilted and bound it.  Wanted to applique the hearts on afterwards because the last one can't really be added until his retirement party, right?  It will happen in July.  Up until then, I want it to hang in one of his two offices to remind him that this will happen.  30 years of naval service is enough.  Loved most of the experience, but really want to find somewhere to settle for the last 30-40 years of our lives.  lol

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another UFO Finished

I did a lot of quilting the other day.  I was into swirls.  This quilt has been waiting for me to do something for well over a year, or is that for years?  The fabric was from a different quilt that I purchased years ago but never convinced myself to do.  I decided to experiment with the pre-cut pieces and design some thing fun.  Although I did seem to get a little heavy-handed with the swirls it is very soft and cuddly.  It was a bit chilly tonight and having this one on my lap kept me just comfy.  It measures 42 x 54.  It will be a donation quilt, after I take it to guild to prove that I have finished it because it is one of my 11 listed projects. (4 done and two others just need to be bound,)
Considering that we got up at 4:00 AM to make a run to the airport this morning, I should be in bed sound asleep, but wanted to share.  (Actually, because it is now 12:19, it is tomorrow, but I plan to pull the darkening curtains and sleep in until ????????????  After I finished binding this quilt, thought about sleep, but instead I started hand stitching the binding on another small quilt created from more fabric from the same pre-cuts. 
Earlier today, a friend invited me to go to lunch and then look at fabric, so I spent time last night figuring out exactly what I wanted for my next UFO project and bought some butter cream batik for the background.  This is one of those UFOs where I had almost all of the fabric and the challenge but had to find the right pattern.  I have been searching for the months and finally found one that I will of course tweak to meet my goal of making it a scrappy queen-size for my new bed (Just got the bed, but have had the fabric for 2 years.),  I will begin cutting it out on Sunday after I finish another customer quilt.  I consider myself so blessed to have time to do what I love every single day.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

As you will recall, my favorite piecing machine went in for repairs last Thursday and has been gone for almost a week.  That means it should be home some time tomorrow.  I have used the time whether wisely or not to have ALL the carpets cleaned (It has taken several days to really get them dry.)  We have also been to see all 5 of our grandchildren and their parents, my sister, BIL, some of her children, and meet our 2 grandniece twins.  On top of that I have been quilting more of my UFOs and charity quilts.  Yesterday, I quilted 3 lap size quilts, 2 wheelchair quilts and a pillow top for a dog bed.  Feels so good to have these done, or at least ready for binding when my machine returns.

I am the Queen of My Domain

While we were living in Texas, friends gave us a 1912 Singer treadle machine with a "King Tut" motif.  The actual wooden casing was in horrible condition.  My husband builds furniture to relax, so they brought it to us as a challenge.  There was no saving the actual wooden casing, so Kevin carefully took it apart and built his own version of it using what he salvaged to make patterns and some trial and error piecing and fittings.  All the wrought iron was painfully (what a chore) hand stripped, but he said IF there is ever a next time he will pay the price to have it sandblasted!  We voted not to put in the tray with the curved inside sections in the front, but there will be a piece, or a small rectangular drawer to cover the slot some time in the future.  Could not decide on what we wanted yet. The machine itself is having a complete overhaul and might require a couple months to finish because it is going to be fit in between all the other sewing machine repairs the man does.  For now, I am just going to enjoy another beautiful piece of woodworking by my wonderful and talented husband