Water, water everywhere

Four years ago, Houston and most of Texas was caught in one of the worst droughts we’d ever seen. We prayed for rain, begged even. I swore that if it ever rained again, I wouldn’t complain because the lack of water was just staggering. I knew that once it started raining, it would be as if someone had turned on the spigot and forgot about it, and boy, was I right. Texas had so much rain in May that it would cover the entire island of Manhattan all the way to the top of the Empire State Building, four times over! Literally trillions of gallons of water has fallen on the Lone Star State since the first of May, and we have little hope it will stop any time soon. On June 2nd, Houston had already seen 80% of it’s normal rainfall for the entire month of June – that’s nearly eight inches of rain in less than 48 hours. I’m pretty sure that at this point, my feet are growing webs between the toes.

Sadly, all this rain has caused much chaos, loss of lives, and property damage. So, really, in the grand scheme of things, I have no right to complain or be upset, and there was that little thing I said during the drought. But just for the record, I was supposed to be at the Bellville Market Day today, peddling my soaps and other items; it was cancelled due to rain and flooding. I was very sad because I had really been looking forward to it, but I’ll be there in September (the next Market Day) with bells on, and hopefully no need for a life jacket.

During all this rain, though, I’ve been making progress on multiple fronts. My Star Wars quilt is coming right along – all the blocks are put together, and now it’s down to sewing the sashing between the blocks and making rows. I’m hoping to get a fair bit of that done today, because I’d really like to get this quilt finished up. Chris thinks I should try selling it once it’s done, but I haven’t decided about that yet. Maybe, but … I know he’d like to have it, too, so I’m on the fence about it.

Also, I’ve been prepping to make up a bunch of burp cloths to take to shows to sell. I did some looking around, and I found that a lot of people really like these, and they are fairly quick to make. I’m using flannel instead of cotton on mine, though, and I think they’ll turn out really well. I’ll post a photo when I have a few made up. Additionally, I’ve started doing some embroidery on towels to sell, and I may add other items to my line as I go. So, there are big things happening here.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you a little about my soaps, since that’s where most of my efforts are these days. I know that a lot of you are sewists/quilters, and I know that for me, at least, one of my biggest issues is dry skin. I hate using lotions when I’m sewing because I don’t want it to get all over my fabrics. That’s what makes me so happy about my soaps – I don’t have to use a lot of lotion to feel like my hands are moisturized. One client recently told me that she’s seen a lot of improvement in the skin condition on her hands, all because of my soaps. She was experiencing cracked, bleeding skin and within days of starting to use my soaps, it stopped. Another client posted this on her Facebook timeline:

So when I give Aubrey baths I would usually use Johnson Johnson bath time soap and I started noticing she would gets bumps on her skin so I switched to aveeno and that didn’t do anything different. I started using Old Fashion Soap Co.& her skin has been amazing! It’s so soft and no bumps. Definitely my favorite soap for sensitive skin.

If you have dry skin issues, or if you just want your skin to be in better condition (and with the summer sun and heat, who couldn’t use a little help with that?), please take a look at my website, Old Fashion Soap Co., and place an order today. You’ll be so glad you did!

Take the money & run

Yesterday was my last day in Corporate America, so “Take the Money & Run” by the Steve Miller Band was my theme song all day. Yep, I’m that kind of nerd, but I have come to accept and even embrace my nerdiness. LOL After going to the office one last time to turn in my computer, badge and assorted CorpAm paraphernalia, I went in search of the last bits of stuff I need to start the Amy Bradley Campers quilt.

Amy Bradley's brilliant quilt pattern, Campers!

Amy Bradley’s brilliant quilt pattern, Campers!

I am crazy about this pattern! I first saw it when I was shopping at my favorite LQS, Painted Pony & Quilts, a few months ago. They had to order the pattern, and I got it ages ago, but I didn’t have time to dig in to it. Now I have lots of time to devote to making it. It’s my first project post-CorpAm. 😉 And I have the PERFECT fabric for it …

Adorable Route 66 fabric by Robert Kaufman

Adorable Route 66 fabric by Robert Kaufman

I first fell in love with this fabric a few years ago when I visited another favored LQS, Sew Contempo. Sew Contempo became All Brands last year, and I think it’s better than ever, but I digress. I didn’t buy this fabric the first time I saw it, but it haunted me, and eventually I gave in and made a trip all the way back to the store (which is about 50-ish miles away) to pick up a couple yards. It has acted as my inspiration for the rest of the fabrics, and will serve as a larger than called for border in my final quilt. Speaking of the rest of the fabric, I am really excited about the colorway this quilt has taken on, and the cute fabrics I’ve found for the campers …

Route 66 Coordinates

Route 66 Coordinates

I think it’s going to be really cute. Now, the original pattern is like, child sized, or maybe wall sized?? Well, you know that’s not going to work for me, so I’m going to add at least one more column of campers, and some additional borders. While I certainly love Amy’s original pattern, I want something I can actually use as a throw. Oh, and did I mention that this will be my very first applique quilt ever?? Ambitious? Perhaps, but I think it will be totally worth it.

I have been toying with the idea of using my Brother CutNScan to cut the pieces for the campers, and I’m going to give it a shot tomorrow, because I don’t have a lightbox. I could order a lightbox, but it will be sometime next week before it gets here, at the earliest. I could build a lightbox, but after pricing the lights for the box, it would be cheaper to order one off Amazon. Trust me, I’ve looked every where I can think to buy one locally, except for the camera store, because I KNOW how much they’ll cost there. I never could afford a lightbox when photography was my main hobby! But the CutNScan has possibilities …

At any rate, words cannot begin to describe how excited I am about starting this project. I am really looking forward to putting together different fabrics to make the campers, and I’ve even toyed with the idea of mixing colors within in the blocks. *gasp* But seriously, how can you go wrong with a retro camper quilt?!?

I’ll keep ya updated on my progress; Lord knows I’ll have plenty of time to post now that I’m not working. 😉

Weekend Quilting

After my last post about the lack of completions I had in 2015, I set right to work to make sure I don’t have that same end to 2016. I really am quite serious about improving my skills and my completions this year, both in quilting and garment sewing. If I have the time, I might add in some home decor as well, but for now, I need to get some quilts finished. I realized earlier today that if I were to finish every one of the quilts I have that are at least partially completed this year, I would have Christmas gifts for just about everyone I would need a gift for in 2016. That’s really sort of sad when you think about it, but I’m determined to turn it in to a positive.

Anyway, I got right to work on Fatquartershop.com’s Wishes quilt from 2014. I know, I know, it’s a little late. But I had nine of the twelve blocks completed, so I figured it was as good a place as any to start, and I think it’s going to be a really pretty quilt when it’s done. Here is my block …

Block 10 of Wishes Quilt - Idaho Beauty

Block 10 of Wishes Quilt – Idaho Beauty

If I were to do it again, I would use at least one yellow-based fabric. When I was selecting fabrics for this block, originally that was my intention. But when looking at the fabrics together, this selection was more pleasing to the eye. However, once it was all together, I could see that it lacked contrast. Also, before anyone mentions it, yes, some of my points were cut off. I don’t really know how that happened, because everything measures out correctly, but here we are – cut off points. By the time I discovered it, I wasn’t going to take it all apart to figure out why the points were cut off, and as Leah Day has said many times, done is better than perfect. And since my goal this year is Done … well, at least this block is just that.

One dark moment in this otherwise happy accomplishment – I used Mary Ellen’s Best Press for the first time ever on this block. I picked it up at Joann’s because it was on sale, and I’d read rave reviews about it. I thought that with all the points and intersecting seams, the Best Press might be just what I needed to keep the seams as flat as possible. Unfortunately, I experienced some yellowing on the white fabric.

Discoloration due to use of Mary Ellen's Best Press

Discoloration due to use of Mary Ellen’s Best Press

I am really hoping that when I wash the final quilt, this discoloration will come out. If it doesn’t, I’m going to be one very unhappy quilter.

Now that this block is done, I have plans to get my fleece jacket completed today. I played around with embroidering some designs on the binding, but I decided against it in the end. I am just not adept enough at putting designs together in a long, continuous line, but it’s given me something else I need to work on. Instead, I went back to the fabric store and purchased more Kona black cotton fabric to do the binding. Even though it will be plain, at least it will be done, and I can try something a little more fancy next time. The fabric is in the dryer now, so hopefully I can get this one completed today.

Once that’s done, I think I will do the last two blocks in the Wishes quilt. When I bought the black fabric for the fleece jacket, I also bought some fabric for the sashing on this quilt. I am going a different way, and it’s a bit of a leap of faith, but I’m excited to see how it turns out, so this quilt might be moving to the front burner.

Have a wonderful Sunday doing what you love best!

The Curious Case of the Unfinished Quilt(s)

Today, I’m working on the Wishes Block of the Month. It’s from 2014, so it’s not really what I’d call current – it’s an Unfinished Object, or UFO. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I really should finish it, since I had five of the twelve blocks finished, and it’s just sitting here gathering dust. I’ve now got eight blocks done, so I’m definitely making progress, though maybe not as quickly as I’d like, and definitely not as quickly as others might move. I’m pretty pleased with myself today, though, because I finished one in-progress block that’s been on my table since at least last weekend, and I’ve completely made another one. Maybe I’ll get a third one completed today, if I’m feeling up to it.

While I was working on the Wishes blocks, though, I began to think of all the other projects I have that are in some stage of incompletion, and I have to admit, it’s a little embarrassing. I don’t remember whether I’ve mentioned it here or not, but I have one quilt top that I made for my daughter when she was about 10; she’s 22 now. The cutesy fish theme may no longer be to her liking, but I have determined to get it finished any way, hopefully this year.

I pulled out my old quilting journal and took a look at my list of in-progress projects. In no particular order, here it is …

Cat in the Hat quilt

Wishes Block of the Month quilt

Churn Dash quilt in brights

Brick Road quilt

Under the Sea quilt

Green & Blue Tissue Box quilt

Disappearing Nine Patch quilt

These are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head; there may be more! It’s really humbling, too, because I’ve got other quilts just waiting to be started, like something using the Minions fabric I just purchased, and the wall hanging my mother challenged me to make almost two years ago! I’ve got to do something about this …

So I’ve decided that before I can begin a new project, I have to finish at least one UFO or WIP (Work In Progress). And by finished, I do NOT mean finish a quilt top. It has to be a completed project, whether it’s a wall hanging, or a quilt, or a pair of pants. One old project must be finished in between every new project that I start. And I am going to try to start being more accountable for the things that are on the wall and my sewing table, by posting here more often. Maybe the idea of writing down that I accomplished nothing in a week will motivate me to get off my backside in the evenings and into the studio.

At any rate, that’s what’s going on in my studio right now. I guess it’s time to get back to it, but first, maybe a short little nap …

WIP Wednesday

Well, it’s been quite a while since I did a work in progress (WIP) post, but I really want to start posting more often, so here goes …

Today’s WIP is the quilt I mentioned in my last post that I’m working on for my husband. Unlike most of my projects, this one does have a deadline – I’d like to take it on vacation with us next week! I know it probably seems crazy to take a quilt on vacation, but that’s only because you’ve never spent any time in a vehicle with Chris, who is always warm. Since I’m always cold, and I don’t feel like wearing a parka on a spring vacation in the South, I decided we needed a quilt for the trip. Also, the quilt I made for Chris a while back is way too big to be used in the den as a throw, so this very manly quilt will fill that need, too. 😉

I found this motorcycle fabric online a couple of years ago. It’s part of the “Man Cave” series by Bernartex, and it is really beautiful. If you’re looking for some masculine fabric, I would suggest this series. I believe it’s ongoing, as there are images on the website now of cigars and such. Anyway, I combined that with some fabrics I had in my stash, and some Kona Solids to come up with the quilt top …

Motorcycle quilt top completed

Motorcycle quilt top completed

I guess I wasn’t really paying attention, because I didn’t notice that I had quite the pattern going here. LOL If I were to make this quilt again, I would probably replace the grey fabric with black, but Chris says he likes it just this way, so if he’s happy, I’m thrilled.

By the time you read this post, I will probably have the backing put together and the quilt sandwiched. And with a little luck, I’ll be well along in the quilting process. I mean, I only have a week and a half before I need it to be done. Here is the backing fabric …

Motorcycle quilt backing

Motorcycle quilt backing

Chris is a HUGE Texans fan, so I found this fabric a while back at Hobby Lobby and decided it would make a great backing for the motorcycle quilt – two of his favorite things in one quilt! The black and red will be borders around the Texans fabric, because it’s neither wide nor long enough without it. I haven’t decided if I’ll do two red borders and two black borders, or if I’ll do it like the front and run one and then the other all the way around. At first, I thought I’d do two red and two black, but I’ve been thinking it might look cooler to do the red and black together like the front of the quilt.

I have some ideas on how I’m going to quilt it, but I’ll save that to share once the quilt is completed.

Until next time, happy sewing!

Do you like Green Eggs and Ham?

As a very small kid, Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss was my absolute favorite book. I still have a lot of nostalgia when it comes to the book, and when we had a baby shower for my daughter in May, I included the book as the greeting card in the package. A package including a a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat quilt  I made. So, yeah … I’ve always liked Dr. Seuss, but Green Eggs and Ham was always my favorite. So when I saw the Green Eggs and Ham fabric that was put out a couple of years ago by Robert Kaufman, I didn’t even have to think about whether or not I wanted it. I just bought it without even really thinking about it. When I posted the photo of the fabric on Facebook, my former co-worker and old friend Julie decided she had to have it, too, and she ordered a quilt to be made for her brother for Christmas. She was a little late picking it up, but she finally did get it, just before Christmas. I didn’t want to post final photos of it until she had it in her hands, so now I feel comfortable showing you what the finished product looks like.

Green Eggs & Ham Quilt, Completed

Green Eggs & Ham Quilt, Completed

I really could not be happier with the way it turned out, and as I was working on it, this became one of my favorite quilts. Most of the fabric is from the Kaufman collection, but the solid fabric is a Kona cotton and I think it really makes the panels pop. Julie wanted the fabric I used in the border to be the primary fabric, but I didn’t want it to be too busy, so I used it in the border, obviously, and the backing …

The back of the Green Eggs & Ham quilt

The back of the Green Eggs & Ham quilt

 

Yep, I had to piece a little bit in there because I didn’t have quite enough fabric, but I was ok with that, and hopefully Julie was, too. At the time, this was the “most quilted” quilt I’ve ever done. I used star patterns I bought from Embroidery Library to quilt it. There are different stars along the border and the sashing than there is in the panels, but I didn’t get a close up of those.

Stars were used for quilting

Stars were used for quilting

 

You can sort of see them here …

More stars!

More stars!

I’m not going to lie – it was REALLY hard to let this one go. I was so happy with it, I really wanted to keep it for myself. Of course, I didn’t … but I wanted to!

The Weekend Approaches

And trust me, I’m counting the minutes until it arrives! No real plans, but I’m sure I will find something to do. And if I know me, I’m pretty sure it’s going to involve fabric.

Speaking of fabric, I finally finished my button down shirt. It was actually done on the first day of this month, so I’m not counting it as my challenge garment, but it is done. There were some problems, as I posted about before, but overall I’m pretty happy with it – definitely happy enough to wear it outside of the house. No photos yet, but I’ll try to get some this weekend and post them. I have also made good progress on my cardigan, despite some issues with trying to put the shoulder seams together. All that’s left on it is to hem it and it’s good to go. I’m hoping to get that done this weekend as well. It would have been done by now but I’m running short of thread, so I’ve been procrastinating about going to buy some more. I’ve learned from the experience that in the future, I will only buy the large spools of thread, not the smaller ones. It’s really amazing how fast the thread runs out!

As I was procrastinating on the hemming this week, I was also considering what I want to make next. That’s when I realized that I really don’t have a plan for my sewing and … I think I need one. I don’t want to make a ton of clothing right now, because I’m losing weight. At the very least, I want to make a few items that I can wear as I lose several pounds, so nothing too form fitting or fitted. I can probably alter items as I lose weight, but they can be altered only so far. With that in mind, I’ve come up with the following plan …

2 pairs of neutral colored slacks, with waistbands and zipper closures and belt loops

2 loose fitting cardigans in navy blue and red (I think)

3 fitted t-shirts (although I said nothing fitted earlier, I do believe that fitted tees are fine, because if they are looser as I lose weight, I doubt anyone will notice overmuch)

2 work blouses

2 bras

3 pairs of panties

1 jacket/coat

Obviously, it’s going to take me some time to get all that sewn up, and I will likely not work on it continuously, so the list may change slightly. And this doesn’t include the list of stuff for others in the family – I owe my son a hoodie and I want to try making some boxer briefs for my husband. But I really would like to make all of the things on the above list over time because I think it’s going to give me some great experience and a wonderful wardrobe. And now that I have a plan, I’m even more excited to get started on my next garment!

While I’ve been working on my garment making plans, I’ve also been working on the Green Eggs & Ham quilt for Julie. Currently, I’m doing the embroidery on it that will act as the quilting, and I have to admit that I love this quilt a little more every time I look at it. It’s going to be hard to let this one go, so I am going to have to make myself one after all! I mean, really … what child of the 60’s or 70’s wouldn’t LOVE this quilt?

Green Eggs & Ham, getting quilted!

Green Eggs & Ham, getting quilted!