Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thingies and a Giveaway!

Giveaway!  Giveaway!  Thank you, all, for the terrific and creative things you've come up with.  But really, don't you think Linda, with all those ideas for the lowly clothespin (14 or so!!) really deserves recognition?  Yes, I do!  So I've emailed her, and will be sending her a little somethin' this week.  Happy 4th of July!

Thanks, all y'all, for the compliments on my Design Ironing Board last time!  It was a happy accident.  I really, really needed to re-cover my ironing board, it was majorly grungy.  So I dragged out a piece of flannel covered with sewing notions, pretty appropriate, no?  It has turned out to be the best cover!  I don't have to chase blocks or pieces thereof around the board, they stick.  The only thing I'd do different is have the flannel a lighter color, and maybe just a tone on tone.  But do try flannel on your next ironing board re-do!

Since we're on a domestic kick here, thought I'd share a couple of handy gadgets I love.  My fingers and wrists aren't what they once were -- maybe being a typist and steno for decades had something to do with them wearing out, ya think?  So, if Mr. Happiness isn't around, I really struggle with opening jars and bottle tops.  He bought me a "Lids Off" by Black and Decker a couple of years ago, and it is a wondrous invention, indeed! But for those lids and small jars, pictured above is another great thingie (and you know I love my thingies!).  It grabs hold of the top or lid or cap and doesn't slip, and adds some "oomph" to the twisting so you don't have to.  And that little doo-hickey on top lifts tab tops without any effort!  I know, I know, I should've been an engineer -- I know all those technical terms!

And I love my funnel, never thought I'd use a funnel in the kitchen as much as I do!  But the small part at the end is sometimes too small for pouring stuff, and it clogs or slows down.   You see the funnel on the right, the white one?   It works even better, and it's bigger on the end so it doesn't back up.  Know what it is?  An empty thread cone :-)  

I've had these hot pads!   Use them all the time.  Do you realize what a cool quilting design they have!?!  Now I'm on a quest to look more closely at all my stuff to see what else they can be used for, what kinds of quilting designs they have, if they can pull double-duty!  

What kind of tool/technique/design inspiration is your favorite?  A really cool contraption?  A double-duty handy-dandy neat-o mosquito discovery you'd like to share?  I'm going to pick one of your comments, maybe at random, maybe one that made me laugh the most, or the best IMHO idea, and send you a little something of some kind  :-)  Since we have a long weekend, I'll let y'all party and celebrate and put on your thinking caps and I'll pull a comment out of the hat on Monday evening.

Happy Birthday, USA!!!  Be safe out there!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Design Ironing Board Monday

I'm still plodding along with the quilt I started to put together some time back.  Here are more bits and pieces for it. 
Man, there are a lot of flying geese!  And half-squares, and squares.  But I think I only have to make a half dozen flock, then decide how I'm going to lay them out.  I'm soooo loving the Sunkissed fabrics :-D

That's the story for today!  Go to Judy's website to see what other people are working on these days:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This, that and the other

Am I the only person on this planet who doesn't know what these are?  
I opened a box from my dear kids, K&K, and the first thing I came across was the funky green and orange thingie.  What in the world???!!!!  Is this some kind of notebook cover, journal cover, file cover???  The next package had a leather red, white and blue thingie, a leather one.  Very odd, I'm perplexed.  While I'm really taken with the designs and colors, I have no clue!  I know, I'm old.  I remember thinking I'll never get so old I can't change channels with the TV thingie, or program my microwave or use the Wii.  I'm keeping up with things.  And thingies.  Whatever they are.  But this?  Not the foggiest.  However!  I opened the third package, and there was this brown handbag.  Very nice, but really, so not me -- plain brown?!  But look!  There's something lumpy all around the top edges.  Round thingies.  You don't suppose....?  Would you just look at that!?!?!  You wrap the flat thingie around the bag, and the magnets hold it on.  Well, I never!!  I've seen organizers for the inside of the bag, so you just pull the stuff out of one bag and put it inside another.  But this, well, it's just a whole lot more than that!  You can get other covers, I understand.   So live and learn!  Everyone I know is familiar with it, but if you're one of those who doesn't know, it's a Miche bag.  Beautiful!  

And thank you, kiddos, for keeping me modern.  Since we've moved from the big cities, I guess it was bound to happen, I'm no longer with it :-)  But where would I be without all those marvelous thingies!

I didn't sew any bits and pieces this week, but I did quilt a donation quilt for a friend (and didn't take a picture).  No Whoop, Whoop! for me.  Oh well, go to Sarah's blog, to see what others have been doing this week!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Ribbons!  I won some ribbons at our quilt show this past weekend. I honestly did not enter my quilts thinking they would win anything, but they did. Don't like to brag, but friends and family members are asking me to post these.  The pics are from the show, and because they're small and are hung on drapes with pins, they don't hang straight.  But you get the idea!  

First up is my "Sweet Springtime," which was a challenge quilt from one of the guilds I belong to. We had to use three fabrics that were chosen for us, with the theme of Spring on the Cumberland Plateau.  The center is a pattern by Sharon Schamber that was given free on her website as a tutorial on her applique method.  It won Honorable Mention in the baby quilts category.
Next was a Hoffman Challenge quilt.  It was chosen to travel with one of their trunk shows that following year.  Since our quilt show is every other year, this was the first year it was available to enter.  "Xanadu" won a third place ribbon in the medium-size wallhangings category.

Third was a "Whimsies" challenge, to make a project using a Christmas card featuring the three kings as inspiration.  (The Whimsies are three friends who get together occasionally for fun and laughter and food, and who take turns issuing challenges.  Each of us is a crafter of a different stripe.)  "We saw his star as it rose..." won second place in the small wallhangings category.
There was a special exhibits section, as well, where previous award winners were displayed. Here's my "Cabin at Keechi."
So there you have it, I hope you enjoy them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Whoop Whoop! 6/17

Remember the funky 70s girls quilt I was quilting?  I applied the binding by machine, so it was done-done right away.   My husband asked if he could take it out to show a friend who has a little pre-teen daughter.  "Sure!" I said, and off he went.  Came back with $$ instead!  He sold it, just like that :-D  I didn't even get a picture of the whole thing.  But I guess I don't mind -- LOL!!!

When I tried to put on the ruler base on my Avante, it went POP!  Split right in two, thought I'd been shot!!!  Oh, no!!!!!!!!  Well, my sweet dealer said she'd send me another one.  So while I waited, I made more geese from my Sunkissed project.  
I only need a bajillion of them, so I've got a few more to do :-)  I think these blocks are going to be set on point, so it will be big enough for my bed.  Right now, I have an old 30's repro quilt, and I need something modern.  Like me :-D  

The new ruler bed showed up yesterday afternoon, so I pulled out a quilt I started years ago.  When Amy Butler created the fabric line she called "Charm" I went bonkers!  It was my first experience with what I call "modern" fabrics, I think she started it all.  Fell in total love.  I made the center, but decided I'd add borders to make it big enough for the bed.  That only took me a few years to do -- I guess it had to rest in the UFO stack until I was ready.  Now it's big enough, I have the ruler base, so I'll start practicing my midarm quilting on it next week.   Also, on the advice of my Avante dealer, I've ordered a UPS for the machine.  We've been having power flickers, and terrible thunderstorms, so that should be arriving today or tomorrow. Just don't want to take the chance of burning up my new baby!!
But first, I'll be wrapped up in our local quilt show!  It starts this morning, lasts through tomorrow.  We have such enormously talented quilters here (authors and Paducah winners, even!), our show is just wonderful.  I put in some quilts, too, to fill the spaces :-)

So I've got to run!  I didn't get a chance to take pictures of my birthday present that arrived day before yesterday.  It's so cool.  Later!  

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yeah, Kinda Like That!

Whew, that's how I'm feeling these days!  Too hot, too hot.  There's no way I could survive in Texas anymore.  Texas?  Not just Texas, it's everywhere!  I heard it was 100 degrees in Central Park, in New York!  And yet, I have friends honeymooning in Bend, Oregon, where it's been in the 60s during the day and 40s at night.  That sounds so good!

Somewhere in the Wonderful World of the Blogosphere, I saw a picture of just the corner of a quilt.  For some reason, the idea stayed in my mind, and a few days ago I started playing with bits and pieces on the design wall. As you can see, it's all thrown up there, and then it's like a jigsaw puzzle, moving parts here and there, trying out this and that.  I have just one block sewn together, but since this is just a work in progress, it may be re-done, too.
I do have a little quilt on the Avante, in progress.  The focus fabric is a wonderful, funky print of women in their 70s-style outfits, very hip ;-D  The inspiration for the pattern is from a book called "9-Patch Pizzazz" where you use larger pieces of the focus fabric surrounded by smaller blocks.  Sorta like the "Just Can't Cut It" book.  
So there it is, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Learning process...

I truly *heart* my new Avante, it is a wondrous machine!  But, boy, am I glad I've done some machine quilting before, even if it's only been on my Janome.  Threading issue, oh, groan!  Here is one little tidbit I learned somewhere in my quilting past, that comes back over and over again to help me.  Even when I think it's wrong, and I stubbornly ignore it, it really is true.  If the stitching is lousy on the bottom, the problem is in the top threading.  If the stitching is crummy on the top, check the bobbin.  I'm sure there are exceptions, but start with that premise!

And by the way, how do you check your quilt bottom when you first start a quilt?  I really, really don't want to crawl under the frame to look!!  

When I'd quilted the first section of the quilt, I felt underneath as I began to roll it.  Oh NO!!!!!!!!!!!  Nubbies.  Rough stitches.  Know what I mean?  So I rolled it along enough so that I could see what the deal was.  I looked at the top threading, looked fine.  After all, I used the method of tying on the new thread to the old and just drawing it through up to the needle.  So I changed the bobbin.  I changed the needle.  I changed the top thread.  I checked the tensions again.  Still lousy stitches.  What the?????

After much angst and wringing of hands, when nothing else worked, I pulled out the top thread.  Re-threaded.  But I hesitated when I came to the thread guide just after the tension guide.  Does the thread go in front of it, then up to the lever.  Or does it go behind it, up to the lever, then around it.  Look at the owner's manual, dummy.  What?  I SAID LOOK AT THE OWNER'S MANUAL!!  Oh yeah, that's how it's supposed to go.  Sheesh.  So, after re-threading the right way, it stitched like a dream.  Imagine that!

So, except for operator error, I finished quilting the QOV quilt.  I had to piece the back -- the fabric along the bottom of the picture was the backing, but it was just *this* much too narrow.  So I added scraps up and down the middle, and it looks kinda cool.  Mr. Happiness feel in love with this quilt!  He usually likes my quilts, or at least comments that "it looks nice," but this time he was enthusiastic about it.  He doesn't often do enthusiastic.  So it's going to be a Father's Day gift to him (he is, after all, a vet, too), and I'll do a different QOV quilt to send off.  

By the way, the corners really are straight -- this was hanging across the Avante when I took the picture.  The whole quilt top is in a previous blog somewhere.

Read the manual, read the manual, read the manual.  If the stitches are bad on top, check the bobbin; if they're funky on the bottom, check the top threading. There you have two quilting lessons in one blog :-)