Sunday, June 7, 2015

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

So, yesterday I decided to mass produce a bunch of peels while binge watching the last season of Real Housewives of Orange County (yes, I am incorrigible). Facing the repetitive stitching of 288 peels, I decided that this would be a most excellent project to learn something new.

And that would be how to use the knee lift on my Bernina. Especially since I've been using a Berninas for the past 12 years that have come equipped with this handy-dandy feature.

I'm not going to tell you it wasn't awkward.  I'm still not totally fluent in not stepping on the foot pedal while using my knee to lift the presser foot (teeny tiny little stitches impossible to rip out ensue). But I basically did okay.

I managed to piece a pile of peels to turn inside out while watching American Pharoah win the Triple Crown. (And I managed to win an ever so small sum of money on my Exacta :) ).

I'm off to do a little merchandising....dragging the hubs along to help today (this will probably be regrettable).  Hopefully we aren't out too long so I can get back to practicing knee lifts on the remaining peels.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Happy National Gingerbread Day!

I love Gingerbread decorations for Christmas.  This is my gingerbread tree that goes up in the kitchen every year. It started out as a simple tree...I made every ornament on it, in some wacky/misguided  effort to be frugal (as if the hubs wouldn't notice that I was bringing in yet another Christmas tree).

But then as friends and family got wind of it, decorations started appearing...some came in the mail, a few were attached to my Christmas gifts, they jumped into my basket when I was at a Christmas or craft store.  Soon there were hundreds of ornaments on that tree...and very wisely, I wired each one to a branch, planted that tree in a planter filled with everything you need to make gingerbread, and when the season is done, it's wrapped in plastic and carted down to the basement.  No muss, no fuss!

If I weren't such a lazy bum, I could bring it up to the kitchen for National Gingerbread Day, and make up a big old batch of gingerbread men to take with me to Ladies Night tonight.

Or I could spend the time that would take sewing together the backing for that batik paper-pieced quilt.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

203 Days Until Christmas

Every once in a while I need to stop thinking (obsessing) about quilting, and focus on other creative pursuits.  In this case, since tomorrow is National Gingerbread Day, I've got Christmas on my mind.

It's probably time to start adding Christmas crafty items to my Etsy store (, and maybe start working on some of those crafts I didn't get to last year that are piled up underneath the workbench in my craft room.

And I should definitely start thinking about what I'm going to do with these two VINTAGE Flexible Flyer sleds I picked up at an auction last month. (Decorate them with greens, berries, bows and LED lights, or sell them 'as is'?)

Or maybe, I should focus on the holidays that are coming BEFORE Halloween.  While I did finish one more block for the Crabapple Hill Halloween quilt...I don't put much confidence in it being ready for 2016...though I do have a business trip for 6 fun-filled (NOT!) days in Minneapolis coming up that will certainly offer an opportunity to put in some serious in-flight stitching.

Have you got Christmas in the back of your mind? And most importantly, have you started your shopping yet?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Orange Peel

As promised, here's the latest project I have thrown into the mix.  ORANGE PEEL!  5 years ago I went to the International Quilt Festival in Houston and fell in love with French fabric sold by one of the vendors.  For a couple of years, every time I saw this woman at a quilt show, I bought a few 'FQs' (and I use that term rather loosely---these fabrics fall far short of measuring 18x22....some are 15x20, some smaller due to these hideously oversize selvages that seem to be on many of the pieces I picked up).

I've got a lot of fabric 'collections' just waiting for the right project to come along, so when I saw this one last week, I thought 'Gee, wouldn't that French fabric be great in an orange peel quilt', and I promptly ordered 6 yards of Moda Bella Oyster solid and a template.  Cutting for a couple hours here and there for the past couple days, I managed to get 288 peels out of my FQs, so last night I cut out 288 5" squares to applique them to. But before I can do that, I need to cut 288 peels out of some featherweight fusible interfacing (seriously, I am not crazy and do not plan to needle turn this project, nor do I want raw edge machine applique), and then I can get started appliqueing each peel to a solid block.

This is going to be a fun one for the design wall...should the circles be a single color, or should the 'jacks' be a single color, or do I mix them all up??  We shall see how this plays out later this summer once all the applique is done.

And prior to cutting into those French beauties, I had a lightbulb moment when I put a fresh blade in my rotary cutter.  Dry erase pen!

What are you working on now? Are you a master of machine applique?  If so, I could certainly use some tips.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I'm Back

finished the Grand Illusion quilt 2 days before quilt show turn in. It was a major undertaking to quilt on my 440 and I don't consider the quilting to be good enough for the County Fair so it's been put into service on our bed. Just glad it's done. 

With that out of the way I whipped out a quick little table runner for my daughter in an afternoon. 

I also managed to hand sew an adorable summer wool appliqué project the next weekend. 

And then I became a paper-piecing fool and burned some serious hours piecing a Fair entry...

I just need to get in the proper mood to piece the back/sandwich/quilt the darn thing. But nooooo.....I wouldn't be me if I didn't distract myself from a finish to start on a new project. (Tune in tomorrow for a peek at that one)

Happy Wednesday!