Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Charmine's baby quilts x 3

My friend Charmaine emailed me at the end of January and asked if I would be able to quilt for her a few baby quilts and a bigger quilt which she wanted to show in our guild show at the end of April.  I knew that my insane cookie life wouldn't take over for 5 weeks so I said yes.  Here are the baby quilts all finished.

These 2 quilts are the same except that the long blue strip is opposite.  The pattern is a cute one and suitable for featuring a number of fun prints while also using up leftover bits you might have stashed away. 
My quilt inspector had to check out my work before he was able to declare them acceptable.
Charmaine chose the Shooting Stars panto for the baby quilts and it suited them well. 
I used my favorite Glide thread in Cool Gray on the top and So Fine 503 in the bobbin. 
The Gray thread barely shows but there is nice texture all over.  It's surprising how often a pale Gray thread works when others don't.  Isn't the elephant print just adorable?
For the backing for all 3 quilts she brought me this cute elephant print fabric.  I honestly had never heard of piecing a backing diagonally before but I just might give it a try sometime.
Lots of pretty texture with the pale Gray thread.
The 3rd quilt is made with bright fabrics, which of course I love.
The same thread was used and it worked just as well to not overtake the piecing.
I love the feature fabric on this one.
Here they are all ready to be picked up. Charmaine was thrilled with the results and even brought me another top to quilt for her. 
Thanks Charmaine for letting me quilt these adorable baby quilts for her. I had fun.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Restarting my quilting mojo

Now that Girl Scout cookie season is over (except for waiting for the rewards to arrive, sorting them and then getting them to each troop) I've realized that once the cookies get here in mid-March that I'm going to pretty much disappear online until the season is over at the end of April.  Cookie season is just too over-the-top insanely busy.  Almost 16,000 boxes passed through my cookie cupboard ) aka garage) this year. 

Truth be told, once the last cookie box was out of my house (not counting our personal stock that's in our freezer), I needed some down time to relax and reboot so I wasn't ready to jump back into the quilting for a couple of weeks.  Now I'm rested and ready to get to work.
Next up on the frame is this pretty quilt which is a charity quilt for my guild.  I've got an idea of how I want to quilt it but I'll be a little testing of the vision before I begin.
I've also had not one but 5 customer quilts dropped off recently.  These should be fun to work on in the coming weeks.
It truly feels good to be getting back into the quilting groove.  I'm hoping that my quilting business picks up enough to keep me plenty busy.  My boss (at my regular job) is working towards closing the doors and retiring so I'm not working for him as much.  If I have enough quilting business coming in then I won't be returning to the working world once the accounting job is over.
Before the first of the cookies arrived, I was able to sneak in 4 quilts for a friend so stay tuned to see those all quilted up.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Introducing Tink

I'm long overdue to make a proper introduction.  I'd like you to meet my new girl....

She's an Innova with a 22" throat on a 12 foot fame and I love her. 
There's a bar under the rollers where I can store 2 rolls of batting. My customers love that they can just get their batting from me and only buy the amount needed.  At this moment I have Quilters Dream 80/20 but I'll be adding more options in the future.  The 3 drawer unit on the left holds all the pantos and the 2 units on the right are filled with thread. 
I'm lucky that I don't have to turn any wheels to advance a quilt as I work on it because Tink has a power advance feature. 
This is the wall opposite Tink.  I permanently "borrowed" some shelves from other rooms. The old microwave cart works well  for when I'm writing up a customer order, the middle shelving unit holds the bobbin winder, all my books and my little tools chest.  My rulers used to be in the small basket but I've since found another place for those.  The ladybug hamper has larger pieces of batting, which I really need to sort and sew together to use up for charity quilts.
This shelf, which happens to have been hubby's when he was a teenager, was brought down from my son's room and now holds quilts in the queue waiting to be quilted.  All those on the shelves except the bottom one are for customers and my guild charity and the last pile are mine.  Yes I have a bunch of my own quilts that need to be finished.
Tink sports some pretty bling, which I got from Urban Elementz.  I originally bought the set for Penelope but could never decide which decal I wanted to place where so I'm glad that I had them available to dress up Tink.
The space in the room is a little tight and hubs wanted to not make it that much smaller by putting up studs and paneling on the walls with the insulation so I'll add some other decor bit by bit.  For now I hung the tote bags I received from MQX over they years on the right wall.  The pink rolling cart I recently got at Michaels (thanks to a gift card from my BIL) and it's perfect for holding all the things I need close by while I'm working.  The bottom shelf is loaded with all my rulers now.
So you're probably wondering why the name Tink.  This should answer that question.  No I'm not a fanatic but I do love Tinker Bell.  I love her attitude, her spunk and her determination.  These dolls were my daughter's when she was little and when she was ready to pass on all her princess dolls to someone else, I couldn't bear to give these away too so now they keep me company.
My assistant leader recently gave me this Tinker Bell sticker so she got added to bling up Tink just a little more.
I'm continuing to tweak things in the room as I go along but it's safe to say that I'll be spending a lot more time in the basement now. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Stars and Stripes

My blog has been way too inactive in recent months but I'm planning on correcting that situation as spring gets underway.  I really enjoy connecting with my readers and sharing what I'm working on and I've missed that lately.

Part of the problem with not posting (besides a lack of time) is that my camera broke months ago but now I finally have a new one.  I know that many people use the camera on their cell phones but that doesn't work well when the quilt is big...I have to stand way too far back to get it all in (if that's even possible) and then you can never see the details.  A new camera was a must in my book.

Anywho....I've finally gotten the chance to take pictures of a recently finished quilt.  This is:

Stars and Stripes
The pattern is Porch Rails by Fabric Cafe and I picked it up and the fabric bundles for it from their booth at the Quilt and Sewing Fest of New Jersey show last year.
Originally this quilt was going to be a gift to my step father but he passed away at the end of June last year before I could finish it so instead I'm going to donate it to a quilt charity.
As a veteran he would have appreciated the patriotic fabrics that I chose.
I used the Fire Flower panto.  The original plan was to use a panto that featured stars but when I auditioned the ones that I have, I didn't care for the overall effect.  So Fine thread in Red was used for both the front and the back.
To me the Fire Flower panto lends itself to a bit of a fireworks appearance which I think works better with the fabrics in the quilt top.
The backing is a another Red, White and Blue patriotic print that I just happened to come across that turned out to be perfect.
For the binding a Blue fabric with Red and White streamers was the fitting finale.
I know my step dad would have really appreciated this quilt and I'm sorry that he didn't get to enjoy it but it will be loved by someone else in his memory.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

It's Girl Scout Cookie Season again!

This will be the main focus for my daughter and I for the next 3 months.
I'm the Cookie Mom for my troop plus the Cookie Manager for the entire area of 70 troops and the Cookie Cupboard (where troops come to get more boxes of cookies after they pick up their initial order). I'm probably going to be counting boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas in my sleep. 

Yes the cookie season is crazy, my troop is determined to be the top selling troop in our area for the 4th year in a row. I'll be helping to man cookie booths on weekends for a month in mid March to mid April but it is all worth it for the fund my troop earns that allows us to do so much.....our activities, great field trips and an awesome annual charity project.  This year we will be filling backpacks with school supplies for the low income kids in our school district.

If you don't have a local cookie connection, I'd be happy to hook you up with Sunshine's online Digital Cookie order page so you can stock up this year.  In addition, you can buy donated boxes for our school district's Bountiful Backpack program that provides a backpack full of food on Fridays to those low income kids so they have something to eat over the weekend.  We also support our council's Gift of Caring program for donated boxes to US military and veterans.

It's definitely is an insane time of year for me but I hope that I can sneak in some sewing time too.   All cookies and no sewing will not make me a happy person. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Farewell Penelope

My first longarm machine and frame Penelope, went off to her new home yesterday.
A nice couple from a couple of hours east of me decided to make her their own.
Helping them to disassemble the frame and load it all in their vehicle brought back so many memories of when I brought her home and set her up.  We certainly had some good times together. I hope they are as excited as I was that first day.

Enjoy your quilting adventures Jim and Cindy.  I know that Penelope will be well loved and put to good use. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Cailey's One Hour Bag

I made one other gift this Christmas and it was a One Hour Bag by for my great niece Cailey.
I learned that she likes bright colors and Teal is her favorite so it was a perfect match when I found that I had this fabric in my stash.
I used a Orange-ish Red batik for the lining that coordinated perfectly.
This was really quick and easy to create.  I didn't time myself to see if it really took just an hour but I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
She absolutely loved it and was shocked to learn that I made it and didn't buy it somewhere.  The look on her face when she realized that I made it especially for her was priceless.

I've decided that I really like making gifts for Christmas and I already have some thoughts on what I can make for folks next year.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Just Right bag for Diane

Over the summer while visiting with my sister Diane she admired my Orange Kate Spain Just Right Bag and I knew immediately that I would make her one this year for a Christmas gift.

What makes this bag extra special is the main fabric is leftover from the backing I used for the Tribute to Danny quilt and the Remembering Danny quilt.  This is how it turned out.
I knew that I wanted to use a Red fabric for the front pocket as Red, White and Black were Danny's school colors and it took some searching through my stash to find just the right one.
The Red print lines the front zippered pocket as well as the front open pocket.
I kept the quilting simple with jut diagonal straight lines.  I thought I was going to do the same in the opposite direction to result in a triangle pattern but once I finished the sewing in the first direction I decided that I liked this better.
The top zipper is a bit trickey to put in but the one for the front pocket zipper is definitely easier.
I didn't have enough of the Red print fabric for the inside lining and chose instead to use a gray print from the same line and I really like the contrast.  Both fabrics are from the Wallflowers line by Allison Harris for Windham Fabrics.
I still love that this bag pattern has so many inside pockets plus a roomy center section.
To say she was beyond thrilled with her gift is a huge understatement.
I expect that I'll end up get requests for this bag from a few other family members and I'll be happy to oblige.  It comes together quickly enough and makes a great gift. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

My gifts from Santa

Gifts of the quilty nature are always on my wish list every year and this year Santa did really well in granting many of my wishes.

I've got an Irish Chain quilt on my bucket list so Melissa Cory's book was an instant addition to the list as soon as it came out.  The expanding sewing gauge was also on the list for a few years and now I can cross that off to make room for other new goodies. And of course adding some of Kate Spain's Early Bird fabric line to my huge Kate Spain stash is always a good thing.
Santa also brought me a new Clover leather thimble (I have a well loved one and am scared it will get lost), a jar of Peels for taming thread, a 6 1/2" x 12 1/2" Creative Grids ruler and not 1 but 3 of the cute Thimble Blossoms pins.
Santa is always happy to have a wish list to choose from to make his task easier and I love getting quilty things that I want.  It's a win-win for all.

I want to wish you a very Happy New Year.
May the coming year be good to you and yours and may you accomplish all that you hope for.  I know for me, I've already started working on my 2018 goals.