Praise !

Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37: 3,4

Psalm 31: 7, 8

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy; for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A bit of my yard-garden

I like to chronicle my yard-garden from year to year so that I can see how much growth is taking place, along with any other changes.

Today, I stumbled across a great buy on a pink Dogwood tree.  It was neglected at the back of a greenhouse, and the center of it had died, but there is plenty of good growth on the small tree.  It is the variety with blooms that measure about 3 inches across ! ! ! !   I got it for $5.00 ! ! ! !   I planted it in my front "shrubbery row".
Starting at this end, Purple Crepe Myrtle, 3-color Butterfly Bush, Pink Dogwood, 2 Rose of Sharons,planted together, Dwarf Crepe Myrtle, Redbud tree, dwarf myrtle, pink single-bloom Rose of Sharon, dwarf myrtle,dead Rose of Sharon(needing replacing), dwarf myrtle, double-flowering lavender Rose of Sharon.  Unseen at the corner, Purple Asters and Red Knock-out Rose bush.
 Most of the Rose of Sharons and Crepe Myrtles were planted in the summer of 2011, the year we bought this place.  The Redbud tree was added last summer when I was able to pick it up for $10.00.  It bloomed this spring and is looking good, although I have found a broken lower twig where something, most likely deer, is eating on it.

I'm always interested to read when Larry buys roses and other plants in the 'discard basket' at Walmart's plant center.  I check mine regularly too, and have made quite a few good buys.  A few days ago, I found an Easter Lily that was looking pretty rough, but had a nice bloom on it, and 6 more buds.
The lower part of the stem was covered in brown leaves which I removed, and the rest of the plant is just wonderful !
The clerk told me that he could mark it half-price for me, so I brought it to the register.  When he scanned it, it showed the cost as being $0.02.  I laughed and said, "that'll be alright with me".  He scanned it again and it came out the same, so he said, "it's all yours for 2 cents!"  I also found 4 of the gift-sized hydrangea plants that looked pretty rough, but have new growth all over them, and they priced the same !   The Lily has been blooming like crazy, more every day, and puts off the most WONDERFUL scent I have ever encountered in a flower !  I don't know where I'll plant these new additions, but I just love trying to save the rejects !

My Azalea bushes are finally getting acclimated to their new spot along my side boundary, and are blooming beautifully.........I think they reached their peak today (I caged them because of the deer BITES ~!~)



Note of record:  Hubby has a touch of pneumonia again.  He tends to come down with it about twice a year on average.  But he's doing okay, taking a few extra meds, and staying quiet.  Love that man of mine !







Thursday, April 16, 2015

Marking Time, a finished quilt

I just finished the binding on this quilt today.

It is called
                    "Marking Time"

This quilt was made for the grandson of a friend of mine.  He is currently imprisoned and can't receive the quilt, but I am praying for God's mercy in bringing about his release.

The quilt finished around 59 inches by 82 inches.

  It is backed in his favorite color, green.  I didn't have enough of one fabric, so I used a darker green to frame a lighter green, and I really like the effect.

I machine-quilted this one using my walking foot for the interior of the quilt, stitching in the ditch mostly.  Then I meander-free-motion-quilted the outer border.

Lottie-dah gives her approval.






I was inspired by this photo from a quilt in the Civil War Sewing Circle book.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

81 degrees !

Yes, we got really warm today, and when I found out that I didn't have to go to work, I readied myself to baste this quilt top.





























I made the backing for it last week, and bought a batting at Walmart, too, so I was really prepared.


Even at that, after starting the pinning-in process at 10:30 a.m., I didn't finish until after 3:00 this afternoon !  But, I admit that I did go back and add extra basting, remembering how much I had wished for that the last time I machine-quilted.

So, I'm not sure how I am going to quilt this one, and I don't know when I'll approach it, but now it's ready whenever I am.  I'd like to get another big one basted this week, but they're talking about rain now; knowing how long a quilt-basting takes me these days, I may just count my blessings for making it today, and put the next one off for surer weather for most of a day.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring is ALMOST here !

I started this most beautiful, sunny day by finally washing my car, and vacuuming the carpets inside of it.  So thankful to be able to drive again these nearly-6 years  now, and having a good-running vehicle that is dependable.

I followed up that work with some raking of flowerbeds; lots of new growth was hiding beneath the leafy mulch.  The first of the Buttercups (Jonquils) are blooming,

 the Lilac bushes have buds, Seven Steps to Heaven has sprouted EVERYWHERE , and my Phlox have started.

I may have decided on some fabric to put together for a backing for one of the quilt tops that I pieced over the Winter, so that on another beautiful day like today was, I will be able to baste underneath the carport.  The wind did try to get up a bit today, and that is not a fun addition to a basting day outside !  I will watch for a warm morning that will allow atleast 3 hours for me to do the basting at a comfortable pace all by myself.....not a job that I cherish, but a necessary task.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jeff's "Trailing Stars" top

I have been trying to make the most of these days when we've been stuck inside due to inclement weather.  I cut into all the light fabrics that I bought at the secondhand store, and I cut out squares from my old red, green, and blue fabrics.

I designed this quilt on graph paper, because it's construction didn't allow me to use a regular block formation in EQ4.  There is a way to do it there, but it isn't worth the trouble it takes, to me.  I guess I'll always be a graph paper girl at heart.  In order to stagger the star placement, it was constructed in rows, rather than individual blocks.
Anyway, I cut two corners off of 5 inch squares and added back 3 1/4 inch triangles.  Then I trimmed these down to 4 3/4 inches, and mixed them with lots of other light and dark 4 3/4 inch squares to form light and dark stars, and light and dark background.  The "trailing" design is easy to see from a distance, but gets lost when you're observing the quilt up close.

This is the first time that I have really observed my body getting sore from piecing a top.  My left arm developed an ache in the upper muscle from holding the ruler down while trimming the squares.  And now, I have an ache in my right side from hours of sitting and turning in my sewing chair.   Ah, the wonders of getting old !
Not complaining, mind you, just commenting !

So, when Spring eventually gets here, I should have more than one top to get basted outside underneath my carport........if the wind will cooperate.    I always wonder why I don't do more piecing and quilting throughout the cold weather season, but I realize now that 1.  I forget to baste up plenty to quilt while I have ample opportunity and good weather., and 2.  I shut off the sewing room to keep from having to heat more rooms than necessary.

But, praise the LORD, life goes on, and it all gets done, right?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

This too shall pass

I meant to post a few days ago, when my husband pointed out to me the first blooming flowers of the coming Spring.  My Crocus are blooming.  I love these little guys........they were here beside the big Oak tree when I moved here and are invisible for 95% of the year, and then...THERE THEY ARE !  Praise God in all His glory !
You can see the Buttercups coming along behind.
I went to bed at around 8 p.m. last night, tired from work, and I awakened to rise before 5 this morning.  That's good, as I've been sleeping until nearly eight in the mornings, and with next week's time change, that would be 9 a.m. !   So I needed to start working my way back to an earlier rising.  I don't expect to stick with 5 a.m., but 6:30 would be nice.

When I went out to put a letter in the mailbox this morning, the weather was damp and balmy, but now the wind has changed directions, the temperature is dropping and the rain has begun.  It is expected to change to sleet and then snow.  I got my groceries yesterday, and have fabric sitting out on my cutting table and a new skein of yarn in my bag,.......so I'll be sittin' purty for a few days UNLESS we lose power.   I'm praying that that doesn't happen, and I hope that you're all well, safe, and warm.  Love you.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tutorial--Spiral quilting; my personal experience

I've had several questions about how I kept my rounds so even on the little baby quilt that I quilted by machine.  As I stated, this was my first attempt, so I am by no means an expert.  But I'm happy to share what I did.

Firstly, I feel strongly that thorough basting is your best friend on this type of project.  I taped the back to my cutting table, and made my layers.  I then reached for my basting pins and started out putting them 2 inches apart.  Well, my fingers were hurting very quickly, and I thought of how often I would be UNPINNING, and the odd angles that the pins might be lying in when I came upon them.  So, before going even two rows that way, I decided to remove the pins and use thread-basting instead.

I grabbed my curved needle and basted about 4 inches apart, horizontally as well as vertically.  With hindsight, I would suggest even closer basting lines, maybe 3 inches apart, because you are going to be quilting across the stretchy bias of the fabric half of the time.


I put my open-toed walking foot on my old Singer model machine (in cabinet), donned my rubber-dotted quilting gloves, and started at the center of the quilt.  I considered starting off to one side and making maybe 3 different spirals, but being my first attempt, I thought I'd better stick to one for now.

Since this quilt has several different sizes of dots in the fabric prints,
I decided to use a dime-sized one near the middle as my starting/reference point. Holding my hands flat on the part of the quilt on either side of my walking foot,  I circled the dot part-way around, and started getting a little bigger so that I could line up the edge of my walking foot with my beginning stitches.

When I began, and for the first 4-6 inches of rounds, it was a strain on my shoulders, not from the weight of this tiny quilt, but from the action of keeping my hands flat on the machine-bed while turning the quilt to follow the circular pattern of my previous stitching.  As the rounds got farther out, this became much easier.  I gradually let the distance between the edge of my walking foot and the previous round get bigger....first an eighth of an inch and finally a quarter of an inch.  This made the actual 'channel' more like 3/4 inch to one inch by the time I reached the outer edges of the quilt.

Even though I used a walking foot, everytime I came around diagonally across the bias, fabric would try to 'push' up a bit in front of my stitching.  If I had clipped the basting stitches in front of these 'pushes',  as I was tempted to do, great distortion would have occurred.  Instead, I eased through these areas, and only wound up with the tiniest of tucks in a couple of places, which are pretty much unnoticeable to anyone but the stitcher, myself.

Eventually you'll reach the edges of the quilt and still have corners that are unquilted.  At this point, I just lined up the foot the same distance as earlier rounds along previous stitching, quilted the arc, broke thread, and went back to do it again until the areas were filled.

Because this was improv piecwork, slight distortion is not really noticeable, and I was able to square up the quilt, before binding, with no problem.  If this top was made up of precision pieced blocks, it most likely would be a different story.  For that reason, I will probably save this type of piecing for more freeform pieces.

As far as concern for circles not being truly round or perfectly spaced, the finished look seems to remove all imperfections from the naked eye.

And that's my take on spiral quilting.  I AM NOT anxious to try this method on a large quilt, mainly because of the wrestling act that would take place as I fed a large quilt 'round and 'round through the harp of my machine !  But I do admire quilters who HAVE accomplished such a task !

I hope this was helpful and that I get to see YOUR finished spiral quilting project !


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'd like mine with.....CRINKLES !

And, boy, did I get them !  Yummy !

Yesterday's photos were taken late in the evening and the colors are wonky.


I snapped these two pics as soon as I got the little quilt out of the dryer.  Well, actually, that's not quite true.  My husband took it out of the dryer while I was clearing ice off of the back porch, and I didn't see it for a little bit.  When he told me that he had put it in the bedroom, I was like, "NO !  I needed to block it while it was still damp......it must be all stretched out weird !"  He said, "well, it looks pretty good to me."  

And, sure enough, it does !  And it went until it was totally dry with no distortion !   I am amazed, and so thankful !

I was dying to dive back into the sewing room and create another one, but alas, the floors needed mopping, the toilet had to be cleaned, and then, yeh, there's still more ice to be chipped away...............

Oh, well, the sewing room will be there when I get back to it.  It's my reward and my getaway.  Bless you all, stay warm, and be careful on that ice !

Monday, February 16, 2015

Success !

I have admired quilts online that were quilted in one big continuous spiral pattern, but have feared that if I tried making one, the finished quilt would be distorted.



But I got up the nerve to try it on a baby quilt today, and am happy with the results.  I did run into some moving of the top fabric.....there are a couple of small tucks that I don't think anyone else will notice but me.  But the finished quilt lies nice and flat.......I hope this statement is still true after laundering.

I thread-basted about every 4 inches, but would baste even more closely if I were doing it again.

This is the top that I shared a couple of days ago, pieced completely out of my bin of leftover strips.  I used a solid yellow cotton for the backing, and one of those pieces of batting that I found down at the second-hand store.

I am just tickled to death with the contours you see in a low-light photo.  Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeal !

Finished size------31 x 33 inches.


By the way, the snow went north of us, and we wound up with sleet falling continually from about 3 a.m. until 1 p.m.  There's a buildup of anywhere from an inch to 3 inches of ice around here, so I was very happy to just stay inside and sew.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Improv !

Happy Valentines' Day to all my readers.   Hubby bought me a little inexpensinve jewelry set that I picked out at Walmart, and I bought him his much desired but sadly denied half-gallon of chocolate milk..........I haven't let him have it lately due to a bit of trouble he's having buttoning his PANTS !   lol !  Trust me......it was EXACTLY what he wanted !  And I like my necklace/earring set, but my best gift was a phone call from my baby girl this morning........we talk so seldom, it just sets my heart singing for her to call me !

I've spent the last two days digging to the bottom of my one OVERPACKED bin of strips.  I wanted to put together a baby quilt for a couple in their early forties who are expecting their first child.  I couldn't bring myself to put anything together out of my fat quarters, so I brought out THE BIN.

I dumped it's contents into a laundry basket and just started pulling and stitching. I made quite a mess before I was done.


 Finally, this evening, I have a 33 1/2 x 31 inch top.  Hopefully I'll pull something for a backing early next week and get to quilting it by machine.
It looks so GAUDY when I see it here, but I LOVE IT in person !

A new long-arm quilter opened a shop here last week, and I bought a 36 x 45 inch wool batting from her to try out, but I think I want to use cotton in this one.  I'll probably try the wool one in something I'm keeping, since the finished quilt may require special laundering.

Anyway, my housework went undone, though I did get a good supper cooked......salmon patties with white beans and cornbread with lots of butter !

In today's mail, I got a sweet valentine from my best friend, Wanda, reminding me of how quilting brought us together to make lots of fun memories and a lifetime friendship.  And I received a note from JoAnn, telling me that Jennifer is thrilled with how the embroidered quilt top turned out, plus a generous payment for work rendered.  She has plenty more work to keep me busy and I love that !

We're supposed to be getting some snow tomorrow night, and have REALLY cold temperatures overnight tonight and tomorrow morning.  We are blessed with a snuggly, comfortable home, and the peace of God, our Father, so I plan to curl up and enjoy the beauty.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

I got the curtains(AND PILLOWCASES) made

I LOVE  really FULL curtains.

I bought enough fabric for really FULL curtains.

I GOT GREEDY.

I looked at all that fabric and thought, "wow, I can cut enough off of this to make 2 matching pillowcases and still have enough for FULL curtains !"

WRONG

I got one panel finished and hung it up by itself to check the length...............and found that the width barely came past the center of the window.  Sadly, I finished the second panel, and saw that I had accidentally hemmed the first one to a half-inch shorter header than the second one.

 Rip, redo, re-evaluate.........respectable.
I have reached the point of overdoing now......I hung the pashmina at the headboard posts and realized later that it was overkill.

Silly confession :  Before bedtime last night, I realized that the reason for the screwholes in the tops of the 4 posts was that this must have been a canopy bedframe originally.  !   !   !   As a little girl, I DREAMED of having a canopy bed..........raised in a household full of brothers !
    So, I took the fabric for the curtains and draped it over the four posts, secured it with clothespins, and traveled backwards about 45-50 years to my childhood dreams.  I LOVED IT.........although Lottie-dah threatened to bring it down on my head at any moment !   LOL  !

UPDATE:  I did also finish the pillowcases.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

One more job accomplished

Now that the embroidered quilt-top is in the mail headed back to Oklahoma, I have a few days to do some much-needed personal projects.

Firstly, this new quilt that I bought measured 90 x 90 inches for either size that you could order....twin or full/queen.  But Walmart.com marks the twin-size 'out of stock' in order to charge you ten dollars more for the full/queen.  But, I loved the colors in it, so I went for it after reading in the reviews that an 82 year-old woman 'hemmed' hers to fit.

I figured if she could do it, so could I.  Well, after putting it on the bed, I found that not only did it hang to the floor on each side, but they didn't take the time to center the design, which was VERY OBVIOUS.   So, it was a win-win situation for me after all.  I cut about 12 inches off of one side, and 5 or so inches off of the other, after removing the binding.  Then I rebound the edges and now I have just the size I want WITH a SYMMETRICAL design !  Whoop, whoop, and praise the LORD !

I wanted to go without the  dust ruffle, but under-bed storage is DEAR to me in this little home.  In one of the photos, my husband pointed out the basket showing underneath the bed, so back came the ruffle.  That's okay.........I wasn't going to get a modern look with this little four-poster frame anyway.

Hopefully I can get the new curtains made before the week is out.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jen's quilt-top.......DONE !

I wish I could present a better photo, but my home is too small to lay this top out flat.  And the weather is not cooperative enough for a clothesline shot......maybe by the time it is quilted I can get an outdoor photo !

The finished size is 89 x 99 inches.

        This photo shows the muslin border that I integrated into the piecing.

 This way the stars got all of their points finished and the quilt-top grew just a bit more.  Everyone seems to have queen-sized and king-sized beds nowadays, and although I didn't ask where they would display this quilt, I feel like they'll be happy to have bigger rather than smaller.

Quilting it is going to be quite an adventure........especially as the weather warms up.  Hopefully, when it reaches JoAnn, she'll get it basted and back to me here in Tennessee right away, so that I can quilt it while Winter is waning and Spring is making it's grand entrance.

It's been a long day, as I started it by changing my bedroom around again, including swapping out my Hollywood bedframe for the four-poster one that I had in storage.  I still need to get the new curtains made to match the quilt and shams that I purchased from Walmart.
I was ordering myself an 8-inch memory foam mattress from Walmart.com, but when I looked around our local store, I ran across this quilt design.  I went back online and found and ordered it, but it measures 90 inches square; so, I need to cut it down to fit my twin bed.  Now that I've finished Jen's quilt-top, I can get to these bedroom projects.  I'd love to paint the walls, too, but I don't know if I'll ever get around to that, with the room full of furniture.

I just want to mention here that the snow that they predicted nearly missed us.  I woke to a slight scattering of snow across the back porch and across the grass.



Saturday, January 31, 2015

Getting close !

I am SO VERY TIRED after spending hours at the sewing machine and at the ironing board and at the cutting table today !  

But all of my triangle units are pieced, pressed, trimmed and sashed.   Thank the good LORD for the strength to stick with it !   Monday is looking like either a doctor's appointment (eye check-up for hubby) or a snow day, so I don't know how much piecing I'll be able to get done that day.   But one more row assembly, plus adding a few rows together, and I AM DONE.
This picture looks confusing because I have pinned the quilt in progress SIDEWAYS to a design wall on one wall and a curtain on the adjoining wall.  Remember, my home is small and this quilt is growing to be RATHER LARGE !
I know, I know......it could be days, but I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  For now I am just happy to have those 576 triangles DONE !

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Halfway there !

I'm pretty much halfway finished on the commission I'm working on........the embroidered quilt top's sashing/stars !   It is a TEDIOUS undertaking, but done in increments, it is manageable.

I am doing the stitch and flip method for making the triangles at the end of each yellow sash, stitching diagonally across 1 1/2 inch squares on each corner and then flipping and trimming.  I sew enough sashes for one row at a time, including the sashing strip that joins rows as well as the sashes that join the blocks.

There is A LOT of pinning involved, but I am pleased with the appearance thus far.

This morning I took a bit of a break to make a diaper-changing pad for a sister in Christ.

 This is the quilt I made for her last year,
if you remember, and today was her due date to deliver her baby daughter, Abigale Marie Hope.  I used the same roll of strips that I used when making the quilt.......solids from Connecting Threads.

Working on the project gave me the perfect opportunity to pray for her during her scheduled C-section.

I can hardly wait to hear more details about the baby and her arrival, but we, her friends, are celebrating Krista's victory, and praising God for his faithfulness.