Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Flew Past

I didn’t start out planning a prolonged blog break, but that’s what happened.  Since it’s the last day of 2016, I wanted to do a wrap up post before turning over a new leaf for 2017.

Since my last post, we spent a week on the Texas Coast at Port Aransas for our birthaversary celebration.  This has become a tradition for us as my birthday, Bob’s birthday and our anniversary, not to mention Christmas, fall within a 30-day span starting late November.  It’s our gift to each other.

The weather was not ideal this year.  This was the type of view we had of the shore most days. The color in  these photos is fairly accurate.

Even the birds didn’t want to be out and about, although I saw surfers in the water every day.

…But I soon found that if I bundled up I could enjoy the sound of the surf and the taste of the salt air as I walked along the shoreline.  Most days I got my 10,000 steps in.  

I took my machine for working on bow tie blocks.  (The collection of blocks on my design wall is growing slowly.)

…And my hexagons, which I worked on both in the condo and in the car.

When we returned, this sweet squishy package from Debbie at Stitchin' Therapy was waiting for me.  I’m still pondering how to use these, but I’m thinking about a cover for my 2017 journal.  The one about letting go of what I can’t control is especially apropos.  Thank you so much, Debbie!

So, ready or not, 2017 is arriving right on schedule in a few short hours, and I’m wishing everyone happiness and health.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Scrap Happiness

Scrappy quilts make my heart sing in so many ways.  I’ve managed to complete two more bow tie sections and added them to my design wall.  The secondary designs created by the layout are becoming more evident.  I hope to have the opportunity to do more work on this project over the next week.  It’s a great stress reducer.

I’m linking to Scraptastic Tuesday.

Scraptastic Tuesday

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Prepping Sort of Day

My quilting activities Saturday were pretty much limited to prepping projects and not actually sewing.  Oh, how I miss it when I can’t sit down to a machine and just stitch my seasonal stress away! 

I’m closing in on completing the first stage of this Becky Goldsmith project.  Five more leaves need to be stitched down, then the blocks go together and the next stage of applique begins.

I also did a lot of fabric pairing and cutting for my hexagon project.  While I was at it, I cut some of the remnants of this project into units for bow tie blocks. 

I should be ready to roll the next time an opportunity presents itself for some handwork, but that probably won’t happen today. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Festivities Have Begun

I join friends for a day of sewing every Tuesday.  Today was our holiday gathering and, honestly, there was more eating than sewing.  Chocolate was involved.  It was fortunate that my weigh-in was yesterday and I’m not scheduled for another one until January.

I managed to complete a few bow tie blocks using some of the fabric Debbie sent. 

…And there was some dumpster diving (I have no shame) for more scraps to add diversity to the project.

Tomorrow is the Guild Christmas party.  I am quite sure there will be chocolate there too.  Then, hopefully a return to saner eating habits.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Squishy Mail and Potholders

I took advantage of a very wet weekend with no urgent need to be out and about to replenish my basket of potholders for gift giving.  I completed 16 in all and I was very happy this task did not morph into yet another UFO.  They came entirely from stash and are strictly utilitarian in nature.  Even the centers were castoff terry cloth towels and heat resistant batting remnants that a friend was going to trash.

I also received a sweet squishy envelope from Debbie at Stitchin' Therapy.  When she saw a recent post about my scrappy bow tie blocks she kindly forwarded some scraps for it.  A bonus was that many of these cuts were already 1 ½ inches wide, the starting dimension for the sub-units.  Thank you so much, Debbie!  I have already cut them up and have them sitting by my machine. 

There is always one week in the Christmas season during which everything social seems to get scheduled.  This is the week for me and I am so glad I had the slow weekend in which to catch my breath.  After two very moist weeks that brought us more than 2 inches of rain, the weather is expected to start clearing and cool down some more.  Lights are going up all over town and it’s beginning to look and feel very much like Christmas.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Finish at Last

The project I’ve been machine quilting for months is finally finished.  The design is by Jill Finley and was a project that grew out of a workshop we had with her in March of 2014.  It was a good project to practice quilting feathers.  I hope whatever goes under the needle next moves along at a quicker pace!😊

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Playing With Scraps Again

I’ve been dumpster diving at retreats and the Club House; begging, purchasing, and swapping, remnants with friends; and diving into my own stash.  Time to get busy making some more bow tie blocks.  Here’s what I have so far. 

The hardest part of making these units is trying to figure out how to press the seams.  I thought I had it sorted out by twirling seams so they would nest.  Then I laid two blocks side by side according to the pattern only to find that results in a very bumpy join.  I think the best solution will be to press seams open.  The bow tie units finish at 2 inches.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

My goal is to have the binding finished on this quilt by Wednesday so I’ll have a project for Show and Share at our Guild meeting.  It’s going to be a push, so there may be some binge TV watching in my future.  If I feel like I'm stressing my hands too much, though, the project will have to wait for another meeting.

After an extremely wet start to November, the days have turned sunny and pleasantly cool.  The insects have been going bonkers over the blooms on our bottle brush plants.  I was surprised to see this shot captured a bee in flight as well as the butterfly I was aiming for.  They were both after the same blooms and the bee kept pestering the butterfly.  I noticed that she was not in the least intimidated and stood her ground.

Linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday today.

Slow Sunday Stitching

Thursday, November 10, 2016


It’s been a while since I posted a progress report on my hexagon piecing project based on a pattern by Edyta Sitar.   All the center diamond units are complete and I’ve added a couple more rosettes. 

Two of my Christmas cacti are in bloom.

And, I’ve been busily cutting up perfectly good fabric so I can sew it back together again.  These are some cuts I received in a scrap swap with a friend.  I’ve got a wonderful collection of batiks up next.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Back From Houston!

I received an invitation to accompany a friend to the Houston Quilt Festival this week and stay as a house guest at her daughter’s lovely home.  What a treat it was. 

I was so busy absorbing the sights and sounds of the event that I took very few pictures.  This prize winner, however, took my breath away. 

I didn’t come home empty handed by any means.  I made two purchases, both of them extravagant.

For several years, I’ve wanted to see if I could find a really good fitting thimble.  My hands are small and it’s not that easy to find ones that are comfortable.  

Here is what I came home with.  This thimble is made by TJ Lane.  It is sterling and has a lifetime warranty.  The price hurt, but the thimble feels wonderful on my hand.

And, this little girl followed me home too.  For some time, I’ve wanted a retreat/workshop machine with a good blanket stitch.  I love my vintage straight stitch machines.  They are still my favorite for piecing, but often they don’t meet workshop requirements.  The machines I have that do meet those requirements are heavy, bulky and difficult to remove from their cabinets.  After lurking at the Janome booth several times and peppering the representatives with lots of questions, they reduced the price three times to one I was willing to pay.  

Good thing hubby is at the ranch for a few days and I don’t have a lot of commitments this coming week.  

I’ll use the time to make friends with her and consider re-homing one of my vintage machines to free up storage space.

The trip to Houston was fabulous, but exhausting.  I’m not used to big city traffic (thankfully my friend handled the driving), the crush of humanity, and sensory overload that you encounter at Festival.  If offered another chance to go to Houston, I would grab it in a heartbeat; but I’m looking forward to some recovery time.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Applique, Pecans and Skunks

During my Tuesday sewing day with friends, Quilt-Cam, World Series games, and my monthly applique group gathering I worked on my Becky Goldsmith project.  I am finally through with the red flowers and have started adding leaves. 

We’ve had a good pecan season this year and here is some of what I’ve gleaned from the public areas in our community.  Time to get cracking…literally.

We’ve also had two near misses between my dogs and a skunk in the yard.  I’ve stocked up on hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, part of the recipe for de-skunking a dog, in case baths are in order.  I keep hoping Pepe le Pew will move on; but if he doesn't, I'm ready. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Quilting Aids

My focus this past week has been trying to push forward on a quilting project that has taken way too long.  I’m gradually closing in on it and thought I would share two things that have helped make the process easier.

A real problem with quilting at a sit-down machine is drag.  No matter how big your work surface is, if your project manages to drop off the table edge, you’ve got resistance as you free motion quilt.  This is the solution I found somewhere online; I believe it was at Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry’s  site, Bryerpatch.  The bookends were bought for next to nothing at our local library thrift store and I have an abundant supply of binder clips.

The other aid I’ve found is a product by Gum available in the dental section of the grocery store.  These speed up the process of threading multiple strands in a large eye embroidery needle if you want to bury threads.  Using this method reduces the problem with thread shredding when using most self-threading needs.

My handwork project for this afternoon’s edition on Quilt-cam will be more hexagons.  My aging tablet can no longer handle the load of Quilt-cam so I have to sit in front of my computer monitor to watch.  Bonnie is trying a different method for broadcasting and I hope it works.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


While sewing with friends yesterday I completed five anti-ouch pouches bringing me to my 2016 goal of 100.  Anything more I complete this year will just be a bonus.

I’ve also added three more diamonds to the collection of units for the “Handful of Scraps” project I’m working on.  This is a great project to do while watching television, provided a certain mutt who loves to sit in my lap gives me a chance.

Right now hubby is headed to the ranch to meet up with his hunting partner of 30 plus years.  Deer season does not begin for a few weeks, but they always like to spend a few days beforehand getting things ready.  I, on the other hand, have the slow cooker simmering with the first stew of the season and hope to make some serious progress on the quilting front.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Slow Stitching

Slow Sunday Stitching

It’s Sunday, and while I’m not a faithful poster to Kathy's Slow Stitching Sunday linky party, I do so love to devote at least some time to handwork.

I’m almost to the end of the pieces I have prepped for applique for this Becky Goldsmith project.  When I finish that stretch, I’ll go back to basting my hexagons for my version of Edyta Sitar’s “Handful of Scraps” design. 

This is what I took as a handwork project for the retreat last week.  Mainly I worked on trying to get as much diversity in the neutrals as I could and my collection has grown.  I've always had a fondness for wood boxes and this cigar box was a gift from one of my Tuesday sewing friends.  She periodically brings one after her hubby has emptied it and we take turns claiming them.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Back from Retreat

I returned yesterday from our guild’s second annual retreat at the Compass Retreat Centre in Mt. Calm, Texas.  Like our first retreat, it was tremendous fun and a very welcome break.

This is the project I focused on, my version of Sue Garman’s “Good Golly” pattern.  I began piecing the blocks at our last retreat and had all my half square triangles ready to set this year. 

With help from my friends, I was able to make some border fabric decisions.

The retreat center has an attached fabric store with lots of gorgeous batiks.  Retail therapy was involved…

…and chocolate was involved; both from the snack table and the wonderful desserts served with meals.

…and inspiration was involved too.  Here are a few of the projects from the other retreaters.  I did not manage to get pictures of them all.  This is only a sampling.

We managed to get a little silly along the way.

I’m glad to be home again to hubby, doggies and my own bed; and I’m already looking forward to next year’s retreat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Plan B and More

My plan Tuesday was to work on these applique blocks while sewing with friends.  In my haste, however, I did not get there with everything I needed.  

So, onto Plan B, my hexagon project which I had tossed in my bag almost as an afterthought.  I ended up making lots of neutral hexagons while we chatted and generally had a good time

Since I last posted about this project, I’ve added a second rosette and a diamond unit.   

I've finished cutting from scraps in my stash for swapping with a friend.  This stack fills a half gallon bag.  I'm really looking forward to seeing her next Wednesday when we will make the exchange.

Today, a squishy package arrived in the mail from Wanda at Exuberant Color.  I had contacted her to see if I could purchase of some of her batik remnants.  As she was already cutting for some kits and projects anyway, she kindly agreed.  Oh, they are so lovely I may not be able to cut them for a while.

Finally, my new earphones have arrived (after having to return a defective set) and I am able to hear the dialogue while watching Netflix movies, even when hubby is really into a football game or has the entertainment system cranked up in the next room.  I am a happy camper!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Playing in the Scrap Bin

I’m having fun petting fabric this weekend.  I love a scrappy quilt project, but get tired of using just my own scraps.  So, I recently proposed a scrap swap with a Guild friend who is a scrap quilter extraordinaire.  We exchanged ideas about minimum sizes and preferred colors and are both working our way through our stashes while our husbands enjoy football season.  Besides having new fabric to look forward to, this is also giving me the push I need to spend some more time straightening up my stash.  It’s a mess, but it’s my mess and it’s glorious!

Since last posting I’ve also finished 10 anti-ouch pouches bringing my 2016 total to 95 and knitted two dishcloths.  There was also a delightful girls’ day out last weekend at the quilt show in Fredericksburg including a stop at a quilt shop and lunch at a fancy/smancy/new-to-me bistro.  There have been Guild committee meetings and applique group gatherings plus my usual sewing with friends Tuesdays.

I am slowly making progress on a quilt under the needle on my HandiQuilter and have pushed forward on with my applique and hexagon projects.  So, while I’ve been unable to bring myself sit down and log my quilting journey on this blog for three weeks, I have been steadily at work and really enjoying myself.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Slow Stitching Projects

Slow Sunday Stitching

My current handwork projects are my English paper pieced hexagons and the project from the workshop with Becky Goldsmith.

This is the first rosette, made with French General fabrics, that I worked on during our trip to New Mexico.

This is what I plan on working on today while watching the Olympics wrap up. 

I enjoy alternating between the two projects.

I’m linking up with Kathy’s Slow Stitching Sunday post today.