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Texas Tornado?

What a fight it has been to reach the end of a project that is “The Persian Plum” originally an undertaking my husband was so passionate about in the beginning. For all those who have ever purchased a Block-of-the-Month or a jelly roll, you might have come to the same conclusion that not all the pieces that come with your purchase is cut to the exact size needed. On several occasions when in the piece making process, I found pre-cut fabric not square as it should have been or shy a quarter of an inch here and there. Nothing is more frustrating than blocks that don’t meet the finished size requirements. After making 9 of the 12 featured blocks my husband did the only thing that would make him feel better, which was to start another quilt. Due to my tenacious nature, I volunteered to wrestle the quilt into submission and after a very painstaking process, it is finally complete. Image

During this process my husband began a very lovely Ohio Star quilt, a Christmas quilt and I had just completed yet another Sage Garden pattern using Heidi Grace inspired prints. Last weekend I started a Christmas inspired panel quilt with fabric I purchased from a Moda warehouse sale, purchased 8 bolts of fabric from a Joann’s close out sale for quilts I plan to make for family members; all of which are vying for top position and this morning Michael announced that I wont be able to make any progress this weekend because he is overhauling the sewing room. 

In the beginning it was nice just to have a sewing room put together using an old dining room table, mismatched chairs and even a love seat to plop down on to read or sit and talk but as time has marched on we have both come to the realization that the room itself is not as user friendly as it could be. In his excitement, Michael has been talking at me a hundred miles an hour this morning. He has been sharing pictures of sewing tables, cutting tables and storage units to transform the room in such a way that might actually work for us instead of against us. Not quite the weekend I was planning but I certainly cant complain. 

Volunteer Work

As we are approaching the end of the year at a break neck pace I have been bracing myself for the impact for such a time when all my projects come to an end. The company I work for has an incentive program that has certain requirements and percentages per, to acquire what any other company would call a bonus. One requirement worth 25% of our incentive (should we choose) is community service. Isn’t it sad, how much we aspire to give back or volunteer to the community but in reality find that there just aren’t enough hours in the day?  This 25% for community service breaks down to 12 hours of volunteer work for the whole year. 365 days a year and  I barely managed to eek out my community service in the last two weeks in order to obtain 100% of my incentive. Pathetic, I know. And if that didn’t prove just how much I suck, let me just bear the rest of the whole ugly truth in saying that it only took me two days of focus to whip out a project that had been under my nose the whole stinking time.

In my growing library of quilting books there is one among them called “Quilting for Peace.” If ever there was a book that was responsible for coining the phrase, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” this small on the outside but  huge inspirational compilation, saved my collective…you know; with it’s quick yet mesmerizing quilting pattern called the fence rail. I later learned from my long arm quilter that this pattern also goes by the name, triple rail.  Upon reading the text for this particular pattern, I learned that a woman in Colorado along with a small group, made several of these fence rail quilts as Emergency Snuggle Blankets for firefighters to carry on their trucks. The pattern is so very simple to read, understand and put together. With a group, I’m certain with an assembly line of sorts, could whip out quite a few of these. By myself I was able to piece two quilts in about a 48 hour period. My long arm quilter mentioned that she and her guild apparently made these 49 inch squared blankets for charity and that she charges around $20 a quilt. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy that made me.

 

Today I turned in all my paperwork for my yearly incentive and the one thing I am most proud to have accomplished was the community service project. When these two little gems come back from the quilter and are bound, they will find their new homes in the Shady Dale Firehouse in Oklahoma.

I have been following Texana’s Kitchen for a little while now and I just love her. Mostly in part, due to her recipes but also because she is real, hilarious, poignant witty and just my kind of girl. I am re-posting her last for all of those who are looking for something new, some good advice or maybe a few minutes of pure entertainment. BTW people, I met my husband at the “Saddle Rack” in San Jose CA. We have a wonderful blended family of 7 children/ 4 grandchildren and have been married for 16 wonderful years. Congratulations on your success Texana!
I appreciate your shared lively topics.

Texana's Kitchen

Today is my husband’s birthday.  Forty four years ago today, his mother was having her own Labor Day, of sorts.

On his birthday, as I celebrate with him, I also pause to remember how we met, why we married each other, and how we stay together.  It isn’t something we take for granted, and we talk about it often, as we see other marriages that take the path of least resistance.  Friends that haven’t been so fortunate will ask for advise on “how do you deal with….” or “how could I have avoided…..”, or any number of retrospective questions after the dissolution of their marriage.  I am no expert, and certainly not qualified to hand out marital advise, but I can tell you from my own perspective what has worked for us.

Where is the best place to meet someone?

I know I have heard people answer this with “church”…

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My quest for perfect applique

Earlier this year I finished my first block of the month quilt, purchased from Joann’s Fabric. It would be the second quilt I ever made solely on my own and my first attempt at applique. I have to say the undertaking was quite ambitious on my part and at the time I had no idea that this type of quilt would be my Whale but since the finishing of that first quilt, a secondary BOTM (Natures Garden) and the third Albatross called Petal Power Duo, I have indeed come a long way in a short amount of time.

In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about applique, except for that one piece of fabric would sit atop of another and be stitched down. I hadn’t looked at any stabilizer products much less used any on my first quilt. And one would think that in this day in age, something that sounds so simple would be simple. Maybe it was before the days of the interfacing and stabilizer revolution. I have talked to several people now about their preferences in products and  applique techniques, and though it seems that they have their favorites due to finding something that worked the first time out or an old stand by because their mother used it, it almost seems as though they have a limited opinion or next to none about the wide variety of products and how to utilize them to their advantage. A friend of mine (who has been quilting for 20+ years) confided in me last week that she didn’t know how to do applique and could I show her? Of course you know this just spurred me on to try every product within reason, test it on different type, size fabric pieces and this is what I came up with.

Pellon makes great stabilizer products. There are several types to choose from and each one has a specific purpose for which it is made.

Pellon Wash-N-Gone

Pellon Wash-N-Gone is a magical little number if you are working on a quilt with applique  that seems to have a million little pieces made up of circles, leaves, petals, stems and/or your doing embroidery/monogramming work. Wash-N-Gone stabilizes your product and at that same time, save’s you the trouble of trimming or removing the excess as it dissolves in any temperature of water. FYI, don’t handle with wet hands, it works that good.

Heat’n Gone

Pellon Wonder Under or Heat’n Bond Fusible Web is fantastic as it is an iron on product. This is great for a medium size applique projects or to use on any one individual cut out. To keep your applique from being stiff on your quilt, you would have to use the webbing on the outside edges of your cut though. Trying to remove the inner excess afterwords is hard work and risky.

Pellon Stitch’n Tear

Pellon Stitch’n Tear is fabulous to use for large applique in size and quantity. It’s thicker and stiffer than other stabilizers, which makes it easier for pinning and leaves your finished product laying flatter than others that might come out with a little poof.  Especially if you satin stitch your applique. Stitch’n Tear is cheap, so you don’t feel bad about anything you waste and the time you save for not having to cut  the excess away with scissors is, well… you cant put a price that.

And finally, a word on  “fabric glue stick.” Use it. It’s simple, cheap and it works. I rubbed it on the backside of the flower petals and stuck it to the block where I wanted it. I ran an iron over it and it stayed for days before I got around to sewing it together. I haven’t had the opportunity yet, to try any of  the spray on adhesives other interfacing/stabilizer brands like Peltex or Sulky but I imagine they all work pretty well and much the same.

As I always, I hope you found this topic interesting if not useful. If there is anyone out there who has a testimonial on this subject, I would be very interested in hearing it. Have a great day and happy stitching.

Rules of Fort Making (Y’all thought I was kidding didn’t you?)

Just in case some of you were wondering if I was going to make good on my word regarding my summer list of things to do that I posted previously.  I did indeed, make my fort.

I’ve been making homemade forts all my life. I think I have used every substance known to man, however the best stuff for making an indoor fort is  still bedding and unused furniture. Sheets are great if you want a little ambiance lighting. Their usually big enough to get the job done and thin enough for light to loom in. I prefer blankets and quilts for they’re size and heftiness. I never worry about tearing a corner of a quilt.

As a standard rule, you should always leave someone standing guard outside to keep your fort safe from intruders and to take the password of the day from those who are allowed.

Its always nice to have a bit of company while your in your fort. I invited my cat Ollie inside and of course he thought it was a fabulous idea.

 

 

A fort is not complete without all the comforts of couch cushions, covered in your favorite quilt. And of course snacks are always a good idea. I have a juice pouch, teddy grahams and my laptop of course.

 

 

Indoor forts are fun to make because they are easy to put up and fast to take down. I love kicking back in forts and reading or playing games on my phone or laptop. It reminds me of tent camping which I don’t get to do very often anymore.

Creative Corner Introduction

For the oh’s & awe’ers, the one’s who’s eye’s still hold the glint of wonder for the bright and shiny’s of the world. I hope to entertain, inspire, motivate, or make you wet yourself while laughing at my “how to” in progress or finished products by my own hand.Though this blog is greatly for myself; a writer of whom has ultimately traded her thoughts and words for things like a fabric addiction, knitting needles,etc…it is also for my husband who has  been belly aching over my lack of vision. My husband has more creative talent in his baby toe than I possess. And though this may come as a shock to some, he out weighs me in the ability to sew, hand quilt and design. On general principle according to the rules of “how to get your vindictive girl on” I shouldn’t in any way cave, and give him something to read that would inspire him in  to create anything that would eclipse something handmade of mine. Competitive much? You betcha! But I do have to say that having been married to him forever…we have learned to work side by side, talk out a project, help without fighting ( most of the time, heeheehee) and still love one another. Working together lately usually just means helping with the cutting portions of a new quilt as both of us have our projects either in the finishing stages or those on the horizon. So, for those who want to take a peek at something beyond your own front door once in a while and see the great or not so wonderful and hear all about the trial and errors, I invite you to come back again. Hopefully I will have my page together soon.