"Make what you want to make, and make it the way you want to make it." Gwen Marston

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Counting my Blessings

I hate November.  I was trying to think of a clever title to convey that, when I thought of the poor people in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas.  It is cold and dreary and bleak here, but I am not buried under five or more feet of snow.

Our leaves, which were so pretty and colorful a week ago, have suffered from the first hard frost, and are now brown and dried up.  This is now just a memory.


But I would rather look at dry brown leaves than several feet of this.


We have had several days of very cold temperatures, but we are warm and cozy in our house.  I just saw a news story that in some areas of New York state, they are running out of food and fuel because of all the snow.

I have my sewing machine and many crafts to work on.  I am not out shoveling all that snow! 








The tiny little Scrap Star quilt is quilted!  And I actually used my Sweet 16 for the quilting.  I WILL master that thing while I’m not working.  We’re going to have another session today, in fact.


The sun refuses to cooperate, so you’re not seeing these trees in their best light.  The cardinals and one border are actually red.  This quilt will rely heavily on quilting to bring it to life.  I don’t have a clue how I’ll quilt it, so any suggestions are welcome.  I started this at a previous retreat, and finished most of it at the  recent retreat.  I’m always surprised at the finished size of my quilts.  I think this is intended as a wall hanging, but I don’t know many people with a blank wall this big!  I need to learn to read the sizes and try to visualize them before I get started. 


Shhh…  this is secret sewing for Christmas.  I’ve been doing a lot of hand applique, and the end is in sight.  I like it so much I don’t really want to part with it, but it is intended as a special Christmas gift.


I also started a new cross stitch pattern that has been in my basket for a couple of years. 


And just yesterday I started a new stitchery project.  I went to our guild’s Hands On sewing day, and took my new light pad to try out.  The light pad is awesome, and I’m already in love with this little stitchery.

So, I have plenty of hand work to keep me busy on these cold not-yet-winter nights.  And I have a stack of flimsies just waiting to be quilted.  And I have enough fabric and patterns to keep me busy for several years.  And I have my new friends from Hands On.  And I have my many blog friends.  And…And….And….

Many blessings, indeed.      Sunny


Monday, November 10, 2014

FNWF and Retreat results

I know I’m a little late posting for FNWF, but I was just too tired yesterday to function.  I sewed all day Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday.  Saturday night I couldn’t fall asleep (too much quilty stuff in my brain?), so I was miserable on Sunday.

Why does everything take so much longer than planned?  Does it have anything with being surrounded by about 80 quilty women and their projects?  Thursday’s goal was to finally make this quilt.


This very small quilt has been to at least three retreats, and because of various problems, was always put back in the box.  The pieces were cut out, and one star had been made previously.  I hope to get it quilted today.  The binding is made and ready to be applied.  I purchased this as a kit about three years ago, and I gave away the pattern when I was finished on Thursday, so I can’t give you any information other than the name, which was Scrap Stars.

Friday’s project involved snowmen.  Our Guild is having a UFO challenge, and this is the quilt that I said I would quilt and bind before the December meeting.  The only problem was, I forgot that I hadn’t put it together yet!

I spent the entire day on Friday cutting and sewing the sashing and borders.  This was done as a BOM last year, and I had kept up with the individual blocks, which are made from beautiful wools on cotton.  I’ve seen several others out in blog land.  This is a Primitive Gatherings pattern.

Birch trees were the theme for most of the day Saturday, and on Sunday morning.  I don’t have a picture yet, because I still have to finish the final border.  I’d like to have the borders completed before our Guild meeting tomorrow night. 

I didn’t take many pictures of others’ projects, but I do have to share this.  The strips for this had been cut, but this was entirely strip pieced and put together in two days!!!!  No, that is not a typo.  TWO DAYS.  I’m sure it would have taken me at least two months.


Retreats encourage me.  Inspire me.  Feed my soul as well as my body.  My dh doesn’t really understand why I want to pack up all my stuff and go away to sit and sew all day.  Can’t I just do that at home?  NO.  It’s all about being in a room with like-minded women who speak my language.  Other quilters are always quick to lend a hand, offer some advice, share a scrap, and inspire.  If you’ve never been to a quilt retreat, I urge you to try one.  I’m planning a Girls’ Day out next week with three new friends.

And speaking of friends, here are two who pretend not to like each other.  What do you think?

Happy stitching!      Sunny


Veteran's Day

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Loving the sashing!

Not much time tonight, because I should be packing for my retreat.  But I got my Charming Stars put together, and I’m really happy with them.  They definitely needed the sashing.

I was really on a roll on Sunday, so after finishing this, I put together a baby quilt with some of my pink scraps.

I’ll use a scrappy binding for this, and that will finish off many of my pink scraps.  It’s hard to tell in this picture, but all the pinks are different. 

I have enough blue charms left from the Charming Stars to make another quilt, and I plan to make it child sized.  Then it and the pink quilt will be donated to our local Sheriff’s Department for our Guild’s service project.  They keep small quilts in their cruisers to be sued when a child needs comforting.

Must go pack now.  Much sewing to be done over the weekend.      Sunny

Monday, November 3, 2014

Charming Stars

Charming Stars are a lot like potato chips.  You can’t have just one.  Or four.  Or eight.  Remember this lovely stack of fabric squares cut from shirts?

As you may recall, I’m combining the Shirt Challenge with the Charming Stars Sew-a-Long.  The shirt challenge calls for a quilt made of only six shirts, plus one other fabric to tie everything together.  We can also add fabric for binding and backing.  I’ve had a pile of shirts that I’d been wanting to use, and when I saw that Sheila was combining the two projects, I immediately knew that that was what I wanted to do, too.  The plan for the Charming Stars is to make 4 stars per month, beginning in September.  Well, September didn’t quite go as planned for me, but I did manage to get the shirts deconstructed.  Last week, with October drawing to a close, I decided that I need to get busy and make stars.  But I couldn’t stop once I started!

I made all 16 of the stars!  I don’t have a design wall, and these stars even pushed my ‘design floor’ to the max.  In my next life, I’ll have a huge sewing studio with an enormous design wall.  A girl can dream, can’t she?  Anyway, I’ve seen a couple of people planning to put their stars together like this, without the neutral sashing.  Hmmmm…shat do you think?  I agree – the sashing is needed.  Back soon with the completed top! 

Happy Stitching…..Sunny


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I was wrong.

Fall is not nearly over.  As a matter of fact, summer may not even be over!

We reached about 82 degrees today (28C) so we loaded up the kayaks and headed to a small lake nearby.  What a beautiful day.  We saw several people walking their dogs, a few bicyclists, 2 stand-up paddle boarders, several fishermen, and even a couple of families with small children playing in the sand.


I thought it was odd that we could hear the traffic noise from a nearby interstate highway, but then I realized we don’t normally hear it because the beach is normally crowded with shouting laughing children.


Today was just quiet and peaceful.  And a little sad knowing that it was the last paddle of the season.  We return to more seasonal temperatures over the next couple of days, and the kayaks will be in storage by the end of the week.


On the stitching front, I’ve been working on my Charming Stars, and should have some blocks to show by tomorrow. 

Hope you’re enjoying whatever season you’re in!  Sunny


Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Huge Ta-Da!

Yesterday, we packed up a picnic lunch, and went for a drive, looking for more pretty fall colors.  While most of the trees in our town are still green, fall is nearly over in the ‘mountains’ all around us.  We did have a lovely drive, however, and enjoyed eating our lunch beside a deserted lake.



When we got home, it was time to put the finishing touches on my seasonal quilt.  In keeping with today’s theme, I’ll start with Fall.


The inspiration for this was the pumpkin, which I made for an online Mystery BOM from a couple of years ago.  That’s as far as I got with it, so the pumpkin has been laying around in my room for at least two, maybe three years. 


Winter was going to be a big basket of snowballs with snowmen faces, but when I realized how big this block was going to be, it just didn’t work.


Spring was adapted from Vicki Bellino’s “For the Birds”.  I had to applique the bird houses instead of piece them, because I didn’t want the background to be pieced.  Otherwise, I just changed the sizes very slightly, and it was perfect for my needs.


Summer was inspired by a mug rug that I had seen on Flickr a couple of years ago. 

Last Thanksgiving, DH’s niece told me that I was making a wall hanging for her to hang on the long narrow wall above her staircase.  She gave me the dimensions, asked that it be seasonal, with winter at the top, and that it be completed by this Thanksgiving.  How do you think I did?

It’s 30 inches wide, and about 8 1/2 feet long.  DH is standing on our deck, and I’m taking the picture from down below.  I can’t wait to see it hanging on their wall.  I’ve been working on this for months, and I’m so glad it’s finally finished.

I was in the need of some instant gratification last night, so I made a few more mug rugs for our Hospice fundraiser.  The blue block was leftover from another project, and I almost tossed it in the trash, and then realized that it could have a new life.







Now I need to start planning and cutting projects for my retreat in a couple of weeks!

~ ~  Sunny ~ ~


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Seasonal Confusion



It’s fall here in the US, and we expect to see pumpkins, mums, and brightly colored foliage at this time of year.  Since I always carry a camera, I’ve been accumulating a few pictures over the past few days.  Today, I walked in our beautiful City Park with a friend, and THIS is what we saw:


Azaleas and roses should not be blooming.  It’s just not right.



They’re pretty, so I’m not complaining, but they look odd with this as a backdrop.


Much sewing and unsewing and cursing have been happening at the QD place.  I’ll have something major to share soon.  Maybe.  It all looked good in my head, but the jury is still out on the final project.  I hope to attach the binding tonight or tomorrow, so the end is in sight.  I need a finish for October OPAM, and the end of the month is soon.

~ ~  Sunny ~ ~


FNSI and Saturday Adventure

I always sign up for FNSI, and I almost always stitch something.  But it usually coincides with our Dinner Club, so I get a late start, and don’t accomplish as much as I’d like.  I’m currently working on two WIP’s that are hand work, so I spent a little time on each of them on Friday night.  Back in 2010 (?) I started a hexie project, knowing that it would be a long-term project.  Every year since, I vow that it will be completed this year, but alas, that hasn’t happened.  So I pulled it out again earlier this week, and attached a few more flowers.  Making the hexie flowers was so much fun.  Sewing them all together, not so much.

pretend there’s a picture of my hexie quilt here

I’m also working on a cross stitch piece, so I put a few stitches in it.  I had started this as my lunch time project before my job ended, and haven’t worked on it much since then.

pretend there’s a picture of my cross stitch here

Our Saturday plan was to find some pretty fall colors and take pictures, ending up at our favorite little pizza place for dinner.  Every fall, we spend two or three weekends following the peak leaf colors as they progress nearer to our hometown.  Our destination was Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland.  Sadly, the further west we drove, the more dreary and cloudy the skies became.  And then it started raining. 



We stopped at a couple of places that we’d been before, including Rocky Gap State Park, Casselman Bridge, and Hill Top Fruit Market.

IMG_2027 We decided that it just wasn’t our day, so we would have our delicious wood fired pizza for lunch instead of dinner, and return home early.  I took a map into the restaurant, and while we were waiting for our lunch, I noticed a lake on the map that I’ve never heard of before.  It’s very near where we were eating, so we decided to check it out before heading home. 


There are actually TWO lakes, and they’re only minutes from Rocky Gap, one of our kayaking spots.  How could we not know this?  We’re always looking for new places to kayak, so we drove all around them, locating the boat launch areas.  We’ll be back next summer!  And yes as we started heading east, we drove out of the gloom and into the sunshine!


We may have gotten just a little lost at one point, but we found some pretty spots, so it was all good.






All in all, a very successful outing!  My agenda for Sunday includes football and lots of stitching.  And maybe a big pot of soup.

~ ~  Sunny ~ ~


(eta:  I didn’t post this on Saturday night, because I was going to add more pictures.  that hasn’t happened.)