Wednesday, February 29, 2012


 Let's talk buttons.

I see lots of button things on Pinterest.  (No, I am not completely clear on what the point of it is.  And yes, I do have an account.)

I have this little basket of buttons in my sewing room.  The buttons are nestled on top of a sampler that somehow was rejected before it ever got framed.  I bought it at an Antique store when I was really into Country decorating and all the cutesy things that went into that style.  Somehow, I had to keep this from that era. 
Here are my real buttons, the working collection.

I have an old Maurice Lenell cookie tin that my mother used to collect buttons in.  I have buttons in there that I have purchased and somehow never used.  I have all those buttons in there that come on little cards hanging off new clothes.  And I have my Mom's button collection.

My daughter recently had a coat whose shank buttons ate through the thread and popped off on a daily basis.  I dove into my button collection and found  black buttons that would work.  I cut off all the shank buttons and she has a coat with a different kind of button at each button hole.  Odd, maybe, but they stay on and I felt terrific to have those buttons on hand.

My buttons are decorative, a link to my Mother and sometimes even useful.  Not bad for a lowly button!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kitchen Khaos

I guess having a husband with a broken ankle who can't walk wasn't enough, we also went ahead with our previously scheduled counter top redo.  Here is what the kitchen looks like - no counter tops, no sink, no water, no working dishwasher and the kitchen table covered with everything that used to be on the counter tops. 

When I posted the pictures on Facebook, I looked at it and thought, hmmm, those curtains are looking tired.  When I went to Maine and bought the blueberry fabric I could not have loved them more.  What can I say, I am fickle!

Do you remember the apron I made my step-mom for Christmas?  Those colors are in the tiles we are putting in the back splash so I went to the Quilt store to get more. 

However, while I was there this vibrant Marcia Derse fabric caught my eye.  I love her stuff and I keep collecting it but not sewing with it.  Click here to learn more!  Marcia Derse

I got four yards of it but found a fabric in my stash for the lining. 

I am using the old curtains as my pattern.

When I took it down, I smiled to see the plaid that I had used as the liner.

I don't know why I like a whimsical lining fabric in these curtains but I do.  Maybe for hovering helicopters?  Or the birds?

At any rate, this is at least the fourth set of curtains I have made since 1996, I guess about one every four years.  It's time. 

These curtains are 4 yards wide so the pinning and pressing will take a while.  And this is the last that anyone will see of the lining!

When I get them done, I will post a picture.

What's that you say, could I post a picture of the completed kitchen?

Of course!

I thought you would never ask. 

I can't wait for the kitchen and all the construction chaos to be over.  I will be able to cook again.  I know, I can't believe I wrote that either!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Updates on my quilts and designer clothes

First the City Green update.  Drum roll please, I have finished 3 whole rows.  Yay!

However the next row is the honeycomb so that may take a while!  I teach Monday and Wednesday so I am not sure when I will have a fourth row to show. 

But don't worry, I will find other things to sew, work on and blog about it!

I know, I am reassuring, I could feel your anxiety through internet right to me.

On the Hot for Chocolate front, I finished sewing, pressing and clipping all the triangles for one of the quilts.  Phew!

I am working on them for the second quilt.  When I have finished all of them I will divide them into two piles as well - red with brown and pink with brown.

It may take a while to get to that point, all the triangles done.  But when I do, I can start making blocks which is super fun and shows progress.  We will all be glad, won't we?

I sew during the day, take the pictures and write the blogs during the night.  I set them to post the next morning.  As I write this blog, I can also keep an eye on the Oscars.  Think about the designers of those dresses, did they start out with little scraps and doll dresses?  And imagine the ladder they have climbed, the back stabbing, the dramatics and the politics and then there was the sewing.

No thank you, I am glad to have my own quilts, my blog and my owning sewing drama - will I ever get these quilts finished?  Stay tuned!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Repetition needs a bit of different

 I finished the second side for one pile of the triangles and luckily there is another pile yet to do.

Maybe doing two quilts at the same time wasn't the best idea in the whole world?

But I think it is easier than making one whole quilt and then starting over again from scratch and making the second one.

I hope I am saving SOME time!
The first set of triangles I would flip from the sewing machine to the ironing board as I finished them.

I then cut down the line, clipped the thread and pressed the seam toward the brown.

I am about halfway done with the first stack.  When I get them all pressed, then I will clip the "rabbit ears" - the bits of fabric that extend beyond the square - while I am watching television.

When I am working on a big project like this, it helps to look around my sewing room. 

Here is one of my favorite areas, it is the wall on the northside of Gladys. 

Some of these items I had in a former lifetime, others are brand new.

The flower quilt was made for me by my friend, Gina.  It is the only quilt I feature that was not made by me or my Grandmother.  I do have a quilt I won which I do like, but I don't feature it.  I love the Mom's studio sign but I never call it a studio, it sounds too lofty!  The sign with the skull makes me laugh, it is so different from everything else!

In a world of repetition, sometimes you jsut need something that is different!  For me, it's my crafty skull sign!  I hope you have something that is different good in your life.  But sorry, you can't have my skull picture, I need the laughs. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stopping and starting

 I finished another row of the City Green Quilt, that went a lot faster don't you think?  Yes, I do, too!

My only issue with this (you knew I had one, right?) is that I can't get any kind of a flow going when I am quilting.  When I did Sweet Time and the Mad Plaid I could really get into it. 

Making circles within 2 inch squares means you stop and start a lot.  Which, I guess, is pretty much like my real life.  Just started on the blog, oh, there's an email.  Uploading the pictures, gotta take this phone call.
Here is a close up of these stop and start circles.  I snapped a picture at the very end so you could tell I actually did finish two rows!

I redid the math and I think I can do

1 row honeycomb
2 rows circles
1 row honeycomb
2 rows circles
This will work out with the first and last row being honeycomb.  (There are a total of 16 rows.)  If I have figured it wrong message me NOW!

Tomorrow, I will give you an update on the Hot for Chocolate Quilt, I am working on them both all the time but it's a start and stop process, I am just hoping I will close the circle on it....someday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Presidents' Day Weekend

Did you enjoy your 3 day weekend?  I sure did.  Yes, I am aware that I only work two days a week but I like a day off none the less.

What did I do related to quilts and sewing?  I bought all these fabrics, that is one things I did.  Where?  I am glad you asked, I even wrote a review of this new quilt store.Quilt store in Woodstock, Hopscotch Square
There really are few pleasures in life that beat finding a new quilt store.  The turquoise and green fabric will be a terrific back for fabrics I got for Christmas, as will the gray and beige fabric.    That takes care of the two ends, what about the other fabrics?

I bought five yards of the blue/black check to make a tablecloth.  I am thinking I can do something with the Paris fabrics I bought for two Paris-y book clubs I am having at my house this spring.  My classics book club will be meeting here in May to discuss The Count of Monte Cristo and my daughter's popular fiction book club will be meeting here in June to discuss The Paris Wife.   I am seeing some potential here for table linens!  I love everything about book clubs - the reading, the sewing and the eating with terrific women with intelligent things to say!

Well Kathy, did you get a lot of SEWING done on your day off?

Well, uh, no, I did not.

Blame my friend, Marge, she was in from DC and so Mary and I had to meet her for lunch.  Had to!  She reads my blog (yes, someone besides my husband does read it) and brought me a present.  She thought I could do the triangles easier next time with Thangles.   Thangles website
 I have heard of them but had never tried them.  Remember all the lines I drew, Thangles, apparently, are paper patterns you sew over and they have the lines all drawn on.  Genius!  I shall try them next time I am making bunches of triangles like I am now.

Great shopping, eating and visits with friends.  Not even the Presidents had a better weekend!

Friday, February 17, 2012


 It seems like as I progress on the Hot for Chocolate Quilt, the piles get littler and littler.

Here you can see that I have finished cutting up all the red/pink 2 1/2" strips.  It really cuts down on time to not cut red squares and pink squares and then sew them together.  Sewing together strips and then cutting them later makes things zip right along.

However, "fast" in quilting terms is not exactly like "fast" in other ways.  (Calm down, I am not going to talk about fast girls!)  Quilting fast = glacier fast!
On the cutting board you can see a pile of pink and red squares on top of brown squares.  Remember when I drew all the pencil lines on the diagonal?

I finished one quilt's worth of sewing 1/4" away from that line.  Now I am doing the other quilt.  The line is where I put the Quarter inch foot, then I know I am sewing 1/4" away from it.

When I finish the second quilt's blocks for one side, I will go back and do the second side of those and then of these.  Heck yes, it gets a tiny bit tedious.  But I will have two quilts at the end and when I am doing a step, I might as well keep doing it!

My girls are excited that I am making them matching quilts.  I never have before.  I used to make them dress in matching clothes sometimes.  Oh, you don't believe me, well here's proof. 

Yes, I did do this to them and on more than one Christmas.  Once I even had matching sweaters for the three of us.

This gives you some perspective about why they are so excited to have matching quilts, they were nervous it was pajamas!

Oh, that is a good idea, however.

Monday is a Federal Holiday, see you Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy happy

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am reposting the paper pieced Heart Quilt because, quite frankly, you can't remember everything I have posted so far in this blog, admit it!

Also because I am taking the day to celebrate with my special Valentine who is the love of my life even with a broken ankle!

Hope you have something lovely in your life today.  
I recommend chocolate. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lines, frogs, princes and blocks

Oh yes, I finished four more rows of quilting the brown and look, you can't see a thing in the picture.  Kindof explains why I will have to also quilt the green. 

What I really like about quilting the brown is that it provides terrific structure to the quilt.  And boy is this quilt stabilized.

What I don't like is that you cannot see a bit of stitching in the picture.  I hope you will be able to in real life.

I turned the rollers and I have the quilt in position for the final four rows of quilting the brown.

Then I will roll it back up to the top and start quilting the green squares. 
First I will fill some bobbins.
Then I may file my nails, possibly shampoo my hair.
Cause I don't know STILL how I am going to quilt those green squares.
It will come to will.


In the meantime, I am working on the Hot for Chocolate quilts. 
Progress so far:
All the 2 7/8" squares are cut
All the 2 1/2" pink/red strips are cut and sewn together
Things to do before I can start making blocks:
Draw a diagonal pencil line on each 2 7/8" square (BORING!)
Cut five brown strips from each quilt into 2 1"2 strips
        then into squares
Cut the pink/red into 2 1/2" slices
Sew the brown and pink 2 7/8" squares together

I like the cutting and the sewing of the fabrics but drawing those lines, phew, that makes me want to hire a line drawer.  (Anyone interested?  Lousy pay but you get to spend time with yours truly.  Snacks will be provided)

I have to do the boring parts to get to the cool parts, like all of life.  My Mom used to say, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you get to the Prince.  And I did, I got to my Prince and soon I will get to sew the heart blocks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Going slowly but enjoying it

 Can you even tell in the picture that I finished this section of the quilting? 

It is very rhythmic to do, there's such a pattern to it that it is quite soothing.

I keep looking at the green squares as I outline them.

I am hoping by the time I am done with the brown, I will have the green figured out!

 The greens' turn may come quicker than I think.

When I rolled it up, there was the bottom of the quilt.  But just because I can see it doesn't mean I will be quilting there, calm down Kathleen!

It will take another roll to be actually quilting on the bottom row.  I can quilt about 4 rows before I am too close to either the bottom or the top roller. 

Today I separated the strips into pink and red.  Twice.  (Did you forget, silly, that I am making two quilts?)

I then made each strip 2 7/8 inches wide and cut each one of those strips into 2 7/8 inch squares.

Next I will repeat the process with brown strips.

Then I do it all over again for another width.  It is the same pattern for the heart blocks as the friendship quilt I am making with Gina.

You may have noticed that I am not making as much progress as I did in the fall when I wasn't working.  Plus, I have been seeing friends lately.  I just need to talk to people about all that has gone on in my life and it has made me feel better, relieved the pressure.

It may be taking me longer but I am still enjoying sewing and quilting.  I knit also and Cliff's scarf is slowly taking shape.  It is probably long enough now for a goofy looking beard!

I am glad I am slacking off on progress because I am doing a job I love, teaching, and seeing friends who help me in life.  The sewing will get done!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Going together

 I am continuing to work on City Green.  I am doing more quilting than normal and more carefully, stitching in the ditch on each and every side of the brown strips.

It's OK that it is taking a long time as Cliff won't be very mobile for a long time also.  He is my quilt hanger guy so maybe it will get done when he is finally on his feet?

We ordered a basket for his scooter and he got a boot instead of a cast so at least there is some movement!
I got all the strips organized for the heart quilts.

I cut each one in half and then piled them in equal piles.  I am not sure if I should just make all the squares or always keep things separate for each quilt?  So far, separate, I can always change it.

I do love all the browns and pinks and saved one strip from each kit for the cornerstone blocks.  It's fun to like something so much when you didn't pick out all the fabrics yourself.  Sometimes I like a kit, all the decisions made for me and I don't overbuy on fabric.

Did someone mention buying fabric?  I just got some new fabric.   Yes, I know, it is pretty exciting.

This first set is for the man who made the post office box bank for me where I put the quilting threads.  He is also making a special edition one for a friend of mine whose birthday is in February.  She is a breast Cancer survivor and he has one that he makes for Breast Cancer survivors. 

Since he has been making things for me, I wanted to make something for him and he is a huge Mississippi State fan.  Their mascot is bulldogs so that's the other fabrics.  Silly but fun!

I am also planning two book clubs with a French theme.  The first one is for The Count of Monte Cristo in May.  I wanted something with more of a French flag look, some bleu, blanc, rouge but this is all I have found so far.

I am also hosting my other book club in June for The Paris Wife so whatever I make for the May club, I will use again for June.  Clever, n'est-ce pas?

Do you remember how I had the cherry theme for the Mark Twain book club.  (Silly me, of course you remember.)  I am using that table runner and those dishes this month with some of my Valentine linens.  The cherry works because of Presidents' day and Washington the and cherry tree!

Book club and sewing, two areas of my life that go together in ways which you would not expect.  In fact, I have trouble thinking of a way that you couldn't fit in sewing and books.  But sometimes, writing my blog and sewing don't fit in each day.  I know I will not be able to post a blog on Tuesday morning but I will catch up again on Wednesday AM!  I hope I have more progress to show on the City Green quilting and the heart quilt cutting.

May all the different aspects of your life work together well today, this week, heck, the whole darn year.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Making me happy - cupcakes!

 I am continuing to work on the quilting of the City Green quilt and cutting out the Valentine quilts.

Let's talk about something else that is sort of February-ish!

How about cupcakes?  Love them!

I also have a thing for pink and brown fabrics.  This project combined all of those elements.
One year for Emily's birthday I made her a cupcake table runner, cup cake placemats with matching napkins and an apron.

They were super fun to make and she loved them.

She uses them at birthday party times at her house.

When I go over and see them, it makes me happy.

And is she has made cupcakes, then I am even happier. 

When I have some progress to show on the cutting and the quilting, that will make me happy as well.  I am working on it.  Sometimes the beginning and the end of projects don't show a lot of progress.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Combining my favorites

It is February so I have this heart quilt on my condo door.  I love having a different quilt for each month.

If you promise not to mock me I will let you know that I also have 12 door mats and 12 little decorative items to put on the antique desk I keep next to my front door.

Yes, I do know it's a tad excessive. Isn't that great?

I like pink fabrics and heart fabrics and quilts.  My red and white heart quilt will not be ready for this Valentines' day but maybe next year. 

I've decided to make a heart quilt for Emily and Shelby.

When I retired I got lots of gift certificates to my local quilt store and I bought two Hot for Chocolate quilt kits.  Here they are and here is the fabric that is inside.  I think they are luscious! 

This is a picture of the finished quilt.  The blocks are the same as the ones I am making with Gina.  So we will all have a Valentine's quilt next year! 

Quilting, hearts, my daughters and a quilt with chocolate in its name.  Life is good or should I say delicious!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pondering while I quilt

Ta-da, two aprons done.

I just love zipping off a quick project, it is like immediate gratification.  I think I have a slight apron addiction! 

 I also got to work on the quilting on the City Green quilt.

I went back and stitched in the ditch on every side of every brown border.  I am not sure you can see it in the picture.  I have four rows done.  There are 16 rows so it should take 4 or so more days of quilting to get the brown all done.

Which is lots of quilting but it doesn't show up.  What to do in the green.  Circles?  I have one sitting there.  It's an idea.

After I finished up the 4 rows, I rolled up the quilt.

I think you can see the quilting better on the back.

I don't remember if I showed you the back before.  Don't you love it?  It is greens and brown with circles and lines.

I may just do free hand circles and fill each green square.  I am still thinking and will ponder my possibilities as I quilt the brown.

      I am ready to quilt and ponder, ponder and quilt.  I will show you when I have more than 4 rows done.