Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Use your imagination....and other advice from my mom

I don't have much in the way of pictures to post.  I do have this picture of the main portion of the quilt I am making.

Ignoring the laundry behind it, use your imagination.  Do you see a pond?  The green is supposed to be a little grassy area or some lily pads.  I am going to embroider some fish and maybe a frog on it.  It is for a 13 year old boy.  How is your imagination working?

My mom used to say to me, "Use your imagination!"  She really shouldn't have....I can imagine a lot of things.  Some of them I told her.  Not my fault!  She said to use my imagination!  One time I climbed a tree because I imagined I was a bird.  Then I couldn't get down.  She had to climb up after me!  Another time I was late for curfew.  I imagined I had been listening to a radio station across the state line (another time zone) and told her I didn't know I was late.  She looked at me and said, "That will work ONE TIME and THIS is it.  Don't use it again."  See....I did use my imagination.

My mom was an interesting woman.  She could sew like a computer but refused to use an iron - NEVER pressed a seam in her life.  I showed up for my sister's wedding and said, "Mom, didn't you press those seams when you made that?"  She says, "Nope!  I don't iron.  If you want it pressed, you do it."  So, I did.  That was a comman theme.  Mom would decide she wasn't doing something and I would end up doing it.

I know I sew because of Mom.  I know I don't have certain skills because of Mom.  A couple of weeks ago I made new pillows.  I put zippers in them.  I am terrible at zippers.  Well, not terrible.  I do have to baste the seam first and then put them in.  My mom never did.  She just sewed them in and they were always right.  If I had something that needed a zipper she just put it in for me.  Now, she couldn't make a buttonhole to save her soul but I can.  Zippers she did.  Buttonholes I did.

Mom would stay up all night making all three of us girls new Easter dresses.  On Easter Sunday we always had new dresses she had made.  Lots of double knit in the 70s!  That is how I learned to change diapers.  I was six when my baby sister was born in January of 1971.  In March Mom was making Easter dresses.  The baby was crying but Mom thought she could wait a few minutes.  I didn't.  I crawled in the crib with her and changed her diaper.  She was happy and so was Mom.  Now I changed diapers.  The baby already preferred me to anyone.  Now I could change her, too!  At six I knew how to diaper, feed, burp, bathe, dress and rock the baby, thanks to Mom just letting me do it.

I learned to cook reading cookbooks and just doing because Mom wasn't.  Now I know she suffered from depression.  She wouldn't cook and would just tell me I could do it when I asked.  By the time I was 9 or 10 I could fix a full meal including making gravy.  I still work off the same formula.  One protein, one starch, two fruits and vegetables.

Mom always told me I could do anything and then was a little surprised at some of what I did.  She told me not to depend upon a man to take care of me.  So, I went to college and got a BS  in Chemistry.  This amazed her because she had been told girls couldn't understand chemistry when she was in high school.

When I was eleven I asked her when I could have my own babies.  She said when I grew up and got married.  So, as soon as I was 18 I got married and started having babies!  29 years later I am still married.  Mom told me that wasn't a surprise because I was so stubborn.

I still miss Mom.  But I have to admit I learned a lot because of her in an unconventional manner.  It never occurred to her I couldn't do most anything because I always had.  She had faith in me and often trusted me with her most prized possessions - my sisters!

She died unexpectedly at 63 three and a half years ago.  If she were still here I am sure she would be working me in such a fashion that I learned something else.   But I do still use my imagination.  How else would I think I could put 24 fabrics together to make a pond???

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday's Simmering

Everyone has cute titles for different posts for different days of the week.  I didn't want to do WIP.   I rarely complete anything but cooking on Saturday.  That is not to say I don't work on things, I just don't complete them.  So, Saturday's Simmering seemed fun and appropriate.  I don't have an image, but I will shortly.  The Good Lord knows I always have pots simmering!

Today I left the fishing quilt simmering in the sewing room. Background information on this quilt....My husband's family draws names every year at Christmas for next year.  We have all year to make our gift for that person.  This past year I drew my nephew's name.  He will be 13 in December.  That boy LOVES fishing.  His mother wants me to make him a t-shirt quilt but I didn't do that for my own kids.  So...

I thought and thunk and allowed those thoughts and thinks to simmer around in my head until one day while looking at an Eleanor Burns Quick Trip Quilts book I had an idea bubble to the surface.

Can you see it there?  No?  Well, I will tell you about it.  I got the bright idea I woud do one of those quilts in batiks (twin size) to make it look like a pond.  I have blues, browns and greens.  I don't know how ponds look in your neck of the woods but they have all those colors here.  My plan is then embroider and applique a few fish into the pond.

I carefully laid out the fabric three or four times until I found an order I liked.  Then I began sewing.  I had the strips laid out on my dining room table on the main floor.  My sewing room is on the second story.  I would carry 4 to 6 sets of strips up at a time being careful to keep the arrangement.  Mmm, hmmm....pretty sure I turned one set around backwards at some point.  Not positive, though.  Discovered after all sewing of strips and cutting was complete.

Here is a small section of it.

I have 10 or 11 of the 24 strips sewn together.  Apparently I can't do a quarter inch seam to save my soul.  The strips don't match in length.  I abandoned my personal rule to alter directions I sew from on this one. I will square it in the end.

I have a border for it that is all fishing scenes.  I want to put a small border between the "pond" and the main border.  My DIL suggested something that looks like stones.  What do you think? The pond actually goes the range from deep green to a beautiful brilliant blue.  My husband almost drools over it.  I can't seem to see the positives when I am working on it.

So, what do you have Simmering this Saturday?

Keep stitchin'!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Little Thing for Finish it up Friday

Hi, Y'all!  I am trying really hard to use all of these wonderful blogs to help keep me on task.  I know I said I was going to work on my fishing quilt this week but I ended up doing things for my BFF's birthday.  I had kind of bad week due to the weather.  MAJOR migraine.  I am pretty dumb when I have a migraine and mine last for days - literally. 

ANYWAY....My best friend - for over thirty years! - always wants the same thing from me.  Potato salad.  She LOVES my potato salad.  But I randomly give her potato salad all year.  If I make it, I call her to come get my leftovers.  We are that kind of friends.  I just made her a quilt a couple of months ago for her new house.  Given all of the circumstances for this week I went with quick and easy.  I made mug rugs.

I don't know how I had missed ever seeing these fun little things but Tuesday morning was the first I had ever seen one and I stumbled on a picture of some over at Quilt in A Day.  I couldn't help myself once I got started.  I think I made 8 of them.  I only have pictures of a few but here are some of them.

I made two of this one and gave one to my SIL yesterday morning when we were at the hospital for my MIL's heart cath.  (everything went well)  The back of this one has a little flag print on it.  My SIL's had dogs.  I used a decorative stitch to quilt them in red.  They were so much fun!

I don't know if you can see the detail, but the fabric on the left has music scores on it.  My friend is a muscian.  She plays in the orchestra and three different bands.  She plays flute and pic.  She is amazing!  This one was UGLY.  I almost trashed it.  Then I decided to add the decorative stitching in a King Tut varigated thread.  It made all the difference.  I love this now and so did she.

Now for some fun ones.  Tee hee hee!

I swear this one is done.  I just don't have a picture of the finished product.  I ended up putting a narrow black sash around the main block.  She and her girls thought this one was great. We all have the same weird sense of humor.

My friend loves the Grinch.  I finished this one up about 10 minutes before I left for her house last night.  It has candy canes on the back.

This one was for my other SIL.  I wish I had capitalized MY.  The star looking fabric is actually magic wands.

None of these are the same size.  I just winged it and cut them to fit what I had on hand.  It was great to use up some of the batting I have trimmed off of quilts.  I also loved playing with all my decorative stitches.  The needle threader on the machine made switching threads a cinch.  I am so glad to have it!

I also made 5 of those tissue holders but didn't take pictures of them.  I gave my sister one when we went shopping.  We ran down to  The Stitching Post in Washington.  I was looking for a specific fabric which they did not have.  But we ended up buying fabric for an I-spy quilt.  Not that many.  She has 4 grandchildren.  I have none but have been wanting to do one and plan to for a birthday gift.  I really wish I had already participated in a fabric swap for this.  She and I are sort of doing our own and begging some fabric from our aunt.

Amanda Jean said that it isn't done until  you blog about it.  I didn't finish sewing until last night and I am on my lunch at work now.  So, I hope this counts.  I am going to link to The Fabric Adict today, too.  Being "cyber friends" helps inspire me.  I really appreciate the opportunity to share through your blogs.  SHOOT!  Just noticed I misspelled Addict.  Sorry 'bout that.

Okay, back to work.  What did you sew today?

Keep Stitchin'!


Hmmm....in reading other blogs I found some more to link to.  I hope this is okay!

Finished it Fridays!

Monday, October 17, 2011

No Design on the Wall Monday

Hello!  I really wanted to have something on my "design wall" for today so that I could link up to some more blogs for Design Wall Monday.  Yeah....that didn't happen.  I am working nights this weekend.  Being at work for 12 hours (7p to 7a) puts a real damper on productivity no matter how SLOW it is right now.

Today I got out of bed and went straight to my sewing room.  I didn't even dress.  People that know me would be amazed by that.  I had some big plans but once I was there other WIPs called my name.  So...I made some more pillows.

This is what my couch looks like.

Pretty boring, huh?  I live in a log home so it is always a little dark.  I prefer to think of it as warm and cozy.  The furniture was bought with three sons in mind.   Sons that hunt, fish, run distance and work on a farm.  It does hide dirt well but it is boring.  So, I decided to add some color in pillows.

I pieced this pillow top and embroidered two others.

I used a decorative stitch for a stitch in the ditch quilting effect and here are all three finished pillows.

The red ones have stuffing in them because the pillow forms I had weren't full enough.  The one on the right seems to have a tumor.  I will have to look at that again tomorrow.

Here is a really bad picture of them on my couch.  I like them but I am sure that couch needs a quilt on the back of it.  I am going to make one in the fabrics used in the pieced pillow top.

So, that is what I DID do.   I had other plans this weekend.  One of my sons and his wife came home.  Yesterday I cleaned up in the sewing room (it badly needed it) while she worked on a baby quilt.  In doing so I found some fabric I was gifted.

In the current Quilt magazine there is a pattern for snowman placemats.  I went to their website and could not find it there to link but here is another bad picture of the picture in the magazine.

Here are the fabrics I found yesterday.

My aunt, who LOVES snowmen, brought these to me when she came to visit in August.  Won't these work for those placemats?  Today I looked in my stash and found a red I like.  It isn't seasonal like the print in the magazine but I think it will work fine.

So, that is what would have been on my design wall if I could have managed.  Instead, I made pillows.  Tomorrow I am going back to working on my nephew's quilt that I am making for Christmas.  It will have its own post soon, I hope.

Btw, the red and white four-patch in the background is one my Mammaw made.  Someday I may do a post on the Mammaw's quilts that I have.  I just remembered that today I had the thought to make this post about my mom and what she did and did not (zippers) teach me.  The zippers are in the pillows but I still sweat when I do zippers.  On the other hand, Mom couldn't make a button hole and I can make them in my sleep.

Keep stitchin'!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Table Runner & Pillow

 Amanda Jean is having a linking party for Finish it Up Friday.  Hopefully I will figure out how to get linked to her blog.

I finished up three things this week but I think she would only be interested in two of them.  Still, I am rather happy I finished canning the tomatoes I had on hand!

Last month I made a quilt for a wedding gift.  It was a modified Alabama block.  I will post pictures of it another day but the pictures aren't very good.  My test block was a little small.  I decided I needed new pillows in my living room.  This is what I did with my test block.

I love it.  I used a decorative stitch and a varigated thread to quilt it.  It wasn't quite 16 1/2 inches.  So, it didn't work for a quilt block but looks great as a pillow. Don't you think?

My other project was a fall table runner.  I wanted it done last weekend before my kids came home but I didn't make it.  Here is a picture when I was trying to decide on the layout.

I was just trying to decide which way to rotate the blocks.  And, this is basically what I ended up with.  I frequently take pictures and send to my aunt and my DIL for their opinions.  This was the final product.  The colors are a little washed out in this picture.  The second maple leaf from the left is actually green.  I think the colors are truer in the picture above but I have that nasty glare!

For some reason I thought it would be easier to quilt on the Janome than the HQ16.  I quickly got bored with drawing out the lines and ended up winging it.  The border is cross hatched but the blocks are only diagonals.

I was drawn to this pattern when I saw it two years ago in a magazine.  I live in a log home.  One of my "extra" children is half Canadian and there are a lot of maple leaf references made. The original called for a 9" finished block but I rarely work that small.  So, I enlarged it to a 12" and I love it.  Looks pretty good on my table, too.  Only picture I have right now shows mostly the flowers.  I grew over half of those.  So, they count, too.  Right?

Happy Fall, Y'all!