Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Free Flannel Frenzy

I love my neighborhood and my neighbors.  We live on an easy going street with not a lot of traffic so the kids can ride bikes in the street without too much worrying, nice big trees for shade, a park 5 houses down from ours and quick, easy access to major roads.  It's great!  If I only could have a slightly bigger house and stay where I am I would be thrilled.

When we bought our home we bought from the original owners and many of the neighbors are still the original owners of their homes.  Corrine and Brian, who live across the street, have sort of adopted our kids as their grandkids (they only have one grandson and he's 20+ yrs. old), and vice versa since we don't live near any family.

Corrine also sews with her Lutheran ladies at her church making quilts for the Lutheran World Relief Organization. So she and I talk "shop" off and on and compare sewing projects.  She called me last week to see if I needed any flannel.  Apparently one of the ladies she sews with was cleaning out her mother's home and brought a couple bags of flannel to their workshop.  Corrine brought home a bunch and then realized it was brand new yardage, not scraps.  She was feeling bad about cutting into that much nice flannel and offered some to me.

I probably should've stayed home.  I mean I did just clean out 4 trash bags worth of fabric from my sewing room to give to a woman for mission work in Mexico.  But free fabric always calls to me.  I need to at least check it out and see what might be there. There might be some treasure I can't live without, right?  So across the street I went.

This is what I came home with.

I ended up with 11 pieces of flannel all at least 2 yds each and 60" wide.  These may not be the exact pieces I would've chosen, but now I don't have to stand in line at o'dark thirty on Black Friday to buy flannel at Jo-Ann's for Christmas pajamas.  Hope everyone likes plaid, 'cuz that's what they're getting this year.

There is also one 5-6 yd. piece of twill type Michael Miller butterfly dragonfly fabric.  I'll probably use that to make school bags to send to Mexico. I can't think of what else I would use it for at the moment.

The dark grey/ white striped flannel piece really interests me...I'd love to use it as a backing on a quilt.  So I may have to come up with something to go with the back.

I took probably only about 1/3 of what she actually had.  If I don't end up using it all I'll put it in the giveaway pile for Mexico.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Giveaway Winners

Thanks for all your comments!
Giveaway winners are:

Just Pam
and Pam (I left a comment on your blog)

Congrats to all!
Emails have been sent out...

Friday, August 24, 2012

700th Post Giveaway!!

**EDITED:  Giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for entering.**

 Today we are celebrating our 700th post!!  WooHoo!! 
(Wow, we have been wordy over the years. :)

In honor of the occasion we are offering up some fat quarter sets to you, our lovely loyal readers.
Without you our blog would just be a whole lot of us talking to ourselves. :)
But life and blogs are way more fun with friends, don't you think?!

So here's what we have:
The first stack is aqua and green.  A current favorite color scheme.
Some of the prints are from the DS Quilts line at JoAnn, along with some other great
coordinating pieces I had. Together they'd make a lovely start to a quilt.

The next stack is an assortment of red's.
Renae and I are both working on our own red quilts.
(Mine is this, Renae's is along the lines of this.)

We definitely think that red is a neutral in all aspects of life!  And when it comes to quilting, red never goes out of style.  So what better way to celebrate with us than starting your own red project.

We will make it easy.
Just leave us a comment telling us what you are currently working on/loving at the moment.
We will pick winners on Monday.

And thank you again for visiting our little blog!
We love you guys!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Yellow and Grey for Baby

Another baby quilt finish...

 This one is number 4 out of 5 on my list.   
Phew! Only one more to go before I am completely fineto!

It uses the leftovers from Ashlee's quilt.
I keep telling myself I need to make a yellow and grey quilt for me.  It's such a great color combo!
I'm pretty sure the block design came from Elizabeth Hartman's first book, but I could be wrong...

For the back I used my last big chunk of thrifted yellow gingham.
Let me just say that I have used that stuff over and over and over again.
It's been great, but I'm happy to be rid of it, if you know what I mean.  

I gave Lynn a bit of direction on the quilting (like: not to girly, no flowers or feathers) but mostly gave her freedom to make it look 'cool and modern'. 
I think she did a great job with that.  
It hasn't been washed yet, so I'm assuming that it will be nice and cuddly after it's initial bath.

But, that got me thinking.... I always take pics of my quilts before I wash them, but almost always love the look of them better after the wash.  I guess I keep using the before pics because I think you can see the details better.  I don't know... So I am wondering, are you a picture before or picture after kinda person??


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Random Thoughts and Swaps

Lots of random thoughts going on in my head today...

First off, I'm loving this Amish version of the granny squares quilt.  I love when people think outside the box.  And this tiny one.  I think if I ever make this design it will just be a doll quilt version.

Anna Maria Horner's spectrum quilt recently caught my eye as well.
This is my favorite one so far.  Again, thinking outside the box.
 In swap news, all the Amish Blocks have been mailed off!!  I'm excited to see my blocks become a quilt.  Still deciding between a truly Amish one or a modern version.  What do you think?

I'm participating in another round of the bow tie block swap
 Just a word about this swap:  Swaps come in all different shapes and sizes.  Some require certain quality/designer fabrics, etc.  This one does not.  So if you are looking for a swap with a bit looser regulations, this is a good one.  You still have time to join.  Blocks must be mailed by Aug. 31st.

my blocks  for round 1
my blocks for round 2

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pink Rail Fence Quilt

Out of my scrap bag bundle I bought at the thrift store awhile back I decided to try my hand at a couple scrappy quilts.  I haven't ever made a rail fence quilt and thought this would work well with my "have no actual plan in mind" plan to make a quilt.

For this pink version I added a few pieces from my stash to the ones that were in the bundle. I also bought a thrifted vintage floral sheet that I cut up some to add to the rail fence as well.
 I think I need to just get under that quilt and hang out in the hammock for a bit.

 Front view

 Back view
I had hoped the plaid would be wide enough to use for the entire thing, but alas it wasn't.

 A couple of the strips that I used.
(and something is going on w/ my camera and a cloudy spot)

I debated on the binding and finally felt like this piece would work best.  I knew it would be oh so close to be enough...

....or not.

Luckily I had one little strip leftover that I used to piece it in.  And then my family had a hard time finding it again once I had all the binding done.

Originally I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this quilt.  That is always the dilemma isn't it?  Keep it or not...and who would appreciate it.  Because really, you can't always keep EVERYTHING you make.  After a couple weeks of it sitting around my home I decided that I would go ahead and give it away.  I hope the recipient likes it as much as I think she will.  I do know she is big fan of PINK, so this should make her very happy.

  • Finished size: 62 inches by 82 inches.
  • Rail fence pattern--cut 2 1/2 inch by 12 1/2 inch strips of various fabrics.
  • Sewn in strips of 6 for 12 inch finished block
  • 1" finished sashing between all blocks using light pink cotton.
  • Cut 3" strips for the top borders.
  • Cut 6" strips for the side borders to make is slightly larger.
  • Thrifted pink plaid sheet for the backing--$3, and some from my stash
  • Machine quilted by Lynn in a pretty paisley-ish pattern.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Canning Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) and Homemade Hummus

I took advantage of cooler weather this week, especially in the mornings, and canned some more dried beans for the pantry--red kidney, pinto and garbanzo.  About 40 pints worth total.

Then I also made some homemade hummus with the garbanzo beans that I canned specifically for that reason.  I'm trying to be a little healthier around here as well as find some different recipes for our wheat intolerant daughter.

This recipe I found was in the book "4 Ingredients Gluten-Free: More Than 400 New and Exciting Gluten-Free Recipes Using 4 or Fewer Ingredients" by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham.   Whew!  That is a mouthful of a title.

1 - 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans (or 1 pint jar home canned), drained and liquid reserved.
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin (actual recipe called for 2 but one was PLENTY in my opinion--and I like spicy stuff.)

Combine all in blender or food processor with 1/2 tsp. sea salt.
Blend at low speed, gradually adding the reserved bean liquid 'til desired consistency.

When using home canned beans I find that there isn't as much liquid to reserve vs. store bought cans.
I didn't use much of the reserved liquid making this--maybe a tablespoon.
I can't imagine putting 2 tsp. of cumin in 1 cup of hummus......WOW that just seems like SO much.
Tried this with carrot sticks, celery sticks and tortilla chips and loved it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

T-shirt Revamp--feminizing a men's shirt

When we all got together in June for our brother's b-day Emily had bought some B.Y.U. shirts for me and my family (per my request)--and brought them to us.  She couldn't find a women's shirt for me that was the right size so instead she brought a men's shirt that possibly hubby could wear and if not, then I'd get it.  Unfortunately for hubby it was closer to my size.

However, I wanted it look a little more feminine and not so boxy.

First thing I did was cut the neckband off.
Just doing that released the shirt to a nice rounded neckline.
And I didn't feel like I was so constricted and could barely breathe--not really, 
but that neckline was tight.

Then I cut an additional inch off the front neckline.

Just tapered it a bit as the sides of the neckline and back were just fine.
I couldn't go a lot deeper either since the Y logo was there.

I cut a 2 inch wide strip of white ribbing band to attach to the neckline.
Fold over and attach right sides together.

Single topstitch on the navy portion to hold the neck band down.

Then onto the sleeves.
I cut off the existing ones, right at the seam, 
and then used one of my t-shirt patterns to cut out new ones.

Then I laid out the front/back piece to see where it set on the actual shirt.
I decided not to take in the side seams.  The pattern was almost exactly the same as the shirt.
And since this shirt didn't have side seams I didn't really want to put any in.
I also left the hem as it was.

I marked and cut the sleeve openings to fit.
It took about an inch off the shoulder too.
Made the sleeves, attached them, and then added a little 
white ribbing the same way as the neck ribbing.

I like it much better now.

I may take in the side seams down the road.
I'll have to wear it a couple times and see what I think.

On a side note (but related...see the T-shirt I'm wearing):
Did I ever mention that when I was younger I had dreams/plans of being a barrel racer?
Our dad was a collegiate national champion calf roper (BYU 1964--John Fincher)
and I remember going to rodeos with fond memories.
That barrel racing dream didn't work out for me.
Probably a good thing.

So last weekend we went to NE. for our nephew's wedding reception and while we were there my dad took the kids twice to see a friend's horses.  They were thrilled to ride.  
I was just happy to know that after all these years I can still ride bareback...get on and stay on.  
The last time I rode bareback was 17+ yrs. ago.

Ahh....good times.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Missed it by thaaatt much...

I've been working on some quilt backs this week, one of which needed to be pieced.  
I set about matching up the pattern repeat and all was good.

 In fact I thought I was pretty clever when I got the repeat to match perfectly!
I sewed it up feeling pretty smitten with myself...

...Until I realized that I only got HALF the repeat to match.
Yep, that's right...every other flower bouquet is matched perfectly, 
and then the others... not so much!
Missed it by thaaatt much...  :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Maxxed Out

So the maxi is in this year as you all probably know.
Not sure how I personally feel about it.....still....

I am 6' 2" and that is a whole lot of fabric if I make myself a dress that almost hits the floor.  Plus (no offense Mom if you are reading this) our mom has always worn a "house dress" as she calls it when she is just hanging out at home in the evening and this sort of reminds me of that.  I'm just not sure I can or want to go there.  You know what I mean?

With that being said I still bought McCall's M6552 pattern.  It doesn't seem so much like a house dress when the pattern envelope has "FASHION STAR" written on it in big bold letters and the model is all glammed up in strappy sandals and chandelier earrings.


I started with a swim cover-up dress for me first before making something from this pattern that I'd wear out and about.

My girls, however, have none of my qualms.
McCall's M6552
Showing off a bit

  • Border print fabric--with the amount I had purchased (2 yds. I think, because this was originally going to just be a skirt) we were limited on the length we could make.
  • Shortened version and took very small hem.  If it was long enough or just close you could also just add some navy bias tape to edge the hem or a wide fabric band in a contrasting color.  I actually tried to get her to add a navy band to the bottom, but she didn't want to.
  • Instead of a drawstring we just put in elastic at the waistband.
  • I have to say that the pattern pic of this dress shows the model wearing ONLY the dress.  After making it 3x, with 3 different kinds of fabric, I am not sure how you could wear it that way. Really!  It is cut SO deep and regardless of your sized bosoms or your modesty comfort level it seems that you'd be flashing people all over the place with this dress unless you had a tank or cami underneath.

Simplicity 2437 is what I used for my 9 yr. daughter.
Top version

  • Fabric from the stash.
  • Embellished with white rickrack and orange 1/2" single fold bias tape also from the stash.
  • Sewn in white "cami" made from white interlock.  She didn't want to actually wear a shirt under it, just look like she was.
  • Although she hasn't worn this shirt much I'm confident she will once school starts in September.  Especially after I purge her clothes of ratty tees.
Maxi Version

  • Thrifted floral sheet--love this fabric.
  • Double fold 1/4" bias tape (from the stash) to edge neckline and hem.
  • Adjusted pattern to desired hem length.
  • She says she may use this for her swimsuit cover-up.  That will probably change if I add a little piece at the neck so it appears she is wearing a shirt underneath.
After making these I found this piece of fabric while Tiffany and I were shopping one day and decided this would be an awesome maxi skirt--with a pretty brown top.

I bought 1 1/3 yds. thinking that would be plenty to go around me.  And it would have been great, except that once I brought it home, washed and dried and then got ready to cut it I realized that it wasn't cut straight at all.  So I lost about 4 or 5 inches off the width--maybe more once I got it all lined up.  I would have preferred it a little bit looser at the hem, more A-line cut, but oh well.

It is also a border print too--so that limited the direction of cutting, etc.  This piece was a bit interesting too as it is a 4-way stretch (similar to swim fabric) but the majority of the stretch ended up being vertical--stretching from waist to hem.

I just added a yoga style band at the top and it is super comfy.  

Tee pattern Simplicity 1808--same as daughter #1's top here.

This pic makes the bottom of the hem look super tight, but it isn't this much.
The first time I wore this hubby and I went out on a date.  His comment, "Do I need to dress up?"
"No, just trying to remind you why you said yes when I first asked you out."

Although it looks like raglan sleeves, this top has dolman sleeves--sleeves and front/back are all one piece.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Denim Skirt and a T-shirt Failure

This was supposed to be done in time to wear for the 4th of July.  Didn't happen.  Instead a whole bunch of others things happened.... mainly 7 boxes of free tomatoes.  I wasn't even going to worry about it at all this summer, but it appears that we are going to have an especially warm and long summer in MN and maybe into the Fall and Winter.  Which I am actually fine with....so...I went ahead and got it done.

So happy I did.

Skirt Details:
  • Pattern Simplicity 2152 (although I toyed with the idea of using Simplicity 2475 or Butterick 5649).  I finally decided I liked the pockets best on this pattern and the wide band at the waist to hopefully "hold it all in" a bit better, if you know what I mean.  Also, I thought a pencil-ish denim skirt may not be as mom friendly as I'd like in the long run.  Nice little A-line worked great.
  • Used a darker washed stretch denim fabric from my stash.  Not sure how long I've had it, but I don't normally pay over $3/yd. for denim.  Usually I wait 'til it goes on sale and only pay $2/yd. at my favorite fabric store (or $1.59/yd. w/ their 60% off coupons)
  • White topstitching thread to embellish the seams.  LOVE it this way!  Thanks Tiffany for the suggestion.  I used Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP Heavy--you should be able to buy it at your local fabric store.  

  • For the topstitching I set my stitch length a little longer than I normally sew.  Also make sure you don't deviate as you are topstitching.  Any little goof-up will be much more noticeable with contrasting thread.
  • I also used a topstitch needle, for the first time ever--not sure I noticed anything different had I just used my denim/jean needle.  Maybe it made the bottom side of the stitch look a little better since I was using heavy topstitch thread.
  • For the hem I used a blind hem stitch instead of any topstitching.  Personal preference.  I wasn't feeling it with the topstitch thread at the hem.

The T-shirt was only a failure in the fact that it was supposed to be for ME, not my 12 going on 13 yr. old daughter!!  I loved this striped piece that I had found at the thrift store and was so looking forward to wearing it with my denim skirt.

Well, that's what I get for trying a new pattern (Butterick 5215), making the fitted version, and using a knit that was not very stretchy.  The shoulders and armpits were SO tight and uncomfortable.  And really I am not especially broad shouldered.  You know it is bad when instead of fitting me it fits daughter #2, who when I sew for her she is about 2 or 3 pattern sizes smaller than I am.  I only had to take in the side seams a bit and then it looked great on her.

Single topstitch for the neckband and sleeves

You can see that even on her the shoulders are a bit short.

Bummer for me! I so wanted that t-shirt.

(I'll try this pattern one more time with a different piece of knit and not the fitted version before I chuck it in the trash and stick with my basic, albeit discontinued, Kwik Sew t-shirt pattern.  You can also try this one for basic tees.)

I'm guessing that if you have narrower shoulders that this would be a great pattern for you.  Minimal adjusting.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A couple finishes and the big purge

Daughter #3 "designed" a little I Spy quilt with some of my leftovers and we put it together.  Today I got the binding done.

8 blocks by 8 blocks--5" squares.
I love this striped piece on back.
B is anti-wear-pink so we used it on the quilt instead of making something for her with it.

One more thing removed from my sewing room.

Also added an orange stripe to this almost brand new swimsuit that I bought at the thrift store for $3.

It fit except slightly short-waisted for daugther #2's comfort level.
And it is the school colors and orange is one of her favs.
Now she can be wedgie-free for swim team.
**Note: with swimwear you don't need to add as much as the actual measurement to lengthen--about half the amount is best.

Finally, I am seriously purging my sewing room.  Hubby moved back to work from home this week and I had overtaken his area.  No room and a huge mess.  Things have to go.  This is what I have ready so far.

My friend is having a garage sale next week too so more items will be heading that direction.  These bags are heading to Mexico for mission relief--teaching ladies to sew.  Makes me happy.


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