Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pre-Mystery Check In...

I've not had much time for blogging the last few days and the little bit of sewing I have done is top secret, so I can't share it just yet...but I thought I'd pop in and share the fabrics I'm using for Bonnie Hunter's upcoming mystery!  I'm switching up the colors from her choices, but I vowed to use fabrics from my stash and surprise, surprise, look at what I picked!  Those that know me well won't be surprised.  LOL


I love them!  Actually, I could use a few more blues and reds thrown in there, so I might splurge and pick up a few more as the weeks go on.  Now to decide which colors to switch out with Bonnie's colors, you know?  I wish I knew which, if any, of her colors will be more dominate...but I guess that's why they call it a mystery!  :)

We've been busy with Thanksgiving festivities on base, I made a turkey last week that was delish!  I had a bit leftover, so I made a turkey gumbo that was even better!   :)  This week, I put out all our Christmas decorations.  It's a bit early, but with our son coming home for Thanksgiving and then holiday parties starting the next week, including a large open house we're hosting, now was the best time to get it done and out of the way.  Thanksgiving falls a little later this year, so really there is less time before Christmas arrives!  I hate to feel the pressure of all the preparations, so I'm happy to have that out of the way and hopefully it's one small step towards less stress!!  So, since these signs are so popular...I found this one extra special.  :)


I'm so thankful for my family and friends...including my blogging friends.  I get so much inspiration from all of you and look forward to "seeing" what's happening in your lives and what you're working on.  My wish for you is a very Happy Thanksgiving spent with friends and loved ones!

God Bless,
Michelle

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tumalo Trail

It's finished!  Whew!  This was an incredibly fun quilt to make.  I find it interesting too that it wasn't one of those "I have to make this" kind of projects.  It started out when I had a bin full of mini 9patches I had been making as leaders and enders.  I started thinking to myself..."what am I going to do with all of these?"  Of course, I pull out my favorite Bonnie Hunter books and see what she has that uses mini 9patches.  I find the Tumalo Trail quilt in the Scraps and Shirttails 2 book, which I don't ever remember really taking much notice to before, but as soon as I saw it this time, I said, "That's it...that's what I'm going to make with my 9patches."  I also had a bunch of the HSTs sewn...enough for about half of the blocks, so it was a perfect choice!

I kept sewing 9patches as leaders and enders...then Jo over at Jo's Country Junction put out a challenge to finish up a "Bonnie Quilt" before the next mystery quilt starts.  Well, that's all it took, I was up for the challenge!  I only had units for about 1/2 the blocks, so I really had to step it up!

This quilt came together so nicely...I just love it!  I decided to explore and look for a fun spot for a photo shoot.  I found a little creek down by the "Fam Camp" (RV Park) on base and decided that was the perfect spot.  There is this old grove of trees next to the creek, but it was really just too grown over.  I couldn't get the quilt fully laid out because of all the twigs and branches...

The quilt is almost covered by all those branches!

I got back in the car and pulled away, only to find this little fence (you can see the back side of that grove of trees on the right of the picture).  Perfect!  One problem...it's ALWAYS windy in Wyoming...always.  This shot was pure luck....

 ....as this is what the quilt was doing most of the time.  LOL  At least you get a glimpse of the back.

Across the little dirt road, there is another railing crossing the creek...this is what the quilt did the entire time on that railing.

I tried to lay it out on the grass for a full shot, but that was near impossible because of the wind and I was afraid it would blow into the water!  So it was back to the house and under my porch where there is a little protection from the wind.  It measures 67" x 67".  I love adding the 1" piano key border, especially to scrappy quilts.

I pulled out my 1.5" strip bin and had the borders zipped up in no time!  Believe it or not...this is the bin AFTER I pulled all the strips for the border.  I think they multiply on their own...

Since the quilt was so busy already, I used a simple quilting design called "Quirky."  It's one of my all time favorites.  (you can click the picture for a larger view)  I found this backing fabric a couple years ago in Lancaster on the $3.99 table at Sauders Quilt Shop.  Perfect!

I just love looking at all the fabrics and can remember which other projects most of them came from!

I think the skinny sashing is awesome too!  Can you tell I love this quilt?!

I had a few leftover 9patches, so they made it in to the border...

 Whew...if you've made it this far, congratulations!  That was a lot of pictures!  I'm so happy this quilt is finished and I met the challenge!  I have plenty other UFO's...I just wish I was always this motivated!

I'm ready for Bonnie's New Mystery quilt...are you?

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle





Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some finishes to share

I've been sewing and quilting quite a bit lately and I'll have some pictures to share over the next few posts.  For today, I have these two tote bags that were made this week.  They are birthday gifts for a local friend and my sister in law.  I love these totes...they are fairly quick and easy to make, but look sharp and are truly useful!  I have a couple more to make for Christmas gifts over the next couple of weeks.


This is an older finish from last month, but I realized I never showed you pictures!  This is an old Thimbleberries Block of the Month from 2009, I think...I had the blocks all assembled, but they needed to be set in to a top and quilted.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this one...it will likely be donated or gifted to someone.

I used stash fabric for the backing and binding.  Yay!


Another thing I did this weekend was pull out this overstuffed bin of scraps.  I need to spend some time cutting them down in to usable sizes.  This bin has gotten out of control and I can hardly close it anymore.

That's all for today...I'll be back later in the week with more!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saturday Bonnie Challenge Update

I made TONS of progress on my Bonnie quilt this week.  I ended up making 85 more mini 9-patches and 68 HSTs that were needed to assemble 17 more blocks.... plus 48 sashing strips and 49 cornerstones.  Whew!  But look at the result!

I love it!  I still have the border to go...but I am more than pleased to have made this much progress. 

Remember my box o' squares...

It's a bit emptier now...I had to cut many more neutrals as well as used some that were sent to me by a blogging buddy.

I also used a bunch of thread!  Now these weren't full spools of course, but based on all the bobbins I went through as well...that's a lot of thread! 

How are you coming along on your Bonnie Challenge?  I'm off to figure out what I want to do for borders!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Thursday, November 07, 2013

Mini Iron Update

So last week...I mentioned I replaced my trusty red, mini iron with this cute little blue one....

Well, unfortunately, it's a dud.  I was surprised because the reviews on Amazon were favorable.  The thing I just could not deal with was this: 

 Can you see how the edges are crinkled up?  That's from the iron!  Even if I just moved the iron a teensy bit, it would catch the fabric and squish it up...
Not only that...the iron is HOT...which means these little crinkles are set in and hard to get out!

I think this is the reason...see those grooves on the plate.  I think those were catching on the edges.  Maybe it would work okay for larger pieces or clothing.... 

This was just icing on the cake...those dark spots are where the iron leaked!  Seriously, I had this thing plugged in for about 20 minutes before I said enough is enough!

Thankfully, Amazon has a wonderful return policy and I traded in it for this little guy.... 

 So far so good!  It's a little smaller than the other two, but the steam works well and it gets nice and hot.  The one little complaint is that cord on the side makes it a little lopsided and I've already knocked it off the table once.

And look...no little groovy things on the plate to crinkle up my fabric! 

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Saturday Update...Bonnie Challenge

I made some progress on my Tumalo Trail this week.  I made 10 more blocks for a total of 19!  I'm loving this quilt more all the time, especially now while looking at the picture where you can really see the secondary design.  I'm still torn about how big I should go.  This would be a 6x6 layout and I'd need 17 more blocks.  That seems like an overwhelming amount!  LOL 

Or I could to a 4x6 layout and I'd only need to make 5 more blocks.  BUT, it would make this a loooonnng quilt.  This is not a speedy quilt...it's definitely a time intensive project!  But I know it will be worth it in the end!

Either way, I need a lot more individual units.  I took me all afternoon one day to make these 42 nine patches.  I still need approx 45 more to make the 6x6 layout.  LOL  I also used up the HSTs I had ready, so I'll need to cut/sew more of those.

And in another chapter of my iron woes...see that little red cutie on the right?  I've had that little iron for 8+ years...my friend Peggy gifted it to me for Christmas one year.  It is the best little iron!  I used it mainly for retreats and workshops and occasionally used it at home at a small ironing station next to my machine.  I love how hot it gets and it had great steam.  Well, this week the steam feature went kaput.  
:(  
I love steam...I need steam!  So, after looking on Amazon for a replacement, I chose this Sunbeam.  It had really good reviews and was only $13, so I'll give it a try.  I have yet to have a chance to use it, but I'll let you know how it goes!

We've had a crazy couple of weeks here, which for just two people, has included waaay too many visits to dentists, doctors, hospitals, ERs, etc.  But I'm thankful that it's nothing catastrophic and that we are healthy and well!

I can't believe it's November already...I get a little panic attack when I think about how quickly Christmas will be here.  I just need to focus and make "to-do" lists and things will come together!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle