Friday, August 18, 2017

this week...and every week...

This week... 
My friend C.C. has invited me to use her long arm quilting machine.  She is a beginner just like me.  However, she is an artist, and her drawing and painting experience gives her an exceptional start at free motion quilting.  We get an early start on Mondays because the building we work in isn't air conditioned. Luckily, most days there's a nice breeze that gives me some relief.  
We've been mostly just practicing on muslin to get a feel for the machine. These sample pieces are a combination of hers and my stitching.  I'm not going to tell you which of us did what, you could probably already guess 😋.

This Monday I brought over one of the charity quilts to do "real" practice on. 

You might recognize that blue fabric.  I had left over strips from trimming the backing away from "Midnight Sails" made by the Maple Street Charity quilters.  I had just enough of a black and white large Hawaiian print in my stash that was perfect with the black and white palm trees. (Quilting was done in 3 hours. I'm not sure if that's good timing for a 45" x 60" or not. but it's a whole lot faster than hand quilting!!)
 same blue fabric but the quilts look so different!

On Tuesday I got a purple streak 😊

Wednesday is for Maple Street Charity quilting.

I love the "quilting bee" feel of sitting around the frame and talking as we stitch!

Lawana and Judy work on tops to keep us hand stitchers busy.

Thursday is usually a Starkville Hooper's day, but once a month I join the Wannabe ladies in Vernon, AL.  (There's just not enough days in the week!!)  Watana Cantrell is the amazing hostess/instructor of this group.  She has us working on a sampler star quilt.  It is set up block-of-the-month fashion, except up until now we've been making 2 blocks each month.  I missed the July class due to being in CO at the time.  I'm 2 blocks behind. That's ok, I'll catch up by next month I'm sure.

today's block makes 7 ... I'm not so sure about these colors anymore... Here's hoping the alternate blocks will pull it all together!

We also started making fidget quilts for dementia/Alzheimer nursing home patients. Unfortunately I got caught up in my work I forgot to take pictures of my progress. It seems I've gone with a Leather and Lace theme. I promise to get a pic next month.
What I did get a picture of was the how clever it is to use those little strips of batting that are trimmed off quilts just before attaching the binding. Often times these strips are thrown into the trash.
It's easy to straighten the edges and butt them together, then stitch with a zigzag and use the new bigger piece for smaller projects like these fidget quilts. Perfect!!
alright, it's not a great picture, here are 3 strips, a 4"+8"+6", joined together to make a piece that approx 18" x 24" which is a perfect size for the fidget quilts! (run on sentence? sorry!)

And this evening I picked up this project again (finally!!). 
I'll admit there some steps in quilting that I do not care for... 
burying threads would be one of them. And now this task is behind me, "YAY!"
The next daunting task was printing some memory pictures onto fabric for the back of this quilt.  For the past three years I've been doing all my internet activities from my phone, even this blog.  It was working just fine for me that way, except for special printing jobs, I'd have to run to my Sweetling to do it from her computer.  Thankfully, she set everything up so I can log into my accounts while she's away at school during the week.  Now, I need to relearn all the programs that will make my life on the computer easier 😆.

Also this week, I made a facebook page, Hita's Whimsy, to post items that I have been inspired to make and that are available for purchase. I believe I've got paypal ready to accept payments... 
This is a huge step for me and an incredible learning process.  What I need is someone who's already done this type of thing to talk me through it!! Or just ask everyone to have patience as I figure it out.

And then finally Friday (which is still tomorrow for me because I haven't got to bed yet), I'll have my Sweetling home for the weekend!!  Saturday is Parents Day at MSMS.  We are looking forward to it!!

So, except for Tuesday, this is my typical week.  Seems to be a LOT of quilting going on!  😁💖

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Loosening the apron strings...

... this has been all my focus for weeks now, still not much quilting going on...

My daughter has earned herself enrollment into the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS).  It's a residential high school for Juniors and Seniors.
The application process to be selected as a student is VERY rigorous. There are several steps that include deadlines, proof of high gpa, taking the ACT, writing essays and a personal narrative, providing work samples, and obtaining teacher and counselor recommendations!! It's a long list!  The only thing I'm aware of helping her with is proof reading her essays and driving her to the school to turn the application in.  She truly earned enrollment herself!
Well, we just moved her into the dorms this past Saturday.  Thankfully, she had a few projects she wanted to do in the days preceding move in day. She had me sew up a floor pillow out of canvas material.  It was the first time back at my sewing machine in about a month!  I forgot to get a picture of the pillow 😏. But I did get several pictures of the pillow she embellished 😄.
It started out a plain white pillow..
 She went to Pinterest to get ideas on a design.  With a picture of a bicycle drawing displayed on her phone, she lightly pencil sketched it onto her pillow.... and jumped right into stitching as she learned embroidery stitches as she went...
 I love her "can do" attitude.  I want to be more like her!! She completed her project, from start to finish, in less than two hours!
 And look at those it itty-bitty flowers made with French knots and Daisy stitches!!

Of course, it's only been three days and I'm already missing my girl!!

... So... On top of my girl moving into a residential school, my son has also found a coding school he wants to attend, Eleven Fifty Academy.... It's three states away!!!
This causes so many mixed emotions for me.  He is our first born, the precious miracle that made me Mom!  From the moment I learned he was conceived I became a better person.
He's my biggest fan, always encouraging me to complete projects, to start selling my work, to take commissions, to get a PayPal account for receiving payments (I'm still working on this one, soon!)  My son tells me he's proud of me and my work!! I wonder how many mom's get to experience such praise from their young sons?
It's heartbreaking that he has to move so far away, but I celebrate that he has found inspiration to spread his wings. Above all emotions this mama has about letting go is that I'm extremely proud he's decided to take this huge step.
And guess what? He also had a project that involved using fabric... In an unexpected way!! The vinyl on the paneling in his car had pealed off.  He googled how to re-cover the unsightly paneling and confidently tackled the job!!

 It looks pretty good!!

Unfortunately, it was high noon, and I made him park in the shade. Which ended up being off the driveway and in the grass... Both of us now have tick bites up and down our legs 😫.  I guess that's the price to pay when deer are allowed to roam wild in the neighborhood.

I did complete one of my own projects!
Here's the knitted dragon scarf.  I'm quite pleased with it 🤗.  I hope the little guy receiving it thinks it's just as cool as I do.

And guess what?  With my apron strings loosened for her and practically completely untied for him, I'm back to quilting again!!

This scrappy red and white top was started at the Maple Street charity quilting group.  All the fabric came from donated scraps given to the group. So for me it's an experiment in mix and matching scraps. And I am discovering I'll need more practice because this looks a bit too busy for my taste!
(Don't look too closely, only half the blocks are sewn up, this is not the final layout.)

And I'm hoping to finish this cutie next 😄.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Not much quilting going on!

I seem to be a little groggy in the quilting department. Actually I don't feel like I'm getting much done at all right now. So I'm going to go through some of the snapshots on my phone. Hopefully, I'll find out that I'm not lagging as much as I feel like I am.
First thing I did after getting home from our summer holiday in CO was check out a new fabric shop! Sugar Bend Sewing had their Grand opening and I wasn't going to miss it!!  Look at their brand new street sign!! Beautiful isn't it 😉
Oh my gosh, I'm sure I'm going to love this store. Look at my loot!! I got 5 yards of fabric, a charm packet, a baby jelly roll, a varigated spool of quilting thread, a grab bag of scraps (as if I need more), and a reusable bag that folds up into a strawberry... All for $58!! What a deal!

However, I haven't been very motivated to step into my sewing room. Instead, I am crocheting scarfs for charity while spending time with my family. My Sweetling and I like to watch Audry Hepburn movies. I'm working on the third scarf now.

Really, it's the same ol' story going on here... I'm trying really hard to complete projects and not to start new ones until some of the old ones have been checked off...
... Then I'm persuaded to take a class with quilting friends 🤣.
I resisted all the way up to the day before. Wednesday is charity quilting at Maple Street.  Three of these ladies, Lawana, C.C., and Brenda, were all talking about taking the class and I learned several more PTQ friends were going too.  Combined with knowing there was only one spot left in class, I couldn't resist any more. I took the Cookie Cutter Star class with quiltmaker/author Barbara Cline.  You can find her at her blog Quiltingal or at her website Delightful Piecing by Barbara Cline. I was very happy to have went. Spending time with my friends and I learned several new things!!

So..... Remember those adorable twin girls I made little purses for?

Well, I found out they have an older brother and I haven't sent him a little surprise yet. As soon as I saw this Dragon Scarf by Morehouse Designs I knew it'd be perfect.  (Also the fact that my son showed me a picture the mom texted him was a huge help knowing it's perfect too!)
Bonus was my son cooked dinner so I could continue knitting 😄...
It's a really great pattern, well written. The three-needle bind off technique used for shaping the spikes is keeping it interesting for me. I don't want to put the work down because I want to see "just one more spike!"
I'm guessing I may know two or three more little ones that would love a dragon scarf too!

Ok, so let's see... A recap of last week...
Monday drove 2 1/2 hours to take my Heartbeat to the Birmingham airport then spent the rest of the day shopping at the mall for school clothes with my Sweetling.
Tuesday I took a day for myself and went Row by Row quilt shop hopping. I hit 7 stores in one day. Craziness!!
Wednesday is charity quilting at Maple Street.
Thursday was the Cookie Cutter class.
Friday was back to Birmingham to pick up my Heart. (I went a little early and checked out a little yarn shop In the Making. It's a bit too upscale for me to shop regularly, but I did get a scarf pattern and a gorgeous skein of Merino yarn.)
Saturday was total family time.
Sunday I got yarn at Michael's and started the dragon scarf!

Well!! When I lay it all out I see I've been BUSY!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Home is where your heart is...

I gladly follow my Heartbeat where ever he leads. 
The first 5 years of our life together started in Colorado. Then we enjoyed 14 wonderful years in Washington state. Now, it's been 3 fantastic years in Mississippi.  I've called each place "home."
But if I am completely honest "home" is where I find unconditional love. Where I feel bathed in love.  Where I am infused with so much that I can't help but radiate it from my being.
Home is wherever my Heartbeat is, but it's also in Colorado where my mom and dad live, surrounded by my sister and brothers...
Starting our holiday.  My Sweetling with a driver's permit is driving us to the airport... so I'm in the backseat.🤣
My Heartbeat spoiled me with a surprise trip to Colorado for a summer holiday this year! 
We enjoyed the sunrise at the Maroon Bells near Snowmass, CO on the 4th of July.
This is one of my favorite photos taken the previous evening.

And my favorite photo taken at sunrise... I love our long 4th of July morning shadows, lol.

A few more favorites.. Colorado is beautiful!!
Driving down the CO highways

Looking at the sunrise over the mountain.

Colorado Green Chili is yummy!!
Columbine is the CO state flower
I just love dandelions.

Due to traveling, quilting has been set aside for a bit. If you follow my blog you know a new (to me) lace technique has captured my interest, Romanian Point Lace (RPL).
  You've probably already seen these two ornament doilies I made as I began learning the Romanian Point Lace technique.
My interest started with a Pinterest pin...
Which lead me to a Romanian Point Lace Ravelry Group...
Which lead me to this fantastic  Thread Head blog tutorial!
No.1 attempt - I used #10 crotchet cotton for the cording and filler stitches. And am pretty proud of myself.
No.2 attempt - I used the same #10 crochet cotton for the cording and #20 Lizbeth tatting thread for the filler stitches.
And I'm loving this lacemaking technique even more. I must continue!!
So I purchased a book recommended in the RPL Ravelry group:

No.3 attempt - mostly made with #10 variegated crochet cotton, the loop filler stitches is a solid color #20 tatting thread (I forget what brand).
This was definitely more difficult. I tried a wider cord for the outside border. I felt that maybe I gathered it too much when I basted it to the foundation because the final product seemed a bit ruffly. 
I'd like to move on to project #2 in the book but feel maybe I should practice another of #1 using the recommended size #30 thread. Lol, it's finer thread than I care to crochet with. But RPL technique creates a chunky product and the finer thread would produce a beautifully delicate looking lace! I strongly believe I should give it a try 😄.

Oops, I jumped ahead of myself a little bit. Here's some progress pics.
I thought this project would be perfect to work on while traveling.
I actually only got a few bars stitched during the 2 hour flight to CO.  I was too confined in the middle seat to pull the long threads.
I did progress quite nicely while watching the sunrise at Maroon Bells, CO on Independence Day.
I finished the piece later in my trip while visiting with my Mom so I gifted it to her.  
I just gotta say I am so grateful for the mother she is,
For the talks we have.
She is beauty and grace. 
She is strength and tenderness.
Aren't they adorable! After 60+years together!! They are quite the inspiration!
I witness the ever constant unconditional love and pride she shows for each of her family,
 each child, grandchild, and great-grandchild!
I am grateful to know that unconditional love...
given to me, my Heartbeat and my children.
Although I haven't mention it, it's the same with my brothers and sisters.  To be showered in that much family love amazes me every single visit!!
I love them all right back, and hope they know it!!
Home is where the heart is...