Monday, October 28, 2013

DWM/A Halloween Finish

Just in time too. Well, this little table decoration has been finished for a while but I was saving the reveal for Halloween week.


It came out cute and adds a nice touch of spooky to my minimal decorations. I last showed it to you in this post when I did the original embroidery. I decided to add this little motif to round the whole design out. Isn't that so cute?


Since this is going on my table top display I also needed to add hanging loops at the top.


I decided to use the pillowcases method to finish it so I sandwiched the whole thing -  backing right side up, design facing down, batting on top. 


Sew 1/4 inch all the way around leaving an opening to turn it right side out and slip stitch the opening closed. This is where the even feed feature of my Janome 6600 comes in so handy . It handles the layers of this quilt sandwich so easily with no slippage.

 
Trim and turn.


And now for the part I don't want to show you. When all is said and done this little project came out less than stellar.


After edge finishing with a decorative stitch and quilting (which I took out) it ended up wonky as you can plainly see. I blocked it and fussed with it and then I decided to live with it. Upon further analysis I believe that the stabilizer that I used on the larger embroidery is the problem. Usually I use a tear away stabilizer but for some reason I used a cut away on this one and I could not cut it all away from this intricate design. You can see in this picture that it is doing all the pulling around the bats and tree branches no matter how much I try to make it do otherwise. Lesson learned!  Everything I do does not come out perfectly but I do learn something with every project and I'm sharing with all of you so maybe you'll learn something too.

Don't forget to check out Design Wall Monday at Judy's place.

Until next time, 



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

All Grown Up


Those tiny chicks that were so cute a few short months ago are full fledged hens now and to prove it they've started earning their keep. Well, they're taking a stab at it anyway. Look at what I found in the nest box the other day.



Can you see how tiny and perfectly round this little egg is? I haven't had the heart to crack it it's just too cute! 

It might have been Cinnamon who is the precocious girl. She is so very sweet and pretty.



Or maybe one of her white, speckled sisters. Marshmallow, Sugar or Nutmeg.



It could even have been Snow or Sprinkle. 



Mean black hen is molting and DOES NOT want her picture taken! Whichever one of these girls is practicing right now it does mean that they all will soon be in full production and that makes me and and all my egg customers very happy.

Until next time,

Monday, October 21, 2013

DWM / Easy Placemats

If you remember, last month I went on my annual quilt retreat to Zephyr Cove at gorgeous Lake Tahoe. 


You can read about it in this post. If you've ever been on a quilt retreat or even out for a day with your quilting friends who know that it MUST involve some fabric shopping and my friends and I did our part to keep the economy going in that department believe me. I save my egg money for just this purpose and so I feel no guilt (or hardly any) when I go fabric shopping. Here's what I brought home.


Some fat quarters and yardage to make placemats and a matching table runner. I cut the selvedge off before I looked to see who the designer is of this gorgeous stuff, sorry. I picked up this pattern at the same time. 

Take Four by Cary Flanagan I have absolutely no affiliation with this pattern or designer I'm just passing along to you the info about what I'm doing.
The pattern was easy to follow and uses four fat quarters to make four placemats. Yardage is needed for the backing.


In absolutely no time I had the four placemat tops done and decided to bring the backing fabric to the front, mitering the corners for a clean finish rather than applying a binding. This is where I stalled out as I made things harder on myself than I needed to. It would have been way easier just to square them up and apply a binding by machine and I may still do that. Here's as far as I've gotten on the first one.


The miter came out fine after a lot of fussing. I need to unpin it, insert some batting, give it all a good press and stitch it down. I love the clean colors and crisp detail of these and hoped to echo that in the finish. What do you think? Is this finish worth the extra work?

Check out Judy's Design Wall Monday to see what other quilters are up to this week.

Until next time,

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Body In Motion Stays In Motion

This has definitely been true in my case this month but I hope the motion has ceased for a while, I need a break! We have traveled the entire length of  the state of California in October and are home at last with no plans to go another mile for quite a while. For those of you who may not be familiar with our great state let me just tell you that California is BIG. It's the third largest state in the U.S. behind Alaska and Texas. I know this fact because my seven year old grandson told me and he's a demon for facts.


I'm including a map with a very rough sketch of our travels just to prove to you that we can really pack on the miles when we put our minds to it. First we went up the coast to visit our eldest grandson at his university. I was the only one who had not seen where he was living. I just couldn't rest easy until I had seen for myself that he was doing well and oh my what a treat it was to see him in his new environment. He is loving college life and so excited about all the things he's learning and doing. Grandma can now relax.

Chris and I then decided to spend a few days in the beautiful California wine country of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. We had a glorious time sipping and dining. The sea food at Bodega Bay was glorious. Then it was home for two days to check in with the chickens and pups before heading out for a visit with our kids in Southern California. I haven't seen my younger grand kids since the beginning of summer. Usually they spend at least part of the summer with us here in the mountains but this year work and other family obligations made that impossible and Grammy was missing the baby love.

I don't talk much about the grandchildren on this blog out of respect for their family's privacy. Just know that I have six beautiful, talented, exceptional grands that mean the world to me and I don't mind traveling all over just to lay eyes on them from time to time. Oh, and my own kids who parent them.

We're home now and I hope to get back on track with blogging, cooking, quilting and answering your comments but I think I have to call a time out on answering the comments that have come my way over the last three weeks. I just am overwhelmed. If there's an answer you feel you just have to have email me at pjdowell2@yahoo.com and I'll reply. I hope you understand.

Until next time,

Monday, October 14, 2013

DWM/Spooky Fun

I have managed to get in a little sewing with a Halloween theme and finished up just in time to get these cuties off to my youngsters down south before the witching hour.


These pillow cases with a Star Wars theme will be perfect for candy collection on Halloween night especially since Liam, Owen, Claire and Paige are all dressing up as their favorite characters. May the force be with them. Later they can use them on their beds. I had to throw in some fairies just cuz they're so cute and my girls are too.


I started work on this little wall hanging while on retreat last month. I had two of these Halloween panels and two charm packs of Halloween fabrics I'd been hoarding for a year or more so it was time to do something with them before the kids get too big to appreciate them. The pattern is one I purchased from my local quilt store, Shared Stitches just before they went out of business and I guess it was a pattern put together by them because it has no publisher or credits on it so I can't give you any details. 


The idea is to create a frame around the panel by using the Lil' Twister tool. It took some finagling because as you know these panels are never quite printed straight but I did manage to get the twisted frame to fit eventually and I think it turned out so darned cute.


I found the perfect backing fabric for it too at 30% off! Lucky day. How's that for spooky?


And the perfect thread for quilting it was already in my stash. A variegated polyester called, wait for it - Halloween Delite! Gorgeous.


I put the binding on by machine, back to front and used one of my sewing machines fancy stitches to sew it down. I think it adds just the right touch, a little like tiny spiders maybe.


 This one is ready and one more to go. After all I have two families of little ones to please don't you know.

Until next time,

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hill Country Holiday



THE most important day of the year has come and gone here in Georgetown. Of course, I'm talking about Founder's Day, a celebration of all things Georgetownian. A chance to get together with our neighbors and let our hair down.



There's always dancing in the street to music provided by guitar pickers.



You can buy a ticket for a chance to win a pretty quilt. The proceeds go to support the local volunteer fire department. This year's quilt was a big winner at the county fair just look at those ribbons!



Speaking of the Volunteer Fire Department. Founders Day this year was dedicated to our brave firefighters and you could see evidence of appreciation all over Main Street.





What would a celebration be without a parade? Our parade was kicked off by these beauties. A horse drawn fire engine. Wow!



There are always Jeeps in a Georgetown parade, after all we're famous for the Rubicon Trail. The toughest off road trail in the country. Jeepers from around the world travel here to try their luck on the Rubicon. It may have been quite some time ago since this one traveled that trail though.



More live music from a beautiful steam calliope.



And, always kids and their pets to liven up the parade route.









Until next time,



Thursday, October 3, 2013

I've Lost My Mojo!


 My blogging mojo that is. There's been so much going on since I last posted and so many people and projects calling for my attention that my mind has been frazzled to say the least. Please tell me that you get this way too. Sometimes I become so overwhelmed that I just want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. TO top it all off I got my flu shot last week which is a good thing but due to all the things pulling on me I was a little run down and had a small reaction which involved a few days of sore throat and fever right in the middle of a house full of guest (I'll get to that later). ENOUGH WHINING!


On to the good stuff. Fall is here my very favorite time of year and I've managed to deck out the house with some of our Autumn finery. Look at those pumpkins, have you ever seen anything cuter with their jaunty stems? I love the way they add to the front porch greeting and who doesn't like chrysanthemums? They come in every color of the rainbow, it's so hard to choose just a few but bad weather is just around the corner and I don't want to have to throw them out. Maybe if I put them in the ground they'll survive maybe not, we'll see. The red stem dogwoods are changing color too and there's a snap in the morning air at last - hurray!


I changed out the indoor decor as well by hanging up my Fall quilts. All three of these were made for me by talented friends and given to me over the years. The quilt on the upper left is especially dear as my sweet friend Susan Waters passed away some years ago and I'm so glad I have this lovely remembrance of her. To the right is the alcove where I can hang larger quilts and I have a new way to display my beauties as well.


Just look at that quilt ladder! Isn't it great? I won it at the Gold Bug quilt show silent auction last month and I've been waiting to show all of you. When I put in my bid I really didn't think I had a chance so I was really surprised to hear that mine was the winning bid. All the quilts on the ladder are quilts that I've made, I think they look smashing.


As for this quilt - I don't even want to tell you how long this has been in the UFO pile! I'm hanging my head in shame. All for the want of a binding. The binding was even already made. I just don't know what's wrong with me, sometimes the littlest thing hangs me up and a project will languish forever. This has been waiting for that binding for - wait for it - Two Years! I love this quilt, I love the colors and the quilting so what's the deal? Do you ever do this? Please tell me I'm not alone.

That's it on the home decor front. I'm really not much for decking things out unless it's Christmas. Now when it comes to Christmas, JUMP BACK LORETTA!

Until next time,
 
P.S. If you have been waiting for an email reply to a recent comment I'm so sorry for my tardiness (see above).