Monday, January 30, 2012

New Quilt Cabinet

Our neighbor, Jeff, does woodworking and he made us a beautiful quilt cabinet. We gave him a couple of pictures of cabinets we liked (with a few of changes). As far as size, I wanted as large a cabinet as would fit in the selected corner. 

On Saturday, our cabinet arrived in pieces! Jeff and Ray carried everything upstairs. When you live in an old house, negotiating stairs is tricky; plus the cabinet is too deep to move  through a doorway. So Jeff built the pieces and assembled the cabinet onsite. It will end up in the back corner under that sloping ceiling.

It was totally assembled and it is gorgeous!

They moved it into its corner - a perfect fit!

And I began filling it up!

I absolutely love it!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Orca Bay Mystery Quilt is finished

The Orca Bay Mystery quilt is done. I machine stippled it, bound it in blue, and washed it.

The back is a red print.

As I was making the quilt, I thought about donating it because it really wasn't like any other quilt we own. But then again, it looks nice on the blue leather furniture.

And on the red chair.

And we really do like it! So we are keeping it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

More donation quilts

I have five more donation quilts ready. I wanted to get them done by February 1 and I made it! I hope to deliver them tomorrow.

The first three you can see here. The last two are made from panels with strips of animals added to the sides. Again, these are made from my stash. So far, I haven't made a dent in that stash!

I didn't have enough elephants or giraffes to go on all four sides of the quilts so I just put them on two sides.

The back of both quits is the very soft brushed cotton that I bought on sale - I love it!

Both quilts are machine stippled. I think I'm getting better - at least I'm getting lots of practice!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Project Week 3

I am really enjoying the Free Motion Quilting Project Quilt Along - see the right hand column.

This past week we were still stippling. BUT this time we were changing sizes - small, mediumand large. I had my doubts because I had already tried small and medium and I had trouble. But I persevered! And I am now able to do various sizes. Perfect - no, Acceptable - yes!

My left brain mind really enjoys stippling in rows and quadrants. The 1/4" stippling is the lower left, the 1/2" is the lower right, and the 1" is the upper half.

The back

looks a lot like the front!

I stippled three quilts recently (the third quilt in this post and two that haven't been posted yet.) and I have a fourth half done. It has helped tremendously to learn to do the different sizes of stippling. And thanks to Leah Day, I now know that the placement of my hands really makes a difference!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Time to lose it!

I need to lose the weight that I gained during my back problems/surgery/recovery. It wouldn’t hurt to lose a little extra too! And Ray decided to join me.

We recently came across the DASH Diet - a healthy way of eating without a lot of added salt. It is similar to the way we already eat! We bought the books. Read the books. And we began. Would it work?

Based on your height and weight, you find the number of calories to maintain your weight.  If you want to lose weight, you just need to eat fewer calories. Every day we eat grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat/poultry/fish, some nuts/beans/seed, and some fats/sugars. We already exercise so nothing new there.

We track our servings each day. The real key to our success is the portion size. And yes, there are carbs - we eat whole grain breads and pasta, potatoes, corn, etc. We try to stay away from a lot of refined sugars and fats. We are both steadily losing about 2.0 pounds a week. It is easy to eat out too! We do have dessert once in a while. Actually, anything is okay once in a while.

We had our annual physicals yesterday and our new doctor  wholeheartedly approved the diet as a lifelong way of eating. Our physician for the last 30 years just recently retired!

I have always said that I want to be taller so I can weigh more and yesterday I found that I am an inch taller (oh, thank you back fusion surgery!) so my BMI is actually one point lower than I thought! I'm on my way...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Three finished quilts!

All three quilts will be donated. The first finish is a baby quilt. 

This was just a pattern I was interested in a while back. I started this quilt and packed it away. Recently I found it and decided to finish it! The yellow around the edge is a flange. 

The back is the fabric left from the front. The binding is the striped fabric.

I free motion quilted the entire quilt in loop-the-loop. I am getting better at that design!

Finish number two is also a baby quilt.

This quilt is just alternating squares of two fabrics. The blue is just different enough that I couldn't find anything to match. So I put the quilt away until a couple of weeks ago when I realized that red would look okay! The borders are the same size - I'm just not a great photographer!

I machine quilted this with a walking foot and a wavy line. The red for the border is a beautiful soft brushed cotton.

The back is the same brushed cotton as the border on the front. The darker blue binding is from my stash.

Finish number three is a larger quilt - about 50" by 60". This is a sideways view.

Again I used fabrics from my stash - most of these have been used in other quilts. The pattern is quite easy. Each block is made of 3 squares.  Two of the squares are cut on the diagonal to make the four corners for the block.

You can see the stripe in the binding (I like striped bindings!).The backing and the border on the front are a red swirly cotton. I had about 4 yards in my stash!

This quilt was done as a "quilt as you go".  I quilted each block and border separately. I left one inch of backing fabric around each piece. Then I joined the backs with an inch seam. After trimming that to 3/4", I folded each side in half and stitched it down on the front of the quilt.

This is similar to Cotton Theory but not quite the same. I read about this "quilt as you go" recently at Ludlow Quilt and Sew.  This quilt is machine stippled in red variegated thread. I am getting better at stippling - the practice is definitely helping!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Free Motion Quilting Project Week 2

Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project (see button at right), gave lots of great, useful information this week. We stayed with stippling but worked on stippling in rows. The following is a sample.

Can you see the numbers? I began in the middle and quilted the lower right hand quadrant. Then I blew it and ended on the right hand end so I traveled to the lower left hand quadrant and quilted that. Next was the upper left hand corner and then the upper right hand corner. Each quadrant was quilted in rows.

I just finished quilting twelve 12" blocks using this method. I really like stippling in rows and using the quadrants. It helps me know where I'm going! I think the 12 blocks look better than this one - of course, the thread color blends in! I'll post the 12-block quilt one of these days when I get it finished.

QAYG FMQ QAL update 1

QAYG FMQ QAL stands for Quilt As You Go Free Motion Quilting Quilt A Long. This is happening with Laura in Australia over at  Quokka Quilts - see right column for the button.

So far we have had 4 blocks for row 1. I may be out of my league here! Since I am new to this, I am not making a quilt, I am doing practice sandwiches that I will keep for inspiration and motivation to improve.

Row 1 Block 1 - practicing curves - loop the loop. 

This was fun and I have already quilted a baby quilt using loop the loop! When I get the binding on the quilt, I'll post a picture of it.

Row 1 Block 2 - flowers - a variation of the loop the loop. This is much harder than I thought it would be! I still need lots of work!

Row 1 Block 3 - spirals taught by Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project - see right column for her button.

I have a very long way to go with spirals!

Row 1 Block 4 - a variation of Leah Day's sunflower. Laura said "OK, don't freak out... We've done curves, we've done flowers, and we've done spirals. Now to put them all together." Help!!! I really think I may be in over my head!

The flower isn't too bad - it is those spirals again! More practice!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Progress on The Free Motion Quilting Project

Out of the three free motion quilting blogs that I am following and attempting to keep up with, I think this is the one where I belong the most! For some time, I have been following Leah Day at The Free Motion Quilting Project - see button at right. She recently began a Quilt Along for FMQ and is starting at the beginning.  Stippling - the wandering curved line that never crosses itself.

I know I need lots of practice but I am so much better than I was a couple of years ago when I first tried this! This is just a practice sandwich of various wiggles.

I am stippling some 12" blocks. Once in a while, I add a loop - I think that is called "Jeanne's stippling"! Yup, it is my way! My curves need to get smoother but I am beginning to get control over my stitch length. I also greatly appreciated Leah's advice on quilting in rows - it has made this much easier for me. I am beginning to relax and enjoy this too!

Time for more practice!

Free Motion Quilting Challenge Update

I am participating in the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge over at SewCalGal's (see icon in right hand column). The FMQ expert for January, Frances Moore, gave us a tutorial on quilting leaves.

I practiced quite a bit and thought I was doing pretty good for a newbie: 

Then I did my block and it is quite clear that I still need LOTS of practice!

I have a whole year to go and expect to improve....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quilt Square Quilt Along Block 1

I have the first block done for the Quilt Square Quilt Along over at Jo's Country Junction. It is a log cabin block and measures 12" X12".

I machine stippled this little quilt. I am definitely a beginner at FMQ so I am determined to practice!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quilts ready for donation

I have finished the Bright Quilt - we both love it! I talked about making it here. It is so tempting to keep it but we won't! The whole quilt is made from my stash - even the binding.

The back includes one leftover pinwheel. The quilt is machine stippled by me! This quilt is 38" by 46".

For the Thomas Quilt, I used all of my leftover Thomas the Train engine fabric along with some blue, green, and red flannel. I just put things together and 'made the pieces fit'. I  machine quilted the this one using a walking foot. This quilt is 39" by 50".

The back is a red brushed cotton. I recently bought 10 yards of it on sale so I had some backing fabric!

The other three quilts to be donated this week have been done for a while. They are all I Spy quilts and can be seen here.

So one day this week, I'll head out with this pile of quilts

and drop them off at a local agency where they'll each go to an abused child.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fraudulent Activity?

Yesterday, shortly after arriving home from our very nice weekend away, we had a phone call concerning  possible fraudulent activity on our credit card. We had to call our credit card company's fraud department. 
They asked three questions:

  1. Did we use our credit card at a certain motel in Dubuque? Yup! 
  2. Did we charge this amount at the motel? Yup!
  3. Did we charge this amount at a bookstore? Yup!
In that case, our credit card would be unlocked and we would be able to use it again!

We greatly appreciate that this company watches for fraudulent activity. But all we did is spend a weekend away - if we had stolen the credit card, I think our motel bill would have been way past moderate and we would have purchased a lot more than a couple of books!

We haven't been to Dubuque for quite a while. We just didn't realize that big brother was watching via our credit card! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A very nice week end away

Yesterday we went to Dubuque, Iowa. We had lots of time and a very short list so it was fun day! We had lunch at Bandana's BBQ - Wow! I can't believe we didn't know about this place - thanks to my friend Arlene, we do now!

After checking into the Holiday Inn and having dinner at the River City Beefstro Sports Bar and Grill (good food!), we headed to The Bell Tower Theater to see Guys in Ties, an improv comedy group. We laughed ALOT!

We had a date with bartender Jason at the River City Beefstro Sports Bar when we got back to the motel. While we were eating dinner, he told us that he could not make ice cream drinks after 10 PM because the kitchen closes. But then he decided that he'd work something out if we'd come back. Sure enough there was a blender full of ice cream in the cooler when we got there. We had huge Grasshoppers - which he says is the normal size! So much for the diet!

It was a great weekend - we saw a couple of eagles, had amazing weather, and just thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Oh yeah, we made sure to fill the car with gas before crossing back into Illinois - gas is always cheaper in Iowa!

And the cameras were not used all weekend - I think we were too busy just kicking back!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Orca Bay Mystery Solved!

On Friday, Orca Bay Mystery Clue #7 was released. I pieced all of the red string triangles from Clue #4 with wing triangles from Clue #5.

And I pieced the rest of those wing triangles with neutral triangles.

I also made these quarter square triangle units: 

Yesterday Bonnie Hunter released the Big Reveal showing the layout. I was busy half the day but then I found some time to sew. 

I put the pieces together:

Since I only made 1/2 of the pieces during the mystery, I had to figure out my layout. I decided on a square. It will finish to be about 57" by 57". 

Today I put on the neutral border which finished to 1 1/2". Then I had to figure out the pieced border. I had to make a few more wing triangle/neutral triangle squares. I used all four of the quarter square triangle units I made - one for the middle of each side.

And here it is!

This has been fun and I love using my stash! I've really enjoyed the mystery and am delighted with my quilt. Now I just need to quilt it! 


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