Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cleaning and Reorganizing My Quilting/Sewing Closet

Don’t hold this messy closet against me but this is what my quilting/sewing closet looked like the Saturday morning, April 18th and probably would still look like this if it would have been a sunny day.IMG_3963That rainy Saturday morning John was sitting at his desk and commented to me that he really didn’t know what he would do that day since he couldn’t be in the field planting corn.  I suggested that we make the changes in the closet that we had planned and had supplies for.  He thought that was a good idea so while he was out feeding the cows and checking for new calves I emptied the closet.  As you can guess by looking at the photo there was a lot, and I mean a LOT of stuff to remove.

I just can imagine that none of you ever have storage areas that get to be such messes do you?  I feel lucky to have a great closet but as you can see I was having trouble keeping it tidy. I couldn’t easily find anything and putting things away was another problem even though I did have plastic bins for different colored fabric in my attempt to have my fabric sorted.  The problem was that the large bins were extremely heavy so I had started putting it in smaller bins but then had to stack them and of course what I wanted to use was always in the bottom bin.IMG_3967IMG_3966I have a set of kitchen upper cabinets on the end of the 4.5’ x 7’ walk in closet that I can use for storage too.  This space (closet) was used as the office by John’s parents when they lived in the house and we decided to put shelves in for my fabric and quilt “stuff” storage when we moved in.  I feel very lucky to have this much space for my quilt/sewing things, although I do have to store folding chairs, table leaves and a couple of card tables here too.  IMG_3972After many trips from the closet to the family room I got it emptied.  Can you believe all this stuff was in there there?  I moved the chairs away from my kitchen table to enable me to walk around to refold the fabrics and re-pack smaller boxes for all the fabric.IMG_3975
IMG_3974As you can see I did leave a path between the boxes and worked to sort and sort and sort some more.  I tossed some things, have a box of things to give away and pulled out more fabrics that will get cut into strips and squares for scrap quilts.  I have been quilting since 1981 so have collected lots of fabrics over the years and to be honest I will probably never use my older fabrics unless they are all cut up and mixed with lots of other fabrics.

While I was sorting and organizing my stuff John was working on the closet.  We didn’t make any big changes but took out the middle shelves and re-spaced them adding an additional shelf.  This will enable me to use the smaller plastic boxes which will make them lighter and easier to handle and make it so I don’t have to stack the fabric boxes.  Hopefully I will put the boxes back with the sorted fabrics when I get done using them and keep the closet neater than I have in the past.IMG_3977I worked many, many hours to sort and organize each of the boxes and decide where they should be placed in the closet. I finished the process and am so happy.  This is what it looked like Sunday April 19th around 6 pm.  After this photo was taken I added labels to the ends of the boxes too so the contents can be easily identified.IMG_3978As you can see we have lots of folding chairs but we seem to entertain large groups fairly often so have quite the collection of chairs and need them to be easy to access and this is the best place to store them.IMG_3981
IMG_3979I am keeping the fabrics on the bottom 3 shelves, batting and other lighter things on the top shelf and larger cuts, old jeans, purse making supplies and two large bins of the fabrics that will be cut up into strips at a later date.  I can slide these big boxes out and back without having to lift them. 

This was a giant job and starting it the weekend before I left to go to Paducah kept me at the job to finish it in a short amount of time.  I am so happy about this newly organized space I am almost giddy.

Happy, happy me,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Insulated Casserole Carrier/Tote

IMG_3946Each year I go to Paducah for the AQS Show with my sisters and friend I make some sort of gift to give to them and our hostess.  This year I made insulated casserole carriers for everyone. 

After searching the internet I came across the following web pages with tutorials and based mine on these with a few changes.  There are lots of other shapes and sizes of totes too so just Google “Casserole Tote” or “Casserole Carrier” to get more.
Two Little Hooligans blog
Sew For Home blog
Making It With Danielle blog

Here is how I made mine….all 5 of them.

Casserole Carrier/Tote for 9”x13” Pan
Materials List
1 3/4 yd cotton fabric (I purchased 2 yds for just a bit extra)
7/8 yd of Insul Bright Batting (I purchased 1 yd for just a bit extra)
OR 3/4 yd Insul Bright Batting  plus  3” x 40” iron on fleece
2” Velcro (2 – 5” strips)
Thread to match cotton fabric
Cut the following from the cotton fabric;
2 – 36”x 13”
2 – 32”x16”
2 – 3”x40”
Cut the following from the Insul Bright Batting
1 – 35”x12”
1- 31”x15”
2 – 1 1/2”x 40” OR cut these from the iron on fleece

1.  Lay the large cotton fabric pieces right sides together and center the piece of Insul Bright on each section. 
2.  Stitch around each rectangle with 1/2” seam just catching the batting in the seam.  Leave a 5” opening unstitched for turning.IMG_38993.  Trim the corners diagonally to reduce bulk and turn right sides out and press flat, folding the 5” opening edges to the inside and pin.IMG_39084. Topstitch around the rectangles and machine quilt some simple design to hold the layers together.  I used the grid below to quilt mine. IMG_3912 IMG_39105.  If you have cut fusible interfacing for the handles the next step is to fuse it 1/4" from one long edge to the wrong side of the 2 handle strips.  Press under 1/4” on each long edge and press strip in half and pin together.
    If you have cut your batting for the handles from Insul Bright press under the 1/4” seam edges on the cotton fabric and press the strip in half then lay the Insul Bright inside and pin together.IMG_39016.  Stitch close to each side of the handles and twice more like below.IMG_39057.  On one side of the wider piece (the one you cut 32”x16”) measure up 3” and center one of the handles on this line and pin to secure.  Do the same for the other side.IMG_39228.  Top stitch the handle down on each side 1” down from the quilting line that is 1/4 of the way down from the top.  I hope this makes sense but look at the photos and that will help.  I did stitch a box at the end of my stitching lines to make the handle more secure.IMG_3930IMG_3925IMG_3926 29.  Lay the fat rectangle with the straps facing the table and the long rectangle on top, centering the two pieces and pin together.  Top stitch along the edge of the long rectangle on both sides where it overlaps the fat rectangle.  Back stitch at the beginning and ending of each line.IMG_393110.  Flip the carrier over and top stitch along the edge of the fat rectangle where it overlaps the long rectangle, back stitching at each end.

11.  Place the Velcro on the ends of the two flaps and edge stitch around to secure.  Pay attention to how the flaps close so you get the pieces on the correct sides of the flaps.  I rolled the carrier up so it would fit in the machine as I stitched the rectangle of Velcro down.IMG_3939IMG_393412.  Last step is to stitch the ends of the straps together.  Overlap them as far as you want and pin.  Turn under 1/2” on each end and press.  Edge stitch around each overlapped section.  Caution – make sure the straps are not twisted before you stitch!IMG_3936IMG_3937IMG_393813. To use just set the hot/cold dish in the center, fold over the long flaps and secure with the Velcro then fold over the last two flaps and secure with the Velcro.  Raise the straps over the covered casserole to carry it.IMG_3941IMG_3944IMG_3946All done and ready to use.   Here are all five of them ready to give away. IMG_3985I am on my way to Paducah as this is posted since I wanted it to be a surprise for my sisters and friends.  Didn’t want them to look at my blog post about the carriers and spoil the surprise ahead of time.  I am sure I am having a good time so far and will post about my trip next week after I am home.

Until Later,

Monday, April 20, 2015

Links List #10

Time for me to share another list of quilt/sewing links I have collected for my quilt guild newsletter editor.  She posts links in each edition from links I collect and send to her.  She chooses what she wants to include in each issue from my lists.  At the time of this blog posting all these were live links but I can’t promise they will stay that way.  If you find a broken link, try to Google the information in the link or few words describing the link and see if you can find it.  I will not be correcting broken links if they occur.

Enjoy and learn a few new things, collect a few new patterns or see a few quilts and other pretty things. free quilt pattern sew hexagons together by machine tips for improving quilting accuracy repairing zippers make zig zag quilt without piecing triangles free quilt block - Pickle Dish free Tea Cozy pattern Sewing tips and tricks - more how to make a flange pillow - more how to make a flange pillow overlay video - Secret Life of the Sewing Machine Stitching an exposed zipper in bag pockets Video - How to sew an exposed zipper Y-Seam tutorial free quilt pattern free pattern for pouch with clear window free pattern for Take Me To Class Tote (holds cutting mat, etc.) free pattern for Kindle pouch free pattern for sewing machine cover Learn to wallpaper piece free pattern for Star Bright Wall Hanging free pattern summer sun visor free apron patterns hand exercises for knitters and Crocheters and would probably be good for sewers and quilters too. Make a stitch reference book for your machine designing with mini hexies part 1 English paper piecing part 2 English paper piecing part 3 piecing curves without cutting curves how to properly use the seam ripper flip and sew tutorial how to design a whole cloth quilt free Quiltmaker videos make a vinyl and fabric cosmetic pouch free patter to make a mini jewelry roll colorful vinyl pouch pattern free printable quilt project sheets Sewing decorative floating rickrack trim and insertion great article about 92 year old that created beautiful temari spheres....take a look even though it is really not sewing/quilting related 2014 block of the month: Craftsy Color Theory tutorial for making envelope backed pillow free quilt pattern tutorial on making mitered corners make scrappy eyeglass case Hand embroidery plus decorative machine stitches tutorial for beret and wrist warmers from old sweaters Video innovative bags and totes by Sewing With Nancy quilts of the underground railroad: fact or fiction free quilt pattern quilt videos by Debbie Brown tutorial - make a rag quilt collection of tutorials how to applique blanket stitch by machine

Until later,

Friday, April 17, 2015

NSQG Challenge - My Quilt

IMG_3961I just got my Nebraska State Quilt Guild challenge quilt back after making the rounds.  This is the block I started on the trip to 3 of my friends to add borders.  Fay added the pinwheels on the right and the diamonds on the top.  Kay added the green and navy stripe with the leaf appliques and the last to work on my quilt was Janet and she pieced the rectangles and appliqued blue circles.  I love it but know I need to add more to finish it up.  IMG_2201The block started out it's trip looking like this.  I used a traditional looking block with flying geese units running diagonally.  Thinking the block looked a little plain, I added the appliqued circles to the sides.  I used the Bernina Circle Embroidery attachment to stitch on the circles and to do the decorative stitching.  A fun attachment and an easy way to get perfect circles and keep the stitching lines parallel.IMG_2205As a reminder here are the challenge rules -It is a round robin challenge with a team of 4-5 quilters of your choice.  Each quilt will start with a 9” finished center block.  You will build around the center block using borders with the following shapes—pinwheels, circles, diamonds, applique, and some embellishment.  The front of the quilt must have at least one of each shape listed but you may use more of these shapes if you wish.  Each quilt cannot exceed 120 total inches around.  It must be quilted, bound and a label sewn on the back.

Now, I have to decide what I want to add to finish up my wall hanging.   I am thinking Ii t needs something dark on top and left but not sure what yet.  Maybe more embroidery?  Any ideas or suggestions?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hexagons and Diamonds

IMG_3954My friend gave a program on hexagon quilts last month at our quilt guild and inspired me to make something new with hexagons.  It was a coincidence that I watched episode #1507 of The Quilt Show the day after the meeting with Cheryl See as the main guest and she was further inspiration.  She is known for her fabulous hexagon quilts, one which won the hand workmanship award at the AQS show in Paducah 2012 and now belongs to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.  I was fortunate to get to see it up close and it is amazing.  Check out her facebook page  and the museum for more photos of her quilts.1003305_149315505270051_915731945_n One of the things she demonstrated on that show were the cute bowls made from hexagons and diamonds.  I printed off hexagon, diamond and half hexagon templates onto card stock paper from the internet, right now I can’t remember what website – sorry.  Anyway, you can probably find a page of hexagons and matching triangles to print or use any of the pre-cut shapes found at most quilt shops.  It uses full hexagons, diamonds and half hexagons, all hand pieced together and hand stitched over a stiff base covered with the lining fabric.  It did take me a couple of evenings to make but it sure turned out cute.  Cheryl has published a book “Not Just Hexies” that has this pattern plus other patterns using these shapes.  I used 1” hexagons for this project – 1” length of each straight side.IMG_3957
IMG_3949Backing up to my original topic - My friend gave a wonderful program that evening at quilt guild then handed out Hexie kits she put together for all the members to make into a Christmas ornament from the paper 1” hexagons and fabric.  Finished mine off and now I have two things to take for show and tell at our April meeting this week, small items, I know, but they are finished!  Most months I just enjoy seeing what everyone else has to show so this will be change.IMG_3958I pieced a miniature hexagon quilt many years ago with an applique border and still don’t have it all quilted.  The straight sides of these hexies are about 3/8”  I do some hand quilting on it occasionally then it gets put away again for a while.   Maybe someday I will get it finished if I can just make myself work on it more often and it already has a name.  I named it "Lady In Waiting" for many reasons, one is that it is waiting patiently for me to get it finished.IMG_1157
Until Later,

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lucky Lady, ME!

I feel so very lucky lately.  I showed the threads I won on a blog drawing a few weeks ago and now hold on to your hats readers as I was selected the “winner” again and again and again!  Wow, can you believe it?IMG_3915First win was this book A Modern Twist by Natalie Barns.  It is filled with colorful quilts and projects.  This just might catapult me out of my greyed down traditional fabrics. Great book, thanks Natalie.IMG_3917Next win is something I never would have thought to do.  Brooke Selmann from Silly Mama Quilts chose me as the winner of her giveaway.  The grand prize is the left overs/scraps from one or more of her quilts.  Isn’t that a great idea? I now own a variety of odds and ends that will be fun to play with and make something from.  Thanks Brooke for the scraps!IMG_3919IMG_3920I was selected as the winner by Darlene from Quilt Shop Gal for the two above items.  The first is a piece of patterned felt that is made from recycled plastic bottles – wonderful idea to use all those plastic bottle we all use. The second item from Darlene from  is the book “Graphic Quilts from Everyday Images” written by Heather Schrimsher.  Love the clean lines and simplicity of the quilt patterns in this book.  Thank you Darlene!

Now I know you are all asking, how can I have chances to win some blog giveaways and how to find them?  Actually it is pretty easy.  Quilt Shop Gal has a special page on her blog where any blogger can list their giveaways.  Great way to find lots of great blogs to visit and enter the contests.

On that same vein Quilter Blogs has a lists of giveaways from other blogs.  Not sure, but think you can sign up your blog and maybe posts are sorted out for the giveaways, but not sure about that.  However they get listed, there are lots of blogs to check out for their giveaways. 

Another giveaway site The Giveaway Roundup is another good place to list your giveaways and find ones to to enter.

Last but certainly not least check out Wow I Like That where you can list your own giveaways and shop for giveaways to enter.

Now you all know my secret so I am wishing you good luck on winning some cool stuff too!

Until Later,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Traditions

After the third time of doing something I think it can be called a tradition, right?  A tradition our family has established now (third year) is to have a wiener roast cookout down at the river on Easter noon.  IMG_1719Our church services are early at 7:00 am on Easter morning with a pot luck breakfast after but still were home by 9:30 am.  We got our 4-wheelers and ATVs loaded with wood, old tire rim we use as a fire pit, lawn chairs, folding table and coolers of food.  When everyone brings something to add to the meal it isn’t a lot of work for any one person.  IMG_1740The weather was wonderful with blue skies and mild temperatures.  It was such a beautiful afternoon to spend visiting, walking the sandbars and along the banks of the river.  Our daughter found some old bones, some might have been fossils and some might be more recent from cattle, deer or other animals.  Sometimes people find arrowheads but personally I have never found any.IMG_1746A couple of vultures making lazy circles overhead.  We see them quite often around our area and they help clean up road kill and other dead animals.  They are really quite ugly birds but they are so graceful soaring in big circles.IMG_1763Trees along the banks are spacious and it's a beautiful area due to the land owner removing the trash trees and cleaning up the dead limbs.  He spends many hours working to keep it so nice looking.IMG_1755A nephew and our two grandsons discovered the remains of broken off tree was being occupied by a family of owls on one of their hikes.  I don’t know what type of owls these are as the adult would fly off before we would get near.  The nest in this broken tree was at least 20 feet up so I had to wait until the young owls peeped their heads up to see them and snap their photo.  Out of the dozen photos I took I only got this one showing the head of one baby.  The rest of the photos looked like two white puff balls at the top of the tree when they ducked down in their nestIMG_1752 I like to call this photo "porcupine eggs growing along the river."  Actually they are cockleburs and the seed pods are notorious for sticking to anything brushing by them.  I had to pick several out of my shoe laces and socks several times as I always seemed to walk through them.
Still cool enough to keep our sweatshirts on even though it got a little warm at times.  I wore a large brimmed hat most of the day too but my hands were exposed to the sun and wouldn't you know I got a sunburn on the tops of both of them.  Good thing I had long sleeves and long pants on or I would be pretty miserable I am thinking.

Our grandsons looked forward to our outing on Sunday as did the rest of us.  They put on their boots and waded in the river, tried to catch minnows, hiked through the trees, roasted wieners over the fire and ended with toasted marshmallows they made into S’mores.  We had a lovely day and hope to continue the tradition again next year. 

Until later,


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