Thursday, April 24, 2014

Smith Mountain Lake or Bust!

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It was too late after last night’s Quilt-Cam to want to unpack and repack the trunk show for my presentation on Saturday evening at the Virginia Consortium of Quilters (VCQ) CELEBRATION.

That meant that I needed to do it this morning.

Only.

I slept too late!

Yes, I needed it but….

I’ve been running around like a crazy fool quilter trying to get everything done before leaving in about 2 hours!

This is a stack of possibles on my couch.  Did I ever tell you how much I HATE this couch?  The only time I like it is when it’s reclined, there are two recliners in it – but if you aren’t reclined, it feels like you are sitting in a row of airplane seats with “seat backs and tray tables up”  This couch is SO going away ---as soon as Jeff moves into his own place, he can take it with him!

But I digress.  My lecture topic for Saturday Evening is STRING FLING!  Oh boy….and I probably have way too many string quilts to share.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

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My living room floor as I sort into body bags!

I would be remiss too if I didn’t bring SOME of the quilts from my new book to share, even if they are NOT String Quilt related – so those are coming too.  This may end up being a 2 hour presentation! LOL!

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The back of Shamu is full!

The only things left remaining are my clothes, my laptop back pack and my OWN project – to bring a machine or not? This is the question? I suppose I should just put one in the car just in case – that’s what I’ll do.

Oh, and a shower and…

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These need packaged and dropped off at the post office on my way!

These are the last big batch of the “snail mail” order forms that have come in with checks for my new book MORE Adventures with Leaders & Enders.  As soon as these go out, we are ALL CAUGHT UP! Whoooowhoooo!  What a crazy few weeks it has been!

I’ll be in touch from VCQ Celebration.  It’s always a great time.  I get to meet PAT SPETH!  I am like a crazy fan girl.

Happy Thursday, let’s get this show on the road!  ((A phrase my dad used to spout off any time we were running late!))

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quilt-Cam 4/23/2014

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It’s Quilt-Cam Night!

And I’m really excited.  I’ve been plugging on these string blocks for the borders of my cheddar sampler for what seems like months now.

Truth be told, I haven’t been able to work on them at ALL in between our last Quilt-Cam and tonight….there has been too much else on my plate, so I am eager to finish the last 22 blocks – Yep! 22 more!  That’s what I’ve figured I’ll need to go all the way around the border of this quilt.

I love doing these – they are perfect for using up the smallest scraps.  As you can tell here, I am sewing with all the strips and strings left from taking men’s shirts and other articles of clothing apart.

Every bit counts!

Tonight since the Supernova Ultra was still set up from piecing a batting this morning, I decided to keep her going to give her a better work out.

When I do string piecing like this, I like to keep an ironing station right at hand.

This last trip, my trusty $10.00 wooden TV tray from Walmart gave up the ghost….it just finally fell apart to years of use, oh believe me – I got more than $10.00 of use out of that thing!

While in Carrollton KY with some free time on my hands, I wandered into THEIR local Walmart to see if I could find one to replace it.  They had them in cherry finish, not oak, and I prefer natural wood to fake stuff, so instead I came out with this:

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New & Improved!  And about $20.00  But I think I’ll use it for other stuff too!

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It fits my gifted pressing board perfectly! And the legs are adjustable to many positions.

I’m also really excited about my iron finds while I was gone.  I’ve now got 3 identical little Universal travel irons – One for home, One for Quilt Villa, and one to travel!  Weeeeee!  I hit the jack-pot!

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Let’s get going and finish these border blocks!

I just need enough blocks for 3 more sides, one length is already done – for one long side.  The red border is attached, the string blocks are not yet.

Ready to sew?  Click the screen below to start the feed.



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Join those Batting Scraps!

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This pink and purple baby quilt has been sewn on whole generations of sewing machines ---

The pink bonus triangles were sewn by treadle while I worked on my Sister’s Choice quilt Re-Do.  The purple bonus triangles came from the borders of Lazy Sunday, who knows how many machines that one was sewn on, I can’t think back that far!  I do know the pieces for Lazy Sunday traveled with me in zip lock baggies and was sewn on borrowed machines during my travels in between working on it at home.

I assembled the blocks and set them with sashings on my Singer 301A at the cabin.

And last night I sewed the borders on by treadle while watching Doc Martin:

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Putting on the borders!
 
But this morning I decided to skip decades and put those batting pieces Id been moaning about to good use.  Piecing batting for a baby quilt is a SMALL job, and only makes a small dent in the batting bin, but I still feel good about it.
 
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I needed a Zig-Zag Machine!
 
I pulled out my aqua two-toned Necchi Supernova Ultra to do the job.  She is such a smooth stitcher, and check out that round needle plate…cool beans!
 
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Several columns of scrap batting just waiting to be joined!
 
I like to piece in columns, it makes it really easy to build a batting this way.  If a column is too short, just add some more to the length, if the column is too long, whack it off!
 
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Zig Zagging columns together!
 
Put the machine on the widest zig zag and use your longest stitch length.  I over-lap the edges about 1/8” just to be sure I am not getting any gaps and away I go.  I honestly can zig zag a seam about as fast as I could iron down fusible tape.  And I’d rather spend the money on fabric, than something with glue on it that may discolor my batting or quilt or get crunchy and crackly over time.  I’m just not one of those who wants fusible glue in the middle of my quilt.
 
I made a little video so you can see Sophia the Supernova in action:


 
 
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Here you can see the stitches at the back of my machine, the stitching smooshes the batting enough that there are no ridges that can be felt once the quilt is quilted.
 
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I’m pairing it with this pink plaid as a backing fabric – it’s JUST big enough!
 
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Next up, the QUILTING!
 
I am planning on Quilt-Cam tonight at 9pm Eastern.  Come to the blog at 9pm and click on the post to view the screen – click the arrow on the screen to start the feed!  That’s all there is to it.
 
You can catch previous archives by clicking the Quilt Cam Tab at the top of the blog, they are all listed there in reverse order, newest sessions at the top of the list!
 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Errand Day!

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I haven’t sewn a stitch all day.

I know there are days like this, but I must pet SOMETHING before I go to bed tonight..I really MUST!

While running around this afternoon – dropping mail off at the post office before they closed at 4:30, bank run, and a wonderful 90 minute massage –I stopped to get a picture of this GORGEOUS pink dogwood just blooming up a storm in the parking lot of a local shopping center.

If regular dogwoods are great, PINK dogwoods are THE BOMB!

This one was so thick with clusters of blossoms I just couldn't get ever it.

Yes, this is my the camera-phone geek, just standing on her tippy toes in full view of a gazillion cars driving through the parking lot, oblivious to anything going on around her but the beautiful blossoms.

OOOooohhh!  This is one of the south’s greatest gifts in the spring time:

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Color Me Pink with Happiness!

I grabbed a late-ish dinner after all was said and done, and enjoyed the solitude, reading a book on the kindle app on my phone.

Have you read “Daughter of the Loom” by Judith Miller?  It’s a historical novel taking place in Lowell, Massachusetts  during the industrial revolution and the cotton mills that put Lowell on the map.  I’m only about a chapter in, but I’m really liking it!

On Audio book, I just finished “Look Again” By Lisa Scottoline.  Awesome plot line about a mother who suspects her adopted child could have previously been an abducted child.  Heart wrenching and rewarding!  A very good listen.

I also have something to share with you, from Becky!

She writes:

Hi Bonnie!
I discovered your blog relatively recently and when I found the free pattern section it was liking finding a candy store!  I had to wipe the drool off my keyboard!  I want to make one of each, and most of them several times!
 
becky1
 
Becky’s Scrappy Bargello!
I started with a Scrappy Bargello which I finished recently and wanted to share.  I learned a lot about value placement after I got the first section pieced and noticed I had too many lights close together in the top left corner.  Oh, well!  The price of experience!  I did a fair amount of rearranging in the other sections before I sewed the strips together and I am happier with how they turned out.
 
becky2
 
Becky’s Awesome Backing!
 
I took a page out of your book and pieced the backing out of my stash.  My favorite is an Easter print that I've been wondering how to use up.  Put it in a backing! :)
I'm donating this quilt to my local battered women's shelter.  I think scrap quilts are the perfect metaphor for people in those kinds of situations.  Scrap quilts take little bits and pieces, leftovers, odds and ends that most people would throw away, and even some downright ugly fabrics and turn them into something not only functional, but beautiful.  That is exactly what those women are trying to do with their lives.
Thanks for all you share with us!  With much love and hugs!
Thank you for donating your gift to such a worthy cause, Becky!  Your quilt is beautiful and I know it is going to lift someone’s heart at a difficult time.
 
I also LOVE the mountain view I can just barely glimpse between the trees in the photo above!  Becky didn’t say where she was from, but it has to be somewhere between Colorado and the West coast!  That leaves, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington in the mix as well --- Becky, where are you from? How lovely to have that view right in your own back yard.
 
Have a good night everyone!


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Hello Little SewMor!

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Last evening after my walk I finally had a chance to play with the little SewMor “Featherweight” I picked up in Carrollton, KY.

Once I had wiped her down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and grime, she shined right up!

A few drops of oil here and there, a new belt, and I was ready to get into some deep cleaning and seeing if we could get her running.

I did some internet research ((You know what an amazing world we live in? RESEARCH used to mean months of hard work and inquiries, now we just type key words into google!)) and found out that this baby was likely made around 1952 in Japan. 

Her body is aluminum, which means she only weights 10.5 lbs outside of her base.  The base and case nearly double her weight though, giving her a total weight of 18 lbs.  Still not bad ---A Singer 99 machine easily weighs DOUBLE that 18 lbs being made of cast iron instead of aluminum. 

I can see why they nicknamed this girl a “Featherweight” also – It says so right on her machine bed and across the top arm of the machine.

The brass badge on her pillar lists her as a SewMore model 303.

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Check out this retro-cool face plate!

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Eww!  Time to deep clean that bobbin area!  Looks like someone last sewed something RED on her!

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Found in the baby aisle at the local grocery!

This little tip is from Ana, I think – but my memory is not what it used to be.  Still..these little brushes come in handy getting lint out of tiny areas!

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Get in there and get it out!

Just be careful with the metal wire tip, you don’t want to scratch anything…..

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Uhoh! SewMor, we have a problem!

Upon threading, I saw we had a tension spring issue.  As in…BENT. TO. OBLIVION!

At this point I pulled out a Singer Spartan I have for parts..it looked the same…but it wasn’t.  The end of the spring that goes into the hole was different…..I nearly gave up.

And then I looked over at my ginormous APQS Millennium long arm quilting machine – checked out the tension system – VOILA!  It’s the same!  And I always keep extra check springs on hand for that emergency ---We are back in business!  Tension mechanism disassembled, new spring put in place, parts all reassembled, let’s sew!

I made this little video..I’m so proud of this little machine, all for $25.00 and a bit of elbow grease!

What a Zippy Girl!

I have a confession to make.  I have no clue why I “MUST” rescue these machines.  I just do.  $25.00 could buy me this machine, or 2 yards of fabric.  Of course this takes up more space than 2 yards of fabric, but I wouldn’t have any trouble justifying buying fabric I don’t “NEED” either.  Maybe I’ll not only be remembered as that “Crazy Quilt Lady” but that “Crazy Sewing Machine Hoarder Lady” as well – but I don’t care.  Fixing these things up and getting them to sew beautifully brings me joy.

And that’s all I need to know!

If I get a chance today, borders are going on this:

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I Like ---and I think the baby will too!

Have a great Tuesday, Everyone!


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Monday, April 21, 2014

Mail and the Bee's Knees!

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Today has been filled with printing invoices, mailing labels and postage stamps.

And filling book orders.  Finally!

And I am SO HAPPY to say that I am completely caught up with all orders placed through April 10th!  Whoooowhoooo!

You don’t know how it killed me to miss the delivery of those cases of books, having to leave town for Tennessee and Kentucky, and having the books arrive the day after I left home.  And here they sat.  I arrived home on Thursday, to turn around and head to the cabin on Good Friday Morning – there was no way to get this done until today, and we did it.

Tomorrow the remainder will go out.  If you ordered between April 10th and TODAY – your orders will be out the door by tomorrow afternoon.  Whew!  It’s been a crazy few weeks around here with the release of MORE Adventures with Leaders & Enders.

Have you ordered YOUR copy yet? :cD

I hauled myself into my little country one window white clapboard post office, setting tub after tub of sorted-by-zip-code book order mail to one side.

A buzzing sound caught my attention, and I looked up to see what one lady was actually sending THROUGH THE MAIL!

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Holy Bee Hive Batman!

Postmaster Sherry is weighing this bundle of bees on the mail scale!

I guess she does this regularly, there were two off these bee crates on the floor behind the counter.  Gives me the heebie jeebies!

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Is this where the term busy as a bee comes from?

It was fun talking to the lady who was shipping them.  There is a whole hive-ful of bees in here, including a queen, so they can be settled into their new location, wherever it is, and Thrive in the Hive!

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It’s absolutely GORGEOUS outside.  Dogwoods are in full bloom, and they are SO pretty.  Too bad they don’t last long enough either, but I love how all of their blossoms face sunny-side up:

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Sweet!  I love the little dips in center of their petals.

I’ll be out walking some pavement later –but for right now, I really want to set up to sew something.  It’s just Jeff and myself manning the fort, The Hubster is out of town working in Wilmington NC again this week –I’m feeling some studio time coming on!

I’ve been asked about Quilt-Cam and when it might be.  How about Wednesday evening at 9pm Eastern?

See you then!


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More Carrollton History!

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This little piece of property I found while just driving down the road.

I reached a T in the road, and needed to choose – do I turn right or do I turn left.  There was a sign that said Masterson Cemetery with an arrow that pointed right, so why not?

It wasn’t until I got home and could look up the history on the place that I learned what I was curious to know.

This historic home c.1790 is the oldest two story brick structure built between Cincinnati & Louisville. The house overlooks the Ohio River and was the first meeting place for the Methodist Church in the area.

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Historic Masterson House

But you know me better than to think that I would be satisfied with just a picture of an old brick house, be it 1790 or not!  There is a cemetery on the premises.

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Historic Marker

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Other side of Marker!

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Stones leaning left and right, and some just on the ground --

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The stones are weather-beaten and many are illegible.

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They still make me pause and consider the lives of long ago.

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78 used to feel “far off” for me, but it gets closer all the time!

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Now THIS one is INTERESTING!

Eliza was a  consort of James McConathy.  I have to confess that I wasn’t sure if consort meant friend, lover, or spouse or if it was something derogatory as English as a language changes over time, words can change meaning.  I had to look it up to find that it meant likely wife. Whatever the term meant to James McConathy, he must have loved Eliza very much to have such a lovely stone made for her. She died at age 29 in 1840. ((She was IN her 30th year, so she was likely 29.  Our first year is from birth to 1 year old.))

In other news ---I will be teaching at the Grand Hotel Needlework Seminar on Mackinac Island, Michigan in just a few weeks!  I’ve been so excited about going to Mackinac, I’ve never been there.  I received an email the other day stating:
Ice breakers are actually working the Straits of Mackinac to break up the ice on the lakes and into the harbor of the island so that the ferries can run.  The ferries won't be operating until just before we go there so you can imagine how cold it still is.  I'm telling you this so you plan your wardrobe accordingly.
Accccckkkkkk!

Will this winter EVER END?!?!  It’s nearly MAY for crying out loud!

Have a great Monday, Everyone!


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Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Buck Mountain Easter

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This is Beanie! ((Next to Sadie))

We had our Easter dinner last night instead of today, and invited new mountain friends Mona and Rick to join us – and included their dog Beanie in the invite to come meet Sadie and hopefully be friends.

They were SO CUTE to watch together.  You would have thought that Sadie thought we brought Beanie just for HER.  They ran, they played, they chased, they tussled, the cabin and grounds were surrounded with all manner of Doggie-Joy.  It was so fun to watch!

After dinner Mona and I left the guys to talk about ATV stuff, and we strapped on the leashes and away we went out the door with “the girls”.

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Two new friends!

The weather was terrible both Friday and Saturday –cold, windy, and rainy.  But by evening the clouds were blown away by the spring breezes and we were treated to the most glorious sight as we chatted and rocked in the rocking chairs on the deck:

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Sunsets in the Blue Ridge are magnificent.

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The rosy glow over the mountains brings the promise of a beautiful day tomorrow!

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And indeed it was!

A long awaited project happened this morning, because we were rained out yesterday and it will be weeks before we are able to come back up.  This concrete retaining wall has been an “in your face” eye-sore since we first saw the place.  We wanted it to blend in with the nature more, so dirt brown is our color of choice:

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Looking good!

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Front side of the retaining wall, just drying

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We had enough paint to do the foundation wall on the opposite side of the lower patio too!

Notice I said “WE”.  The ME part was supervising from inside the sewing nook through the window while stitching together THIS:

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Webbing the top of the baby quilt together!

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Next on the list:  BORDERS!

I hope your Easter was a peaceful and memorable one.  This was the first time we’ve had Easter without the boys, and as a mom I must say that it felt a bit devoid of family.  But I am so happy to have had new friends over the night before, and to have a couple days off at the cabin to catch my breath before this week starts with a bang.

Books arrived the day after I left for Tennessee, which means ALL the orders go out this week before I leave for the Virginia Consortium of Quilters CELEBRATION at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia on Thursday.

I hope I’ll be seeing you there!


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