31 October 2016

Monday Check-In

Happy Halloween!

With my machine up in our sun room 
(I guess I just like a good view of the fall when I quilt?)
I jumped right in and started quilting.  At least I tried...

It never takes her more than a minute!

I wanted to try something new so I first played around with butterflies.
I can't believe these things are harder than they look.  I went through
quite a few different variations and finally zero'd in on the one I thought
I could do.  But even half-way through the quilt, I still found them difficult
to make at least somewhat-uniformly.  I also struggled with uniform
distances and uniform stitch lengths.

But I took my time, tried my hardest under the circumstances,
and most of all, I enjoyed myself.  And I learned from it. 
Anyway, I think they're all at least passable.

I discovered a new border that I found very do-able.
I doubt I'm the first to do mushrooms but I've never seen them
anywhere else so I'd like to think I'm breaking some new
ground here.  

It was a pretty busy weekend so it wasn't till today that I
was able to finish up the last of the quilting.

Happily, I had fabric in my stash for the binding so I was able
to move right along...and look at that!  I've been trying out some
different methods of finishing off the binding and, with the one I
tried today, I had only to trim off a mere 1/8 of an inch!
I have never had a binding come that close!
Well, waste not, want not, right?

My husband and I are planning on taking a nice walk in the fall air
while lasagne bakes in the oven, and after dinner maybe
watching a movie--which should be just the time to sew
the back of this binding down.

Happy sewing!

27 October 2016

Log-Cabin Star Quilt Top Finish

I'm a little behind and I've been anxious to share this
quilt top so, now that I have a little time,
 I'm not going to wait for my Monday Check-In.
Today it's a Friday Check-In!

I love how it turned out in "the big picture"; up close you do kind of
lose the design but it's full of prints that lean toward the autumn
season and colors that should carry it through Christmas so I'm
hoping that will be the "up close" enjoyment.
As we know, I'm a border person so I tried like heck to get a
border to work on here but this quilt would just have none of it.

I gave up and settled on a binding fabric that would pull out
the deep brown in the middle of the log cabins as well as the
reds in the quilts.  If you recall, I picked up the backing for this
 quilt on the shop hop, buying all that was on the bolt from the
clearance rack.  Amazingly, I have just barely enough.  Barely.
(And I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me when I go to baste it together!)
So, it turns out the "no border" is a win regardless of my personal
design tastes.  And, frankly, it's already too big for me to enjoy
 the quilting--73" x 97".  Good thing I left off a column and row!

Over in the kitchen...

It seems I just can't let a year go by without some canning.
I always make more fruit jams and jellies than we can possibly eat
so I'm always looking for different ways to serve it.  Lately, we've
come to love pepper jellies so I wanted to start experimenting there.
I've had a batch of blackberry that just didn't set up well this summer
so I decided to try re-processing it.  I also decided to add in jalapeños
(and lemon for acidity)--not a new jelly for us but I've never
tried to re-process (and add in more pectin) anything before.

Because we had a good pear harvest this year, I also thought
it would be a great time try some pear jalapeño jelly...

and then thought why not
try roasted poblano pear jelly as well?

The final products of my work in the Test Kitchen.
Jams and jellies are tricky to mess with so the final test
will be when we taste them, and if they last on the shelf.

Our quick and easy snack is to pour a pepper jelly over
softened cream cheese and serve with tortilla chips.
However, my favorite way to enjoy them is on a good brie
grilled on a cedar plank and topped with pecan halves, 
and served up with some nice crackers,
which is exactly how I'm hoping to try out the one
of pear jellies this weekend.

Our first football play-off game is tomorrow night--an easy win.
The following evening's forecast should be perfect for our plans of
enjoying drinks and snacks with friends around the fire pit...
and under some quilts, of course.  
Also, our daughter and her husband will be in town.

All of this will keep me busy but I had my son set up my machine
in our sunroom just this evening which means I'm ready
to get all four of those quilts quilted.
I should still find a little time to get a start.

Happy fall quilting!

09 October 2016

Monday Check-In

It's always good to get a quilt finished,
and even better to gift it away to its new owner.

And bonus:  that lovely feeling of accomplishment that pretty much
says you've earned the right to move on to making more quilts!

While most of the modern styles aren't my favorite, I do
really like this quilt.  I didn't get to see her actually open it
but my niece, who turned 16 last week, seems to be
really be happy with it, too.

On to outside of the sewing room...
My husband smoked up 3 Boston pork butts today for carnitas
(trays are beneath) so I fixed up these red jalapeños to
be "smoked" into chipotles.  The timing is perfect as we have
very little left from last year.  I grind them up
(pestle and mortar--I'm old school)
just before I toss some into chili and any
other mexican or southwest dishes I fix up.

Our older son (varsity) pictured by our local paper.

Football continues to go well for both of my boys.
This past week our older boy was inducted into the
National Honors Society.  I was a little sad to see he is the only
football player in it; football does take up an incredible amount
of time so it's understandable...and yet, I think it's almost
a double-honor that he is able successfully pull both off so well.

It wasn't exactly the hurricane that hit the east coast but we had
the strongest winds I ever remember feeling hit the house.
My husband had to take the day off just to clean up our
3 acres of "war zone".  Quite a few very large limbs and the
above tree that was completely uprooted were among the
worst of the damage outside.  Inside we now have some water
damage on our ceilings; our roof was completely replaced
just a few years ago so we're thinking--hoping--it was just
from such high winds.  We'll see when the roof gets inspected.

Looking to the week ahead:


I'm not sure how much time there will be for sewing this week
but I'm still hopeful I will finish the blocks of my current project
and can finally post a picture of it all laid out.   I've been so
focused on using my time wisely that I haven't taken the time yet.
I'm happily working on the very last 6 log cabin blocks and then
it will be ready to go together.

I'm moving into my third week of fighting illness.
The coughing, especially at night, has been so disruptive,
and now I have a sinus infection.  A friend told me that sometimes
when we're healing from something major, everything else can just get
really strained.  I'm not sure if that's what's going on but I'm pretty
done with it, and would be very happy to just get back to the
healthy me...one of these days.
A good night's rest would be a great first step.
And a vacation wouldn't hurt--at least that one is a definite!

I hope the week brings lots of time for sewing,
or whatever your joy is!

05 October 2016

Joining In [Late] On A QAL

Cheryl from Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting has talked me into joining
in on the Sew Fresh Quilts Bear Paw QAL.

When I found this layer cake on the shop hop, I knew
I wanted to work with these colors on my next big project.
Especially the blues.
Traditional/reproduction fabrics always call to me.

I probably won't use these exact fabrics but, for now,
this is my inspiration...and I can't believe I might actually head
back to the quilt shop so soon after shop hop!
My plan is:  bear paws in a blue/brown print and the bear in brown.
I'd prefer to use all one fabric for the paws but we'll see what I
have on hand or what I can dig up on clearance racks...

I must be crazy thinking ahead when I have so many projects
open and when I'm in the middle of such a busy month
but I'm going to give this all my best shot and see if I can
at least get a start just as soon as I get two of my current
projects quilted and finished.

03 October 2016

Shop Hop Pictures and Haul

I had a great time and found everything I was after but,
as usual, I made it about half-way through the shop-hop
before I remembered to take pictures.

   I guess was so focused on finding the fabrics I needed to finish
my current projects that I forgot to even look at the
quilts hanging around in the shops.  If you've ever done one,
you know that shop hops can be very overwhelming--
especially if you squeeze them all in one day like we did.
It's a huge sensory-overload issue and by the end,
you're drained.  We've decided next year that we will have
to have our husbands meet us for a drink at the end
to unwind and decompress!

So, it may not be the most practical way to go about it
but I think from now on I need to limit my project
"searches" to maybe just two?  Or just backings?
Backing seems to be the simplest to find anyway.

I like the above quilt for it's great use of scraps.

We also realized that most of these shops are under an hour
away so it's not like I have to wait till the shop hop to hit
their clearance racks.

This one seemed a little bland to me but I like the pattern.
And muted colors are easier to match to a room so
there is certainly a place for this look.

More random quilts because
I finally remembered to take pictures, basically.
The previous quilt pattern (to the right) in brighter colors.

I know that I just alluded that I prefer more color in a quilt
but someday I do hope to make a black and ivory with
all the shades in between.

The style of this quilt was too contemporary for me but
the colors are great and look at the quilting!

It was designed and quilted by a man.
So pretty and uniform.

This is why, someday, I will have a huge long-arm
with all the computer attachments!
Not that I wouldn't also do free-hand...

Here is my official haul.
More reds for my current project, sashings and backings that should
finish off my other few projects and a few random fabrics for fun.
(yes, there are bolts up there--$5/yd!)
One thing I noticed when touring the shops is that I am back at
loving the deep, rich shades again, and, in general, more traditional
and reproduction.  Maybe it's time to do that Civil War quilt soon?
I also "won" a spool of thread and a bundle of random strips.

I thought I'd sworn off layer cakes but these fabrics all
seem to be fairly small in print and I should have no problems
cutting them up into smaller sizes.  This was on clearance,
of course, and there are also lots of matching by-the-yard 
fabrics on the clearance rack at this shop.  I did pick up
some but it's a local one so I may run back if I figure
out exactly what I'm doing with this soon.

I love a good drive through the Kansas Flint Hills and prairies
but my allergies do not!  So here I am again very under the weather.
Looks like I won't be getting much fall cleaning done but I'm
still hoping for a productive week in the sewing room...
and dreaming of our first hard freeze of winter!

02 October 2016

Monday Check-In

The flying geese top is done.
I picked up another black fabric on the shop-hop when I
realized that nothing would carry another border but black.

Once I got the first border on, however, I began to see that,
even though I had some fabrics that worked well enough for
a second border, nothing made it pop like that black.
Just the black.
So I stopped there.  Besides, I'd rather not
get it so big that it would be a struggle to quilt.

If I'd only known, I sure could've made that outer border
a tiny
 bit thicker but, really, it has become a
beautiful quilt so I really shouldn't regret anything.

(For reference, here it is before the border.)

And now I'm left with the question of what to put on the back.
I picked a plaid fabric up for a song when a local shop closed;
not quite the prettiest fabric but I couldn't resist the price
and I knew it would work for a fall quilt.

I think I've decided on doing something special with this quilt
so I'm not sure how I feel about putting on a so-so fabric
on the back so I'm asking for opinions here.
My husband thinks it looks just fine, as do I.
What do you think?  Honestly, does it look good?

It's late so my lighting isn't the best so I'm not sure it shows
but I do think this other black fabric as a binding would help.
I'd love to use what I have on hand but I don't want
to compromise either.  Thoughts?

Tomorrow sharing pics from the shop-hop!

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