Monday, March 31, 2014

Center of the Center

This is the center of the center block.  Yes you read right.  Remember in my last post about the center block for the Civil War Tribute quilt, and the fact that this center was going to be 36" X 36"?  Well this is just the beginning of the center, half to be exact.  This part is 18" square.  I worked on it Friday afternoon and Sunday evening after coming home from a trade show.  Such a nice way to relax after working all weekend!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bloggers' Block-a-palooza Quilt Along

Back in January 2011, there was a Blogger's Quilt Along called "Block-a-plooza".  It featured 16 bloggers, who designed a block.  Each week one of the 16 bloggers would post their block and in the end you ended up with sixteen 12" blocks and then they provided three different quilt top settings to finish the Quilt Along.  The host of this quilt along was Quilt Dad, and you can find the original post by clicking Block-a-palooza and it will take you to the page listing all of the sixteen bloggers and the links to the blocks on their respective blogs.  Some of the links are still working with the patterns to each block, and some are not in existence.  If you really want any of the patterns that are missing and you are unable to get them, let me know, and I will email them to you.

I managed to keep up each week and made all of the sixteen blocks.  The fabric that was used is Moda's Sunkissed.  I believe this is my all time favorite fabric line of Moda.  This is the second quilt I have made using this line.  Remember I also used it in making the Little Birdie Stitches quilt.  You can read about this quilt here.  And I have another quilt that I have on my to do list using this line using a pattern called postage stamp.  Probably more about this one later in the month of April.

This is a collage of the blocks as I didn't want to take up gobs of space.  You get the idea of what the blocks are all about that are going into this quilt.

I chose the option of the quilt top lay out that has a large (24" X 54") appliquéd center.  This will make the overall quilt size about 60" X 90".  Which is a rather large quilt, but I am tired of small twin sized quilts, when I have queen and king sized beds in my home.  

Here is the appliquéd center that I worked on this afternoon and evening.  Right now the pieces are just bonded and pinned onto the center white fabric.  I will have to machine blanket stitch the pieced down permanently sometime next week.  Then I will have the task of cutting out the sashing, and borders and put it all together into the quilt top.

It's kinda whimsical to me, and I really like the colors.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Little Wren

I like Wrens.  Mostly because that is how my name is pronounced, although that is not how it is spelled.

That is why I call my blog Wren's Nest, and have a small collection of little birds all around my sewing room and kitchen.  I say little birds, because true wrens are boring little brown birds.  So, and little bird that even comes close to a wren bird can be added to my collection.

I was on a long arduous trip with hubby, doing a trade show, in a very small town (that if you blinked you might miss it), and we came across this little treasure in the town's independent grocery store.  Go figure!  This is the latest one to be added to my collection, and so far I think she is my favorite.  She has on pink (my favorite color), she is shy (I am not shy, but an introvert), and she has such a cute look on her face, almost innocent looking.

Anyway, here is my latest Wren:


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lotion Bars

This idea of making lotion bars, started with seeing it on a blog somewhere a long time ago.  I even purchased the ingredients, a double broiler (purchased three states away and hand carried it home with me on the plane), and have had this task on my to do list for about two years.  It has sat on my shelf waiting for me to get the courage to actually make it, because I thought it would be a hard task to accomplish.  Boy, was that an understatement.

First, I put all the ingredients in the double broiler and proceeded to melt all of it until it was in complete liquid form.

Then I poured into the molds.  I only used three of this mold, as I had used up most of the product in the mini cupcake pan and the regular cupcake pan.  This way I had smaller disks of the lotion bars for gifts and give aways.

I was trying different sizes, and different ways of how the product would set up in the different molds.  I will not be using the paper cupcake holders next time, as too much of the product comes off on the paper and is wasted.  After the liquid hardens, the product just pops out of the molds, easy peasy.  

So then came the next dilemma, how to wrap the product for distribution.  Ahh, wax paper did the trick, with some nice little labels listing the product information.  By the way, I purchased all of the product used in the lotion bars at Bramble Berry, Soap Making Supplies.  They sell much more than soap making supplies and everything they sell is 100% natural, including the process to produce items like their shea butter.  The link to their site can be found here, and they also have a blog that gives instructions, videos, and recipes to make things like these lotion bars.

My lotion bars only contain beeswax, shea butter, avocado oil, and cherry blossom fragrance (which they provided as a free sample with my order).  The harden bar, when rubbed on the skin will soften enough from body heat, and then you just rub it in like a normal hand lotion.  Just not as messy.

The final dilemma came after one would open the bar, how to store the bar for later and ongoing use? My first thought would be just a plain old ziploc sandwich bag, or just keep rewrapping it in the wax paper, but that was not acceptable to me.  I needed to make a pretty bag to hold it in, but did not want to use fabric as it would smear and come through the fabric, making a mess.  

 I had some PUL fabric left over from a swim bag I made, and some clear plastic table cover material I had left over from this post bag, and thought it would make a pretty bag.  I also wanted to have easy in and out access, so I used a pattern called a snap bag.  This is where the bag snaps open and closed using thin metal bars at the top of the bag (actually, most snap bag makers use metal measuring tape cut up to size).  This is what the outcome is for my lotion bars:

My husband took the mini sized ones to work to give out to the girls at the front desk area, and they all really liked them, and one even ordered one of the larger round disks for her husband.  Another one wants to buy a bar, but fragrance free.  Which was going to be my next batch anyway, so I will be selling another bar next week.  I know that might sound like a small deal to those of you who sell big time in homemade items, but this was just something I wanted to do for myself and already I have sold one and have an order! This is big for me.   Yipee!



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

UFO BOM Blocks

I finally finished one (yes just one) sack of scraps in getting them cut up into the three sizes for some "Scrap Therapy" patterns.  See my prior post about this process of scrap quilting.

Now, late this afternoon and this evening, I cut out and made the next set of blocks in the two UFO BOM.

First up is the third block of Country Gatherings BOM that I just recently started.

Next is the tenth month for the BOM "A Civil War Tribute". And, once again, the construction of the block is done using the technique of partial seams. UGH! For this tenth month it requires a 18" and a 12" block. This is the 18" block, i will have to finish the 12" block tomorrow.

This is the last of monthly blocks, the next "block" is a 36" X 36" center medallion star. That's going to take some time and patience to get done.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scrap Therapy

I am not sure where I found out about this book, but I knew I had to get me a copy.  It is called "Cut the Scraps" by Joan Ford.

This is one of many bags of scraps that I have collected over the years, and I have always said to myself i would get something done with them, organize them, or sort them, or, or, or....

Scrap Therapy is a company that Joan Ford developed out of necessity herself, much like mine. She teaches her techniques at guilds, LQS, and national venues. She outlines the scrap therapy technique in seven steps, and gives you detailed instructions with nice pictures, and hint boxes here and there through out the book. Then on top of the instructions, she has 20 patterns using scraps.

Collecting scraps over the years becomes a heavy yoke of guilt. Frugality causes me to hoard them, because I know I could do something with them eventually. But scrap quilting is a little daunting, even to the most experienced quilters, and there are all kinds of opinions out in the quilt world about size of pieces to keep and what sizes to cut the pieces into. Because of that I just kept ignoring my scraps, throwing them into bag after bag. In her book, she cuts pieces into three different sizes, and explains the math behind the choice of these three sizes. All of the patterns in her books (she has more Scrap Therapy books available) use these three sizes. I picked up my sorting scrap baskets at the dollar store, and have started the process of organizing my scrap madness. I can already feel the yoke of guilt lifting!!!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rescue Me Giveaway

Lily Pad Quilting is having a giveaway of fabric and a link up party of rescued pets.  A common thread in the Quilt Blog Land is most of us have pets that somehow entangle themselves in our quilting lives.  This post is dedicated to my rescued pets and the story behind each one.

Here is my rescue pets, each of these came from my son's ex-girlfriends that needed to move on in their lives and couldn't continue to care for the animals.  It just happened to be a poor choices and lucky we were able to step up and take over.

First came our now dog Sierra:

Next came a black cat that ran off after we moved, but this is one of her kittens that is now a very sassy fat cat.  My husband is notorious for naming our animals goofy names, and her's is no exception, Chunky Tuna:

She doesn't like to have her picture taken!

And finally, another awesome cat.  He is a floppy moppsy kind of cat.  Loves to be in a lap, held, walked around with, ride in a car....  Nothing much bothers him, even when big dogs come and visit, he just walks around them and lets them smell him over and goes off to eat or get something to eat.  He is the kind of cat everyone wants, as he is not aloof at all!!  His name is Junior Jones the III.  Again my husband's doing of naming the animals.  He insists on being where ever you happen to be, and could care less if he is impeding on what you are trying to get done.

Our last pet was not rescued, but was given to us free because the owner did not have the pure breed paperwork to go with the puppies.  This is Rufus and he is a Sheltie.

Rufus and Sierra are inseparable so it is unusually to get a picture of them apart.  This picture is more like what you will find them throughout the day.

This has been fun, so if you have a rescue pet, click on the link above or below rescue me and it will take you to the linky party about rescuer pets and a chance to win some fabric!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Country Gatherings Block #2

I continue to do Spring work outside, as we have had such good weather.  The rain days in between the sunny days, makes the ground easier to work.  I spent another whole day outside today, and I am exhausted, but I did get another block done in the Country Gatherings BOM!

Here is block two:


Monday, March 17, 2014

FQS Mystery Designer BOM Block 10

Remember, at the last post I did regarding this BOM, wondering what the next three blocks will be to finish out the program?  

Well, the 10th block came in the mail a couple of days ago, and it looks like the last three blocks are going to be a "flower-like" pattern.

Of course, Fat Quarter Shop always does such a nice job on their blocks, and I have never been disappointed in any pattern block they have sent, and this is not exception.

It should be noted that the common thread through out each block is the center square 2 1/2" block of navy with white polkadot.

This is block 10.  If you want to look at all the past blocks, just click on the label "Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Designer BOM 2013" at the bottom of this post.

If you have enjoyed following me on this BOM from the  Fat Quarter Shop and think you might want to join up for the new Mystery Designer BOM 2014, you can get the details here.  I will not be participating this year, as I do not care for the colors or the fabric line being used for 2014.  I have plenty of older and new BOM's that I can work on this coming year without buying a new one.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Progress and a new UFO BOM

I had another nice day to work outside and tackle another project.  This is our brick planter, built up against the front of our house and is what people see when they walk up to our front door. This past year, it had become the cat's potty box, and the soil had turned into a fine powder. So, I dug out all the yucky dirt, filled it with new soil, re-planted my miniature roses and then put down a thick layer of bark dust. Now I am not embarrassed when someone comes to my front door.

Next, the baby chicks are now three weeks old. Today, we opened up their area where we are brooding them as they needed more room.

I promised a couple of posts ago, that I was going to pick a new UFO BOM to work on and it would be a brighter one.  Don't be deceived by the fabrics shown on the cover of this BOM pattern because the fabrics are small prints from the 30's and 40's.

This BOM is called Country Gatherings, and is in a booklet form, rather than receiving a pattern with each block each month.  The BOM was featured through Homestead Hearth back in 2007.  Homestead Hearth has about 20 to 30 BOM's going at any given time.  Click here to see the 40 plus programs they have going on right now.   What is especially nice about the BOM, is that it has six different finishing directions you can do with the blocks to complete the quilt.  I'll share more when I get to the end of completing the blocks.

Here is block one.  There was a glitch with this first block because Homestead Hearth wanted to get the first month's block kits cut out before receiving the booklet, so they did the pattern themselves and the measurements don't come out to the pattern in the booklet.   So, I was frustrated and packed up the block and when the booklet came, I packed it too and all the other blocks that came each month.  So, when I pulled it out again tonight, I redid the block following the booklet pattern, using some of my own stash to complete the block.  I had already cut the fabric based on the erroneous pattern, so I had to work in some of my own fabric.  I really like how it turned out, and am looking forward to completing the future blocks.  Please note that I have done about 4 BOM's with Homestead Hearth, and they have always done a great job.  This was a small glitch that I addressed  with no problems.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Another UFO BOM Done

To begin with, I wanted to show that I got my rose bed done as I posted about it yesterday. Just a couple of words. I AM VERY SORE, but it is a great satisification to have it done and looking so nice!

As, promised, I also finished this top that I also posted about yesterday.  I did get the borders sewn on last night, and I was able to get a pretty good picture outside this afternoon.

This is a close up of the border fabric.  Really liking the polk a dot that has all the colors of the quilt.

Close up of some of the embroidered squares...

This is the fabric I am using for the binding and the backing.  The orange sherbert check is going to
be the binding.  and the other swirls fabric will be the backing.

I am stock piling of the these UFO Tops so I can do them on the long arm rental machine after I take my class next month.  I think that is why I usually did not complete the blocks into tops, because I didn't have a good way of quilting them.  I have done four large quilts on my home sewing machine, but it took several days to get each one done, and for the longest time, especially while I was working outside of the home, I did not have that luxury of time.  So, hopefully, I can get caught up on all my tops and have an avenue to get them all quilted!!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Status Update

Just stopping in to say I am still here, just working on other things besides quilting and sewing.  The first project I am working on is gardening.  It is turning out so nice this Spring here in the Pacific Northwest.  Most of the time Spring brings weeks of rain, and it makes it difficult to get out and do the gardening I want to get done.  This week, we have gotten a break in the rain, so I have been busy on my first project, which is to dig out the grass that totally invaded my front garden bed.  If you know anything about roses, grass is bad for them, very bad.  My roses are heirloom roses from original root stock, not grafted stock.  So, I really needed to get the grass out of the bed.  If you look close you can see where the better grass is and where it has creeped into my curved rose bed.

This is my first section I got done last week for a short period of no rain, about 2 hours one morning.

My biggest issue became after I started digging up the grass, was where to put it, this little section filled up our yard debris container and then I would need to wait another week to fill it up again after collection.  So, I have another bed, that I will have to work on at a later date, so I filled up a garden cart, and hauled it over to this bed and unloaded it there, and hopefully hubby will rent a bucket tractor and haul it all off at once. (Update, hubby will be getting a tractor to haul off all the dirt!).

Today was just beautiful, and much progress was made, and plowing ahead I was able to complete this rose bed.   I am sore and will probably not be able to move tomorrow, but I am hoping to transplant my roses in the holding bed, and get the bark spread tomorrow, because rain is expected Friday!

And, this is not all that I have taking up my time,  I am brooding 24 Rhode Island Red baby chicks!  I got a mixed run this year, as I want to keep a rooster and about 6-8 hens.  The rest will go into the freezer in about 6 weeks.  

Finally, last night I did sort through some of my UFO BOM's and decided on one to work on, Birdie Stitches by Little Miss Shabby using Moda's Sunkissed line of 2011.  I did the embroidery blocks back in 2011 to 2012, and then put it aside and did not finish putting it together to complete the top.  Last night I did get the sashing cut out and pieced all the blocks together.  I have a border to add (hopefully tonight) and I will have another UFO BOM to cross off my list.

This is just a peek, I will have better pictures to post tomorrow if I can get to the borders tonight.  And, with it suppose to be sunny tomorrow I can get a full picture outside!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Land of Lincoln Top is Done

Yes sireee, this top is now done, and another BOM can be crossed off my list.  And, yes, it is getting put on top of the pile of other completed tops that are in need of quilting.  But, guess what?  I am finally going to get to quilt all of my tops using a long arm machine.  Am I getting a long arm machine?  Noooo.  But....

We are fortunate enough to have a local quilt shop (about 30 miles away from my house), that has 6 long arm machines in the basement of their store that they rent by the half day or full day.  First, thought, I have to take a day long class to learn how to use their machines and how to do the different types of long arm quilting.  I am so excited, as I can finally finish up all my tops and have the quilts done to lay on my beds and give away to individuals.

The tops I have not quilted on my home machine are all double bed sized or bigger, and it just doesn't work well doing them on my machine.  I can do baby quilts, wall hangings, and table runners, but the big bed quilts are another matter that need to be done on a long arm machine.  If I can get proficient enough on the long arm machine, I am hoping I can get two quilts done in a day.

I wish I could have taken a better picture out side so you could get a full view, but here in the Northwest, it is pouring rain.  But with this picture, you get an idea of what it turned out to look like completed.  The finished quilt measures 60" X 60", and I will probably use it as a bed runner on top of another civil war quilt.  

Thanks for following me on the process of finishing another UFO BOM!!!!

I will be starting another one next week as soon as I can decide which one I would like to do.  I am thinking one along the romantic / cottage type BOM just to change up what you will be looking at when I post progress.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Getting Things Done

During the course of doing this blog, Facebook, ETSY,  Pinterest, and Threadbias, I am constantly getting asked, "How do you get all these things done?"  Well, I thought I would share the process I have in getting the things done I have and want to get done.

I use a 9 3/4" X 7 1/2" Composition notebook (I usually get 10 of them during the beginning of school when they have school supplies on sale, as I can get them for .50 a piece).  I take a few minutes at the end of each week to outline the up and coming week.  Every week outline is the same format, so that I know where all the "to do's" week after week.

On the left hand margin is each weekday with the date is listed with 4 lines under each day.  There is a reasoning behind this, as I write down at least three things I need to accomplish each day.  This includes laundry, ironing, cleaning, gardening, appointments, etc.  This way, the day doesn't get away from me, and I can look back and see what it is I do all day.  

The right hand side is the major areas of my life that I want to accomplish, either that week or as an ongoing basis.  This keeps me focused on big projects and the progress I am making on each one.  Yes, there is redundancy in writing down the big projects, as they get written down again each week until I have accomplished it!

Across the top of the page is four areas I keep track of daily.  Starting from the left to the right is, record of my weight (I am working on losing 50 to 75 lbs), and this keeps me on track of recording and accountability of my life style of changing my eating habits.  Next is the title "Bible Study" with the days of the week initial listed.  This way, I "x" out each day I remember to do the Study of the Word.  This keeps me obedient to my Lord and holds me accountable to myself in accomplishing this goal I have desired to do for many years.  Next is the title of "Exercise" and the same listing of each day below.  I fail miserably with this one, but I keep it there, as I know I need to do this every day, even if for a few minutes.  This is a nagging listing I keep, so that maybe one day I will cave and start up a exercise program (yeah, right!).  And lastly, is a heading of "Gardening" and the days listed below the title.  We have a half acre, with chickens, raised bed food garden beds, fruit bushes and trees, large lawns, and many flower beds.  With all of the "outside work" that needs to be done, I feel I have to spend 2-4 hours a day year round in order to keep up with all that is going on in the gardening area of my place.d

This is a completed week that shows all that has been filled in each area of what I want to get accomplished.  You will see that I check off each thing I have listed and get done, which gives me a great sense of accomplishment.  If you notice, down the middle, written sideways, is the menu of each day of the week.  This also keeps me on track with meal preparation, grocery shopping, and sticking to the new way of eating for losing weight.  

I also keep a listing, housed behind each week page that moves forward after each week is over, of all the Major Projects that I want to get done eventually.  Most of these projects cannot be done in one day, or sometimes in one week, but this way, I can pick one off the list and work on it throughout the week while I am getting the rest of the weekly To Do's .

My day starts out with my Bible Study, then spend about an hour on the computer with either personal of business work, then a couple of hours outside (unless it is pouring rain), then a couple of hours doing housework (laundry, ironing, cleaning, baking, etc), and then I try to work on a major project until dinner preparation, then dinner and time with hubby, then the rest of the evening I spend in my sewing room working on the many projects I have ongoing.  I have a separate list of my sewing projects and my progress on each of them.  Finally at night in bed, I work on my iPad, writing new posts, posting to Pinterest, loading finished projects in Threadbias, and posting listings on my ETSY site.  Sometimes, I just get to read!

So there you have it.  This is how I manage to get all the things accomplished that I write and post about.  I will add, that the only way I got to this point of accomplishing so much everyday, is to shut off the television.  It is a real time stealer!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Civil War Tribute Month 9

I am slowly plodding through this BOM.  It is one of the most difficult BOM's that I have ever had the privilege of working on.   This time was not exception, as there were "Y" seams all over the place on this block.  The most obvious "Y" seam is sewing the triangles around the center square piece and the other "Y" seam is one of the two triangles between two of the three squares in each corner.   And, in order for the seam to come together correctly, I had to do each set simultaneously on each end of the seam.  

Fortunately, I only had to make two of these blocks for Month 9, one 18" and one 12".  

This is the 18" inch block:

This is the 12" block:

This is the two of them together, with the 12" block laying on top of the 18" block.

For the record, anyone wanting to attempt to do this BOM, be aware that the patterns are difficult, requiring advanced abilities in piecing and sewing skills.  It should also be noted that the directions are difficult to follow, even for a seasoned quilter and seamstress as I am.  There are even a few mistakes, so it is very important to read through the pattern before cutting the fabric, paying close attention to the placement of the fabric.  

If anyone is working on this and has questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me for help.\\\