Friday, June 13, 2014

Wooly Stuff

I've been kind of in a wool frenzy lately.  A few weeks ago, I pulled out this kit I've had for a few years.  I bought it at Huckleberry Patches in McCall, Idaho, back when we lived in Idaho.  I thought it would be a good car project, but realized it's too floppy for the car.  I had better results stitching it at a table where it could lay flat. I'm waiting for some pumpkin orange perle cotton to arrive, then I'll be able to finish the applique stitches.  I'll show a picture when it's finished!

This is another oldie!  A few of us bought these at Back Door Quilts in Indianapolis a few years ago during retreat.  Mine sat in the package until recently.  The draw to these kits were the fact that they were pre-cut AND had fusible on the back of each piece.  Well...it turns out, I didn't like it!  It's very thick and if you look closely, the black background wouldn't "stick" to the grey backing and now it's kind of puffy and loose.  Weird.  I've tried steaming the heck out of it to shrink it down, but so far no luck.  It's okay...it fits nicely on this table with a vase on it, and then you can't see the puffiness too much.  I've used fusible with other projects, but I prefer to cut most of the inside of the shape out before fusing, then the piece isn't overly stiff from all that fusible.  Click here for an example of cutting away the fusible, it's with a cotton project, but it's the same process.

Now....Here is a NEW project to share.  Primitive Gatherings is hosting a 10th Anniversary Stitch Along.  This one is a freebie and she'll be posting steps about every 2-3 weeks.  This is the center block and she hinted that it will be a small, medallion style wall hanging.  I've heard of some folks doing it in cotton and embroidery too!  This block will finish at 6"!  Those are some teeny tiny pieces!  I used wool from my stash and did the applique with DMC floss.  There is one boo-boo, but my daughter said I have to stop pointing out my boo-boos so I'm not going to tell you where it is.  LOL  Can't wait to see what's next!

I also joined Primitive Gatherings Block of the Week called Sunflower Gatherings.  If you haven't checked it out on her blog, you must go see.  She hasn't revealed the whole quilt yet, but there have been plenty of peeks and it's gorgeous!  I couldn't resist!  I'm waiting for an order of a few colors of perle cotton before I can finish the applique on these, but they are cut and ready to go!  More small pieces, as these blocks finish at 10".  This is week one... 

and week two....there is some overlap to the blocks as there is a setting block in between each applique block.  Aren't they gorgeous!? 

And as a bonus...this little freebie block is included each week!  There is an adorable little quilt to make with these at the end...you can see it here.  These need stitching as well...and they will finish at 2.5"!

See why I couldn't resist??!!  I'm so enjoying these wool projects right now...I hope I keep up the momentum!  :)

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle



Home Improvements

(Warning!  Lots of pics!  You can click on them to get a closer view!)

I really, really love this old house we live in.  I truly feel honored and blessed to live in a house that has been a part of history and often think of the people that have lived here before us in the last 100+ years.  But...as a "renter," I'm glad I don't have to pay for the up-keep.  There is ALWAYS something that needs attention on these houses...whether it's indoors or out.

The last couple of weeks (obviously, because winter has finally passed), we've had all kinds of activity going on....
First was some repair work to the outside brick...I'm not exactly sure what they were doing, I think checking for cracks in the mortar and patching cracks and holes.

Also on the agenda....tear down this garage.  We had to have all of our "stuff" out by April 30th, but of course it sat empty until the end of May.  We really didn't keep a lot in there, just yard stuff, tools, and bikes.  My car would fit (barely), but with no automatic door openers, it was kind of a pain to use.  We only used it when there was a hail storm.  LOL  The truck wouldn't fit at all.

The garage was not as bad as it looks here...I think they took nails and other hardware out and that left the paint all scrappy looking...but the roof was sagging and needed to be replaced.  I think the Housing Contractor figured it was cheaper to replace the garages than to keep repairing these older buildings.

Who wouldn't like this job?  He just started pulling on the roof with the front of his Bobcat....

...until it started to come down.  Only took a day to tear it down and load it in to two dumpsters...


Bye, bye garage....we will be getting a brand new one!  They are doing about 40 garages at the same time, so I don't expect it to be done for a couple of months.  I'll be sure to post a pic when it's finished!  :)

Now it's looked like this for the last week...except that today I think the foundation is completely gone.  They seemed to pause work on it while another crew did this:

New sidewalks/walkways!


and along the side of the house....

and the parking pad on that same side of house....(you can see the old parking pad/sidewalk in the picture of the brick repair above.  We didn't know they were doing this until we came home and it was gone!)
  
Here is the new, expanded parking area!

They also put all this in...we had no idea they were doing this area, so I didn't get "before" pics, but this was asphalt all the way to the garbage can storage area.

And this!!  This is the other side of the house...you can see a sidewalk leading up to the stairs...that was there, but to the left of it was grass!  They took out all that grass and replaced it with concrete!!  What???  We also didn't know about that part!  It has something to do with drainage as the concrete now has a slight slant to it...to keep the water from seeping into the foundation of the house.  Really?  After 100 years, it's a problem now?  LOL

But look!!  Pretty new walkways....

Now the landscaping crew needs to come by and repair/fill in the grass and it'll be done!  They are working on the neighbors sidewalks as I type this.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer!  I know we are...and I'm still amazed that just one month ago today we had 12" of new snow!  :)

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Checking in....

Whew....life has been crazy the last couple of weeks.  I haven't even turned my sewing machine on since I don't remember when.  :(  We've had lots of events and commitments at the base, along with some visitors that have stopped by during their travels across country.  All of that has kept me on my toes and off the computer!  

This last weekend, we went to California for our niece's high school graduation.  We've missed so many family events, so it was nice to make it to this one.  We surprised everyone with our own daughter, Megan, being there too!!


The graduation party turned in to a family reunion of sorts...as our son was also able to make it (he missed the graduation by just a couple hours, but it's a long way to travel from Florida!!)  We knew he was coming, but it was a surprise to everyone else...especially at 2am, when I told my sister there was someone at the door...and there he was!!  My two are the two all the way on the left in the picture below.  This is all my siblings, their spouses and kids.  What a rare occasion!  Everyone but my immediate family lives in California...and my kids haven't been back in 5-6 years....so to get them there at the same time was a miracle.  I was sooooo happy to have them both together though!!


Here is a picture of us....this makes my mommy heart smile.  With those two going in different directions and with us still moving around with the military, these moments are few and far between.  
♥♥ LOVE ♥♥
I love this pic of the two of them....kind of sums up their relationship...always teasing and picking on each other!

We were also able to squeeze in a few hours with some of hubby's family too.  This is hubby's sister and her family.  There is never enough time to see everyone, so we try to do the best we can with a short amount of time!

Another niece has a birthday next weekend, so I was able to give her gift in person!  This is the Goodnight Irene quilt from the sew along earlier this year....

I found the perfect backing at Hobby Lobby....Yay!

Things are not quieting down, but I'm going to try and catch up on blogs and remember to post a little more often!  I've got a few more things to share, so stay tuned!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back from Retreat!

I made it to retreat!  We ended up with 12" of snow over Mother's Day and into the next day.  The interstates were closed and the wind was blowing the snow into a blizzard!  The roads opened up Monday afternoon, but the wind was still blowing like crazy through the night on Monday.  Honestly, I didn't make the final decision to go until Tuesday morning.  LOL  But I woke up about 4:30am Tuesday morning, and just said, "Let's go!"  So, my husband helped me load the car and I was off!  As always, it was a fun filled time of fellowship, sewing and lots of laughs.  It was really wonderful to see these ladies and I'm already looking forward to next year!

I made each of the girls a little fabric box.  It's a freebie pattern found HERE, with a slight modification found HERE.  They were fun and easy to make and sewed up pretty quick!  

For the first day and a half of retreat, I worked on these babies....the points to my Points of Pride quilt.  I really wanted to make some progress on these because I get easily distracted while working on them at home.  LOL

I think I did pretty good getting 26 or so made....


I also assembled the center of my Narragansett Blues quilt top....still needs borders.  This went together fairly quickly since I had all the 4 patches sewn already....


I was able to get this mini assembled into rows...and yesterday after setting up my machine back in my room, I couldn't resist sewing the rows together.  :)  It's a Schnibbles quilt called X-Rated and is for the upcoming Schnibbles Parade in June.  It's made with brown charms from a swap I did with my previous guild.


 We also had a group activity and we all made a Jelly Roll quilt...you know the one...they are called Jelly Roll Race, or 1600 quilt, etc.  Everyone enjoyed making them and they all turned out great!  I didn't use a purchased jelly roll, but instead used blue strips from my stash.  I plan to add a border of some type and make it a little bigger.

Here are 6 of the eight ladies that participated and their quilt tops!  It was lots of fun! (you can click on the picture for a closer view of the variety of fabrics used!)

 It's always sad to see retreat come to an end...now it's back to reality.  LOL  But the best part...all the snow was melted by the time I got home!  Yay!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle




Sunday, May 11, 2014

Retreat time!

It's time for the annual Back Porch Friends quilting retreat in Indiana!  Yay...I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my sewing machine.  :)  The retreat is about 4 days, but with travel, etc, I'll be gone a week.

I plan to leave tomorrow morning, but depending how this spring storm moves, I may have to wait until Tuesday.  We have about 6" now and it's still coming down, but you can see from all the water on the roads, it's melting pretty quickly.  It really is pretty....I just hope it doesn't break the branches off of those pretty trees in our front yard.  They were just starting to get their leaves and looked so pretty and green.  

Here you can see a picture of our house yesterday and then today!  I want my green yard back!  LOL  I know it'll melt quickly and by the time I return from my retreat, it will all be gone!

I've not been keeping up with my favorite blogs the last couple weeks....I'm sorry and I'm missing reading what you're all up to.  Hopefully, life will settle down a little after retreat.

I'll be back soon with some retreat pictures....y'all have a good week!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle



Friday, May 02, 2014

Friends

Occasionally, I get lucky.  And I mean really lucky to find a group of friends that I really click with.  In Delaware, I belonged to a quilting guild and a smaller quilting group called The Cotton Club.  These ladies were some of the friendliest and welcoming people I've ever met.  I'm pretty positive it's also because they are quilters...quilters are the best!!  It was sure hard to leave that group and through Facebook, texting, and email, I've tried to keep up with their activities and accomplishments.



Here are a few of the Cotton Club ladies at one of Bonnie Hunter's workshops.  We had such a great time at those workshops and it was fun to see all the "Bonnie" quilts come together over the next few months.
See Lisa...in the khaki pants next to Bonnie?  Her and I really hit it off.  We have lots in common with our families, being a mom, and of course, our quilting hobby.

Lisa recently sent  me a little care package and in it she included this note:
The Guild and Cotton Club are doing a new block of the month and would I like to do it to along with them?  Well, how could I say no!  It would be a fun way to stay connected to the girls...so I got online and ordered my pattern!

The quilt is a new pattern from Pat Speth, called Color Me Happy.  It's not particularly challenging or difficult, but each month teaches a different technique to make a block with 5" squares...which is Pat's specialty.  While I was a member of the Guild, we exchanged 5" squares for over a year, so this is a good opportunity to use them up!

I made my first block last week...I'm going to try and stick to browns and reds.  We'll see how that goes!

Lisa and I have also started exchanging spool "kits."  We'll send each other the parts to make the spools all cut and ready to sew together as Leaders and Enders.  This is another quilt that's been on my bucket list and now it'll be even better as a friendship quilt!

Stay tuned for progress on these two NEW projects!

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle
Monday, April 28, 2014

Mini Swoon

This month for the "Schnibbles" parade, we didn't actually do a Schnibbles quilt!  We were challenged to make one of Thimble Blossoms mini quilts.  That was fine by me, since I love minis.  I own a couple of the mini patterns and had been looking forward to making another one.  You might remember the Mini Spools quilt I made back in January.  

I decided on the "Mini Swoon" pattern.  Each block is 8" and the quilt finishes at 19" x 19".  It's actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be!

I struggled with the corner stone fabrics of all things!  I now wish I used all one fabric and not gone "scrappy."   JoAnne of Patriotic Quilter had the brilliant idea to fussy cut flags for each little 1" square....I just didn't have the right size/color fabric with flags.  :(  Oh well...it is done and I'm happy with it!


This red star fabric is probably from the 90's and even though it was prewashed, it bled just a tiny bit when I washed the finished quilt.  I even had a color catcher in there with it!

It really doesn't show up in these pictures...but the background fabric is just a little pink-ish around some of the edges of the star... 

After seeing these pics, I'm realizing that it's light enough that no one will likely ever notice. :) 

Be sure to check out the Parade of quilts at Pink Pincusion and A Quilting Life.

Happy Quilting!
~Michelle