Monday, November 19, 2018

Quilted Notebook Cover

Feeling the need to do a little practice quilting,  I decided to make a quilted notebook cover.  I have made a lot of these that fit composition books - because it is easy to find a refill for it when you fill up the notebook.
I always quilt the covers as practice for free motion quilting (FMQ.)  The quilting may not be perfect but it is is fun to do and helps with my skill in FMQ.   There are no process photos because I get involved and forget to take them.

For the front, I used a block that was in my "whatever" pile.  That is the pile of blocks that I have pieced but had no real plan to make something specific.

The quilting is random and lively- but most important to me - it is tactile.  I love a cover that you feel with your fingertips.
For the back I used a larger chunk of fabric and quilted a large flower on it.
It is a reasonably fast bit to quilt which is why I did that for the back.
Inside the front there is a pocket for a pen or whatever - maybe a dollar or two to buy a snack.
You can also see my label there. I forgot to sew it under the edge of the pocket so I improvised.  It actually works nicely there.

Now,  I need to be starting the food for the Thanksgiving festivities!  Happy holiday.


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Making the Coin Quilt - correcting an error

The Coin Quilt is still in progress - although it is going very slowly.  Last weekend, I sewed what I thought was the final side border.  Then I realized, when I sat down with it again, that I had sewn a gray border on the right side. The plan had been to put a black border on it so the black would connect all around the quilt. **note: I have yet to put the top and bottom borders on it due to this oops.
So my trusty little seam ripper and I spent a bit of quilty, quality time together. The gray border was removed from the right side. After a week of doing various other things (reading, studying Spanish, ukulele practice and planning for Thanksgiving) I finally put the black border on that side.
This is a poor photo with the pieces just laid over my bed, but you can see the black at the bottom. That is the replacement piece.  I folded up the back edge (top of photo) so that you can sort of see the black there.

My next job on this is to trim the three sections to the same length exactly so that I can add the top and bottom black borders. This will probably not happen until after Thanksgiving - just so you know.

I took the mockup photo from before and edited it so that you can have an idea what it will look like once the pieces are joined.
The center section of the quilt has solid gray borders on either side. Those will be joined to the outside sections with thin black strips.  Before that, I will first be quilting each long section.  This quilt will completely cover my queen-size bed with a overhang on each side and at the foot.

I hope you will pop over to The Frog Quilter blog and see what amazing work she has done on the Wonky Stars top.  It is delightful to see what she has done with my simple top. Her quilting really adds greatly to the total quilt.

This coming week I will be busy in the kitchen.  For our family dinner, I am making an apple pie, possibly a cake, and cranberry relish. I will also be helping Mom with her contribution of dressing. I will make the cornbread and then help her with assembly and getting it in and out of the oven.  I may use the cooking time to borrow her living room hardwood floor to lay out and trim the quilt sections.  But then again, we may just visit and enjoy each other's company. 

If you don't hear from me between now and then, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.



Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Coins Have Been Flying

With the finish of the Wonky Stars quilt top - and getting it mailed off, I took a couple of days away from the sewing machine.  Then bright and early this morning - not that early to be honest-  I started finishing the last section of the Coins Quilt.

I had the middle section handy to use as a guide for length.  After sewing four columns, I took a photo. 
The four newly sewn columns are on the right. The four columns on the left are the center section that was already sewn.

But my mojo was back in force, so I decided to keep going. Not long after lunch, I had the full section completed.
It is a total of six columns.  Close to the end, I realized that I would run out of the gray fabric before I finished.  So I substituted some of the green as they are both background fabrics for the coins. I won't even point out where it happened.  I did make sure there was enough gray for the edge strip so that it matches the other side.
These sections will have a thin black border added to each end (maybe 2 inches wide at each end.)  This is going to be a big old quilt.  After adding the borders, I will back and quilt each  section separately and them join them with black strips that will serve to join the the black borders visually. I am also thinking of using black for the binding - unless I find a piece of a nice black/white print that I can use for it.  I would want that to be more black than white to mimic the joining strips.

Of course, I will also be doing other projects in between quilting sessions - but they may be "gift sewing" that I won't be able to share until after they are given.
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Wonky Stars Top

The Wonky Stars quilt top is completed. A nice Friday evening sewing session combined with a Saturday morning sewing session allowed me to complete the top.

As this top is being sent to FrogQuilter for her Quilty Hugs donations.  I love that this quilt will be given to someone who needs a hug during a trying time.  I hope the stars will make that person feel that life is a bit brighter. 
Next, I should be getting back to the Coins Quilt - should be--but only time will tell what I pick up next.  I have no deadlines or burning desires to rush.  I shall just enjoy whatever I do.  I have decided to take this advice from Kenneth Branagh
Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more,
and don't get so worked up about things. Kenneth Branagh
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Dark Stars -and more

Most of the dark stars for the wonky stars quilt are made.  I think there may be two more to finish.  But I have a nice stack of them.
I have some serious love for these on the darker fabric.  I do wish I had made the entire quilt with this. But of course, I didn't have enough of this fabric to do it with.

The entire center section is now joined into one big chunk of quilt.  It is rather rumpled in the photo - and for that I am sorry.
My hope it that this will make a very nice comfort quilt for someone who needs a bit of brightness in life.
Next up after sewing the final two star blocks is assembling the side rows and then the top and bottom rows to finish the top.   Depending on what the weekend holds, I may be able to finish it before Monday.


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Wonky Stars - Progress

Yes, serious progress has been made on the Wonky Stars quilt.  The largest part, the inner light brown section is getting joined together.

As you can see in the photo below, half of it is joined and the other half is laid out ready for joining. 
As you can see, I opted to sew it together in sections. The top section was sewn as two halves and then joined.  I will do the same with the bottom half as that is the easiest way to do it since there are two 12 1/2 inch squares being joined along with the 6 1/2 inch squares.  The dark squares in the top right and bottom left corners are the color of the background for the outer border of stars.  Perhaps when it is finished, I will get back to the other quilt(s) I have in progress.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A New Layout

Very slowly there is progress being made on the Wonky Star quilt top that I have been working on.  For fear of running out of the brown background fabric, I decided to change the layout again. Here is the new design.
I have chosen a darker fabric for the outer band of stars.  I will have twelve of the small stars with the lighter brown background. There will be sixteen of the stars with the darker background.  And of course the four giant stars. If the one who quilts it sees fit, the blank squares will be a perfect place to draw stars with the quilting. 

So far, I have ten of the stars with the lighter background completed, 8 of the darker ones and all four of the giant stars are completed.

Jumping back into working on this has been fun. I think I need to spend a bit more time at the sewing machine.  But then there is time needed for practicing both Spanish and ukulele.  May I please have a few weeks of 28 hour days???


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Easy as Pie!

I have a family member who loves pie more than cake for his birthday.  (I don't think he reads my blog, but I am posting this later so he won't see it beforehand.)  So, for this birthday, I made an apple pie. The filling is from scratch and used several Granny Smith apples.   The recipe says "tart apples" and I know the Granny Smith apples are nicely tart. They also hold up well to baking.
Just look!
And notice my handwoven placemat in the background.
It browned almost perfectly.  I confess to using packaged pie crust dough.  It was a dreary day and I just wasn't feeling inspired to make crust. I didn't use the egg wash, but I did sprinkle some sugar on top anyway. I used some forms that are designed as bread molds (for baking shaped loaves of bread) to cut out the shapes which I then offset to vent the pie AND to make it look a little fancier.
The recipe is from Taste of Home and you can find it here.
I used my good Ceylon Cinnamon in this, as it is a sweeter cinnamon.  The bottom crust was blind-baked so that it will be firm and hopefully flaky.  This is a trick I learned in a baking class I watched.

I almost hope there is ice cream to go with it.  Ha ha..but I know I don't need the extra sugar. The reason I made the pie a day early is that some of the reviews said it firmed up better after sitting overnight.  And seriously, if it didn't work out, I could go buy a nice frozen pie.  I want this to slice neatly, so it will sit overnight.  (Please God, help me to avoid "just a taste.")

What do you prefer for your birthday: Cake, Pie, or maybe something else?


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Where Have I Been?

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am studying Spanish.  I am also learning to play the ukulele.  I have posted a song or two that I played and sang with the ukulele.  So today I am going to tell you about my Spanish studies.

In July, when I returned from my last trip to Mexico one of the kind ladies in my exercise class asked if I ever planned to go to Mexico again.  I told her, "Yes, I love it there and want to live there someday."  She said, "I have studied Spanish a lot but have lost my conversational skills from lack of practice.  Would you like to meet a couple of times a week and study with me?"  She told me that it would help her also.  I quickly agreed.  We meet twice a week in the hour before our exercise class. We are building vocabulary and forming sentences to describe random pictures that she has cut from magazines and laminated. This is surprisingly effective.
I also discovered an online program called Duolingo.  In my opinion, it is a great way to learn a language.  The amazing part is that it is FREE unless you choose to pay. This program uses several methods to prompt learning.  My favorite part is that you listen and type what is spoken AND you listen and repeat - and it marks your spoken word as either pass or fail.  There are many other variations that you do also.  The repetition and variations really help with the learning and retention.  I took a few elementary education classes in college. So I know that this is effective teaching. 

Rewards are also a great motivator to learning.  Here are a couple of screen shots that show my progress.
I have reached Crown Level 55 - which amazes me. I have no idea how high the crown levels go but 55 sounds good to me.
I have also reached Level 11 in the Spanish course with 3747 experience points.  Both classes and "extracurricular activities" count for experience points. There are stories you can listen to in Spanish that have some interactive learning in them.  There is also a Flash Card app called TinyCards -it plays right on my computer.  Each of those earn experience points. Plus, the support the learning platform.

What about real life application?  I had a great experience Monday.  Another lady in my exercise class is working with the local Christmas ClearingHouse.  She said that I could come and help translate. I reminded her that my skills are not great. She said, "You know more Spanish than most of the people that will be working with us." So I went.
I was surprised and happy to find that I was able to help a lot more than I expected.  I was able to ask pertinent questions of the Spanish speaking clients and relay the proper answers.  I discovered that knowing numbers helped a lot.  I also used a word that I learned in our live Spanish class. When asked what toy a particular child would want, one lady said "Ella gustan un oso."  My face probably looked strange at that point. She said "She likes a bear."  I did the classic mime of a bear with a questioning look on my face.  She grinned.  I pulled out my phone and using the Google Translate app (which I highly recommend) looked up "teddy bear."  I said "Oso de peluche?"  She smiled and said "Sí"   I told the interviewer and she wrote it down.  Honestly, when I learned "bear" my thought was "I will never use this word."  Ha! Now I know not to discredit the process of learning words that seem useless to me.

So, even though I am not posting frequently, I am being active and learning new skills. If you happen to be taking a Duolingo class - or decide to try it after reading about my experiences with it - please add me as a friend.  My Duolingo name is GeneBlackAL (just like it shows in those screenshots.)  For the record, they have classes for many other languages also.  The classes range from Chinese, Japanese to Russian, Ukranian and to Navajo and even Klingon!  Plus, learning a language really keeps your brain active which is said to stave off some of the effects of aging.


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Just a little progress

I made three more of the small stars for my wonky stars quilt top.  This picture is far from being a good photo, but it will do.  I also included the two large stars that I had not shown yet.


The larger blocks will be trimmed down to fit with the smaller blocks. It will not affect the large star but there will be less of the background fabric around them.
At this point, I have nine of the thirty-two small stars completed.  So twenty-three more to go. I am afraid I will run out of the background fabric before I get all of the background squares cut. I am considering using random squares of color/design in the outer edges to give it a bit of a twist.  My other alternative is to use a similar brown that is different enough to be noticeable.
The other alternative is to replace the squares in the outer rows/columns (except the large star parts) with borders in a different color.
I have also changed the layout to make sewing it together a bit easier. I can also move the top left and bottom right large stars in diagonally to make the outer edges all border fabrics.


Your thoughts?

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

More Wonky Stars

I just realized that I never posted the second two large stars.  Oops, I don't have a picture of those two yet, so we will save those for another day. 

Meanwhile, I have six of the smaller stars that measure roughly 6 1/2" square.  Here is a photo of them placed haphazardly on my sewing table.
Six smaller blocks - and the "parts dept." in the background.

Yes, there they are - strings and all. Ha ha.  I don't worry about cleaning them up and getting them ironed really neatly until later in the process.

I did sit down and figure out a layout in Electric Quilt.  I had to choose a star block and then replicate one fourth of it to make the bigger star blocks fit in the grid.
Stand-in stars used in the layout.  Mine will be wonky and scrappy. 
Now I have twenty-six more small star blocks to make for this quilt top.  However, tomorrow is the anniversary of the day I came into this world, so I am taking the rest of today and tomorrow off. The only "have to do" is my daily Spanish lesson.

Oh, yes, I baked my cake this morning. It isn't much to look at, but it smells like heaven. I made a peanut butter sheet cake and poured a boiled peanut butter icing over it in the pan.  Of course, I had to sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on it too.  Ha ha. Fortunately it will be shared with lots of family so I won't wreck my blood sugar readings too badly.

Have  a great weekend, I declare it a holiday! Que tengas un buen fin de semana.





Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Wonky Stars - Uh Mine are Wonkier

Yes, I can even mess up a wonky star!  Ha ha.  I watched a tutorial on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday night I decided to try it. Of course I upsized it to make things go faster.  But my mind changed the method without my permission.  (Or is it that my memory is faulty?)  Regardless, my first two stars are different than what A Left-Handed Quilter showed.  Her star was based on the tutorial by Jenny of Missouri Star Quilts.

Oh well, I will make two more that hopefully will be somewhat like these two and then switch to smaller stars and the correct method -or not depending on my ability to follow directions on a given day.

You may notice that they are not even like each other.  The second one is closer to Jenny Doan's version. 
At this point my plan is to make the other two similar to these, then make smaller ones to alternate with solid background blocks.  The four will be "super novas" in my galaxy quilt. 
Seriously, they are wonky stars so can you really mess them up if your final block is some type of star?


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Blogger Tip

My last post caused a friend, Rhonda, to ask "how do you add the words to your photos?"  (I am sure she asked more elegantly than that, but you get the gist.)

So let me show you how to do it. I just told Rhonda and she figured it out.  But some folks are far more visual learners.

Test Photo
So once you add the photo - click on it once. You will see a pop-up that looks like this:

You can change the size of the photo here but what we are looking for is the "Add Caption" -Click on it.
See the words "Add Caption" ???? That is where you type your caption.  Usually you can just start typing after you click on the pop-up and it will go there automatically. (sometimes we click again without meaning too and we have to highlight that to type over it.) On my computer and blogger set-up that is blue when it is "active" - ready to type over.

After adding the caption you need to click BELOW it to add more of your normal text. I put a "type here" note on the photo below so you can see where to click.
I hope this helps you.   I am a bit of a computer nerd/geek so it never occurs to me that I do things that others didn't "just find."
If you see something 'computer geeky' in one of my posts and you want to know how I did it, please ask.
 Mama said "If you don't ask you may never get the answer!"  
Have a great week.
P.S.  a Special Thank You to Rhonda for asking.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

What?!?! The Middle Section:Pieced!

How many of you have decided that I forgot all about the "Coins Quilt?" In that post, I said, "I will not be rushing through this quilt as I am slowing down a bit on sewing and weaving so I can work on TWO other things. "  Ha ha.  I am definitely not rushing on this one. That post was in July and it is now late September.  The first "third" of the quilt was completed and posted about - but since then lots of time has been taken up by the Spanish, ukulele and flexibility classes that I am taking. 
However,  the second "third" of the quilt top is now sewn.  My lovely rather precise layout has fallen by the wayside.  If you are wondering, I am fine with that. In fact, it is a happy thing. Since the gray fabric was in short supply, the option to step back and be creative with the design was the perfect choice.
Here is the center section. First laying on the floor:
Yes this is a bit blurry
Since that was a bit blurry, I had a friend hold it up and got a more direct shot of it.
You can see my Babylock machine in the background.
Another change that I realized I would need to make is in the strips I will join it with. The original plan was to use gray against the two gray strips on this piece.  The problem that suddenly became clear to me is that the black borders would have two thin gray strips running through the top and bottom borders. Instead, I will use black joining strips that will connect the top and bottom borders on either side of this section. It will give a contrast pop to the design - at least that is the story I am telling and I am sticking to it.
This quilt could possibly get finished this year. (said the optimist.)
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Squishy Mail!!!! And a bit more


I got a nice squishy package in the mail. I am not sure I am supposed to say who sent it, so I will see if she speaks up.
In the package was a pattern that looks interesting but challenging. I am not sure if I will try it or pass it on to someone in the quilt guild.

But these fabrics that were in the package are just yummy.  I believe they are from Island Batiks - the Season's Shades line.  There are a number of 9" squares as well as some larger "yardage" pieces.  Just look how luscious these are:

I am looking at these and thinking how nicely they will play with some hand dyed fabrics that I have.  Surely there can be some quilting/sewing time in my future.  I am sure it will fit in with the Spanish classes, exercise classes and ukulele lessons.  Yeah, sure.....LOL.
Did I mention that I need to make soap also?  Thank goodness my canning is mostly finished for the year.

Just for grins, here are a couple more possibilities with the "Garlic Knot"
Plus & Square with Black background

Plus & Square on point - black background
Blocks in two colors






































I really like the on point setting using two colors of blocks. It seems to have a lot of added "kick" to it.  Plus getting the block orientation is less difficult because of the two colors.  I may have to make this one----someday in the future. Or maybe you would like to make it and show me.  Any takers?  I looking at you Barb N! heehee
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

More Design Fun

My brain clearly kicked into play gear while working with the Garlic Knot block in Electric Quilt 7. I love being able to recolor a quilt in the design stages. I also  love being able to try alternate settings.

Debbie mentioned that an on-point setting could be done.  Needless to say that sent me right back to EQ7 for more play time.
On point?
The on-point setting gives it more of a diamond shaped feeling.  I like it.

But I also had to play with coloration  on the layout I showed yesterday.  So perhaps a nice rainbow version would be good.




































I really like this, but then I thought what if..... the background fabric were black instead of the mottled tan???


I wonder what else I will discover with this block.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Little Design Inspiration

Reading blogs often leads to inspiration - or a condition that I call "I want to try that."  But sometimes I look at a design and the "what if" muse kicks me.
Yesterday my friend, Debbie, posted about a table topper that she made with some leftover Garlic Knot blocks.    She had made a larger quilt with this block that I had seen also.
Somehow, seeing the smaller one caused the "what if" to kick in.
SO ---- what if you laid out those blocks differently?
Here is a representation of the table topper that I created in Electric Quilt.
As you can see the secondary pattern created by the light background blocks is an irregular shape. That prompted me to put the block in EQ and play with layouts. Here is the final result that made me happy.
It creates a completely different effect that is like an interesting lattice.  Of course using different colors could change that completely. Hmmm.....maybe I need to play in EQ a bit more.


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.