A Look Back at 2018
Wow! What a fun-packed busy year! I completed so many projects!!! Here is a recap:
- 11 quilts, all were oversize throws and bed size
- 14 placemats
- 161 quad Log Cabin blocks to complete the 192 needed for my quilt
- 2 pairs of house booties as birthday gifts for 2 of my granddaughters
- 1 doll clothes pattern which was released early summer and only sold 2 copies
- at least 11 pieces of doll clothing and accessories
- 7 miscellaneous projects, and
- 1 online quilting class with Lisa Calle
And I have no doubt that I’ve forgotten to list something. To see and read about all these projects, just scroll down through the past eleven months of my life.
Looking Forward to 2019
As I worked on my quad Log Cabin blocks during December, I was thinking about how I was going to plan 2019 in order to complete all that I want to get done. Here is what I’ve come up with so far:
- I have 192 quad Log Cabin blocks that need to be sewn into 16 rows of 12 blocks each and those 16 rows need to be sewn together. I have finished sewing the first row and have started the second. I think that I will just jump on this and get it done. It is actually going faster than I anticipated. When all is together the borders need to be cut to size and the appliqués put on them. Then there is the quilting and binding and labeling to do. I really would like to complete this quilt by the end of 2019 but am thinking that I may be setting my goals a tad too high since I like to mix in other projects as I go along.
- I have 14 appliquéd placemats to make. The background squares are cut and ready to sew together.
- I have a quilt on my frame to finish quilting and three in the closet to quilt. And after they are quilted, there will be bindings and labels to do.
- I want to use up all the 2 1/2” squares and strips I cut from thrift store shirts, skirts, etc. They will be sewn into quilts that will be donated. I’ve already chosen a pattern for the next one. Just need to decide what neutral color to use for the background. I have a bolt of white in my stash. That always looks nice.
- I’ve chosen a piece of home décor fabric from my stash to make a cover for my new Sizzix eclips2 electronic cutting machine. I need to do that right away to keep the machine lint and dust free.
- And I want to take more online quilting classes. I paid for a subscription and would really like to take advantage of it.
What do you think? Is there enough time in 2019 to do all of this? One thing that should help is the Sizzix eclips2 I got for Christmas. This machine will save me time in cutting out all the appliqués I need for the placemats and the Log Cabin quilt border. Stay tuned to find out how it goes.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 138 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 54 blocks to be completed. I’m almost ¾ done with these blocks. I sure will be glad when all 192 of them are done. Bet you will be too.
- I threw together a small quilt top that was to be hand-quilted with long stitches so that I would have something to work on while I was having Mohs surgery to remove a skin cancer. They use a local anesthetic for this type of surgery, and it is done in stages. They take a layer, test it while you wait in a comfortable waiting area, and then repeat as necessary. They tell you to bring something to help you pass the time. They got all of mine with the first layer so only had an hours wait so ended up finishing the quilting at home. Then I chose buttons to put in the centers of the blocks to represent flowers, put on a hanging sleeve, labeled it, and bound it. I’m very pleased with the result.
- Granddaughter Haylee has her great grandmother’s cedar chest which has a cushioned bench seat. When she first received this chest, she and I re-covered it with Oklahoma State University That wouldn’t do in her new house, so she went back to JoAnn’s Fabrics and purchased more of the fabric that we covered her pillows with so we could replace that orange fabric. Doesn’t it look great?!!
- I’ve also been doing a bit of organizing this month. I decided it would be easier to find thread and buttons if they were sorted by color. Took awhile, but they sure look pretty. Easier to find what I need? You betcha!
- My husband helped me make a pressing board out of an old ironing board that he attached a piece of plywood to. Then he and I stapled one layer of Warm ‘n Natural batting and canvas to it. See how nicely a fat quarter fits on it. I sure do like it.
- Finally got back to the Pumpkin placemats and finished three this month. Just 9 more to go, and I am almost finished quilting the next group of 4. If all goes just right, I should finish all of the placemats by the end of September.
- I learned to use the embroidery module on my Bernina while I made 5 labels to go on quilts. One went on the back of a quilt I gave to my dad for his birthday a couple of years back. Don’t know why I didn’t already have a label on it. The other 4 will go on family quilts to indicate which grandchild gets what. One of those has already been attached to my Granny Wilson’s quilt. I also made a pocket to attach to the back of the quilt to hold all of the history that goes along with it. This quilt was made by her quilting bee back in the mid-40s. Each of their names went into the hat for a drawing. My great grandmother won. It was passed to her oldest, my grandmother, and then to her oldest, my dad, and then to his oldest, me. It is going to my oldest child’s oldest. She is so excited that it will be hers one day.
- My husband and I also found time to go to some garage sales one day. We found a nice little drop-leaf table and four chairs that will go to another granddaughter, Rylee. She recently moved into her own apartment and does not have a dining table. She and her mother will paint the set and make them hers. Not a bad buy at $25.
I’m surprised at how much I got accomplished this month. I hope September proves to be as productive.
It may have been mild for Oklahoma in June, but we are warming up to normal temps for July – very hot –had a couple of days in the 100s. Our garden has already burned up except for the okra. The okra plants are healthy looking but are not producing. In 50 years have never had that happen before, so no okra to put up this year. I did manage to put up all the green beans, asparagus, and tomatoes I will need for the winter though.
My husband and I have also been busy helping our oldest granddaughter look at houses, condos, and townhomes with the goal of finding one she could afford in acceptable condition in a good neighborhood near the school where she teaches. She finally found a house in excellent condition within 2 miles of her school and the perfect size for her first home. We moved her in the last weekend of July. She is very excited about being a homeowner. She texted me a few days after moving in announcing that she believes she was born to be a homeowner because she is having a blast organizing and whipping things into shape. She’s so funny.
In spite of all the canning and running around, I did manage to get quite a bit of sewing done.
- My weekly goal of three quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 15 blocks completed. I now have a total of 125 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 67 blocks to be completed. Wow! I’ve now almost finished twice as many as I need to complete. But that upper left one is way too pale and will most likely be replaced meaning that I will have to make an extra to take it’s place. Just what I wanted – to make more of these blocks. Not! LOL
- I ordered some titanium embroidery needles to use when I stitch the appliqués onto the placemats I am making for Christmas gifts. I was reading an article on stitching appliqués that have been applied to the fabric with fusible web. The titanium embroidery needles are touted to easily go through all layers without getting gummed up. Well, not so. Maybe they don’t gum up as much as regular needles but did gum up. No problem though since I have my Goo Gone ready when I need it. I have stitched down the appliqués on 5 of the 14 placemats and have quilted and bound 2 of them.
- There were no window treatments in my little sister’s new living quarters, so I took her old ones from the other apartment and remade them to fit the new windows. I also used some old draperies given to me by a niece to make a privacy panel to put behind the sheers in the bedroom window.
And the kitchen curtains I made for her last month but forgot to take a picture:
- A friend of our granddaughter gave her a sectional sofa which was in sad shape. Their dog had chewed through the upholstery on one corner and left about a 12” x 18” section bare all the way to the wood frame. Wish I had taken a BEFORE picture. Oh, well. So my husband and I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics and found a piece of chocolate brown vinyl that matched closely enough that one has to get very close to see the difference. Then we cut a piece of foam to fit that area and covered it with the new vinyl stitching it to the old vinyl at one end, stapling it to the frame at the top and the bottom where it doesn’t show, and tucking the other end into a joint between two pieces of the frame. Looks great! Then we replaced those too tall, too hard pillows that were across the back of the sectional. I bought 3 body pillows from Walmart. When our granddaughter came to the house, we had her try them out to make sure they were to her liking. She loved them. Next step was to find fabric to either match the seat cushions (which also needed work) or fabric that would coordinate with them. We picked up Haylee (the granddaughter) and headed back to JoAnn’s. It was Friday the 13th but our lucky day. JoAnn’s had the exact upholstery fabric that was on those seat cushions. Can you believe that?!!! So now the seat cushions are spruced up and the body pillows covered. Then for throw pillows we picked up a piece of fabric that made 3 pillows, and I took the covers off the old pillows that were once the back of the sectional to make pillows 4 more. I had also saved the armchair covers from the 2 dark brown recliners we gave Haylee a while back and made a couple more pillows. Found all the pillow forms reasonably priced at Walmart. We saved the couch!!! LOL And here is Aspen enjoying it.
So the past two months have been spent mostly on sewing, upholstering, and quilting for my sister, our granddaughter, and our nephew. I’m hoping that nothing else comes up so that I can get the placemats done that are this year’s Christmas gifts. Do you sometimes find that you spend more time on other people’s projects than you get to spend on your own? What am I saying? Most of my projects are gifts for them anyway. LOL
Summer is here and although we have had some rather cool days for June, our days are starting to get up into the high 90s and very humid making it feel much hotter. Very hot days were predicted for the weekend we had the family reunion but Mother Nature decided to give us temperatures in the low to mid 80s with a nice breeze. It was wonderful! The reunion was a grand success, and we plan on having it at our place again next year.
With the reunion, cleaning up, and getting everything back in their storage places, my crafting time this month has been cut short. And in addition to all that, my husband had surgery this month. So I played nurse for a few days. He’s not a good patient; but in all fairness, I am not a good nurse either. LOL But I have managed some finishes and some progress on other things.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 110 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 82 blocks to be completed. I love seeing the number of blocks completed increase as the other number decreases. It gives me just enough boost to keep me going on this long-term project.
- I got all of the appliqués fused to the 14 placemats. I hope to get them all stitched down in July, but it will be a tedious job so may take two months to do that. And if I decide to do the appliqué stitching by hand, I will allow myself three or four months to get them all done. That will leave plenty of time to quilt and bind them and have them ready for Christmas giving. To give you an idea of how tedious this is going to be, here is a picture of half a leaf and there are eight of these tiny intricate pieces to do on each of those 14 placemats. Yes, you did see that right. That piece is 2 1/2 inches wide x approximately 1 1/4 inches tall with a lot of ins and outs.
I finished quilting my nephew’s quilt. I did have a problem when quilting the outer border. My nephew pressed the seam between the inner black border and the outer orange print border toward the orange. Doing the beadboard quilting required me to stitch in the ditch which unfortunately in this case was on the black. Why was this a problem you ask? I was using a bright yellow/red/orange/green variegated thread, and I am not the best at stitching in the ditch. But I found a solution which cost me some extra time but worked. I used a black Pigma pen to color the variegated thread where it was not supposed to be showing but was. Now you see it; now you don’t. In spite of this minor problem, this quilt was such fun to quilt!
- My youngest sister moved from an apartment to a duplex and needed new curtains. She wanted light pink and blue in her kitchen, so I pulled all my blue and pink fabrics for her to choose from. She chose a very light pastel pink and blue plaid. I made simple cafe curtains with a valance and gathered them on spring loaded curtain rods. They look real cute, but I forgot to take a picture. Maybe I’ll remember to take pictures when I take the curtains to her for her dining, living, and bedroom which are now in the works.
- I have given up on my goal to finish a doll clothes pattern every other month. So far this year although three have been in the works, I’ve only finished one. I knew it was a lofty goal and gave it my best shot. But life got in the way. So doll clothes patterns have been removed from my goals list. But on a positive note, I’ve sold two copies of the one pattern that I published this year, and it has only been available for one month. Not one of my hottest patterns, but not a failure either. I did receive pictures from the coat pattern tester of her finished coat. It is as cute as can be. And she sent me some very good constructive comments that I hope to get incorporated into my instructions in time for a Fall release.
Oh, did I mention that my husband bought me a new sewing machine? It is a Bernina 590! I’ve already taken my classes and am definitely enjoying sewing on this dream machine. I hope to come up with an embroidery project soon so I can try out the embroidery module. Fun! Fun!
Until next month, happy crafting,
I know! I know! The title is not very original, but I like it and it fits. Most of the flowering plants and trees have done their thing already – daffodils, irises, amaryllis, flowering almond, crabapples, redbuds, blackberries, and fruit trees. Of course there will be fruit from the crabapples, blackberries, and fruit trees later. Well, hopefully there will be. Right now the hollyhocks and roses are blooming, and the daylilies will start any day now. I’ve also put some flowering hanging baskets on our wraparound back porch for lots of summer color.
This month has been extremely busy for us because we are getting ready to host the 2018 Frazier Family Reunion at our place. I have been busy spring cleaning the house from top to bottom. I also cleaned the restroom in the shop since most of our activities will take place in and around the shop. My husband has been working on getting our 6 acres spruced up. We both cleaned up the flowerbeds around the house. And amidst all this cleaning and sprucing up business, I managed to meet my goals for the month, make progress toward my two-month goal, and finished some extras.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 98 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 94 blocks to be completed. Did you notice that the number of finished blocks is now larger than the number of blocks to be made? I’m excited that I am now on the downhill slide with making these.
- I finished two quilts this month and pieced the backgrounds and sewed on borders for 14 placemats that need to be finished by Christmas. Let’s see now….this is May, so that means I have 8 months give or take a few days. So if I average finishing 2 per month for 7 months, I will get them done. We’ll see how quickly they go. They have some machine appliqué on them for which I am awaiting arrival of some Lite Steam A Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web so that I can get started on that step . I think preparing those appliqués will slow me down some.
- While I was cleaning in the sewing studio, I pulled out a practice piece that I had done when I took a class to help me conquer my fear of free-motion quilting. And since I had already finished my Rail Fence Picnic quilt and didn’t have what I needed to do more on the placemats, I decided to bind this practice piece and hang it in my sewing studio as a reminder that free-motion quilting is not scary at all. Well, not very anyway. Oh, and my sister finally got the batting to me for my nephew’s quilt. So the quilt is on the frame awaiting the arrival of the threads I need for quilting it. Now why didn’t I think to order the thread earlier? Well, no problem. It will be here soon and I can’t work on it for awhile anyway. Here are my Rail Fence Picnic Quilt and the practice piece from my class:
- The 18” doll dress pattern is coming along very nicely. But I did have a head slap moment when I realized I had wasted two afternoons trying to draft and perfect the bodice pattern when I already had one done in another pattern. Doh! I’m in hopes that it will be published by the end of June. I did, however, use one of the two practice bodices to complete this cute little white dress. Waste not; want not!
- I sent the tester for the reversible coat pattern additional pictures with clarified instructions. She said that they were better. But I still have a lot of work to do on this pattern. I rounded out the neckline and then found that I also must round part of the facing to match. That is now done. I’ve also decided to use something other than the elastic cord I was using to do buttonhole loops but have yet to settle on what will be the easiest material to work with that also looks nice and holds up well. I need to check out the nice cords in the jewelry findings department at Hobby Lobby. I betcha those would work nicely. My tester emailed that she finally finished her coat and will send me pictures and her notes as soon as she recovers from the Memorial day weekend and her company. I’m looking forward to receiving her feedback.
- Ann of Ann van Doren Designs just published the Mary Jane shoe pattern that I had the privilege to test. She used the picture of the black faux leather shoes that I made on the cover of her pattern. I am so honored that she did this. I thoroughly enjoyed making these shoes as her design and instructions made it so easy for me. Ann is a very talented designer. I couldn’t show you the shoes until she had published, so here they are now:
- And to finish off the month, I made some pressing tools to use when I make doll clothes – a pressing ham and a sleeve roll. Here they are pictured next to their full-size counterparts so you can see just how small they are:
And to think, I thought I wasted some time just sitting around doing nothing. Now I realize that I was just resting from all this activity. LOL
As the new year started, like most people I set myself some goals. It worked for me last year, so why not again this year. So my goals for this year are
- Weekly goal – make three quad Log Cabin blocks. I need 192 four inch blocks for the quilt I’m working on. It is going to take me over a year to get them all done. So why am I not making more of these each week? First of all, I’m not in a hurry. “Really?” you say. Yes, I know this is painfully obvious. Secondly, I don’t like doing the same thing over and over and over. I get bored. So I’m putting some other things into my schedule to keep things from getting monotonous. Which brings me to my…..
- Monthly goal – finish a quilt. I had a bunch of men’s cotton shirts that I cut into 2 ½” squares. I’m turning these squares into quilts that will be donated. I am sewing these squares into 2 ½” strips mixed in with a background fabric so that it creates a particular design when the strips are sewn together. Then I load my backing and batting onto my longarm frame and sew each strip to them. Doing it this way, I finish sewing the quilt top together and complete the quilting at the same time. Then all I need to do is bind them. It’s a very quick way to make a quilt which leaves me time to work on my…..
- 2-month goal – publish a doll clothes pattern. Well, maybe I should make that a year long goal of publishing 6 doll clothes patterns because I am pretty sure my first pattern is not going to be published by March 1.
- Weekly goals were met with 15 quad Log Cabin blocks completed.
- Monthly goal was met by finishing a western themed quilt for a baby boy. Don’t you just love this pantograph?
- Progress was made on my 2-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern. I have the fabrics to make one more garment from the pattern while I take some better pictures to go into the pattern instructions. In an effort to speed this pattern up, I will work on it before I finish the quilt for February because I need to get it to the testers. Then I’m at the mercy of how long the testers take to make it up and send me their feedback. After I receive their feedback, the pattern will need some tweaking before being published. It is quite a drawn out process. Shhhhhhhhhhhh…it’s a secret, so pictures will have to come later.
- I made a pair of house shoes for my oldest granddaughter for her birthday. If you look closely, you will be able to see the dragonfly print on the fabric.
- I also worked on a doll sweater that will eventually be turned into a pattern. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh….another secret. No pictures until the pattern is published. Sorry.
- I crocheted a hat and scarf for my dolls. The only stitch used in the scarf was a slip stitch – a first for me. Nikki does so enjoy being my model.
I was telling my mom about my goals, what I had accomplished during January and what I need to accomplish during February. In her very own back-handed supportive way she said to me, “February is a short month, you know.” LOL
Have a wonderful, but short, crafty February,
What a busy month! And on top of cleaning and decorating the house for all the Christmas festivities, I decided to make house shoes for one of my granddaughters, her daughter, and her daughter’s dolly to give them for Christmas. Found some sparkly turquoise fabric at Hobby Lobby that I knew they would love. I used home décor fabric-backed vinyl for the soles. They turned out great and were a hit especially with the 2-year-old.
After completing the house shoes, I put buttons on the fly-away bells on the sleeves of a blouse I had bought. The sleeves kept getting into everything so had to tame them a bit.
And I made a tea towel for my mom. There is a story behind it. Of course there is, you say! LOL I had made a tea towel a couple of years ago that my mom wanted, but it was my favorite, and I couldn’t part with it. And I didn’t have anymore of the fabric. But as luck would have it, I bought a box of scraps at a garage sale; and, lo and behold, there was a piece of that fabric in there! Woohoo! So now my mom has a tea towel exactly like mine. She’s a happy camper.
For the past 6 months, my husband and I have been scouring thrift stores and garage sales looking for 11 x 14 frames to put my little sister’s artwork in that she was giving for Christmas gifts this year. She told me she had 9 pieces to frame. On Thanksgiving Day she told me she had 13. Okay, we are 4 frames short! So we went on a wild shopping spree searching for more frames. In case you are wondering why we are looking for them instead of her, it’s because she has autism. We help her out on such things when they prove too difficult or confusing to her. Some of the frames needed replacement glass which we found at a local lumber hard for half the cost of everybody else, and several needed mats which were purchased one per week at Hobby Lobby using the weekly 40% off coupon. Then we picked up her artwork, put everything together, and returned all to her so that she could wrap them. I watched as our other two sisters opened theirs on Christmas Eve. They went right to Kip and told her that these gifts are by far the best gift she had ever given them. Our mom and dad received theirs a few days earlier and called me to let me know how much they liked them and how much they appreciated us helping her. Thirteen gifts cost Kip only $34.21. We won’t count the gas, wear and tear on my car, or our time. LOL Here is the picture Kip gave to us.
Somehow during preparing for having 20 plus people over on Christmas Eve and going on wild shopping sprees, I found time to work on a quilt. I had it more than half done by Christmas Eve and finished it a couple of days later. This was a fun experimental quilt. The plaids and stripes I used were cut from a number of men’s cotton shirts I purchased from the thrift store way back when I first started quilting. I feel this purchase requires a little explanation. When I first started quilting, I was extremely short of funds. The thrift store would have $3 bag sales. I could fit a lot of cotton garments into that big brown paper grocery bag which gave me lots of fabric to play with. I’ve used pieces from this stash in a quilt for our grandson, a throw for a cousin whose wife passed away, and a doll quilt. I still had an overflowing tub that I needed to do something with. I certainly didn’t want to waste them so decided to cut all into 2 ½” strips and squares. Took a good while to do that but mission accomplished. Next step is to get all into warm quilts.
Now back to the experimental part of the quilt. I loaded the backing and the batting for the quilt onto my longarm and then pieced long 2 ½” wide strips. As I finished a strip, I took it to the longarm and placed it horizontally across the frame and stitched it in place using my longarm. Bonus was sewing the strips together and quilting the quilt all in one seam. It really went quite fast and made a pretty nice quilt. See for yourself.
But, really, I need to get back to making quad Log Cabin blocks. After all, I need 192 of these 4” blocks to make my quilt; and even though I started it in January, I only have 29 made. So during the month of December I added 3 more to that total and have determined that I will make 3 per week during 2018 and will assemble the quilt top in 2019. Oh, I almost hate to mention that there is a lot of appliqué on the border. This is a long-term project mainly because, although I really do like this quilt pattern, I find these blocks quite tedious to work on and each one takes so long to make! I figured out that in order to make one block, I actually make 5 blocks – 4 Log Cabins and 1 four-patch. So I will spread it out over time – a long time – and will eventually get it finished.
To top off the month, I whipped together a baby quilt top. Started it at about 8:30 one evening, worked for a couple of hours, and got up the next morning and finished it. And, yes, I used some of the plaid from those shirts I cut up and the leftover backing fabric from the other quilt I finished this month.
I need another 1 ¼ yards for the backing which I will pick up at Walmart next week. In the meantime, I’m waiting for the pantograph to come in that I am going to use for this one. It’s called Yippee Ki Yay! This quilt is destined to be the first one I finish in 2018.
Happy New Year!