Saturday, March 27, 2010

magic castle? or dream castle?

the castle is done...whatever i call it.  who knows when it will get quilted. i think pretty soon.

And here are some closeups.

What do you think i should name this quilt?   i don't read Harry Potter but does it remind you of him at all?  would it appeal to Harry fans?  gotta figure out what to quilt in the background.

I think it might need to get quilted soon.....hopefully someone will love it and want to buy it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blocks are done!

I pushed on through and the blocks are now all done for the magic castle quilt. now to put them on the design wall and figure out how to get them all together. in the book, they have a sampler quilt but not all the blocks are in i am on my own. we'll see how this goes. i might need stay tuned. LOL

Here is the hippogriff. those tiny little claws were tough.

And here is the second bat. how can these tiny little blocks be so hard. it only has 4 pieces for pete's sake. i had to take it apart and redo it. the first bat gave me fits, too. must be a mental thing.

On another subject entirely, it was a rainy day today...still raining. coming down good but not raining heavy. on Vicki Welsh's site she gave permission to start a new project today. LOL  so i took her up on it and decided to do some fabric dyeing. i have been wanting to dye on a rainy day to see if i could rinse less and just hang them in the rain to take care of the rest of the rinsing. Vicki says she does that....and if she does it....the Queen of Fabric Dyeing...then it is good enough for me.

So i threw some fabric in the washer and got ready. i had 4 yards still of a cotton/silk mix...i love that stuff. each side comes out looking differently. and i washed 5 yards of PFD muslin. so i had 9 pieces. i did a couple blacks, a couple yellows, and some blues and a green. then as i was hanging them up i decided to wash some more 1/2 yard pieces and put it in the remainder of the dyes. so i washed 10 more pieces and put 1 in each leftover dye pot. then took the last piece, put it in a bucket, and as i was rinsing out the 1/2 yards to hang outside, i poured some of the leftover dye onto that piece. before pouring a second bit in there, i poured out the liquid from the first bit. so it sat in the dyes from 5 minutes to about 30 minutes by the time i was all done rinsing and hanging. then i just took it out and hung it outside, too. it is a pretty green, blue mix with some blackish spots. interesting. it may wash all out in the rain....who knows. but i will just let it all hang out there till it all dries. maybe tomorrow.  then see what surprises i get.

The other thing i did differently was to put the soda ash into the soaking buckets. usually i mix it along with the salt into the dye. but i wanted to try it this was easier by less thing to measure and mix. i shall see if it makes a big difference.   the best thing is....even if it ALL comes out wonky.... i can just re-dye the whole lot. dyeing is FUN!!

You don't want to see my hand and arms. hahahahaha  the right glove sprung a leak, so my right hand is dark bluish/green on 2 fingers...kind of like a really ugly bruise. and the gloves never stay up my arms...they always roll down..guess my arms are too both arms are greenish-yellowish-blue.  guess i better not go to town for a few looks like someone beat on me.

Gotta go to Dharma Trading to buy more soda ash and see what other goodies they have that are crying to come home with me.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's good to have a handyman

My husband is a pretty good handyman...which is a good thing since i ask a lot of him. 

I brought home 2 doors from my sister's and some boards that she was throwing away. and he built me a thread cabinet from all that mess. it is 39" wide and 42" high with 6 shelves. it is 6.5" deep and each shelve space is 5" high. that allows for 2 cones of thread deep so you can always see what you have. 

I think it came out great. 

I was going to set it on my room divider but realized it would be too tall and i couldn't reach the top shelves without a stepstool. Vertically challenged is not fun!

So i moved a few things around and set it on a cabinet. This is actually sits right behind the longarm. i love the little metal inserts in the doors. i will have to paint it one day but i was so excited that i just put some contact paper on the shelves and moved the thread on in.

All my quilting threads fit in it just fine and there is actually extra room for more. i have to do some serious gold thread quilting....i really don't remember getting all that gold.

Each type has it's own shelve. from the bottom up there is...Glide; Bottom Line; So Fine; MasterPiece; King Tut; and then Nature Colors and Ricky TIm's Art Studio Colors and a few Aurafil on the top 2 rows.

Now i need to move the old thread cabinet to another area...i'll have more room on a table then. I don't know if that will be it's permanent home....i tend to move things around when i get bored. but it is a good spot right now.

I stopped my quilting (don't tell Marilea) when the cabinet came into the shop. now i am out of the quilting mood. LOL   guess i will go play with the embroidery machine for a while and put some borders on a little blue and white i am piecing.

It was an exciting day.


The sphinx is done

Last  night i got the sphinx done. i didn't know if i would do a block last night since i got sucked into watching American Idol. so i didn't start this until 9...and finished at 11. not bad time. i think it was easier because it is the same at the griffin...only the head is different. these folks had some wild imaginations for their magic creatures. or good hallucinatory drugs. LOL

I took a vest pattern across the road last night, too. like i NEED another nighttime project. but i have been thinking of making a new vest out of selvages. the front will be all the fuzzy selvages. the lining is an Egyptian print. yet another fabric that i bought and now am thinking 'just what are you going to do with that'. so, inside of a vest seemed appropriate. don't know when it will get to finish the last magic castle blocks first. but it is percolating over there...along with my brain. hahahaha

My hubby is building me a thread cabinet today...or finishing it today. i got doors from my sister's sunroom when she tore it out and was going to throw them away. so i brought the doors home and requested a thread cabinet. it will be large enough to house all my quilting threads in one place instead of several cabinets and boxes and such. will share a pic when i get it over to the studio.

Till next time....have fun.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The end is near!

Do not be alarmed...just the end of the magic castle piecing. yes, i think i shall call it the magic castle...unless you have a better name i can use. i believe i have 2 more things to paperpiece and i will make 1 more bat. then it will be time to put them all together.

Here is the griffin.

And the witch

The putting together might be a bit challenging...all the pieces are different sizes. i was thinking of putting the castle in the middle perhaps....or at the middle of the top...don't know yet.

I was also thinking this morning of having a picture of a little boy sleeping on the bottom and this is his dream swirling around his head. but that might limit the buyer of the quilt to a little boy. and perhaps a little girl dreams of castles....or an older child. decisions...decisions. hey, maybe i could call it the dream castle.

What would you do? i'd be interested in your thoughts.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3 more blocks

Yea!!   3 more blocks done between last night and this morning. i really didn't feel like working at the studio yesterday so i went home early...about 3pm and pieced the fairy. wouldn't we all like to have someone with a magic wand in our lives?

 And this morning i did the centaur.  they also call him the archer.

Just a few pieces left...the witch, a sphinx, a griffin, a hippogriff and i'm going to make a second bat. so, in 2 or 3 days i will have all the blocks done and then it will be time to figure out how to put them all together. i wish there would have been some trees...i would like to put them around the castle. perhaps i can find some ghoulish magic trees somewhere. have any thoughts?

I thought i might get a bit domestic today. i made french toast for breakfast. we didn't have milk so i used canned evaporated milk and thinned it down with some water. then what do i do with the rest of it. there was a recipe on the can for bar cookies, so i whipped those up to use up the rest of the canned milk. all in the interests of not wasting anything you understand. LOL

It called for grahan cracker crumbs and i didn't have any but i had a box of ginger snaps so i pulverized those and used them in place of the graham crackers. it worked out fine. it kind of gives a little bite to your tongue. it was just a simple layer cookie thing....base, canned evaported milk, coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. pretty tasty.

To continue the domestic binge i am cooking dinner, too. yes, practically unheard of at my house. i am in a clean out the pantry mood....found some shake and bake and turkey in the freezer from thanksgiving. so there will be shake and bake turkey, mashed potatoes (use those up), gravy (jim's gotta have gravy), and some green beans. simple.

AND i mixed up a huge salad...which i have been meaning to do for a couple days now. lettuce, boiled eggs, tomato, red pepper, cucumber, green onions, sunflower seeds, avocado and some grated cheese. yum.

So, now domestic duties are finished for the day...for the week. haha  perhaps for the month.

Gotta go crank up the embroidery machine and see what project i can finish over there.

Then a little later i made the knight. the knight is wearing the colors of the fairy. isn't that what they did...they wore the colors of their lady into battle? perhaps she should let him take that magic wand and he wouldn't have to worry about fighting the dragon. hahahaha

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Introducing Pegasus!

Pegasus is the last 'creature' that i recognize the name and know what he looks like. the others are just strange.

But he turned out well...with me only having to redo 3 pieces. hahahahaha

Now I'm at the point many more are there....will i ever be done with this. i have to push to finish all these blocks so it doesn't wind up as yet another UFO. i still have the knight, witch, fairy, hippogriff, archer and a few more that i can't think of right now. the book is still at the house and i am at the studio.

But, i shall muddle forward and 'git er done'. LOL

Till next time...keep on stitchin'

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let's play the rhyming game

Here is a bat...

And here is a cat...

Now all we need is a fat rat. but i don't have one of those. hahaha

My goodness i had such trouble last night with these 2. i must have been tired. fabrics in backwards. things not lining up. as you can see, the cat still has issues on the bottom. i put that little piece in by the feet three times....yes, 3. i finally just gave up. the seam will just have to be a smidge larger. it was making me crazy so it was time to quit.

Tonight i don't believe there will be any blocks made. my sister is here quilting one of hers and we will be busy....doing sister things. so more blocks to come in a day or 2...or 3. LOL

But next up are flying things. pegasus i know about...but have you ever heard of a hippogriff? weird flying creature that looks like half a flying horse with wings and half a chicken. like i said...weird. but such is the ways of magic.

Come back in a couple days and check them out.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh my stars!

Magic stars, that is. i finished 3 stars last night.

and an owl. i didn't use hand dyed muslin for his wings and head but i DID overdye this commercial fabric. it used to me a white on white.   i just HAD to use the feathers on the owl.

these are all so darn cute. tonight i still have the bat and cat. i think i shall make 2 bats. i thought they would go faster because they are smaller, but i was wrong. (imagine that..LOL).  still lots of pieces and still takes a while.

there are still 6 or 7 more pieces to make. strange creatures ... some of which i never heard of.

there is a witch, fairy, knight, pegasus, griffin and a few more.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fee - Fie - Foe - Fum

I smell the blood of an Englishman....hahahah     remember that?

I made the giant last night. i love that large nose. haha

he's got some humongous shoes, too. i had the owl to do last night, too, but didn't make it. it took 3 hours for the giant and by then it was 11pm so i gave it up for the night.

But tonight i hope to finish the owl and a couple bats and some stars. those all are kind of small so hopefully i can do them all.

The weather is still cloudy and misty so all i want to do is nap. i need spring.


Monday, March 15, 2010

More magic

Last night i made the wizard..

and the unicorn...
I am really liking these..they are so much fun.

Tonight i am trying the giant and an owl. then i have 11 more things after that. this is gonna be a cool quilt.

Stay tuned for more adventure.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Castles, dragons and wizards

Let us wander into the enchanted woods and find a castle...and a dragon...and a wizard...and a unicorn...and a giant, some bats, an owl, and other magical things.

I found this book at a quilt show a few years ago and fell in love with it. i saw it again a few weeks ago and pulled it off my bookshelf and onto my desk...where it sat for a couple more weeks. then yesterday i finally pulled some fabric, copied pages for paper piecing and took it home.

She has this cute sampler quilt shown in the book...along with a lot of mini quilts...ones made with just the dragon and the knight.....or with a good witch and bad witch...and others.

Last night i made the castle and the dragon....what fun. i am going to make all the elements and put them all together in a quilt...some little boy will dream of dragons when it is done.

Tonight i am making the wizard and the unicorn. stay tuned for more fun (and magic). the purple background is commercial fabric but the the rest is my hand dyes. great way to use up smaller pieces of fabrics.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


My goodness....I've never had this happen before.

While I was winding a bobbin on my embroidery machine I heard a POP!  my plastic bobbin broke. as you can see...there was a thread explosion. LOL    i was able to wind it back off the broken bobbin and onto the spool of thread and then rewind it onto a new bobbin.

One of those experiences that you just don't want to relive.

I am embroidering carousel animals for my sister. they are so cute....a horse, elephant, tiger, polar bear, reindeer and more. i'll show you when they are all done...there are 9 of them and i am on number 6.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Who is your shipper of choice?

When you mail a package...who do you use to ship that package? normally i use the good old post office. i have been doing some eBay selling and shipping lately. i like the post office because i can get all my supplies free and online....boxes, labels, stickers...whatever i need. i can even buy postage online for my packages...AND...set it up for the mail person to pick up my packages for me....all for free. do you know that if you buy your postage for packages online that they are cheaper? save a few cents by going online and printing out your label. of course, if you are buying online you are using a credit card so you have to pay that promptly to keep that savings from the post office.

I got a package from Amazon the other day that came by UPS. we have a very nice UPS lady...very personable...i like her. she pulled up and honked as she usually does and i went out to see what goodies we had. she couldn't open the door behind her seat to get the package. she says packages shift in the back as she is driving and occassionally drop down by the door and block it so she can't open it. well, you know, they pack the truck back to front, so her first deliveries are closer to her when she opens the door inside the truck.

So she gets out of the truck and goes to the back of the truck and opens that door. well, now my package is all the way up at the front of the truck. she steps on the bumper and says...yep, your package is stuck in the seems like it hit the lock and locked the door. So, she proceeds to climb into the truck to retrieve my package. About 200 pounds of driver just starts climbing all over the boxes to retrieve my book. the truck is packed up so she just steps on the boxes to get to the front. one box was about 8" square. i hope there wasn't anything breakable in there.

So, be aware....UPS drivers just step all over your boxes if they have to get to the front of their truck. pack wisely......just saying.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February Stashbusting

Wellll...according to my records .... in February 73.5 yards of fabric left my studio. isn't that great? BUUUTTTT.... i can hardly tell a difference. sheesh!!  that's so not fair.

I figure about 15 yards of that was scraps that got mailed out in 10 USPS medium flat rate boxes. the boxes were stuffed with the appropriate color requested and then pieces of yardage added to round out the box. i am estimating 1.5 yards per box but there was probably more. but i can live with that figure.

Also, in the last couple weeks i have been busy emptying those plastic bins that had partially done projects in them...some of them YEARS old. a couple of them i just threw away...i had no desire to finish them and wondered what i ever saw in them to begin with. i actually didn't count the yardage that i threw away. but i did finish these AND get them quilted. yea me!!

This is from the April 2008 issue of McCall's Quitling magazine. it is called me why. but it is great to use up scraps. their finished size was 60x72 but i added the sunflower border and made mine 74x88. better couch size in my opinion. i have yet another box with this exact same pattern cut out in browns. i must have really been trying to use up those scraps in 2008. LOL  there have got to be about 75 different fabrics in this quilt.

This little beauty (50x50") is made of fabric with fish, turtles, seahorses and starfish on it. i THOUGHT it would make a good 1 block wonder quilt. i had all the little matching squares cut up in the plastic box. as i put a few blocks together i realized they didn't really work as i wanted them to. but i decided to go ahead and finish them anyway. i put 4 of the 4-patch blocks together and added sashings and a border and considered it done. a little kid will only see the fish and turtles and still like it . (i hope...LOL)

This was a top that was already pieced and lounging in the cabinet for about 6 years. it has machine embroidered roses in the middle of each block. it was made with my first embroidery machine way back when i first got it...and i was still working. and i've been retired for 5 years. but i still like the fabrics but today i would not have put the roses on it. but it is quilted and done is is 62x76

This was also many scrappy pieces in a plastic bin...all cut out. i had pieced 24 blocks. and actually started to finish the other 24 blocks but decided i really didn't care for it anymore and trashed the rest of it that was not pieced. unfortunately, once i put the blocks together that i had, i realized that from across the room, it actually looked decent. but the trash man had already taken away the pieces i had thrown out. so this Streak of Lightning (from the Nickel Quilt Books) became only 64x86 instead of twice that big. oh well. this was cut out several years ago and had every available fabric that i had in my stash i least 100 different fabrics...probably more. as i was piecing it and seeing it close up i didn't really like it now but once it was on the wall, i noticed the 'lightning' white spaces more clearly. although there were many shades of light fabric.

And the last thing i have to show you today is a Round Robin quilt that was done several years ago when i was a member of the LongArm Chat online group. I really like this quilt and it, too, was marinating in the cabinet for some time. my Photowise program for some reason wouldn't process the full picture, so all i have is the middle and a pic of the corner. but i think you get the idea...hopefully. there were some awesome ladies that added borders to this quilt and i thank them once again.

So, i hope March is as productive as January and February have been. i have many more plastic bins to empty and much, much more stash to bust.

If you are interested, I will be putting quilts on eBay for sale...starting today. i also have my selvage jackets and vests out there and will be adding more things along the way in the next few weeks.     eBay seller name is  shimmymom    go take a look....might be something you just gotta have. LOL

Till next time...happy stitching.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A bit of stashbusting....thanks to my friends.

I mailed the last package today....10 boxes of fabric scraps went out to people NEEDING scraps. LOL   i advertised that i would stuff a box for the price of postage plus $5 and you could pick whatever color you liked. i had red, brown, blue, yellow, pink, black, orange, white/beige, green and purple. i have gotten the nicest notes from people loving their fabrics. and i am so happy that those boxes are empty...well, a few of them have scraps in them again already.

It takes me about a year to get the boxes stuffed full. they are 20 quart plastic bins and they hold a LOT. i keep saying i will use them all up but i never do. but i have actually used a lot of is just more than i can use myself. so, i am happy to share with whoever would like to have them.

And i have been busy the last couple weeks quilting up some of my tops that were pieced years ago and finishing up piecing tops that were living in plastic tubs for years. my plan this year is to get rid of all that stuff. it's now March and i have made a noticable dent.

There are now 5 quilts in the 'to be bound' pile so perhaps tomorrow i will get to a couple of those. and will try to show you pictures of projects finished. it feels good to finish things.

How is your stashbusting going??? making any progress??  i hope so.


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