After my flurry of finishes in the last two weeks, I pretty much have't accomplished a single thing since.  I can't seem to make a decision on what to work on.  I pulled out a bunch of tops and/or backs to consider for quilting.  They're in a heap while I decide which to do first.  I'm at that nothing quite seems right stage.  Do you ever look at social media and blogs and feel like everybody does a lot better projects and pictures than you?  Yeah.  😔

I stopped into the local sewing machine repair shop last week with my pile of mini quilt samples. The owner and the repair man were stumped.  He told me to work my walking foot by hand to make sure everything was moving.  I'd already done that.  He also said to check that the feed dogs were coming up high enough--that the lowest part of the feed dog is all the way out when at the highest point.  If those looked okay, then I will need to bring it in.  I'm going to need to bring it in for service.  Sigh.  Last time was a year and a half ago, so it's close to service time anyway. However, since I have guild retreat this weekend, I'm waiting until next week to make the appointment.

Speaking of the retreat,  I only go for one day since it's close by and I'd rather sleep in my own bed.  Plus, many of my guild mates have full time jobs and so it's a treat for them to sew for an uninterrupted time.  I can sew whenever I want, so it's just another day for me.  I do like spending time with them though.  Guild is pretty much the only social interaction I have outside of my family, and I always have fun with my guild mates.  Anyway, what I was going for here is that I need to decide what to bring and work on.  I'm planning to work on my Aviatrix top.  I pretty much only work on it while at guild events, so it's been in progress for a few years now.  I suppose I could throw in the EPP project I haven't started yet too.

In the meantime, I've been working on my Devil's Tower souvenir cross stitch in the evenings and have made a bit of progress.
I think I'm going to tackle these two projects this week.  I need to seam the back for the Kate Spain quilt and sew down the leash on the mini.  Then both are ready for quilting.
I've been practicing drawing quilting designs on our Magnadoodle.  I just can't seem to get spirals/swirls at all.  My son sketched this out in about two minutes this morning.  He could have a future in long arm quilting if he wished.  He's probably a lot better than I am already.
We had really nice weather over the weekend, so the kids and I finished the last bit of clean-up in the flower gardens.  We even planted a few more perennials that I felt could handle the ups and downs of spring weather.  I was happy to see that both the hydrangea and the lilac we moved are doing well in their new spots.  I do need to get some shrubs to replace those in the upper front garden, but I need to order some and others aren't available for local purchase until it's warmer. Then it's just a layer of mulch and we will be good for the season.  

My husband refreshed our vegetable garden tubs with upgraded plumbing on a few and some soil refresh on them all.  We planted potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli rabe, and beets.  We'll do beans and a cucumber plant when it gets warmer, probably about a month from now.  

I was really surprised to find that I have two tulips that survived the deer.  I don't even remember planting tulips that look like the yellow one!  I usually plant pinks and reds.  My alliums are looking pretty good this year--they are right above the tulips at the top of the picture and you might be able to see all the buds.  I usually have about three blossoms total on those.
And in the biggest surprise of all, I looked out the window yesterday and saw a hummingbird!  So out  went the feeders.  I'm not sure what they could find to eat right now otherwise.  Almost nothing is blooming, just a few late daffodils and the pear and redbud trees.  And my random tulips.  Do they eat any of those?  The picture is pretty lousy since I was a long way from the window and had zoomed in as far as I could, plus I took it through the screen too.  I was worried it would fly away before I got close to the window.  And it did.

Our basement project has been stalled out while my husband took two classes this term along with his regular work and work travel schedule.  His plan is to hang all the trim then fill the nail holes and then paint it in place.  After that I would be able to paint the walls.  I don't love the idea because it makes it a lot harder for me to paint, but I see the appeal of having the nail holes all filled before painting.  However, I'm tired of not having the bathroom available down there.  The tile is done--I shared that quite a while back--and we have everything to finish the bathroom minus the trim and a shower curtain rod.  I've started asking if maybe I could paint and then he could put the toilet back and install the sink and do the trim later.  At least then it would be functional and I'd feel like I was doing something to move the project forward.  I dunno.  We'll see, I guess. Otherwise nothing will happen until summer when he's between classes again.

Drumroll Please....Finished Postcard from Sweden

I'm so excited to share my finished Postcard from Sweden quilt!  I'm linking up with MMMQuilts for her Postcard from Sweden QAL.  I finished on time!
I agonized and debated for a week or two on just how to quilt it.  Then I decided to try combining ruler and free motion work, based on a picture of Angela Walters' work that I saw.  I was worried it would be too busy, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  My thread is nearly invisible on the back, so it looks really good.  The front is good as long as you don't look too closely!  I swear, every time I had a big mess-up it was always in a really high-contrast area.  Oh well, I tried something new and learned quite a bit--and I did get more consistent as I went on.  I used eight bobbins on this.  I usually use 3-5 bobbins on similar sized quilts for comparison.  My fabrics are all Kona cottons for the solids and Carolyn Friedlander Widescreen for the back and Crosshatch for the binding.  Pattern is by Jeli Quilts, available as a free download on Craftsy.

I had really hoped to have the mini version done too, but I don't.  I thought I could do it on the long arm, but wasn't happy with how my lines were coming out.  So I ripped it all out and figured I'd do it with the walking foot on the regular machine.  It looks even worse.  The fabric is pulling every which way and the stitch size is very uneven.  I've tried reducing the foot pressure and making tension adjustments and it is just a mess.  More ripping in the future for me.
I thought at first my walking foot had gone bad because I'd had similar problems with it not feeding well and having really uneven stitch sizes on the last mini I tried to quilt, which I've ripped out twice.  Same issues, pulling the fabric out of square and very uneven stitch length.
Before I went in to the repair shop, I figured I'd try quilting this mini mini quilt.  It looks really good. I made zero adjustments to pressure or tension.  So it's not the foot.  Can anyone shed light on why I am having so many problems with these other two minis?  I have a Bernina 440QE if it makes any difference.
Tutorial for this block is available here.
Everything I used to quilt with the foot always came out like this.  I am so frustrated.  Please help me!
I have a few other finishes from last week.
This is Tasha Noel's Winter Wonderland quilt pattern done with her Pixie Noel fabrics.
Ugliest quilt I've ever made.  Planning to donate to a good cause.
Cross stitch pattern by Pop Goes the Needle on Etsy.
These will all be added to the 2018 finishes tab as well.

Until next week.

Cross Stitch and Cornmeal Cookies

I'm still working on binding my Pixie Noel quilt.  I'm 5/8 done.  Fingers crossed I can get it finished before Friday's guild meeting.

I have 3/4 of the cross stitches framed/finished.  I still have to finish off my Harry Potter one, which was a good lesson on why you should always unhoop your project when not working on it, especially when you are using linen.  Anyway, these three are done and I'm quite happy with how they turned out.  The patterns are all from SewingSeed on Etsy.  The wooden hoops I purchased from CraftyWoolFelt on Etsy and they arrived super fast.  I was quite impressed with the speed of delivery--I ordered late Monday afternoon and had them Wednesday.  The white frame is from Stars & Sunshine on Etsy.
I decided to quilt another UFO for Friday.  This is, perhaps, the ugliest quilt I've ever made.  I bought the fabrics in 2001 and probably finished the top in that time frame as well.  I didn't buy binding at the time (why???) and I needed backing so I went to Jo-Ann.  The people in front of me in line and the lady at the cutting counter were all math-challenged.  Always so sad.  The customers didn't know how to change feet into yards or tell how wide the fabric was from reading the bolt.  The cutting counter lady didn't know the decimal equivalents of yardage fractions or how to double them.   Anyway, I'm not sure if she completely mismeasured the six yards of backing fabric I requested or if it truly shrunk that much in the wash, but I only had 5-2/3 yard when I went to cut it into two yard chunks.  Luckily I could make it work with some creative seaming, but still.  Hmm.

I have it all quilted and I am going to machine bind it and then probably donate it since it is no longer to our tastes.  I do have to wonder what we were thinking when we put these colors together though.  The green polka dot is the backing.
My son has to do a report on a famous Hoosier and he chose Virgil Grissom.  We took him to the Virgil Grissom memorial museum over the weekend.  It was really interesting and also really depressing.  What a horrible way to die.

We also went to a pioneer village and got some freshly ground cornmeal (which I store in the freezer along with my flour and butter).  My husband made cornmeal cookies with some.  If you like corn muffins and sugar cookies, you will probably enjoy these cookies.  He made 42 cookies with 64 calories each.

Cornmeal Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and flour.  Add the creamed mixture.  
  • Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. We used parchment paper instead of greasing.  
  • Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Snow Globe Quilt and Flowers

It's been a pretty quiet week.  I've been plotting which projects I can realistically finish before check-in at guild next week.  I figured I could for sure get two items off my list completed, thus earning two entries in our contest.

I decided to finish off my Pixie Noel Winter Wonderland (aka snow globe) quilt since I had everything needed and knew which pattern I wanted to quilt on it.  The quilt pattern and fabric is all by Tasha Noel.  I quilted it with the Easy Orange Peel pantograph.  I have the binding attached to the front and just need to sew it down.

I think I can also get four finished cross stitches framed.  I have the hoop for one, ordered hoops for two more, and am going to repurpose a frame for the fourth.  Today I will probably wash the fabrics to get them ready for framing.

I'm still struggling with how to quilt a variety of other quilt tops.  Why does it have to be so hard?  I most definitely need to get my Postcard tops quilted since the final due date on those is in two weeks.

In garden news, my daffodils look really good this year despite the crazy weather.  Yesterday we had violent thunderstorms, flood warnings, and a tornado watch.  It was in the 70s.  Today it is 30 degrees, super windy, and we are even having snow flurries.  I was worried the rain would ruin the blossoms, but I worried for naught since they still look good today.  I took a few pictures just in case though.  (I had a few others, but they turned out blurry since it was windy while I was taking pictures.)

And this is how all my tulips and day lilies look right now.  Darn deer.  Nothing deters them anymore.

Hopefully next week I'll have more finishes to share.  What are you working on?