Chasing a Squirrel

Do you ever just have to drop everything, despite deadlines or half-finished projects, and just start and finish something new?

On Friday I got an email from Rose of Threadbare Creations showing her new, free pattern.  (Side note--you should really subscribe to Rose's blog!) It is a cute paper pieced bunny in three sizes called Bonita Bunny.  I was consumed with the need to make one and started that day.  I dug through my stash and pulled out a few options.  What I really wanted, though, was to make one in the exact same Bonnie and Camille fabrics that she had.  I didn't have any of their newest line, Little Snippets, but I found a layer cake and the binding yardage at a LQS on Saturday.  So I have made two bunnies.

I chose to make the eight inch size for both.  The orange/green one is completely from my stash.  I'm not sure what line of fabric the orange and green prints are since my fat quarters didn't have any information.  I thought maybe Kate Spain, but couldn't find anything that looked like them. The white polka dot and green check are from JoAnn and the pink I've had for ages and I'm not sure of its origin.  

I started quilting this one on my sewing machine, but decided I'd really rather do curves on the long arm.  So I rigged some batting with basting and pins and finished on the long arm.  Where there's a will, there's a way?
The other is Bonnie and Camille Little Snippets (aqua and reds) and Handmade (pink), along with the polka dot from JoAnn.  The backing is Little Ruby.  This one was completely quilted on the long arm.

Friday I noticed that I finally had a daffodil blooming.  Two years ago my first bloom was March 1, last year it was March 12, and this year, March 22. As of today, that plant is still the only one blooming, but lots of my later-season daffodils have buds, so it should be just a few more days.  Even though we've been having hard frosts every night, Saturday was beautiful, so we cleaned up the flower gardens for spring.  I am so ready!
We had a hawk visitor briefly the other day.  They are always in our area, but don't usually make themselves very visible.  We believe this is a red shouldered hawk.

The other, regular birds have been draining the bird seed and suet quickly and some are exhibiting mating behavior and/or trying to build nests.  One unusual thing is that a mockingbird keeps coming in to the suet feeders.  We can't remember that ever happening before.  We saw an eagle flying high above the sewage treatment facility on the way to town.  I've seen one there before as well.  And I learned that turkey vultures migrate.  It seems like we have them year round, but maybe not.  I'll have to pay better attention.

In other sewing news, I'm trying to decide the size and placement of a new design wall in the sewing room. Right now we are leaning toward individually wrapping two 4 x 8 sheets of foam insulation and mounting them on the wall with command strips.  My current design wall is too narrow at six feet, so maybe eight feet would work out better?  I still haven't fixed the binding on the 365 quilt (I chopped off way too many points for my liking).  I am still mentally working out a quilting plan for a guild donation/fundraising quilt.  I ordered some Monopoly thread to try on it and am waiting on that to arrive.  In the meantime, I have a request for a fleece blanket that I will need to shop for, work on, and ship in the next few days.  And I am planning to quilt another of my quilts prior to the guild quilt.  I just have to seam the backing and load it on the frame.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I am selling my 18 x 24 Sew Steady extension table.  Now that my sewing room is done, I no longer have need of it.  It fits the Bernina 440 QE and similar models.  If you or someone you know may be interested, contact me for details.  I am asking $85 with free shipping in the US. (It was $100 new.) Price is somewhat negotiable.

Linking with Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation and mmm! quilts.

Quilts, Birds, and a Bumblebee

Last week we went to a local DNR area that is known for being a bird migration hot spot.  We were hoping to see the White Pelicans again, like we did last year.  We were in luck--we found a small amount of pelicans.  
There were also loads of Sandhill Cranes flying over us. These are just a few. 
And then there were thousands of birds flying toward us overhead.  We determined that they were snow geese and we just stood there forever watching more and more fly in.  Again, this picture shows a very few of the amount we saw.

Eventually we decided it was time to leave, but before leaving we decided to cross the road to see if there were any pelicans in the pond over there, which is where we found them last year.  There were not, but we were lucky enough to have a pair of endangered whooping cranes fly right over us.  Whooping cranes are winter birds for us, and according to Wikipedia, there are around 800 birds in the United States.  Wow!  
You can see that this bird had two bands and a tracker.  We had such an amazing morning!
I've also been busy quilting.  I quilted my 365 Challenge quilt that I made in 2016.  Since this quilt is really busy, I quilted an all-over loose feather pattern on it for texture.  I still have to bind it.  This is going to be a pretty big job since it's 90" square!

I also quilted my first customer quilt!  Isn't Carol's quilt just gorgeous?
While I was busy quilting, my daughter was busy making a themed mole for her chemistry class.  She chose to make it look like the Transformer Bumblebee and named it "Bumolebee".  She did almost the entire thing by herself!

In the "of course nothing can be easy" category, the casters on my cutting table appear to be reacting with my vinyl flooring in the sewing room.  They are leaving an oily residue all over the floor.  They did not ever leave grease in the carpet upstairs.  Also, the two-foot extension piece on my Juki frame is a different size than the original frame pieces.  We thought we had it all shimmed in place and everything would be okay, but whenever any of the wheels hits the area around the joins, it makes it really difficult to move the machine.  Sigh.  I need to call Grace about this.  Big sigh.  Sometimes I really hate my machine and its weird quirks--or is it lack of quality control?  I don't even know.  The machine itself is great; all the other parts are not so much--electronics, frame, encoders. I am mentally compiling a list of things to consider when buying a long arm.  Maybe I'll share it here soon.
View from above.

The new piece is the chipped one.  It came that way.  Doesn't that stink?
Can you believe how ridiculously off this is?
Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation.

Small Stuff, a Sewing Machine, and Yardage

Super long post ahead...All things considered, I'd say I've been pretty productive the last few days.  Last Thursday I went to the local quilt show and took a class with Kris Vierra.  I learned some new things, reinforced others, and thought about things in new ways, so I'll call that a win.  There was a class with Bonnie Hunter across the hall and even with the doors closed, those ladies were having some fun!  Here is one of my projects with Kris' quilting suggestions shown.
During my lunch break I had time to run through the show and check out the vendors.  I even ran into some ladies from the very first guild I was ever in, twenty years ago.  They recognized me and we enjoyed a brief chat.  Here are a few quilts that I really enjoyed.
Aunt Sadie's Stars by Nancy Simmons of Duncannon, Pennsylvania
Detail of how tiny those diamonds are, compared to sheet of paper.
Wrinkly/Irony by Connie Griner of Burlington, North Carolina

Gnome Forest by Barbara Triscari of Lebanon, Indiana

Kitty on the Green by Lisa Dodson of Martinsville, Indiana
Winter Sky by Dallas Reed of Indianapolis.

Friday I went back to the show with a friend and we found these cute little kits to make tissue holders.  I bought one for me and one for my daughter. She and I sewed them up Saturday night.  Do we know how to have fun or what?
My husband found an antique Brother sewing machine on Facebook that he insisted we buy.  We met the person Friday night. I have no idea if it even runs.  We are intending it to be a display piece.  Does anyone have any tips for cleaning the paint to remove the yellow hue?

Saturday was guild day and we were working on some of the charity quilts we have planned for the year.  I was in charge of cutting out a quilt.  It took me about four hours.  Then I went home and slept.  My kids are on spring break this week, so we've been hanging around and enjoying being lazy.

Sunday I bought a whole bunch of batting again!  I really need to get quilting.

Monday I decided to try out sewing some of the Cupcake Cake Mix papers from Moda/Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.  I used two charm packs that I already had (bonus!)--American Jane's Bread 'n Butter and Kona Snow.  I have to say that while I know charm squares aren't always square, some of those Kona ones were really ridiculous. Check my Instagram feed to see one of the wonkiest. If you're not on Instagram, scroll down to the bottom of my page and get a preview. Hopefully it will come out okay with all the cutting I will need to do.
Tuesday I made this little earbud pouch for my daughter.  She chose all the fabrics from my stash.  The pattern is available here.

I have a few quilts that are not mine that I get to quilt!  I'm excited and nervous.  I really need to try one of my own first to make sure that everything is working properly after the epic take down, expand, and put back together episode.  I'm hoping to get to the quilting Thursday or Friday.  Here's a little sneak peek.

Today is family fun activity day, so I probably won't be sewing today. We do still have to make a mole for my daughter's chemistry class at some point this week too.  Until next week.

Sewing Room Reveal Part One

I'm fully moved into the sewing room now, although we are still not completely finished.  Here is a brief tour of the room with almost everything in it--I'm still really hoping for a separate ironing surface.  I haven't put up a design wall or done any decorating yet.  Many of the cupboards are empty, but the drawers are all full. And let's not talk about the closets, okay?

When you enter the room, you will see my long arm all the way to the right.  I've mentioned before that we added the two-foot extension so that my frame is now 12 feet.  That allows me to quilt most king-sized quilts.  I figured it would take an hour or two to extend the frame, but it actually took at least six hours over two days to get everything to fit properly.  I was a bit disappointed that the extension kit looked like it had been partially assembled before.  There were some chips in the white paint and the hardware kit had clearly been opened and retaped shut.  It was missing a set screw, but that is easily replaceable and we left it out of the batting bar since I don't generally use that one.  The new frame pieces were a slightly different size than the old ones and the silver parts that hold the track didn't quite line up either.  Sigh.  But it's all back together now and I am ready to quilt for you.

You also see my cutting table (original construction details here).  Since I haven't decided on the ironing board situation yet, I'm still using my original setup.  Isn't it lovely?  ha ha.  We do have a new top for the cutting table prepared, and it will match the other countertops.  I also have a butcher block top that will form the ironing surface, but I'm not sure what I want for a base yet. 

If you're wondering what I keep in all the cubbies of the cutting table, I have two bins with scraps and half square triangles, one with charm packs and mini charm packs, one with a bunch of doll clothes fabric, some binders, square rulers, ironing tools, and rotating cutting mat, and a few with random supplies. You can see what I keep in the end--it's mostly my next planned projects and some interfacing.  Once I get my closet situation under control, I may change what I store in there.

Speaking of closets, here are my two closet doors at the right end of the long arm frame. Why two closets? Well, the one to the right was already there since it is under the stairs. The other is directly under our master bathroom, so it's a nice, big size.  I am not willing to share what they currently look like inside.  I have a lot of sorting, discarding, destashing, and reorganizing to do. 

Oh, you can see my Ikea drawer unit outside the left closet.  When I sewed upstairs, and in a few of our previous houses, it held all sorts of notions and thread.  I emptied it out yesterday, was shocked by my hoarding tendencies, tried to reorganize the contents into my new drawers, and then refilled it with my long arm supplies.
Here's the view of the room when standing near the closets.  My father-in-law made my cabinets for me. The knobs and pulls are from Menards; you can get the same ones at virtually any big box store.  The chair is the Roache Task Chair in blue from Wayfair.  The decorative ceiling light is from Lamps Plus and is no longer available. It looks pretty, but gives off basically no light since it came with an Edison bulb, pretty but impractical. Yes, I can change the bulb to something brighter, but haven't made the effort yet. The flooring is Mannington Adura Max luxury vinyl plank in Sundance Gunstock that we purchased online from Flooring Market.  The ordering process was very smooth and the price was outstanding.  I think that may be the first flooring we've ever ordered online.  The doors are from Lowes.  The wall paint is from Lowes as well.  The cabinet paint is from Sherwin Williams.  The trim is custom that my father-in-law and husband made.  The counter material is Formica in Neutral Weft.  We added the matching Ideal Edge so that it looks more solid surface-like.  We made the counters on site (bought Formica sheets and glued to particleboard).
Here's my sewing machine inset into the hole in the counter.  I haven't had a chance to sew yet, but it looks like it should work well.  I have a Sew Easy extension table that fits similar Berninas available to sell for a good price if someone is in need of one.  Hit the contact button to inquire.  :)
Tomorrow I am taking a class with Kris Vierra.  The class description says you can bring your problem tops and get quilting suggestions.  Is bringing in an Ikea bag full of tops too much?  Asking for a friend.  😉 Saturday my guild is having a Sewcial to start work on the charity quilts we are planning for this year.  Then it's spring break for the kids.  Other than that, I have loads of sorting and organizing to do in my room, and maybe I'll even get a chance to sew or quilt something.  I'm really hoping that having all my stuff in its own room out of the family space doesn't mean that I never get the chance to sew.  It's so convenient to have it in the center of the living room, but not very visually pleasing.

One final note--did you see that Warm Company is no longer going to sell their batting and other products at JoAnn?  Yikes.