July Goal

After last week's marathon quilting session, I took time off to recharge. I caught up on paperwork, solidified fabric choices for a few upcoming projects, returned the quilts, and even cleaned most of the house. Once I felt a little more recharged, I turned to determining which project I wanted to select for July's goal. I removed one option since I completed it yesterday!

I was able to quilt and bind the donation quilt over the past few days. Here it is, front and back, draped over the longarm frame.

I wasn't able to get pictures last night when I had help and daylight, so here are a few poor photos I snapped early this morning (still no quilt holders since two are asleep and one is at work). We'll just call these how not to take finished quilt photos. 😏

If you haven't been by here recently, this quilt is from circa 2000. The pattern was published in American Patchwork & Quilting in 1999 and I last remember working on it in 2000/2001. I quit working on it because it was supposed to have 12" appliqué borders all the way around and I do not enjoy appliqué. I took it out of the storage box last month, decided it didn't really need the borders, pulled fabrics from my stash for the backing, and it will now be donated to the local guild's community quilts program. It is nice to see how much my skills have grown in the last 20 years.

So, with this project completed, that left me with a few choices for OMG. I could work on the gray string pieces for Grassy Creek. I'd debated whether I wanted to do the strings or not, but have decided in favor. However, I want a little break from this quilt, so maybe that will be August's goal.  I have a test quilt that needs to be done this month, which is a definite priority, but I can't share photos of it, so that makes it a no-go for OMG. I need to make myself some shirts, but not sure if the pattern will fit well or not, so would prefer not to share photos of myself. I have some quilts that need to be bound...hmm, maybe.  I have my ongoing quest to organize all the Kona cotton squares...it's in progress, but not a true sewing project. Guild quilt...can't share the whole thing yet since we've set it up as a mystery quilt. Okay, that leaves this one:

I am planning to sew a mini quilt using this cute little koala pattern from Quiet Play. This is just for fun (though aren't most quilt projects?) and July is my birthday month, so it can be my own little birthday gift to myself. It's small enough that I have a shot at getting it done along with my secret test quilt project. I am planning to piece, quilt, and bind it during July.

I can now share a few mini projects I completed in June.  I made these for Deborah for a guild mini swap. She likes fall colors and owls. I purchased the backing fabric and the rest was all from stash for both projects. {Side note: somehow these didn't make a noticeable dent in the scrap bin even though it felt like I pulled a lot of fabric out. } I wasn't entirely sure which way I wanted to go, so ended up with two projects.  This first one is a free project I found on Pinterest called Dr. Whoot

The second project was based on an image I saw on Pinterest. I planned out my project in EQ8 and learned how to make custom paper piecing templates. Maybe you remember this photo? 

This project was actually my first idea, but it wasn't coming together as I had hoped (the inspiration project was amazing and mine was decidedly not), which is when I switched over to the owl. I had enough time to revisit, rip apart, and redo, so I decided to give her both. This leaf one I made into a pillow cover so maybe it will be a little more useful. It's quilted with a tiny scale Unwind pattern. I hoped that it was reminiscent of falling leaves.

The only other thing I've worked on this week is Keetah's quilt. I offered her the choice of off-white or gold thread and she picked the gold, which is Glide Sand. This color goes with so many different quilts that come through my door. The quilting design is Oodles of Doodles.

I came close on the thread. Don't worry, I had a second cone.  Part way through the row: will it make it?

Finished.  Whew!
I have a busy week of quilting ahead of me. My little quilting business turns two in July! I'm so thankful that people are willing to let me quilt for them. Never in a million years would I have ever guessed that this is where I'd be.

Another exciting thing is that after a year and a half, we are finally going to be able to travel home to see our families this month. 

Take care. Thanks for stopping by.

Linking with For the Love of Geese, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Alycia Quilts.

OMG My June OMG is Complete Early

It's so unexpected. I thought I'd struggle to get these done on time, but here I am, finished a whole week early.  25 Grassy Creek mystery blocks are assembled.

                        Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - June Finish Link-up

I'm debating what I want to select for next month's OMG. I should go ahead and make all the gray string blocks so that I can finish this thing, but I also feel like I really need a break from this project. I have plenty of other things to work on. I am testing a quilt. I have a small paper piecing project I'd like to make. I need to make myself some shirts. I have a charity quilt I'd like to quilt and bind. I have another quilt of my own I'd like to quilt.  I have a couple quilts that need to be trimmed and have binding attached to them. I never run out of things to do. What should I work on? Stop by next week to see what I decided on.

Here's this week's quilts. I've been working like crazy to get these done. The first one belongs to Deborah. It's quilted with In the Swirls.

Next is one of Charlene's, quilted with Ripples. I learned how to split and recombine a design on this one!

Then I worked on Deb's. She makes the cutest 30s quilts. This one is all hand-pieced! She chose Saffron Blossoms for the quilting.

Here's another of Charlene's, quilted with Honeycomb.

Finally, here is Amber's quilt. I quilted a loopy meander on it. It was fun seeing fabrics she's used in some of her previous quilts that she gifted. This one is just for her.

I've clearly spent a ton of time in the basement this week, but I have still gotten my walks done. We had huge storms move through Friday night. There were a lot of branches down and part of our downtown (well north of us) flooded. We didn't think we had any damage, but a (dead) tree fell down after the fact. Prior to the storm we had loads of butterflies, including a few monarchs. We haven't seen the monarchs since then, but we did capture a few others on camera.

We think these are Great Spangled Fritillaries.  They're fritillaries of some sort, anyway.  We had loads and loads fluttering around the lower garden for a few days, but not so many recently.

I also captured a yellow swallowtail on camera.

We also have tons and tons and more tons of bees. The bees love the lamb's ear flowers and also like the milkweed. I think these are plain old common bumblebees, but I don't want to get that close!  Several of our neighbors have honey bees, but I didn't see many or any or those.

Several of my day lilies in the lower garden that usually get eaten before blooming are actually blooming. Look at this stunner! The flowers are HUGE.  No idea what type or where I bought it.

We have another batch of baby bluebirds in the nesting box. They've clearly just hatched since they are naked!

I celebrated my anniversary this week by making myself a key lime pie. No one else in my house likes it. Pro tip: to easily juice key limes, cut them in half and squeeze them in your garlic press.  I like this recipe for my pie. I don't make the whipped cream, I usually use fat free sweetened condensed milk, and most of the time I buy a premade crust. And it is still yummy.

Linking with For the Love of Geese, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Alycia Quilts.

Grassy Creek Progress

I started working on the Grassy Creek blocks that are this month's goal.  I have pieced 8/25 of them.  

I do need to rip and redo one seam on one block that is very noticeably off, but the rest will stay as is.  The blocks are very vibrant in person, but I'm not capturing that in the photos.

This next photo is as close to true colors as I could get.
I've completed the pieced back for the Millennium quilt. I made a math error, so will end up trimming off around 18" split between the top and bottom.  I added 6" strips on the top and bottom of the pieced blocks and it should have been 3".  I thought about fixing it, but decided it wasn't really that important, so once I get a little break in my quilting queue, I'll get this quilted, bound, and ready for donation.

My small guild had our mini quilt exchange Friday night.  My partner wasn't there, so she hasn't seen hers yet.  On the off chance that she reads my blog, I'll hold off sharing what I made until she has received it.  I am happy, however, to show you what I received, because it is AWESOME!  

Annie made me this in all my favorite colors. She said the pattern is by Granny Knot by Broadcloth Studio and she shrunk it down to finish around 12".

She also included this fun flamingo for me. You know I love kitschy flamingos.  And real-life ones too.

In the quilting arena, I returned Brenda's red and white quilt and that left me with Jan's shaped tree skirt.  I learned how to create my own custom-sized crosshatch blocks in the IntelliQuilter.  I had watched a demonstration by Tracey Browning a couple months ago, so once I played around with it for a day or two, I felt confident enough to try it. I purchased a HST diamond feather from Three Sisters as well. Next, I learned how to place and "shape shift" blocks. It was much easier than I expected and I'm pleased with the outcome.  Since I've returned the quilt to Jan, I'll share it here.

I have plenty more to work on, for which I am so very thankful. It's funny how they seem to come in chunks.  Everyone must be on similar quilt-making cycles. I'm getting better about not feeling guilty if I take a little time to work on my own things or do things with family in between quilts.

In the garden, the strawberries are waning.  We were able to harvest the bolted lettuce and enjoy a strawberry salad (lettuce, strawberries, pecans, and homemade poppy seed dressing) and strawberry shortcake.  My pear tree has loads of baby pears, which I'm thrilled about. However, it also has big clumps of dead leaves at the ends of branches, so I'm not sure what is causing that (update: Fire blight.   Cicada damage. Tree is heavily pruned and had to cut off about 1/2 the pears.). I noticed some of the sycamore trees in the neighborhood look like that too. The cicadas are thankfully waning.  It's so quiet.  And nice to hear more birdsong again.  The butterflies are all arriving en masse and the milkweeds are in full bloom to greet them.

Linking with For the Love of Geese, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Alycia Quilts.

Sign Up for Everything

Hi. Hope you are well. Glad you are here. 

I've switched my email feed from FeedBurner to Mailchimp.  I apologize to those of you who got duplicate emails the other night. I published a guide outlining the steps I took to make the switch and failed to actually remove the FeedBurner feed. Ugh. How embarrassing. My guide is now updated to include disabling FeedBurner--it's the post directly before this one if you're interested. So...if you'd like to receive emails each time I post, there is a "Follow by email" sign up window located in the right column on desktop or in the pop up menu on mobile.

Moving along, I keep signing up for quilt alongs! This might not be a great thing since I don't seem to find myself sewing much at all at the moment. But I have hope/optimism that I'll find the time.  Here's what I have going on currently.

The Macaron Mystery Quilt is starting soon. I'm providing a free quilting prize again! Cheryl's patterns are always top-notch and the pace of this mystery is so easy to keep up with. From Cheryl:

This is the seventh annual, free quilt along hosted by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs.  Instructions are posted to the Meadow Mist Designs blog on the Thursday of each month with a reveal parade with tons of prizes in the spring.  There is an active Facebook group to quilt along with and even a sneak peek option for those who would rather the design not be a mystery. Visit the Macaron Mystery page for more information about the quilt along, schedule, sponsors & prizes, Facebook group, and un-mystery option. 

I also signed up to participate in Art East's #Trending quilt. We (my family) thought this one looked like fun and it will be interesting to see what each of the nine blocks looks like. It starts in September.

I also have this testing project in the works. My son helped me pull the required amount of fabrics from my stash.

Meanwhile, I still need to work on my OMG--sewing all the Bonnie Hunter Grassy Creek blocks.  I haven't even started yet because...remember this quilt from last week? i'm obsessed with getting it done and donated.

I have started to create a backing using only fabrics I already have. I pulled things from my stash that went with it. There are also four blocks that were supposed to be corner blocks for the front. Here's my frenzied fabric pull.

I decided to sew the blocks together to make a strip for the center of the backing.

Then I did a little math and determined that I'd need 16 fat quarters to make the backing the correct size.  I got this idea from Gyleen X. Fitzgerald (hands down the best speaker I've been honored to hear), though I'm modifying it to fit what I have. 
I need to trim all my FQ to be the exact same size before sewing. This is my rough layout. 
I also have a few small projects I completed this week.  I can share them next week.

And of course there are quilts!

Carol's quilt, being quilted with Pretty Paisley.  This quilt is so beautiful. The colors are amazing and Carol is donating to a fundraiser, Purrfect Paws Cat Rescue. You could own this quilt. 😉

And here is where I've spent the last three days.  Brenda made this Hunter Star and we decided to use Merge as it's for a young man.  In order to keep everything lined up properly, I needed to baste the vertical seam lines.  It was a lot of extra effort, but the results are worth it. It looks really good, if I say so myself.

Not gonna lie, I was really happy to see the end of the quilt yesterday evening.

That's more or less my week. I spent hours with Q-Tips, cotton balls, and toothpicks cleaning the used 430 I bought on eBay. Once I used the machine for a few hours and everything got loosened up inside the machine, it seems to sew appropriately. I got an email last night telling me my 440 is fixed and ready to be picked up, so I'll go get that in a bit. Last I knew they thought maybe it was the pressure sensor for the presser foot and they had a call in to Bernina. I don't yet know if that's what they determined was wrong.

We've had muggy, rainy, cicada-filled weather. (Totally not a fan of these cicadas.) Last I checked my veggies, there was virtually no lettuce.  Less than a week later, it has grown and mostly bolted. The critters have discovered the strawberries. It looks like I'll have quite a few dill plants, but though I replanted cucumber seeds, I still have no cucumbers. The rest is growing but not producing yet.

Here is my clematis that fell off its support. It's filled with blossoms this year and the robin's nest with eggs does appear to have been fully abandoned now. Nature is always interesting.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.

How to Switch from FeedBurner to Mailchimp for Blogger

I'm sure you've seen the little notice on Blogger about FeedBurner going away in July.  Wondering what to use as a replacement?  If you have under 2000 followers, Mailchimp is a free service that is fairly easy to use.

The first thing you need to do is sign up for an account. The only drawback I have found is that you are required to enter your mailing address and it will appear at the bottom of each email Mailchimp sends on your behalf. Consider how you want your address to appear and enter it accordingly.

Once you sign up, you will need to verify your account via email.

Next, follow the steps in this link (directly from Mailchimp):

Share Your Blog Posts with Mailchimp

I would recommend having two Mailchimp tabs/windows open during the set up process so that you can go through the steps in your account and see the tutorial steps as well.

You need to know your web address of your blog.  That's basically what the entire "Before you start" section is about.

Follow the steps in the "Create an RSS campaign" section.  These are pretty straightforward.

  • "RSS feed step": basically select what time you want Mailchimp to pull and send your feed out to your subscribers via email. Even though I typically post once per week, I left this setting on "every day" just in case I decide to post more often. Choose what works for you.
  • "Recipients step": At this point, your own email will be your only recipient.  You can pull from FeedBurner now if you want or go back and add it after you've set up and tested everything. I pulled my subscribers CSV at the end so that everything was working properly prior to sending it out to the world. 
  • "Templates step": Choose your layout.  Be aware that not all options are free. I chose the basic one column for mine because that's what looks like my blog layout.
  • "Design step": Upload a logo if you'd like.  I don't have a logo for my blog, so I used a screenshot of my header so that my email will look like my blog (minus all the menus I have above the header and all the other extra sidebar and footer stuff). There are some basic editing tools available within the photo section.  If you don't have a logo but want one, I would suggest creating one in Canva, which offers some free design capabilities. 
  • For the text of your email, you will need to delete the existing template content and drag and drop one of the RSS feed blocks into its place. {You drop blocks into the left display and make text edits on the right display of this screen}. I liked the RSS items block. This pulled in my blog post and listed links to previous posts as well. You can play with different fonts and sizes in the settings menu on the right if you'd like, though it's not necessary. 
  • You will notice some icons for various social feeds at the bottom of the blocks.  Don't forget to go in and change each link to your own information.  Delete the icons you do not need. I would suggest using the website and email icons at a minimum.  At this point I entered the preview mode to make sure that Mailchimp was pulling in my feed and that my own icons were correct.  
  • "Confirm step": Once you are satisfied that your information is correct and looks how you want, you can move on to hitting the "Start RSS" button on the lower right of the screen.
  • You aren't done just yet though.  You need to import your subscriber CSV file from FeedBurner. To find this, open a new tab and log in to FeedBurner. Select the feed you want, look for "Feed Stats" in the left column, and click on "subscribers". Scroll down to "FeedBurner Email Subscriptions", then click on "Manage your email subscriber list". 
  • I would highly recommend going through each page of your FeedBurner subscribers prior to downloading the CSV because there was an unaddressed, known issue in in 2017-2018 where you would receive multiple sign ups per day with every single one having an Outlook email address.  If you were hit by this oddity like I was, you will see variations of the same few names over and over again.  I would delete every single one of these bogus sign ups prior to downloading your CSV file.  No need to waste your 2000 free Mailchimp spaces with fake, spam emails.  The drawback to this is that you must delete each fake address one at a time in FeedBurner.  This was the most time-consuming part of the entire switchover process for me. I think I spent an hour deleting all this junk.
  • Once you have a clean list of subscribers, export your CSV file. I exported mine to my desktop so that I could easily find it.
  • Move to your "Audience Dashboard" (second icon below the monkey) on the Mailchimp menu on the left side of the screen. Then click on the "Manage Audience" menu on the upper right side of the screen. In the pull-down menu, select "Import Contacts" and then upload your CSV file. 
  • Open a new tab for your Blogger account and remove the FeedBurner gadget from your blog. In your Blogger menu, you will look for the "layout" button then find and delete your FeedBurner code. It is probably labeled as an HTML gadget.
  • Now you are ready to create your new sign up/follow by email button in Mailchimp. Go to the "Audience" menu and then the "Signup forms" item.  Select which type of signup you want.  I wanted an embedded HTML form (because pop up forms are incredibly annoying to me) to replace the prior FeedBurner one, so that is what I will outline here. 
  • Select "embedded forms" and then make your selections. Change the form title to your preferred title. I would recommend only collecting the email (not name and birthday) for Blogger purposes.  Just select the "show only required fields" radio button to change this. 
  • Grab your HTML from the "Copy/Paste" window on the right.
  • Move back to Blogger, add a new HTML gadget to your layout, and paste in your Mailchimp code.  Make sure to save your layout in Blogger and then view your blog to make sure everything looks correct.
  • You will need to disable the FeedBurner feed to avoid sending duplicate emails. There may be other ways to do this, but I deleted my FeedBurner feed since I'd already transferred the followers.  This is directly from Google: 

    Closing your FeedBurner Account

    FeedBurner is a service that is associated with your Google account. When your Google account is permanently deleted, information associated with your FeedBurner account (such as burned feeds and MyBrand domains) will be automatically deleted after a grace period of 30 days. If you wish to delete your Google account, please follow these instructions.

    If you want to stop using FeedBurner without deleting your Google account, you can simply delete the feeds in your FeedBurner account individually from the My Feeds page in the FeedBurner control panel (by clicking a feed title, and then Delete Feed... at the top of the screen),  and deactivate any remaining services from the My Account page in the control panel.

  • That's it!  Depending on how tech savvy you are and how many bogus emails you have to remove from FeedBurner, this whole process should take one to two hours.

I hope this walk-through helped you, and I hope those of you who currently use FeedBurner will switch to a new service and still have a follow by email option on your blog. I'll miss you otherwise. If you have any questions or need help, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I'll try my best to help you.

June OMG & Old Quilts

Well, here we are, time for another OMG with Elm Creek Quilts.  I love the push that Patty's program gives me to move forward on things that I've been dragging my feet on.  I decided to go ahead and make the next round of pieces on Grassy Creek my goal this month.  My daughter helped me arrange all the blocks, which barely fit on my design wall.  Also, she is short, so there are a lot of blocks near the floor!  This made it really hard to get a decent photo since the design wall is behind the long arm.  So here is a series of not so great photos, but you'll get the idea.

Here are all 25 blocks.

Left half of the blocks, minus the one at the top.
Blocks on the right side of the design wall.
Close up of a block.

Last week I mentioned my dislike of hourglass units and several readers commented that they didn't think the blocks looked bad.  That was because I strategically arranged my blocks so that the best ones showed. Here is a photo of one of the less ideal blocks.  Despite my efforts, I always have some that are really wonky when I sew them.  I do always line up the proper center point while trimming.  I guess my piecing of these units is just way off at times.

Moving along, if you stopped by last week, you know I was upset that my zig zag stitch was malfunctioning.  My beloved 440 is back with the repair person so he can undo whatever it is he did. Here's a picture of what was going on. Can you see how it just takes straight stitches every now and then? The needle actually pierces the fabric  on the left side of the zig zag, but no stitch is formed.

Meanwhile, I was freaking out over not having a machine for who knows how long.  My daughter's Bernette is okay, but it's not a 440.  I went looking for back up machines on eBay and look what arrived yesterday:

There was a lot of bubble wrap.  A lot.  The machine was even bubble wrapped inside the case! There is something sticking out on the left side under the Bernina logo, but I don't know what it is.  Anyone know?

(Edited to add: it is a clip to hold a Bernina magnifying glass system.  Too bad I don't have one of those.)

It does need a lot of surface cleaning, but according to the seller it only has 105 hours on it.  Mine has around 3000.  And he threw in a Bernina walking foot for me. Anyone know a good way to safely surface clean machines?  Mine still looks virtually new after nine years.  This one definitely doesn't. The buttons need help. They are pretty gross.

I have worked on a few sewing projects, but cannot share them yet.  Plus, no machine makes it hard make much progress.

I have done some quilting.  Here is a sneak peek of the back of one.  Can't show the front for a while yet.

And here are two of Sonja's in progress.

Last week Rebecca asked about old, unfinished quilts on one of her Instagram posts. I mentioned that I had two that were around 20 years old and she wanted to see them.  Maybe you'd enjoy seeing them too?

This first one is a lovely shade of navy and white--one of my favorite combos ever.  I pieced this no later than in 2000. The pattern was published in American Patchwork & Quilting some time in the 1990s.  I didn't go look for the specific issue.  Even though the points and intersections aren't great, I still adore this quilt. It's one of the first I ever made. I bought backing a few years ago, but I am not in love with it and I haven't decided yet how to quilt it, so that's why it's still like this. I sort of want to full-on custom quilt it with rulers.  Time is a problem for that.

Next up is this little apple quilt.  It is from around 2000 as well.  The pattern was in one of the McCall's magazines, maybe Quick Quilts? This was originally intended as a gift for my mother in law.  She had the exact wallpaper as the border print, only in yellow.  That thin green border is a jacquard fabric.  Not sure why I did that. Ha. I never got it quilted and of course she has redecorated multiple times since then.  This one should be an easy finish since it's fairly small.  Maybe this one is a candidate for trying out custom quilting on the IQ.

I thought those were the only old ones, but I was poking around in my closet and found this one. Notice all the Thimbleberries fabric? Maybe not because I didn't take a close-up picture.  Trust me, it's there.😏 Remember how that was like the height of fashion in the quilting world in the late 90s? Anyway, the pattern was published in 1999 in American Patchwork & Quilting. It was called Millennium Quilt or something similar. I think I worked on this right around 2000 based on my memories of where I purchased the fabric and where I remembered stitching the blocks. The reason this quilt never got finished is that it is supposed to have 12" appliquéd borders all the way around. If you've been here for a while, you know that while I love how appliqué looks, I HATE hand-stitching it. I decided that this top is a good candidate for the local guild's Community Quilts program. There's no reason that I need to add 12" borders, and I don't mind sacrificing a bunch of 1" wide bias strips. I will happily create a backing, quilt, bind, and donate.

(Edit 6/4/21: I now have a firm plan for this.  Check back Wednesday to find out more.)

Let's finish off with a bit of gardening.  My veggie garden is still limping along.  I replanted cucumber seeds this weekend.  The strawberry patches are producing like crazy. We spent four or five hours Saturday removing more spearmint that popped up from the lower flower bed (it's around 15 ft x 60 ft). I planted the lilac bush I'd been waiting on.  Went to water it Monday and saw that there was already spearmint coming up.  IT HAD ONLY BEEN TWO DAYS! 😩  I surely loathe that stuff.  The smell turns my stomach now. There was also a good bit of what I think is Johnson grass to remove.

A robin had nested in one of the clematis vines; I mentioned that last week.  She must have been too heavy, because the whole vine was off the support and the nest with four eggs was tipped precariously.  We attempted to pull the vine back up and fasten it to the support as best we could, but I think the robin abandoned her nest.

Finally: baby pears!

I hope you have a lovely week.  Thanks for dropping by.

Linking with For the Love of GeeseMy Quilt Infatuation, Alycia Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.