Quilts for Kids

How's your week been?  Not much sewing has been going on here. After having just a cement floor for almost a year, construction has begun on my husband's barn/garage/workshop. The kids and I helped him tip up the walls at first. Then he discovered he could lift them into place using his tractor if he made them a little smaller. Now I help him periodically by holding the level and making sure the wall is level before tightening it down and/or stabilizing it and cleaning up all the tools each evening. Here's how far we got over the last week.

I quilted my Quilts for Kids astronaut quilt with the Driftwood design. I still need to bind it.

I also started on the Grogu quilt and have the top completed. I changed my mind on color placement and now it is very green. Maybe I should have stuck with my initial plan, but too late now. The wood grain fabric frayed a lot during construction, so it's probably for the best. 

I've completed a few quilts for others.  First is Annie's baby quilt, quilted with Soho. She's so creative!

Next is Carol's Tula Pink quilt. She selected Pretty Paisley for the quilting. She's on vacation, so I've been enjoying all the pretty colors until she gets home. (And traveling vicariously through all the photos she's shared. πŸ™‚)

And finally, Haley's Chilhowie, quilted with Christmas. I really like her colors; they are very different than Bonnie Hunter's and most of the completed tops I've seen on social media. Today's task is to make and attach the binding to the front.

Also, I enjoyed finding this little figure hiding in the fabric pictured below. It's probably a little over a quarter inch. 

Over in the gardens, the clematis continue to put on a good show. Look at all the buds on the purple one! They and the catmint are the only things thriving in the flower beds so far.

It's been tremendously dry here, so I've been watering parts of the lower garden and the vegetable gardens every other day, along with all the spruce trees we had planted this spring. It's so dry the lawn is starting to burn out. Well, the weeds in the lawn. We don't have a ton of grass. The ground feels like August instead of May.

Stop by tomorrow to link up to June's OMG.

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation and Alycia Quilts.

May One Monthly Goal Finish Link Up

It's time to link up your May finish.

This link up will remain open until May 31 at 11:55 pm EST. Remember, you can link up from either my post or Patty's at Elm Street Quilts and your link will show up in the same link party. 

Want to see everyone's goals? Check out the May goal page

I visited everyone's links at the beginning of the month and there are some wonderful projects in the works. 

My goal for May was to fully finish my Tall Tales quilt. I completed it well ahead of schedule! I'll be writing more about this one next month, including showing the backing. 

Now it's your turn to share your finish. Please add a link to this OMG post so that others can follow where you are linking.  Just paste this into your post:

Stories from the Sewing Room One Monthly Goal May Finish Link Up

Take a few minutes to visit others and make new friends!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Ode to a Spray Bottle

I had big plans to cut and start piecing the sashing for my Women's Voices quilt. However, my 35 year old Caboodles spray bottle that I use for spritzing fabric while ironing gave out while spritzing the black cornerstone fabric. I am so sad; it's been my faithful companion for a large chunk of my life. 😭 We had no other spray bottles in the house, so I couldn't press anything til I got a new one. 

Although I was able to get a new spray bottle (may have actually gotten three different ones...), I sort of lost interest in the sashing. This is as far as I got. That ugly brown fabric is the sashing fabric and the black is for cornerstones.

Instead, I decided to put together a Quilts for Kids top. I didn't have any suitable backing fabric, so we made a quick trip to JoAnn and got fabrics to make one more quilt as well. We selected Grogu fabric, which is not pictured since it's in the washer. Here is the first top I made, all from stash. Maybe I can get this one quilted and bound over the weekend.

Meanwhile, I've been busy quilting and have nearly reached the end of my queue for the first time in four years. So if you need something quilted quickly, I am currently at a one-week turnaround. Most of the time I'm at four+ weeks, so this is weird for me. Anyway, I've worked on some nice quilts this week. 

This one is Kayle's, quilted with In the Swirls. The quilt pattern is called Waltz of the Flowers.

Next up is Jayne's. She won the free quilting prize from Meadow Mist Designs' Melodic Mystery QAL. We decided to go with Midnight Sparkle and it looks amazing! she used several of the sparkly solid fabrics in her top.

Amber's baby quilt is next. She picked Ginger Hearts for this one.

I quilted Amber's table runner with loopy meander.

Charlene selected Rainbow Hearts for this baby quilt made with Tula Pink fabrics.

Sara's quilt is quilted with Chasing Coral.

And finally, Patricia's quilt, quilted with loopy meander. She created the cute elephant fabrics. It's not pictured, but the back is another quilt!

Besides all the quilts, we completed another school year (the boy wore his button-up dress shirt and sweat shorts for the last day of school πŸ˜†), and we took a trip to the zoo over the weekend. It was one we hadn't been to before and the weather was perfect for walking. Our favorite part was the tropical bird area. 

We also pulled out a lot more spearmint from the lower garden and got the zinnias sown. The kids brought Henry the injured rooster down to forage in the garden. They thought he'd go for the ants and the spearmint, but he declined. He took a bite of a milkweed leaf and then went crazy for the Johnsongrass out in the lawn. While he still walks with a limp and sits a lot, he does get out of the coop by himself each day and his "walnut" on his head is looking much healthier. He still requires assistance to get back in the coop at night.

I finished my last big quilt guild board meeting. Well, I still need to type the notes, but after that all I have to do is hand off the info to the new person next month. I served for 2.5 years.

After renewing our expired building permit, we have now started construction on the garage/barn/workshop/whatever you want to call it. 

The OMG finish linkup opens tomorrow and runs through the end of the month. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's finishes.

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Alycia Quilts.

Odds & Ends

I completed the last two blocks of the Jamestown (AKA Batesville BOM) quilt. Here's the first one.

And the second. It was getting to be pretty slim pickings in the remaining fabric. I think I like the last block (below) better than the second-to-last (which was colors closer to what the pattern called for).

I've set this one aside again until I finish the Civil War quilt top--no progress was made on that one at all over the past week.

Saturday was a Sewcial day for the larger quilt guild I belong to. I figured I'd take along my cursed Grassy Creek border pieces and try to make some progress on them. I did make a bit of progress, though I found it to be much more time-consuming than I figured. I got about 1/4 of the needed blocks to this stage:

After four and a half hours, I decided it was time to head home. The church where we were sewing has a long hallway to the doors that lead out to the parking lot. Since it is a long sidewalk with several sets of stairs, I decided to carry out my sewing machine first and then come back for my purse and bag of sewing. Well, the doors shut behind me and I recognized my error--the doors were locked after noon and I did not have my phone with me. So I stood at the door, knocking and waving my arms around trying to attract attention. That didn't work. I finally decided to drive my car around the facility and try the other door. Finally someone noticed me and let me in so I could gather the rest of my things. That was a pretty fraught  20+ minutes in major heat and humidity and panic. I had to take Tylenol and rest for a while when I got home. πŸ˜…

I've gotten several quilts done. The first two belong to Pat. She is always so patient with me and I appreciate it so much. This one is quilted with Tristin. I was able to get it fully bound for her yesterday.

The next one is quilted with Ethereal Mist. I need to bind this one still.

I quilted this little panel wallhanging with Midnight Sparkle for Judy.

And I quilted Just Basketballs on Toni's t-shirt quilt.

Last week I teased a project. My husband spent quite a bit of time building lighting for my longarm. I'm really enjoying having the extra light focused on my work area. We styled them on the actual lights for my machine, but they cost about 1/3 (not counting all the time he spent, so probably the same in the end).

Out in the gardens, our clematis are looking excellent this year. Here's a photo of one. There is a bird nest in it. Birds seem to love nesting in the vines. That little pine tree standard to the left of it is the one with the robin and cardinal nests in it. It's a busy bird area. 

The irises are having a so-so year. A lot of the buds got frostbitten. The catmint is already blooming. Most of the seeds we planted in the vegetable garden have sprouted. I can't tell if any of the bell peppers came up. About half of the lettuce failed and one end of the green beans. We couldn't see any sign of the chives. There is volunteer dill everywhere. 

 I'm starting thyme, tomatoes, and dahlias in one of my Aerogardens. The thyme is doing really well, both tomatoes have sprouted, and only three of the 15 dahlias have sprouted.

I have to laugh at the other Aerogarden. It really needs to be taken down and cleaned, but one of the chive plants is still thriving. Well, so is the mint, of course. We cut it all the way down to feed to the chickens, but it is back and coming up from under all the other seed pods. Mint...spearmint...can't win. LOL. My husband spent a couple hours over the weekend pulling more spearmint. Now it's starting to return in the lower parts that we weeded a couple weeks ago. 

We checked the nesting box that is on the outside of the garden. It is meant for bluebirds, but often has wrens instead. Here is what is in there now. πŸ€”πŸ€― HOW???? (It's blue jays. I cannot figure out how they would fit through that tiny hole.)

Have a wonderful week.

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

Revisiting Old Projects

I'm making good progress on my OMG, which is to quilt and bind my Tall Tales quilt. I have quilted it and am slowly making my way on the binding.

Since I'm now current on my QALs and other quilty obligations, I had to decide what to work on next. I've been inspired by some of the participants in the OMG linkups to work on reducing my UFO list. I knew I needed to pull out the Women's Voices quilt and just get it over with. I think this one was purchased somewhere between 2000-2005 based on where we lived when I remember starting it. I looked through the blocks and the remaining fabric to try to figure out what was needed.  The major issue was the school house-type blocks. This one doesn't look quite right, does it?

I did a little seam ripping and righted the windows. As I recall, there were templates within the directions for this block. They must not have been reproduced at the correct scale because there was no way this block would look like the photo of the finished block based on the templates provided. I remember being really upset about that last time I worked on these, probably more than five years ago. I decided to just go with it because I don't really care at this point.

I no longer have this project's quilt pattern. It is still commercially available from the designer. Please do not ask me for the pattern; please go honor the creator and purchase a legal copy.

I placed all the blocks on the design wall and then tried to puzzle out how to do the sashing and borders based on the line drawing and the fabric I still have. Looking at the blocks over the past few days, I found several piecing errors that I am not planning to correct--one has the units turned the wrong way, but they are symmetrical, so I'm leaving it. Another has one piece of the fabric inside out. It's in the other school house block, so it, too, is staying. I think my biggest issues with this quilt all have to do with the fabrics. This was a block of the month program and I feel like the fabrics just aren't that harmonious together. I also noticed that a lot of the fabrics distorted and/or shrunk when pressed during construction. I don't even use steam. 

I don't like the provided sashing fabric, but I will use it. I will need to do something different for the binding though, because that looks absolutely horrendous next to the sashing fabric. Oh, and I thought it had outer borders, but it doesn't.

I pulled out one other project too. This one was a shop hop project from 2007. I bought the kit for the quilt pictured on the right of the middle row, only I remember having her make it bigger for a 12-block kit since I prefer rectangular quilts. I recall working on this one when we lived in Maryland, so 2009-2011 or 12. I'm thinking I probably put it away because I needed to figure out how to make the last three blocks out of the leftovers from the nine blocks available in the shop hop. Or maybe it was time to move again and non-essentials got packed early. These blocks were from the Jamestown quilt by Marti Michell.

I decided to see if I could figure out the blocks this week because that's way more fun than cutting and piecing sashing. Here is my first block, Powhatan Village.

I also made sure there was enough left to cut out the other two. The colors are probably a bit different than instructed, but that's just fine.

Meanwhile, I got a few more quilts completed for my lovely, patient clients. Like I mentioned before, we had a rough few weeks here (sorry for residual grumpiness that may have spilled over into my writing the last several weeks) and I've been feeling a bit under the weather this week on top of that.

The first one is entirely hand-pieced and belongs to Maria. She requested Interlocked Orange Peel with a certain shade of gray thread. I also prepped and applied the binding to the front of the quilt for her.

Next I worked on Pat's quilt. I went with Diagonal Plaid Bias Cut for this one and a different gray thread.

I also quilted Marilyn's baby I Spy quilt with Stipple. Things worked out just right on this one so that she got same day service. :)

And finally, Sara's rainbow quilt is quilted with Flirtatious and a third gray thread. πŸ˜„

Something you may not know about me is that reading is one of my greatest pleasures in life. Like, if I had to give up every hobby but one, I'd keep the reading. I mostly read fiction because reading is my mental escape. My 2017 Kindle became basically inoperable last week. The wifi would not connect anymore, so I couldn't access new books. This is so frustrating because the battery is still really good. I guess I should have known this was coming since they haven't had an update since 2021 and I could no longer buy a case for it. I bought a 2022 model replacement, which also required a different charging block than the one I'd been using, and a new case. They all came Saturday. The case was not what I ordered; it appeared that someone returned a different case in the packaging since the outer packaging was correct. This has happened to me on phone cases too. Ugh. People are gross sometimes. The correct case was delivered Monday and now I'm getting used to the much newer version and learning where all the functions are. 

We were able to spend some time in the gardens this weekend in between rain storms. We spent an hour ripping out spearmint from the lower garden. Another hour or so with all of us weeding should knock it down for a few weeks. I think most of my iris blossom buds got frostbitten a few weeks ago, but I can see one lone flower out there.

My daughter and I planted the remainder of the vegetable seeds Saturday. We got huge storms Saturday night into Sunday and I was worried all the seeds would be washed away. Things looked okay and the peas we'd planted a week ago are starting to sprout. I'm also trying out the seed starter deck in one of the Aerogardens to start thyme (such microscopic seeds!), San Marzano tomatoes, and dahlias.

Our rose breasted grosbeaks arrived last week Wednesday. They usually stay for a few weeks. 

We also discovered that we have migrating white crowned sparrows. I took this picture through the screen, so it's a bit dark. My daughter's Merlin app picked up a ruby crowned kinglet while we were working in the garden. I've never seen one, but maybe it was there. Sometimes the app isn't quite right, such as thinking our chickens are shore birds. πŸ˜†

I was looking out the slider at the grosbeaks Sunday afternoon. My son was standing there too. I noticed one of the grosbeaks looked funny and was using the binoculars to get a closer look. We realized that it was a blue grosbeak. I've only ever seen one one other time in the eleven years we've been here. My son ran to get the camera. We had to switch out the lens to the one that zooms more, and by the time we had that done, the blue grosbeak was gone. We then stood there for an hour with the binocs and the camera and it never came back. My son has continued to take photos of the various birds on the feeders since then. I think this is my favorite shot. That grosbeak looks pretty buff. LOL.

I managed to catch the shy red headed woodpecker too.

One last thing...My husband's been hard at work and something exciting is coming to my sewing room very soon. Hint: he likes to make mods for my longarm.
One more last, last thing: The local UPS store has been driven into AGAIN!!!

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