Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yesterday I spent most of the day in my sewing room and finally finished Clue #5.
<<< 350 of these little buggers.
I'm all out of this dark brown so I have to get to a quilt shop before I can start on Clue #6.
Today I think I'll work on Clue #4 so I can get more of the pink strings done.  I'm not even half finished on that one and I might even run out of the pink fabrics too since that is used in Clue #6 also.  
Gosh I sure didn't pay attention to fabric requirements for this mystery when I pulled my colors.
Oh well!!  It is a mystery after all.  The greatest mystery is....will I have enough fabric.  LOL  
Thanks for stopping by....Linda

Monday, December 26, 2011

Now that the packages have all been opened and there are no more "secrets" waiting to be unveiled I can show you the rest of the pillow cases I made for everyone.

This was soooo much fun to pick out the fabrics for each person.  The cases are so easy to construct and I was almost sad when I was finished with them.  Everyone was happy and very much surprised.  Altho there was a bit of a squabble between a couple of the women arguing about their case being the prettiest!!  hahaha  All in fun of course.  

And here are the 'Boys'....

 I hope your Christmas was as wonderful  as mine.  It was much too short and even though we were short on days together we were able to squeeze in a special celebration dinner for our 'Collage Graduate' before we celebrated Christmas Day.

Congratulations Jessi.  We're so proud of you!!  You will be a wonderful teacher.
Thanks for stopping by....Linda

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve.
He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away.
It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers,
told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. 

"Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy, I'll
just go." 

"Not without something hot in your belly." George said.
He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger.
"It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty.   Stew ... Made it myself.  When
you're done, there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell.
"Excuse me, be right back," George said. There in the driveway was an
old '53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked.
"Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish
accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken." George opened
the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George said as he turned away.

"But Mister, please help ..." The door of the office closed behind
George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his
old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the
garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting.
"Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you
ever looked at, but she runs real good."

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the
night. He turned and walked back inside the office. "Glad I gave 'em the
truck, their tires were shot too. That 'ol truck has brand new ." George
thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was
on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. "Well, at least he
got something in his belly," George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked
slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been.
He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no
customers. He discovered the the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom
hose on the radiator. "Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to
himself. So he put a new one on.

"Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took
the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't
going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a
police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder,
the officer moaned, "Please help me."

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received
in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. "Pressure to
stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that
morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the
wound. "Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to
make the policeman feel at ease.

"Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he
used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup
and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there, I'm going to get you
an ambulance."

The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there
talk box out in your car." He went out only to find that a bullet had gone
into the dashboard destroying the two way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the
officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in
the area."

George sat down beside him, "I would never leave an injured man in the
Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check
for bleeding. "Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through
'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your
gonna be right as rain."

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he
asked. "None for me," said
the officer. "Oh, yer gonna drink this.
Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts." The officer
laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun.
"Give me all your cash! Do it now!" the young man yelled. His hand
was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer.

"Son, why are you doing this?" asked George, "You need to put
the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now
give me the cash!"

The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said
to the cop, "we got one too many in here now."

He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you
need money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pea
shooter away."

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching
for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on
the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am
I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on.
"I've lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now
and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop.
"Sometimes we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of
coffee. "Bein' stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in
here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort
this thing out."

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot
you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer." "Shut up and drink your
coffee " the cop said. George could hear the sounds of
sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came
through the door, guns drawn. "Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked
the wounded officer.

"Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did
this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just
dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other.

"That guy work here?" the wounded cop continued. "Yep, " George
said, "just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man
leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck just said, "Merry Christmas boy ... and you too, George, and thanks
for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve
some of your problems."

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring
box. "Here you go, something for the little woman. I don't think Martha
would mind. She said it would come in handy some day."

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw.
"I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my
memories. That's all I need."

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared
next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell.
"Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man
had handed him earlier.

"And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that
too," George said. "Now git home to your family."

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in
the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you
come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger.
"You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn't see what all the bother
was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin'
cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I
was gettin' a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder. "But you do celebrate the
holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and
hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by
terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not
take any for himself. "That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as
good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know
all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when
your days are done you will be with Martha again."

The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have
to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned."

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger
was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

"You see, George ... it's My birthday. Merry Christmas."

George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus"



Thanks for stopping by...  Linda

And I'd like to thank Barbara in Topeka for posting this so I could pass it on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I did spend a bit of time cutting yesterday.  Now sewing though.

Do you know how many FQ it takes to cut out 700 half square triangles using the Easy Angle ruler and 2" strips?
  <<<< FIVE Fat Quarters !!!!
Thank goodness I had picked up exactly 5 more FQ the last time I was at LQS (thinking that would be plenty and I would have leftover to add to stash)
HA!  was I wrong.    I have one strip less than 2" wide.

I've had to put Orca on hold this week to concentrate on Christmas.   I'll have a house full for Christmas so my blocks will have to sit and wait until Monday for sure.
Thanks for stopping by....

Monday, December 19, 2011

So if today is Monday that means I can show what I've been working on this week and link to Judy's Design Wall Monday.  I made each of the greats a Christmas pillow case.   There are directions all over the web about how to make these but the one I used was from Missouri Quilt Co.

These are so easy to make and it was a lot of fun picking out the different fabrics for the kids.  I plan to use each case as wrapping for one of their presents.

I have no Orca Bay results to show today.  I had to put it on hold so I could get caught up on the Christmas chores.
You know ... like the tree and decorations up.  Criminy!   That part of Christmas gets harder each year it seems.    So these last few days have seen an improvement concerning the house decorations (at least what I'm going to do this year)
Now I'm thinking today I can get back to my sewing room for sure.  I want to get at least a few of Clue #5 done so I can at least pretend to be keeping up.  lol

Thanks for stopping by....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Orca Bay Mystery ..... Clue #4.
More stings!  (I love strings!!)
Bonnie's color = RED!
My color is.... almost's PINK!   (and it looks so good with my Lime strings)  The first batch that I have finished.
Aren't they so cute?

Which brings me to my pink strips.  I didn't have any.  Well at least that I could find easily.
But I did have some FQ and a few yardage cuts so I pulled as many as I could find and started cutting strips.
I started with 3/4" (which I'm starting to think is a bit too small for this size block) and then went larger by a quarter inch each strip.  I stopped at 1 & 1/2 inches and then cut one strip at 2" for the corners.  I don't have waste triangles laying around so I use these large strips for the final corner strip.

Now I have a confession to make.
I really really struggle with all out scrappy.  I'm working on it....but to think about throwing all my scraps in a pile and just randomly pulling whatever I touch just makes me break out in a cold sweat.  LOL  (jk)
But I am determined to "Go Scrappy" so I'm working on it gradually.  But until I get to that point of throwing everything together I just have to keep things under control ... just a little.

This is how I start .... I line up all my different strips so there's a nice selection and I can pull each one as I sew.

Then when all my papers are cut and counted I'll start sewing. >>>

I start with the first strip on the first paper and add the next fabric strip.
Then with the next paper I'll start with the last strip color that I ended with on the other square.
And I'll repeat this system..... adding the next fabric until I have each fabric started on it's own square.
Sometimes I fill one side at a time like I've done with this block.

And sometimes I alternate sides as I add the different strips. 
There!    That's scrappy don't you  think?

This allows all the blocks to be slightly different and yet it allows me to still be "In Control" as I need to be.

 I so appreciate Bonnie's style of making a quilt.  And since I've been using these scrappy strips in just one color family they have at least opened me to the possibility of not being so controlled with my fabric selections.
I'm learning.
And loving it!

So here are the results of 22 squares I have cut in half,  starched,  trimmed with the companion ruler and paper removed and ready to go.   I should have one more triangle ....but I goofed.  I had forgotten to spray starch the first one I had trimmed and  paper removed.  So in a senior moment I sprayed it and .....  Yep!  As soon as the hot iron touched it I knew it was a goner.  Shriveled up like shrink wrap!  So it's trash.  Oh well... I like making these so one more won't be a bother.

Now if you want to see what other quilters have been up to this week just head on over to Judy's Patchwork Times and check them out.  There's always such good eye candy there on a Monday.   
Thanks for stopping by....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I have another finish.
Well two finishes actually.
1st finish.......
This is the #2 Christmas (tumbler) quilt.  The quilting was done with a snowflake edge to edge design by my local quilter. >>>>>
And I added the binding by machine (back to front).
I know I've said it before....but I'm going to say it again.
"I love the tumbler die".
The tumbler block is soooo easy to cut on my Go cutter AND they are so easy to sew together.
The hardest part of a tumbler quilt is finally settling on the most pleasing layout....which in my case, can be (and has been) a never ending shuffle.
....And a tumbler quilt looks the best with a wide array of fabrics (great stash busting).

And now for my 2nd finish.
Bonnie Hunters Orca Bay Mystery Clue #3 DONE!
  350 (2" half-square) blocks.
<<<They are all piled in the container with all the other blocks that are finished so far.

I started making the first 150 half-square blocks with 2" strips and the Easy Angle ruler.
Now I understand this method can be pretty accurate if all of the stars are lining up just right .... but (for me) several times I had to toss aside a block that just wouldn't work.   I would tell you what I was doing wrong.... if I knew.  But I don't.

Now let me make this very clear.  This is the method that many many quilters use and have super results with.
I'm not one of them!  I tried!  I really tried hard!!
And I did have some success.  But boy oh boy was it sloowww and tedious.
For me!

Once I finally finished using the leftover strips and the easy angle ruler I was able to go back to the Triangulations method and then I easily cranked out the rest of the 'perfect' blocks.
I've learned 2 things from Bonnie just by doing this mystery.

  1.   I can not be without the Triangulations program for making half and quarter squares.  No matter what size!
  2. I love string blocks.  I can definitely see more of them in my future.

Thanks for stopping by.... and have a great day

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy snowy Monday!!  At least it is here.  I'm not sure how much snow we received with the storm that came through Saturday but it covered everything in a good white blanket and boy oh boy is it ever cold outside!  My little weather gadget says 16 degrees.  I'm staying inside and back in my sewing room where the iron is always on.   That's the only place I don't ache from the cold.

Since it's Monday and I'm working on Bonnie Hunters Orca Bay mystery   I'm going to link up to her site along with half the world.  OK .... maybe not that many.... but there's a 'whale' of a lot of us doing this mystery.  lol

This is how many half squares I have done.  Such a measly little pile of only 149 out of 350 needed.   On the first clue I used cuts of 7"x9" fabric to fit printed Triangulations.   That left me with smaller pieces of leftovers from most of the fat quarters so I cut those pieces into 2" strips and used the Easy Angle ruler to cut each individual pair.  I did ok with it (I guess).... but there were several a few that just didn't meet my expectations and I tossed them aside.
It seemed like it took me forever to get just a small few finished because I was going soooo slow trying not to mess up a cut or stretch that bias when I pressed.  And then they all had to be squared up by just a sliver.
The first 100 blocks were made with the ruler and THEN I got to go back to at least half pages of Triangulations.  LOVE THAT PROGRAM!!
I'm going to go sew today.
You have a great day and ..... Thanks for stopping by....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Monday morning!!  So far this morning I've been doing my part to help the economy!  A very hard decision has been made and my online orders have been placed and I can now relax about Christmas.   Well at least the gift giving part.  Whew!!!  Now to get the house decorated.  We'll do that in bits and spurts.

Now for Judy' Design Wall Monday --- Bonnies Orca Bay update:   My lime green strings (in place of Bonnies blue) are almost half finished.  These are soooo cute!   Only 3.5" square!  That's small by anyone's standards.   lol  well maybe not for Bonnie.   I must admit they are a lot of fun to make and I'm enjoying this mystery so much.
Have a great day
Thanks for stopping by....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This afternoon I made the binding for this snuggle quilt that I'd made a few months back.  (Sorry about the poor picture quality but I was running out of light)

I had already decided to attach the binding by machine like I did my last quilt....and then I got lucky!
I read Crazy Mom Quilts blog a couple of days ago.  She has a post about attaching the binding by machine and she's changed it up a bit.  It was like a bell went off when I read her instructions and it just made so much more sense to me.  She said to sew the binding on the back and wrap around to the front and sew by machine.    Of Course!!

Now this is where I changed it just a little bit more.  Amandajean uses a 1/4" seam allowance when sewing the binding on the back and the front.
 I use my walking foot and set the right-hand edge along the edge of the quilt & binding.  That seam measures about 3/8".

 Also when I turn the binding to the front (like I'm doing in these two pictures) I'll use the outside edge of the walking foot and run along the outside edge of the folded binding.
Another 3/8" seam.

And I take it slow and only sew a couple of inches at a time as I hold the binding in place.
I can see the back seam easily as I fold over the binding so I can make sure it is covering that seam.  I love this method!

I've cut my binding 2.5"  and did everything else just like Amandajean did in her instructions.   But the larger seam allowance seems to put the final top seam right along the edge of the back seam and almost looks like it's been stitched in the ditch.  And an added bonus is this also makes the binding the same size front and back.

I will definitely be binding all my everyday quilts with this method for sure.  Especially now that they can finish out this nice.
Thanks bunches Amandajean!!

All of my 224 blocks lined up and lookin' pretty!
I'm ready for tomorrow's Orca Bay clue #2.
Thanks for stopping by....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

 Here's a peek at what I've been working on since Friday.  I've joined Bonnie Hunters Orca Bay Mystery and these little beauties are step #1.  Perfect quarter-square blocks.
Now I don't usually make perfect half or quarter square anything.  Let alone this many anythings.  My half squares (or 1/4 squares) are usually at least a little bit wonky or not quite the right size and I do a lot of trimming or stretching and finally give up and just try to "quilt it out".
Now, however, I have the perfect program to make any size "half square" come out perfect.  Brenda Henning Triangulations CD.
OMGosh I can't believe how easy and nice these blocks are.  2.5"  Aren't they nice?  Yes!  I think so too.
I've made a few more since this picture but I still have a lot more to do yet.  The clue says we need to make 224!

This is what I printed out on sheets of newsprint.  Then layered two pieces of fabrics with this sheet on top and sewed on the dotted line and cut on the solid and this is what they look like. >>>>>>>

  Then I trimmed the dog-ears and removed the paper before sewing the two halves together and TADA....perfect!! 

Even the backs look good.
I'm going to link this post over on Bonnies blog so you can see what some of the other people are doing with their color schemes if you're interested.

AND...If it's Monday then Judy's Design Wall is up and I have a finished top to show.  This is the last of the Christmas fabric and I'm pleased with the final product.  Even tho it has some glitches and goofs it will still be a nice addition to my (now 3) Christmas snuggle quilts and I'm pleased that I have used up all this fabric line.  Once I get it quilted I'll show off the back.  For the first time I pieced it using all the leftover blocks and small pieces of yardage.  I'll have just enough waste from the back to use for the binding.  Here is the finished top...

You all have a great day.
Thanks for stopping by....