NBQ #1

NBQ #1 is a recipe for my Next Baby Quilt.  This quilt recipe is for one charm pack plus 8 additional squares for the center star, also a half yard of cream and 5/8 yard polka dot.  This quilt was marvelously fast and was easy to assemble.  It is in the FMQ process now and will be revealed soon.

When starting a project I always shop my stash first.  It is good for the ole’ purse strings. 🙂  I had a few pieces of gray charm squares left over from an elephant quilt I made recently and pulled out the Nomad charm pack by Moda and married them together.  I also had some cream, but it was not enough for the size I wanted the quilt to be.  After I had sewn together what I had, I searched through my whole stash of cardboard boxes, buffet drawers, dresser drawers and scrap tote to find absolutely nothing to go with what I had started.  So, it was off the Local Area Quilt Shop, LAQS.

I petted and felt my way through the entire store and made a couple laps because I could find anything that complimented this line of fabric without being gaudy.   I also was in search of a backing fabric.  I have a solid gray yardage piece but it was not the right tone for the gray I had already used and because I was making the backing pieced, decided it would look better if I found something complimentary to what I had.

I managed to grab some gray print with a basket weave pattern.  Kind of drab for a baby, but that is what the momma wanted.  While the quilt shop was cutting this, I then found some turquoise and cream polka dot that matched it pretty closely so got some of this (and bought extra for myself since I LOVE turquoise).

NBQThis quilt was sew easy, I will be making another one with tutorial goodness.  See the funny green above?  Because this color reminds me of baby food turned into a diaper surprise, I stayed away from that color.  The orange was just too bright for a trip of fabric around the out most perimeter.  I suppose I could have went with black, but that contrast would have been large, not baby soft.

I aim to have this done by next weekend bound and gifted to the parents to be.

Last weekend I made a quilt top for charity.  A bunch of us gals from work came together and made some quilt blocks, and I volunteered to put them all together.  For those of you who have ever done this, I would like to pat you on the back as this is WORK.  Our squares were to measure 12 1/2 inches.  We all know that 1/4 inch seam allowances vary as well as cutting and pressing techniques which cause an issue with the finished block being the 12 1/1 inches.  Every other block in this quilt is just a piece of fabric.  When we started this campaign, there was not rules, rhyme, or reason to our quilt plan, so there was quite a hodge podge of color.

I shopped my stash and selected colorful prints to compliment all the different colors in the blocks.  This one turned out better than what I expected.  It is off at the longarmers now and will be donated to Women In Need.


Yesterday I had a surprise package on my desk at work.  A baby quilt recipient from early this year gave me a very large jar of honey.  They have a small beehive and sell honey and beeswax.  And I made them a bee inspired honeycomb quilt for their baby boy.  He has urged me again to make these and sell these as beekeepers are passionate about beekeeping and their is very little out in the market for these people to consume with their dollars to show they are beekeepers.  He has instructed me if I made quilts like the one I made him I could sell them.  I know that beekeeping is hard work and usually bee keepers do not want to part with the money I would need to compensate for fabric supplies and my time.  Perhaps one day, but today I am happy making quilts and giving them away to those who are in and around and near me as they are good people.  This is the quilt I made for them not so long ago.


As for the hives, they seem to show themselves on Fridays the most.  But I think I figured out what I am allergic too.  You see there is a peace lily in my bedroom.  My bedroom is small so the plant is within 2ft of the bed, next to the quilt rack, next to the window, next to the closet (which I usually leave open), and next to the dresser.  Here in Texas we are having a cold snap and needed to prepare my houseplants for the winter.  I had not taken this plant outside for a good dusting/watering down.  I noticed there were tiny little webs all over the soil and thought it was something living in the potting soil.  When I took this out I used a chair to set the pot on as it is so large and unmanageable, I used the chair to wheel it to the front door and proceeded to carry it from the front door to the water spigot 6 ft away.  Whew.  Carrying it back was the problem as it weighed twice as  much with all the water in it.  Where the pot lip made contact with my skin, I was instantly broke out in hives.  Reading up on the web thing in the potting soil, I found out that my plant had spider mites.  Apparently I am allergic to their bite and yes they can bite humans.  Good thing is they do not live long off the plant.  So you ask how these things got all over my bedroom?  Well, with everything being in close proximity, and running a high velocity fan, I guess I blew them all over myself every night at bedtime, which is when I had my worst outbreaks.  Those little bastards costs me a lot of money for prescriptions and doctor visits as well as my vacation time at work was burned up.  They are gonna die!  Neem oil to the rescue!

I had a few places yesterday at work that came up on my hands bad enough I had to take  some Zyrtec.  I guess also by putting my stuff in the dryer, really helped as it killed spider and potential babies that would bite me later in the day.  I am now wondering what would happen if a regular spider would bite me?  It probably would not be good, and it is probably a good idea to keep anti-histamine close and on hand.  I am glad I figured it out.  But when you have the hives for 4 weeks, you get a little crazy and your coping mechanism gets bent and you figure it out from pure frustration.


Times 4!

Recently I wrote a post about two baby quilts, that I have since given away.


At that time I knew of one more co-worker that is expecting.  This co worker does not know the sex yet and told me it will be ten more weeks before the happy couple finds out.  So, after making 2 baby quilts I thought I could get some FMQ time in before ten weeks.

This was wishful thinking!  I had the en Provence quilt under the foot for two days, and the co worker I gifted the Happy Quilt to, informed me of a new coworker who is also expecting.  A little panic is rising because we all know babies come in threes, so there are two more.

So I have managed to get some done on en Provence, but set it aside to work on a quilt for a baby girl.  I work directly with the baby’s father.  And he showed me a picture his wife took while at hobby lobby, down the girl aisle.  It was ALL pink.  Her comment was and I quote ” it looks like tinker bell threw up on everything”!  They really do cram the gender specific colors down your throat.  So not to upset the mother who likes grays, there are no pinks in this baby quilt.  This is a surprise and I will post this quilt after it has been gifted.

I am using a charm pack I got last year while at a quilt show (I actually won it as a door prize).  This nomad line goes with gray, so the quilt top is almost pieced.  I have nothing to go with this in my stash so I will be visiting my LAQS this week to figure out a border.

onto the hive situation….they showed themselves Friday at work bad enough I was forced to take Zyrtec…which zonked me with an early to bed.  I did have a small breakout on my arm today, but it went away without meds.  I think I have figured out my contact dermatitis.  We will see if I am right.  Thanks for reading!

FMQ for a while

I have knocked out a big stash of odds and ends in my sewing pile that needed to be completed.  Got those done and now moving on to something for myself.

Do you recall the Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt of last year?  Well, I am finally getting around to some free motion quilting on it.  I have chosen an orange peel design intersecting within each 3 1/2 inch block.  In the pink stars I will choose something else, and that is tbd (to be determined).

I only have a 6 1/2 inch throat space on my Janome and the center of this quilt is really difficult. I wonder if during my hobby of sewing I actually get a little yoga out of it with a bit of wrestling?
I have chosen lavender thread 30wt for the top and 50 wt for the bobbin. I see this picture captured a tad of what I am using for the backing.

This will be the big project for a while and I will be sneaking in some smaller projects as 4 people at work have announced baby goodness, so I will be making 4 crib quilts.  I am brainstorming on one right now and have picked through my stash and come up with an idea.  That will be the next interruption on my blog.

My last few posts have me buzzing about the hives.  Not the kind bees visit but the kind that ends up on the skin, itchy and inflamed.  Four doctor’s visits, and I still have them.  The medicine took the inflammation away, and the other medicine took the itch away, but they still flash themselves during the day without warning.  My breakouts on my hands have almost been eliminated.  The ones on my face still appear.  Due to another shot of steroids Friday leaving my appetite ravenous and a foul taste in my mouth, I discontinued using the prescriptions.  I want my body to start beating this on its own.  So no drugs Friday eve.  A few breakouts on the face as before.  No meds Sat, a larger breakout on my torso and itchy, but I didn’t feel the need to itch.  Today, I feel a lump in my throat as I did the first time I got a steroid shot almost like heart burn.  But I need to get off the roids!

If I have another flare up, I will place my tail between my legs and go back to the doctor and follow his orders this time.  I just wish I knew what was causing this.  There have been no introductions of new soaps, shampoos, or of the like.  No introduction of new foods.  I think it is the washing machine (front loads grow weird stuff) combination of the two soaps we use, but both we have used for a long time.  Hiving onward!

Move Over Ironing Board

Move over ironing board, make way for iron caddy tote!


One of the demons of sewing in my little corner of the world called the living room, is space.  Ideally the more room you have the more efficient you can work.

My space is a 18 inch buffet with a rotating mat on one end and my 18 X 24 mat on the other.  The sewing machine sits upon it.  If I have to cut fabric, I have to remove everything off the surface.

Additionally, when I iron, it is located in a different room entirely, so lots of steps two and fro, and not really the best set up, but it is what I have room for.

So my ironing board just got a facelift so to speak.  The muslin cover became decrepit.  Somehow the batting on the underside became melted, and somehow the top was scorched.  If you ran the iron over the surface it would actually crunch.  Not sure when this happened and it wasn’t too long ago I washed the muslin cover.  It bit the dust, so I got my scraps out of the aluminized coated fabric and pieced together a large enough piece to cover most of the iron board.  Using my scraps of batting laid them underneath and it will get me through for the yardage I have to iron.

Not sure if you recall a previous post of mine where I had made iron caddy totes for my mom and aunt for mothers day.   Both of these totes I gave away with the intention of making myself one.  Well I finally got around to it.

During my acquisition of some quilt blocks in an online auction, I decided I was going to go scrappy with a theme of 30s reproduction fabrics.  I knew I had two charm packs with fabrics in this scheme.


So I deemed a coral fabric would tie all these together.  And started sewing, with no plan and it all came together.

So one side is for decoration and to look cute with your hot iron pocketed nicely inside.  It provides a wonderful ironing side with aluminized fabric much like an ironing board but smaller and portable.  With all the layers of insulbrite and batting, there are no worries of the surface you are ironing on.  So this will still be in another room but atop the washing machine or the dryer which is usually ready for use as we store nothing on top.  I can leave it out or put it up, cute and utilitarian.  I have decided to safety pin it closed as I do not like the way the elastic is called out, nor do I like affixing a button onto something which will then make it difficult to iron around.

If you are interested in the pdf on the pattern for this tote click here it is free!

Stay tuned, the weekend is almost here and I feel another quilting adventure coming on! Probably not a finish, but a lot of fun for the fingers and mind.

Just Smurfy

Back in Feb I joined a sewing group.  We all participated in the jelly roll race.  It was a fun day and a quilt top was accomplished on my end of things.

If you recall, I originally called this quilt Jelly Roll Wrong and you can read that post here.  It is fun to remember things by touch or smells or even a picture that is captured so long ago gets all the total recall in the brain going and then you remember the sounds or smells.  This jelly roll quilt has many memories already.  I can hardly believe that 8 months has passed with oodles of things preventing its progress.  If you would like to read more about my excuses/reasons just click on the following links:

I had a breakthrough reading blogs here.  I had started reading the aurifil series about thread choice and I had always struggled with thread in the bobbin and the not so great backs of my quilts with more straight lines in the stitches than a nice plump stitch.  I was always told same thread in the top and bottom.  But that was referring to color I believe.  So I tried aurifil threads idea of the small weight thread in the bobbin and the thicker for the top of the quilt.  Low and behold, the problem that would never went away, finally was fixed.  And so instead of going on with the same free motion pattern randomness I had previously went OCD with, I decided to go stipple in a medium attitude to get this miss thang done.  I found some smurf colored fabric for the binding, and while battling my hives to keep my hands busy so I would not scratch, bound that sucker by hand in one day.  This was the day the meds hyped me up so much I only slept three hours and kept going normal for the following day as well.  Glad I am over this chapter in my life.  The hives are still lingering but I am managing.

So in retrospect, I have renamed this quilt SMURFY.  Remember the smurfs?  The little blue critters living amongst the mushrooms with white hats and lots of personality.  They coined the term “Just Smurfy” which can be good or you can be saying it sarcastically, or it can even mean bad.  So instead of swearing, they would proclaim it as “SMURFY!”  I wonder 10 years from now, if I remember that the dryer crapped out during the making of this quilt?  Perhaps some of these smurfy things will stick with me forever, or some will fade like the fabric.

Do you recall that my cat had babies on this quilt (which all died) while it was on the sewing machine table? I guess she was trying to be close to me while I was away at work. The stain came out!!! Lots of peroxide and shout with elbow grease goodness.


This is the back and was the extra long top that was created in the learning process of quilting. I am a make do kind of person and put this on the back to show my mistake. It is a reminder that quilting is not perfection. It is made by an imperfect person.



The Story of the Tomato Pincushion with tutorial goodness

All of us that choose to have needle and thread in our lives have either owned a tomato pincushion and are not surprised they lurk in most homes.  I have always wondered why are they shaped like a tomato?

In lieu of needing a new pincushion and deciding on the tomato variety I decided to let my fingers type a few extra words in my browser and this is what I learned.

The tomato pincushion supposedly evolved as recently as the early 1900s.  You see when someone moved into a home, a tomato was thought to ward off evil spirits and was placed on the mantle.  As you can imagine tomato season does not last all year long.  So with a bit of cloth it was easy to make a home decor item to ward off the evil spirits that would last the years through.  This seems kind of pagan to me and I wonder if there is more to the story.  But as the Industrial Age revolutionized so much including the manufacture of home sewing machines, pins needed storage and so the tomato pincushion was born.  If anyone has any more facts or insight on this please use the comment section for all us learners.  🙂

I have an antique pincushion.  I acquired it a few years back when I got an old singer in an old singer cabinet from the 40s.  This cabinet was filled with buttons, thread, and all kind of good sewing chotzkeys.  And me being a person who likes to utilize the old, started using the pincushion.  I found my pins were becoming dull and when making my new tomato pincushion threw out all my dull pins.  I think the inside of this antique pincushion has wood shavings.  I don’t want to open it to find out and devalue it.  I also wonder if the outside is made from silk or silken tapestry.  This could be why I had so much trouble inserting pins.  Those of us who have worked with silk know that you have to purchase special pins.  I have officially retired this tired pincushion today.

Have you ever made a tomato pincushion?  It is really easy and doesn’t take more than 30 minutes.

Step one:  Cut a piece of fabric on the bias.  I made a larger tomato and started with approximately a 7 X 10 piece of cloth.
Step two:  Stitch along one end (folding with right sides together) and backstitch at the top and bottom on the pinned side as shown above.
Step three:  Using a needle and thread stay stitch one raw edge.
Step four:  Gather stitched end and securely knot thread.  This hand stitched seam has formed the bottom of your tomato.
Step five:  Turn right side out and fill the bottom with crushed nutshells or rice.  I put about an inch in the bottom of mine.  This will weight down your cushion making the removal of pins easy.
Step six:  Stuff the upper half of your tomato with polyester fiberfil.  I didn’t have any so I rolled many scrap pieces of batting and put them to good use.  There is no such thing as an overstuffed cushion.  The more stuffing, the more personality your tomato will have.  Gather top edge stitching by hand.  Knot securely.
Step seven:  Find a scrap of felt or wool or any kind of cloth to make the tomato top leaves.  Have fun being random with Mother Nature, and cut out a fun leafy cap.


Step eight:  Using an upholstery needle and thicker thread or doubled sewing thread make a loop through the center bottom to the center top poking the needle all the way through the depth of the tomato.  Repeat 4 times or as many as desired.  (I had to use a pliers as my needle was a tad to short to grab).  Knot thread securely.  Stitch or glue tomato leaf topper to the center of the polyester fiberfil end.

These would also make a neat pumpkin pincushion for the season, just saying.

Stick a pin in it, cuz now it is done!

And for more breaking news, I have had rotary cutter fail.  I didn’t know this was possible.  I have had this cutter for about 20 years and it finally kicked the bucket.  The last month every time I have used it, it gnawed the fabric never cutting right seemingly pushing the fabric and then cutting it.  Changed the blades, no help.  Upon closer inspection I see that I wore a flat spot in the plastic that surrounds the blade, so instead of cutting the fabric, it was just scooting the fabric out of the way not really cutting it properly all the time.  You can see my ergonomics have worn the inside plastic away in the circle.  This also cause part of my problem as the blade needs a good flat surface to cut up against.  This caused my blade to wobble and probably not cut very accurately.  I have heard you should check your cutting templates.  If you lay them on their edge and they curve in the center not meeting your table flat, you have slowly whittled away the plastic edge which will account for improper block sizes after cutting and sewing.  Dritz…..I could not find you on the internet so I went for the upgrade.  Olfa to the rescue.


Trifecta and the Hives

I did not look up this title, but it kind of sounds like a famous band from the 60s.  This title sums up the week.

I love a good fabric buy and found some gray fabric charms on sale and got out my stash of white fabric charms and was halfway to an elephant quilt.  Went online and found a girl colored charm pack with a touch of elephants.  I did not use the 3 charm packs in their entirety, but the remaining squares of the prints did get used in the binding.  I will save the gray and whites for something else later.


I quilted this is a free motion over all design of flowers with loop de loops and leaves.  And here is the back.


And then there is the Happy Quilt.  Every time I look at this quilt it makes me feel warm and happy.  I will be gifting this to parents to be and I hope they like it.  Here are pictures of the front and the back.  I went scrappy with the binding on this one too.  This was made from 2 1/2 inch strips I cut from my stash and the choreographed into specific jelly rolls, so a definite one of a kind for this jelly roll race quilt.

And finally, a keeper.  This quilt top I had purchased because it was unusual.  I decided to take it to the longarmer for quilting and glad I did.  You see these squares are velvet which has fabric pile, and so the longarmer complained a bit about the shiftiness of this top.  And because polyester batting was used it really gave it nice loft.  And this quilt is oh sew soft.  It will be used and abused on the back of the couch to keep the shoulders or the feet warm during the winter months.


So last Sunday, it was a normal day, I made French bread.  For the recipe visit my other blog here.  I had just filled my canister with a new bag of flour.  I normally don’t purchase this kind of flour but it was all purpose and useable.  So after I handled this bread, we had sandwiches for supper.  My upper lip swelled.  Not sure why, and then the palms of my hands started to itch.  I thought I had been bitten by mosquitos as there were little blisters forming on my wrist and palm.  Odd place for a mosquito to bite.  And so my hives started, and due to a wrong diagnosis which got worse and worse and here is it 4 days later and three doctors visits with one specialist I have the hives from contact dermatitis.  The last three days have been excruciating.  Bendryl and Zyrtec did not work and so much steroid use later I think I will live, but could there be a roid rage—I hope not!.  Good thing all of my trifecta happened before my outbreak.  I seem to have a good productive streak and then all “H” “E” double hockey sticks breaks out literally.  Before modern medicine how did people even try to cope with this dreaded thing called the hives?