Owls and hearts and all the fun stuff

So – how ya doin’? It seems like a  L O N G  time since I’ve been here. Not that I’ve been idle or anything. Nope. Been busy. Very busy.

My friend’s son got married in AK, and she let me take part in her gift to them. I was so blessed. She wanted to give them a quilt with the double ring pattern, but instead of rings, she chose entwined hearts. She asked another friend to hand-embroider the 24 squares, and that lady did an exceptionally beautiful job. The squares are roughly 20X20, and there was a LOT of embroidery.


this is what the squares look like (this is one of the finished pillows)

She then asked me if I’d put those squares together in a quilt top, using some lovely heart-pattern fabric she found at JoAnn’s. She got all there was to get, so I had to be judicial in how I cut it – plus, it was a directional pattern. I think it came out very nice.


put together and ready for quilting

After I got the quilt top (and two pillows from the last 4 squares) done, my friend took it to another lady who did the quilting. It was a community effort – and her son and new wife liked it very much. I wouldn’t mind having something as lovely and full of love myself!

After this was done, I wanted to do something for my friend. So while they were in AK at the wedding, I looked at what I had left of the fabric. Guess what – I discovered the leftover fabric was EXACTLY the right size to make my friend two pillows for her guest room – a ‘sort of’ birthday gift, as she flew to AK on her birthday for the wedding (the day after). I just thought that since she had bought all the supplies for this quilt/pillow gift, she should have something of it for herself.

Debra's pillows.jpg

But that’s not all.

I have some owl fabric I’ve been meaning to use for a purse for myself, which I finally got started on. I had a little scrap on the cutting table that another friend saw one evening and fell in love with. She asked if I could make her a little zip pouch for her upcoming women’s retreat, so she didn’t have to take her purse – just the essentials that would fit in her coat pocket. Well, of course I can! That little scrap was the perfect size for this.


cheerful little pouch – fits a cell phone, cards, and even cash if you have any

Hmm…doing all this for other people…sounds like a saint, eh? Well, let me fill you in on a not-so-well-kept secret. I’m not all THAT unselfish. I made something for myself this weekend too. 🙂 Finally finished that owl purse, to replace my other one that I’ve literally worn out. I used some of the fabric I got from Crafty Staci in her giveaway for the lining and the pockets. I love it, and will be making a matching zip pouch soon – one that I’ll keep. 🙂



I’m a tortoise with a hare trigger

One of my favorite evening activities (besides sleeping) is reading WordPress blogs, particularly the ones about sewing. After focusing on getting all the projects in front of me finished before 5:00 p.m., it helps me relax and wind down to a turtle-crawl. No deadlines, no calendar, no time clock – just whatever sewing project that’s on the table at the moment. I can work at my own pace on those, unless I’m doing one for somebody else. I’m slow, but steady . . . well . . . usually.

I do have a hare trigger sometimes, though – rushing to fabric sales, darting down pattern aisles, chasing that illusive ‘perfect project,’ and then hurrying through just to get it done. But, that doesn’t work so well for me – at least not for any length of time.

What does work, then? Well, I hate to admit it, but it’s that slow, steady plodding through. Rushing never gets me anything but a date with the seam ripper. True story. So today, since I was told (aw shucks, do I really have to??) I should stay home from work and ‘rest’ after a little excitement last night, I ‘rested’ by starting on a mini-quilt for my friend.

She’s picked out some cute material for her niece, who likes rubber duckies. Who doesn’t like rubber duckies!! But, as I haven’t worked with knits before, I’m wondering how to best put these two pieces together. She doesn’t want any batting because it’s to be a lightweight lap rug, just to knock the chill off (it doesn’t get all that cold in Alabama, y’all).

This is where the tortoise needs to take over, because my first impulse is to jump in with those great big harey feet (yup, harey is a word now) and start sewing willy to nilly. Then I’d be jumping right back out and bunny-hopping over to my buddy the seam ripper. So, step one was to lay the material out so I could look at it. Gotta love that big table!

yellow rubber duckies and soap bubbles - cuteness!

yellow rubber duckies and soap bubbles – cuteness!

Well, this is going to be interesting. Here’s the backing material, a stretchy knit. I like the little raised pink bumps, but I’m not sure how I’m going to do, working with this material. Any suggestions??

"Don't worry, little duckie - I've got yer back!"

“Don’t worry, little duckie – I’ve got yer back!”

My idea was to sew around random duckies as a way to quilt this. I put it in the machine and lowered the presser feet, thinking I could just move it around in free motion; didn’t work. Reckon I need to read the manual. Or maybe . . . invest in a walking foot for this machine.  Oh well, not to worry. It will just take a little bit longer than I thought, as long as I control that hare trigger.

Those pins hurt when they stick, did you know that? Well, I’m here to tell you, THEY DO! But my dear friend, always thinking of others. She also gave me a cool tool made by Dritz. I’d not seen the likes thereof since I worked in retail – we used these to attach price tags. All you pros out there no doubt already have one of these jewels, but since I’d never seen one outside of a retail store, I was duly impressed. I put it to good use. It came with 500 little thingies (aren’t they called thingies??), and I have about 30 or so left. Got just a wee little bit carried away. But now there are NO PINS to stick me while I’m wrestling this around on the machine.

see those little thingies? they hold the two fabrics together. clever, eh?

see those little thingies? they hold the two fabrics together. clever, eh?

The whole idea for recording this here is to make myself accountable. My friend says there’s no rush on this project, even though she probably wants to send it to her niece within this century. So if I chronicle the progress here, then I’m declaring I will finish it before the snow flies – this year’s snow. So, y’all keep me accountable here, y’hear?

I think I prefer snow flies to fruit flies any day. I thought you should know that about me.

How to Grow a Monkey Patch

This week’s Photo Challenge is “Growth.” This particular composite picture says “growth” in a few ways to me.

To begin with, this is my very first EVER attempt at doing a patchwork quilt, which is stretching my boundaries and sewing horizons. It’s for my friend, who gave me the material . . . oh . . . about 5 months ago, and asked me to make this for her sister’s birthday. The birthday is in September. I’ve been so afraid of cutting into her material –  afraid I’d ruin it, and that I wouldn’t be able to replace it. The monkeys have a special significance to her and her sister, and I wanted it to be right. So, how do I get it right? By procrastinating, of course!

I literally did this whole project on a wing and a prayer. I was wingin’ it because I had no idea what I was doing or how to even go about starting a quilt. With a few pointers from a quilting friend and a LOT of prayer, I took the plunge and finished it in 13 hours. Whew – what a wonderful feeling to have it finished, and in time to send to the sister.

The only part of this project that qualifies as REmissionary is in the black strips between the patchwork squares. I used an aborted attempt at a black blouse; the front and back had been cut out, but then the whole project was apparently abandoned (another ‘find’ in a bunch of yard sale material). There was enough material for the short strips, but it wasn’t big enough to do the long ones in between the rows or on the back. I don’t think I’ve ever SEEN a blouse that big!

I must confess that I labor under a heavy Charlie Brown complex. But through this project, I felt the stirrings of growth in confidence.  Just watching it take shape, and seeing my prayers answered as it came together, made me realize that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be accepted. It just has to be done with love and as much care as possible, and the recipient will be happy.

So . . . that’s my story of growth this week. What’s yours?

I’ve looked at a few other growth projects, and thought they were worth sharing here.




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