Friday, September 25, 2015

Before, during, and after

sorting Valdani threads for the sale
My friends and I had a VERY successful fabric-quilting-craft sale last weekend. Many hundreds of yards of fabric were sold, plus books, kits, UFOs, patterns, notions, and craft supplies galore.  

As a group, we had so much displayed that some people who stopped in were confused. We repeated many times that we were just a multi-family garage sale (not a quilt shop).  Our group's garages weren't big enough, so we rented an empty store.

Carol -- with 2 of her Lucy Boston blocks
One of our most plentiful commodities was bags of scraps. Anybody looking for those had plenty to choose from, as I counted over 80 bags of scraps.

On day #2, our prices were reduced 50%.  We decided to extend the sale to 3 days, hoping "word of mouth" would be sufficient to bring in buyers, and we dropped prices to 75% off Sun. afternoon.  A lot more went out the door.
(I took home most of my 1800s repros before Sunday.  I just couldn't sell them for $1/yard.)

Empty bins--after the sale
The lady with the two Lucy Boston blocks is Carol from the Ames, Iowa, area.  We first met when she came to my sale in May. She likes CWar repros, as I do, and she shared many of her beautiful Lucy Boston blocks.    She came again last weekend to shop, and she shared her new Lucy Boston blocks.  Her lovely, creative use of fabrics has encouraged us to get back to our LB blocks.

Brownstone (CW repro fabrics)  73" x 91"
My empty bins look wonderful --all 32 of them--large and small.

Faithfully Humble -- 69" x 88"
I'll be at the local community college tomorrow for an all-day Quilting Workshop.  Demonstrations and activities offered by IA and MN quilters. Vendors, of course, and I'm taking two quilts for appraisal.   I decided not to take old quilts made or owned by relatives.  These are two of my favorites that I finished in 2014-- scrappy and colorful -- they're the two I'm taking.

One more thing -- a shout-out to Jean from Virginia.  She was spending a month in Iowa, visiting her mother Maxine.  She heard about our sale and came 2 days (or was it all 3?)  Besides fabric shopping, Jean bought the majority of my Valdani thread.  When she offered to buy my sample pages  of Valdani stitching, I gladly gave it to her.  I know she'll put it to good use.  I hope your boxes of "goodies" shipped home were waiting for you when you got back, Jean.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Not much quilting, but a sale is coming again

1800s repros, ready for fabric sale
Summer is waning, and this is only my third post since April.  With infrequent posting, I've come close to shutting this blog down, but now and then I have something I'd like to share. This has been a year with other things taking priority -- and not much quilting.  

Since last September --
We moved DH's  +90-year-old parents from their country home to assisted living, then to a nursing home.  My FIL died peacefully in early April, and my MIL's dementia leaves her in a state of pleasant confusion.

My 90-year-old mother's health deteriorated in early summer.  In July she willingly let us move her to assisted living, but she passed away quietly just 4 weeks later.  I miss her dearly and have found myself picking up the phone to call her, just to chat or to ask for advice -- but she's not there.  She was a strong, resourceful, intelligent woman, and our much loved mother.   I wrote about her here on Mother's Day a few years ago.  We now have two parents' homes to be cleared and readied for new occupants.

With hopes of moving to a senior-friendly home some day, I'm working on another BIG fabric sale in less than 2 weeks.  My sale in May went well, and this time my friends are joining me for a group fabric-craft sale Fri. Sept 18 and Sat. Sept 19 here in Mason City.  Here's a link to the Craig's List ad .  If you're in the neighborhood, please stop in and shop around.  You won't be disappointed. Photos were taken before 3 or 4 more ladies bring their items for sale.

My only finishes of note in 2015 are place mats for the local Community Kitchen and Meals on Wheals.  All are from orphan blocks and scraps, and my running total is 56 so far (plus some from my friend Sue).  The administrator of the Kitchen gives me a big smile every time I walk in the door with a pile.   Not all are pretty, and some are a bit funky, but all should brighten someone's meals.

One more thing -- I'm not using my 5-year-old Bernina 440QE as much as it deserves.  I mainly bought it because of the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator), and then I bought a mid-arm HQ Sweet 16 quilting machine.  So the Bernina is not appreciated and used to its full potential.  I'm selling it.  It just had a general checkup and tune-up and passed with flying colors, so it's ready for a new home.     

more placemats
more placemats

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Mystery plant for July 4th--with July 6 update

(1) the mystery plant--today
Happy Independence Day.  Happy 4th of July to all USA readers.

I need plant identification help today.  When our son and his family visited here in Iowa last week, we found a pair of unusual plants in a city park, on opposite ends of a flower garden.  Each is a small scale tree, or maybe it would be classified as a tree-like bush. They have no flowers.

Photo #1 was taken this morning. I'm guessing this plant is mature. The bark is speckled or spotted.  It stands about 4 feet tall, and the span of the leaves is 3-4 feet wide.
(2) looking down into top of the plant
Photo #2, I stood on top of the brick garden edging, and since I'm tall, I was able to take this "aerial view" of the plant.

(3) three weeks ago, trunk forming
Photo #3 is the immature plant a couple weeks ago (orange metal stakes are there for support).   The trunk appeared to twist out of the ground--two tan sections and the middle section dark. The top was "feathery," showing the individual branches to eventually form at the top.  (click twice on photos for enlarged view)

(4)  8-10 days ago, before the top spread wider
#5 -- early version , profile view
Photo #4 was taken days ago when the younger top is more compact.  In the mature tree, those branches have relaxed, dropped, and spread wider.

The profile of an immature tree is in photo #5.  It reminds me of a torchiere lamp or some Tiffany lamps I've seen on Antiques Roadshow.
I've tried to identify this tree/plant online, but I don't know what to call it.  My attempts so far haven't produced a name.  Any help would be MUCH appreciated.

UPDATE:  July 6
I found the website "Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener" with a segment "Name that Plant."  One day after posting photos and a description, I got an e-mail possibly identifying this plant as a version of voodoo lily. 
However, it's not typically grown so far north (bulb would have to be dug up and wintered over)
A large, very stinky flower is missing, and that appears early as a voodoo lily grows.  No flowers seen on either of the ones in our park.
I googled that name for images and found a photo similar to mine, so maybe this is a variant.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Still here -- doing this and that

1930s and 1800s repros -- ready for the sale
Weeks since I last posted.  I haven't sewn much, but a seam is sewn now and then.

Getting ready for the stash reduction sale in May took a lot of time, and the fabric sale was a success--thanks to my friends who helped in many ways, carrying and arranging and selling.
Sue and Chris were very persistent, convincing me they should help sort shelves of fabric.  I could not have finished it alone.  Two days later, the shelves were organized and lighter, and more fabric was headed out of the house.  I can't thank all my friends, the Mavens, enough for their assistance.  

Rows of fabric--sorted by size of cut
Renting an empty store in a mall was an ideal situation, in a good location.   The sale items looked good, we sold a lot, but it was physically and mentally exhausting for all. 

Here are a few photos of what you missed. (All photos enlarge nicely with a click or two.) The quantity of fabric that came out of my house was impressive or shocking or disgusting, depending upon one's point of view. 

Bad news/good news --> there's so much fabric left that we're storing it until another sale in September.  The Mavens will join me for a group sale on Sept 18 and 19, if you're in the area.

leftover 1800s repro FQs --after nearly half were sold

Ten full bins of my leftover fabrics and books were carted to Betty's basement.   I'll be adding more fabric cuts, bags of scraps, books and magazines, and whatever kits I can create.  Those sold well.

Hanging my head, I confess that since the sale I bought several yards of new fabric.  I need Kona solids for some 30s repro projects I want to finish.
1/2-yard cuts, plus a few larger cuts, of 1800s repros
Shirtings, tans, and browns -- all 1800s repros
Maddie and Drew, with Amanda, the Comm. Kitchen director
Our son and his family drove from their home in GA to a seashore vacation in FL, then on to Iowa to visit us last week.  It was WONDERFUL having Adam and Julie and the little ones with us for nearly a week,   We filled the days with fun and family time.  Maddie is nearly 7, and Drew will soon be 4.

I did some sewing during their visit.  Maddie helped me choose scrappy leftovers she liked, and I made placemats for the local Community Kitchen.  We took eight mats to the Center and they'll be distributed soon by Meals on Wheels.  Maddie will get some credit for this community service deed for Girl Scouts. 

placemats for Community Kitchen, all from scraps
I have quilting goals for the rest of the summer, and the one I'm most excited about is getting my Singer #66 treadle machine in working order so I can teach myself to treadle!  I bought the machine 40 years at a garage sale and have not sewn a stitch with it.  That's sad to admit.     A new belt is ordered, and DH and I want to get it cleaned, oiled, and working.   I'll keep you posted.

Another day I'll share some old quilt tops I want to get rid of -- maybe on E-bay, maybe here, or maybe on Etsy.   After that, I'll tell you about my 90-year-old mother and a couple quilts in her house.  We 6 kids and our family members are helping to get her ready to go to assisted living next week.  Mom's mind is SHARP but her body is giving her problems. She saved things and made lists.  We have lots to do yet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

1600 yards and counting ... ...

K-7 in Dear Jane, "Rose of Sharing"
A quilting weekend with friends just ended.  I joined some of my Dear Jane blocks into rows. I didn't think I had any cheddar in blocks, but I found two that I'd totally forgotten about. This one is K-7, my favorite of the two.

I'm still whittling down the stash, simplifying the quilting paraphernalia, and getting ready for a "garage sale" in 10 days.

I'm renting an empty store space in a local mall where another garage/estate sale was held last weekend.   It's roomy and well lit, there's plenty of parking, no stairs to climb, and the mall has tables.

If you're within driving distance --  the location is Willowbrook Mall, 1631 4th St. SW,  Mason City Iowa.    Friday, May 8,  8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;   Sat. May 9,  8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
**Cash Only**

Marked to sell so far --
-- 500 yards of Civil War / 1800s repro fabrics -- most in 1/4-yard and 1/2-yard cuts  (Don't worry about me.  I'm keeping 3x or 4x that amount of Civil War fabrics.)
-- 1100 yards of other fabrics.   That includes novelties, Thimbleberries, kids' prints, patriotic, brights, and whatever else has jumped onto my cutting table so far.  I'm knee-deep in Christmas fabric right now, with Kaffe's, flannels, and some 1930s still to tackle.    Then on to shelves with misc fabric arranged by colors.
There are lengthy yardage pieces, sets of FQs, 5-yard packages I've put together, and a few kits.  I'm in the right frame of mind.  I'm letting go of a lot that wouldn't have left my sight just months ago.

Other things headed for the sales tables :
-- 45-50 quilting books  (I might find a few cross-stitch books and patterns to add)
-- 90 individual quilt patterns.
-- Thangles and Triangles-on-a-Roll
--  just a few specialty rulers
--  Valdani thread (I have way too much)

My 92-year-old father-in-law died peacefully in his sleep the day after Easter, just 3 weeks after celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.   Tasks associated with his death and the funeral are lessening now, so I'm returning my focus to the sale.   If you happen to stop by, please introduce yourself.  I'll be the tall, overweight, probably sweaty gal with a big smile on her face.  And maybe somewhere in a corner you'll spot my husband with an even bigger smile on his face.   He's happy to see so much ready to exit our house.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Whittling down the stash

1/2-yd cuts of 1800s repro's
My stash MUST be reduced -- in mass quantities, if possible.  I've been a wise shopper through the years, benefiting from sales and bargains.  But finding bargains doesn't excuse the size of my stash.   It's way too big.  It would be different if I was a 35-year-old beginning quilter.  But I'm a senior citizen, and I need to be practical.  I may love it all, but I don't need it all.   

Stash reduction and organization is my spring cleaning focus this year.   As I sort and cut and label and stack, I'm getting ready for a garage sale some time in the next month or two.  It's going to take that long to sort and cut and label.  Fabric will be $4/yard or less. 

I'm being relentless and practical.  I'm marking duplicate pieces of fabrics, entire cuts that no longer appeal to me, and pieces cut off yardage that I "over bought."   I'm paring down big-cut yardage that was destined to be backings.   Unfortunately, I'm finding purchases from the past year at others' garage sales.   I just couldn't resist, but I don't need all of it!   Some of those purchases (with tags still attached) may turn right around and be for sale again. 

larger 1800s cuts and FQs
The largest group in my stash is 1800s repro fabrics.  I'm going through those, bin by bin.  Chrome yellows, cheddars, purples, some blues, and some browns are done.  But the shirtings, greens, reds, pinks, blacks, madders, more blues and more browns are waiting for me.

So far I've sorted and priced 330 yards of fabric.  Nearly 70 of those yards are 1800's fabrics.  Long way to go, but it's a good start.    A few kits and sets of FQs are thrown in for good measure.  Patterns, books, and Valdani thread need to be culled as well.

***NOTE--I'll only be selling this fabric at a sale here in Mason City, Iowa -- now set for Fri and Sat, May 8 and 9.   No online sales.  Sorry.  I've had several requests, but I'll only be selling locally. 

I've also been donating fabric to Goodwill.  The running total is 226 yards donated so far in 2015.

Have a great weekend.  My spring cleaning (here and at a daughter's house) will keep me busy, but maybe I'll make another Dear Jane block or two.  I haven't forgotten about her.  She's patiently waiting.    

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Focused till I finish

Hello again, Dear Jane!
She's my oldest UFO, begun in October 2007 with a group of quilters at our LQS.  A large group of  enthusiastic (or just curious) ladies were at the first meetings, but the numbers dropped quickly.  I've seen 3 completed local Dear Jane quilts over the years, and each time I felt guilt that I hadn't finished mine.

The last sighting was two days ago when I saw Vicki J's "Dear Jane," draped over her sofa in all its finished glory.  She made all 169 center blocks, and she simplified hers by skipping the border of triangles.  Her version was lovely and it was finished.

I'm focused.  I'm determined.  I'm working on my last center blocks -- only 8 more to make.  The brighter blocks are all done, and I have only brown and black blocks to finish.

From upper left corner, clockwise, these finished six blocks are L-10 Nan's Naiad;  H-7 Bennington Star;  I-12 Fred's Square Fair;  H-9 Snowflake Melt;  I-13 Sweet Harmony;  L-6 Maze of Madness.   They're not perfect. They're not exact.  But they're done.

Hopefully I'll finish a few more this weekend while watching the NCAA games..   I'm looking forward to putting the rows together and starting on the triangle border.  Mine will be simple cut triangles with no piecing.  If I made pieced and appliqued triangles, I could add another 8 years to the project.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Large Mountain Trail variation done

72 x 90" finished top
Life continues to throw roadblocks in my way, keeping me from quilting as much as I'd like.  I'm retreating to a sewing corner to de-stress and relax as often as I can, as many of us do.   I'm happy to report that I've finished another scrappy quilt top.  The blocks are an enlarged (9-inch) version of the "Mountain Trail" blocks from Lori's quiltalong in 2009 ("Humble Quilts" blog). 

I can't see much of a dent in my 2" squares and 2" strips, but a lot found their way into this 72" x 90" quilt top.    "Nellie," my HQ Sweet 16 quilting machine, just returned today from a maintenance checkup, and this will be the next project I'll quilt with her.   I anticipate a lot of quilted feathers in my future.    

4 blocks sewn together (made 20 of these)
Gotta love the versatility of any version of log cabin blocks.   I decided to try a different layout from Lori's original version, and I like this zig-zaggy finished top. 

Eighty blocks were made, which I sewed into  groups of four with the same arrangement.   After the 20 groups were sewn, they went up on the design wall and the top came together quickly.

We've enjoyed a couple days of warmer weather here, and we see 40s, 50s, and even 60s in our forecast.   It feels like spring has nearly sprung!  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Keeping busy with this and that

Long time without a post, and no excuses offered.  Family comes first.  Busy days and busy weeks. 
Last September, we helped my 91 and 92-year-old in-laws move to an assisted living facility near us.  It was easier to run errands for them, easier to visit them, easier to sleep well, knowing they were safely in a facility with help nearby if needed.

35 x 44" share lap quilt
 A lot has changed this month, and DH and I have been "running" nearly every day since then.   FIL fell and was hospitalized.  He was discharged to a nursing home.   Alone at assisted living, MIL's problems with confusion and dementia accelerated.

After a couple incidents and late night phone calls, it was recommended that MIL go to the nursing home.  She and my FIL were in separate rooms for a week, but today we helped her move from the "memory unit" to sharing a room with her husband of nearly 70 years (anniversary next month).  FIL asked that they be together.  We have more errands ahead, helping to personalize their new room.

I had the joy of quilting with friends last weekend, and I'll be sewing with a daughter tomorrow, maybe on Sun too.  Time with my sewing machine and quilting projects is the best way for me to de-stress, re-energize, and take a breath to get ready for the next week.

working on 80 Mt. Trail blocks (will finish at 9")
So, what have I been sewing lately?   This and that.
--a gold and rust lap/wheelchair quilt made from orphan blocks found at a garage sale

--working on 80 blocks for another Mountain Trail quilt, following instructions from Lori of Humble Quilts blog.  Lori's blocks were little; mine will be 9" finished.  GREAT way to use 2" strips I've been collecting.

--finished the top for February's "Small Quilt Club" selection.  (see link on right side).  I'm usually not a square quilt gal, so I added another row to the quilt made from 1800s repro fabric blocks.

24 x 32" Small Quilt for February
--I always seem to be making place mats for Meals on Wheels from leftovers and scraps.   I can't look at scraps without wondering what I can do with them to make a placemat.   Since the first of the year, I've finished these 16 placemats.  I'm not in a guild this year, so I'll hand them off to a guild member one of these days.  
Have a great weekend, and stay warm and safe, if you're in a cold part of the country.
Sick of Winter!!  Sick of Winter!!

placemats 1-7

placemats 8-11
placemats 12-16

Saturday, January 17, 2015

My first red and white

"Roses--Square by Square" -- 16" x 20"
As each new year starts, there are so many online groups we could join, so many weekly or monthly projects we could begin.  One commitment will be plenty for me this year.

I'll sew along with the "Small Quilt Club" from Huckleberry Stitches.   A link to her site on the right side shows the book we'll use, 101 Fabulous Small Quilts from Martingale.  This thick book includes many familiar quilts I've seen in my other Martingale books.   (It's not too late to sign up and join in.) 

mixing old and newer buttons
enlarged version sewn in 2010
The January quilt chosen was on page 54 -- "Box of Chocolates."   Wouldn't you know, that's one of the 3 or 4 little quilts in the book that I've already made.   So, a new colorway was in order.   With Valentine's Day ahead, and spotting a box with red and white fabric, this is my new small quilt.   I'm happy with the finished look using dark, medium, and light reds.  I'm a toile lover, and a rose print toile is the center of each block. I machine quilted it with curvy lines, as suggested by the designer.   I have a healthy button stash, so I easily found a variety of red and white buttons to add.  

A lesson was learned the first time I made this pattern (pink + brown version in  2010).
I sewed on the label and tacked down the hanging pocket before sewing on buttons.   Oops -- the hanging pocket and label both covered spots where buttons had to be sewn.  So unstitching -- then buttons -- then restitching pocket and label. 
Lesson learned.   This time, all buttons were sewn on first. 

I hope you find time for stitching this weekend.  We all need plenty of that in our lives. 


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