Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's Another Beautiful Day

It was three years ago, on June 23, 2012, that we moved into the house that we bought June 14. Three years ago, with the help of our son and DIL who now live in Austin, Texas, we moved in just as Tropical Storm Debby hit.

The day we closed on the house, it looked like this.

Today, it looks like this. Definitely more settled-looking with landscaping that makes a difference. I love that we can plant annuals... and that they bloom for six month or more!

A few days ago, when a storm was brewing toward the east (behind the house) and the evening sun was shining - it was about 7 pm - I took these photos. Amazing light!

My favorite palm in our yard is this Bismarck Palm. It's a different variety of palm than most people choose for their yards, and it's getting big. I measured the width of one of those fronds, from tip to tip. It's 58"! Big, and impressive! Love it right outside my sewing room window. 

And speaking of sewing room, here's a before and after of that space.

Now this is an "honest" sewing room! No less that four projects are in the works here. At least by making the space my own, it's now colorful! You might understand why I've opted to keep all white walls (except for one) in this house. White is a great canvas for the bright colors I've come to adore.

Happy anniversary - three years in The Villages - to us! Linda

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More of the Same, and Remembering

The scrap piles don't look much smaller than they did last week. There's a pile of cut pieces on the right side of the sewing machine.

And one canvas bin that's still a jumbled mess because I keep rooting around through it. 

But my design wall is filling up! The Scrap Vortex blocks are getting larger and chunkier (we're on week four of the quilt-along) and My Small World is growing. You can see it on the right, though it's difficult to tell where Scrap Vortex ends and My Small World begins! 

I've now completed Section 2 (of six sections) of My Small World. In keeping with my aim to give it a Florida feel, I used a couple palm fabrics, and fussy cut squares of a flamingo, and a beach chair. 

The colorful cabanas in the middle were hand appliquéd, as were four petals. My favorite method is back-basting needle turn appliqué. If you haven't tried it, here's a good tutorial.

This darling little Janome Derby sewing machine arrived yesterday after I succumbed to MassDrop's discounted price. The machine weighs less than five pounds and is available in many different colors. The "turbo teal" spoke to me.
I think it will be perfect to tote to my weekly Big Cypress Quilters meeting. Though a disadvantage is that it doesn't have a light, MassDrop is helping with that too as I've ordered a rechargeable, cordless LED lamp. Yep, I like shopping at MassDrop.

Last evening I made a practice quilt block that turned out too small. Seems I still need to figure out how to find an accurate quarter inch, since the machine has only one foot.

On an altogether different topic, today is a personal remembering day. This photo, taken in May 2002 in Austin, Texas, when our son received his master's degree in structural engineering from the University of Texas, is the last one I ever took of my mother. By December, died from non-Hodgkins lymphoma which she had fought and sent into remission twice previously. 
Today would have been her 85th birthday. My Dad, siblings, and I are missing her more than we can express, and think of her with much love. She was the best mother, and the one to whom I owe my ability and love for sewing. Linda

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sewin' Crazy

I've been getting to spend time at the sewing machine every day, and I couldn't be happier about it!

I made my second, size 2-4, Dress a Girl Around the World pillow case style dress. This one is sewn with a lovely, sturdy weight of Cloud 9 organic fabric. It's so rewarding to make these cute little dresses!

Mostly I've continued to piece bits together for my Scrap Vortex quilt. After hours of sewing, I put my small blocks on the design wall, as CrazyMomQuilts, Amanda Jean, suggested we do in week two. It started to look like something!

Returning to the sewing machine, I sewed some of the blocks together.

It continued to be quite the mess.


And then I realized that some of the small orphan blocks I have - like 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" unfinished - sort of fit into the scrappiness.

So in random places, I inserted these odd blocks.

I even sewed into the design a Quick Curve Ruler test block, and a small Nine Patch leftover from my Friendship Medallion quilt.

Today the scrappiness continues. The plastic bag at the bottom of the photo is all teeny bits and trimmings that will be given to a friend who uses them to stuff animal beds that she makes and donates to a shelter.

My design wall is filling up as I continue to sew. We're on to week three now. I'll say that I've done much more cutting than I thought I would. It turns out that most of my scraps are in chunks and strips - like leftover bindings - that I've cut smaller. It seems sort of silly to intentionally cut up more scraps, but on the other hand, after seeing several other Scrap Vortex quilts in progress (on Instagram), I definitely prefer them made with smaller pieces. The overall effect is more pronounced.

It's been gratifying to note that of my eight canvas scrap bins, four are seeing a dramatic reduction in fullness.

Progress on My Small World has slowed as I've worked on Scrap Vortex. But as I go along, I've been cutting 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" squares of neutral prints. That's because a total of 375 of them are needed for My Small World. I'm also prepping and working on the hand-sewn parts, including appliquéd pieces needed in Section 2.

Sections 4 and 5 need three small embroidered pieces, and I've stitched two. The pattern calls for the Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Harbour Bridge (Sydney), but I want to reflect my locale. Certainly, palms and golf carts (our primary mode of transportation) feature prominently in my world! The third embroidery will be the lighthouse on a nearby lake.

I guess you could say I'm sewin' crazy, and toodling along! Linda

Monday, June 15, 2015

Living Proof Ministries Event

Last week, I attended the Friday evening/Saturday morning Living Proof Ministries event in Tampa at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.

I still haven't come down from the Holy high. 

My friend Winnie, who I met through Happy Stitchers and attends our Friday morning "Good Book Study," accompanied me on the bus trip. 
Winnie and me
While I wouldn't recommend traveling by bus, I would most definitely recommend attending a Living Proof event to hear the inspirational, Spirit-filled speaker Beth Moore, and worship music led by Travis Cottrell. Beth's message from Galatians 6:1-10 is still on my mind and in my heart.

She asked us to memorize: "RE, the most beautiful prefix in history," and spent much time explaining the value of the "re" words in our lives: reverberate, restore, reframe, replant, repent, and remember.

Beth is such an enthusiastic speaker! It was difficult to get a good picture of her because she's always in motion.


On Saturday, she went into the crowd to ask questions.

She then shared a "re" word - RENEW, found on a roll of toilet paper!


All of Beth's Bible studies, devotional books, guides, and more were available for sale. I picked up these. The "Children of the Day" is a workbook for a nine week Bible study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. I bought it in the hopes I can find an area church that's offering this study!

One of many beautiful moments during this event, was hearing 7,000 women singing praises to God. Who wouldn't be moved by that?! Linda

Friday, June 12, 2015

My Small World, a Scrap Vortex!

All kinds of scrappiness is happenin' at my sewing machine. It's been fun, and terribly messy to pull out all my scrap bins and paw through everything... looking for smaller fabric bits for Scrap Vortex, and the more planned colors going into My Small World. 

This photo doesn't show actually how bad as it's been! But you know it must be messy because Dan  poked his head into the room to ask, "What are you making?!" Usually he doesn't pay one bit of attention! I've cleaned up a couple times, putting some bins and fabrics away, and then later going scrounging for more. 

What I have to show for all the piecing, pressing, and trimming is this small pile of pieces. Scrap Vortex is into week two, so I've been taking the pairs of pieces and joining them to other pairs or strips. It's a pretty pile, mostly in bright colors. I'm rejecting most scraps that are black or brown.

As long as I'm being messying, and to get my projects under control, I've made a couple of these Work in Progress Bags, (WIP) a pattern by Amanda Jean of CrazyMomQuilts. She's the one who got me started on the WIP scrap mess in the first place! Using my stash of 14" zippers from ZipIt, and some of the three yards of 16 gauge vinyl I bought for half price from JoAnn's, I plan to make a whole bunch of these in different sizes.
9" X 12" and 14" X 18" WIP bags
The other big part of the scrappy mess is My Small World, a pattern in the Spring issue of QuiltMania magazine. I'm having so much fun! I'm probably overthinking my fabric choices - where to place each color - but it's rewarding to sew with such little bits. 

This is section one completed. It measures 12-1/2" X 34" (unfinished). 

Most of the low volume prints in the upper section are 1" X 1" finished, or 2" X 2" finished. It's been fun to see on Instagram what quilters are choosing for the "billboard" at the top of the tallest building. I've seen: café; flowers all summer; handmade original; edge of the world; beyond the woods; be grateful for luck; show in New York; June... such small printed verbiage isn't easy to find. My "Delight yourself in the Lord," suits my world perfectly. I found that on a stashed panel of Bible verses purchased from Block Party Studios, Nevada, Iowa. 


This close-up picture of the section bottom shows the variety in the piecing and appliqué. The four pinwheel blocks on the left side each measure 2" X 2". I learned that several pieces, like the diamond in the center, went together better as foundation paper piecing. You'll also note that I am fussy cutting some of prints - the palm on the right - to reflect my Florida world. 

I'll keep the Florida theme going in the next five sections. Yep, I'll be working on this one for a long while yet. The finished size is 33" X 52".

Along with a Christian friend, today I'm going on a bus trip to Tampa for a Living Proof Live event at the Sun Dome. After doing at least ten different1 Beth Moore Bible studies, I'm excited to see/hear Beth and worship leader Travis Cottrell, in person. It's going to be a wonderful two days. Linda

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sewing Some More

I'm digging into several sewing projects...

First up was making these dozen Delectable Mountain blocks. Our charity quilt coordinators in the Central Florida MQG requested them, using our own scrap fabrics in colors similar to the Yoyogi Park collection, by Cloud 9. I will be turning them in at tonight's meeting.

Then, on Instagram I saw that Heather, of HeathersSewingRoom, had made a box-bottom shoe tote. Knowing that one of those would be perfect for my line dance shoes, I made one. Happily, I already had a sturdy 18" orange purse zipper on hand, so that dictated my fabric choice.

This fabric is Sanibel (too perfect), in my favorite colors. Roughly following my own Edith bag tutorial here, changing the dimensions and adding tabs to both ends to hang onto when using the zipper, it went together really easily. Love that fusible Bosal In-R-Form!

Both the tote and handle are stabilized with it, my new favorite tote and bag making product. I used up every last inch of one package and now need to buy more. Grunge fabric is on the inside of this tote.

My latest adventure is to join two quilt-alongs. Both are meant to use scraps, so I've set up my sewing room to make a mess. And it is! Hopefully by the time the alongs are all done, I'll see a reduction of the bits in my aqua scrap bins (see upper left corner).

I'll be joining CrazyMomQuilts - Amanda Jean - to make a Scrap Vortex quilt.

It's a Small World, Tokyo
LiveAColorfulLife - Cindy - is paving the way to make a My Small World quilt, a Jen Kingwell design (based on Disneyland Tokyo's It's a Small World) found in the Spring 2015 issue of Quiltmania magazine.

 Lotsa little bits ahead! Linda

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