Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Guild Project....

Our guild,  Northwest Quilters has a huge charitable component.   Quilts of Valor,  Habitat for Humanity,  Hospice organizations,  Toy N Joy (Toys for Tots),  Children's services,  a Camp for Aids Patients....  just to name a few.   We donated nearly 2000 doll quilts for the Toy N Joy project in 2016.We also donate approximately 2000  larger quilts each year as well.  

Most of these are lap / twin size quilts.   We have had a group of ladies that tied the twins for us as a small group for many years,  but due to age, agility, and other issues; this has tapered off, and our Comfort Quilts group has a back log of quilts that need to be tied so they can go to forever homes.  

I volunteered to take a group of 10 twin size quilts and machine tack them rather than tying them.    These were already enveloped and turned with batting when i got them.  

It worked really well, to use the memory function on my Janome!  I started with a knot,  then programmed one of the decorative stitches that looks like an asterick and finished with one more knot and a thread cut.     It took some smoothing, pressing,  and pinning to do this without getting wrinkles.  But I got them all done.  

On a few of them,  when the back was really smooth,  I used my serpentine stitch and followed the seams for a really firm hold.  

Here are 7 of the 10 I did....  somehow all the pictures didn't upload to photobucket from my phone. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Pet Beds

4  Pet beds using  2016 trimmings

     This year (2016),  I decided to see just how much I could reduce the waste bin in my sewing area.

      I started the year out by making a large pillow case shaped bag from  my stash.  It wasn't a pretty piece, but I must have thought so at some point in time.

Sample of trimmings.  That larger triangle piece had silver writing on the front side of it.  

     I used this bag whenever I was sliver trimming blocks or units,   or when I trimmed that 1" excess of batting from a quilt after it is quilted prior to binding.   You know... those bits.  

     I love my string bins, which are over flowing.....  but I can't use those pieces that are much smaller than 3/4" wide.... most of it ends up in the seams...   the crumbly pieces at the end of a strip that are smaller than 1".  

     I just tamed a 12" x 12" x 4" box of scraps that were gifted to me.... and believe me....  my 1 1/2" squares are adding up..... and the crumb jar is just about full.    I hate to throw any of it away.

     Last night, as I was clearing off my table,  I decided it was time to see just how many pet beds I could make from my one year's worth of trimmings.  

This bag was stuffed! 

     I've never done this before,  and I'm not even sure what sizes are needed,  but I had 3 pieces sitting near my work area that needed to be used up, so that is the size I made.

     I simply stitched the  pieces into rectangles with one open end,  turned them right side out, and then stuffed them.   When done,  I folded over the open edge towards the inside, and stitched it closed.   It only took me about 30 minutes to do all four of them! 

How thick should they be?..... mine are about 4" thick....
     I wasn't sure just how full to fill them....  Like I said I had only read about these on someone's blog.  

     The largest one is approx 24" square and 4 1/2" thick.  The smaller pink one, is approx 12" square and 3" thick.  The two middle ones with hearts are 18" square.  (That blue plaid with hearts has been in my deep stash!  Time to move it on! )  

      I wonder how many I'll make in 2017?   Now,  I need to find a shelter that can use them,  and when I drop them off I'll check on the sizes most needed.  I'll also find out how thick to make them.    

     This is the result of finishing 12 quilts this year.   What do you do with your trimmings? 


Monday, December 26, 2016

Mystery quilt? It's a mystery to me, where all these UFO's came from.....

I'm following Bonnie Hunter's mystery this year..... but am sitting on my hands,  instead of joining in. 

My Roll, roll, Cotton Boll,  still needs to be quilted!  Along with at least a dozen other completed tops.... and the list of tops in progress in varying stages.  

I did do a pretty good job in 2016, of not starting anything I wasn't going to finish ASAP.   

I made this golf-themed quilt for my brother in law. Started it  and finished it in a week!  

"Fairway Views"  64 x 80
 Sorry... that is really a blurry picture... but until my sister send me the ones from her phone,   I don't have a better one.  

I also started and finished a Tile Tango for a donation quilt.   There was also a baby quilt that was started and finished back in Jan / Feb.    Gifted!  

Maybe that's the key.... I need to have a purpose to finish.  😌 😌 😌 😌 😌  

Then there were the UFO finishes....  You can see a complete list over on my side bar.   

A look back through the postings for this year will show you pictures of them. 

I did finish 2 tops  this fall that were exchange blocks / row robins, that I had received all the components. 

"Flury"  by Kate Spain 
"Flury"was a block exchange.   We each made a gift box for each other person in the group,  and mailed it along with at least four  2.5" squares of our fabrics....   I used some Christmas fabrics from my Mom's stash to lengthen from 12 gift boxes to 20 to make it the size I wanted.  

"Warm Winter Wishes"   a 2015  Internet Row Robin 
A different internet group....  we each chose a theme,  and group members made a row to fit in.   Between planning and mailing of the first rows, the original group became a group of just 4 of us....  down from an original group of 8 or 9.... and since I wanted a larger quilt,  I added some extra of my own.   Most of the snow fabrics I used for this were from a different internet "snow ball fight" exchange where we mailed a "sweet sixteen" ( 9" x 11" )  of a snow fabric to each person in the group.   There were a lot of us in that group.... and I still have some pieces that had "Christmas" hints in them to use later.    I wanted this quilt to be for use in January and Early February after the Christmas decorations and quilts are put away.    
My project this week, is to bust through a box of scraps that needs to be tamed into  my scrap saver sizes.   (One of my current projects needs 192 four patch blocks).   

Linking today to: 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Windy Hill Quilters finishes

     I quilt with a group of quilting sisters in a little community East of Portland, Oregon.  Corbett sits in the Columbia River Gorge, about 20 miles east of Downtown Portland. 

    We enjoy each other's company and together, we stitch up not only our own personal projects and offer suggestions and advice,  but we make quilts to be given to members of the Corbett Community in tough times such as illness,  fires, or traffic accidents.    We have also made quilts for a  family homeless shelter and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  

     We are not a large group, but about 8 regular members.  A nice intimate group. 

     There is a storage area at the church we stitch at, with fabric that has been donated for the cause.   We often start there for inspiration,  but there is plenty of fabric in my own stash to fill in where needed.    The group purchases batting for use,  with funds raised from raffle quilts. 

     I usually have at least one or two quilts in progress for donation to the cause,  but lately I've had gaggle of them in the works.  

     I've made it my mission to get these much needed projects moved on into the hands of those who need them for comfort and warmth during difficult times.  

     This past month,  I've finished 2 youth quilts,  and 3 larger quilts for this cause.  4 of these, I started back in fall of 2014,  when I purchased a bunch of fabric from a quilter's estate sale.  In the pile of fabrics, there were several pieces that I decided were appropriate for these projects, and I got started on some tops.   I've finished a few of these last year,  but my goal was to try to finish several more this year.  

Here are some of the finishes I've had this last week or so.  This has entailed piecing backs,  piecing batting sections together,  and layering and quilting.   One of the larger quilts has 6 batting scrap " frankenstein" stitched together.  

Thomas the Tank  #2   45 x 60 

Thomas the Tank Engine #3  45 x 60  

In the group of fabrics,  there were several Thomas the Tank Engine fat quarters.  I have finished 3 quilt tops with that group, and there are still more.....  but in the interest of wanting recipients to feel like their quilt is special,  I think I'll wait a while to begin another top with those pieces.  

Rodeo Flannel quilt  60 x 80
Campfire Cowboys Flannel  60 x 80 
There were a couple larger pieces of flannel that would be perfect for "guy's quilts"... 
I added variety with some flannel pieces I had stashed away.  

This next quilt is one that I got all the main fabrics from the back room at the church.  
I used Teri Atkinson's pattern Tile Tango.   The scrappy 9 patch blocks were made with 
2 1/2" squares from my scrap bins. 

Tile Tango  72 x 90


Saturday, December 24, 2016

A 7 year Home Journey

Disclaimer:   I found this post from June,  which did not get published.  It was still in draft mode.   See I can garden and blog at the same time... LOL    

7 years ago,  my husband Mike and I decided to leave city life in Portland,  and find a home outside the urban lifestyle.   We spent the summer, doing drive-byes, and crossing numerous RMLS listings off our list.  We had a list of  "Needs"  and  "Wants"...and  while we loved the idea of a log home, we knew that  our dream cabin would be too expensive, too much maintenance, and difficult to find within a 25 mile radius of Portland

  • Paved driveway / road because of our classic cars
  • At least a 2 car garage 
  • A designated sewing area for my quilting (at least as much space as my previous basement area)
  • At least 1 acre of space (but not over 3) due to cost and maintenance
  • A pole barn / shop building 
  • Plenty of parking space for boats, RVs, trailers, etc 
  • Within a 15  - 20 minute drive to my job in Gresham
  • Gardening space
  • Open floor plan 
  • Preferably a single level 
We aren't afraid of a little work and rehab... we've done it before...  but we aren't kids anymore, at least not physically.  

Then, one  August night, while going over the weekly foreclosure listings... we found it!   A phone call to my sister, our realtor, and we made arrangements to look at it first thing in the morning.  We were up early, and knowing we couldn't get into the lock box until 10 am,  we still ventured out before 8 am.  

This is the 2009 google earth photo... the biggest blue roof is the shop,  the medium one is the house, and the smallest one is the upper garage. All sitting on an acre and a quarter.

Previous owner ran an auto body business from the home... and I think we counted 25 cars on the outside of the buildings in this photo, plus a tow truck...

A neighbor said there were over 50 at one time, before the neighbors complained.

This is what we found... 

A huge shop... previously an Airplane hangar that was moved to this property several years ago.  It was unlocked,  so we took a gander... SOLD!!!! 
 and then decided to see about the house. 

It was BLUE!   Blue roof,  blue paint,  blue foundation....   
This is the driveway side.  (The North side)  There really isn't a true "Front Door".... 

This is the South East corner... 

This is the South West Side 

And then we have the North East side, looking at both the back of the 
upper garage and the house.

We still couldn't get into the house until 10:00, due to a timer on the lock box,  but we could look in the  windows....  

The living room, dining room and kitchen area... 

We saw enough, with the cedar walls and open cedar ceiling to know that this was the home for us.... So we called the my sis, and told her to bring papers to write an offer when she got there.... And we hadn't even seen the rest of the inside yet!  

Here we have the downstairs family room fireplace. Looks like new
carpet is in order.... 

The stairs going down
into the family room 

This is going to be my sewing area, after we knock down the other wall and put in a stud/ 1/2 wall where the wall and door are here in this picture. 

French doors from the downstairs family room to the garden area 

Oh, goody!  More blue in the laundry room / mud room area. 

Don't get me wrong... I like blue, 
but not quite this much of it in one place. 

There was another bedroom downstairs,  nothing spectacular to show in pictures...  
And a bathroom with shower, toilet and vanity... again... just painted white, with black trim. 

Upstairs... the master bedroom reminded us of a hotel room,  very large, with long closet with mirror doors on one end,  and a double vanity on the other... A commode room in the corner, and a double stand up shower.  All in one room.   

The commode room on the right,  and the left door is a linen closet. 

You can see that this room echoes the living room area, with tall, open cedar ceilings and walls, and some high triangular windows above. 

This was a foreclosed home, so we purchased as is.  We got our keys on Sept. 25, and moved in on Nov 17, 2009.   Prior to moving in, we replaced carpet, Painted walls and put some cedar paneling in the family room, did lots of cleaning,   replaced several light fixtures, put in new ceiling fans in the living room, put a ceiling in the upper garage, and I attempted to get a grip on the garden.   It was a busy 6 weeks.... especially working at the same time.

The needs and wants list?   pretty much all of it... .except for the one level... however, it's a walk-out daylight basement with sloped walkway to the lower level.  

Fast forward... and 7 years later, it is very close to being just the way we want it.....  still on the major project list... 
  • we need a new deck this year.... about 650 square feet of it... 
  • replace the electric range with a gas one.. 
  • resurface the fireplaces with river rock  (we converted to gas logs earlier this year) 
  • Mike would love a resurfaced floor in the upper shop 
  • finish landscaping on West side of house.. (there is none... only grass ) 
  • In a perfect world, we would like to add stone over the foundation to add more interest

The first thing we did, after moving in was have a concrete path and stairs put in to replace the muddy trail  and slippery rail road tie steps from the house to the lower shop.  We had a pad put in next to the upper garage for a carport as well.  Those beautiful fir trees all around us drop something all year long.... needles,  then pollen,  then those brown puffy things, then cones,  then more needles...  This was done the first spring....  followed by a paint job in July.... from blue to a soft mocha brown...  That was the summer of 2010

Looks pretty good!  the garden area in this picture is the area closest to the house....
Somewhere along the way,  a previous owner had placed heavy black plastic all through the  garden area, and covered it with mulch.  (Not breathable weed fabric... black plastic!)  I spent that first spring and summer.... digging it out and not replacing it with a weed fabric.  I was wanting a Cottage garden feel, with soft flowing edges.  Those big rocks around the edge were literally holding down the edge of that plastic. 

News flash...  the plastic did not stop the grass roots from taking hold... this is a root mass of grass roots I encountered while digging out the plastic... 

See the black plastic working it's way to the surface?   Yuck!

once the plants were able to get water and breathe.... it really took off!  And i mean... take off!  

Year two... 2011  brought  small general projects... nothing major in store.... some gravel around the shop.... and we put the car port together.  

The edges are starting to flow together... and then life happens.... 

We got word during the early fall of 2011,  that Mike had prostrate cancer....  we had a medical whirlwind year... he had surgery in November,  then some heart issues in March,  then  in the spring, he got word that surgery wasn't enough and we were looking at radiation....  32 treatments... starting in June and going through August... No traveling farther than a trip to the beach. It was a mandated "Staycation"  ... 

Year Three.... (summer 2012)   we extend the concrete path to the shop....  and then decided to put a patio and fire pit behind the upper garage... which was still a huge mess of overgrown rhodies, fire weed and blackberry plants... 

Back of the Garage before the patio and fire pit were poured 

As my therapy that summer, while Mike underwent radiation, I hauled all those rocks that had been holding down the plastic, over to the new area and built this water feature....


Time for some plants....   and a fire! 

The next two years, were low effort years for us....  we spent time with family and friends, going to the beach,  traveling to Montana to see grand-kids,  etc.   We purchased a new travel trailer and  for  the Summer  of 2014,  we got out of town.... and spent 3 weeks in our travel trailer,  camping, and traveling.   

By spring 2015, I was feeling the pressure to keep the garden under control.  I have a huge respect for those that can "cottage garden".... I've learned that I need cleaner lines.... more order,  and much less pruning!  The arthritis and carpal tunnel symptoms really flare up when I get momentum going out there.    Attempting to rehab those 20 year old shrubs that had been neglected, poorly pruned, and starved of water and air in the soil was proving to be more than I had anticipated.    I could sit under that huge wisteria and hear it growing.  It needed pruning all the time! 

After we did the fire pit,  we realized that there was not enough space to do a potluck BBQ, and the large upper deck doesn't really have easy access to the fire pit area. I began thinking of a plan to pave about 1/4 of the garden area closest to the fire pit to create an  area for  potluck tables, a patio dining area, etc.    We had a beautiful early spring in late January,  and I got lots of clipping and weeding done... then a very wet March, April and May.... by Memorial Day you couldn't even see the progress made early on.   I mentioned to Mike that I needed a blow torch and a load of concrete.....   

You have to know my hubby.... but the happiest day of his life was the day we moved to a houseboat and he got to sell his lawn mower.....  so yard work is not his favorite relaxation technique.   About a week after my blowtorch request,  he asked how much concrete I wanted.....  "just this much" , I said as I showed him the area I was thinking of .....  but his logic took me further... In order to excavate the area I wanted paved, we would have to "cherry pick"  plants and hand dig.     He suggested we make the  new patio area larger, and bring in an excavator to do the job.    

WHAT?   It took me about 30 seconds to agree.....  

So one year ago.... I spent my first week of summer break, pulling bricks,  stepping stones, perennials I wanted to save,  yard art and bird feeders from the garden and getting ready for the project.   Then the weather turned HOT.... 90 degree and higher... which is not usual for Oregon in June.... I felt like the water wand was permanently attached to my hand,  and I had patio umbrellas covering groups of plants to protect them from the hot sun as they sprouted new roots in the 1 and 2 gallon pots.  

Excavation only took an evening.....  

I would still be out there digging this wisteria out..... 

you can see the fire pit area behind the garage now.... 

Next comes the concrete.... 25' x 40' of it! 

While the concrete cured,  we ordered a  10 x 20 shade structure/ gazebo to put up.  It was really bright out there!    By 2 pm, the house starts to cast a shadow on the patio area, so it is a perfect place to spend a summer evening. 

Then we made it our own.... we enclosed one end of it for privacy and weather protection... ran water lines and electical and even a cable for tv.  

Added some neat touches.... and  we had  fun searching craigslist for bargains. 

An old cupboard from an old house,  and we made a wine barrel sink.  Added some lights and signs ...   It was ready to enjoy... 

But our record heat wave  and lack of rainfall made it impractical to do the landscaping portion.   Those potted plants would have to wait all winter to be planted properly. 

So  you can probably figure out what I've been doing this spring.....  and I'm within 2 dozen plants of being done! 

         First,   I laid out a path  

               and filled it with cedar chips 

Then, I planted a couple of trees,  for future shade 

A Forest Pansy Redbud tree... 

this will bloom next spring with lavendar buds before the heart shaped leaves emerge.  

And a Japanese Snowbell Tree.  

The stump was a Hawthorne tree that had really bad fire blight.  A nearly dead tree and a fire pit don't really go well together.... 

It was sad to take it down though, because the birds loved it!

I specifically  chose plants that don't get too large in the big scheme of things... so that the pruning will  not be too intensive down the road.   

Ornamental grasses,  low growing evergreens,  and the saved hostas, ferns, and perennials are placed around the perimeter.    And bark mulch is in the works.....  

Looking south.  The area behind the bench is my vegetable area...  I had fun making the rustic bean tee pee out of some long branches I found in the neighbors woods. 

The vegetable area is on the southern most edge,  on the outside of the path behind the bench.     New bench will be purchased,  and the two upright trellis pieces will be replaced with a home made twig one, similar to my bean tee pee in the next few weeks...   Peas will be planted on it next year.  (too late now for this season) 

We need to repair the upper deck area, so I am not planting those plants that will go nearest the deck.... I'll plant them when that work is done.... I think it will make it easier for the guys to move ladders, etc around if they don't have to be worried about my new plants. 

So in the next weeks I'll get  the final plants in the ground..... and the bark mulch finished.  I can  only shovel so much of it at a time.  The outside edges need a final touch.... I'm planning on using the stack of bricks I saved a year ago... but it required digging.....  I'm thinking  about a small ditch witch to create a nice clean start.... but we are still debating the best way to go..... I want something that will give a nice clean way to get the riding mower up close to reduce the use of the string trimmer on a regular basis.  

The lawn is a "country lawn".... full of weeds,  mole holes,  uneven ground.... etc.  but it is green most of the year....  

Next projects after the deck?    I'll work the areas on the south side below the deck, and move around to the West side and choose plants similar to the new landscaping around the patio.....     The new window on this side is sitting in the garage, waiting to be installed, then it will get white trim....  

The area just above the shop is also in need of cleanup.... we weren't able to see it from the house before, because the plants that were so overgrown hid it most of the time.  

I've planted two new trees down there,  but I can't really do any under planting until we use up some of that stacked firewood in the fire pit.