No Sewing Tonight

My new mattress and box springs are being delivered tomorrow morning. So It was imperative that I get my bedroom cleared out and get my new bed completely put together tonight.

Poor Rico is NOT going to be able to get under this bed.

This bed feels really big in my room. It will be interesting to see what the mattress and springs do to adjust that sense.

This bed was a pain to put together. The bolts that hold those cross supports in place have to be put in from the bottom! What a wrestling match! But it’s done and ready for my morning delivery.

And here’s the reason there was no sewing tonight.

I can’t even get in there, let alone do anything once I’m in there! The delivery people will take these away tomorrow.

So since I couldn’t sew tonight, I explored some ideas I’ve been having… been thinking about some improvisational curved piecing. Here’s some ideas for shapes.

Of all those, this is the one that has me most interested…

I might play with this idea soon.

Another reason there is no sewing tonight… I have to be at work before 7 am. So it’s 11 pm and I’m heading off to bed soon… in my guest room.

I had the plumber at my house today to fix the toilet in my utility room, re-seat the toilet in my guest bath, and install a brand new toilet in my bath. This was a little shocking!! The plumber told me that their prices have gone up significantly in the last few months.

But it’s really nice to check that off my list of things to get done before my May company arrives! And it’s really nice to have three fully functioning toilets to choose from!

I’m Seeing Orange… And I Like It!

I had to run to the post office to drop a bag in the mail this evening after our walk. So that meant that my time in my sewing room was limited before I was too tuckered to avoid mistakes.

I managed to get the lining, pockets and zipper placket basically done. All I have to do is sew the side and bottom seams and finish the gussets and I can sew it into the bag.

Isn’t that orange fabric gorgeous?!?!?!? I wasn’t a huge fan of this Kaffe Fassett design called Damask Flower when it first came out, but I just LOVE it now! That is the most wonderful color of orange! I bought a few yards of it in green with the plan to use it as a background for a mostly yellow KFC quilt. But I have never decided on a pattern.

Here’s a view of that orange with the bag. I just love it!

And this little peek of blue is so good! The little orange pieces in that blue fabric make this all so glorious!

Bender continues to believe that sewing is boring. He can’t manage to stay awake for it. At least he wasn’t under my feet.

I had my dog agility class with Rico last night. I got there a little early and it was nice out so I let the boys have a nice run in her field.

That is a field growing grass seed. There is more grass seed grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon than any other place on earth. There’s a fact for you.

Handsome kid!

I have a plumber coming tomorrow. It’s a toilet-palooza at my house! He will be fixing the toilet in my utility room, re-seating the toilet in my hall bath, and installing a new toilet in my bathroom. I’m so excited!!!

I’ll be sure to share photos of all this toilet excitement!

I Would Like Another Sunday, Please

Today went by really fast. I was busy all day but don’t feel like I was terribly productive. I really wish weekends had two Sundays.

I didn’t want to sleep the day away today so I was in bed around midnight last night. That’s early for me! So I was up at about 8:30 this morning and just as I was getting ready to get into the shower my brother called. We talked for about a half hour and then I started my day.

After breakfast the boys and I headed out for a three mile walk. It was such a gorgeous day… a gorgeous weekend! I’ve been keeping an eye on a white peony along our route that has been opening over the last two days. And this morning it was fully open!

Isn’t that incredible! And I’m excited because the dogwood trees are just starting to bloom. They are one of the last trees to bloom each spring and I just love them.

When we got home from out walk I dug in and started working on my house. I went through a pile of mail that has been sitting for way too long. I recycled a lot, shredded a lot, and it feels really good to have that pile gone!

I also did a couple loads of laundry and started working on my kitchen. I straightened all the counter tops… put stuff away, threw some stuff away. Then I moved to cleaning the top of the fridge, which led to pulling the fridge out, which led to cleaning behind and under the fridge. And while I had the vacuum out I vacuumed the walls throughout my house to remove cobwebs. Have I told you that we have a lot of spiders in Oregon? That was a big job and it feels good to have it done.

After a dinner of the soup I made yesterday I took Bender and Rico four our evening walk. Another bit of time spent in some gorgeous weather.

I ended my productive day with a couple hours in my sewing room. I got the two orange and blue panels sandwiched and quilted and constructed the bag body.

I pulled out the piece of tangerine paisley jungle I have and it’s not big enough to make the lining on this bag so I looked at some options.

To me, the choice is clear.

Ooh! I love that! And here’s what it will look like with a nice blue pocket.

While I was quilting these panels I thought I’d test the new gooseneck phone/camera holder and record a quick video. So, here’s a look at how I do the straight line quilting on my bag panels.

I do about 2 inches of matchstick quilting at the top of the bag and then the rest of the bag has horizontal lines spaced about 1/2 inch apart. My stitch length is set at 2.5 and I use my walking foot. I’ve got this down to a pretty efficient method.

And you know I love the close ups of the quilting! This one actually shows me using that seam line to make sure my horizontal lines are staying as straight as possible. I use those occasional broad horizontal seams to adjust my line of stitching so it’s not off terribly by the time I get to the bottom of the panel.

OMG! Look at the details on those fabrics!!!

Good grief! So gorgeous!

I have a few Frankenbags sent in by my blog readers to share with you tonight. First up is this one from Paulette Aldrich. I just love this one! I love the KFC fabrics she combined with the octopus fabrics… they really pull the color out of the octopus fabric! It feels so vibrant. She said she’s been saving this fabric to make a bag, and I think she made a good one. Look at her handle detail! I bought some of that hardware to give that a try. It’s a cool look!

Next up is this bag made by Joyce Treizenberg. I love her Bargello style piecing. And the colors are great! That pop of rust is so good! It’s all complete with a zipper placket and zipper pocket.

This next bag is from @sewingbyadane on Instagram. I just love all that orange!!! And I love how the two sides are different, but related. She’s also done all the pockets and zippers!

Next up are two bags made by Lori Taylor. That Dr. Seuss one is so adorable. I just love the balloons on the zipper placket. That’s such a cute collection of fabric. And zipper plackets everywhere!

Poor Rico is not happy with his crate being removed from my bedroom. He would go into that crate and sleep early every night as I was winding down watching TV and writing my blog posts. He’s taken to sleeping behind the sofa under the console table.

He just got up and headed down the hallway as I posted that photo. And then he came right back and laid down in the corner of the living room. Poor guy. I hope he adjusts. I really like not having that huge crate in the bedroom!

A Beautiful Spring Day, But Where Did it Go?

I slept in this morning. Much later than I should have. After I got showered, fed the dogs and had my own breakfast, poked around the inter webs for a while and got a crock pot full of chicken tortilla soup underway, it was almost 1:00 when we were starting out on our four-mile walk.

It was a gorgeous spring day and I walked in just a t-shirt. I was thinking about the dogwood trees and wondering when they would start blooming. And there they are! their blooms are just opening. The tulips are starting to fade already.

My lilac blooms are just starting to open up and I can already smell them in the back yard. The snowballs are just forming on my snowball tree.

I had a few things I wanted to chunk away at on my list of things to get done before company arrives in May. Today I wanted to get a start on putting my new bed together.

I can’t put it completely together yet because that will need to be done in my bedroom and I can’t do that until the old bed is out of there. So I did what I can before I have the space in my bedroom. I got head board and foot board assembled and they’re waiting in my bedroom

I got the side rails and support slats assembled too.

So once I get this into my bedroom, It should take more than an hour or so to finish putting it together. The assembly is relatively simple and quick. My new mattress and box springs will be delivered Thursday.

I also folded some laundry and went through a pile of mail and papers in my dining room.

I had a nice bowl of hot chicken tortilla soup for dinner and got some packaged up and in my freezer. After that I hit my sewing room to finish putting together the second set of orange and blue bag panels. It didn’t take long to have them done. Here’s the first one.

I just love that blue Aboriginal that is the largest curved piece. It’s go so much movement and a strong design. And the scale of the design is big, so that’s makes the cut pieces really interesting. Here’s a look at a larger piece of the fabric.

Isn’t that gorgeous!

Here’s the other panel for this bag.

I haven’t decided yet which panel will be the front of the bag.

Here’s another fabric from the package of Aboriginal designs that came in the mail yesterday. It’s so gorgeous!

And here’s a bit of a closer look so you can really see how fabulous it is.

it’s one of my favorites.

When I finally emerged from my sewing room my dogs were nowhere to be seen. Bender was out cold on the dog bed in my bedroom.

Rico was sleeping hard in the living room but he actually acknowledged me when I stepped into the living room.

Tomorrow I’m going to do a deep clean of my kitchen. It’s time to wash down my cabinets. Doesn’t that sound fun???

I took some Advil PM at 10 pm so I don’t sleep the day away tomorrow.

I’m Here to Enlighten You…

Purple and green are fabulous together! There. Now you know.

Look at how incredible this little peek of green is among all this gorgeous purple.

Gah! It almost gives me chills, it’s so good!

Apparently, I enjoyed working with these fabrics. Even though my machine was giving me fits tonight as I put the final touches on this bag.

And I broke THREE needles tonight alone! All because I forgot to either change a foot or set my needle back to the center location. I should have quit earlier, but I didn’t stop until I finished this bag.

I just love those curves! And, of course, all these colors and pops of the unexpected are really wonderful.

Here’s the other side of the bag..

And all that sparkling white. I love how it brightens up this relatively dark collection of fabrics.

Here’s some detail photos, just because I love the details.

The Australian Aboriginal fabrics I ordered a few days ago arrived today. It’s a lot of blue, but it’s really gorgeous! I just love a day when I know some fabric will be arriving!

And that means I can start working on the panels for my second blue and orange bag tomorrow. I made the curved blocks earlier this week.

That will be my weekend project along with a few items on my list of things to do to get ready for company.

I was looking at my strawberries this afternoon and they’ve been going crazy the last few days. I’m optimistic that I will have a good crop this year.

Last year was my first year of growing strawberries. I had a few berries but not much of a crop. I’m told that I should have a much better crop this year. The plants are ever-bearing so I’m hoping I get a few months worth. Now I just need keep the birds away!

I’ll sign off tonight with this photo of my sunny afternoon. It was so gorgeous and the sun felt fabulous!

Purple Thursday

I stepped away from my desk right at 5:00 today after a jam packed day. I grabbed a quick dinner of some home made soup I took out of my freezer yesterday. We were out for our walk by 6:30 and it was a gorgeous evening.

I can’t tell you how much I love being able to do our entire evening walk in daylight. I just love watching more and more evening light appear this time of year.

When I got home I hunkered down in my sewing room and put that second purple and green panel together. And I managed to get both panels sandwiched and quilted.

Here’s a look at both panels quilted and ready to assemble.

Definitely a different feel from the blue and orange bag. But I really like this one too.

I decided to take just a few minutes and get the bag constructed. It only takes me about 15 minutes to make the handles and get the outer bag sewn together.

It seems silly to not just finish it up before I wrap it up for the night.

Here’s the other side of the bag.

And just because I love all the detail…

These boys thought that extra few minutes to finish that outer bag was too much to ask of them.

Rico looks eight feet tall in that photo!

Oh, and I heard from Trudy tonight and asked her how that tiny lamb is doing. She told me that she found a pet home for her and she’s settling in with her new friend… a Shetland sheep. And the cutest thing… they named her Petal! How sweet is that?

She’s still very tiny. But I just love her new jacket! I’m so happy she is doing well that she’s ready to go to her new home!

Playing With Purples… and Greens

I felt a little fresher tonight so I pulled out that curved template I made earlier this week and started cutting. I narrowed down the fabrics I had selected to five… three KFC fabrics and two Aboriginal designs.

That’s a very different looking set of fabrics than the orange and blue. There’s not as much contrast, so even though the panels will be essentially the same, the bag will look very different.

I managed to get all five blocks sewn tonight. Here’s four of them.

Definitely less contrast than the blue and orange. And the thing I see the most are the sections of the green jumble. That’s because it contrasts with pretty much every other fabric I’m using and it almost reads as a solid in this grouping.

Someone commented on my Instagram post the other night that my blocks are all so nice and regular. And I replied that they are actually pretty wonky when they are all sewn together. I just press and steam the hell out of them and then square them up. Here’s the first one I made tonight.

It’s almost embarrassing to post that photo! It’s so wonky — but less wonky than some of the curved blocks I’ve made recently. But once squared up, it looks really good. And the beauty of how I’m using this is that there’s no need for precision as none of the seams have to match anything else.

Here’s a block I like better. It has more contrast and you can see all the curves really well. If you’re going to bother with sewing all these curves, you should at least get to SEE them!

This one will be on the front of the bag. Here’s all the blocks that will be on the front of the bag. I haven’t finished that panel yet.

It won’t take me long to finish that up tomorrow night. Here’s the one panel that I finished tonight.

That green jumble is strong. I’m glad I cut up that block that had the jumble as the large corner piece. It needed to be tamed! And isn’t it amazing how many different shades of purple there are… all in this one bag!!!

Bender was playing with a felted wool dog toy today as I worked. And when I looked down a few minutes later, he had fallen asleep with the toy around his neck.

And then I realized that he was much more stuck!

How in the world did he manage to pull that off?

I Just Don’t Have Enough Fabric… It’s True

I had a webinar this morning… the kind where you really only get to listen, but you don’t really get to participate. So I took my laptop back to my sewing room and sewed the curvy blocks that I cut out last night. It was just enough time to finish all four blocks.

These will be made into another bag, but I’m feeling a little inspired to make something bigger with these blocks. Maybe a wall hanging for my sewing room.

I had enough time during my webinar to look at the template I made last night for the curvy blocks. I did a little drawing on it to represent the actual pieces once they are cut

To make these curved pieces fit together, after you cut one curved piece you need to cut off 1/2 inch of the remaining pile of fabric on the bottom and left side of the template. If you didn’t do this, your block would be more triangle shaped.

Cutting off these edges not only makes your block more square, but it makes each piece fit the one before it. If you didn’t cut 1/2 inch off of each side after cutting a curved piece, it would be impossible to make the pieces fit together.

Since I really like this template and will cut it to pieces soon, I decided to trace another one so I’d have it on hand when I need to recreate another one after the current one wears out.

Denise commented on last nights blog post and suggested some templates that would save me all this frustration. But the funny thing is that I don’t find this process frustrating. I really enjoy it! I think figuring out how to make something like this is really fun and challenging in a good way. It’s like doing engineering or geometry without having any actual education or skills to back it up. It’s very freeing to me and very rewarding when I actually figure it out. Even if it is just an 8 inch quilt block!

I was going to make these blocks into a couple of bag panels tonight, but I realized that I don’t have enough fabric! And I don’t have the variety of blue Aboriginal fabrics I want for this project. So I went online and bought a few pieces and I’ll set these blocks aside for a few days until that new fabric arrives to replenish my depleted stash. I always feel happy when I know new fabric is on its way to me.

So instead of sitting here and just waiting for fabric to arrive, I put together a few KFC and Aboriginal fabrics to do a bag similar to the blue and orange one. Here’s a couple of options I put together that include Aboriginal designs and a couple of Brandon Mably’s designs and Philip Jacobs’ coleus in lavender.

I prefer the second one, and here’s why. The two fabrics I added do a couple of things for me. First, they have more white in them and offer more sparkle. That sparkle is one of the things I really like about that blue and orange bag. This second group also adds a few pops of color that the first set doesn’t have. Those little pops of color are really powerful in a group of fabrics.

I’ll look at these a few more times before I start cutting. I will likely start working with these fabrics tomorrow night.

It rained most of the day today but we got out and took a walk mid afternoon. It was raining but not bad. If you live in Portland and are afraid to walk in the rain, you’re not going to get much walking done. There’s a saying here: there’s no such thing as bad weather. Just inappropriate clothing.

And here’s something terribly exciting! Early on in the pandemic I thought my microwave was going out so I ordered one from Costco and had it delivered. And than my old one decided that it was not yet ready to die.

Well, it died a couple days ago. So I pulled that new one out of the box today and got it set up.

It did a beautiful job of heating my dinner this evening.

And I have tulips. More tulips than I’ve ever had here and in more colors. The funny thing is that when I first bought this house I had one red tulip. And now, in my 13th spring, I have a bunch of tulips in with my daffodils. Red. Yellow. Purple. Orange. And this gorgeous pair of pink ones.

Those blooms are nearly the size of my hand! Isn’t it interesting that I have more of them and in more colors and haven’t planted one bulb. it’s a puzzle.

Another rainy day coming up tomorrow. Looks like we’ll have another damp walk.

A Rainy Day and Not Much Time

It rained pretty much all day today. I did take a half hour to get myself and my boys outside for a walk this afternoon and we were all soaked to the skin by the time we got home. But, by God, we got out and moved our bodies!

I had a dog agility class in Hopewell, OR, this evening, so had to be on the road by six. I didn’t get home until almost 10 pm. It takes a full hour to drive down there without traffic. But Rico and I had a blast in class. Bender appreciated that he got to run in the field and stretch his legs. The skies had cleared before we left and it was a lovely drive.

I did spend a little time in my sewing room when we got home… playing with the idea of making a freezer paper template for making curved blocks like in the bag I finished last night. So I cut a couple 10 1/4 inch squares of freezer paper, gathered all my tools, and started playing.

And what did I learn after all that? The plate method that I used the other night worked the best!

So I cut some 10 inch squares of more blue and orange fabric to test out this template.

Then I stacked them up and ironed the freezer paper to the top of the stack. (If you’ve never used freezer paper, it has a thin coating of wax on one side and you can press it to fabric to hold it in place. It pulls off really easily, leaving nothing behind.) And using the plate on top of the fabric (to hold it all in place as I cut), I cut the pieces.

The beauty of the freezer paper template is that I’ll be able to use it again. You can press and pull them many times.

Here’s four sets of cut pieces I ended up with.

I did manage to get the one closest to the iron sewn.

It’s better, but I still don’t love it. The little piece in the lower left is too straight and it could be bigger. By the time it’s finished, there won’t be much left. The larger corner piece is odd too… there’s nothing left of it on the right side. But that could actually be a cool feature. I’ll have to see how it works up once finished.

So this template will work fine for this set of blocks, but I think I’m going to be back at the drawing board to make another one that I like better.

OK… I JUST HAD A BRAINSTORM AS I WAS DAYDREAMING MID TYPING… I might try making these curved pieces using different sized round things… a cup, saucer, plate, and my stainless steel bowl. I think that might give me the effect I want. And now I can’t wait to try it!!! I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow night!

**********EDITED TO ADD **********

I couldn’t stand it. I had to try it out, so I grabbed some plates and bowls, and headed for my sewing room.

And after one failed attempt and a few adjustments, I did it! I came up with a template that is what I want. I won’t know for sure until I cut it and sew a couple blocks, but this is looking really good!

… and now I can relax!

I also remembered a small project that I did this weekend that is making things a lot easier in my sewing room. I bought some Command Hooks, stuck them to the side of a file cabinet in my sewing room, and hung most of my square quilting rulers where they are easy and quick to find and easy and quick to put away.

These hooks are supposed to be able to hold several pounds, so they can easily hold two quilting rulers.

I’m a big fan of tricks that make me more efficient.

A Productive Weekend and an Orange and Blue Finish

After a very productive and busy weekend I finally hit my sewing room this evening after our walk and finished up my blue and orange KFC and Aboriginal fabric Frankenbag. And I just love it!

I just love how the Kaffe and Brandon designs work so well with the Aboriginal fabrics. I’m going to have to do more of combining these fabrics!

Here’s some detail of this bag.

Oh man! I just love that Kaffe paisley jungle for the lining. It’s a huge print and works really well in a big piece of fabric. It’s one of my most favorite designs of Kaffe’s.

I love the way the top of the bag looked with all these clips on it!

Now I need to give some thought to what I’m going to make next. Since I will have my new bed soon, I might dig out my Jewel Frames blocks and start sewing those rows together.

I had my sheep herding lesson yesterday and Trudy brought along that tiny little lamb that I met last weekend. She is still tiny but she’s doing so well!

Look at her adorable little jacket… made from a washcloth. This picture of her following Trudy shows how terribly tiny she is.

Though she is tiny, she is mighty. Get a load of how enthusiastically she’s eating now!

I was so happy to see her again… and to see her doing so well was just wonderful. I’ve been so worried about her.

I’ve been chunking away at my to-do list and I got a lot done this weekend.

Friday morning I had the garage door service man come for a repair, but ended up getting a brand new opener installed. Then in the afternoon I got my COVID booster shot. Then I cleaned out my utility room and folded and put away a huge pile of clean laundry.

Saturday we had our sheep herding lesson, then we took a nice field run to stretch our legs. When I got home I got the dogs settled in and headed out and bought a new mattress and box springs. Then I cleaned my master bathroom. After our evening walk I decided to unbox my new bed, and it was such a huge pain in the ass. Remember this huge box in my guest room?

Well I ripped that monster open and started taking out sooo many pieces! But everything was tied together with really thick nylon ties. I had to rip that box to pieces with my bare hands, reach down in with some kitchen shears, cut away what I could, and remove it piece by piece. And here’s my new bed all ready to be assembled!

I really like the bed, but man I had a mess to clean up when I finally got it all out of that box. Cardboard, Styrofoam, plastic and busted up nylon ties all over the place! But I’m excited to be moving from a double bed to a queen bed. I feel so grown up!

Today I took the boys for a walk after breakfast then got busy. I cleaned the hall bathroom and cleaned my bedroom from head to foot. I even moved all the furniture and vacuumed… even vacuumed the cobwebs and dust off my walls and ceilings. One of the things I’ve wanted to do is remove a great big wire dog crate from my bedroom. Rico spends a good deal of time sleeping in that crate. He was a little confused tonight when I showed him that it’s gone.

I hope he doesn’t think he needs to sleep on the bed with us! But it will be worth it because it feels really good to have that crate out of there!

While I had the vacuum out I just went ahead and did the entire house. I finished it all up by cleaning out my fridge.

I have to say that I do not love house keeping. But I get a really good feeling when my fridge is clean!

I treated myself to an Easter dinner of rockfish tacos from a local restaurant. Yum! They were so good.

And tonight, I’m sore! Every part of my body hurts! I can tell I really put in a lot of work this weekend! I’ve had a couple Advil PMs in anticipation of a good night’s sleep.

I have a few Frankenbags from blog readers to share with you tonight. This first one was made by Kathy Robertson. I just love all those deep jewel tone fabrics. Kathy said a friend of hers gave her a bunch of those batik fabrics. What a great friend!

This next bag is from Kellie Maurer Smith. I love her fabric combo, and that wavy vertical quilting is fantastic! Kellie used fabrics left over from a jacket and skirt she made. Very nicely done!

This next Frankenbag comes from Linda Klysner. I just love all that saturate blue. And teh graphic black and white… well, you know how I feel about that! I really like the spotted batik she used for the lining. And her crumb piecing with all that blue is really pretty.

Up next is this bag made by Rebecca Caisse. That fish panel is so cute, and Rebecca’s pieced fish on the other side are such a perfect touch! And look… it’s orange and blue! I’m on a bit of an orange and blue kick the last few days!

Finally tonight is this bag made by @quilty.girl on Instagram. I just LOVE this bag. I love how her simple piecing really lets these fun designs shine! I just love that big leaf on the front! The fun batiks were given to her by her aunt. Here’s another bag that’s giving me all kinds of ideas! Now I’m going to have to look through my batiks for some fun fabric combos.

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos!