Early Christmas Planning

It’s not too early to think about Christmas, is it?

I was always that one to bring out the Christmas music a little early,

so I’m thinking this is the perfect time to talk about handmade gifts.

You still have plenty of time, I promise,

so grab you a cup of tea or coffee,

and start thinking about items you can make..

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The Christmas collections for the year are just hitting the store,

which means one of two things.

If you’re a “buy the latest collection” sewer,

those things will be in stock.

If you’re a “buy what’s on sale” sewer,

last year’s Christmas collections should be marked down significantly!

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I have a pretty red and green and aqua stack of fat quarters

which are from a previous collections called Joy, by Kate Spain.

They’re waiting on me to decide on a pattern.

I also have some non-Christmas themed gifts

waiting on me to finish well.

We shall see what can be accomplished before the season hits!

If you’re looking for inspiration about what to make,

I wrote a series of Holiday Sewing posts last year.

They are a collection of 12 good gift ideas,

all linked together and waiting to inspire you!

Swoon Quilt Top

Camille Roskelley of Simplify

has a beautiful pattern called Swoon.

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Normally made in bright colors on a white background,

this quilt is a stunner.

Many months ago, I chose a soft color palette

of Moda’s Hunky Dory collection and a background of pale grey.

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I’m pleased with the color choices,

although the pattern was more difficult than I imagined.

It was a stretch for me to make this pattern well,

but I enjoy a challenge sometimes!

I have quite a stack of coordinating scraps left.

so now the project has turned towards making good use of the leftover bits.

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I used the trimmings from my triangles to make small pinwheels.

I also have leftover long strips of background fabric,

so we’ll see how those wind up being used.

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I’m a firm believer in using every last bit of fabric.

I’m not entirely sure where this project is headed,

but after exact piecing, it’s nice to make it up as I go along!

Initially a backing for the Swoon quilt,

my leftovers may wind up as a new quilt top!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a new top finished

in some soft, modern colors!

What’s new in your sewing space?

Studious Days

We just started our homeschool year back this week. In fact, it’s been a studious week for everyone, as Mr. Wonderful is working on the very end of his master’s degree as well. I loved school when I was young, an opportunity to learn and grow and interact with others! I’m hoping to impart that love of learning to my children, and teach them to always be studious and learning something new! My children taught me a few lessons this week, as we started a new school year.

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First, they grow up fast. I know it’s trite, and that older people tell you that all the time. It’s SOOO true! My oldest is 20 and in college, my youngest is in the 4th grade. As we took “first day” pictures this year, it hit me that next year, I’ll only have two in homeschool…….and my time with them is short! I was surprised like most parents that my time with these wonderful young people is fleeting.

Second, they still need me. Sometimes it’s easy as parents to think our job is completed once everyone can walk, talk, eat, and dress. But my teens often need reminders to head to bed on time, to eat healthy foods, and to generally take good care of themselves. The children, who are mostly grown, still need a teacher of good things!

Third, after a long summer, I’m relearning how to prioritize. I can’t say I finished a ton of quilts or other projects this summer, but I spent that time with my family. Fall is usually the time to “get back to work” so to speak, even though we’ve managed to eat, sleep, be clean, and have clean clothing all summer. Now my schedule includes long hours each day dedicated to school time, and there are projects waiting on my attention during the weekends. As we adjust to the new time constraints, I must remember that the people in my life are the priority!

I hope your back to school days are going well, and that you’re enjoying the young people in your life!

 

Too Many Projects?

How many projects is too many?

It’s a question quilters have been asking themselves for ages.

From the looks of the many unfinished antique quilt tops I see,

I gather this is not a new problem!

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At last count, I have nine tops hanging,

three piecing projects,

and two things in the process of being quilted,

one by hand and one by machine.

I also have a commissioned quilt for which I’m gathering fabrics.

That’s 15 unfinished projects

which I think is about 14 too many!

I love the simplicity of working on one quilt at a time,

so the goal is to get back to that!

Hopefully soon I can whittle my projects back down to a manageable number! =}

Precut Fever

In the quilting world, there are these cuts of fabric called precuts.

Similar to fashion, each designer has his or her own line each season.

They are sold in 5 and 10 inch squares,

a stack of one or two of every fabric

that was produced in the fabric line.

“Jelly rolls” are strips of fabric that are 2.5 inch wide,

and the width of the fabric (usually 42 inches) long.

In this form, it’s easy for a quilter to collect scrap pieces of each fabric that coordinate with the others.

The manufacturers like to call them “planned scrappy”.

Well…..I happen to like them lots.

There is a Baby Pinwheel Pattern

on the Moda Bakeshop site that I just love.

It calls for one single charm pack, a 5 inch square stack.

…….I might have enough to make a few of those…….=}

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There are quilt patterns designed around precuts,

so if you’re new to quilting, or just want to try specific lines

without too much cost and space commitment,

precuts are your friend!

What about you? Do you enjoy precut fabric?

Do you have a similar stack of charm packs?

He Keeps Me Singing

My husband and I recently had some friends over. Their cheerful attitude was infectious in our normally sober-minded household. One of the things I noticed quickly was that our friends sing here and there, just snippets of hymns. It’s a quiet thing, just joyfulness bubbling through. Since their visit, I’ve found it a useful practice!

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When I spend time in joyful songs, I am worshiping the Lord. I’m submitting my heart to the Lord’s will for that moment. An upbeat song brings life to normal chores, and a quiet song can rock a baby to sleep. It is an act of will to choose to sing joyfully when things are not going according to plan, in particular.

Singing to the Lord blesses others. My voice is not a blessing to others, but my attitude is (hopefully) edifying to my family! By choosing uplifting music for our home, I am deciding to rejoice and be thankful for our lives, just as they are right now. Momma sets the tone for the family, and when that tone is uplifting, all is well in their hearts.

Music also reminds me of many wonderful Christians. Friends and family have favorite hymns, which are some of my favorite ones to hum around the home. My grandmother’s favorite hymn was “He Keeps Me Singing”. She was a great example because she loved the Lord and showed kindness and joy to those in her path. When I think of those hymns and songs, other people come into focus, instead of focusing on self.

I hope this encourages you to put a song in your heart!

Sleepless Mornings

Many times on the weekend, I have a sleepless morning.

I wake around 4 am and can’t seem to get back to sleep until 7 or 8am!

Often, this poses the question:

What can I do at 4 am and not disturb my family’s sleep?

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Hand quilting, writing, and praying come to mind.

I think I do some of all three on weekends!

This weekend, I’m working on the quilt you see above,

putting in careful hand stitching in diagonal lines,

which will create an x in each block.

It isn’t particularly difficult work,

as I’ve chosen a large pattern with no curves.

Hand quilting has a softness to it that I just love.

I enjoy a good machine quilted quilt, don’t get me wrong.

But sometimes, you need the slowness, softness,

and general realness of a hand quilting project.

It certainly fits the 4 am parameters! =}

Happy Sewing to you!

Patriotic Sampler Finished

This patriotic beauty got finished over the spring,

and I forgot to share it with you all.

I’m sorry!

Thankfully, it gives me something to show you today,

and a good topic of discussion.

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I hope to encourage you with this post to pray for our nation.

‘Tis the season, and I don’t mean Christmas.

It’s election season!

We need to be in daily prayer over our next President!

I hope, as you piece and quilt this fall,

you’ll be in prayer over whatever God has for us as a nation!

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Happy End of Summer!

A Temperance Quilt Top

Recently, I’ve opened my Etsy shop up to finishing antique quilts.

Because of the generosity of my family members,

I have had the opportunity to finish several antique tops,

taking them from bits of fabric to finished quilts!

While perusing Ebay for other antique tops that were affordable,

I came across this beauty.

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 I am not yet a fabric or pattern dating expert,

but I do know this T block was made often during prohibition,

the T being for temperance, and the blue color for drinking water instead of alcohol.

Upon further inspection, the blocks are hand pieced,

but setting, sashing, and borders are simple machine pieced.

Overall it is in beautiful condition,

well cared for and no repairs to be made.

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I look forward to hand quilting this one,

although I doubt it will wind up being sold.

Mr. Wonderful likes it!

I’ll show you more photos when the quilting is finished.

I’ll have to look up what type of quilting is “period correct”!

Do you have any ideas about how to quilt it?

A Quilting Plan

I did some quilting over the weekend in between life and other happenings.

What I did not do, however, is finish anything.

I was jumping back and forth between projects,

which is not the most efficient way to complete anything!

Later in the weekend, after not accomplishing as much as I’d like,

I realized I need a plan.

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Mr. Wonderful always laughs when I say the word “plan”.

He says, “What is it with you and a plan, anyway?”

That makes me laugh, too,

because everyone knows you accomplish more

when you take five minutes to map it out a little!

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My loosely formed plan includes

assigning a month of the rest of this year

to a quilt that needs completing.

I like attainable goals,

especially in the sewing room!

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Quilting doesn’t just happen overnight.

It takes some practiced diligence.

In fact, I dare say it usually involves a plan of some sort!

I like to break my quilting down into manageable,

bite sized pieces,

which makes the whole process more fun!

If you take any goal, writing, quilting, household tasks,

and break them down into small tasks that can be done along the way,

you’ll accomplish a great deal!!

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NOTE: The quilts in this post are from my Etsy shop.

If you would like more information, please contact me or visit my shop!