Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Barn Quilt - - - How I Made It and Why I Won't Be Making Another

   But, I made myself a barn quilt.  I'm not going to hang it anywhere but I am going to set it on the deck so I can see it from the sliding glass door in my dining room.  My barn quilt started as a almost 2' x 2' piece of plywood I purchased in 2013 for this project.  I finally bought the other materials to finish this on February 9, 2015.  I bought wood glue to seal the edges, a quart of grey exterior paint and a quart of bright purple exterior paint for the design; a quart of latex primer, a good paint brush, and a quart of Spar varnish to finish it.

   This project is really messy and I thought about fixing the messy areas and I even thought about re-painting the entire thing with a different block and different colors.  But I'm not going to do that.  I'm going to leave this as is and let this serve as a reminder to me that I hate to paint and I'm not a good painter.  I think one of the worst parts of painting is letting one coat dry so you can paint the second coat.  Boring!

On Saturday, February 14, 2015, I sealed the edges with wood glue, sanding the edges after they were dry.  I painted one coat of primer on all sides of the board and gave it a light sand.

On Sunday, February 15, 2015, I painted two more coats of primer on all sides of the board, sanding after each coat was dry and I drew my hunter's star pattern on the wood.

On Sunday, February 22, 2015.  I painted all the grey sections with two coats of paint.  Then I started putting down my painter's tape in some of the purple sections to paint them.  I gave about 4 purple sections two coats of paint.

On Monday, February 23, 2015.  I took all the old painter's tape off the piece and put more on the purple sections that needed painting.  I gave each of these sections two coats of purple paint.

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015.  I took all the old painter's tape off the piece and put more on the purple sections that needed painting.  I gave each of these sections two coats of purple paint.

On Wednesday, February 25, 2015.  I took all the old painter's tape off the piece and put more on the purple sections that needed painting.  I gave each of these sections two coats of purple paint

Today, Saturday, February 28, 2015, I will paint the back and the sides with two coats of grey paint.

Tomorrow, Sunday, March 1, 2015, I will give the piece two coats of varnish with a light sand in between each coat.

Here it is:


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pretty Tools Make Me Happy !

     I love a good, sharp seam ripper.  Today I found and bought a beautiful wood handled seam ripper at this etsy shop.  These hand carved colored wood handles are super cool.  I have one seam ripper with a hand carved handle that my daughter bought for me a couple of years ago that is the sharpest seam ripper I have ever had.  I try not to use it too much because I want it to last forever.  This seller carves the handles and injects them with color resin for a pretty look.  His shop is full of pretty tools and accessories.  I love that he also carves beautiful handles for awls and crochet hooks as well as carving the entire crochet hook.  I wish I could buy them all.

Making Tote Bags

       I have Crafty Gemini's Must Have Tote Bag pattern.  It's a great pattern.  You take one yard of decorator cotton and about an hour and a half and you have a super gift for a co-worker.  This time I did something a little different with my gift tote bag, I dressed it up with a pretty embroidery on the pocket.  The embroidery was done with my embroidery machine (I bought the pattern from Embroidery Library) and it was super simple to add to the pocket.  When I learn how to embroider monograms I can start using monograms on the tote bags.

    These tote bags are a great size and are very durable.  I have about three that I made about three years ago and they are still going strong.  The side and bottom seams are finished with french seams and the edges of the pocket are enclosed as well as the edges of the straps so there is no fraying anywhere on your tote bag.

    My gift tote bag for a birthday.

I made an extra one to have on hand.

   I'm currently working on my barn quilt.  I've come to the conclusion that I am not a painter.  I hate waiting for paint to dry.  I should have the varnish on it by Sunday.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Here Comes The Machine Parade!

     I'm having a sewing, embroidery and serger machine parade today.  Well, not really a parade.  I'm rearranging some furniture and I wanted to put all my machines in one place to take a group photo but I didn't have a table large enough for all the machines together.  So here they are individually.   All of these machines work and I have used every one of them except the hand crank (the black machine).  That one has not been used on a project yet.  All of my machines have names.  I started naming them when I adopted the Bernina and Singer 401A.  I named them after their former owners.

   I keep a current inventory document with each machine's history on it.  I note the machine make,  model number, the serial number, when I bought or received it, how much I paid, where it came from, when it was last serviced, what each machine does the best and how I use it.  I also note what accessories I purchased for the machine and how much they cost.  I also note whether I have an owner's manual for the machine.  I love owner's manuals, they are the best resource for learning your machine.  I refer to this inventory quite often and I hope my daughter will find the inventory handy if she ever has to downsize the collection.  

Here they are in order of acquisition:

Singer 3400XL- Vesta.  Acquired in 2002.  This machine is great for regular sewing and straight line quilting with a walking foot.  I cannot free motion quilt with it because the feed dogs do not drop.  I know I can cover the feed dogs with an index card but I'm just not comfortable doing that so I got another machine for free motion quilting.  This machine is great for garment sewing and quilting.  I use this sewing machine when I'm inserting zippers and making button holes.  I also use the buttonhole stitch for machine applique.  

Bernina 1530 - Martha.  Given to me in 2010.  This machine is great from free motion quilting, straight line quilting and regular straight sewing.  There are lots of specialty stitches on the machine, but I only use it for piecing,quilting and applique.  I have two patchwork presser feet, a zipper foot, a general purpose foot, a hopping (darning) foot, and a walking foot for this machine.

Singer 401A -  Elsie.  Given to me in 2011.  This vintage machine (manufactured in 1959) came with some cool presser feet.  I have not done a lot with this machine because I don't usually have time to experiment with it, but I love the ruffler foot that came with this machine.  I played with the ruffler foot a little last year and really loved the ruffle created with that foot.

Juki MO644 D - Browyn.  Serger - I bought this serger in 2013.  I wanted a serger to make scarves and finish seams, but I'm not loving this serger.  The stitching is off on it and I have been trying to fix it.  I have to check out some of the youtube videos on tension and see if I can get it working right again.

Singer Model 15 hand crank -  Black Beauty. I bought this from an ebay seller last year.  I've not used this straight stitch machine much except to test it when I first got it.  I just love the look of it and I love the wooden base.  I'm thinking about painting the base.

Brother 770PE - Myrna.  Embroidery Machine.  This is the most recent acquisition.  Given to me as a birthday present last December.  I'm enjoying playing with this machine.  I wish I had more time to play with it.  I will share a recent project with you after it is gifted tomorrow.

    Oh, yeah, and I'm also storing a Domestic (White Sewing Machine Company) Model 801 from the 1970's.  It was inherited by my daughter from her Grandmother.  It sits in a rickety cabinet that needs to be replaced but I tested the machine when it came here a few years ago and it seems to work okay.  It probably could do with a servicing, but with the cabinet it's hard to get that done.  Her name is Carolina (after the former owner).  She does straight and zig zag stitching, button holes, came with a zipper foot, a darning foot, a seam guide, a cording foot, an extra needle plate.  I don't have any pictures of her.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Just Had To Have It

 I found this cute novelty USB drive on Amazon and I had to have it for the embroidery machine.

Link to the Amazon page here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

See All The Pretty, Pretty Buttons

   I received all the buttons I ordered last week.  I can't believe I received both those orders so quickly.  Here they are.  The wooden buttons in the first two pictures were ordered from Amazon and the plastic buttons in the jars were ordered from Artist Supply Source.  I have to say the buttons from Artist Supply Source were very reasonable, but the shipping costs equal the amount spent on the buttons.

   I have to sort through the green buttons in the jar to find 16 pretty ones to add to my little pink crocheted flowers.  Once I have the buttons attached, I have to figure out what I am going to use as the background for my flowers.  The entire project will end up as a wall decoration for my bedroom.

All Ready to Make Vinyl Pouches

   I pulled out my zipper stash (15 of them ranging in size from 6" to 16") and some fabric choices to make vinyl pouches.  I probably won't use all of these right away, but I have a nice variety of colors and sizes.  These are my selections:

       Last Saturday I bought some 8 gauge vinyl to make my pouches.  I have never sewn vinyl before.  I know that you should use a teflon presser foot or a roller presser foot to sew vinyl and leather, but I don't have either one of those presser feet.  I did look for a snap on teflon presser foot in JoAnn's Fabrics while I was there, but they did not have any.  I'll be using this tutorial from the Make It and Love It blog that has a great tip about how to prepare your presser foot and needle plate to make sewing vinyl a little easier if you do not have a teflon or roller presser foot for your machine.  The simple instructions for making the pouches are also at this link.  I'll be changing my pouches up a little bit.  I will be attaching my zipper to a fabric top and the bottom half of my pouch will be vinyl.  I'm also thinking about making the pouch with a fabric top and bottom and the middle will be a cool vinyl window.  There are so many possibilities.  We'll see how these come out.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Time Spent with My Embroidery Machine

      Wow, I just spent 6 hours with my embroidery machine learning, learning, and learning some more.  In that time I made two items that I deem good enough to give away.  I made this super cute dish towel for someone I love.  I can't say who, but they will adore it.  My family loves St. Patrick's Day.  My mother was 100% Irish and St. Patrick's Day was very special to her.  By the way, I ruined two other dish towels getting this one done.  The other two dish towels each have one good stitched out design on them and I will cut them up and sew them together for me.

     I learned a lot about my embroidery machine today.  I learned how to change the needle (I broke two), I learned how not to break the needle, and I learned how to insert the bobbin correctly.  I also learned how to go back and restitch when the thread breaks and I learned how to change colors on a design in my design software on my computer.  So all that time was not wasted.

Here's another design I stitched out today.  It was almost too easy except for the one time the 
thread broke (I have no idea why).  This beautiful Napoleanic bee in a laurel wreath will be going on tote bag I'm making for a birthday present for one of my bosses.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Looking For A Button?

   I've been working on getting my button collection under control.  It's not a big collection, although I did just order a bunch of buttons to add to it.  I hated sorting through every button I own looking for one I want or two that match.  It was super frustrating, so a few months ago I organized my buttons by like colors and today I finally bought the 8 oz. jelly jars to put the small groups in.  The larger groups are in quart Mason jars.  I love having my buttons sorted.

   These 8 oz. jelly jars have a quilted look to them which is extra pretty.


Friday, February 13, 2015

The Back Of The Christmas Quilt Is Done

   I finished the back of the quilt tonight.  I managed to have just enough of the light grey fabric to make this.  I don't know how I did it because when I bought the grey fabric I had no idea what size the top was going to be.  I probably couldn't get this lucky again.  I say lucky, because the grey fabric that I bought to make this side is not available now.  I was told this fabric would not be back in stock until mid-March.

Here is the back of the Christmas quilt.

   I ordered the batting for this quilt today.  I should have that in about 10 days.  So this quilt will not be finished until March.    While I'm waiting for the batting I can work on a few other projects.  I want to do some machine embroidery (I have a couple of St. Paddy's Day designs for dish towels), some vinyl pouches, and a tote for a birthday present.  Maybe I'll get my buttons to finish my pink flower wall hanging.  I also have an idea for a pink granny square pillow cover.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Button, button, who's got the button?

  I do!   I do!

   Today I ordered buttons in bulk.  I ordered green buttons, red buttons, multicolored buttons, and heart shaped buttons.  I ordered buttons form Artist Supply Source and from  I can't wait to get my buttons.  Here is the variety of green buttons I will be getting.  These are from Artist Supply Source.  I decided that I wanted green buttons to put in the center of my pink flowers so I can finish my wall decoration up.


  Here is one of the pink flowers (I have 16 of these little beauties) that will be enhanced with a green button in the very center.  So pretty.

I Need To Make Vinyl Pouches

      I found this fun tutorial on how to make a clear vinyl pouch.  It's so super simple it's ridiculous which is good because I need simple sometimes.  The writer even gives you a tip on how to sew vinyl.  It's gets sticky when you sew it, so you put scotch tape on the bottom of your presser foot and on each side of the feed dogs on the needle plate.  I'm planning on making some and incorporating some of the pretty fabric I purchased recently.  This will be a fun project.  These would make a nice birthday gift for a certain boss.

   The link for the vinyl pouch is here.

Granny Square Quilt - A Finish from Last August

         I had a couple of jelly rolls that I bought for DD.  I thought she might like to make herself a quilt at some point.  She told me she doesn't have a lot of interest in making a quilt (she enjoys making smaller, quicker projects) so I told her I would make the quilt for her.  The jelly rolls were called "Wilderness" and I bought them at Connecting Threads right after I started quilting in 2012.  I knew we needed some additional  yardage to go with the jelly rolls so I asked her for her input and she suggested the cream and the turquoise solids.  To cut down on the inevitable duplication with the jelly roll fabrics, I also added some of my stash that I thought would look good.  I picked the pattern, the good old granny square.  You can see I quilted it with my walking foot in a grid pattern.  The back is a dyed muslin (she picked that fabric out as well) with blocks I made especially for the back pieced into it.  I used the dyed muslin for the binding as well.  Of course, she loves it.  So glad I made this for her and she was able to help with the planning.

New Information On Sewing Machine Maintenance

       I do the bare minimum when it comes to sewing machine maintenance.  None of my sewing machines are under warranty so I don't take my machines in for service unless they are truly broken.  I really good about cleaning out the lint in the feed dog and bobbin area after a big project and I will change my needle pretty often, but I don't oil anything on my computerized machines unless it's specifically mentioned in the owner's manual.   The other morning I went on the internet looking for information on oiling my Martha, Bernina 1530.  I found this youtube video on how to clean and oil a Bernina (not specifically a Bernina 1530) but a really good video and super helpful.

Link to video on how to clean and oil your Bernina sewing machine.

      I had about 15 minutes before I had to leave for work so I did a little maintenance on Martha.  I took my feed dog plate off, my needle out, and my bobbin assembly apart, brushed out all the lint, oiled the hook, and replaced my needle.  The video recommends you oil your hook every 3 to 5 bobbins.  I usually change my needle and do a full clean out about every 8 hours of sewing, but I never knew that I should oil my hook.  I did notice that after I oiled the hook, the machine seemed to run quieter and smoother.  It might be wishful thinking, but I think Martha is a little happier these days.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How Long Does It Take To Sew . . .

seven 66.5" rows together?  It takes me about an hour.  I did it tonight and now the Christmas quilt top is all ready.  I will now finish piecing the back with the rest of the silver fabric I have.

   Here's my Christmas quilt top with pretty holiday birds, holly, and pine cones.  I couldn't resist putting one piece of red plaid flannel in the Christmas quilt.  This top is forty-nine 10" squares and it went together really, really quickly (it went together a lot quicker than the back is going together).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fun Fabric Package

       I almost forgot that I ordered this fat quarter collection from  Craftsy on February 3rd.  They were having a great sale and I think I got these 50 fat quarters for about $56.00 (not including tax or shipping).

    This collection is called Free Spirit.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I'm Going To Paint A Barn Quilt

   I don't have a barn to hang it on, but I'm going to make myself a barn quilt to put on my deck right outside the sliding glass door in my dining room.

   I have been wanting to make one of these for a couple of years and two years ago I bought the a 24" square piece of wood for this project, but I never went any further with it.  Today I went to Lowe's and bought all the rest of my supplies to finish this project. This is what I bought today:

    1.  Wood glue to seal the edges of the wood.

    2.  A quart of latex primer.

    3.  A paint brush.

    4.  A quart of purple paint (should have bought an 8 oz. sample instead).

    5.  A quart of light grey paint (should have bought an 8 oz. sample instead).

    6.  A quart of varnish.

    I already have the piece of wood and I have painter's tape.

    I'm going to use the hunter star block for my barn quilt.  It will be a light grey and dark purple.  I never bought paint before and I should have bought 8 oz. samples of each paint color instead of the quart of each paint color I did buy.  I'm going to have a ton of paint leftover.  Ugh.

Here's the hunter's star block.


   This will be fun.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Crazy Backward Christmas Quilt Making

    So here is the back of my Christmas quilt.  Yes, I started the back before I sewed the top together.  I had these charms squares from the Blitzen line in my stash and I wanted to use them.  I bought some Mirage fabric from Connecting Threads in Silver Lining and I made four patches with the charm squares sashed with the silver fabric.

  I'm working on the top and should have that together by next weekend.  After I figure out how big the top will be I can finish piecing this back to fit it.  

  There's no rush to finish this.  Christmas is a long time off (for now).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Union Jack Block Is On The Wall

   I finally put this wall hanging up.  This block has been finished for about two weeks, but I have been looking for a dowel stick to use in the back for hanging and I was having trouble finding one that was longer than 12".  It's now on the wall in the bedroom and I love it.  I backed the block with solid pink and created my binding by folding the extra allowance of backing fabric to the front and machine sewed it on the front.  I have never done a binding like that before and it was hard to miter the corners, but with a little internet help I figured it out.


   I'm working on my Christmas quilt this weekend.  I should have pictures of something later today.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How To Quilting/Sewing/Crafting Videos on You Tube


     I love to watch youtube sewing/crafting/quilting videos.  I just found some quilting videos posted by the Fat Quarter Shop.  I'm sharing a link to a video on how to make the eight pointed star.  I love the eight pointed star block and I've only been able to make it using half square triangles which looks fine, but I really wanted to learn how to make it the right way.  I'm going to be trying this out in the near future.

   So here is the link to the video with Edyta Sitar making the eight pointed star block.

    Link To Video Tutorial On Eight Pointed Star Block

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Twin Needle Stitching Research Done

      I finished the research into the question of whether my Singer 3400 XL or my Bernina 1530 will do twin needle stitching and the answer is, yes.  They both do this stitching.  The both have a general purpose needle plate so the opening is wide enough for the twin needle and they both have presser feet that accommodate the twin needle.  The only thing I will have to fiddle with is that the Singer only has one spool pin (the Bernina has two), so I will have to place a spool on the lone spool pin and one on my thread holder.  I did some practice stitching.  The blue stitching is the Bernina and the red stitching is the Singer.  I will make a note of these findings in the owner's manuals along with notations about the feet, needle plate, stitch length setting, and spool pins.

    I started the stitching at the normal 2.0 setting but the stitching came out much nicer at a longer length setting, I think I ended up at 3.0 or 3.5.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Twin Needle/Stretch Stitch Research on My Sewing Machines

    I pulled out the owner's manual on my Singer 3400 XL (computerized, 2001) and the Bernina 1530 (computerized, 1992) this morning so I could research twin needle stitching and stretch stitches on these machines.

    I read a LOT of quilting, sewing, and crafting blogs and lots of those blogs are about garment sewing, which is something I did when I first started sewing in my teens when I was taking a sewing course almost every semester in high school.

     All the reading about garment sewing reminds me of the first sewing machine I ever owned.  It was given to me for Christmas or my birthday (my birthday is a few days after Christmas so they kind of run together) when I was about 15 years old by my oldest brother.  It was a Singer (I don't remember what model) that did twin needle stitching and it also had a stretch stitch which was super cool.  I wish I still had that machine but I don't.  I lent that machine to someone who broke it and I couldn't afford to get it fixed so I threw it away.  Shame on me.

   My brother did have an ulterior motive for giving me that sewing machine.  He wanted me to make a few things for him.  I made curtains for his room, I made curtains for his van, and I made his girlfriend a really cool stuffed teddy bear made from fake fur.  He supplied the money for all the materials and I did all the work, measuring, shopping, cutting and sewing.  It wasn't a bad way to spend my free time in high school.

   So, back to the research on my current machines.  My Singer 3400 XL doesn't have anything in the manual about twin needle stitching, but I may try it after I check my needle plate to make sure I have enough room for the twin needles to pass through.  The Singer does have a lovely stretch stitch as well as an overcast stitch and and an overcast foot.  My Bernina 1530 manual does not mention twin needle stitching, but after I check my needle plate, I may play with this carefully.  It does have a couple of stretch stitches.

   My hands on research will continue this evening and I'll give you results tonight.

Just What I Need, More Organization

      I found another area of my life that needs a tiny bit of organization.  I will be keeping a car maintenance diary of all my car repairs for my new 2015 Kia Soul that I purchased last August.  I usually just keep my receipts in a file in date order for the current car I own and I keep those receipts for as long as I own that vehicle.

    I would love a place where I could look at the maintenance history at a glance instead of digging through receipts, so I am going to keep a diary for my maintenance on this car on the computer.  I will create a document in Notepad showing the date, cost, description, and where the maintenance was performed.  I will also make a note of the reason for the maintenance, i.e., routine or collision.  I normally have all my routine maintenance performed at the dealership so that's an easy one.

    Yesterday I had car maintenance done in the parking lot of my work address which was pretty cool.  I had to have the windshield replaced on my new baby because there was a big crack in it.  I heard something hit it last Friday while I was out running errands at lunch.  The crack showed up on Saturday .  I called the insurance company getting the paperwork started for having it replaced on Saturday afternoon.  I live in a state that has free windshield replacement as long as you carry comprehensive insurance on your vehicle.  My insurance company uses Safelite to do this work and Safelite has a mobile unit.  They will come to your work place to do the work in the parking lot so you don't lose any work time.  It's a neat service, the only drawback to this is that the weather has to be clear, they don't do this work in the rain, unless you have access to a parking garage or a covered area.  I was worried because I woke up to rain this morning, but it cleared up about an hour before Safelite was due to arrive.  Boy, was I lucky today.

   I'm starting my car maintenance diary now.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pink Fluffy Afghan With Crab Stitch Border, Done.

     My pink granny square afghan is finished.  I've been working on this all week to get it done.  This afghan finished at about 6 feet square.  I used almost 9 skeins of the Petal Pink Red Heart Super Saver yarn.  I finished the afghan this afternoon and took this picture in artificial light so the color is off.  The color is actually just a  little darker (more pink less salmon).  In the picture you can see the three rounds of crab stitch I did on the border.  I have enough yarn left to make some granny square pillow covers.

   I'm going to start working on my Christmas quilt again.  I started working on the back first and now I don't know if I have enough fabric to make the back for the top I planned.  So things are kind of screwy with this project.  I should have some pictures by next weekend of something, I don't know what, but something.

    One other project I finished last week was the organization of  my knitting needles and crochet hooks.  I didn't realize I had so many fixed circular knitting needles and interchangeable needles/cords, what a stash.  I bought 2 shallow plastic boxes from Walmart and used one for the knitting needles and one for the crochet hooks.  The boxes work perfectly to keep my kitties out of my tools.