Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Half Over!

OH. My. Goodness.

The year is over half over! Do you realize, Christmas Day is 5 months from today! Where has the time gone!?!


It's hot and humid here in the Texas Hill Country (97 expected high today with heat index in triple digits!). But, thinking about Christmas cools me down.... that is, body temperature wise! It gets my blood running quickly, however, wondering what gifts I want to make for family and friends!

Head is spinning...

So much to do...

Stay cool everyone!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Code the Stash

While somewhat organizing my sewing room last week, I wish I had seen this code chart I later discovered on the Quilting Digest’s Facebook page! Oh well. I have it now, for next time! There is always a next time!
Anyway, it’s hard to imagine 2016 is half over already! Where in the world has the time gone? Is it really time to start crafting for Christmas?

If that’s your thing, I would say so!

Have you gathered ideas for your loved ones? During the hot days of summer – well underway here in the Texas Hill Country – is when I turn my focus on what handmade gifts for family I would like to do this year!

But, I must keep in mind what several family members have told me:
“I don’t want or need any more “stuff” as I’m downsizing.”

Or, I’ve learned “handmade” is not their thing…

Easy/peasy – they get a gift card. I may can’t control myself, and create a special gift card holder!



For those who I do create a something special, unique, from the heart gift… what will it be?

Off to search Pinterest! I used the terms: “Christmas” “gifts” “homemade” “sewing” and found BUNCHES of ideas!

Then I did a Google search using the same terms and discovered many more sites to check out! It doesn’t matter how old the article may be!

Sometimes omit “Christmas” in your search and you’ll not see all the ornaments, door wreath, and stocking patterns. Rather, you’ll find a great site like I just did when I stumbled upon “Everything Etsy” and her 101 Simple Sewing Tutorials!


Well, I think I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to sew up for gifts! What about you? What will you create?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Change and Transitions

While watching a recorded re-run of Magnum PI the other day, I heard an interesting perspective. The writers created a powerful statement I copied down for further reflection…



Magnum relayed how his Grandfather Sullivan had taught him about change and transitions…

…Probably the only thing you can count on in life is change…that no matter how much you want things to stay the same, they never do.And the change itself wasn’t bad. It’s just that the transitions are sometimes tricky.… don’t be afraid of transitions – they make you strong. Change… it doesn’t always come at a convenient time.
In fact, it usually happens right when you are in the middle of doing something else, and that it’s important to finish up whatever you’re doing, even if it begins to feel like dull routine.
Because it’s how you make the transitions is as important as making them.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Something Shiny

Even for those of us who are unemployed (outside of the home) and with no children to shuffle here and there, or have studies to focus on, effective time management can be an issue. It is for me anyway! It’s the shiny things that cause my distractions!

But, effective is relative.

I can spend days, even weeks, on a special project ~ like sewing, creating a quilt for one of our veterans or someone in need, or maybe a new bag for my mother’s walker. Or, start/work until finished on a much needed organization and renovation project in our home. During this time, basically everything else ~ like housekeeping or yard work ~ goes on the back burner. The kitchen stays manageable to prepare meals, laundry stays caught up, and the bathroom is half-way presentable. But, that’s about it.

Then… you find out company is coming!

When that bell rings, it is then I start seeing all sorts of stuff that I should do to make our home more presentable. It now rather than later, like…

Clear out dust bunnies in all the corners.
Vacuum the pieces of lint and unidentifiable objects off rugs and floors.
Clean windows/glass doors.
Mop floors.
Pack up Works in Progress (WIP) in sewing room (because it’s also the guest bedroom!)
Etc
Etc
Etc

Lists. Daily lists!

I hand write it out, what I need to do, everything! Even if the “need” is right there in my face, I write it down!



I don’t have a fancy phone (no cell service here), so I don’t have an “app” and I don’t want to put one on my laptop because when I get near my computer I find too many distractions, like emails, Facebook, Twitter, or Jigsaw Planet! And, I don’t spend time estimating how long it will take me to do this or that. That’s a waste of time!

To-Do lists are a life saver for me. It keeps me focused, and on task. When I do see something shiny and go off in another direction (something else I needed to do, but it wasn’t on the list), I will eventually come back to the to-do list and find my focus once again.

I love seeing strikethroughs down my list! I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I have to get a new piece of paper! Yes, no fancy “apps” here, I just use scratch paper!

When company comes, I don’t do anything I shouldn’t do anyway. It’s always so nice to have a clean-for-me house three or four times a year!

Once I’m back on my own, because I took the time to organize the current WIP as I worked through the to-do list, I will feel more relaxed, and focused, and ready to finish the work I want to do!


Have you made a to-do list today?



Friday, June 3, 2016

Introducing the Wings Quilt Block!

Have you ever created a quilt block and didn’t like the way it looked? Maybe the color scheme used or the size of individual pieces within the block just didn’t look like the way you envisioned? This happened to me last week!

I started playing around with the ruler, rotary cutter, and swapping pieces around, then stitching back together. The result, the “Wings Quilt Block”!



I’m excited about this block because it is so versatile! The most difficult thing about it is, deciding on which direction you will want to put your blocks together! Just wait! You'll see!

It is when I put together this one single block up on my design board...

I realized the manufacturer printed the red print off kilter. On one side, the design is square to the selvage, but on the other side ~ the design it is off! There is absolutely NO WAY to “fix” this because it happened during the printing of the fabric. I HATE WHEN THIS HAPPENS! Anyway…

The final design is not blah. It is bold. It makes a statement.

Each individual "Wings" block will/should measure 8.5 before stitching together.

For my quilt, I created 24 blocks (four blocks across, six rows down = 24), then added 2 borders to get the width/length I needed.  Without borders, based on 24 blocks, using simple math the quilt measures 32" x 48" which is a nice size for a toddler!



Be gentle! This is my first time to write "formal" instructions! I created a .pdf file with the instructions here for you to download, for easy printing!

Or, you can follow along...

Wings Quilt Block
Designed by Lanetta J. Sprott
of Lanetta’s Creations


I highly recommend: Read through the complete instructions before starting!

PART ONE

Cutting instructions:

White with star print – 6.5” x 3.5”
Blue stripe – 9.5” x 3.5”
Red/white print – 6.5” x 6.5”

Sewing instructions (see TIP):
1)  Stitch (right sides together) the white and red. Press toward the red.
2)  Stitch (right sides together) the blue stripe to the white/red unit (see NOTE). Press toward the stripe.


TIP: When making more than one block, I cut all the white, red, and blue stripe fabric out at once. I quickly stitched the white to the red (it doesn’t matter which side of the white is stitched to the red).

I then made 2 stacks (one of the white/red and the other the blue stripe):

NOTE: Before stitching #1 and #2 together, the white fabric is at the top of the red/white unit and the blue stripe is on the right side of the unit. Be consistent! Each time you make this block, keep the top of the unit the same (in size and color) and the 9.5” piece on the right for Each block! This is critical!

Once you’ve stitched all 3 pieces together, give it one more press with a hot iron (no water/steam at all during the entire block construction). Now is a good thing/time to spritz a bit of spray starch to make it nice and flat, and to help keep down any stretching!


Individual blocks should measure 9.5” square. Trim now if necessary!

And, now on for the second/final part!

PART TWO

Place one basic block at a time on your cutting mat (right side up), white up, and stripe on the right side (see NOTE).

Cut diagonally – both ways – without moving any fabric until both cuts are done!

NOTE: Be consistent in positioning the block each time you put it on the cutting mat!

Swap the top and bottom pieces. Leave the sides alone. It should now look like this:



Pin ~ right sides together ~ matching seams… (see NOTE)
top and left section
bottom and right section


NOTE: As I note in the photo, don’t fret if the edge doesn’t match up. Your only concern (at this point) is that the seams match. Because we pressed in opposite directions, the seams should nestle together nicely.

Stitch units together.

TIP: whenever possible begin stitching at the 90 degree angle rather than the pointy end.

  • Press to set the stitches,
  • then place the unopened triangle back on your cutting mat. 
  • Place your grid ruler along the stitched side (the bottom) and 
  • line up the 6.5” grid mark at the left point. (I just love pictures!)
  • Trim off the right side.



Press seam open.

Repeat this process with the 2nd unopened triangle.

With right sides together, stitch the two sections together. Be careful NOT TO STRETCH the fabric!

The block should now measure 8.5” square! Trim if necessary and cut off the dog-ears!

 Ta Da! You now have created the Wings Quilt Block!


When arranging the 24 blocks on my design wall, I started with the center and worked out until I liked the design within the design! Add border, or more blocks, to create the size you desire!



How will you put yours together?














© Copyright 2016. This pattern is for personal use only. It cannot be used for commercial purposes. It cannot be copied or distributed in any format. It cannot be used with distribution of any product, including kits or made into a pattern for re-sale without the written permission from the designer, Lanetta J. Sprott.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Begging for the Beggar!

In my last post, we hadn’t yet finished installing the living room floor or the baseboards, or painted the walls! Great news! It’s all done! Not absolutely everything is put back in its place, but it will come… at least, it’s not in the front bedroom any longer!

So…
I now have my sewing room back!

Since I couldn’t really sew a major project, or use the quilting machine, for well over a month (we also went on a much needed, long overdue, holiday to North Padre for a few days), I’m making up for lost time! I have managed to keep up with the BOM’s I’ve been doing!



And…
  • Two Veteran quilts finally totally finished!
  • Three Veteran quilts quilted for a couple of friends (they will bind and label and wash)!
  • Two labels applied on Veteran quilts I received back after the binding application.
  •             (All seven quilts delivered for covering our local Veterans!)
  • A very beautiful embroidered blocks Tea Quilt, quilted and returned for finishing!


Now I’m working on creating ONE block for the Texas Department of Agriculture, the GoTexan Quilt Collection Competition (deadline to them: June 10th). The winners will have their blocks combined and a quilt created and on display during the 2016 State Fair of Texas. Thereafter, it will travel for display at various locations around Texas. For those of us who do not win, others will incorporate into quilts for Project Linus.

Bottom line, it is a win-win.

But, Yes. I am speaking negatively because I don’t appliqué. After viewing the previous years completed quilts, all the winning blocks are appliquéd. Mine is embroidery and piecing. I failed to check the prior quilts before requesting/paying for the kit. At least, it will be put to good use.

Oh, my! I don’t believe I’ve mentioned anything about the Beggar Quilt (aka Charm Quilt) project for the 2017 Dallas Quilt Show! Their theme next year is: “It’s a Charmed Life!”

This is what they wrote about it…
Charm Quilts have been around for over 150 years. They are referred to by many names: One Patch, indicating a single shape; Beggar, indicating that the quilter begged for fabric; and Odd-Feller, indicating no repeats in fabrics. Some very recognizable patterns include 1000 Pyramids, Grandmother's Flower Garden, Apple Core and Postage Stamp.

Of course, I want to do this! What a cool Veteran’s Quilt this will be!

I’ve been collecting fabric pieces from family and friends, then cutting them into 2” square pieces! After re-reading their rules this morning ~ although it’s okay with them ~ I’m trying very hard not to duplicate/repeat any fabrics. At least, if I miss a few, I won’t fret over taking out & replacing!

First row ~ almost done!



Would you help with sending me some fabric swatches out of your stash?





Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Early Morning

In the wee early morning is when I love to sew. It is the quiet, prayerful time I thoroughly enjoy to start off my day. It’s before the day begins of doing routine chores like

cooking / eating,
maintenance,
(like dusting, laundry,
mowing and weed eating the acre yard,
and any gardening!)
helping others,
and continuing renovation projects to this 1918 house we may have underway.

Here of late my schedule’s been majorly off kilter. I touched on it in my last article. We should finish the floor installation today, the ninth day of hard labor! Then trim work begins.



Maybe today, we can get furniture placed somewhat where it will be and I can put the drawers back in my desk, the dishes back in the buffet, and books back on the book shelves, then resume some sewing! Keeping my fingers crossed! I’m sending prayers in the wind like the whispers I shared here.





Until then, if you’re looking for me I usually touch base on Facebook

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Just Shy of a Full Blow Addiction

Or maybe it already is…

I’m talking about finding free “Block of the Month” (or bi-weekly) (BOM) websites and the Facebook support groups that go along with them! I’m a happy camper that they are out there by the droves! I wrote about a couple I found (and joined/doing!) in February. Since then, I’ve stumbled across even more!

I love the process of creating blocks without a clue to its ending.

Block # 1 - "Secret Garden"

Block #2 - "Secret Garden"

Block #3  - "Secret Garden"

These are from Pat Sloan's "Secret Garden"
Its support group on Facebook is "Quilt With Pat Sloan


I’m cutting fabric.
I’m sewing pieces together.
I’m learning new techniques.
I don’t have to think about the end result.
I’m just doing it.

Right now, that’s exactly what I need.
It’s my therapy.

Not to know.
Not to plan.

I’m just doing it.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Quick Run Down

Since my last post, the Bernina USA contest is now over. The votes for me did not come in like I had hoped. A lot of folks supported me, and I’m very grateful, but I’m afraid not near enough.


On March 5th, our sweet Beth girl told us it was time to let her go. It was hard to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge, something I never wanted to do. I snuggled with her one last time and felt her take her wings. We are blessed to have had her for so long (16 years, 8 months, 2 days). I put a green shiny ribbon on the Prayer Tree in remembrance of Beth.



Two days later, my step daughter and her boys came for a visit. It poured down rain, even received a bit of pea-size hail, during their visit. No fishing this time. In between storms, the boys all played either with their drones, or filming of the flights. Otherwise, indoor games, puzzle workings, movies, and electronic games kept everyone busy.



The same day the kids left, I went to Dallas and visited with my mother. We did some running of the roads together, errands she needed done. Then I had the fabulous opportunity to work at Thomas Sewing Center (Mesquite, Texas) for two days with my sister and others! I hadn’t worked retail in eons! It was fun. I learned a lot from the co-workers, and customers!

I loved the experience… especially the two sisters (in their 70’s) that came in, the younger one wanting her first ever sewing machine! It was a simple machine, just perfect for her learning how to sew. The only hang up she had was how to insert the underneath bobbin. I was familiar with that type of bobbin and was called upon to show her how! She did it! She was all smiles walking out the door with her very own sewing machine!

Another high-moment for me was when I helped a regular customer find the fabric she needed, cutting it for her, and communicating with her. She is totally deaf. Although she had a tablet and pen, I didn’t realize I knew that much sign language! We got along fabulously!

Late Saturday afternoon, it was time to prepare the store for Mr. Thomas’s wake after his funeral on Monday. Besides the Dallas Quilt Show going on (Thomas Sewing Center is THE Platinum Sponsor for the show), the owner’s daughter got married and her dad passed away. I continually offer prayers and condolences for Mrs. Thomas, Dana, and the rest of the family for their great loss.

Once back home, we started a major renovation project… one that we’ve been waiting about 5 years to start ~ replacing 35+ year old carpet with plank flooring! We didn’t want to cause Beth undue hardship with standing/sliding issues, so we stored the materials. Now it’s time.



But my goodness, the oops we’ve found! Built in 1918, this house has its issues to say the least! To make up what is now the living room ~ three rooms were built off site then moved and put together. Where they join, the floor level varies. These are issues we are addressing, and will get it done - - - -  eventually!

As far as sewing goes… I manage a bit here and there during the wee-hours of the morning. I’m thankful I found out about several free Block of the Month’s projects going on via the Internet! Through The Splendid Sampler quilt along, we receive two patterns per week! I don’t have to think about an entire quilt, just one block at a time! I’m using red white and blue – of course!











Well, that’s a quick run down what’s been happening around here! What have you been doing?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I NEED your VOTE!

UPDATE:  You can vote here!!! Put in my name "Lanetta" and follow the directions!! THANK YOU!

I’m calling on all family members and friends! Please vote for me! Vote today, and every day, through March 15th!

I was the first one to enter the Bernina USA Quilts for Furry Friends Contest, so you may find my entry on the “Last” page. And, at this writing, I’m the ONLY one from Texas that entered the contest!

Or, you can vote through their Facebook page

I’m writing this at 5:00 a.m. – because I’m working the “Super Tuesday” election – so I don’t have the specific, direct link to share with you! I won’t be on the Internet until late tonight! Bummer!

So please, please – vote for me! And if you would be so kind, share the link with your family and friends and ask ~ on my behalf ~ for their vote as well!

Thank you so much!
I hope you have a blessed day!


Lanetta!

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