Thursday, January 12, 2017

Top 7 Articles of 2016

#7 – The Gift to Give

....Instead of asking her [my sister] last Christmas, I simply prepared and gave her “Blessing Bags” for her to pass along to those in need. I don’t think I’ve ever given her anything she liked and appreciated better – ever!

#6 - 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?

#5 – Just Shy of a full blown addiction

…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!

#4 – Crumb Quilts

...Those itty bitty tiny scraps are not just for stuffing pillows or pet beds any longer!

#3 – When Sisters Work Together

…a story I want to share…

#2 – Whispers in the Wind
 …each time I feel the wind on my face, I will be absorbing the prayer from a Prayer Flag someone, somewhere in this world, has made. Because, now I know about the whispers in the wind!

And, the Number One article for 2016:

#1 - Labor Day - Labor of Love
 …There are a multitude of those giving from the heart ~ a labor of love ~ their creativeness, expertise, and devotion through making quilts, dresses, shorts, pillowcases, bags, and on and on for whatever the need may be! 

Read the complete article.

Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It’s Official – I AM addicted to BOM's

Last February I wrote about finding a couple of FREE “Block of the Month” (BOM) challenges that were available online. In March, I shared a bit of my progress. Yesterday, I made/shared a to-do list.

Because I am using basically the same fabrics/color themes throughout the BOM's – of course Red White and Blue, they will be for our local Veterans once done.

1.     One BOM is still going. I think she’s on Block #90 (out of 100). Last year I shared a bit of my progress here. I'm not doing all 100... many are not appropriate for Veterans.

2.     One has all 12 blocks available for download, I’ve made 4. Photos of the first 3 are here.

3.     The third one I signed up for, I think I have 2 blocks made. I got frustrated with the website because it would take ages for the .pdf printable instructions to become available. I now have all the block patterns downloaded and am ready to finish it up.

I know. I know. I am addicted because just this week I discovered two more recently released Block of the Month challenges! Both are by the talented designer and quilter and writer Pat Sloan! I love her 2017 themes:

Children’s Library” (this is monthly)


Yes! I’ve downloaded the few block patterns she’s already shared for both BOM’s.

TIP:  I’m getting organized by downloading all the patterns for the different BOM’s on my laptop. I created separate file folders for each BOM challenge. I also created basically a blank Word document and saved it with only the link to the specific website.

I’ve promised myself, however, not to start on these two until the other three are FINISHED!

Have you ever done a Block of the Month challenge?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How do you work?

Recently, “How do you work?” was asked on the Lone Star of Texas Quilts for Others Facebook group. Michelle asked if we have several work-in-progress (WIP) going at once, or do we totally start to finish before going to the next project. The discussion had mixed results. Some do several at a time – like me! Others must complete before starting something new!

Bottom line, it is whatever works! Either way, you are not alone!

I decided to share my WIP list before the world, get it out into the universe. I need to set goals and get them done! There are so many more projects I want to do!

Besides the following major WIP, there are “minor” projects I want to do, like Blessing Bags, Action Quilts (aka Fidget Quilts), Kennel Quilts, more Prayer Flags, and any Pocket Prayer Quilts when the need arises.

It will be interesting to see at the end of the year what I’ve accomplished…

Carry Over from 2016 WIP:

1.     Camp Quilt – top is ready, need to quilt and bind and label.

2.     Butterflies and Dragonflies Quilt – ordered fabric arrived, need to finish border, then quilt, bind and label.

3.     Nancy’s Quilts – design and create at least 3 more
4.     Charm (Beggar) Quilt – two rows pieced, need total of 6 rows. Cut more 2” squares and stitch together, join rows, quilt, bind, and label. Will be a *Veteran’s Quilt

Block of the Month (BOM):

5.     Secret Garden – catch up on the bi-weekly blocks, add sashing, stitch together, quilt, bind, and label – Will be a *Veteran’s Quilt
6.     Splendid Sampler – half way through creating the blocks. Add sashing, stitch together, quilt, bind, label – Will be a *Veteran’s Quilt
7.     Starry Night – bunches of blocks to make, join together, quilt, bind, label – Will be a *Veteran’s Quilt
*DEADLINE on the Veteran’s Quilts – July 1, 2017

Totally NEW Must-Do projects:

THEN: Create at least 6 more Veteran’s quilts by July – to cover veterans that attend the American Legion Post’s Cowboy Breakfast!!!
THEN: replace those quilts for the September’s Cowboy Breakfast
THEN replace those for the Veteran’s Day program at the local school!!!

Projects I want to start for Me, our Home:

The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt

And, two wall hangings for my NEW dedicated sewing room!

Yes. I have various projects going at one time. I love it! I don’t get bored for a lack of something to do!

How do you work?
One project at a time?
Several on-going?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Top 7 Articles of 2015

#7  Follow Your Heart

 …the words of Edward Everett Hale are a great mantra to keep playing in our minds:

I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do
interfere with what I can do.
 Follow your heart and you’ll create with passion.

#6 Chair Bound

Seldom do I follow pattern directions. Well, this [wheelchair quilt] is certainly a prime example! This is also a good example how you can make things your own as well!

#5 Creating an Action Quilt - Part 9

....finishing up.I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial! I encourage you to make your own Action Quilt [Fidget Quilt] to give a Loved One with Alzheimer's Disease or dementia!

#4 Turning Scraps into Fabric

…try it!…adapting…

#3 Creating an Action Quilt – Part 1

The Action Quilts (aka Fidget Quilts) I create are not for commercial facilities such as Nursing Homes or Adult Day Care Centers serving those with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. My focus is for those living in a home environment with a 24/7 caregiver.

#2 Action Quilt (aka Fidget Quilt)

…a friend called my attention to a newspaper article about a lady creating Fidget Quilts. La Mon knows me well…

And the NUMBER 1 Article is...

#1 Life with a 16 year old

Various websites state a Doberman has a life expectancy of 10-12 years. Some mention up to 13 years. We have a miracle living with us!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Make your own Chenille fabric!

A new technique on my to-do list for 2017 ~ to make my own Chenille fabric like this:

I thought, How clever, when I happened across this blog article sharing this idea! When I was little, I had a chenille bedspread and loved it! I still have the chenille robe my parents gave me for Christmas at least 10 years ago!

It is something I will use in small projects, like on Action Quilts (aka Fidget Quilts) or zipper bags or potholders or pillows. Maybe a doll quilt, or mini quilt, but that’s about it. I do not intend on ever making enough for an entire quilt!

Through my searches, I discovered one can either use the same fabric for the multiple layers needed, or different prints on each one. It’s then the placement changes the entire color scheme!

On Stores Online, they used 3 different colors (then the base), and shows the three different results depending on placement! How cool is this?!

See how the other colors come through the top! Just love it!
I went to Pinterest and searched for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) to find more ideas / uses for Chenille!

At Peanut to Princess, she shows how to create the chenille, then use as an appliqué! Clever!

Oh, and then just strips of chenille, for other projects! At Kati’s Quilting, she shows us how to make the strips.

Then in Part 2, how to use them!

Of all the YouTube videos I watched to create Chenille Fabric, I enjoyed Mary Beth’s presentation the best!

The Olfa circular cutter shown on some sites like this from Walmart:

But, I’m going to use the Fiskars Scissors like Hobby Lobby (among the many places) offers! I think I will be able to handle gripping the cutter better with the spring scissors rather than the circular one.

Oh, and the “chenille brush” …

I’m going to see if I can find something around the house that will work just as well – maybe a firm toothbrush? It’s difficult for me to purchase something ~ anything ~ and have the shipping cost almost as much as the product itself! On one site I went to, it was triple the product’s cost!

Maybe I’ll stumble across one somewhere, sometime!

I’m excited about trying this technique!

Let me know if you try it as well!!!

UPDATE:  I purchased a "Utility Dish Brush" while at Walmart and hope it works just as well as the "chenille brush"!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Testing 1 2 3

I discovered a site where I can create graphics, printables for others... trying to get it figured out!

Here is one I did a few minutes ago... wondering if it works:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

It is the end of our Christmas season.

              It is the beginning…

                           …of faithful living!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Along the same lines as I wrote about yesterday (finding stress busters)

 ~ Today feel the calm. Let it soak in…

Why do I create? Why do you?

It’s something I’m passionate about doing.
It’s my lifesaver.
It’s my centering point.

Early Christmas Eve morning, while the house was quiet, I happened across the embroidery website, SmartNeedle. I don’t usually “go there” because my sister is the Embroidery Expert in the family. She does beautiful work! But when I saw a couple of “free” patterns SmartNeedle offered, I couldn’t pass up the golden opportunity!

Then I went to their blog. It’s there I found the beginning of a two-part series called: Why Crafting is Good for You. Again, I highly recommend reading the full article where they explain the reasoning behind...

1.      It improves your overall focus.
2.      It helps us feel more calm.
3.      It can combat depression and help us feel happier.
4.      It boosts creativity and ingenuity.
5.      It may help you sleep better.
6.      It helps you develop good hand-eye coordination.
7.      It’s a great distraction from the stresses of everyday life.
8.      It sharpens your brain.
9.      It can increase your confidence and make you feel happier.
10. The mental benefits of crafting can help us feel better physically as well.
11. It gives you time for yourself, away from technology and other stimulation.

Embroidering is outside my comfort zone. I can manage a few labels for the Veteran Quilts, but that’s about the extent of my embroidery patience!

But, I’m going to give these two a try!

Crafting is good for me, and you!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Tenth Day of Christmas

I'm making this sign for my sewing room!
We all live with stress, good and bad. I don’t know about you, but at times I feel like stress is choking me to death! So before the New Year really gets underway, I’m looking for ways to handle the unproductive emotions before they carry me away! I need some stress busters – el pronto!

I went to Google (of course I did!) and did a search…

The first article I found was on MedicineNet. I’ve simplified their 8 points, yet I would encourage you to read the full article. It’s powerful and on-point! Emphasis added is my take!

1.      Practice letting go [this will be difficult!]
2.      Breathe slowly and deeply [great reminder!]
3.      Speak slowly [need to do this!]
4.      Take care of one nagging responsibility [get it done!]
5.      Get outdoors for a break [even if it’s cold!]
6.      Drink water and eat small nutritious snacks [remember the advice from a tree?]
7.      Check posture [do it right now!]
8.      Plan a reward for yourself at the end of the day, give yourself time to fully relax [read more for fun!]

The next site I went to is also spot-on! In the World of Psychology’s article, they shared 10 stress busters! I just captured their main points. I would encourage you to read why they addressed that particular issue! It truly makes sense!

Simplify ~ Prioritize ~ Use pencil, not pen ~ Give away your cape ~
~ Collaborate and cooperate ~ Laugh ~ Exercise ~ Stop juggling ~
~ Build boundaries ~ Think globally

Then I went to Pinterest, to find us some visuals for stress busters. I’m such a visual learner, I know they will help me, and hopefully you’ll find them easier as well!

This is what stress does to us…. pretty scary stuff…

These are the signs and symptoms of stress…

And, this is what we can do…

I hope I’ve encouraged you to spend 2017 practicing these stress busters with me! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Ninth Day of Christmas

Within the last few weeks, I’ve encountered some friends that have said something like, “I’ve got to stop volunteering so much”. Volunteering is a great thing to do. Yes, no doubt about it.

 We can, however, run our self into the ground. Eventually, our health and mental well-being can/will suffer. I know there are many needs in this world, as close as in our neighborhood and local community. It can be hard to scale back. And, most difficult to say, “No.”

What about a re-focus on “volunteering”?

Do we have to physically show up somewhere to count as being a volunteer? I believe there are different ways to give of our selves, to volunteer, without leaving our own home! Sewing for others is a prime example!

Stop running the roads everyday.
Stop setting a time to be here or there.

Too much of anything is not a good thing.

Be Still.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Eighth Day of Christmas

Happy New Year!!!

Especially for 2017, I appreciate this advice from a tree…

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