Monday, May 19, 2008

Shep's Wood Tables

I am as in love with these tables as I am with my vintage machines. I love that they are hand crafted one at a time from WOOD, not plastic. I love the smooth finish and the rounded edges.

The hinges are reclaimed from sewing machine cases that are no longer useable, so that is a bit of vintage nostalgia included as well.

Shep does them in several different stain finishes including oak, birch, and cherry. It just feels good to surround my vintage babies with beautiful WOOD.

He will make them to fit any vintage machine. Probably can make them to fit any modern machine as well. I bought one for my Spartan, and also bought one for my singer 15, which is a larger machine. The one for my Spartan also fits my singer 99.

I'm not affiliated in any way with Shep, just that so many have asked where I got the tables, I thought I'd do a little post about them here!

You can contact Shep by email at scotteshepherd@comcast.net and visit his ebay listing HERE

If you contact him, let him know you heard about him from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville! :cD

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Drivers.....

That's me! I was a Sunday Driver today as I came back from the Upcountry Quilter's Retreat at Table Rock Wesleyan Camp outside of Pickens,SC! I just love being in the beautiful blue ridge mountains. I'd choose the mountains over the ocean any day. That could be because I am such a fair skinned gal that I don't find the beach to be a lot of fun at all. But I love being outside in the mountains and smelling the trees, hearing the breeze rustle through and the birds, etc. I am in awe of mountains.

I had a wonderful guild meeting on Thursday Evening in Maggie Valley NC...we all met for dinner at a mexican place before hand, then off to the meeting we went!

The next morning was the Boxy Stars class. I tell you, I learn so much by seeing what other people put together. I think it broadens our own vision of "possibilities" when we see people doing things that are outside of our own "box."

After the workshop, I got in the car and drove 2 more hours down to the guild retreat....what fun! I felt like *I* was the one on retreat too! I didn't have to teach my class until the next day, so I got to enjoy dinner with everyone and set up my machine and sew into the night with everyone too.

And guess what....I FINISHED the 5 year UFO of my pink and brown storm at sea setting of Dear Jane! I DID IT!! It was almost anti climactic....but what was also fun...I finished her up on my vintage singer Spartan. I love this little machine. It was made by singer but sold through sears or something, and it dates into the 50s. It is heavier than my featherweights, but that is great...sometimes the featherweight just is too small when it comes to working on big quilts. And too light weight when working on big quilts....but with this Spartan placed into it's little oak extension table, I had no trouble with a lightweight machine skittering away from me when trying to sew on borders. My featherweights may get jealous...I think I love a bigger machine!

I also love my Spartan because of the drop in bobbin! It easily holds TWICE the amount of thread that my featherweights hold. And it has no bobbin case to lose. We all know how expensive THOSE are to replace. The more I sew on this baby, the more I think featherweights are highly over rated....unless you need to travel with it as a carry on or something.

And because I love a bigger machine...I was oohing and ahhing over Barbara's Singer 404....and she told me her dad works on machines and he had one I could buy from him. I held my breath and bought it after trying it out. The motor is encased, so there is no belt to deal with. It's cast aluminum instead of cast iron...it is LIGHT! It's a slant needle, it hums so quietly....I'm in love with this one too...IT might end up with a wood extension table of it's own as well....The stitch quality can not be beat!

I hate to say that while I was humming along on my vintage machines at retreat, there were a couple ladies who had spent way much more money for a "retreat" or class machine...all plastic.....nothing but problems with them. I'm in love with vintage machines and I'm sticking to it!

Poor bernina...she may be relegated to being brought out ONLY when I need to use a zig zag ;c)

Chloe is slowly getting acclimated. She is out from UNDER the chair in my studio, and now laying ON it. She is very vocal! I don't know if she is complaining or just chattering, but she makes lots of talking sounds about everything. Got her to purr a couple times, but I think it's still going to take her a while to feel like this is HOME.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm Such a SUCKER!

Buddy got his cast off yesterday. They just LOVE him at the vets, he is such a push over for anyone who pays him the slightest amount of attention. It takes 3 of us to get him up onto the exam table because when you take him into the room he just goes limp on the floor. He's lazy that way when I get him groomed too...just lays down, won't stand!

So I said to the vet, a great guy...I love how he talks to the animals and explains things to me as the owner..."He's just an overgrown ragdoll kitty in disguise, because he just goes limp!" and the vet said....
"Speaking of Ragdolls, we've got one that we have to find a home for, or we have to put it to sleep, are you interested?!"

The story goes that someone just left the cat outside the vet's door in a carrier with a note that said they couldn't take care of her anymore. She was badly matted. They had been trying to clean her up at the vets, and the fur on her back has big chunks out of it where someone had tried to remove the mats with scissors.

Long story short...one look at this sweet girl and I was a goner. How could I let them put her to sleep? It would be on MY conscience if I didn't take her home! So...I am now owned by Chloe, a tri color ragdoll baby. I don't know much else, but by her exam, she looks to be about 3 years old. All I had to do was pay for a rabies shot. A whopping $17.50 and Chloe and her carrier were loading into the car along with Buddy (who couldn't care less and showed no interest in her whatsoever.) Oh, and she is declawed and spayed...someone had some money invested in her.

I brushed her a bit more last night, but there are still some tough mats on her chest. She did purr a bit...a very soft purr. She is also very chatty with lots of little mew mew sounds like she is talking back at you when you talk to her. Her coloring reminds me a lot of Tonya's Pokey...only longer hair. I can only hope for Pokey's sweet personality.

For now she is residing in my basement away from the other two kitties. I figure she is traumatized enough as it is. So here she is...Chloe! Jeff thinks we should call her SWIFFER.

I'm in love and I hate to leave her for the weekend, but the guys will take good care of her...(I hope!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Small Quilt Play Date!

I took yesterday off for a play date with my friend Mary and her friend Shirley! What fun we had! You know it's crazy....I've been working so hard on the book quilts, who would have thought that I would want to SEW all day on my day off? But it's true. It was a switching of gears from what was work....to what was relaxing with no deadline. DH and son don't understand it, but I'm sure you all do :c)

Have you ever had the experience of walking into someone's home, and feeling like you just walked into the midst of Country Sampler or Country Living magazine? That is what it is like when I visit Mary's house. She has such a knack for little vignettes and details that her house takes my breath away. I love going there. She hasn't seen MY house yet, and I'm almost embarrassed to have her over because while her house is Vintage Beautiful, my house is Country Clutter Chaos! *LOL* She has a definate FEEL to her various rooms, mine is just a jumble of everything...kind of like my quilts. Completely scrappy with no thought to fabric genre or whatever.

I am in love with little quilts, yet every quilt I make tends to come out gigantic. WHY? I'm not sure. At first I thought it was because it would help me use up the scrap stash quicker. But that is a false assumption! It just takes more little quilts to use the same amount of fabric, but you get more variety!

SO. Yesterday's challenge was to reel myself back and to make SMALLER things to use in decorating, on top of tables or to hang on walls, to stuff in baskets, to put here and there for a bit of quilted color. I had a blast!

I nearly finished THREE tops by the time it was time to leave! THREE! Weeee..how fun is this?? I had brought my big zipper baggie of 1.5" strips. I wanted to deplete some of them. There were parts of UFOs in that bin too, left over rail fence blocks, left over strip pieced units from something else (Red 3.5" center with two light 1.5" strips sewn on either side? What WAS I making with that? I don't remember!).

The first thing I did was just LAY out these ugly rail fence blocks together. They m ust have been ugly cast-outs from another project. They were very limited in the color selection, not a great variety, very old fabrics, and there is this one HUGE Kaffe-Fassett-Esque turquise print that just did NOT play nicely with the others. Mary said..
"Never fear! Just sew them together and then we are going to TEA DYE the sucker to death."
Okay. I sewed! And in no time I had the center done!

This morning I just could STILL NOT just leave this alone without doing something to tie it together better. I added a narrow gold inner border. I sewed a gazillion triangles together from the bonus triangle bin, and then I added the final black border. You know one great thing about loving primitive quilts? You kind of WANT the seams not to always match perfectly. And it's okay if you piece a bunch of triangles for the border and just cut them off wherever the border ends.

Yeah...it got BIG, Mary! BUT...it looks good on my kitchen table!

It can still be stuffed in a basket or displayed on a wall. And I'll still use your idea for tea dying it to tone down those white on white prints that I don't like. While I'm at it, I think I'll grab ALL the white on whites and cream on creams that are still left in my stash and tea dye THOSE too. I really don't use them anymore....other than to print labels on. I don't like the paint on them.

The next Little Ditty I did was to simply sew panels of 1.5" strips together! I made subcuts at 1.5" and 2.5" and just stitched the units together in rows. How SIMPLE can this be? I love this one. Mary handed me a cast off blue plaid and I slapped in on right then and there for a border. CUTE! Finished size? 24"X29" This is the smallest quilt I've made in a LONG time! But wait...

This one isn't much bigger! 26"X32"! Remember those 3.5" red squares that had 1.5" light strips sewn to either side? I cut those into 1.5" sections and used them to frame scrappy 9-patches! I had it all the way into rows by the time I left Mary's last evening. Today all I had to do was sew the rows together and border it. Since my kitchen is going to have barn red walls...this one is for display in there...and remember that old saw that I bought at the Liberty Antique festival? I think I'm going to hang the saw, blade up...and hang the quilt on it...yep..in the kitchen! Special thanks to Mary for donating the sashing fabric to me from her stash. What are friends for? :cD

I got home by 7pm, and I was SLEEP by 7:30. Total wipe-out! But it was such a fun day.

Today I'm getting all the quilt instructions together for the two workshops I'm teaching this weekend. Today Buddy goes back to the vet..hopefully TODAY the cast comes off. Last week's checkup showed that he just wasn't read yet.

Tomorrow I'm off to Beautiful Maggie Valley NC, on the outskirts of the Smoky Mountains. Thursday night trunkshow/lecture, Friday Boxy Stars workshop!

As soon as the workshop is over, I head out to Pickens, SC where I am attending their guild retreat, teaching the Pineapple Blossom workshop. The best part...I get to retreat with them on my own stuff friday night...saturday after the workshop into saturday night..and most of the day Sunday until it is time to come home. How FUN is this? The retreat is being held at Table Rock Wesleyan Camp in Pickens, SC. Gorgeous!! I can't wait.

I'm toying with the idea of bringing the 1.5" strips..seeing what else I can make out of them, but at the back of my brain is that Storm At Sea brown dear jane thing..that only needs me to put the rows together and finish paper piecing the borders to get it DONE?! What to do..what to do?????

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pray for my Boxes....

The boxes have been loaded full of quilts and are on their way to my editor for photography. I didn't think much of it until I got to Fedex and the gal behind the counter asked me for the declared value of each box. That is when I gulped! And panicked! Never the less....they are on their way, Another deadline met!

I have the next two weeks to wrap up everything else, final deadline..June 2nd. I can't believe how close it is, it's almost here already!

One of the things I needed to include was a bunch of swatches for photography. It took longer than I thought to cut out all these 6.5" squares. I must have cut close to 100....

And that is when it hit me...if I have cut 100 swatches...that's 100 SHIRTS! or other articles of clothing. Good grief. It really IS a sickness, this collecting of useable recyclable clothing. Just as bad as being addicted to Jelly Rolls or Charm Packs or FQ bundles or anything else. It still amounts to a whole dang lot of fabric that I haven't made a dent in. Heaven help me if I grow wary of plaids and stripes and prints from shirts any time soon. I could clothe half the community.

Hey...is that a good reason for NOT getting around to cutting EVERYTHING up? we might actually need to wear it some day? :cÞ That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

All I know is right now there are two big piles of un-cut-up shirts here in my basement because I needed the big boxes to pack the quilts in!

After sitting at the computer for 17 hours on Mother's Day writing up pattern directions, I'm taking tomorrow OFF! I've been invited to my friend Mary's house to go sew and play, and I think I need that kind of group therapy...a mental health day...some R&R (Rotary cutting & Relaxation!)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Swore I Wasn't Going To Start This....

I have two other quilts in the process of hand quilting, but I just couldn't NOT start this.

Last night I finally got all the labels on (can I hear you cheering?!?) the quilts to go to photography, but was too wiped out to do much else...I could NOT make myself sit here and write up pattern instructions..

I really WAS in the mood for more hand stitching after doing all those labels. There is something really soul centering of pulling a needle and thread through a quilt, even if it is for labels.

While doing the labels..I had been watching all the "On Demand" stuff that my cable offers. I really LOVE BBCamerica On Demand. And Turner Classic Movies on demand! Great stuff, and you can start it and stop it as you want.

Needless to say....I plopped a hoop on the quilt and started quilting. I had machine basted the quilt a couple days ago. After thumbing through some antique Amish quilt books, I decided to mimic what I saw in another basket quilt, and just cross-hatch the blocks instead of outlining everything. The setting triangles have a line of stitching down each string...that makes it easy to avoid seam allowances. The sashings have double X's and the 4 patches have an X as well.

The inner border will have dog teeth zig zags, and I think I'm going to simply follow the pattern of the red flowers in the print to stitch diagonal lines in the red border. It's so busy, not a lot will show.

And yes...I've got to get cranking on the other stuff I've been wanting to finish the hand quilting on as well....but it just FEELS good to do a bit of hand quilting...

Just as my sign says...."There is nothing that a little needling can't fix!"

As I work on this quilt, I see all these scraps that have been part of my quilting life over the past many many years. Definitely a lot of you would say, "Oh, I would never put THAT fabric with THAT fabric!" But I do. Scrap quilts of yesteryear were made with scraps on hand. They were a diary of the fabrics that passed through that household. These are MY scraps from my projects. They are a diary of the fabrics that have passed through my household, even if that pink/red heart with the gold metallic doesn't "go with" that little ditsy calico and shirting print or plaid. To me they are the perfect combination.

I CAN put a metallic next to a batik next to a 30's next to a civil war next to a solid,plaid, stripe, novelty, a bright next to a murky primitive. This is the fabric of my life. It tells my story.

Today....the quilt will be set aside until tonight. I'm back with my shoulder to the wheel, writing pattern directions, hoping to get as much as I can done before I send the box of quilts off to photography tomorrow afternoon.

But tonight....can I please do a few more stitches? Just a few? :cD

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

I bet you didn't see this happening!

I just couldn't stop. I just had to keep sewing! I had 16 basket blocks, and started auditioning sashings.

Sometimes when things are SO busy, in order to calm down the busy-ness, I turn to solids. I love solids. I love how the quilting shows up on them better than on prints. I love the richness of the colors.

I found this olive-y green in the remnant bin at Mary Jo's when I headed to Florida. There was only 1.25 yards, but it was enough to get sashings for a quilt this size, and have enough left over for binding.

I decided to play up the Pennsylvania Dutch feel of the quilt by accenting the green with cheddar orange inner border, and finished it off with a rusty red.

The 4 patch cornerstones came from a box that is nearly full with them. I got a bit carried away and made WAY too many of them from 1.5" strips about 8 years or more ago. Every now and then they show up in projects. And they still aren't used up yet!

The fun part of this quilt....I got out my grandmother's machine to see if it ran. It does! I cleaned it, oiled it, changed the needle. It's got the "slows" as far as the speed goes.....but I sewed blocks on it. It's a Singer 15 from 1942. It belonged to my great grandmother, who gave it to my grandmother, and my grandmother sewed baby clothes for my mother on it. My mom learned to sew on it. Years ago my aunt gave it to me and it sat in it's dilapidated case until I put it out for display here at the new house.

Four generations have sewn on this machine. I think that's pretty remarkable!

However, I love the speed of my Bernina, and I put the Singer back on the shelf when it came time to add the borders! *LOL*

This little quilt only used 128 bonus triangle squares. :c| Not nearly enough! I added what was left to the other baggies of triangle squares waiting to be sewn into something, another time, another day, another quilt!

Orange Crush, Part Quatre! (FOUR!)

The Mystery Continues!!!

This is Step 4 of the Orange Crush Mystery......come sew and play!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Postcards from the Dungeon...

It's supposed to be like "Postcards from the Edge"..but actually it is pictures of my studio!

I had an electrician in last week to bring me LIGHT. So it is less dungeonesque in here now.

I've hung quilts, I've displayed my machines, I've got WIPS stacked all over. It's not the cleanest down here right now,but this is how I live in Quiltville.

I've bought the replacement ceiling tiles. Those will be installed as soon as I can get the guys around here to agree to do it.

I love having room to have both of my treadle machines out in the open. The painted paneling doesn't look so bad when quilts are displayed all over.

I hung my Dear Jane quilt behind the machine, it's really the only big empty wall in the house where it can be hung.

The little blue bookcase holding my antique machines was here in the house when we moved in. It's heat up and rustic, but functional and I love how shabby chic it is. The second machine down beloned to my grandmother. She passed away when I was 5. Years ago my aunt gifted me this machine. I checked for info on it from Singer and it was born March 3, 1942 in Elizabeth, NJ. This was right around the time my mother was born, so I can imagine my grandmother sewing cute little baby clothes for her first daughter, my mom.

The little 99 machine below it has a knee control. I've never gotten it to work, but it sure is cute! I keep thinking...some day...some day.

The hand crank on top of the old radio cabinet is from Germany and has beautiful scroll work decals and lovely mother of pearl inlays...I'd love to get it in working order too.

I have FINISHED all the binding of book quilts! YEAH! I've still got to bind my sister's baby quilt...the baby is now 3 weeks old! Maybe this weekend.

I've plugged a bit outside of working hours on the scrappy basket blocks. I think they are pretty blendy. :c| I've tried a couple keeping the bouquet triangles all the same color, and that seems to show up better. Thanks to Lucy for the critique. The baskets themselves are all red, because I had a gazillion of the half square triangle squares already made that make up the basket feet...bonus leftovers from star struck quilts. I'm not sure how big I'll make this, it's just busy busy. Maybe some sashings or something would tone it down?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


DS Jeff starts classes at Forsyth Tech at the end of the month. Lots of figuring and deliberating was done until we came to the conclusion that a scooter would pay for itself in the amount of gas that it saves.

This scooter is so cute I'm even thinking of getting myself one...in PINK! :cD

It's a 150cc so it has enough power to go 70mph and can go on all the roads that cars can. It is big enough to require tags and insurance. I like that it is big enough that he can be SEEN on the roads!

I left him at the dealership to finish up the paperwork, and drove home and waited....here he is as he just pulled into the front yard. Have you ever seen such a happy young man?

Guild meeting last night was very fun! I met lots of wonderful ladies and I hope to get more involved as the months roll by. It was nice to sit there and see someone else do a presentation instead of the other way around!

As Mrs G says...Life IS good!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Busy Monday!

After a relaxing Sunday!

This morning I'm being invaded by the Orkin man and the heating unit repair guy..both at the same time (approximately) Many bugs abound here in Quiltville! We've got these centipede/millipede nasty things that crawl into my basement from outside somewhere and curl up and die. *shudder* At least there have been no more snakes found in the ceiling!

The fan on the heating/ac unit has gone out for the second time in a month...so this one should be covered by warranty. I was going to go to the gym this morning, trying to get back on that swing of things, but it will have to wait until this afternoon. It might mean a hot walk there and back!

Also today...I have all the paperwork in hand to finally get my NC license plates. I had to have the title sent by the lending company, and that took a while to get here. Now all those ducks are in a row and I get to fight those lines today. After this, I'll be totally NC official!

One thing I am really excited about is GUILD MEETING tonight...here locally! The last two months I've either been moving in, or out of town. Tonight I actually get to meet local quilters and start making friends. I'm nervous. I feel like a new kid on her first day of school :c) I promise to remember my manners, to share, and play nicely with others. :c)

These pictures are just a few of what I took at the Liberty Antiques Festival last week. Mmmmm....great eye candy, huh?? I know you don't like reading posts without pictures, so here you go. I saved these for moments when I didn't have anything else to keep your attention! *LOL*