Monday, December 23, 2019


I don't know why I'm surprised. Everything seems to take way longer than you plan for it to take. That job that you thought would be finished in one hour  - well three hours later, you're still working on it! 

That seems to be me these days. Probably because a lot of the jobs I'm tackling are ones that I've put off because I didn't want to do them and my goal is to let NOTHING get in my way of getting those ugly jobs accomplished. PROCRASTINATION will not be allowed in this house (at least for now!) It's not easy to euphoric when you get a hated job done - I'm usually so exhausted and relieved that I don't feel a thing!

I'm tired of the talk - it's time to walk the talk!! If you want something done - do NOT continue to complain about it. Mark a date in your calendar, get the appropriate resources in order and go for it. If you want, allow yourself a small reward after. BUT - if you're waiting for someone to help you - that's not going to happen. Want a job done? Do it yourself!!!!  Oh - I have a good story to go along with that, but it'll have until tomorrow - I've already loads to share with you today.

It was a Community Project day for me. And for the most part, it was. But FIRST - I had to get the binding on the LAST customer quilt to leave the house for this year.

The first part of the binding is done! And Rose - I was thinking of you when I sewed this on. The quilt is flannel and so is the binding!

Side one - sewn in place

Then I found some matching thread and sewed the second side on. This is the easiest thing in the world to do. I've now done so many of these bindings and I seem to get better with each one. I know it's not for everyone and some of my special quilts will NOT be bound like this. But everyday quilts? They are just fine! If you don't know how or are afraid, I've got a whole pile of links on QUILTsocial. But here's one for sewing the binding on with the sewing machine.  Shoot - that wasn't the one I wanted, but I'm running out of time. I'll post the entire lot of them soon.

The binding is attached to the front
 I know it's a bit overkill, but those top of the line sewing machines with the built-in IDT (creation Icon by PFAFF) or IDF (Designer EPIC by Husqvarna Viking) with the extra power make putting on binding by machine a total BREEZE. I'm in love with them.

There's even a small label inserted into the binding.

Binding is now complete!!!!

While the entire basement is looking pretty good, there are a few more things that need to be brought down and sorted. Things that got shoved upstairs when we had the issue with the water. Now that I have homes for some of that stuff, it's time to bring it down. I brought down a couple of baskets and most of the stuff in them is sorted and put away and MORE empty baskets. BUT guess what I found?

That would be my luggage scale! I knew I had one - just no idea where it was. Well - it's got a new home now - INSIDE the sample suitcase! Yippeee!!!!  So glad I didn't go out and buy a new one.

My luggage scale - no longer lost
Then I decided to get something quilted. I'm on a roll - so far at least one item per day for the last little while. There's so much that needs quilting, that I hate to take a day off.

I had a panel that we found in the boxes of stuff for community projects. We decided that it would work for placemats. We also found some yardage of Christmas fabric which would be perfect for the backing. BUT both pieces were the same width and pretty much the same length. That doesn't always work well (OK - it doesn't work at all!) for quilting. I added some waste strips along the sides.

Waste strips are added to the sides of the backing to load on the long arm

 I choose my new favorite quilting design and away the robot went.

The robot is quilting the quilt

Here's a close up of my new favorite quilting design. It's not new to me - I bought it a while back, but I've just started to use it. I love it!

Geometric quilting design

I had to snug the top fabric right up to the top edge of the backing. The backing was only two inches longer than the top. I thought about putting a waste strip on the bottom as well, but you know me - let fate fall where it lies. 

The top is snuggled right up to the edge
Thank goodness for selvages as that allowed the fabrics to lie directly on top of one another and keep that seam untouched where I added the waste strips. 

The fabrics are JUST the right size

Judging the bottom of the quilt top is another art. Normally I make the pattern ½" shorter than the quilt top - don't ask! But in this case, since I had so little space, I knocked off 3/4". I should have done ½" as you can see the traveling stitches are still on the piece. These are placemats - it's not going to matter. And hopefully, the binding will cover or be right next to that traveling stitching. If I'd adjusted as I normally do (although it's a total crapshoot), I would have been OK.

The pattern was ¼" too short
Here's the completed "top". The idea was to cut the piece apart to make placemats. Each placemat would consist of two squares. But that might make them too long and narrow. Hmm - I shall do some checking. I might just cut the placemats to the correct size and totally disregard the panels. They might look a bit weird, but I'm sure it'll be fine.

The front of the quilted yardage
You can see the backing and the waste strips are still attached. I'll remove those strips after the pieces are totally trimmed. Adding the waste strips is a slick trick if your backing is just barely the size of the quilt top.
The back of the quilted yardage 

Since it was Community Projects day, that meant it was time to tackle another IKEA bag of scraps. As I pulled the top bag off the pile, I knew I was in for a surprise. One end of the bag was very heavy compared to the other. That can only mean one thing. Wait for it.

I started by emptying all the bags onto the floor. The first one or was that two were filled with flannel pieces. Some of them were large enough to become a quilt backing. I dumped the entire thing into the washer to freshen up those pieces. They're downstairs on the ironing board this morning and will be folded and sorted into the appropriate spots for our next group day.

Flannel pieces to be washed

That heavy side of the bag? Oh yes - there was a bag of decorator fabric. Seriously???  There are so many decorator samples out there - we NEED to find something to do with them. Imagine how much of this is filling our landfills.

Decorator samples

I started by opening them up. Oh yes - these are the HUGE ones - about 24" squares.

Large squares of decorator fabric
 In total, there were 43 of them. ACK!!!!! I folded them and put them under the stairs with the other huge pile of the large ones. Can they be used for toiletry bags for women's shelters? Or wheelchair/walker bags for senior's homes? Or a shoe bag?? Or a tote bag? The problem (for me at least) is that the fabrics are pretty hideous. I can't believe that anyone would put these in their house for drapes or upholstery. GASP!!!  So if anyone has a brilliant idea of what to do with these - I'd love to hear. Send me an e-mail. I don't think I'm going to need them all for pet mats!

43 samples of decorator fabric

There was a bag of pillowcases. That's going to Diane who can use these for her scraps.

Pillowcases to make pet mats

I found two sheets and two pillowcases in another bag. The pillowcases went with the other pile and I washed the sheets. They're going to be cut up to make foundations for our string quilts.

Two sheets and two pillowcases

And guess what? There were three bags of actual scraps in that grouping.

Three bags of scraps
 And yes - they were scraps - lots of batting scraps and fabric scraps. This is what I wanted - real scraps to make the pet mats. Not most of the stuff I ended up with. However, I did ask for sheets and pillowcases to make the mats. Amazing what people will throw your way because they don't' want to deal with it. I refuse to do that to anyone! And that includes all my fabric and projects. If I can't take responsibility for it - well, there's something wrong with me! I'm determined to get this mess under control!

The scraps to stuff the pet mats

 I found instructions for a fabric book. I kept those as I've got a plan for the words. I have a few and am always looking for more of the words! Very specific request - I just want the words!

Instructions from a fabric book 
 And so with my overflowing scrap box, I made three pet mats. They are completely finished and waiting to be delivered in the new year.

Three completed pet mats
And because I'm so totally anal now about how things look (and I'm a sorter), I went into the furnace room and filled the IKEA bag with more bags of scraps and whatever. So I've still got four full IKEA bags which are sitting neatly beside the long arm. The rest is in tubs under the stairs in the furnace room. By my guess, there is still FIVE bags worth of stuff under the stairs! Can you believe it?? Well - I can and I hope that the next couple of attempts will be as easy as yesterday was!

It doesn't matter - it's getting done. That's all I care about! NEVER - NEVER - NEVER - will I allow that to happen again! I'm watching things that come into the house like a hawk! And I'm getting more and more ruthless with things that are in the house!

I took the girls for a long walk in the afternoon - it was so gorgeous - how could you not?

Then it was time to buckle down and get that dreaded job done. You know - the flying geese one. After HOURS of stitching and cursing at the invisible thread, it's done. All 160 of the flying geese are stitched down. Now the quilt will be easy to quilt with an overall pattern.

The flying geese are stitched in place

Then it was time to work on something for ME.

Here's my gingerbread quilt with the PLAIN borders stitched on. I tried to like the striped fabric, but just couldn't. It was too busy and just not right for the style of the blocks.

The gingerbread quilt top - DONE

This is one of my UFOs and it's almost time to cross it off the list. The backing is now made. Isn't that appropriate fabric for the backing? I've been sitting on a bolt of that stuff forever!

The backing for the gingerbread quilt
All that remains is to make the binding and I'm struggling. I've found three choices.

Binding choices

Here's number one - the strip. It'll be bias binding if I use this and I kind of like it. Adds a wee bit of fun to the quilt. But it's quite "bright" compared to the fabrics in the quilt.

Striped binding?

Then I used the monochromatic green. Boring - that one got nixed right away. I'm a very visual person and I need to see things and it was pretty obvious that a plain binding wasn't going to cut it.

Boring green print

And then there's this one that I found in the stack of the backing fabrics. It's got a dot on it with all the colors in the quilt. Hmmm - now that I see all the choices - I'm thinking this is the one to use. I was going to ask you all, but now that I've seen and discussed the choices (with myself), this is the one I like the best. DONE! Since it's a UFO day today, I'll be making that binding later and then I get to cross this one off the list.

Dotted binding

So lots of stuff is getting done - it just doesn't seem like it. I did promise myself that I'd finish a couple of the UFOS on my three lists before the end of the year. Oh boy - I still have three UFO days scheduled for this year. I'd better pick ONE project and focus on it for the next couple of days.

On that note, I'm out of here! Got loads to do! Remember - only YOU can make things happen in your house. I'll post a few of my best tips on decluttering and organizing before the end of the year. And I'll try to post the list of classes for next year tomorrow. I know some of you have sent me an e-mail about Vintage Christmas sign-up. You're in  - I'll hopefully send you a confirmation today.

Have a super day!!!!



  1. The Sue Garman gingerbread quilt is wonderful. That’s a lot of hand appliqué. Good for you!

    1. Thanks -- it was a LOT of work and I LOVE the quilt!

  2. Can you give more detail on how you put together and quilt pet mats?