Friday, October 28, 2011

Fall Bloggers Quilt Festival

I was just wondering if i missed the fall Bloggers' Quilt Festival.. guess what... i didn't! woo hoo. If you want to see some beautiful quilts go over to Amy's Creative Side and check it out.. its page after page of inspiration! I am also adding this to "Finish It Up Friday!" Wow.. finally a finish in time for that too!

This time I'm entering the quilt that i made for Wesley. He is my grand baby and I am his Mimi. Wesley started school this year and he is about to move into a new house with his own big boy bed and I hope this quilt ends up on it! Wesley is actually my boyfriend's (Ralph) son's (Buck) girlfriend's (Sharon) child from a previous relationship... but like I said, he is my grand baby and i am his Mimi. Wesley is both a holy terror and a sweetheart rolled into one child. Hes smart as a whip when it comes to the computer and computer games. He started pre-k this year and is doing well (well other than that holy terror part, he had to learn not to give other children bloody lips)

This is him almost 2 years ago helping me make another quilt. His Dad, mom and baby brother lived with us at the time. I just realized, we need to take more pictures of our grand babies, we have tons of pictures of the babies.. but not the older kids!

The inspiration for the quilts is Ralph's closet. He wears cotton plaid shirts. ALL the time. (He looks rather good in them, at least I think so!) He has short sleeve for summer and long sleeve for winter. Anyways, the shirts are colorful and bright and cheery and well, what should I make all of these grand kids but a quilt from Paw Paw's shirts! On this one I kept the pattern simple, I guess its kinda a split rail with a fat rail in the middle. I'm calling it the plaid puzzle quilt.

The plaids are from Ralph's closet he gave up a few of the ones that had stains on them and there are a few from goodwill as well. (probably bought 5 at $1.00 each) The white is a sheet i bought at goodwill for $1.50.  The green border is an alligator skin looking print that my sister gave me a whole bunch of yardage of. I used it here and in his baby brothers matching quilt. I had a hard time choosing a binding on this one. I auditioned reds, blues, yellows and greens and this red gingham kept screaming at me to pick it. I was reserved about it because it seemed a little "christmasy" or bright. But once it was finished, it is the perfect binding for this little boys quilt.

For the back I think the polka dots came from the clearance rack at hobby lobby and the yellow was in one of those "I don't quilt anymore" boxes that someone gave me.

Ok, so there aren't any close up of the quilting, it is simple squares, I followed seams on both sides of the squares. I love the texture it gave it.

I made his brother a baby blanket with the same plaid puzzle. I'm making his cousins Landon and Trevor plaid X's.

This one really did go together quickly and easily and I think the results are cute!

On a side note... see that puddle in the picture of the back (behind the quilt) it RAINED here last night! That's almost as big a deal as the quilt! That was the first good soaking rain we have had in at least 10 months! If you look at the sky it looks like rain but I don't think it dropped any today. It went from balmy and breezy here to cold and wet overnight and fall is definitely here... I'm praying for a very WET fall and winter. Our 3 acre pond is now about 100 ft across.

And I had to include a post of this little fella. He really liked Wesley's quilt too when I was outside taking pictures. (and yes, thanks to him i need to rewash it.) This is Tupelo. He was abandoned by his momma and I bottle fed him for a while, then got him on solid food. He is a sweetie but very very poor mannered! His name is Tupelo because i felt guilty calling him Tupe, which was short for Tupid Puppy which is what Ralph started calling him when he was a baby. my poor dogs, we also have a dog named fat gal which is short for "hairy legged fat gal".

Thursday, October 20, 2011

bad news but im still in denial so its ok... lol

Wow another Wednesday...(which i missed and its now Thursday) I'm getting more stressed about finishing Christmas presents each week! (for those who are new I'm making 23 quilts and I've finished 8!) I think i finally have Ralph convinced that i cant come into work at 8 am everyday when i don't need to be here until 10 and those 2 hours, oh i love those two extra hours of MY day, not my work day but MY day. (and the housework is getting done again... that is what really convinced him lol)

I finished the binding on "Orange it Great" yesterday and washed it... hmmm... i used fusible batting and I'm not very happy, after 2 washings the "glue" stains (see the dark spots on the teal) are still on the back of the quilt. I'm really thinking I'm going to have to remake the back, re quilt it and re bind it... so... the fusible batting... (i did use a cheap brand from hobby lobby rather than the brand recommended and reading reviews i haven't seen where the heirloom has caused this problem)... i think it ruined my quilt... so although i loved quilting with it, I'm not gonna go with that again! I think the walking foot is the next thing i will try to get rid of the puckers. Writing this i realize I'm still in denial that i may have to remake the back to this quilt! Lol... we will see if i cant wash it again!

I called it "Orange it Great" because i am the biggest nerd on the planet. Since i was a child my favorite knock knock joke has been:

Knock Knock
Whose There
Banana Who

Knock Knock
Whose there
Banana Who

Knock Knock
Whose There
Orange Who
Orange you glad i didn't say banana?


This was supposed to be my Wednesday WIP post... but i didn't get to finish it yesterday. Things are kinda stressful at work. Another restaurant has opened and were taking the hit this week but unfortunately the bills don't know that this hit is temporary and they wont wait! lol. Yes... another restaurant in this small town. There are about 6000 people in the county, we opened 3 years ago and there were 4 other restaurants in town. We are in an oil and gas boom, they are drilling everywhere and i would say at the height of it a year ago it doubled the population... BUT... its dropped off a whole bunch,  but that hasn't stopped other eating places from opening. We are now at about 18 different places to eat. Every time one opens we take a hit for about 2 weeks... everyone has to try it after all. Eventually our customers come back because we make GOOD consistent pizza and who doesn't love that. We ate breakfast at the new place and if they don't improve their food, I'm really not concerned about losing our customers to them!


We do know that to survive on just local business, with this much competition, we need two restaurants at least, so we are putting together equipment for the next one. I have become an online auction addict but so far i have gotten our ovens for 500 (10,000 ovens!!) and a prep table for 300 (3000 prep table!!!) So were getting what we need and hopefully after the 1st of the year i will be busy opening that!

opps that was a total sidetrack...

I have been working on "Connections"
this is for Ralph's son-in-law Chris. I love the snowballs and the connectors between them. I didn't like the connection between the rows and i have taken that out. I think I've decided to just sew the rows together, snowball to snowball. It will just be these three rows of snowballs going down one side, the rest will be the dark gray which i love. The other side is denim like "orange it great." The red fabrics were in the last "here someone gave this fabric to me and i don't sew anymore" bag of stuff someone gave me. The grey solid is a sheet i bought at a yard sale.

I also managed to quilt Wesley over the weekend (didn't use fusible batting, used some i found while cleaning out my fabric closet!)

Ill show the whole thing when i finish hopefully over the weekend!

I finally finished piecing the X's for this one and i have also been working on more flying geese. I know.. its a pile of fabric... but I'm running out of places to put things!!!

 like i said, its getting closer to Christmas and I'm getting a tad stressed. The remaking bucks is going to really upset me once I'm no longer in denial! lol.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Irene has a new owner

Irene found her owner, I gave her to a local homeless woman.

The student council is selling pizza tickets as a fund raiser. The ticket gives the person a large pizza and 12 wings. We split the amount with them so that they can take their trip at the end of the year. We don't make money off of this, but what we do get mostly covers the cost of the food.

Tonight someone redeemed the wing portion of the ticket, she got a pizza earlier in the week. She was really late picking them up and when she got here, she said he had to walk because she couldn't get a ride. I was about to run to the grocery store so i offered her a ride home.

The trip home was eyeopening. She was a woman about my age and she lives in a van. It doesn't run so she doesn't have heat. Shes waiting for disability, but for now she makes a little money cleaning houses and she gets food stamps. She wasn't drunk or high, she was a very polite, christian woman who just cant get a job and has to live in a van. She had the fundraiser ticket because her pastor gave it to her.

I dropped her off and when i went to back out of the dead end street she "lives" on, i turned around and there was Irene in a laundry basket still waiting for me to mail her... I stopped, called her back and gave the quilt to her. I told her i made it and she needed it more than where i was sending it to and i wanted her to have it.

I am counting my blessings at the same time. I hadn't sent Irene yet because honestly, i haven't had money for the postage. Money is tight, really really tight for us right now, we are trying to open another store, just paid off a huge tax bill. Its been really depressing to not be able to do what i want when i want, like buy quilt batting to finish the quilts, or go to the movies. In the long run, it will be worth it because we will get thru this and we will have accomplished the goals but sometimes the struggle is tough.

But at least i have a roof over my head, i always have food to eat and a place to cook it, i have people who love me who if a van was my only option, they would take me in and help me out. Doing without right now isn't so bad after all.

Irene found a home, even if the home is a van.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIP Wedensday - Orange it great!

update: I am using this same post for the Thrifty Thursday linky party at Quilted Cupcake! Im excited about Thrifty Thursdays because well, everything i do is from recycled fabric! This quilt im working on is entirely upcycled or recycled. The orange flying geese are from cotton shirts (and i think one skirt) that i didn't pay more than a dollar for, the teal is a sheet bought at a yard sale, the denim on the front is from blue jeans. Even the binding im putting on is a repurposed sheet!

Thrifty Thursday @ Quilted Cupcake

I'm working on this one still!!!

I'm very happy with it, but i have ran into a few snags!

I started binding it yesterday with orange polka dots and well, the further i went the more i hated it. It was too... pretty and happy for who I'm giving it to. Bucks a hard working Line Man and hes just not a orange polka dot kinda guy. Last night i took it off and i found a dark orange solid that i have sewn on and I'm working on the hand stitching now.

The other snag... dog vomit... the dog was in my lap while i was sewing on the binding.. she looked so cute curled up in the quilt and then ewwwwww! I did some quick hand washing of that part but I'm having a hard time enjoying the binding part of it now and i cant wait to get it in the washer!!

I haven't had alot of time this week and i feel like I've kinda slowed down. I had the morning off today but had to run to town (that's 2 hrs of driving instead of quilting...grr) I don't get any more time off till the weekend. Hopefully tomorrow morning before work i can make some progress on something else!!

Ohhh... just have to post a cute little picture of the two youngest grand babies. (Tristan and Ally) They are 2 months apart and are already growing like weeds. Ally always has that serious look on her face and they both have great heads of hair! Caty brings Ally by the store alot so im spending alot of time with my little Ally Cat!

How much cuteness is in that picture??

Oh, i also ran into Harley's other Grandmother today. Harley is the oldest grand child and even though she doesn't live but 20 miles from us we rarely see her. I asked Mildred what colors she had in her bedroom and what size bed and she said lavender and twin! woo hoo! i was planning on making my striped stars with lavender sashing for her!! that will work!

Im joining with Freshly Pieced Work In Progress Wednesday... be sure to follow this link and find other great projects!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

free motion quilting practice!

First let me say even though i didn't have alot of time over the weekend, i did accomplish something. The first denim quilt is quilted and i brought it to work today to finish the binding! I should have it done for tomorrow. Thank you for the suggestion of the fusible batting. All i could find was one at hobby lobby that was 100% poly and it wasn't heirloom, which works OK for the denim quilts (id prefer something with a little more loft and a cotton blend for the rest of what i have to do so i will shop online for those) but... it worked like a charm and i didn't have ANY puckers! woo hoo! even going over denim seams.. which is amazing.

But... yesterday i found Fluffy Sheep Quilting (i love the name) and she is hosting "Free Motion Fridays" which can best be described as a "learn along." Each week she posts a video with a different free motion quilting exercise and then at the end of the week you can link up and show your practice work! I'm joining in, i do believe that FMQ is what i want to do and i can get better so I'm practicing.

Anyways, here is my very first attempt at FMQ:

don't laugh, lol i was excited that there weren't any puckers! I did seem to jump at least once in every line, but i did see where i got better as i went along! Now... knowing the difference with straight lines between a small piece and a whole quilt... i do believe that ALOT more practice in needed!

here is the back:

Yes i know its "Free Motion Friday" but this is last weeks project, i will have another one for this Friday.

I did learn from the videos that she posted that if i had a table to my right, it may help my pucker problem too, so today i moved Ralph's moms sewing machine to my right while working on the top to a denim quilt and OMG how much easier is that!! we will see on the next quilting project how much that helps!

Finally, my next back for a denim quilt....

how cool is that going to be???

Friday, October 7, 2011

Christmas Countdown Progress Report

11 more weeks to go.
First Celebrate the finishes...

Finished pile: 7 (Ralph, Trini, Desi, Tristan, Ally, Waylon and Sharon)

Yep, I finished another one! This is Sharon's “Shabby Stripe” quilt.

This is the first one I haven't wanted to give away... hmm could I make her something else. Nope, no time, I'm just going to have to make one of these for myself!

I wasn't quite sure of the backing, but it works. It doesn't seem to "match" to me (but Ralph hasn't said what were you thinking? yet... so it must be ok!)

The pictures aren't the best, i got it back from the laundry at dusk but i wanted to take pictures!

Now the work to do:

In the flimsy done, backing ready... need to quilt stage: 2 (Bridgette and Wesley)

In the it just needs borders and backing stage: 4 (Landon, Travis, Buck and Caty)

In the its cut out and I'm piecing it stage: 3 (Jonathan, Adrianna, Dallas and Trevor)

In the its cut out, just need to piece it stage: 3 (Chris, Coleman and Jess)

In the I'm cutting and sewing as i go along stage: 2 ( Faith and Harley)

In the I still have no clue what I'm going to make for her stage: 1 (Lea)

My routine this week has been to cut or hand sew binding until Ralph gets up, then sew on the machine until its time for work. Sometimes the machine wakes him, sometimes it doesn't... i like him to sleep as long as he can because hes grumpy enough without enough sleep! lol. We also worked the schedule so that were not working 6-10 hour days but we each get 3 days where we only work 5 (still work 10 the other 3!) The two afternoons Ive had off so far this week I finished Sharon and the donation quilt, so having more than just Sunday (which half of them we will be out of town) i have a few afternoons too.
One morning we previewed the backings I had picked and found that most of them weren't big enough. So then it was auditioning fabrics on our bed with him in it until I found pieces I could put together for the backs. Ralph is actually much better at color than I am, so his input was greatly appreciated. But I now have backings big enough for Bridgette, Wesley, Caty, Landon and Trevor.

My goals for the week are:
finish the backing to the first denim, pin it and quilt it

buy the batting for Wesley's plaid puzzle and quilt it

buy the batting for Bridgette's postage stamp and pin it

finish piecing the 3rd denim top and one more denim backing

finish piecing the 2nd kisses from paw paw and make more of the flying geese for the border

make a piece of the border i want to put on Caty's and make sure it looks how i want

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The name - just life

My name for my blog is "Just Life" but in real life I am Tamara. Since owning several online businesses, i realized that hiding my identity was really not all that possible... so i also use my real name alot.

I used to blog about my life ALOT on myspace... ALL the time. I started because my cousins blogged and we would just read each others blogs and keep up with each other. Then my best friend got sick with cancer and it just got too hard to do. Life was REALLY depressing most of the time and you can only blog about that so much. So i took a little blog break for about 6 months while i watched her give it all she had, and then some, but in the end we all lost the battle.

In that time, most of the people i knew moved fom myspace to facebook (which doesn't have a blog). So, when i was ready to start again, i started "just life" and it was just going to be about my life, like my myspace one. Really the myspace blog in addition to my family had become pretty big. Alot of them were people who listened to the radio show that we did, and it was a bit of a marketing tool for that, even though it was just me rambling about my day.

What happened though is my life was different now. I now owned a restaurant, was in a relationship, life had gotten too busy for our radio show... well i just didn't seem to have the gumption to blog..... soooo.....

When i started quilting again a year ago, i did want to document my quilting progress so i turned it into my "quilt blog" and even though the name doesn't really fit quilting, it is really me... everything is "just life"... stuff happenes... and i just tend to go with the flow.

Im participating in as sweet as cinnamon's whats your name. If you want to read how others came up with their names or participate check out her blog at: As Sweet As Cinnamon

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Irene is finished!!

I decided one of those “life is perfect” moments is hand sewing the binding on a quilt. It was early morning, kinda chilly so I had it over me as I stitched along. Fat girl (one of my big hairy dogs) even curled up at my feet and I stuck my toes under her. It was pure contentment!! It is so exciting to finish, and the hand sewing part is so much more intimate than the whirling of the sewing machine. It is my time to love it and say goodbye, goodbye to the process of making it, and in this case goodbye to something I have poured a lot of work and passion into!

She is going to the laundry tomorrow and I will mail her off over the weekend. She is made entirely from scraps either given to me or from my current projects. The white is from white sheets (a lot of them scraps as well) and the backing is a teal sheet.

If you are interested in mailing a quilt to the over 1500 families that lost their homes in the Texas Wildfires you may send them to:

Valli & Kim Quilt Shop
Attn: Wildfire Quilts
700 West Highway 290
 Dripping Springs, TX 78620

If you have questions, please email me at moderndayquilts

They will be collecting them until the end of the month. They ask that it be at least 45X60 and especially want twin quilts.

There is also another store collecting 12 1/2” blocks and I plan to make a couple of those as well. There is actually a giveaway with this one and you can read about it at this link: Gerline's Quilt Shoppe

I also finished quilting Sharon and sewed the binding on the front, over the next couple mornings I will finish that up. I started sewing together the third denim quilt today as well.

Oh... I finally broke into that orange stash. I was completely bored with the 10 1/2” in squares for the backing of the denim and im going to do some different things with them. I decided they were an opportunity for me to play with color which im not very good at (I make scrap quilts because I dont have to match anything! Lol) So... one of the backs will be the remainder of the teal sheet with a row of flying geese at the top and bottom.

Its funny when I bought this set of sheets at a yard sale, I looked at it and said, well... I really don't like this color but its a lot of fabric and I dont have any... I am actually loving it now that Ive used it on Irene and this!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Imperfection is better than Unfinished

Machine quilting is enough to make a preachers wife cuss. No I'm not a preachers wife, but I did cuss a whole bunch has been a battle with perfectionism! I was trying to quilt Sharon's pastel stripes. I repined it, ripped it out, repined it, ripped it out.... ughhhhhh! Its all puckery!

I finally just did it the best I could and “Imperfection is better than Unfinished” became my mantra for the day. What does one think about while making a quilt with puckers??? (when they aren't cussing)

This quilt has more puckers than a room full of babies sucking lemons.....

This quilt has more puckers than a nursing home on grand kids day.....

This quilt has more puckers than a politician running for office.....

This quilt has more puckers than a big girls wedding dress....

and finally This quilt has more puckers than the proctologist's waiting room!

That lead to thoughts of the bucking song (something we used to play on our radio show) so I had to find it and listen to it.

I still love it, puckin puckers and all. It is still very pretty. I ran out of thread so I have to finish it later This week.  this one was constipating the whole process, I had set it aside because it was frustrating me... but, it was using my safety pins and I couldn't pin the next one. I got it far enough along that I could pull the pins and move on to something else... until I buy thread. So... hopefully this week I can post a finish!

this is Irene. (with my two helpers Dee Dee and Sammie, Dee Dee the black and white is blind, Sammie is mute... they make quite a pair and they insisted on helping!) I started to make her for Irene victims but I never found anyone collecting quilts to send it to. BUT I did find a quilt store collecting quilts for the fire victims in Texas, so I pinned it, quilted it, and I will bind it in the next couple days and it is ready to send. Again, imperfection is better than unfinished applied, all I had was dark blue quilting thread... I think it would have looked better with white, but... dark blue is what I had, so I quilted it.... I looks better than I thought t would. (lol... again its pretty puckery too) why would I have preferred white, because with the dark blue you can see how crooked my lines are, but I've decided that were just going to call them organic.... It really is a pretty little scrap quilt. I backed it with a green sheet I had. I think it would make a nice boy quilt for them. Ralph helped me take the pins out of it and several times said “your really going to give this one away? I really like this one.”

I also have the tops for 2 of the 6 denim quilts finished and the pieces sewn into strips for a third one. I have been trying to figure out what to back them with and I've decided 10” squares from my scraps sewn together would work on all 6 of them. I need to find really thin batting, it needs something to cushion the hard seams, but it will be too big with puffy batting.

I also have a whole bunch of geese cut out for the paw paw kisses, and made a little progress on piecing the 2nd one. Finally a picture of my first flying geese!

I did learn things this weekend.
  • If my thread is breaking all the time, its because the needle although it doesn't look bent, is bent.

  • More pins and ironing would have helped a lot on the puckers (although Irene was ironed and had a ton of pins and I still ended up with puckers... just not as many) I am also going to try the spray glue on one, I will see if I like that better.

  • I really don't like machine quilting. I don't have the money to send them to someone else and I'm going to have to quilt them somehow. I enjoy making them, creating them and I love the finished product. I am just going to have to push trough the quilting part. I do better on smaller quilts and after those baby quilts I was feeling pretty confident, this weekend totally smashed that! I'm going to keep trying to improve, I love free motion quilting, and I would love to get good enough at straight lines that I can try that... so maybe there is hope. But I think after these Christmas presents are done, I'm going to try my hand at hand quilting, it may take longer... but I think I will enjoy the process more!

Overall it was a productive weekend. I made a lot of progress on Sharon, I almost finished the donation quilt and expect I can finish both of them during the week. By the end of the week I will have 3 more in the flimsy finished and ready for quilting. I need batting, thread and sewing machine needles to continue to make progress on Christmas!! Until then I'm going to cut squares for the backings of the denim and the rest of the pieces I need for flying geese.