Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End Of the Year Housekeeping

What haven't I finished... hmmm... My sister posted a pinterest board of all of her unfinished projects... It inspired me to post my own. My goal is to only have 10 projects roll over next year instead of 38! lol

My unfinished Projects Board 

My Sister Becki's Unfinished Project Board

I then thought... hmm... what did i finish? so i updated my 2013 finishes tab (look at the top of the page)

What are my goals for 2014

Ralph and I have been working on a bubble project. We both feel stuck and unable to move forward with our current situation... so we started with what we are doing now (for him horseshoeing, for me sewing) and we then drew a line, another bubble and what else we could do or want to do, adding bubbles out from our current situation... (for me, sell new fabric as well as upcycled, get a long arm machine, sell at trade days... and for him, start a horseshoeing school, train and start cutting or stock horse showing, breaking colts, ect)

We are still working on them but the plan is that we each are going to choose one of the where we could be and start DOING it. That is our goal for 2014!!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sewing with Certainty - Free Motion Quilting

I priced getting my first quilts done by a local long arm quilter... yes it is "quilting with your checkbook!" and at the rate I was kicking out quilts it would have to be a BIG checkbook. (I started with a goal to make quilts for 16 of my family members!) I quickly decided that if I was going to quilt... I was going to have to learn how to quilt them on my home machine.

I am the queen of "straight line" quilting.... notice the quotation marks... there is really nothing straight about the lines I quilt as I'm cramming half of a king size quilt through the tiny neck of my machine... but if you squint your eyes when you look at them you can see where i intended for them to be straight..... my husband sees straight lines.... at least that is what he tells me.... and why I love him so much!!

I have tried FMQ with a free motion foot... I have not figured out the tension problems yet... it is still on my list of skills to master. But... for the most part I'm happy with my straight lines... so I'm not in that big of a hurry and may wait till I buy a better machine.

So... If you do not quilt your own quilts... here is my list of things i have learned along the way.

1. You don't need a walking foot...I'm sure it might make it easier... but since I don't have one... I don't know.

2. My first few quilts looked terrible... but i finally figured out that the basting of the quilt was my problem.

I baste my quilts on my hard surfaced floors. The first thing I do is tape the backing to the floor as tight as I can. Lay the batting down and smooth it out from the middle. Then lay the quilt top down and smooth it out from the middle. I start pinning in the center and smooth more out as I go. (I don't stretch it like the backing, just smooth) I try to figure out how Im going to quilt before I pin so that I can put my pins between where my lines will be. (I confess my quilt tops are rarely perfectly ironed when I pin them... so maybe I wouldn't have as much smoothing out to do if I did that... i just hate ironing big things!)

 Invest in good big safety pins for basting... and put them no more than 3-4 inches apart. I buy the bag from Walmart that are less than 6 bucks for 50 or 60 of them. I have two bags and usually can have one big quilt and one small quilt pinned at one time. I do use more than one bag on the queen and king size quilts.

I then trim any excess backing fabric and quilt batting to 4 inches. (if I have more than that I tend to get it folded over somehow and sew it to the back of the quilt.)

3. Take the time to roll up the excess quilt on each side and have support to the left of your chair for it to rest on. When I get lazy and don't roll up the excess or the shoving through side, i end up with wrinkles. I use a stack of tubs (2 large and one under bed is the right height for my desk) to rest it on.

3. Quilting lines.... I have drawn my lines on the quilt with tailors chalk once. (and my knees ache enough after pinning... I just don't want to stay down on the floor that much!) Usually I follow some pattern in the piecing and eyeball it.

I have three different MO's for my quilting....

first choice and easiest.... I quilt on both sides of my seams. I like the look it gives. (Christa suggested wavy lines across it and i may try that on a quilt soon)

second choice on small things like table runners -  the straight line or matchstick quilting... I think I mentioned in my last blog post this is therapeutic for me, sew a line, lift the foot swing it around, lift the needle, put the foot down, put the needle down... sew a straight line. do it again and again and again. Honestly my table runners use as much thread as i use on a throw or twin size quilt!!

third choice is diagonal lines. I eyeball these as well and sew from one corner of the block to the other... works best eyeballing if your squares are smaller than 6 inches!

and of course.... combining them...

Really it is not hard to quilt on your machine. Afraid to start with the big stuff... make a table runner!

I am linking up to Quilty Habit's Sewing with Certainty series

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 looking back

sometimes you have to look back to see where you are going!

In January 2013 my husband and I sold our restaurant to his daughter. I was tired, it was doing ok, but not good and we were tired of fighting the fight.

Although we are both still helping her out by working there once in a while... i haven't regretted the decision, I think Ralph has... he keeps talking about opening another restaurant... I've been there done that and have no desire for a stick and brick store. I decided that i was going to find a way to make money doing something with sewing...he decided to grow his horseshoe business back to where it was. The first couple months were tough financially... but we soon got to where we were making more than we were at the restaurant....and we were both happier!

My first commissioned quilt

As if that wasn't a big enough change in life.... its been a rough year emotionally....

Two of Ralph's sons started doing hard core drugs. It nearly tore their families apart and destroyed their careers. Although neither of them are doing the drugs anymore... they are still struggling to put their lives back together. We have had custody of one of our grandchildren for most of the year... and a family of 5 moved in with us.... their struggles have also been our struggles...

I fell in love with straight line quilting on table toppers and runners... i think it is therapy for me.

At the end of July, shortly after our 1 year wedding anniversary, I wondered what else could go wrong! That is when everything pretty much fell apart. We had 5 children (or children in law) arrested, one of them twice; Ralph had a heart attack, i had my appendix out, a daughter in law was diagnosed end stage renal failure and one of the boys was hurt badly at work. If it wasn't for bad luck, we would have had no luck at all!

A quilt for a friend.

But... month by month things have been getting better. Ralph went back to work... I have found my peace with what i am doing... the kids cleaned themselves up and started doing the right things... our daughter in law is still sick, but we continue to buy her more time.... his son healed and is back to work... he has passed his drug tests and we no longer have custody of our grandson.....

A pile of UFO's I wanted to get thru this year... that are still UFOs!!

The remaining challenge is the family of 5 living with us... I love them with all my heart but i really really don't like living with them... I don't see an end in the near future so for now we are doing the best we can to cope.

Little Sophie... one of the three grandchildren still living with us. 

I honestly believe this has been the hardest year of my life.

But... i do have a wonderful husband and i love him more today than ever before. We have made it through these things together... and are still madly in love. I love that he supports my desire to work from home (even when i don't want to BE at home! lol) And the best thing... he makes me laugh... I worried a few times during this year if we had lost that ability... but we find it again... and we laugh and we get thru the mess....

I think this was last year...

I have high hopes for next year... and i know i will keep on sewing! Thank yall for reading during the past year...I have been pretty hit and miss as we went thru this. I know I have a few new readers after the giveaway too... thanks for joining. I will do my best to keep showing my works in 2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

a sunny day and a donation quilt

Its christmas time... am i making homemade gifts for every family member... nope. I gift those all year long and I dont feel pressure to make them anything now. But... we aren't that big on gift giving here anyways, a few for the grandkids (ok there are 16 but our rule is we have to SEE you in order to give you a present.. so we dont buy for all 16 every year, this year it is 7)

I finished those tshirt quilts which drove me crazy and I couldn't imagine jumping in to make the other two a customer wants after christmas... so... charity quilts. Christmas makes me feel like making quilts for charity...

I got this box of fabric from SEWonderful Quilts They are an organization that I found online and their mission statement spoke to me....

Our Mission is Threefold:

To gift SEWonderful Quilts to children in need
To recycle fabric into SEWonderful Quilts with help from Volunteers
To keep discontinued fabric out of landfills

I am all about the upcycling of fabric!! I emailed a wonderful lady named Francine who promptly sent me a box of fabric....

Now... looking at them... it is not for the faint of heart. They were decorator weight fabric. I have used small bits in a quilt here or there of scraps, but not in this scale.... but i dove in.... and here is my flimsy...

It is now quilted and I expected it to be heavy and stiff... but its not, it is soft and fluffy! I did throw in a few other fabrics... mostly the bright red. 

but... charity quilt # 1 finished.... I have 2 more that have been in the "to be quilted" pile that im going to pull out and send along with it...

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Who are the lucky ones???

I have had so much fun this week reading and commenting on where yall were from. (and ok, i spent way more time than I want to admit entering giveaways and I'm sitting here by my little gmail box waiting to rake in the loot! lol) But how cool! The quilting community is such a global community. I think I posted just a few posts ago about feeling a part of something here online that I don't get from my local community and yall made that sink in just that much more.

so... what yall are waiting for. The winner of the vintage sheet bundle is #10

taniab said...

I live in Burnaby BC Canada. I love the views of the mountains and the fact that we are close to beaches too. 
The winner of the upcycled mens shirts is # 51
Born4Travel said...
I live in rural Ortonville, Michigan. I live on 5 acres with a bog in my back yard. The thing I love the most is hearing the frogs sing in the summer. Thanks for the chance to win!!

I will email yall after this is posted to get your address so I can get those out in the mail.
What I was working on this past week when I wasn't entering giveaways are these... OMG I didn't think I was ever going to finish them. I delivered them just a few hours before her Christmas party started today! akk. In fact the pictures are in HER driveway, before I would let them have them, I had to take at least one shot of them! lol.

And the piece de resistance.... were the labels. she wanted me to use this very thin gauze shirt that her mother bought in france in the 1930's. (and she gave it to me after one was already finished!) I couldn't imagine a prettier use of it.

I have learned alot from the tshirt quilts. These were my first. I have 2 more for a customer and as I am working on those, I decided I am going to write a tutorial from all that I learned in this process. I have used 6 different kinds of interfacing... i quilted all three differently and one was easier and i like the look of better... i just learned alot.

I left room for her to make her own statement on the labels. Woo hoo i was done... umm.. but now she saw these little flowers and asked if I had enough shirt left to make more (this woman was tiny... my 2 yr old granddaughter could have worn this shirt) so now by christmas I have to make 8 more frameable flowers with her mothers name on it...

lol I told my husband I am now the curator of the Tarver family historical textiles.

I have some other finishes to show but since it was icky and I HAD to give her the quilts... I took these pics, mud in the background and all... the others will have to wait for sunshine!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


How cool is this... a whole week of giveaway posts!! I just HAD to join in. go check it out... my blogs are loaded with lots of goodies that you can win!

For those who are new... welcome! My name is Tamara and I hope that yall will look around and come back for another visit soon.

Lets get on to business. I use upcycled fabric in most of my projects. So... fitting that I am giving away your choice of 6 vintage sheet fat quarters!

In addition I will send an equal amount of scraps from other projects! total of 3 yards of vintage sheets... enough for most small projects or to combine with what you have for a big one!

As a bonus I will give a 2nd place winner a bundle of shirt backs and a bundle of scraps...

I love this red bundle and the textures in this bunch are fantastic!

I will ship internationally... so it is open to everyone!

I have moved around alot in my life and I am always fascinated by where everyone is from and that as a bloggy community we are everywhere. So for a chance to win leave me a comment telling me where you are from and what you love about where you live.

Me... I live in Deep East Texas. My favorite thing about this place is the smell of spring, its this deep earthy smell that lets me know the winter is almost over!!

For a second chance to win either be a follower or become a follower of my blog... and leave a second comment.

I look forward to getting to know some of you better! thanks for visiting and good luck this week on all the giveaway goodness.

this is open until December 13 at 5 pm and I will announce a winner on Saturday!