Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry, blessed and wonderful Christmas to all of you!  I am enjoying a wonderful day with my family ... last Christmas, my darling son was in Michigan, so it is really special that he is back in San Diego.  Even though fiance and sweet granddaughter Kylee are not here, we facetimed with them this morning and it was so fun to see her enjoying her Christmas presents ... she is almost 10 months old and adorable as ever!  Enjoy your holiday season ... I will be back soon with a stash report update!  The very merriest of Christmas' ... xoxo


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Merry, merry

Well ... whew ... that is the first word that comes to mind ... whew!  Amongst this season of everything screaming at us to hurry and shop, hurry and bake, hurry and be done, hurry, hurry, hurry ... I am trying NOT to hurry!  I am trying to just listen to the Christmas music I love, enjoy the people that I love, and keep busy ... to keep my mind off of all the things I am supposed to have done by now ... ha ha!

The move into my room continues ... the longarm was taken apart and reassembled last Sunday.  I made myself sick I was so worried about it ... I hired our handyman who I trust and who is wonderful, but still ... not the person that knows the machine.  He did a great job with the help of my hubby and son.  I started quilting on Monday on the machine and there was a big stiff spot and almost a drop, in one section of the machine.  I realized after fighting it for a while, that it was really a simple fix ... the frame wasn't square.  Got out my tools and loosened all the main connections and everything settled.  Felt so proud of myself!  I have since done 5 quilts on it, so I am good to go!  Yes, you read that right ... six quilts in the last week ... no wonder I feel like I'm not getting a lot of Christmas done!

I'll work backwards and show you a few of the quilts ... this beauty is a Kim Diehl pattern that a friend of mine made ... isn't it adorable? 

 I was a little worried about outlining around the applique ... sometimes I don't like the look ... I just don't feel like it blends well.  I decided to go around everything, it was what my friend wanted 

... but there needed something else to give it dimension, so I went in and out of some of the elements highlighting them. 

 I think it gives great texture and my friend loved it!  She is easy to please ... but I love it too ... and I'm not easy to please!  ha ha

I used Omni on top and bottom ... free motion all the way!  I am becoming a huge fan of this thread and I see it edging all the other threads I've used out ... it is very reasonably priced, comes in about 144 colors, and I can use it top and bobbin.  It also stitches beautifully!

Here is an adorable little quilt of another friend ... it was made with those little templates ... I can't remember what they're called. 

 Again, Omni in top and bottom and free motion.  I love this color Omni thread ... it is called Bronco ... it's a caramel color, lightish brown and blends well with many colors.  I have two cones of the same color I liked it so much!

I also used this color to quilt three memory shirt quilts; a friend of mine has so kindly been making them for months now for a friend of their's that lost her husband.  She made five ... I have quilted four, one more left.  I did not take pictures, as I just felt it wasn't appropriate.  I did a stipple on all of them; she bought minkee (spelling?) for the back and that is quickly becoming my favorite backing to quilt on.  It made me a little nervous at first because it is so stretchy.  But the plushness of it is wonderful!  It just soaks up the stitching and the back looks amazing because you can see all the detail.  It really feels great from the top as I am quilting.

Next up is this adorable quilt for a little boy ... what fun it is to quilt something so cheery and sweet!

  I just did my loopy swirl, going around the animal stitching ... it looks so cute and I'm sure that little person will love it! 

 I used King Tut on top and Glide in the bobbin.

Okay ... off to try and decorate my house ... we do keep everything up through the epiphany, January 6, so I never start too early in the month, but I feel like it's a little later than usual.  Oh well, I should just stop fretting about getting things done on time and realize I am always going to be a little behind!  Ha ha ...

And here is the sweetest thing for me this Christmas season ...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Stash Report

Well ... The longarm is moved so you know what they means ... Another week if no sewing!!  Haha ... I did manage a quilt, so at least I am all in one room now, back in the house.

This is my stash report for the week .. 
Yardage out - 0
Yardage in -  3/4 yd

Net used this year - 10 3/4 yards
There was a cute little polka piece of fabric left at the end of the bolt last week while working, so it mis have needed to come home with me.

More pics this week and reports of how my new space is working out!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Painting and moving

What have I been doing the last week?  After we got the granny flat painted and set up for my wonderful son, I had to move most of my crap out of there.  The upstairs of our home has three bedrooms ... son's room, daugther's room and spare room.  I used to have my sewing studio in our spare room ... when I moved into the granny flat, some of the stuff still remained in the spare room ... you know how that goes.  The upstairs looks like a bomb went off ... all of the stuff out of the g.f. went upstairs into the spare room ... well not all of it.  I am moving into my daughter's room, and she'll be moving into my son's room.  So most of her stuff got dumped in the hall upstairs and what wouldn't fit there, in the spare room ... along with the rest of my sewing stuff that came out of the g.f.  I have quite a bit of it in the closet in the new studio space (daughter's former room), but the rest is just in the corner of the spare room.  I won't even take a picture to show you what a disaster it all is. 

Her bedroom was turquoise blue ... she is 19, and I painted it when she was in 6th grade.  I was excited to pick paint colors ... after some severe deliberation, and help from my son, I decided on this wheat color for three of the walls ...

... and I decided to do a fun accent wall.  This is the wall my longarm will go on ... the color is Japanese koi ...

...  doesn't that look fun!  I figure if I really hate it, it's just one wall and I can redo it.  But I'm liking it so far.  Saturday we primed, yesterday we did the first coat, and today I put the second coat on.  My son is at work, so I was on my own.  Can't wait until it fully dries so I can start pushing furniture around and get some of my space set up.  That orange wall may need a third coat ... the guy that helped me at Home Depot warned me of that, but I decided that would be okay.  I bought a quart and I may have enough left for a third coat ... if not, my son taught me a trick ... you just buy a sample for a couple of bucks ... it's in a small jar and probably added to what I already have, enough to do the third coat.  The other great news is that I have about half a gallon left of the wheat, and that will be plenty to do the powder room downstairs ... we won't even talk about how long that has been in a "primed" condition.  Ha!!!
This is my granddaughter's first self-portrait ... Haha!  Isn't that funny ... She was looking at herself as mommy was holding the phone and snapped this picture.  Exactly what I've known all along ... She's a genius!!

Stash report

This is my stash report for the week .. nothing, nothing, nothing!  Ha ha  Well not really, I did acquire a couple pieces of fabric as gifts so here it goes ...
Yardage out - 0
Yardage in -  1 1/4 yards

Net used this year - 11 1/2 yards
Now last week I made the pledge to get some sewing done.  Well that hasn't happened ... does it count that I've been in my sewing room?  Close enough!  If it kills me, today I am going to sit and handsew for as long as I can just so I can follow through with my pledge to you!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

:::Happy Thanksgiving!!:::

The turkey has been eaten, the dishes cleaned, and I wanted to take the time to let you know how grateful I am for all of you!  I started this blog a couple years ago just to talk about longarming and quilting, and it has been such a joy to have the privilege of sharing my life with you.  I still find it amazing ... This way of communicating ... And I get such a tickle out of it!  I hope your day was blessed with people you love!    Xoxo

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stash report

This is my stash report for the last two weeks ... Could someone please stop the progress of time?  The last two weeks have disappeared!

Yardage out - 1 3/4 yds. I didn't get any sewing done, but I gifted this fabric to some wonderful friends!
Yardage in -  0

Net used this year -  10 1/4 ... Still on the up side.  I would sure love to get some sewing done and use up some of my fabric.  It is sure hard to get sewing done this time of year!  I'm going to pledge to get in that room and sew ... It always helps whatever is ailing in my life ... So take the pledge with me, ok ... Here we go ...

Raise your right hand ... I, (say your name), Colleen, pledge to get in some sewing time over the next 5 days.  Even though I have Thanksgiving, cooking and shopping, and time with my family, I will make time for myself.  I am always a better person when I take the time to take care of myself.  

I hope you take the pledge with me!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Today is Saturday, and for the last 7 days I have either been painting or sewing!  My son and his little family are moving into the granny flat finally ... we have waited 11 months to see his cute little face!  Even though the house is small, painting takes time. They picked 5 different colors!  One in the bathroom, and two different colors in both the living room and bedroom.  Each wall has an "accent" wall ... I was skeptical because the house is really small, but it is looking good.  We just finished the bedroom ...the only thing left is the tiny hall.  It's either going to be the same color as the living room or the bedroom ... he wasn't sure what to do with it because they kind of run into each other.  The goal tomorrow is to get all the painting crap out of there, and finish moving the rest of my sewing stuff upstairs.  The carpet cleaners are coming on Tuesday to do the whole house, so I'm not going to set my sewing room up until they have finished. 

I finished a quilt on Wednesday for a friend ... I really wanted to get it done early so she could have it for Thanksgiving ...

Isn't it beautiful?  I made the same quily ... it was a Jan Patek pattern that Catherine Hughes revamped.  Julie and I took the  class ... I made mine the wall size version, and she made the larger version.   I love mine, but I love her's more!!

I stippled the entire quilt except in the applique blocks where I did some custom quilting.

I love the turkeys ... they were my favorite part!  Each turkey got a ltitle different quilting, as well as each pumpkin.

Omni thread in top and bobbin ... this thread by Superior has become my absolute favorite.  It is very reasonably priced and quilts beautifully.  I also love that it is a thinner thread and so lasts longer in my bobbin.

While at work the other day I was eating my lunch outside ... the wind started blowing and all these leaves were dropping ...

... in San Diego there are not many trees that drop leaves, and I really miss the change of seasons.  However, on Thursday I knew it was fall in San Diego!

Then I got this cute little picture ....

Sweet Kylee does not look very happy to be dressed as a turkey.  Apparently her other Grandma was having a good time dressing her up ...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


My very favorite free motion quilt design is a loopy swirl.  Or as my friend has named it, my "signature" design ... Ha ha!  

Free motion is my favorite type of quilting and when I'm quilting just to give a quilt texture, I want something easy flowing, fairly speedy and simple.  I really love a basic stipple, fairly close together. 

If you look at antique or older quilts, they are not filled with detail quilting.  The quilting usually fairly simple.  I think that's why I love a stipple because it just reminds me of simpler times.  It also could be because I spent lots and lots of time learning to stipple and getting it right.  That is by far the hardest quilting design ever ... It is hard to get the flow and the curl right ... Mine always used to look so jerky.  I finally got it right when I started thinking of them as puzzle pieces ... That's what I imagine when I'm quilting ... As if I am trying to lay each curve as if it could fit into the curve below or beside it.

Anyway, my loopy swirl is my go to quilting design for many reasons.  It looks simple, but not too simple ... And in the case of this quilt which was for a child, the stitching keeps the quilt together and will hold up well to wear and tear.

It took me a little while to pick a color.  I likes all four of these thread colors ... 

Hot pink, turquoise blue, bright yellow and a bright red.    The pink was not the right color ... I liked the blue and the yellow, but didn't think they really did much for the quilt.  The red was a different kind of red, and not much goes with it ... But when I laid the color on the quilt, that was it!
I'm really happy with the way the color shows, and my customer loved it too.  It was really a fun quilt to quilt because all those little cats kept peeking at me ..  Look at that fabric!  Who couldn't smile when you see that?
There are some quilts that are just a pure joy to quilt, and this was one of them!

Stash Report

Happy Tuesday everyone ... here's my report for the week.  No sewing going on around here ... busy helping son paint granny flat and the longarm has been humming.  I did manage to give away 6 yards of my stash to a sweet friend who needs help building her stash!  It's her birthday, so part of her present.  Shh ... don't tell!

Yardage out - 6 1/4 yds (1/4 was used to bind a small quilt that I've had for a long time!)
Yardage in -  0
Net used this year -  12 yds on the plus side still

How did you do this week?  Are you getting much sewing done?  Inquiring minds want to know!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A hundred different things

Well ... not quite, but it feels like it ... I'm going to do a quick recap of the week ... wonderful son came back from Michigan; sweet daughter went on trip to New Orleans; shopping with son; more shopping with son; Christmas cookie baking (yes I did say that!!); longarm quilting; son job hunting; work; adorable granddaughter learned to crawl and is bouncing on her knees; more longarm quilting; painting, painting, painting!!

Just a little quick synopsis ... I'll be back later with pictures of what I've been working on and details!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Stash Report

Happy Wednesday ... My Monday stash report is again late, as I am getting a slow start to the week for reasons I will explain later.

Been two weeks since my last report ..

Yardage out - sadly ... 1 little yard.  No sewing getting done around here

Yardage in - 25 1/4 yards ... Now just so you know I did not purchase anymore fabric!!!  A very dear friend is trying to weed out her fabric, and invited her friends over to help her.  Who was I to let her down?  I came home with charm packs, and mostly larger pieces to be used as backs.  I am so grateful to her!  I intend to share with some friends ...

Net used this year -  well now I am on the other side ... 18 1/4 yds up!  Time to get busy sewing and getting this fabric out of here! 

But first I have several quilts to longarm for some very patient customers!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A little down

Just so you think I haven't dropped off the face of the earth ...  Been a little under the weather the last few days ... Resting and trying to get well as big stuff is happening at work this weekend and I am working the next 3 days.  Check out this post to see what the excitement is ...

A couple of quick pics to show what I was working on the last few days before I left my sewing machine for the couch!

Back to resting ....


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mad quilting

Been trying to take care of some of the backlog of quilts I have ... since last Tuesday I have quilted four quilts, and I'm in the middle of number five!  That is a lot for me ...  Here's a couple

First up is a lovely quilt from one of my friends ... this one has been on my shelves since March (yes, I have several that are that old!  yikes!!!!) ... this is a small quilt out of mostly French General fabric by Moda ... so cute!  
Quilted a small, tight swirl with Glide thread in top and bobbin.

This next quilt was quite large ... approximately queen size.  This is my pattern called Nick's Quilt and is made up of big blocks; it was screaming for a custom something, but I didn't have any great ideas, and I knew my customer wanted it quickly.  
I also knew it was for a man (no feathers or swirly, girly things!), and a bed quilt, so it was going to get a lot of wear.  I went back to my old standby ... the swirl.  
I used a 40 wt. cotton thread, with Bottom Line in the bobbin.  

Something I consider when quilting, is how many hours I will put into a project.  Although most people don't give me a $$ idea of what they would like, most of my customers want reasonably priced quilting, so I do consider that when I am deciding what kind of a design to do.

If you don't know this about me, I've said it plenty ... I am not a "custom" quilter.  I don't mean to sell myself short as I think I do excellent work.  But I am not going to take your quilt and turn it into a thread masterpiece with lots of intricate work and feathering, scrolls, doo dads here and there.  That is not my style.  I appreciate the artistry of that kind of quilting and there are many quilters that are out there for someone that wants that kind of quilting.  I prefer simple quilting, just something to keep the quilt together, accentuate the beauty of the piecing, but something understated.  True these are not my quilts, but almost everyone I quilt for says "just do what you think is best."  Those are the most wonderful words ... my least favorite words ... "I would like, this, this, this and this" or "please make it look like the quilt in this book."  I am discovering that it is plenty okay to say "no, I don't quilt like that."  I have my own style and it looks like my own style ... I can show you samples and I am happy to do something that you would like, but it is not going to look like that picture in the book.  

I quilt not to make big bucks ... it is something I enjoy doing, and I am grateful to be able to provide a service for good friends and new friends.  When it starts to become a chore, then I know that it is time to slow down or stop ... I don't make enough money at this for it to be something that stresses me out.  Something my husband said to me a couple years ago when I was going to buy my longarm was "is this a hobby or a business?"  You have to decide that ... I hate it when he is right!  He was right ... it is important to know.  I started quilting to help pay for my machine, but never really had enough information to know whether it was something I was going to want to continue to do until the machine is paid for.  I had a three year plan ... I'm at a little over 2 years, and the 3 year plan probably is going to take longer.  In March when my granddaughter was born, our entire family went through a life change ... it had actually been manifesting since about July of 2012 ... quilting helped me get through some stressful patches and for that I am grateful.  However, my quilting business also started to become a chore and I was absolutely overwhelmed by it and life.  I gave myself permission to take a break for several months, and in that time did some heavy soul searching.  I realized that I quilt because I love to, but when it is too much work, then it does not become something joyful, but just one more thing to do.  If it takes me another 2 years to pay my machine off, then it just will.  The money I will spend in interest (and I got a really low interest rate), is worth having a calm, sane existence.  I am in a place in my life where I don't need to stress about making money and I wish to do things that make me happy, not things that give me gray hair!!

One of my greatest blessings is this sweet little person ... 7 1/2 months old and trying to crawl!