Monday, February 29, 2016

Nutribullet Blasts!

In my epic quest for healthy living and marathon training, I requested a NutriBullet 900 for Christmas. I hadn't even tried green smoothies yet, but had watched the Documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and was convinced I needed more greens. Obviously, I'm not fat, sick, or nearly dead. In fact, I'm quite healthy, but you can always be more healthy, especially when you've aged beyond the proverbial 'hill'.
My nephew, Jacob, was visiting over New Years, so he introduced me to the produce section at the local grocery store. What interesting things lurk there! Collard greens, kale, brussels sprouts. The next morning, I threw more roughage into the blender than anyone had ever seen. The blending is actually called 'an extraction', which is both beneficial and frightening. You could put tree limbs in this machine and 45 seconds later, drink them.

 If you add protein powder and what they dub 'super foods' (almonds, chia seeds), it's called a Nutri-blast. I treated the whole family to this first Blast and Laina promptly got sick. She blames the Blast, but it was just bad timing, I believe.
After a few weeks of blasting, I realized the missing element is a cup cover. The purpose being to make it easier to carry the cup to work and also to cover the color of said Blast. FYI, if you add blueberries to greens, be assured your Blast will be as brown as poo.
Fabric by Jeni Baker, Color Me Retro. That's Sew Now!
Original Design. FYI, that orange cord is from a shopping
bag, validating my compulsion to recycle every bit of useful
material (especially cords in fantastic colors like orange.
Thanks, Eddie Bauer)

Other goofy things from that weekend: Made up game using iPhones. Take a picture of a funny face, your partner gets to view it for 5 seconds, and gets 30 seconds to imitate the original face. Then use PicStitch to view side by side. Hilarious!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Little Protégé

This past Christmas, a very special girl was gifted with a sewing machine by her parents. Her parents knew that she loved to sew because she likes to hang out with the ladies of Sewn Together. Now imitation is the greatest form of flattery so when I heard they purchased the very machine I have, I wanted to help her 'get going'. She's a quick learn, often times watching tutes on YouTube. Kids these days! So we've been spending some Sunday's together and she decided to make a double zippered pouch.
Supplies from Edie's stash. She's into pink!

Her first zipper! Slow and steady, in it goes.
And here's a happy kiddo on the trip home with her finished project! I hope her family is very proud of her. Not many girls her age can do this!
Those bunnies are standing upright on the other side too!
When you open it up there's one zippered mesh pocket and
one zippered plastic pocket.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Quilting Inspiration

I recently took a trip to Denver for work and play. Winters in Minnesota are perfect in my mind, but everyone needs a break from the routine. While away from my quilting haven my mind kept wondering back to the design board. Everywhere I looked there were quilts waiting to be designed. I've been known to photograph floors, wallpaper, and even dishes; but out in Colorado I found new options.

Waiting in line at the chair lift:

OMGosh! Can you see the southwestern quilt in her jacket?
And just to make you a little jealous - here's the view from our hot tub:
But do you see what's in the hot tub? This would make a funky border!
There were many other offerings, but I refrained from taking too many...
I'll just leave you with this last bit of wallpaper from the hotel workout room:
I'd call it Squatting Hexies, in honor of the gym, of course!
Many thanks to my friend Sarah for agreeing to take these photos when I didn't have my phone available! She was quite a good sport to put up with me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sewn Together - January

The attendance at this months club reached a new high with 10 ladies attending! Each table had two machines and the room was filled to the brim with fabric. I worked on Every Which Way which was covered in previous posts.
Here's the room.

Here's the fabric!    Actually this is Tori's stash, but her
fabrics are too colorful and fun not to show.
Tori was using up her stash making these cute little strip blocks and by days end she had enough to visualize the layout.

This makes a very fun spring quilt!
I realized that day we even though we've always been well fed, I hadn't properly documented it. But rest assured we don't go wanting. Ever. Usually Sarah will make something delish in her crock pot, like chili, soup, or pulled pork. One night, Sarah brought her crock pot into the kitchen and set it on the counter to open the fridge door and it tipped off the counter and crashed to the floor! That night she had made an amazing corn chowder and it was quite a devastation having to mop that into the trash! We were also sad about her lovely expensive crock, but she quickly repurchased the same one and we were back in business. Without further ado, here's a typical spread.
Enough said.
After a loooonnnnnggggg absence, Heidi was back. The sewing lessons had to start from scratch again and she almost spent more time reading her manual than sewing.
Sarah had her sewing random 9-patch blocks, but she needed a little help keeping it TRULY random. That's when this bag was deployed.
"Don't look, Heidi! Just pull."
Here's a lovely picture of Heidi taken by Marcia.
Another old friend that reappeared is Julie! She's been marching her way up the Post Office ladder and finally qualified for a high up position with better hours. Welcome back, Julie!
Julie has several BOMs to finish up.

Photo by Sarah. Quilt by Julie. Stunning!
Jane joined in the fun as well. I mentioned her strip quilts for her children last blog. The project continues.
The strips are quite long before she cuts them into blocks.

Jane made this quilt with fabric that her daughter, Erin, brought
home from ____ (El Salvodor?) Will verify. The pattern is
called ________ (Twenty ?) Oh dear, I'm not remembering well!
Pam came later from work, but had a cold and wasn't up to much. She did show off this cute mini-quilt and worked on binding it. Those tiny HST in bright civil war prints are calling me!

Sue was back as well. She's been on vacation and very busy. She started in on her flannel project that I believe is for her son. We'll see if I'm right on that...

Marcia ducked out early on Friday and I found out later she was sneaking off to her other quilt club. Traitor! But then the roads were bad so she ended up going straight home. She returned on Saturday and worked on these blocks. Although, I'm afraid my project was a bit of a distraction for her. Help me, Marcia, help me!
Look how organized her piles are!
Last this time, but never least - Sarah started her daunting paper-pieced project. Here she is enjoying how fun that first section of the first block was to make!

And here's what the whole pattern is. Arcadia Avenue aka Absolute Insanity.
Can you spot Sarah's section in this pattern? It's like
finding Waldo.

Friday, January 29, 2016

December's Sewn Together

Well, I'm embarrassed but I can hardly remember December's meeting. These pictures help a little - Sarah made this stunning iron caddy. I remember that because she let me pick the thread color for the quilting. I felt like I was 10 again and Mom was asking for my opinion and then kindly explaining why that might not work. Except Sarah just accepted my opinion with gaity. She's like that. Always making you feel like a million bucks.
 This picture of Jane cracks me up because she is always pulled together so perfectly. She was sewing these scraps into strips and it looks likes she's made a coat of many colors! She in kind-0f the church darling so that makes sense. All of those scraps were from quilts she's made over the last 20 years. How meaningful now to have enough to give one to each child. She's going to sash them in each kids favorite color.
 Then Sarah produced these from under her table and allowed us to each pick our favorite. She had extra thermo-batting and bundled them with these adorable fabrics and then challenged us to make our own design of potholder. Oh wait, maybe that was just me. Did the others get patterns? Could have.

I picked the one in the lower right, then traded it for the
upper left, then went back to the first one. Ugh! It's hard
to chose when they're free!
 Marcia got this 30's repro sampler top completed. She whips up quilts like nobody's business but then has to beg her husband Rod to long-arm them. They're the cutest couple in the world and we kid them a lot about their marriage. I can't wait to see this one quilted - wonder what he'll decide to do!
And finally here's a happy shot of Pam. You never know what Pam will come with. She has many things going at once and they move along quicker than most, unless of-course it's tax season. Then we miss her dearly. She makes quilts that have instructions to make 1352 flying geese and she'll actually do it. I'd be out after 8. Also, noteworthy here is the scissor lanyard that Sarah made for all of us. There's a joke about keeping those pokey scissor tips away from critical body parts. You can figure it out.

 I believe this last shot is a sampling of Sarah's BOM club, or I should say one of her BOMs! Her and Pam have about three going from The Quilt Cove. This one is Women of the Bible.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy New Year!

Wow, I'm sort of late to the New Year party but since I haven't written since December it still holds true. By now you're all accustomed to writing 2016 and have Christmas décor put away, right? I'm still finishing the latter, but to be fair, I'm ahead of previous years! I have to have the tree on the street for pick up tomorrow and new to this year - it has to be cut in half! If I was handy with a saw I'd cut it from tip to stump to make two perfect halves, but I don't think that's what they have in mind. Call me 'Amelia Bedelia'!

But we're here for project updates and that's what I've got in store for you. Four very fun things I whipped up in the past weeks that actually got finished and used! Whoa.

The story for the first one is that I at the cutting counter at The Cove to get a selection of fat quarters for my sisters Christmas present. Sarah had gifted me a set of FQ lollipops and I was all gun hoe to duplicate them.
These are the ones I made for Julie. Sarah gave me a set
from a wonderful line called Mon Ami.
Then in one quick instant I heard myself say 'go ahead and give me a half yard, I'm keeping the other FQ.' What???? this right after I had famously vowed to not buy fabric for myself? Well, I rationalized it by stating it's purpose and critical need to the skeptical daughter, 'this is needed for the foyer table'. Now the project was established and I got to spend the next few hours designing a new runner. Hehe.
Modern Barjella? or simply Staggered Strips.

That wave design is supposed to represent the snow we
weren't getting. But then we got snow, so hurray!
 I love doing after Christmas sewing. All the hubbub and rush of the holiday is over and usually I have some free days at home to myself. I offered to sew something for Laina's mentor and after several suggestions, we decided on a bible tote. I'd been dying to cut into my Alison Glass hand dyed batiks and it was really fun to see the colors meld together. I topstitched a few words here and there (love, joy, peace) and also used my specialty stitches - the Greek Key and a cute chain flower.
Love Alison Glass Fabrics!

Piecing the design. It's much harder to make random look
random than you think.

This inside is lined with linen and some utility twill gives it an edgy feel.
Another tote that was gifted was to my adorable niece, Alex. She's a crafty gal and book lover and this tote seemed like just the right thing. I bought some stiff interfacing for totes and learned some key lessons in adding zippers to such a stiff product.
Most of the fabrics are from a line called Let's Play -a cute
line comprised of game motifs.

The pink handles are a Wordfind print.

Inside there are two pockets and another zipper pocket.
It was surprising how much this tote could hold!
I was never more happy than when my friend Diane announced that her daughter was having a baby BOY! I'd been eyeing up the cute boy quilts on Pinterest so I lost no time ordering a green and blue FQ bundle from Bloomerie Fabrics. One of the fabrics was from the line Which Way and that inspired the overall design. Luckily we had Quilt Club that weekend so I got to sew steady on it and reap the benefits of having a room full of experienced quilters. I finished this in one week flat, doing a few hours every night. Now when I look at all my unfinished projects I know that finishing them is possible (as long as there's a deadline!).
Planning with the help of a few photographs. What did
quilters do without iPhones?
The evolution.

I quilted it with a tight meander. I wanted a crumply look.
Staged in my guest room. Scrappy binding, green Minky
Dot on the back. I call it Every Which Way.
Congratulations, Angi and Nathaniel!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sewn Together Catch-up!

Today, December 12th, we had another fabulous time together sewing, talking, laughing, and indoctrinating new friends. I'm anxious to report on this wonderful day except I can't because somehow I'm now three months behind! So I'm cheating and throwing together a quick summary of both October and November so that I can properly record December's in a timely fashion. Then you know what this means, right? I get to start the new year off with a clean slate - I'll probably even resolve to always stay on track and never ever let six months just slip away! And we all know what happens with resolutions...

So I give you October in picture form (mainly because I can't remember details anymore!)

WHOA!! Check it out! The retreat was in October - not September as I thought. I'm only one month behind. Who's a super hero now? Don't answer that.

I give you November! (Drum roll)
New friend, Jenn McDermid (sadly they moved to ND today!)

New friend, Barb Warner. Making caring hearts for Moms
and babies in PICU.

The other Jen McDermid, making Vera Bradley ID cases! We'll miss Jen,
and Jen's Mom Jenn.

I spent some time training up these young sewers - Lexi Chum, her sister,
and friend Vantasia.
Next up our seasoned sewers showing off all kinds of handiwork.
Marcia is into wool felt applique and it's amazing!

Pam showed off her binding skills by finishing all three of these beauties.

Sarah's Mom, Linda, was not present in person but sent in
this stunner. Just whipped that up one afternoon. No
biggie. OMG!
Sarah reminisced about this family heirloom made from
recycled clothing, mostly polyester.

And here she is displaying the Joanna block from one of her
many Block of the Month clubs. This one is Women of the
Bible. When it's done, both her and Pam will have KING
SIZED QUILTS. That's right Pam, KSZ. Clear a wall!
And while we were doing what normal sewers do, my sister Julie was creating
this masterpiece! Her Magnum Opus. Over 200 pieces? Could that be right?
Whatever, it's insane.
We missed our fearless leader, Tori, but she and her hubby stopped by on their way out of town. Aren't they cute!?

And here's just a few goodies from that month for the non-sewers.
Sue wasn't with us that month for sewing, but I got her to help with the Trunk
or Treat event. On the left is Kim Sullivan, Chuck Wagon extraordinaire.

And then this happened. With wine. From a box. Diane and her daughter, Sadie.
Until next time!