Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Sewing Space(s)

I figured this meme was a great way to start off this post.  Or maybe the one that says, "the only place housework comes before quilting is in the dictionary."  That also sounds pretty accurate.  So why in the world am I going on about my sewing room, or mess of a sewing room(s)?  Well, if you haven't ran into it yet, Melva from Melva Loves Scraps is currently hosting a linky party that she is calling a Studio Hop.  It's a place to be real and show off your sewing room, good, bad and the cluttered.  I say we love them all and think it's an absolutely great idea.

When my daughter has friends over they are warned as they come in the door.  Although, this may look like a house, it is really a quilting studio.  It just so happens we live here as well.  Adapt, or we can put a tent in the yard.  This is usually where Jen looks at me like, really, mom?  I return to my project and belt out what ever song is playing from my music list, and the friends can't decide if I'm one of the coolest parents ever or just a weirdo.

My quilting addiction hobby necessities can be found in three rooms of the house.  The first place is in the back room.  Chances are you would never see this room in our house.  I'm not showing your the whole room now.  It's located in the back and it a catch all of stuff.  This is were our stash lives.  With two quilters in the house (Dave the Quilting Engineer) stuff can pile up quick.  However, most of this was acquired before he got in on the action.

This bookcase contains totes of fabric sorted by color, pre-cut purchases, UFO's, WIP's and a few finished quilts.  Not a lot of time is spent back here, unless we are searching for something we need.

Next up, is the newest space, which some of you may have already "toured."  This is the quilting space.  The addition of shelves and the HQ Sweet Sixteen are new (like past few weeks).  The windows allow plenty of natural lighting and the shelves plenty of storage.

You can see that some of my UFO's waiting for quilting have made their way out of hiding.  I can't use the excuse "out of sight" any more.  And how did I manage to get a picture without one of the two cats in it???

Next up, is the dinning room, where families come together and laugh and enjoy each others company.  We have a dinning room table and we do come together and enjoy each others company while sitting there, but instead of eating, we sew.

This is a view from David's side of the table.  Both of these sets of shelves house books, current projects, pre-cuts and quilting notions.

This is a shot from my side of the table.  The area isn't looking its cleanest, but at the moment we both have projects going on.  I will say it is a loved space.

So, for better or worse, this is where David and I create.  On a great weekend, this is where you will find us.  There has been talk of rearranging the living room so that we can see our television better from the table.  We are Netflix junkies.  This is probably not our dream sewing arrangement, but it is what works for us.  So far there isn't a design wall, but the floor and bed work for our needs.

So what does your sewing space look like?  Is it hot mess like mine, or maybe it looks like it's straight from a Better Homes and Garden magazine?  What ever the case, hop over to Melva Loves Scraps and show it off.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Heart Quilt for Pulse--A Finish

Today I am celebrating the finish of my Heart Quilt for Pulse!!!  As we speak it should be on it's way to the fine quilters of the Orlando MQG.  Honestly, this one should have been finished weeks ago, but when I found out my Sweet Sixteen was on it's way (I had the white background finished) I decided to wait for her arrival before I quilted the hearts.

Back in June, when the Orlando MQG put their call out for help with their Quilts for Pulse charity, I new I would like to help.  Step one would be sorting through my stash to see what I had in the way of rainbow colors.  So I carried the totes containing colored fabrics to the living room.

After sorting through the pieces I came up with piles that I thought would work for giving the quilt a rainbow look.  Lots of happy colors.  Even Mr. Newton helped with the sorting.  He's getting so gray in the muzzle.

I decided to make my quilt 6 x 6 10" blocks with a white on white fabric for the background.  I used the heart tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew.  After all the pieces where cut, it was time to start the block construction.

And in less than a day, I had a finished quilt top, begging to be quilted.

I played around with a few other different settings for the hearts, but decided on this layout because of the squarish diamonds that the background fabric formed.  I decided on back and forth curvy lines in the larger diamonds...

and pebbling in the smaller ones using Aurifil #2021 Natural White.  

And this is where the story takes a long long break (a 3 week break), to wait on the arrival of my Sweet Sixteen.  

I knew that I wanted to quilt the hearts with very little quilting since the background had quite a bit of dense filler.  I went with a design I had stitched earlier in the year on the Aurifil Mini Penny Love.  Double curvy swirling lines that formed hearts.  It is suppose to have a ribbon effect so no need to worry about travel stitching.  Just let the lines go where they will.

I fell in love with this design because I could stitch it with no marking, which speeds up the process by leaps.

So I took this motif and ran with it.  I had kinks along the way that I had to work through, but you have that when you are using a new machine for the first time.  The biggest hurdle to jump or problem, was these two clowns.

When I wasn't paying attention one of them would sneak up on the quilt and hide in the folds.

Who am I trying to kid, there wasn't really much sneaking.  They would just plop down, even with me quilting, and proudly claim the warm softness as their own.  There really was no "hiding" to it.  

So with the help of the fur kids, I was able to finish up these beautiful hearts.  I found a speckled print with most of the colors in the quilt that I used for a machine binding.  No flanged binding this time.  I'm just as surprised as you are, believe me.

And now for a few pictures I took before I gave it a wash and packed it away.

Would you believe I forgot to put one of my labels on it?  But I figure that is okay.  The who made it isn't important.  This quilt finding its owner and hopefully giving them some comfort and love is what is important.  I hope they can feel how much fun I had creating this quilt.  Jen had discovered my CD's from when I was in high school and college.  I jammed out (rather loudly) to Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Madonna, Stone Temple Pilots, and even Metallica.  I'm pretty sure Jen was ready to have me committed.  But it was a song I had forgot about by Jewel that made me stop and pause for a few moments, because it was so fitting for this quilt.  The song is called Hands.

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would that we're all Okay
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with dispair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golde shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
Heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
     Hands by Jewel

I love our quilting community and the way we all band together, from all walks of life to stand up and do what's right or bring love to those that are hurting.  With each block and quilt we give a small piece of ourselves.  As long as we are quilting together, there is love and warmth in the world.  That my friends, means evil cannot win.  We will cover the world with love, one quilt at a time

Can someone get me a ladder???  I think I've been on my soap box for too long in this post, I'm getting a nose bleed :)

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush MondayTGIFF and Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

One Lovely Blog

I was quite surprised several days ago to find out that I had been nominated by not one but three people for this very touching award.  Right around the beginning of August, Kate from Smiles From Kate had nominated me on her blog.  And last week, Carrie from The Zen Quilter and Amista from Hill Top Custom Designs also nominated me.  I truly feel honored that they  would even think of me when it comes to this award.

So what are the rules?  Glad you asked.

1)  Thank the person(s) that nominated you and give a link back to their blog.  **Please check out Amista, Carrie and Kate's blogs.  All are amazing quilters and I enjoy reading their blogs quite a bit.

2)  List the rules---check

3)  Display the image of your award on your post--check.

4)  List seven facts about yourself--okay here we go...

  • My name could have been Sally Holsberry.  What?  Ok, let's start with my actual name is Laticia Lower (this predates Mr. Stemple).  My father never actually knew his real father and my grandmother remarried.  Had my grandfather adopted my father, our last name would have been Holsberry.  Now from the time my parents found out they were expecting, the just knew I'd be a girl.  They always referred to me as Sally (or this is the story my mom told me) and the plan was to name me Sally.  So where did the name Laticia came from?  I have no idea.  I've asked before, but mom's never  given me a straight answer.  It's not really a common name around here or even for the year I was born.  Maybe it was good hospital drugs?
  • I hate meatloaf.  I don't want to hate meatloaf, but I do.  It seems like something I should like because I've always been a meat and potato kind of girl, but there is just something (maybe texture) I do not like about this dish.  I've tried making so many different recipes and variations but still, nope.  I'm not completely ruling it out, I just don't think I've met the right one yet.
  • I've mentioned before that I have weird driving issues, like sometimes avoiding left hand turns.  Not all left turns are created equal.  So my new driving fact is, I didn't get my license until I was 18.  Most kids itch for that small piece of plastic the day they turn 15.  Not me.  I was drug to the DMV at 17 to get my permit.  Actually, this worked out for my parents.  David taught me to drive, they didn't have to.  (maybe he's to blame for my weird left hand turn thing, but probably not)  Not only that, but it was three years after I received my license before I drove again.  David and I purchased a second car and it didn't hit me until we were leaving the lot, that I had to actually drive it home.   I know...I'm a weirdo.
  • I can't sneeze in front of strangers or large groups.  I just can't.  My nose will start twitching and I can feel it coming.  I probably make an extremely sexy face as I prepare to let it out then right at the last minute...nothing.  It looks like I'm holding it in on purpose, but I promise I'm not.  So if I would ever sneeze and it's a really good one, it's one of the biggest compliments I can give you.  It means, I feel very comfortable around you.  I promise, I cover my mouth with my arm, sneeze or sneeze attempt.
  • I lived in a college dorm when I was pregnant with Jen .  We got married between my sophomore and junior year in college and we knew that David was going away for 6 months of training so I opted to get a room with my friends while he was gone.  However, right before he left and before second semester started, I found out we were expecting. It made for an interesting few months.  I kind of became the dorm floor "pet."  I was always hungry, very tired and always had to pee.  So when my friends would return from a late night/early morning they would wake me up to see if I wanted food or needed to potty.  And they were constantly making sure I was up and didn't sleep through my classes.  At least they didn't try to dip me for fleas.
  • I use to be terribly scared of dogs.  When I was 3 or 4 I had a poodle snap at me and try to bite me when I reached out to pet it.  From that day forward, I was terrified.  Eventually, I met my great uncle's golden retriever Fred.  He was one of the smartest and gentlest dogs I've ever met.  Thanks to good ol' Fred I had a new love for man's best friend.  Maggie, Becker and Newton can all thank him that they have a home.
  • Other than Caroline kitty cat, all of the cats that have owned me have been black or tuxedo cats.  Even the two fosters kitties that have made their way to us have been black kitties  
This is Newton with baby Bruce.  Newton found him curled up in a dog pillow on our porch in very bad shape.  After a trip to the vet, this little fellow fought hard to live and succeeded.  After his eyes healed we were able to find him a loving home.

This past weekend, this little ball of love made it's way to us.  David's co-worker was able to trap (safely) her and her feral sibling at their work.  There had been a whole litter but one by one they have disappeared.  The co-worker took the tabby kitten home and left David with the decision of taking this one to the pound (a kill shelter) or take it home.  I cannot in good conscious EVER take an animal to a place where I knew it will be killed because it is alive.  I just can't do it.

She was looking a bit rough, so we decided to bath her and then assess the situation.  She was pretty much skin and bones.  Which absolutely broke my heart.  She actually seemed to enjoy her bath, which made things 100% easier.

I'm happy to report that after lots of fresh water, plenty of food and an abundance of love, this little nugget is thriving.  We set her up with a sweet kitty hotel on our porch and hopefully after a clean bill of health at the vet tonight she can come inside until she goes to her fur-ever home this weekend.

And I'm happy to report if home #1 a local family doesn't work out, this little kitty might be traveling to a new home in Canada, where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt she will be one of the most loved kitties ever.  So not much actual quilting going on lately.  I'm filling the world up with love in the kitten kind of way.  But I promise we will return to quilty things by Friday.

Oh the last rule of the One Lovely Blog award is to nominate up to 15 bloggers and let them know you nominated them.  So today I would like to nominate:

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs
Jayne at Twiggy and Opal
Helen at Midget Gem Quilts
Cindy at Stitchin At Home
Melva at Melva Loves Scraps
Beth at Cooking Up Quilts

I will be emailing these wonderful ladies later today to let them know I nominated them.  Hope you check back later this week to see the quilting things I've been up to.  One last cat pic....

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy Sweet 16

You may remember a few months ago (June to be exact) I was over there in wonderland partying over the number 17.  We had seventeen year cicadas and David and I celebrated our seventeen year wedding anniversary.  Now it's time for me to celebrate the number 16!  This is the year of the Sweet 16.  This fall, my beautiful baby (ok not a baby anymore by a long shot) will turn 16.  Where the heck has the time gone???

In an attempt to be a good parent, I bought her something she can learn to drive on.  To her disappointment, it was not a car, but a Handi Quilter Sweet 16!  She will learn to love it in time.  Oh, HQ Sweet 16, I have been drooling over you ever since I discover your existence.  The first time I stumbled on to it was several years ago watching videos of the super talented Debbie Brown who blogs at Debbie Brown Quilts.  In her videos she was sitting down at a machine with a wonderfully deep throat free motion quilting.  I said, tell me more please!!!  After messaging back and forth I knew I had found the machine of my dreams.  But would I ever really own one?  I settled on a reality of no.

Every time we go to a quilt show and a vendor had one displayed, my butt plops into the chair and plays.  It just feels right.  I almost walked away last year at a quilt show with one, but the responsible side of me (sometimes I'd like to choke her) just wouldn't commit to spending that much money.  David was for it, I said no.

So a few weeks ago, David asked if I had called and priced machines lately.  He thought maybe it was time to take the plunge.  I didn't really want to call, again I knew no matter what, it's not cheap.  But while he was out mowing, I called the HQ shop to check the prices.  To my surprise they were hosting a HQ even that weekend and was having sales on their machines. (Part of me still wonders if David knew this already, or if it was a happy coincidence).  I jotted down the information and learned I had 24 hours to make a decision.  After I shared the news with my quilting partner in crime, he said lets go look at them.  I said okay and emailed Beth at Cooking Up Quilts.  I figured if I was heading her way I was going to meet her.  Which I did!  You can read more about that here.  Long story short after wonderful socializing with Beth, I ended up purchasing my machine.

But where was I going to put it???  I live in a shoe box.  Beth jokingly suggested that I sell my couch.  Don't think I didn't consider it.  But where would we eat our pizza if I did that??   I have already consumed the dinning room table with two machines.  So I focused on another area of the house.  The "catch all."  That space you never really look at.  For us, it is as you enter our our house, the breakfast nook.  It had a table David's father made, windows covered in dark curtains and became the spot where all things landed.  Oliver would also let you know, it's where he ate, the most important function it probably had.

And I'll be honest, this is what it looked like after I cleaned it up.  The best-est big brother ever, offered to put the table in storage in his garage for me so I could free up space.  So after the table was moved, I stripped the curtains off the windows and was left with this.

I couldn't believe all the light!  You might notice Oliver over there in the corner.  He was UNHAPPY about all of these events.  Being the lovable chunk he is, I'm pretty sure he was afraid he'd never eat again.  He laid in the floor and moaned LOUDLY to voice his concern.  It was getting old.

Then last weekend, the big day finally came, the delivery of my machine.  It was super simple to set up and after a quick demo of threading the machine and a few of the buttons, the shop owner was on his way.  I'm sure I had the look of any new parent left alone with their baby for the first time.  That deer in the head light look of what do I do next??

The fur kids, approved of the beast in their space, which was a good start.  Before I allowed myself to set down to play, I vowed to finish cleaning the space up.  Let's face it, if I didn't do it now, I'd never do it.  I added a second set of shelves, under my window, which turned out to be a great place for Oliver's food.  He seems happy with this compromise and view.

When I finally sat down to quilt, I was having some major tension issues.  This made me less than happy.  I tried several different things but nothing worked.  I walked away.  Did I really just purchase the most expensive cat jungle gym ever???  So I emailed Beth and watched a YouTube video and both were able to help me tweak the machine so it purrs like a kitten.  My problem was I was so afraid of breaking the machine, I didn't want to turn those knobs and screws.  Like the newborn, it's not as breakable as you fear.

So, the machine will still probably be a cat jungle gym while it's not in use, but now I'm ready to start finishing some quilts!!!  A huge thank you to Dave The Quilt Engineer  for giving me the push I needed and supporting me in purchasing this machine.  And another huge thank you to Beth for sharing in the big day with me, and the help...I'm sure it won't be the last time I ask you a question :)

Hey, Jenny, happy early Sweet 16!  This present is for, mom, who did all the hard work 16 years ago and has managed to keep you alive and turn you into the spunky teen you are!

Also, this weekend, Craftsy is holding a Black Friday sale to get us ready for the holiday season and all the handmade stuff we want to make for our family and friends.

I know I will be picking up another one of the Cotton & Steel FQ Boxes.  At $38.47 that's a deal I can't refuse!  That's the cheapest I've seen them yet.  So if you need to get ready for your holiday sewing, hop over to Craftsy and check it out.  (Links to Craftsy on this page are affiliate links)

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday, and Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Don't Forget To Give Back

I do have to say I believe there is something to karma and finding that balance between good and evil/bad.  Hey, sometimes you get what you give and I try to always have this in the back of my head, so that I'm giving more good than bad.  One of my and Jen's (my daughter) favorite TV shows is My Name is  Earl.  You know the one about the guy with the list always trying to make up for the bad things he's done.  I'd like to think I don't have a list per-say, but I sure as heck do not want to have to make one.  I'd rather just stay on karma's good side.

This past week, our family had what could have been a very tragic event happen, but luckily, all is well.  Everyone is healthy and happy.  But it makes me think of Kat over at Kat and Cat Quilts and her charity Coverd In Love.  Kat tries to provide quilts to families that have suffered loss at the hospital she works at.  Our crazy roller coaster reminded me, that I had not participated in donating blocks to Kat for a few months and maybe it was time to whip some up.  What better way to show karma, I appreciated the thumbs up news.

This month, Kat is asking for disappearing 9 patch blocks in black and white prints, with a center accent block of lime green, bright yellow or Caribbean blue.  Now for a quilting confession.  In all my years of quilting I had never made one of these super easy blocks.  I did a quick fabric pull from my stash (and found my blacks and whites have shrank) and decided to get to work.

I cut squares.  Then I carefully sewed them all together....so...I could cut them up again, and sew them back together.

I wish I had more of the black and white print so that I could send more than three, but I did not.  But three is better than zero and hopefully I can participate again next month.  If you have a few extra minutes to spare, hop over and check out Kat's blog and consider sending a few of these simple blocks.  There is still plenty of time this month.

And I couldn't close this post without sharing these beautiful heart blocks.  These blocks were made by my guild's president, Barbara, to send to the Orlando MQG to help with their Pulse quilt drive.  I had hoped to ship my finished quilt as well, but I still have a bit more quilting to do, so these blocks traveled without it.  I still have till September 15th to send the quilt.  That's practically years in quilter terms.  As soon as I get my tensions issues resolved, I'll be right back on it.

Today I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Caroline (Kitten) on Quilts

So much has happened in our household, since this time last year.  We have added a furry addition to our small furry family.  Caronline Kitty Cat, Princess of the Fuzzy Butts.  Caroline came to live with us, when a co-worker of my husband, Dave The Quilt Engineer, told him about a small single chocolate colored kitten born into a recent litter at her house.  Being a lover of all things chocolate, Mr. Stemple, felt he had to bring her home.  I won't lie, with our zoo of two pibbles (or pit bulls), a elder boston terrier mix, and Oliver the cat, I wasn't over the moon with joy at first.  But how could you deny such a cute face as this one.

From her first days with us, Caroline was taught the ropes to becoming a quilty kitty.

David made sure that she understood what a cutting space was and how her job was to inspect fabrics and oversee the making of quilting projects.

Though we had to have a talk about sewing machine space and that bouncing needles, though fun to watch, can hurt you.  They are not food.

I'd like to say everyone in our house loved this cute ball of chocolate fluff right from the beginning, but not everyone was happy about the addition of a second quiltly kitty.  Oliver felt this house only had room for one.

But I'm happy to report he has since changed his mind and doesn't mind sharing his space with his kid sister.

Caroline has been helpful with so many things.

When you need to sort your stash, she is more than happy to hold down the fabric totes to make sure they do not run off.

She mastered the fine art of warming your sewing chair when you stand up to press a seam and you are only gone for 20 seconds.  She knew how to make it look like she had been sleeping there for hours.

She is very helpful when you need to pick out a quilting book.

Or you are trying to find that perfect project.

She's not afraid to get involved in the harder quilting processes, like basting quilts.

Though her out of the box thinking can be cute, sometimes you just have to explain to her why it doesn't work.

She also enjoys inspecting the back of your quilting to make sure you do not skip stitches or end up with an unfortunate birds nest of thread.

And when a box comes in the mail that looks a bit shady, she's more than willing to check it out to make sure it's safe.

But the most helpful quilty kitty thing she does, is simply enjoy her quilty basket and keep me company while I sew. 

One thing is for certain, if there is a quilt laying around, Miss Caroline is going to enjoy it and it's one of the reasons we quilt.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting the youngest member of our family.  She continues to make us smile and melt our heart everyday.  I expect even greater things from this pretty girl in the future.  Do you have a pet that loves quilts?  Do you love looking at cute pets?  Make sure you hop over to Lily Pad Quilting and check out her yearly pets on quilts linky party!  So much fun in one place!

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday, and  Pets on Quilts.
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