Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today's the Day!!

Finally!! I have a closing. Tonight at 6PM I sign the paperwork that makes me a homeowner again.
This house is perfect for me. Not too big, not too small, hardwood floors, lots of closets, wood stove, 2 bathrooms, laundry on the first floor, dry basement to store stuff, lots of light and a real cozy feel to it.
The yard is great also, 4 1/2 acres, some sun, some shade, lots of trees, a farmers porch in front, a little deck in back, enough paved parking for me and my sons.
Last, but not least......... a separate sewing studio!!
Now before you all think I'm either rich or got the bargain of the century, I have to say, it needs quite a bit of work. The studio needs insulation, a wall torn down, a wall built, sheetrock to cover the insulation, a new furnace, the wiring upgraded for my quilting machine and a new floor.
The house needs the carpets torn up, the floors re-finished, every wall painted, a cabinet in the kitchen moved, a new microwave over the oven installed, the cabinets sanded and painted, the windows replaced - all 13 of them! Oh yah, and the upstairs bathroom needs some remodeling too.
So, if I'm not posting or quilting you'll understand why.
I'll post a picture of my little castle as soon as I can.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fairy Giveaways

Donna from DZFANTASY is having a couple of contests for her fairy dolls. The only thing you have to do to enter is leave a comment on her blog. Check out her blog and Etsy shop, you're going to love her dolls!

Disclaimer, I don't know Donna and am gaining nothing by posting this link

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Quilting Machine

I hate moving! I want to be quilting, but I can't because I don't have access to my quilting machine. I'm lucky to have a temporary sewing room at my friend's house so I shouldn't be complaining. If you'd like to see the old timer I quilt on check out my webshots album.Image hosted by
by cindynvb
I haven't updated my quilt photo albums in forever, but you can check them out here, Dear Jane Image hosted by
by cindynvband my 2005 quiltsImage hosted by
by cindynvb
Here are my 2006 quilts, you'll notice I've used lots of scraps.

Quilts 2006

Obviously I'm a just a little behind on posting my quilt photos, haven't uploaded any pictures since 2006. Also I have at least 130 Dear Jane blocks made, but it takes forever to scan them so I don't know if I will upload any more of them. As soon as I do, I'll let you all know. I love to show off my quilts. Show and tell is my favorite part of my guilt meetings.

Monday, July 21, 2008

When Do you say enough to giving?

I have a dilemma. My guild has a community quilt program. We make and give quilts to people who, for one reason or another are having a hard time and need a little help.
My goal for the last few years has been to donate three quilts each year to this program. I’ve met or exceeded this goal each year. I’ve also helped run a couple of workshops where we got together and worked on community quilts.
This year I’m very busy, between house hunting, packing, moving and working overtime I don’t have a lot of free time. That isn’t really my dilemma though, I’m always busy. The real problem is that I’m broke and most of my family is having financial problems. I feel like my time and money would be better spent making quilts for my family and friends rather than strangers. Family does come first.
My goal has always been to make a bed quilt and a sofa quilt for every member of my family and some of my friends. I haven’t reached that goal yet. Big family you know!
With the economy getting worse all the time a lot of people will be forced to cut back on giving and then the people who do need help and don’t have family won’t get any. So that’s my dilemma, I want to make quilts for my family and am thinking of not donating to my guild’s community program this year. I’m feeling guilty about it, what do you think I should do?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here's a quick way to use up your scraps

We all have one, a bag, box or pile of scraps we've been saving forever. We can't throw them out, and we never really use them so they keep piling up because. Why do our scraps keep multiplying? It's because they're so time consuming to cut and sew into a pretty quilt.

I was going to write up a tuturial on how I use up my scraps but I found that Patti from Quilting is my Passion had already written one, so figured I didn't have to. Check out her blog, read the tutorial and start using up those scraps!
We all have one, a bag, box or pile of scraps we've been saving forever. We can't throw them out, and we never really use them so they keep piling up because. Why do ur scraps keep multiplying? It's because they're so time consuming to cut and sew into a pretty quilt.

I was going to write up a tuturial on how I use up my scraps but I found that Patti from Quilting is my Passion had already written one, so figured I didn't have to. Check out her blog, read the tutorial and start using up those scraps!a>

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How to save money on QUILTING for new Quilters

How to save money on QUILTING for new Quilters

Join your local Quilting Guild. You will find lots of support and information there. Don’t be shy about being a beginner; we all were at one time.
When you’re starting out resist the temptation to buy every tool, gadget and book on the market. The basics will be enough to get you started and keep you going for a long time. See my list of “Basic” quilting tools.

3. Check out your local Library – borrow books before you buy them. I love new quilting books, but much as I would like to I just can’t have them all. The library is a great way to stretch your budget. My library has quilting magazines and lots of the latest books.

4. Buy Used and discounted books and magazines. For books try, Amazon, Mackenzie books and Ed Hamilton books. For magazines, E-bay, Craig’s list and Quilter’s Flea Market are my favorites.

5. Save batting scraps and cut them up to use as pillow stuffing. I
use some of my ugly fabric and make a pillow form, leaving one side open. I fill it as I go so I don’t have a big pile of batting to cut up all at once.

6 . Buy your piecing thread by the cone. I use a thin, lint free thread in a neutral color for piecing. Lots of benefits to this, first, the cost, you’d have to buy about 11 spools of thread to equal 1 cone of Bottom Line or Sew Fine, my current favorite piecing thread. I figure I save $10 to $15 on thread buying the cones. These threads make much less lint, which will save wear and tear on your machine Also fewer spools of thread makes for less clutter.

7. Find patterns online for FREE! See my list of favorite pattern and BOM sites. (coming soon)

8. Don’t know how to do something? Go online for free tutorials, but you knew that already didn’t you?

9. Buy your backing fabrics from the clearance bins of your favorite quilt shops. I always look at the discounted fabrics and when I find something I like I buy enough for a backing. Do you really need to spend $8.00 a yard for the backing? My local shop sells their older fabrics for $2 -$3 a yard and they have a good selection.

10. Shop for fabric online. Here area couple of my favorite discount shopping sites:
Saving money on your quilting hobby is just like saving money on anything else. Buy only what you need, don't waste your "leftovers" , buy quality because it lasts and makes your job easier.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Basic Quilting tools

Must Have Quilting tools
Here's my shopping list of quilting tools for the beginner. If anyone see's something I've missed, let me know and I'll add it.

Rotary Cutter- buy the Olfa brand, I like the 60mm ergonomic one for cutting up to 8 layers. if that’s not in the budget, the 45mm one works well also.

Extra blades – a sharp blade will make your cutting much easier and more accurate

A cutting mat – but the largest one you have room for, it will speed up your cutting and get you to the fun part sooner.

Sharp scissors – I recommend the Gingher brand 8” sheers and a pair of 4” embroidery type for clipping threads. I keep my small scissors on a lanyard around my neck; otherwise I spend a lot of time looking for them.

An Iron – I like an iron that is a bit heavy and that will get very hot. I don’t worry about steam because I use spray starch. Your iron should be comfortable to use because you will be using it a lot.

A large ironing surface – I made a big ironing surface by taking a scrap of plywood , stapling a piece of cotton batting and an ugly piece of fabric to the underside of the plywood. (No stapler? Use duct tape, a girls best friend LOL) Then I cover it with an old beach towel that I can throw in the wash when it gets stiff with starch.

Rotary cutting rulers – I LOVE my ruler collection, probably have too many, but they really make the cutting and sub-cutting much easier- I like this brand the best because I can see the markings very well.
Olfa makes a good ruler also. Buy the brand whose markings are easiest for you to see.
I would start out buying a 6 1/2” by 24” and a 6 ½” by 12”. I would add these to my collection as I went along – a square ruler in the size block I make the most, i.e. a 6 ½”, 9 ½”, and/or 12 ½”- these are great for squaring up finished blocks. Then an easy angle for cutting triangles.

Notions – needles, pins, (buy good ones, cheap pins are not sharp, frustrating to use and can ruin your fabric) a pin cushion, extra bobbins, (wind a bunch of these before you start to sew) oil and a brush for your sewing machine, (it’s very important to clean your machine after), a seam ripper, I like this type the best:
Or this one:

Thread – buy good thread, cheap thread is not worth your time and money. I like to use a thin thread like Bottom Line or Sew Fine in the bobbin, both produce very little lint and more thread will fit on the bobbin, saving you time.

Sewing Machine – again not a place to skimp; Buy the best you can afford.
I would focus on quality rather than features. Lots of stitches and options are nice, but I’d rather a sturdy, reliable simple machine than one with a lot of “bells and whistles”. The reason for that is quilt making uses simple stitches.
The features you will need are a straight stitch, the ability to lower the feed dogs, and an adjustable zig- zag stitch. The accessories you will need are a ¼ inch foot, a darning foot and an appliqué foot. You will be happy with these features for a long time


It’s time to make a baby quilt again. The baby shower is next week and as you can see by the picture, the baby quilt is not ready! I don’t know what I was thinking; I just started the quilt last week. I should have started it much sooner. Oh, well, this won’t be the first time I’ve been late with my quilt giving.

I don’t have the right fabric for the inner border, but I do have a nice blue and green multicolor fabric for the outer border. I am planning on using the green fabric or something similar for a thin inner border. I believe the green I used was a Patrick Lose fabric which I bought at Safftlers in Whitman, MA. Hopefully they will still have some.

I seem to be going fabric shopping a lot lately. So much for my stash busting efforts! I think I’m buying as much fabric as I’m using!
I really hate it when I have to stop sewing because I run out of fabric or supplies. It really ruins my momentum. Part of the reason I’m having this problem is because my stash is all packed up ready for my much delayed move. If I had known the seller’s bank was going to take so much time to get their paperwork done I would have left out more of my UFO’s, WIP’s and fabrics. I can’t get the quilting done because I don’t dare load a quilt in my quilting machine in case I have to move before it’s finished, but I could have finished more tops. Well, I shouldn’t complain, I really have gotten a lot done lately and it really isn’t a hardship to go fabric shopping.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Floral Quilt

I'm still not in the mood to challenge myself, but I do feel like quilting. Here's what happened when I dug out a HUGE bag full of 6 inch nine patch blocks that I've collected in block swaps, or made when I felt like sewing but had no project in mind.

Instant (almost) lap quilt! This took me about 4 hours to piece.
It has no borders yet because I don't have a stash to shop right now. It's all packed up waiting for my move to the new house, Sure wish the bank and attorneys would get thier paperwork done so I can move and get my life settled again. Needing border fabrics was a good excuse to go to the quilt shop. You can see by my photo of my "loot" that I did buy a little bit more than just the border fabrics!!

I think having sets of blocks made up is like having a brownie mix in the pantry, much faster than starting from scratch and will always come in handy. I've made 3 other quilts from my bag of nine patch blocks and they're all different.

Here's the last one I made. This was a gift for a friend, Joe Cavana,who has since died. I'm so glad I made this for him, he really loved it and it gave him a lot of comfort.

Having some blocks in the "pantry" enables me to make a comfort quilt up real quick when I need to.