A REALLY Big Spool of Thread

As regular readers, you know that I often go “thrifting” with my son. Sometimes I find the best stuff, sometimes its raw materials and sometimes it is just fun stuff.

On one of my more recent outings, I found something that I knew I had to have yet would never use. It was one of those ‘just gotta have it’ objects and it will look great when I find a place in my already-overstuffed-sewing room.

Giant SpoolCan you imagine ever using up a spool of thread that large? Ha! I am just going to hang on to it and one day, it will be part of the best estate sale ever!

julie

The Denim Quest Continues…

I cut and I cut, then I sew and sew and yet, it seems like I am never making progress!

IMG_4435IMG_4434I have plans to make at least two dozen quilts in various configurations plus my fallback style, the crazy quilt.

So, not much new to report other than the constant denim. I have way too many projects started and it takes some kind of effort not to start more!

Send me your good thoughts? I am going to need ’em!

julie

Quilts, Denim and Thrifting… Oh, and I Finished My Cross Stitch

I’ve been working on a ton of projects but current resources are making things hard to finish anything. And when I say “resources” I am not talking about time, imagination or inspiration and generally speaking also not about fabric, thread or sewing machines.

The group of quilts that I’ve been working is based on using denim fabric harvested from old jeans. Getting my hands on really, really cheap jeans isn’t an issue. The problem I am having is that the borders I want to add to these quilts in progress I want to be seamless. And that will require the purchase of new denim fabric. And, of course, I want to use is flannel and I am finding that the necessary amount of this fabric will be quite large. I tend to find myself in this quandary quite often now that I am approaching nearly a year of unemployment. 😦

Not so long ago, I saw a comment posted on a beautiful – simple yet very functional – quilt made from old blue jeans. The comment, which I cannot seem to locate now, said something to the effect that quilts made from old jeans look like “old jeans” and therefore implied that the quilt looked ‘old and worn’. I replied saying that’s what makes these quilts so extraordinary, that they feel as great as your favorite jeans and thereby by extension, are something to be used and to feel comforted by. These words kicked off a goal of using harvested denim to make both beautiful and functional quilts. To show that your blue jeans and flannel shirts aren’t about dressing up, but about feeling good; and isn’t that what we all love about our favorite quilts?

So, let me start with sharing my method for acquiring blue jeans. It was a absolute accident that I stumbled upon this idea. If you’ve been reading or following my blog, you’ll know that I am a huge lover of thrift shops and going with my son. We just happened upon the “Last Chance” racks of clothing at Red Racks. Red Racks, I believe, are local to the Missouri, from Kansas City on the west all the way to St. Louis on the east. With a little luck, you may find your solution in your area.Fancy Line 1

Red Racks is a major source of funds for DAV. The proceeds from the sales of donated goods help our country’s Disabled American Veterans, providing assistance for transportation, medical needs, counseling, and much more. Find out more at DAV.org.

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So, Red Racks have what they call “last chance” and all items on these racks are priced at a dollar. Sometimes, they have some wonderful items (a great place to get kid’s clothes!) and often many pairs of jeans. These range from baby jeans all the way to guy’s jeans. Even at this price, you can’t beat it.

But… on Sundays the last chance has one really last chance and everything is marked to twenty five cents! Now here is a unbelievable price! And as you might suspect, items go quickly. For some reason, The Kid and I just happened to be there early and literally took every piece of denim we could find. And even at this, our giant haul was only $13!

Now, here is one thing that I discovered with working with denim. Be extremely cautious using denim with stretch. One project I am working on is using the jeans seams. However, when you add in seams with stretch, the piece becomes … curvy. Not a result that I wanted. And if not used correctly, the stretch denim can cause havoc in your quilt. I am not saying that you can’t use it, just be careful when you do. I, personally, have opted to reduce my use, if not all out stopping.

IMG_4370So, this is one of my first hauls. Either someone was watching or had the same idea as me, but it never was more than this. But this is more than enough. I was also working on collecting colored denim as an accent for these quilts, but true colored denim is hard to come by. Or maybe I should say heavy denim or colored denim without stretch.

IMG_4369In this pile, really only the top red, the blacks and browns and the bottom turquoise print are what I would call “real” denim. The others are lightweight and/or have stretch and will not use them in quilts. They may work great for making doll clothes though.

So, I’ve been able to piece together six denim quilts, four that need borders and all need flannel backings before I can ship these off to my top quilter. For those who may have missed it, I have a wonderful friend Becky, who does my longarm service, Collis Country Quilting. (If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com. Just let her know that I sent you!)

Here is a quilt that I stumbled onto via Pinterest. It is called “Cathedral windows” and was quite quick to put together.DSCN5208And the back:DSCN5209This is quite wonderful since it didn’t actually require top quilting… it is a ‘quilt as you go’. I love the varying shades of denim… this is one of those quilts I am working on in the concept to show just how beautiful old and faded jeans can be turned into equally beautiful quilts.DSCN5210And here, a shot of the front. Some of the squares turned out a little funky, I think I wasn’t paying quite enough attention to the flaps as I worked. I think once its gone through the washing machine once or twice.DSCN5211I’ve actually starting working on another of these quilts, starting with 10″ circles which should fold down to about 7″. Initially, I was going to use the harvested colored denim, but after assembling a few squares have determined that it is too dull. So, more investigation as to other possibilities.DSCN5212I actually did a smaller quilt with some leftover squares and ran it through the washer. This will give you an idea of how it will look:IMG_4388I did finish the binding for one more that Becky top quilted for me (there are still a ton more to finish binding!):

DSCN5214The quilt didn’t turn out quite like I hoped. The patterns of the fabrics mask the layout and you can’t quite see it for the colors.DSCN5215Oh, well, sometimes you hit a homer and sometimes it is just good for keeping the fans in the bleachers warm.DSCN5216Pretty purple backing with a nice meandering pattern.

I also finished my cross stitch of my favorite Pyrex pattern: Friendship Birds.IMG_4391I’m not thrilled with it in the hoop, can’t seem to get it taut. I am going to look into other options. Stay tuned!

Okay, that’s it for now! Thanks for dropping by!

julie

For The Love of Pyrex – My Friendship Pattern

Sometimes it is so amazing how quickly time goes by. I always thought that time was like a bell curve, when you were young, time seemed to go so slowly and then speed up as you entered your twenties and then sped up until sometime in your late forties or so and then it would start slowing down.

Even though I am not working, each day seems to alternatively just go by in a blink of an eye and then sometimes, the days can just drag on and on.

Anyway, this last couple of weeks have seemed to just flash by. I have always tried to write consistently… rather than have the blog just sort of fade away. When I feel like I have nothing left to share or learn, I will just say so, say goodbye to my readers and stop. I am not ready to do that yet.

So, although I haven’t written recently, it isn’t for lack of projects! Every so often, I have to stop myself and focus on a project until it is done. I get one started and then I have my attention diverted and get started on something else, and before you know it I have eight things going and nothing getting done!

On top of that, The Kid and I went out to pick up free Tiger Lilly plants for replanting in the back yard and while trying to load them, I tripped and fell. I may have cracked a rib, at the very least I bruised something, making it tough to really do much at all. Every move hurts and it really puts a damper on most of my projects.

There is one that is doable, and it started a little while back. When I dug out all my Pyrex and got a little more involved with it again. I want to take the doors off the cabinet above the stove and display the Pyrex I collect for me, the pattern is called Friendship or Friendship Birds. Its mostly red with a heavy sprinkling of this light orange.

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(This isn’t mine but I want to add this to my collection!)

The remainder of the Pyrex was sold! And I got almost as much as I was asking… a nice little amount. This is the cabinet I am thinking about turning into a showcase:

I think I could just take off the doors and rearrange the shelves, but I work because it sits above the microwave vent and I worry that it might get greasy (the doors do!). Maybe I could place a framed piece of plexiglass or something over it. I am still thinking on this idea.

But the other idea it sparked was another cross stitch. Using my favorite Pyrex pattern, I drew out the pattern. I am going to “frame” it in a embroidery hoop, I’ve already painted it red. Turns out that cross stitching I can do that doesn’t aggravate my cracked rib.

IMG_4366So, between the stitching, harvesting denim from old jeans and sewing denim quilt squares, I have been keeping busy. I will let you in on my secret of getting old denim from jeans for practically nothing soon. In addition to the mostly blue but some black and white, I have found some really great colors – and a leopard print! – which I am going to make a really colorful denim quilt down the road. I’ve also added much to my denim stash: side and bottom seams, belt loops and pockets! Like I said, so much stuff started… getting nothing done!

Oh yeah, and in between all this, I am still job hunting. Although it may not seem like it, I still love the work I do in computers. There is a career that is never boring and always changing. It has done well for me.

Come back soon for updates!

julie

A Few More Finished Quilts

I’ve been keeping busy but mostly doing what I said I wouldn’t do and that was to start any new projects until I finished a few that were almost done. :-/

I have finished three more quilts however. If you’re new to my blog, you should know that I love to make quilts, but am not quite so in love with the process of finishing them. So I send my quilts off to a wonderful new friend, Becky, who is quite talented in doing the top stitching. She has a longarm service called Collis Country Quilting. (If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting). She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com. Just let her know that I sent you!

She did some incredible work on a quilt that was so amazing! I am in awe at the work on this quilt:

DSCN5197IMG_4333IMG_4332IMG_4331IMG_4330IMG_4329Five different quilting styles were used to complete this quilt. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the way she quilted this. Her attention to details is off the charts!DSCN5199DSCN5198My helper in trying to stay hidden when its windy and he doesn’t want to be in the pictures:DSCN5200The next couple of quilts are ideas that I get while looking at the already cut stash of fabrics. I’ve been trying to use up as much as I can.

DSCN5196DSCN5195DSCN5194DSCN5193And the final quilt for this post…

DSCN5190DSCN5189DSCN5188I used a blue background with white dots, which is the same as the border. A nice little finish. I did, however, not have enough for the backing, so there is an inset of red with white dots. Sometimes you gotta make do!

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Also, this week, The Kid and I were on a Studio Ghibli kick and watched four or five movies. The one I like is “Howl’s Moving Castle” which boasts a fire who is voiced by Billy Crystal -“Calcipher”. So as sort of a salute (and for something to do with my hands) I made this little bean-guy:

IMG_4328Took apart another forty pairs of jeans. We stumbled onto the best deal for salvaging denim from old jeans. Our local Red Racks (which is a thrift store that supports veterans’ needs) has what is called Last Chance, which is where clothing ends up that doesn’t sell. And on Sundays, it goes to a whopping twenty-five cents! So, I go through and grab all the best jeans – generally speaking those that have pockets and side seams for additional quilting. VoilĂĄ! I have something for my hands to do and it provides a lot of fabric for jeans quilts.

So, a couple more projects accomplished and this post done. Whew!

julie

Finally Getting Around to Finishing… Some

My “To Do” is an ever changing – and growing – myriad of chores. It seems that every time I cross one thing off the list, two more get added. But I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure its the same for every one of you.

So, since I recently finished up the dollhouse, successfully started my fund raising on IndieGoGo and finished the big cross stitch, I finally feel like I am getting things done. The bad side of that is I tend to get a little too confident… and I started a couple of new quilts. Sigh.

But on the upside, I did manage to get the binding on five of the quilts that I had quilted. Seems a million years ago, just because I can’t seem to stay focused, but I have a wonderful friend Becky, who does my longarm service, Collis Country Quilting. (If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com. Just let her know that I sent you!)

I goofed on this quilt, first in measuring and then in cutting the backing. So I usually do a fold-over type of binding, but since I measured wrong, I had to do the reliable method of separate binding. Believe it or not I had to look up instructions, I do this so little.

DSCN5093But this binding turned out pretty good, if I say so myself. I ended up making about three times too much, but I guess I can hang on to it in case I want to do this again sometime.IMG_4311The fabric came from a stash where there were a various number of colors in the same pattern. I think it would make for a man’s quilt, as the colors are pretty muted and far, far away from any pastels!DSCN5094The back was more of the same fabric, just to use it up. You can see the great quilting pattern here!DSCN5096This quilt is one of those little challenges that I dream up for myself. I did this one a while back, so not sure if this is a charm quilt or not. There are some really beautiful fabrics in this one and would make for a great baby quilt.IMG_4312The backing is a understated green with a darker green ivy type pattern. Like I said, understated.DSCN5097This next quilt is called ‘Fire and Lightning”. Another pattern that I saw somewhere – a magazine, Pinterest or somewhere else online. Of course, I had to try it!dscn5099.jpgAgain, this would be an extremely easy pattern to do in pastels or colors to match a nursery or an quick way to spice up a living room with some color.dscn5100.jpgFantastic quilting that really pops on these colors though. Becky takes one look at my quilts and just knows what to choose.IMG_4314Love the meandering of this pattern!DSCN5101Simple red backing to keep from stealing the thunder of the colors and style.dscn5103.jpgIts funny when as much time passes as it does for me from concept to binding. I actually forget many of the quilts that I make! It makes for a fun surprise when I unpack these quilts and get ready to bind them!DSCN5103I know this one was inspired by a pin I found on Pinterest. In fact when I looked back to the original pin, it was almost the same colors!dscn5104.jpgOver the years I keep a vigilant eye on the discount fabrics and pick up fabrics on bolts to use later as backing. That is where this fabric came from.IMG_4313I am especially in love with whites… and add to a large stash whenever I can. Just makes for more interesting quilts.dscn5105.jpgNow on to my absolute favorite of my quilts: orphans. You know the ones, the extra blocks you made or did to try a pattern. I put effort into these blocks and am determined to never let these go to waste. Hence, “orphan” quilts. This is my third in recent months, the first one went to The Kid and the second one is on my bed.DSCN5105IMG_4315The back is another of my bolt purchases and goes nicely with the colors in the quilt.DSCN5107So, there you have it. I have about another ten or so to finish with binding and then I’ve got about three new denim quilts that will need borders and backing. I have one that is especially unique and am excited about finishing it and showing it here.

Thanks for stopping by! And happy quilting!

julie

I Took The Advice and This Time I Used Maps!

After I finished the last dresser – covered with vintage dress patterns – someone made the suggestion to try maps. And I just happened to have some old road atlases from those days before GPS (do you remember that far back! LOL), so I plunged in.

For the life of me I cannot recall where I picked up this desk, but it has been sitting in the third stall of the garage for a while. Its decent quality – inside one drawer is marked ‘Broyhill’ – so I figured it would be a good starting point.

As you can see, I almost forgot about taking ‘before’ photos… I had it already up on the table with the drawers removed!

DSCN4704Somehow these days, desks just aren’t in much demand. I guess with everyone having a laptop, sitting any where works and you’re no longer chained to a desk.

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So, with the help from The Kid, we removed the extra legs and shortened the desktop and turned it into a nice sized little chest. The bottom drawer is nice and deep, great for storing bulky stuff.

DSCN4712I sold the sewing pattern covered dresser to this great couple for their daughter. She is into fashion, so it really appealed to her. When they came by to pick it up, they mentioned that they were looking for something for their son’s quite extensive Lego collection. Dad was a bit annoyed from stepping on those little plastic bricks in the dark as he was trying to check in on the kids as they slept – I’ve been there myself and it turns a very quiet excursion into some mighty loud yelps! So the very deep drawer might be just the thing for the family!

The whole process of adding the maps was the easiest and funnest part. I just sit and watch television and cut and paste. I did some strategic placements, on one side is the state of Missouri and Kansas and on the top is a nice map of the states. Following two nights of drying/curing, I applied two coats of polyurethane to give the maps a little staying power. It could even take a little scrubbing if it gets colored on.

I had the antique hoop knob pulls, rescued from a previous project that with a little green spray paint turned out quite unique!

The drawer that was removed from the desk section turned out to be the perfect size for a replacement drawer in a sewing cabinet that I am transforming into a little entry way table. Don’t you just love it when things come together? If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know that I hate to waste anything… and when it can be reused and saved from the landfill, I am a happy recycler!

Tomorrow, The Kid and I are making the trek out to meet Rebecca “Becky” Collis of Collis Country Quilting! I am so excited to meet Becky and check out her setup. Most excited about finishing some of these quilts that I have been working on for the past three years!!I have another idea for a dresser makeover… would make the cutest storage piece for a little boy’s room. Have to keep my eyes open for the next perfect piece!julie

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Addendum: Second Life for One of My Quilts

Just a little note. I received a note from a reader who asked if they could purchase one of the quilts that I showcased in this blog. Wow. Nice.

Strippy Sash QuiltShe even offered a very respectable amount for it. But then I heard what it was for. And then, I realized that there was no way I could sell it to her.

She wanted to use it as part of a project for some local (to her) kids in seventh grade that are making a “Peace Quilt”. And I just wanted to be a part of that whole thing. So, I donated the quilt to the kids. I am hoping that some photos will be snapped and some words written about what they are trying to achieve and what Peace means to them. Mostly, I hope they win! LOL

I have always been a staunch supporter of public education and have always tried to help in whatever way I could – mostly around my son, but inevitably to benefit all students in their class or school. Now that my son has finished his primary studies, it tends to get a bit tougher to do that, although I do have a quilt that I made for him that I am going to donate to his school (since he has graduated):

DSCN3118Along with the quilt, I have a TON of school supplies that I am going to deliver as well… as cheap as school supplies get, there are always students who never get what they need or want. And if I have more than I need, why not?

Okay, hopefully Claire will be sending me updates soon. I am anxious to hear more!
julie

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