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Archive for the tag “shopping”

Vacationing at home

If you’ve read any of my site you’ll know that I work in IT and at times it can be hectic.  I will be taking vacation shortly.  Our son is flying in from the East Coast and our daughter from the West Coast.  It’s a shame we all get so busy during the year, but nice that we’re able to get together at all, with all nine of us living is so many different locations.

We have plans to take the children and show them Dallas and North Texas as we see it.  The Stockyards, Farmer’s Markets, The unique shops, and of course the “Amber Waves of Grain” that will be just getting ready for harvest in a couple of months and have already turned a beautiful shade of Amber.

I know I shouldn’t digress, but seeing the wheat that has ripened to the rich Amber color of a sunset in summer has always taken my breath away.  I will say to anyone, anywhere in the world…  If you ever have the chance to see it in person, take the time to soak in the experience.  To my soul, it is breathtaking…

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Getting back on track of vacation planning, there are a lot of tasks that are left undone when you’re working five days a week and at times, 11 hours a day.  One of the things that needs doing is to get my website in better order.  I like to think of it as Spring Cleaning!  Another task left undone is catching up on photo organization.  For some reason, I cannot seem to get them organized on a regular basis and find myself overwhelmed until I take the time to go through them after they’re out of control.

Most of the time will be spent laughing with the five children that will be here and singing at the tops of our lungs in the car on the way to whatever destination we happen to be traveling to.  In the evenings, the whirring of our sewing machines as they beat out the staccato rhythm of creating blocks of fabric into quilts.

It may not have been mentioned in any previous posts, but I love watching (or rather mostly listening) to a favorite or even an unknown television series, or playing music on the stereo while putting together the pieces to a quilt.  It really is quite relaxing even if I’ve watched the same series multiple time.

My wish to all of you this summer is that you get all that you want accomplished, see all the sites that you’ve wanted to visit, and that you get ahead of all your projects.

Persian Plum gone Wrong

The sabbatical is over and I’m making some changes to my site in the near future.  It is said that the only constant is change and with that I’ve decided to change from my slothful nature and get back to posting what I’ve been up to.

All of the monthly blocks of the Persian Plum block of the month square are completed.  When I opened the setting kit it was with a lot of trepidation.  As I flipped through the fabric I was extremely disappointed that some of the fabric hadn’t been cut properly.  I promised that I wouldn’t go off on a rant about it and proceeded to just make it work.  It was so disheartening that I have taken a lot of time to put this together only to find more work for myself to correct the manufacture’s mistakes.IMG_0787

Because of this and my general nature of needing to have multiple projects going at the same time, I completed what I’m calling my “Chopsticks Quilt” and am still plugging along with the “Oh Canada” quilt that I started the year before.  I found while going through fabric with my wife a mini-quilt that she started but hadn’t bound and asked that I be able to hand quilt it for her.  Yes, another project!!  It brightened my mood and I’m almost a third done with that one now.

Back to the Persian Plum however, she’s been helping me piece the other squares together in return for hand quilting her mini.  We’ve just about completed all of the other squares from the setting kit and should be finished piecing those this evening.  I’ll post up Blocks 11 and 12 over the next couple of days to give an idea of what the collection looks like.

Until next time,

The White Sale and the Sewing Room Remodel

The white sale

For this curiosity seeker the title has enabled me to compress the two things I wanted to write about into one topic, that of white and the impact it has on me and the trade of quilt making.

I have discovered within myself a great penchant for using white as a choice of fabrics.  I did not start out that way; in fact you could say that I avoided it through most of my initial quilt projects.  Having a great love of quilts, my wife and I purchased a lot of magazines, went to a lot of quilt shows, and visited a host of online sites to view finished quilts and patterns.

As I pointed out the quilts or patterns that I liked the most it became clear to me the thread of commonality among my choices, there was a lot of white fabric in my list of favorites.

I started using white in the quilts I was making and voila! I became happier with the finished quilts.  I honestly think it’s the stark contrast between colors, or how the white can extend a lighter colored block of fabric beyond its borders.

The white sale II

After shopping online and in stores I came to the conclusion that no one except for specialty stores were selling what we needed for the sewing room remodel.  The specialty shops were so far out of our price range it was incredible.  Yes, there products were perfect for use and would definitely improve anything we had in mind, but the cost was most definitely prohibitive.

Back to the drawing board I went searching hopelessly for something that would satisfy our space requirements and our pocket books.  IKEA had just what I had been hoping for on their website.  People may read this and say “DUH”, but I’ve never been to an IKEA store and no, I haven’t been living under a rock.  The problem with this store was that I had never been there but needed to see and measure each piece we were considering for purchase.

My great idea was to go there about noon on Saturday and wrap up no later than 2pm…  anyone who’s shopped at an IKEA store is laughing right about now.  I’m a good sport however and am laughing with them at my own ignorance.  For those of you who have never shopped there, well let me just refer to the phrase rats in a maze.  The cheese by the way isn’t along your journey through the place, just like a rats maze you’ll have to wait to reach the end before you can find satisfaction.

When we arrived home at something approaching 5pm, exhausted as I was Sunday was Mother’s day and I wasn’t going to have my wife waiting to use the new furniture when I could “easily” put it together that night!

The dread of messing something up washed over me as I opened the first box of parts and began assembly.  By the end of the first two hours, not only had I completed sewing table it had gone together so well hope sprang from within at the thought of the three other pieces of furniture waiting for assembly.

By midnight, all the pieces were assembled and positioned in the first of many configurations.

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This is what we were using!!


These are the new cabinets facing the entry wall

The new sewing tables and cutting board

The new sewing tables and cutting board


Quilting Room Remodel

I like many of my fellow quilters have a knack for collecting (hoarding) all things quilting (fabric, scissors, cutters, etc…).  This brings me to the love seat.  A love seat that I have to admit, I actually despised when my wife suggested we buy the living room set and bring it to our new home here in Texas.  I didn’t like the color, the fabric, and if you sat in it, you would be under the distinct impression that it wanted to throw you right back off.  After five years it was my turn to pick a new living room set.  At that point, even my wife admitted that the old couch and love seat were uncomfortable.

So, rather than trying to sell our old set and have someone pay to become uncomfortable in their own living room, I set the couch out on the curb.  When my wife saw the love seat still in the house, she ask why we weren’t setting it out as well.  I thought as we converted one of the bedrooms into a sewing room that we could use the love seat as a place to sit when only one of us was sewing (she scoffed at the idea).  I had this thought of curling up on the thing and being able to spend time chatting while the other person was sewing.

It became nothing of the sort…  At present, on the couch, are an assortment of different projects in the last stages of completion.  This has been its main function for over a year.  Lost to me was the fact that I could never be comfortable on it and would always sit across from her at my sewing station instead.  Time to let go and utilize the space for a more purposeful reason and to admit that yes, my wife was right… we should have gotten ride of it a long time ago.

An old leather swivel chair provides some comfort while sewing which I had to talk my wife into letting me keep even prior to the sewing room.  It sat in our bedroom for a while with nowhere else to store it.  When we turned the other bedroom into a sewing room, it had a new purpose, my sewing chair!  Score one for the hoarders!!  My wife has been using one of the dinning chairs that we kept from the old dinning set.  It is very uncomfortable and not the best idea that we’ve ever had.  As part of the room remodel however, our children are buying her a proper swivel chair for mother’s day.

I’ve seen many pictures of what some people have as their sewing/craft rooms and have to admit I’m jealous with the amount of space they have.  Because of the love seat and the distinct lack of square footage, our cutting is currently done on the coffee table  in the front room.  Our ironing station is set up and taken down in the hallway, and our sewing is done on… you guessed it, a dinning room table that I moved into the sewing room when we bought a new dining room set.  The old dining table was on its last leg when it was replaced, well its last three legs to be more specific.  It has the unusual tendency to shimmy ever so slightly when we are sewing at the same time.  It’s a bit like sewing on a really great washing machine that is perpetually stuck on the spin cycle.

I’m finally ready to bid the love seat and dinning table goodbye and rearrange the room, replacing the old dinning table with two sewing tables, setting up a cutting station, ditching the love seat, and buying some shelving for the bare walls.  The ironing can then be set up in the sewing room and broken down when it isn’t needed.

Here is the before look of the room and I’ll post a picture after we’ve converted it into a friendlier space.

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Another Friday, another WINNER!!

And the WINNER IS!!


If this is you, please email me at to claim your prize.


 Wow, what a great set of fabrics!!  12 different 18″ x 18″ fabrics and they’re all yours if you win!!

Also included are instructions on how to turn these fabrics into a carrying bag.  It doesn’t include the handle piece, but who knows what you’ll make from these fabrics.

The weekend that got away from me… complete with pictures!

Can you imagine trying to get FOUR quilts done in one weekend?  That’s what my wife and I attempted to accomplish… and failed miserably.

We started trying to do the two blue pinwheel quilts, but as I said in a previous post… shopping comes first!  So, after work on Friday we made a special trip into Fort Worth that has the largest selection available.  I wanted to be able to get some early Christmas fabric as soon as I could and this is what I found:

Back to the story though, Saturday morning came and I had a leisurely breakfast followed by an unbelievably long problem at work that needed to be taken care of.  Fast forward to 1pm on Saturday when I finally had the time to “Start” the pinwheels.  I was feeling confident that I could still manage to make three of the quilts at that point.

Sunday morning came and we started to get the ball rolling early.  We were making good time until a comment from me stopped play again…  have you ever heard of a couple fighting over seam allowances and construction techniques?  We don’t argue that often, but this seemed to be the weekend for everything to go askew so why not?

As you can see, we made up, but that caused another four-hour stoppage!  Then as we’re setting the blocks together, you might have already guessed… they did not line up the way they were supposed to.  Blame it on Karma or a cosmic joke, but no matter what we did they were off here and there.  It was 6pm on Sunday night at this point and we were about to call it quits without having completed even one quilt.

They panels were done however and we just needed to sew them together.  Of course they didn’t line up.  We tried to figure out what to do with them and in the end came up with an idea that we’ll try later this week and I’ll post pictures of.  In the mean time, here are the panels together.

At 7pm on Sunday night we decided to start work on the purple.  It requires almost 150 squares, we did not finish cutting both sets of it out.  Here are some  pics of the material and the blocks that were finished.

How much do YOU charge?

I was reading an article on selling your quilts and although that is something that I’ve done before, I find that letting go of something made is a lot easier said than done.  What do I charge for something that I’ve spent time and effort on?  I’ve talked to a lot of people about this and there are hundreds of sites out there that go over the topic.  The best I’ve been able to glean is to charge .05 an inch.  I did the math and on the surface that sounds reasonable if you are quilting it down yourself.  If another person is involved quilting it however, most of the money you make will go to the quilter and the fabric shop.

After thinking about this for quite some time, I’m not sure that I will sell any of the quilts I make at least not at .05 an inch.  I do not quilt them myself… yet!  The wonderful quilters I’m able to use don’t do a simple meander, they quilt in designs that are rich and dense and take the fabric from being a blanket, to a quilt that will last several lifetimes if cared for properly.  I like to think of them as more than something to keep you warm, they ARE works of art or more correctly, usable works of art.

To give you an idea of size and cost here’s a quick look:

Crib Twin Queen King
36” x 54” 65” x 88” 86” x 93” 104” x 93”
1944 square inches 5720 square inches 7998 square inches 9672 square inches
$97 at .05 per inch $286 $400 $485
Quilter Quilter Quilter Quilter
$40 $150 $200 $275
Fabric Fabric Fabric Fabric
$20 $50 $80 $100
For your labor…  $37 For your labor… $86 For your labor… $120 For your labor… $115

These are just some figures that I’ve encountered.  I think this is why I would have a difficult time letting any of my quilts go for sale, or at least not at the .05 per inch amount.

Shopping and Other Sins

I have purchased fabric for my next six large quilts over the past couple of months.  I’m also thinking about which projects that I would like to make for Autumn and after that for Christmas.  So, why did I find myself at a fabric store yesterday afternoon on my way home from work???  I normally do not buy my backing fabric for any of my quilts until before I drop it off to the long arm.

I don’t know if this is common throughout the quilting community, to buy the backing while buying the rest of the fabric to ensure color coordination, but I like to live on the edge!  There have been a couple of times where I was stressed for not finding the “right” material to go with the rest of colors that I had in the quilt, but it’s always worked out for me.

My wife and I like a lot of the same color schemes, but when it comes to what colors work well in our quilts it becomes vastly different.  We’ve learned to accept our differences of opinion when it comes to each others’ quilt material selection.  At times we jokingly try to steal a piece of fabric from one another.

So, back to the store where I’m standing there looking for a reason to buy more fabric… I come across one that would be perfect for the persian plum block of the month quilt I’m in the process of making.  It wasn’t on sale and I almost bought it any way… that’s when you know you have a problem issue and probably need to just… walk… away.  I feel very good about myself because I did walk away and will wait until at least the 1st before I shop again!

Shopping Day

Yesterday was a shopping day for me.  I had specifically purchased fabrics for three quilts minus the backings, but had received a couple of coupons from Joann Fabrics for 30% in addition to any other discounts.  So, off to the store I went where I found the Heidi Grace fabric collection.

This I thought would make a really nice queen size quilt.  I ended up buying enough of the fabric to make a queen and a twin.  My plan was to make a twin first as a sort of proof of concept and then make the queen.  I had assumed that I could readily find a pattern for this fabric set… and that’s what I get when I assume!  I laughed until I cried.  I will find something suitable however and soldier on.

I also found a couple of quick nursery blanket kits that I intend on making for my nephew and niece:

And of course a shopping trip wouldn’t be complete without buying some more Jelly Rolls

There was another item I was able to pick up was some of my favorite Warm & White batting.  Have you done any shopping lately?

Sewing supplies

Well I am going shopping tomorrow for sewing supplies. Considering that I only have the sewing machine and no material, notions, or scissors, I have a lot that I need to purchase. Any suggestion?? That’s it until the weekend folks.

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