Busy week

I am in the midst of a little bit of chaos. One of the good things is my mother-in-law is visiting. I am excited and happy she is here. However, any visitor requires me to maintain the façade that always have a clean house. Yes, there isn’t a layer of dust and ketchup on most of the horizontal surfaces of my house and hand and foot prints on most of the walls.

What is nice is the house cleans up pretty good. Steve even painted the walls of the front porch. He bought floor paint also, but time got away from him with all of the things going on. He plans on finishing the floor later this summer, as part of our four year plan to have the house really nice by graduation 2017.

We also noticed we were very low on chairs. So I went out with my usual dining room chair budget of five dollars each to get new chairs. I found these at a garage sale for twenty dollars for four. I am very happy with them, only one has a slight crack in the upholstery. I have had chairs like this before and I know they are super easy to recover so I may do that in the future. Steve wants to paint the carved insert red. I am not convinced because we have nothing else red in our house. However,  I agree with him that it would look super neat.


We also found these chairs for seven dollars each:


They look like they have been in our house forever. They are very comfortable and came with these matching pillows.

The other thing going on is the rain. We have had incredible amounts in Minneapolis- all of Minnesota really.  We are in the midst of what is already the 2nd wettest June on record, with a strong shot at the wettest. The parkway is very flooded and we even had a small amount of water in the basement.  I am including a link to some footage shot kitty-corner from my church.


The nice thing about much of Minneapolis is that we  have a history of a edge of public space around our streams and lakes.  For this reason, there is a buffer between the parkway and buildings.  So it hasn’t bad as it could be.

rainbow of denim

I know I am a day late, but I was away. I was visiting my sister and got to see my little nephew get confirmed. It was great to see everyone and get to spend time with my family. My mom really surprised me when she brought out two large boxes of jeans that she had picked up at her church sale for five dollars. She picked them from a quilter who could no longer work with denim because her hands were bothering her. I am excited to start working with them!


I love the gradations of pink she picked up. I am low on red and pink in general and have none in denim. I have an idea for these already. I also like all of the stripes.

In the group, I found two pairs that fit me:


I plan to dye these and use them for shorts.

As soon as I saw these orange ones, I was knew they would make a great skirt. They are very large, so I can completely rework them.  The color is wonderful!


Thanks, Mom. I love them all. I can’t wait to start working with them!



Not much happening here. I have been sick and just moving slowly. So, no sewing. But I will show you something that gives me great joy. A few years back I bought a salad bowl pot from the farmer’s market. I spent eight dollars and enjoyed it very much. I realized I could replicate this for the cost of seeds. So a few weeks ago, I planted some herbal seeds, some radish seeds, lettuce and peas. I am happy with how quickly it is growing.

new old project

I haven’t spoken about this project for many years. I actually looked back, and I had written about I on my very first blog in 2007. Steve gave me several of his old Hawaiian shirts many years ago.  I thought that I would make a quilt out of them.  I actually pieced them, but I was never quite happy with them.  I saw a pieced tunic top on a friend at work.  I decided to make a pieced garment.  Here is where I am now:


I always seem to work on a more summer focused project around this time of year.  It’s nice to daydream, especially when the weather here has finally started to warm a little.

down proof

I have a problem with my down coat.  It sheds at a enormous rate.


All those white specks are down.  The are getting all over my clothes. I had recently read an article about make down garments.  In order to make a down garment, you need to use down proof fabric, in other words fabric that down can’t get through. I didn’t have any such fabric except ticking.


Yes, traditional ticking.  Not a match at all for my black polyester jacket.  Then I remembered this little bit of black quilting fabric I had.


I sewed them together used them as one piece of fabric.


I am happy with how it turned out.  When it is hanging it looks ok and the down does not come through it.

Plaid surprise


I am still working on mending the t-shirt quilt.  The mending is so full-scale that some parts had to be cut out or completely covered.  The main part of the quilt’s back was so worn that I needed to cover the whole thing.  I didn’t want to spend money on it, plus I am going through a rather dry spell due to the new expenses of high school and so many birthdays.  So I took Steve shopping in the fabric stash.  He picked out two flannel shirts: one orange and one yellow, an old pink- red blouse and a plaid seersucker shirt. I was not certain that they would work together.  However, this is his quilt so I went with it.

But if you saw all these plaids together would you believe they are a good fit?  Yet they work surprisingly well.  I should know better than to doubt the artist’s eye.

Sweater cut down


We had received a couple sweaters from my friend, Patti.  The color and material were nice. They were men’s sweaters but huge.  Paul said he liked this oatmeal colored one.  So, I measured the boy across his chest and around his arms and then drew those lines on the sweater.

You can see Paul’s measurements sketch on the left bottom.


I carefully trimmed off the ribbing from the bottom of the sweater to save it intact.


Then I cut to my measurements.


I just trimmed the sleeves, so I didn’t have to mess with the ribbing.

Here is the finished sweater on the awesome 9th grade GQ model- ready for high school.

paul sweater

busy week

We are have some friends coming over today so I have been doing crazy cleaning.   That combined with vacation bible school, back to school planning and anxiety (countdown to ninth grade: 7 days) have left me no time to sew.  So while I was at Savers in the back pack area, which conveniently is right next to the sewing section, I found a few treats.  First, because an idle mind daydreams on new projects not projects already started:


I am thinking about a sleeveless sweater.

My big surprise was this:


For 3 dollars I got this package of a couple of fat quarters and a bundle of six inch squares.  I could only see the top, so imagine my surprise when I discovered these:


In the inside of the pack some great pieces right in the palette for the friendship quilt! I can’t wait to show my friend when she comes over today!  My inspiration is reinvigorated. And hopefully in a week or so, I should have some actual sewing going on.


I have been super productive this week, or perhaps some projects that I have slowly incrementally been working on have come to a point where they are interesting to look at.

I am super glad to announce:  I finished mending the utility quilt!  It has been on my Get it done list for three months. This quilt was given to me by my uncle.  The quilt is special because was made by my grandmother.  It was beat up when we got it, and we used it hard. I can see on this quilt the incremental improvement of my sewing skills because I have mended it several times over the years.  I have two reasons for mending it so much: that my grandmother made it and that the back still is in one piece.


We got our tax money last week so I altered one of the two pairs of jeans I bought at Savers.  My singular pair of jeans that I have had for umpteen years were getting worn.  I am not much of a jean wearer, but people start to look at you strange at work if you don’t wear denim on casual Friday. Each pair was five dollars.  I love the dark indigo color. I liked how they fit me around the top, but the legs were too wide.  I am not a boot cut girl, having grown up in the eighties.  So I tightened the legs and they are much more form-fitting.  (By the way, if you want to see my video on how to do this it is: how to narrow jeans on you tube). I still need to hem them up one more time.


I also finished  quilting the first frame of the ducky quilt.  Hopefully, I will get it attached to the quilt today. Here is a close up of the flowers I quilted.  This is the back. Unfortunately, it is a little hard to see.


I also met with my friend, Veronica, and we began actual work (not planning or shopping) on our Caribbean Friendship Quilt.  Right now, I am working on two group projects, (one is a secret surprise).  This is a new way for me to work so I am hoping I learn a lot about my process.  Below is a build up of the first applique (not complete) of a purple tropical flower.  For this block we used a technique I learned from Sewing with Nancy on PBS.  It is from the fusible Art quilt series.  You put fusible web on the back of your fabric, peel the release paper. Cut each piece of the design and reassemble on the release paper ironing as the applique is layered.  The applique can then be peeled away as a unit.


Here is our inspiration from Andre Gunther photography:

Blue Flowe - Maui - Hawaii

I think we have good start and I’m excited to work on it.  I think it will be more like a quilt of tiny quilts, each very detailed but joined together.

Wow! A lot going on.



This mending topic is really interesting to me. Because of the level of energy , fabric memories and meanings I put into the initial quilt, I have a great emotional attachment.  Then, as I use the quilt, touch it and look at it on my bed, I have even more of a connection.  So when the quilt begins to enter into its end life I am sad. I mend far beyond what I probably should. Then, I cut it up and recycle it, to mixed results.  I have one of my grandmother’s quilts that has another prettier but really worn quilt inside.  I know that it was frugality that made her use the quilt as a batt, but I wonder if it was also an emotional thing.  In any case, one of my goals in 2013 was to catch up on my mending and I just finished mending this quilt, which I call the fish quilt.


Now this quilt I made when I was working at the sewing machine store.   That was one whole eighth grade boy ago.  Or three jobs ago.  In any case, this is a light weight summer quilt.  When I was in college, I took a surface design class and the professor made a garbage can full of indigo dye.  I knew that I would probably never have a chance to use indigo (and that has held true) so I took tons of fabric over and dipped it.  The rectangles in the center, which unfortunately have faded (indigo fades very fast, think of jeans), were my samples for the class.  I regretfully used a crappy grey fabric for the borders which is slowly decaying.  So the red “fish” are actually patches.  I added some more of these and then I rebound it and it is all mended. Aforementioned eighth grade boy was wrapped up in it last night.

Now, I had meant to mend Steve’s t-shirt quilt this month.  It is a quilt that is beat the heck.  I began to patch it, then realized that the back was so worn, it would be better to lay whole new back on.  This t-shirt quilt is a contemporary of the fish quilt, but the fish quilt’s back is so much less worn.  I was pretty broke when I made the fish quilt and I used a cotton/poly blend for the back.  It is not as pretty but it certainly has worn so much better than the t-shirt quilt with a cotton quilting solid back.  In any case, if the top was less worn, I would just reback it.  However, it also needs considerable mending. So, I decided that I would remake the whole quilt since Steve still has a lot of feeling for it.  I will eventually cut out the pieces that are still functional and use them in a new quilt for him.  Since I have a large quilt in progress that I want to finish in the next few months, I don’t want to dive into another big project right now.