Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Well, Hello Again!

Oh, my, how did almost a month slip away? From the looks of this blog, I've given up quilting and writing about it all together. I really didn't mean to take a time away, but if you are a reader of this little blog, you'll know that I've been working on a project that I've decided not to share until the recipients have it in their hands. I thought it would be a quick project, but it turns out that although there are few blocks in the quilt, they have LOTS of little pieces that could be chained pieced but (for design reasons) not mass cut. So the only way to get the top pieced in a (somewhat) timely way was to cut myself off from most social media. I'm happy to say the top is pieced now. And the back is pieced. In fact, as of this afternoon, the quilt is also about 1/4 of the way quilted. So I think it's time to get back in a routine again. And I've missed blogs (and some pretty neat blog hops) for sure. 

So, lets see. What can I show you? Oh yes. Because my quilt blocks were big and had lots of pieces, I needed a way to transfer them from my design wall to my sewing machine (downstairs). I came up with an impromptu mini design wall. In my basement I found an old poster frame with a hardboard (masonite?) back. I laid some old strips of batting over the board and clipped the plastic frame parts around hold the batting in place. It's not pretty, but it worked great. Sometime I'll either sew those batting strips together or find a bigger single batting scrap to use instead. 
What else? Oh, the closet. I think I have a finish I can show you. I know, I know. A closet--or a whole sewing space--is a work in progress. But I'm happy with how the closet is working for me now, so I'm calling it a finish. To refresh your memory, here's what it looked like Before:
Besides the mess, notice the blue contact paper covered bookcase and the sponge painted chest.

And here are some Afters:
I'm so happy with how this looks, I leave the doors open all the time. I think it gives me incentive to keep things neat. The yellow fabric bins are working out really well for keeping smaller bits of fabric. I have them divided by color, although two bins are reserved for my solids collection and solids scraps. I love how clean the bookcase looks with its fresh coat of paint. My binoculars are close at hand for reducing the view of quilt projects when they're up on the design wall. There are an organizer for scissors and other frequently used items, a bowl of fabrics for the current project, and small yellow plastic bins of markers, lights and other tools. I do have other fabric, but it's kept in a six-drawer dresser in the main part of the room. 
The left side of the closet has a wall with rulers hung on it and my ironing board. The top shelf has a tote of totes--not really sewing stuff, but some things just needed to stay from pre-cleaning. The laundry basket has yarn-related stuff in it. The bookcase has what's left of my magazine and book collection after a huge cleanout.
Here's the right side of the closet. Look how cute that old chest looks with the paint. No more sponge paint. The drawers hold ribbons, knitting needles, my button collection, and other crafty things/sewing notions.The bin on top of the chest holds my batting. Next to it is my sewing lamp. Hangers hold some Works-In-Progress, and in the dead spot in the corner are a few little-used items such as rolled patterns from large art quilts.  And on the top shelf is a bin with my old dolls and one with special baby clothes. I don't mind having these in there because I did part with several bins of other toys and baby items.

I also cleaned up a bookcase in the main part of the room. It used to look like this: 
Here's the After:
I removed most of the old birdhouses.The bottom two shelves still hold random books, but I've reserved the top three shelves for mostly sentimental things. The black-framed pictures are free-form designs I made in the Paint program on my computer. I think they bring a nice zing of color to the back of the shelves. They used to hang in my office at work after the town Fire Marshall ruled that fabric items (like my awesome quilt) couldn't be hung in school buildings. On the top shelf is an autograph book from the 1930's that belonged to my aunt. The middle shelf holds my old name badge (with a little house) from back when I was active in the town quilt guild. My mom's picture is on the third shelf. She taught me to sew my own clothing on her sewing machine (now mine) when I was in junior high. I'm sure these shelves will change frequently depending on my whims. In fact, I just added something I found last week: 
A puzzle box. It was sitting on a shelf at an antique mall. Here's what it looks like open:
Some of the old sewing machine attachments are missing, and the velvet lining has a little tear, but I don't mind. I'm not planning to use the attachments anyway. I just like the old box and how it folds up. Oh, except that stiletto. I'm thrilled to finally have one of those. I've already used it to pull my bobbin thread up when I'm quilting. There was another box at the antique mall that was maybe a little more complete, but it cost nearly 10 times as much as this one, so I'm happy with my little purchase. And now it has a special spot on my shelf.

Now I have other projects in the works (in my mind). I have some rainbow colored fabric that's calling to me for a donation quilt. There's a timeline attached, so I have to consider carefully if I can get this done over what remains of the summer and still keep some balance in my life. 
The top row is fabric I won long ago in a giveaway. It seems like it was just waiting for this. The bottom row is a mix of leftovers from other quilts (including some from another giveaway). I feel like I really need to make this quilt, even if it means shifting some priorities. I'll mull it over for the next day or so while I quilt. 

When I wasn't sewing this past month, I was playing with grands and bike riding. We've had really variable temperatures this summer (like 90 degrees F one day followed by low 60's another). We've taken advantage of the cool days to ride parts of a new-to-us bike trail as well as other trails close to home. We also spent a day with my Dad going on a boat ride on a river on the west side of the state and out into Lake Michigan. I'll finish this post with pictures from those mini-vacations (day-cations?). Lots of pictures--if you're interested. But if you don't want to stick around, that's okay, too. 
Bike trail from St Johns to Ovid, Michigan. Straight, straight trail, but so pretty. 

Fowler to Pewamo to Muir, Michigan. Bridge over an old railroad trestle. A cloudier day, but pretty in its own way, and so comfortable.

Isn't this just the cutest bike trail rest stop? It's a mini replica of the rail station that used to be here, put up by this tiny town just for people using the trail. There are artifacts of the old railroad in shadowbox-like windows on the sides of the building. 
And there's even a mini lending library, top shelf for children, bottom shelf for adults. Best bike rest stop I've ever seen.
Saugatuck, Michigan on the Kalamazoo River.
Enjoying the river on a paddle boat.
The weather was calm enough to take the boat into Lake Michigan. Such a lovely day.
Independance Day bike ride to a local park. We are in a drought, so there was a ban on fireworks. That made it a rather quiet, but beautiful, day.
I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River and Sew Fresh Quilts for their weekly linky parties. Click on the links or on the buttons on the right. See you soon. I hope.


Mari said...

Well, just looking at those rainbow fabrics tells me that you have to make that quilt! I love your new closet. So much better for creativity. I've been without my quilt books and magazines for almost a year now and I've really only missed a couple of them. Just clearing out all that clutter is going to open up so many possibilities!

Jealous of your lake pictures! Enjoy the rest of the short week.

Valerie Reynolds said...

With scenery like that I'd be taking many daycations the inside sewing for winter! Your reorganized closet is heaven! (LOVE the yellow!) My July in blogland will be quiet as I have lots of family in town and adventures with little grand guy the end...we are all here for one another.

EmileeHope said...

Awesome job organizing! I love your fabrics for the rainbow donation quilt!!

Sandra Walker said...

So glad I randomly typed in my 'www' bar the beginnings of your blog URL to see if you'd posted...and you HAD! What a wonderful post, and it had me exclaiming aloud: I HAVE ONE OF THOSE PUZZLE SEWING ACCESSORIES BOXES! It was my grandma's. I'm curious to know how much they go for, not that I'd ever part with it; it was willed to me along with her 1904 Singer treadle machine. LOVE seeing the Michigan shots, but I LOVE Michigan, as you know. Cutest bike rest EVER. Your closet and bookcase make me long for my walk-in closet I used to have...looks wonderful wow. Ingenious portable mini design wall! We had fireworks, always the Monday before the July 1/4 holidays, but they were over the Detroit River so maybe that's why it was okay?

Bernie Kringel said...

Welcome back!! I knew you'd return. :-)
I love all of the reorganizing you did in the sewing room. I bet you just feel calmer when you are working in there. It looks so pretty. Mine is a bit of a jumble and could certainly use some attention.
I am looking forward to seeing your current project as well as the rainbow quilt. That is a pretty pull of fabric. Hope you can work out the timing to get it done.
Your staycation pics are lovely. Glad to hear you are enjoying summer!

KaHolly said...

You have been super busy! No wonder you haven't had time to blog! I need to clean out and reorganize my sewing closet, too! You live in a lovely area.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

I can't wait to see what you have been working on and that was a neat idea to use something large to keep the pieces of your block together. Great job on the closet! Wow does it look neat and beautiful! I enjoyed all the pictures especially the ones by the water!

Paige said...

I loved the photos...all so beautiful! Great organizing too!