Friday, December 5, 2014

The Story of "Pearl"

First off, I want to apologize (again) for being MIA for so long!  Things have been NUTS at Chez Rosie, and I just haven't had a chance to sit down and write a post :(

Today, I'm taking a break from showing pics of my WIPs or finished projects (yes, I do have quite a few ready to share... just need pics) to tell you a story.  It's a story that starts back almost 9 years ago.... (WARNING.... Long post ahead..)

Back in 2006, I lost my job as a Merchandising Assistant at the corporate OfficeMax headquarters.  I had worked my way up thru the company, starting at the bottom as a CopyMax associate when I was 16... all the way up to corporate.  9 years with the company!  They were bought by Boise Cascade and were relocating to Chicago.  They offered for me to move, but I just couldn't do it, especially because I had just gotten married and my new Hubby would have to move out there without a job.  So... I took the voluntary lay-off.  With that came 10 months of severance pay, and 9 months of a "retention bonus" for working until the last day.  I was sad to go, seeing as though it was all I knew, but also excited for the future.

About two weeks before my last day, I decided I was going to spend a little of my hard-earned retention bonus on something for myself.  Off to a local sewing machine store I went.  After spending way too long in the store, I finally settled on a gently used, Brother PC-6500.  The nice thing when you buy a used machine from this shop is that they include EVERYTHING that was traded in with the machine.  All little bits and bobs that are extra, the memory cards of designs, plus all the hoops that would have needed to be purchased separately.  I made out like a bandit.  Loaded her into my car, and away I went.  The next weeks were spent acquiring supplies, (thread, stabilizer, designs, things to embroider, etc.), and then as soon as my last day came, I was ready to get to crafting!  

I put her thru a workout!  Everything from onesies, to baby blankets, to totebags and sweatshirts.... if it didn't move, I embroidered it!  I was having a ball!  So much so, that I begged my mom to come over and check it out.

Mom came by a few days later after work, and at first thought I was nuts for spending so much money on a machine just to do embroidery on.  However, she quickly changed her mind once she saw how it worked and how easy it was!  The next thing I know, she's asking me to embroider things for her... eventually getting to the point of where she wants one too!

Fast forward a few months to November of that year.  Mom and Dad were out Black Friday shopping and happened to stop into the Viking dealer in our local JoAnn's store.  It was there that she fell in love..... A Husqvarna Viking Designer SE.  Knowing my mom, she got a killer deal on her (especially on Black Friday).  She couldn't wait to tell me, so she called me as soon as she got home to brag ;-)  Jealous wasn't even the word for it..... Her new "baby" had so many features that my Brother didn't have, it was so quiet and did such a beautiful job.... I was green with envy.  Since that day, many years ago, I made her promise that she would leave me her embroidery machine in her will and I would inherit it when she died (my sister wouldn't even know what it was... so there would have been no objection from her.. lol).

Now, over the past few years.... my already old machine got older.  She started being temperamental and sometimes more of a pain to deal with than she was worth.  I packed her up and put her away in the closet.  All my supplies, I gave to my mom.  I hoped that one day I would be able to take her in to the repair shop and have her looked at, but with it being almost an hour away... I never made it there.

Back in April when I made the Survivor Rag Quilt for my mother-in-law, I wanted to do a bit of embroidery on it.  Initially, I was going to just head on over to mom's house to do it, but then I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it on mine first.  If it didn't work out, I had a backup plan.  So... I got her out of the closet and dusted her off.  Mom had given me back some of my supplies for me to use, so I got some fabric all hooped up, loaded up the design, said a prayer, and hit the "Start" button....

I was pleasantly surprised... she didn't do too bad!  I managed to get all the embroidered squares done for the quilt with no issues!  However, being done with my project, I put her back in the closet for the time being.  I didn't have any embroidery projects coming up, so there was no immediate need.  She still doesn't handle very intricate designs very well, and breaks threads constantly.

Fast forward now to last week... Tuesday to be exact.  It was the day I turned the big 3-3.  I usually despise my birthday and beg everyone not go go overboard with things.  No gifts, no big fuss... just a call or text to wish me Happy Birthday is fine by me.  I should have known better to know that my family NEVER listens and they do what they want anyways.  On Monday, I got a call from my mom, asking if we could come by on Tuesday night.  They wanted to see me for my birthday.  Now... not two weeks prior, she had called and asked if we could just do my birthday (that was on the 25th) and her birthday (that was on the 29th) together when we went out to dinner on Saturday night.  I was totally fine with that!  Now, she wants to throw a curve ball at me... demanding I stop over on Tuesday night.  Fine....

Hubby and I pulled in their driveway Tuesday night, thinking it would be in-and-out in an hour.  WRONG!  In the driveway was my sister and BIL's car... which means it wasn't just a little something.  I put my big girl panties on and dealt with it.  After some play time with my adorable niece, Miss L, it was time for cake.  We weren't even thru cutting the cake and my mom insisted we started opening gifts.  GIFTS?!?!?!?

See, about two years ago, we decided that we weren't going to be doing birthday/anniversary/mother's day/father's day gifts anymore.  Just a card... and that was perfect!  So, I opened the awesome card from my sister, and then my mom shoved a gift bag in front of me.  Opened the card, and it was from my mom & dad.  In the gift bag was a shipping box.  Opened the box and inside was a great Nancy Zieman book she found for me... along with two spiral bound books.  I looked at the covers and they read "Owner's Manual" and "Owner's Handbook."  Perplexed, I continued opening the rest of the stuff in the gift bag.  It was a little bundle that included what looked like a power cord and a software CD.  Ok, now I'm totally confused!  I hear "Happy Birthday Rosie" from behind me.  It was my dad, holding something wrapped in one of those decorated garbage bag kinda things.  He put it down on the table infront of me, and I eagerly opened it up..... It was a Designer SE.... just like hers!!!

"Pearl" - My new-to-me Viking Designer SE
Not only did I burst into tears, but I practically tackled my mom with the biggest hug I think I've ever given anyone!  As I calmed myself down and got to inspecting my new "baby."  On the manuals and on the boxes for the hoops, it had my mom's name written on them...... WHAT?!?!  I asked her if this was her machine, and she put her head down and nodded.  I started crying... AGAIN!!!  I just couldn't believe it!!!

So, I asked her what she was going to do now without a machine.  She just looked at me.  I asked her if she got a new machine too (seeing as though her 60th birthday was on Saturday, it was a possibility)... she just put her head down and nodded.  Immediately I started grilling her about it, and she confessed... she got the Husqvarna Viking Diamond Royale!!!! Holy cow is that thing amazing!

But... that is the story as to how "Pearl" came into my life.  My mom could have traded her in towards her new machine... but she knew how much I wanted her and she wanted her to go to a new, loving home.  I am truly blessed to have such wonderfully supportive family.  My mom is the reason I know how to sew.  She has taught me (almost) everything I know... and I owe my passion for creating things to her.  She is my biggest cheerleader, with my Hubby and my Dad being next in line.  I just can't believe what a lucky girl I am!

Gave "Pearl" a quick workout the other night and did a quilt label.  I'm a little out of practice with reading the color change sheets, but I'll get back in the swing of things in no time!  Ordered some supplies from Amazon, and I was off and running!  I can't wait to use her to make all my quilt labels for the Christmas gifts, and then I have a couple special projects to work on after the holidays... one being a nice wall-hanging for my sewing room.  I can't wait!

Sorry for the long-winded post.  I've been meaning to write this up for the past week, I just haven't had a chance.  Stay tuned for more adventures with "Pearl" and to see what I've been doing with "Rosie."  My "girls" have been and will continue to be busy, busy, busy.

Hope everyone is having a fantastic Friday, and have a great weekend to come!

Linking back to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts , TGIFF at Quokka Quilts, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Link-A-Finish Friday at Richard & Tanya Quilts

Friday, November 21, 2014

TGIFF: Quick 'N Easy Potholders

I needed a quick break from working on my Garden Party quilt, so I whipped up a couple of really quick and easy potholders for Christmas gifts for co-workers :)

I was searching for a pattern for something that wouldn't take too long, would be relatively inexpensive, and creative to do for the gal's at work.  Countless websites later, I finally found the Quilt Expressions blog and fell in love with their tutorial for some potholder gifts.

Armed with coupons, I headed off to JoAnn's last Saturday and rummaged around the last remaining bits of Christmas fabric they had.... they were pretty picked clean!  Grabbed some pairs of fabric and a couple of yards of Insul-Bright, and I was on my merry way.

Before I could get started though, I was kinda forced into cleaning up my craft room.  Had a bit of an avalanche of shopping bags that were piled up in the corer of materials for gifts as well as some additions to my stash.  Took about 2 hours, but I got it all organized and put away.

I ended up re-folding all the fabric from JoAnn's before attempting to put it away.  I really loathe when they fold up the cuts, especially when I'm waited on by this young guy that works there.  He practically just rolls it up in a ball and shoves it in a bag :-(  Drives me NUTS!  Especially when now it's extremely wrinkled and not only needs to be re-folded, but also pressed even before I'm ready to use it.  Ah well, it's done and my room is back to being all nice and organized :-)

Without further ado, I give you the first of many (17 total) Christmas pot holders....

Christmas Potholders details:
I did as the tutorial instructed and attached the binding to the back and then pulled over to the front and machine quilted it together.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.  One one hand, it would be much easier to do and 10x quicker, but I'm not liking the way it looks when finished.  Thankfully, I've got a million more to make, so room for more trial and error.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Friday!

Linking back to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts , TGIFF at What a Hoot!, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Link-A-Finish Friday at Richard & Tanya Quilts

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Decisions, Decisions

Well, the Garden Party quilt is well underway. After 2 hours of playing with the layout last Friday night, I think I finally got it!

Attempt #1 - REALLY not liking it yet
I guess I didn't plan this one out properly and I REALLY struggled with how to get it evenly balanced between lights and darks. 5 tries later... I found one I thought worked so I just bit the bullet and went with it. 

Attempt #5 - Went with it and it's all pieced and ready to go
Got the "inner quilt" done and added the borders.  So... funny story...

When I was getting it all laid out Friday night, I realized I was short quite a few cornerstones and like 21 posts! Couldn't figure if I couldn't count or if the directions had the wrong numbers on it. Anywho, got it all pieced together and couldn't for the life of me figure out why I was 5" bigger in each direction than it was supposed to be. Yea, I added extra sashing and cornerstones around the WHOLE quilt when it was supposed to be just on the inside (does that make sense?). Added the first white border before I figured it out. I just rolled with it, adjusting the pieced border accordingly. Instead of adding a 2 1/2" white border around the whole thing, I cut it down to 1 1/2" instead... Too much white.

After all the mishaps with this quilt, I was so thankful to get the top done and this baby basted on Sunday :-)

I've spent the past few nights working on the quilting, and I'm planning on getting it wrapped up this weekend, permitting nothing comes up ;-)

I also managed to get a finished project done this week, so make sure to check back tomorrow and check it out!

Hope everyone is having a terrific Thursday!

I Quilt @ Pretty BobbinsMy Quilt Infatuation

Linking back to Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and I Quilt Thursdays at Pretty Bobbins.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Finish Friday: Busy Little Christmas Elf

Brace yourselves... this is gonna be another long one!!!  Two big projects to share, plus a little one for fun.  I've been a busy little Christmas elf lately... so I've got plenty to share :D

1. Downton Abbey Yellow Brick Road Quilt

This one is a Christmas gift for my grandma.  I had originally intended on giving it to her back when she was here in Ohio and in the nursing home, but she went home too fast and I didn't have a chance to finish it in time.  I actually got the top done way back at the beginning of September and started the FMQ on it.  It ended up taking a bit of a back seat to a couple of impromptu projects, but then I finally cracked down and finished it!  It's actually been done for a while, I just haven't had the chance (or decent weather outside) lately to get it photographed.  Without further ado... here are the details for this one:

Downton Abbey Yellow Brick Road Quilt Details:
This was the first project I've ever done FMQ on!  I think that's why it took a bit longer to do.  FMQ is more time consuming, plus I was so scared I was going to mess it up that I kept putting off working on it.  Sucked it up and did it.  Done, washed, and ready to wrap!

Easy Jelly Roll Quilt in 6 Sizes

Along with the layer cake I bought way back when, on one of my first orders from Missouri Star, that I used on the Lattice Quilt, I picked up this jelly roll to do a quilt for Aunt #2 for Christmas.   I picked a real simple pattern for this one... for a couple of reasons.  1) I don't have much time so I couldn't make it too fancy or I'd never finish it, and 2) my aunt isn't a "flashy" kinda gal.  This pattern and fabric fit the bill perfectly!  

This really IS an easy jelly roll quilt!  once the strips were sewn together and then cut down into blocks, the top only took 3 evenings after work to complete!  No border and just straight-line, echo stitch quilting made this one a really quick, yet pretty quilt.

Easy Jelly Roll Quilt in 6 Sizes (Lap Size):
All-in-all, it's been a very productive couple of weeks!  So happy to be able to check TWO gifts off the Christmas list.  4 down.... 5 to go!  Fortunately, 4 of the last 5 are rag quilts and shouldn't take too long... especially when I can recruit Hubby into helping me with snipping the seams :D

Oh, and I finished up a quick little project too!

I made a cute little Elf hat for my niece, Miss L.  I made the 12-24 month size, but it seems awfully big!  I may make another one in the 0-6 month size and see how that one looks.  If this one is too big, I can always give it to Hubby's DJ-ing partner's 8 year-old daughter :D

Lil' Elf Hat details:
This came out so stinking cute (plus I have a ton of yarn leftover) that I'm putting these on "the list" for the rest of "our kids" for Christmas next year! The Clover Pom-Pom makers are AWESOME and made making the pom-pom for the hat so quick and easy!  There are a ton of YouTube videos showing how to use them, and instead of just wrapping one color, I used all three at the same time.  Made a really cute, mulit-colored one :D

Well, that's it for my Friday!  Busy, busy, busy... and getting busier by the day!  Hope everyone has a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Linking back to Finish It Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts , TGIFF at Quilt Matters, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Link-A-Finish Friday at Richard & Tanya Quilts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Garden Party

So glad to be able to share with you a WIP this week!  I've been busy, chugging along on my Christmas gifts, but for whatever reason I keep forgetting to take photos, blog, etc.  I'm sorry :(  I hope you don't think I've been neglecting you! 

I wrapped up Christmas gift #4 last week (#3 of 3 going to family in PA) and couldn't wait to get started on the next one.  I found this gorgeous line over at Missouri Star and it just had Hubby's grandma's name written all over it!

The line is Lagoon by Paintbrush Studio.  I just fell in love with it!  I've also had the Garden Party quilt on my "bucket list" of patterns I want to do, so I decided to pair this fabric with that pattern, and VOILA!  Christmas gift for Gram!

Instead of 3 charm packs like the pattern calls for, I got a layer cake (a Daily Deal over on Missouri Star I think).  Just cut the 10" layer cake into 5" charms :) For the solids, I got some Bella Solids - White Bleached yardage for the sashing and borders.  240 - 1 1/2" squares to cut... and that was just for the main blocks.  Add to that another 96 needed for the border.... that was A LOT of cutting!  Lol

Sorry about the crummy lighting!  I've got lousy light in my craft room, especially after dark... so it's kinda hard to get decent pictures.
Spent the night on Sunday getting all the blocks "snowballed," and then the past couple of nights getting them trimmed and pressed.  Couldn't wait to see how it was going to look, so I quickly put together one of the blocks.  LOVE IT!!!  I really can't wait to get this one done and ready to go under the tree for Christmas :D

Sew Fresh Quilts

Linking back to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday and Sew Fresh Quilts' Let's Bee Social

Monday, November 10, 2014

Make-A-List Monday: 11/10/14

Crikey!  October completely got away from me, and it seems like November is too!  I've been productive, just haven't had the chance to write it all down.  Lol.  Thought with there being only 44 DAYS until Christmas... I really needed to put my To-Do list together to help me stay on track so I can get everything done.

The list is a "comprehensive" one, including EVERYTHING that I need to do... not just Christmas.  The saddest part of this is that about 98% of the projects on this list have been completely shopped for... just need to get done.  That's a LOT of stash!!! 

I managed to get one more of the Christmas gifts checked off the list this weekend, but there are still 5 left that are "Must Do's."  Need to keep to my "schedule" I put together and get stuff done. 

Anywho.... here's my Make-A-List Monday for this week....

  • Blog posts of finished projects - Got pictures taken over the weekend, just need to write everything up for ya'll :-)  Look for these posts later this week!
  • FINISH editing of wedding photos  - I desperately need to finish the editing on the photos from a wedding I shot in July!  I've got them about 95% done, with all the important portraits done... just have to finish up the pre-wedding photos and some of the reception photos and they'll be done.  The bride was happy with what I've given her so far, so these last few are just extras... but I need to get this project off my plate!
  • Continue working on the Garden Party Quilt - I started working on this one over the past week or so, getting everything cut and the squares snowballed.  I'm hoping to get all the 4-patch blocks done this week so by the weekend I can start assembling the top.
I'm keeping it simple this week, mainly so that it's not so overwhelming that I fall behind so quickly.  If I can get more done, I will... but for now this is a start.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and have a wonderful week to come!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday: Countdown To Christmas

Well, as of today we are "officially" 56 days away from Christmas.  I don't know about you, but that kinda freaks me out.  Just thinking about everything that I want to do/need to do before then is giving me a bit of anxiety.  Lol.

I decided back in the beginning of the summer that I wanted to do quilts for my two aunts and my grandma.  I took the first step and bought everything that I needed.... but then the stuff sat.  Why it took me until August to get started on these I'll never know.  I honestly thought, even in August, that I would have plenty of time to get them all done.  Well, the first one took a little longer than I had anticipated, the second one (which I'll be sharing on Friday) took even longer, and now I'm working on the third one... trying to get it done relatively quickly (thankfully it's an EASY pattern) but still nicely.

Quilt Top Ready To Go!

For this third quilt, I decided to do the Easy Jelly Roll Quilt (6-sizes) that I found on Craftsy.  I ordered everything I needed from Missouri Star, and got started on it about a week and a half ago. Finished up the top last night, and it's ready to go!  Planning on getting it basted and quilted by the end of this weekend so I'll have another Christmas gift checked off the list!

Sew Fresh Quilts

Linking back to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday and Sew Fresh Quilts' Let's Bee Social