Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Still Re-organizing

Have you ever noticed when you start reorganizing any area, the project just grows and grows. First I started with my fabric -- 5 very large bins of sizeable pieces (1 yard or more). That lead to going through my small bins of scraps -- 26 bins and I condensed them down to 16. Next it was the miscellaneous craft supplies -- too many bins and containers to count. Then there was the scaling down the sewing machines and sergers I own. That was an especially tough task, and so far only one is slated for the garage sale pile. In the process of checking the back recesses of the garage I discovered two more bins of fabric, a bin of purse making supplies and two more bins of scrapbooking/card making supplies. Does it ever end? I'm determined to get rid of much. But the mess just keeps growing! In the last hour I pulled down all my decoration bins from shelves in the garage. This isn't Christmas decorations, but spring, fall, winter, valentine, Easter, etc. That's another 6 large bins! Yikes -- this may take more than a week to finish. (This picture is the shelves in my studio before emptying them and deciding what stays and what goes). When it's all complete I'll post pictures of my brand new, less cluttered studio (I hope).

Monday, December 27, 2010


I've spent most of the day reorganizing my studio. I'm moving things around, eliminating a lot and donating a lot. Hopefully I can downsize. That's a hard task when you are a collector of fabric, quilt patterns, sewing machines, magazines, etc. There's more here than I could ever accomplish in my lifetime, so it's time to eliminate much of this clutter. Now that I have use of the walk-in closet in my studio, most of my sewing/quilting supplies will go in there. My goal is not to have more than I can store in the closet. I would like my studio free of all clutter. That's a lofty goal -- especially for me. Here's a couple pictures of the closet.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this blog. My stat counter statistics show that there are somewhere between 700 and 1,000 views each month. I know many of you are fellow quilters. It's a joy to share my life in my quilts but also personally.
This Christmas day has been very quiet. Only some of my family is here today. We have snacked, played games, worked on a puzzle, played with our Christmas presents and enjoyed each others company. It's been a great day.
I will not start quilting again until after the first of the new year. It's nice to have a good long break. Next week I will hopefully reorganize much of my quilt studio. With my daughter getting married, the walk-in closet that was hers (in my studio) is now ready to house my things. I would like to do some major sorting of quilt paraphernalia and have a whole lot less of everything. We'll see how that goes :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wedding is Over

I can't believe the wedding is over. So much effort is poured into one day that when it's done there's not only this huge sigh of relief but also a let-down feeling that seems to come -- "so now what do I do"! I feel like Christmas is somewhat anti-climatic after the wedding. But there's still much to do to get ready for Christmas. I haven't quite finished shopping and there's some baking still to do. Anthony and Charissa will be here on Christmas eve day and then head to his parents home for Christmas day. Then they are off to California to live. It will be hard to have them that far away. It probably is only for 6 months so that helps.
The wedding was beautiful. Because it was a small chapel and dark, all the lights and candles made it one of the prettiest weddings ever. Both my sisters were here and were so much help. I had 4 nieces and nephews that also helped so much. This wedding could not have been done without them. We had about 4 hours to decorate and have a rehearsal. Everything went very smoothly. Her dress was beautiful too. I'm glad I made it. Not sure I would do another but it was a very special labor of love and she looked radiant in it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Wedding Dress

Last night I finished the rest of the detail work on the wedding dress. The flowers were all attached to the organza layer. I made a loop and sewed on a button so that her train can be bustled for the reception and a little black jacket that she used at her high school prom was altered to wear at the reception and when she leaves. We have one more 'try on' to make sure everything is right and then the dress will get carefully put in a dress bag for the wedding day. I'm so glad to be to this point. This dress was a lot of work, but I am pleased with the final result.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I've always been pretty bold about tackling some home project -- even if I don't necessarily have the skill or know how! I'm a firm believer that you can teach yourself just about anything. There's always ways to learn how to do things; from others who have the skill, from books, and now from the internet. There's a U-Tube video on just about anything you want to know about.
I have re-upholstered several chairs in the past. It's not that easy to do and I'm certainly no expert. But when I found these chairs and footstool on Craig's List for $100.00, that was my first thought -- I could re-upholster them. I bought them, got them home and then started to think about how difficult it might be and the cost of upholstery fabric (it's not cheap). My search for fabric finally yielded the result of a purchase with coupons for about $10.00 per yard. I needed almost 14 yards to do the chairs and stool and I bought everything the store had of the fabric and it was only 12 yards. That was risky but I thought the stool could be done in a different fabric and color. It ended up that I didn't need that much so with the chairs done, there is still enough fabric left for the stool. Because of other changes in our living room, dining room and kitchen I'm decorating with black as an accent color. So the fabric had to have black in it. It also needed to be a sturdy enough fabric to withstand a lot of use. I really like what I found. It took me about 3 days to recover the chairs. The longest most tedious task was pulling all the staples out. It's hard to believe how many were in the chairs -- it had to be over a 1,000. My hands ached after a whole day of tearing the chairs apart. The original fabric was used to make a pattern for the new fabric. Putting it back together was fairly simple. I purchased an electric staple gun but after a day of use took it back. It was a 'piece of junk'. My husband went and bought a pneumatic staple gun for me to use. That was a dream and other than my being startled every time the air compressor ran, it worked so well. The work is not perfect and I learned much through the process. I reused the metal tack strips and would not do that again. I should have purchased new strips. These chairs go in one end of my dining room. I'll post pictures of the whole room with the Christmas decorations soon.

A Few More Customer Quilt Photos

Here's some more pictures of several customer quilts that were done in November.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Marathon Quilting

I am done with customer quilts until January. I did 11 quilts in a little over 2 weeks by working many days 8 - 10 hours. It was intense (so that's why there's been no recent posts). But with the wedding now just a little over 4 weeks away, I needed to finish up customer quilts and get on to wedding related things. My list is long. There is still a few details to finish on the wedding dress and the flower girl's dress. I still have to figure out my own outfit for the wedding and then all the other details such as reception table decorations etc. But all fun stuff and what a beautiful time of year to get married. It will feel good to have a break from customer quilts, especially after this marathon I just completed! :) I'll post pictures of many of the quilts soon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recent Customer Quilts

Here's a few photos of some recent customer quilts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dress Almost Done!

The wedding dress is almost done! What a relief to finally have it put together. The only thing left for me is the zipper (which will be quite difficult). My daughters are going to make the flowers that go on the dress. We made a sample yesterday and it turned out wonderfully. This morning when I started working on the dress (at about 6 am). I realized that the lace layer was too full. So I took it all apart, remade the lace layer by taking about 6 inches out of it and then resewed it back together. It was frustrating to do, but now I'm glad I did. We didn't want that full of a look around the waist. The organza layer had to be hemmed by hand. The edge was rolled narrowly and then small stitches held it in place. I'm so glad to get to this point.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wedding Dress

I spent several hours frustrated with the wedding dress yesterday and today. The lace edged fabric was not wide enough to go from the waistline seam to the edge of the train. I thought and thought about it and finally figured out that the only thing to do was to piece it. So I put a seam across the train right about at floor level. It seemed like the best place where it would be the least noticeable. Then sewing on the lace was such a hassle. It puckered all up and down the seam. I ended up serging the seams and that totally straightened them out. We bought a beaded trim yesterday to go along the top edge. I'm done for today.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Couple Customer Quilts

Here's photos of a couple October customer quilts. They were both pretty large so required quite a few hours to do. Both have lots of feathers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wedding Dress

The beading is getting done on the wedding dress. Very slow process. I am not knotting each bead in the back but each cluster of beads. First we started with just the center beads which are a small diamond shaped plastic bead. After doing a couple of these, it was easy to see that there was not enough sparkle in just these kinds of beads alone. So I bought some glass seed beads. They have a silver metal look on the inside of each bead. It's just the right touch. It looks like a snowflake -- just what Charissa wanted. I'm just adding until it seems like enough. My goal is to finish the beading this week and the rest of the dress next week!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Today is the service for my father-in-law, Louis Glen Jarmer. He passed away on October 12 after two long weeks of struggle and pain resulting from a difficult surgery. He was a good man, a faithful husband and caring father. Probably one of my fondest memories is when we arrived home from Russia with our two Russian children, exhausted and so thankful to be back on U.S. soil, there he was at the gate (and Rick's mom too) to greet his two new grandchildren. That spoke a lot to me about his character. The other great memory is how he was always interested in what I was cooking, canning or really anything going on in the kitchen. I liked that about him. He will be missed in our family's lives.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back From Quilt Retreat

I'm back from quilt retreat. It was a very good time. We enjoyed the Spokane area quilt show, shopped for some fun new home decorative items, sewed, watched girlie movies and talked a lot. It's always such a good break from everything else that is routine. This year I sewed a lap quilt for my daughter and her soon to be husband. They both love movies and this fabric was given to me about a year ago by a quilt customer. It was very simple to put together except for that diagonal seam that runs through the center square. But after some work and using tape to get the two pieces lined up and then stuck together the picture in the center came out nearly perfect. I hope to quilt it soon and give it to them at one of their showers. I also made an apron, worked on my dresden plate quilt, and a small fall wall hanging. It was good to get some of my own work done!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Off to Quilt Retreat

I am off to quilt retreat today. It almost got canceled for me. Yesterday my father-in-law passed away, so leaving on a quilt retreat didn't seem like the best idea. But my mother-in-law and husband both thought I should still go. His service won't be for a week and a half probably. In the last year and a half, there has been so much death in my life. The most difficult for me was my granddaughter last summer, but there's also been two cats, our dog and now my father-in-law. Death brings about a sobering look at life and eternity. I believe there is more than this life. I believe what the Bible teaches about a heaven or a hell that await all mankind beyond this life. Most importantly I believe that the hope of eternity lies in having a faith-based belief in Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation, the only way to heaven. So for me, even though death is difficult and sad, there is always this hope -- this certainty that this life is not all there is. That is my greatest comfort. I look forward with great anticipation to a great reunion in heaven. That will be better than a quilt retreat! (But I am looking forward to a fun retreat)
This photo is from our 2003 quilt retreat. It will be the same 3 friends on this retreat (one is my sister).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wedding Dress

I haven't worked on the wedding dress as much as I wanted to last week. The day I hand basted the skirt pieces to the underlining, it took so long that I was burned out on sewing the dress and didn't sew at all for the next two days. Then I ran out of the one lace fabric that goes under the organza layer so I won't be able to put the whole skirt together and sew it to the bodice until I can purchase that fabric. It was very expensive fabric too, so we're waiting for a coupon to make that purchase. The good thing is that I feel now like I'm on home stretch. Everything is cut out, the bodice is sewn, and the base fabric of the skirt is together. Today or tomorrow the beads/sequence should arrive and then those will all have to be hand stitched on -- a job I'm delegating to the bride!
For this photo, I pinned the two layers on top of the base skirt fabric. The top organza layer will be brought up at different points around the skirt and feathered flowers will be in those spots. That will allow that beautiful lace around the bottom to show, and it will wrap around the edge of the train too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yesterday's Progress on the Wedding Dress

So far so good. I'm pleased with how things are coming along. Yesterday I sewed the bodice pieces. This was (in reverse order from how you see the dress), the lining, the corset, then the top layer has the underlining, the base fabric (a polyester shantung), organza, and lace. After I sewed the bodice pieces together with the organza layer on top, my daughter came in to look at it and said, "I wanted the other lace on the top"! Fortunately it only meant taking out the side seams since the lace needed to cover the top with as little seams showing as possible. But that was a trick on the front, getting the lace to look right without the seams over the bust area. I ended up basting the lace down while the backing part was placed over a pressing ham to get the curves right. It worked. Then the lace edging was cut around the design and tacked on to the top of the bodice piece. You can see by the picture that the bottom part of the lace is not tacked down yet. It will be, but since there is a lot of beading to add, I didn't see any sense to do this now.
The waistband was tricky too. It consists of underlining and the base fabric with the organza fabric gathered on top. When I first gathered the organza and put it on top of the base I could see that it was going to be difficult to get the gathers to look nice all the way across. So I ran gathering stitches about every 6 inches all the way across the waistband. Then after gathering all those areas I had someone hold each end of the waistband while I ironed the gathering all the way down the length of the waistband. Then I took out the gathering basting. It made it look much better.
Today I will start on the skirt and train. This time I will ask my daughter what it's supposed to look like before I sew anything :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Working on the wedding dress

After one day I'm already behind! I had hoped to have the corset, lining and the rest of the bodice cut out yesterday. But alas, other things to do got in the way and I ended up only getting part of the corset done. The steps are: take apart the muslin. This will be used for a pattern and also will serve as the underlining unless it has too many marks on it. After taking apart the muslin I used it to make a paper pattern. This may not have been necessary but I wanted to be sure and get it right. I used the paper pattern to cut out the corset and then the lining. This part of the dress will not have the empire waist band but will go all the way down to the waist seam. After cutting out the corset, I sewed the 7 pieces together and then added boning. So far it just has 6 boning strips. That is the minimum for a strapless dress. It may have two more in the front -- not sure yet. The corset will also have a elastic strap like a bra strap at the bottom. So I added 1 1/2 inches to the corset pieces at the bottom and will turn this under to make a tube for the elastic to fit through. The elastic will have a hook and will fit quite snugly just above the waist. This will give a lot of extra support. We don't want that dress slipping off halfway through the ceremony! I'll continue to post pictures all through the construction -- who knows it may help someone else sew a wedding dress. I'm no expert, but I am enjoying the process.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

End of September

It's hard to believe it's the last day of September. Does time accelerate? I think it probably does. Remember when you were a kid and time seemed to stand still. Christmas came so slowly, school lasted for an eternity. Not anymore. You blink, summer is gone and fall is here. I was actually surprised this morning to look at the calendar and realize it was the last day of September.
With time flying by I'm hurrying to finish a couple more customer quilts and then get into sewing my daughter's wedding dress. I hope to be working on it early next week. Plans are coming along wonderfully from my point of view. The invitations are almost done (my married daughter has made those), tomorrow we look at and order flowers, plans for the cake and/or desserts have been made with another friend, and a friend from the photography school that my daughter attended last year is flying in to do the pictures. So I better get busy. A wedding dress is a big project! I'll post pictures as it progresses but hopefully not give away the final look since I'm not sure who really reads this blog (and we don't want the groom taking a sneak peak)!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Customer Quilts

Here's a couple customer quilts that were done recently. Both turned out very well. The one with the blue border is an older kit from the Pine Needle quilt store in Lake Oswego. I've done several like this one. I think I like this one best. (Once again I'm not sure why these photos turned sideways -- aargh computers)!