Monday, May 13, 2019

Visible Monday and pre-retirement ponderings

A blogger that I haven't linked up with in a long time is Patti at She hosts a Visible Monday where she encourages others to "Just compose a post that includes any outfit, accessory, piece of jewelry, hairstyle, cosmetic or other adornment that makes you feel more confident, alive and visible that day."

I pronounce that my outfit centers around a piece of jewelry, a pendant necklace by Marjorie Baer. It was one of those thrift shop finds that make you exclaim out loud, "I found it!" More for your benefit than for any others. 

My mother also collected numerous pieces by Baer, mainly clip-on earrings. While I was growing up, I didn't really appreciate her modern sense of style. I was all into the romantic, frilly, fluffy, lacy type stuff. 

While the Mr. doesn't like camo, I love it. This is a pair of way-too-big-for-me pants, perfect for being out and about on the property. My usual footwear is hiking boots (camo ones too) but opted for these cute and comfortable Birkenstock quasi-gladiator sandals. 

I am sure some of Patti's linker-uppers are in my peer group. I turn 60 next month and it still boggles my mind. I don't feel 60, at least the majority of the time. I will be retired at the latest when I am 67, at the earliest when I am 63. 

What does one do all day when there is no job to go to? I have been honing my quilting craft but there are some days when I question whether that activity could carry me through. I could go back to college, but to what end? I stopped taking further job-related coursework because the expense didn't justify the means to an end. I have considered becoming a musician again (former French hornist and violinist), maybe even becoming a song writer. 

There is also so much need in the volunteer world. One could say I am cut out for being a thrift shop volunteer. Maybe I could be a neonatal baby cuddler.

Then the mantra will be, "So much time, so many possibilities."

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Greenhouse update

All of that seedling generation the last two months meant I could finally plant them. I still have the center row and part of the back row to fill up. 

The garden beds outside of the greenhouse duplicate what is inside with the exception of rhubarb, zucchini and artichoke. Those plants all tend to need lots of room. 

My crafting has suffered because of my gardening and the Mr.'s insistence on housecleaning (say what?). I have also been stricken with some form of eczema on my hands and feet. Hoping my dermatology specialist appointment at the end of this month will shed more light on my condition. 

I just discovered a blog hop highlighting Christmas projects for those who have the time and energy for that.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

It wasn't me and wedding quilt prep

Leading off with "What do you do when the Mr. discovers your stash?" Fabric stash people, the other stuff is legal here in Northern California.  

Do you claim it isn't yours?
Do you insist you are holding it for someone else? 
Do you find other hiding places? 
Do you feign ignorance? (It wasn't me)
I'm so busted. 
Progress on the wedding quilt patchwork piecing is turtle pace, but coming along. This is totally off list for any of my quilting challenges, but I decided this would be an amazing gift for my hair stylist June bride. 
First layout revealed I need to make more blocks. I was going to border and sash the four patches in grey, but now I think I will just sew the four patches together on point and finish off the corners and edges in gray. I am determined to make this quilt from just my stash. 
Second layout just to get a head count revealed I still needed more blocks, thinking 12 ought to do (I am just about out of all low volume fabric at this point). 

I am also being pickier about my work, literally. If the points don't match on the four patch, I rip out the seams and try again. I hate to admit on a couple of the four patches, I had to do over again 3-4 times. 

Finally found fabric in my favorite form - in bulk. A $10 purchase at SPCA thrift, hoping there will be something useful inside. 
Shamelessly showing off
bottlebrush in bloom
There was some prequilted stuff I don't like. Luckily, some Cranston print yardage and other fabrics saved the investment.
Facebook quilting challenge prompt for May is #4, my black/cream/pink quilt. On my wish list, but no plan in mind. Another punt.

I am still working away on my magnolia needlepoint with the intent of giving it framed to my mom this Christmas.  

Patchwork Times challenge prompt for May is 11 which is my art with fabric blog hop quilt. It is partially quilted but my machine insists on only piecework right now and will not quilt without skipping. Drives me crazy. 

So, do you have to hide your fabric (or any other) purchases?  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Sometimes it's a unicorn in the laundry room

I admit I am a kid at heart, this thrifted Circus Circus Las Vegas plush joined my collection.  
I picked up this trio of mystical creatures a few years ago. The Friends Cherish Each Others Dreams unicorn cross stitch was also  a thrift shop find.

Rounding out this passion for purple is my hydrangea.

Quilting and sewing have taken a back seat to gardening now that our weather has turned gorgeous. This is my first year I have made a concerted effort to start my garden from seed. It is a lot of work! I take the sprouted seed and plant it in a bio degradable or leftover planters. They then await permanent planting in the greenhouse.
The beds outside the greenhouse are planted with zucchini, arugula and heirloom tomatoes. Another bed is planted with aloe vera, now joined by rhubarb (2 year nursery matured) and an artichoke. Once summer dries all of the surrounding vegetation, we might have to electrify the fence to keep deer out.  

One year we had the start of a wonderous artichoke plant, the next day the plant was withered and dead. Some critter had eaten the plant at the root and that was the end of that. Our new cat Susie is  quite the hunter seen routinely with a captured mole. I am hoping she will solve our mini mammal problem.  

My only thrift purchases over the weekend were a small framed picture and a scarf (total $5). With pictures, I upgrade. This deer themed print was double-matted and numbered. I thrifted back two other framed pictures I had previously purchased second-hand. 
The scarf I knew would go perfectly with a top found a couple of weeks ago. 

Wishing everyone a delightful Easter weekend!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Going Gonzo Gardening

As a follow up to the Quilty Orphan Adoption, a small group of quilters that offer fabric, quilt blocks, etc. to other quilters, I sent out two boxes, recipients posted here, and threw my name in for these seminole bands offered by Nann at
Even prettier in person
She mentioned she might send fabric, or a book, or a pattern, and Boy Hardy, did she! All kinds of fabric, a pattern and a slew of books with my favorite being an OBW (one block wonder) and Mad about Plaid. My interest in a colorwash quilt is waning and my interest in an OBW has taken hold. 

My hair stylist is getting married in June and I would like to surprise her with a low-volume bed-sized quilt utilizing fabric remnants of pastels. I did a fabric pull and cut 5" squares, chain pieced a few and will see how it turns out. 

Linking up with Jennifer at for:
Thrifting didn't produce much even though I hit up 5 shops. My finds included a summer shift, blue patchwork maxi and a larger hoop for my hexagon hand quilting. 

On the gardening front, I've got quite a few seedlings growing in the greenhouse. So far they include heirloom tomatoes, purple carrots, arugula, beets, peas, sweet peppers, beans and onions. Northern California weather has been stunningly beautiful so I have spent every moment outside. My goal is the have the greenhouse jam packed with edible goodness. Images to follow in the weeks to come ~

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Quilting IRL

Having taken the month of March off for quilting challenges, April's prompt for UFO Challenge over at Patchwork Times is 11. That was my patchwork crazy prompt highlighted on qwilt-qwazy-queens-and-doodle-quilt.

The FB prompt for American Patchwork & Quilting's UFO Challenge is 5. The vintage blue quilt is in the queue but I am not ready for it. I continue to winnow down my fabric stash by giving it away to thrift shops or on a quilty-orphan-adoption

I had the California holiday of Cesar Chavez on April 1 and finished a project sent off to the longarmer. The creation will be highlighted on the Nifty Novelties blog hop, my post to go live on May 24.  

Looking ahead, I have three quilts in sandwich form. My machine has gone to the shop with it skipping stitches when I use the walking foot. 

I really have to turn my attention to piecing my daughter's quilt. I won't have to worry about running out of fabric because I bought more than enough. 

Finally, I found a quilter Bernie at who encouraged her readers to post comments about their mistakes and blunders encountered while quilting. 
I have many rookie mistakes because I taught myself how to quilt. Let's dive right in!

Mistake No. 1: Not keeping to the 1/4" rule. We all know what happens, fabric skews and that pretty grid you were going for is now a mess. Threw away my first quilting attempt. 

Mistake No. 2: Misunderstanding of fabric values. My second attempt at quilting was a log cabin quilt in blue. Blue, blue, blue and more blue. I still have that one, it was also a study in free motion quilting, "study" being the operative word. Let's just say it is not an heirloom quilt. 

Mistake No. 3: Not knowing your limitations or the limitations of your machine. Now this mistake I have been doing much better on. I have given up the idea of quilting bed-sized quilts on my domestic machine. It frustrates me and I don't like to do it. Free motion quilting hurts my wrists and back. It was time to concentrate on perfecting my piecework. 

There you have it, my mistakes were mainly early ones in this craft, but like anything practice makes perfect. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Quilty Orphan Adoption

Quilting is more fun than Housework
The 2019 Quilty Orphan Adoption event is in full swing over at quiltingismorefunthanhousework. I think this might be my third year participating. Since I am routinely gifted by the thrift gods of wonderful fabric remnants and partially completed quilt blocks, I want to share the love. 

Here are some more details:
1.  I am going to ask that any "orphan" linked up must be given away for free.  (If you are wanting to destash for money, there are other venues to do that on.)  I think it is fair that if you need to, you can ask that shipping costs be paid.  Just be sure and put that information clearly in your post.  And know that both parties enter into the deal at their own risk.  I hold no responsibility.
2. Have clear pictures and descriptions on what you are putting up for adoption.
3. Define the criteria for how you will decide who will adopt the item.  Is it a random number giveaway, do you only want it to go to charity, or is there some other criteria that needs to be met?
4.  Be sure and identify where you are located and where you are willing to ship to.
5. Define how long you are keeping the adoption open and when you expect to award the adoption.
6. Remember to link back to my blog so your readers can see what else is being offered.  And feel free to grab a button!

I have two orphan sets to put up for adoption, free to U.S. residents only.  First to comment with their choice of orphan set AND one fact (About Me), wins. You MUST leave your email address in the comment, as I cannot reply to comments on my blog.  Adoption closes on Sunday, March 24th. (Sorry for the short notice). I will email adopters for mailing information. 

Orphan Set #1 - Giveaway closed, awarded to Sharon Sauser. 
This is a pretty set of fat quarters, 10 prints in all, I believe is Art Gallery fabric collection. 

Orphan Set #2 - giveaway closed, awarded to Joyce Carter. 
This is a cute colorway that could make a mini or supplement a larger quilt. Different sized precuts. (Gray quilt in image not included).

The funny thing about giving is that you receive back in abundance. Funny how that works - and away we go!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Qwilt Qwazy Queens and the Doodle Quilt

Welcome to My Day of the Qwilt Qwazy Queens blog hop hosted by Marian at seamstobesew.  She describes the event as:

This year, the theme is, choose your own Qwazy… Have you made a project that just turned out plain crazy? Perhaps your currently making your crazy project. It can be a quilt, a wallhanging, even a pair of potholders. Perhaps it’s a project that you created that didn’t turn out quite right… Let’s have some fun and see what you’ve done.
While I have done the patchwork crazy block before here, I wanted to expand on my initial project for this hop. Loved the shiny fabric look, perfect for a wall hanging. I made a few more blocks for this hop but I just wasn't feeling it. My project didn't "spark joy," a prerequisite to proceeding forward.  

Around the turn of the New Year, I bought a box of fabric and quilting magazines from an online auction site. The publication date of the magazines ranged from 1977 to 1982. It appears during that time frame, Crazy Quilts were all the rage. I bumped into more than one article on Crazy Quilts and here are some snippets. 

Now THAT is a look I could live with! The Doodle Quilt is crazy block squares bordered and sashed in cream. Yaaas! I have that cream-colored precut in abundance. I pulled all the bright pretty colored fabric from my remnants to be cut into 2-1/2" squares that played well together. I had some yellow flying geese that came through mystery quilter and added that to the mix. 
Sharp-eyed quilters will see that yes, only two diagonal lines are quilted in that lead-off image. I have a balky Brother machine that seems to be good for only piecing. It may be time to upgrade.

Time to visit those other QQQs strutting their stuff on this hop. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I continue to participate in the Instagram #IGQuiltfest as tamaschen. One of the advantages of being on that platform is one of the longarmers in the fest offered a special of $100 to quilt a king-sized quilt (includes postage back). I jumped on that offer. I have been looking for a longarmer to complete my vintage fan quilt. I do not want to quilt this on my domestic machine. I am so excited to finally get this quilted. The flimsy came from my mom's cedar chest discovered during her move to assisted living. We place it at 75 years or older. 

On a whim, I decided to visit Drytown where a flea market was being held. At my first stop, I asked if she had any fabric, what did you know? she was a quilter who wanted to destash. She brought out two large tubs and a remnants in a small tub. Even when I picked through what she had, it didn't look like I made a dent. Here are my bags o' goodness purchased for a total of $20. 
The fabric is all current, at least within the last 10 years. Some of it was so bright, it made me grit my teeth. That stuff was sent to the Great Thrift Shop Beyond.

Included in the lot was a large piece of wide-backed denim print yardage, *woohoo*  I supplemented it with a pineapple print I have been saving for the fan quilt backing. The longarmer will have enough buffer loading it onto her machine. 
Another $2.50 bag of fabric landed from thrift, with the martini glass print being the one that attracted me the most. This lot is older with one of the panels dated 1994. 

Because I have been obtaining newer zoomier fabric, I bagged up all of my small remnants and have thrifted them back. I have really tried to do a leaders and enders project but I never get around the cutting it up and forget to lead off and end with those 2-1/2" squares. Best I stick to larger pieces of fabric. 

This "doodle" quilt will be my car quilt. You know, the one quilt you have in the car just in case you need to transport one of your fur babies. Appropriately enough, the backing is dogs, yardage from one of my recent thrift shop finds. 
Do you have a car/van/SUV quilt?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Committing to Hand Quilting

I have tossed around the idea of hand quilting one of my creations and I have chosen the plaid hexagon to do that. I bought the thread just for that project, so now I'm committed. *grins*

One of my fav hospice thrift shops finally dropped a bag of vintage fabric. It didn't surprise me since I bought the Franklin sewing machine from the same location the week before. The cutest from the $4.50 bag of fabric are shown in my lead-off image. 

Thrift shops are getting so popular, you almost have to be there when the racks of items are rolled on to the floor. That was the case with this bag. Trendy, cute clothing is snapped up quick. 

A scrap quilter's dream, all of the fabrics are usable for me. The sewing machine print selvage is dated 1993 and there was a receipt for fabric dated from 1995. Lots of red prints, a color I needed to plump up my stash. 

My current project is for the Quilt Qwazy Queens blog hop. I was making great progress until I decided to quilt without the walking foot. Let's just say, it did not turn out well. I am ASRing (angry seam ripping), three rows of diagonal quilting. I've got the weekend to redeem myself as I would like to show a finished product. 

Here is the upcoming schedule of the hop:

See you round the qwazies!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Officially permanent and a Franklin joined my troop

I have been on pins and needles these past few months not knowing whether I could continue working as a legal analyst in my current department. A permanent position was offered and I am delighted to continue working there. Being a public servant provides stability and I enjoy the work. Having secured this career path, I can continue my college coursework for a paralegal certificate. 

The California State Fair has posted its Fiber Crafts 2019 Guide. After looking over the categories, I may be able to enter one of my quilts under Division 165 - Other Fiber Art, or Division 199 - Modern Quilts. I am tending toward an entry in Modern Quilts hoping to place in the ribbon category. 

I had told myself that I wasn't going to buy any more vintage machines, but this one I just couldn't pass by priced at $45, it was half off day. It is heaviest of all machines I have purchased so far, I couldn't lift or even drag it. It is time to get a sturdy sewing cabinet  for these heavier machines. 

On the flip side of my sewing machine purchases, I haven't sent any to the repair shop yet and incurred that cost. The Franklin has all of its feet, two bobbins and what looks to be a replacement pedal. The wiring on the attached light looks a little suspicious. The machine is mounted on a wood base that slides out of the case. 

My other finds for that day included high loft batting ($3), two new dress shirts, one white/one black and a graphic Wonder Woman t-shirt.  

Quilt Qwazy Queens blog hop begins on March 15th, my day to post my crazy quilt creation is March 20th. 

If you are on Instagram, be sure to visit me at tamaschen posting daily for the #IGQuiltFest. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

Sometimes progress is slow and go

On my UFO Challenge list, February prompt No. 10 qualifies - the Art with Fabric quilt. This has been in unfinished mode since last year. I have been chipping away at it, shooting for matchstick quilting or very close to it. I have called it the "monster" behind its back, so heavy and bulky. Lawd, how I wish this was a finish like right now. 
Next to composition quilt is the plaid hexagon in pin basted stage.

My basket of goodness, WIPs, wanna be WIPs and a few fabric pulls.

The prompt for the linkup group is 6, my magnolia needlepoint. I am about a third of the way through that project. 

So we move into March with the blog linkup prompt being 4 (black/cream/pink quilt), and the FB challenge prompt as 8, a Mariner's quilt. Thinking I will punt on both prompts. Half on my To-Do list are wanna be, they wanna be quilts but I don't have a solid concept of color and design. I also would like to get back to my No. 1 - basket block quilt began at the end of 2018 and put aside to keep up with the challenges. I have also promised my daughter a quilt but I am stuck on how it should be designed. We've picked out a block but it intimidates me just a bit on its construction. 

I have also committed to the Quilt Qwazy Queens blog hop with my post scheduled to go live on March 15. I've got that project to git to gitting if I want to fulfill my commitment. 

The #IGQuiltfest on Instagram began today with introductions as the Day 1 prompt. I will be posting as tamaschen

Because Google+ went by the wayside - I had a lot of followers through that platform, I have reactivated my Twitter account with the handle @CommandoShop. I will be pushing my blog posts there also. 

Linking up with wendysquiltsandmore


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Benefiting from non-joy sparking donations

Having found the upholstery fabric turned cubicle wall tapestry (highlighted here), I have been on the lookout for heavier weight fabric. Adding these textiles to my "What I Hunt For" list was a no brainer. This modernist print came home with me for $1.50 from SPCA thrift.  

I squared up the fabric and added a binding, I made one major change by including a seam binding to the back of the wall hanging. The woven acted as the stand-in "batting." The binding went on a lot smoother than my last tapestry project. 

This cubicle cover will be for my new work station so the completed project will be revealed in an upcoming post. While I know I will still be a state employee, I still don't know where I will land at the end of March. Long story short - I took a two-year limited term position that did not become permanent. I rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. Kidding aside, not all bad because I have gained job experience. I had three interviews last week, so waiting word on a permanent offer.  

The second delightful find was this camper/road trip print from the same thrift shop. I knew immediately that it was vintage. Thankfully, the selvage was intact revealing it is a 2000 fabric. This yardage will be cherished stash for the right project. 
Weekend thrifting was one day of nothing and the next day a bounty. I limit myself to three shops a day as I have been known  to lose track of time when I am having so much fun. 
There were other ceramics of this series but she was the only one that came home with me, a hand-sewer with a Princess Leia hairdo.
My favorite find of the day, this Classics Hardware horse head necklace, retail $25, second-hand $5.
One of Xena's best photo bombs, she was particularly attracted to these objects, Creative Curtainmaking Made Easy by Heather Luke, Paul Revere & the Raiders record, and some yardage. 
Not pictured are some other records, a bit of batting, and some remnants of feedsack fabric. I am thrilled that others are getting rid of their non-joy sparking possessions! The thrift shops have been bursting at the seams, my last stop, a Goodwill all of the shelves were full, sometimes overflowing. 

With my interest in needlepoint rekindled, I made a little girl gasp when I found this project, began and then sent to the Great Thrift Shop Beyond. 
A 2007 Dimensions kit scored for $3.49. I will finish and frame it as it fits in perfectly with my decor. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

3 Projects in Progress

Since I began participating in challenges, one a blog linkup, the other on FB, I have made fantastic progress with three projects going at once. This is the first time I have done that. Usually, I have one large project with smaller projects interspersed. 

I really enjoy hand sewing. I debated on whether to take a magnolia needlepoint to an out of state trip and was glad I did as I was snowed in. Now that the kit thread is organized, the background is almost done and I can move into the detail work of the flower petals.

I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with quilting the Composition quilt. It was my Art with Fabric blog hop flimsy from 2018. 

Plaid hexagon quilt is pin basted. That took true quilter dedication as I use a garage work bench and it is cold down there. At least, my technique is improving as I can pin baste in about an hour. 

I have surprised myself by making such progress and by having three major projects in progress. 

On my wish list this year is an Americana quilt. I found this image in a Quilt World magazine from 1988. The pattern was offered then but I doubt it is available now so I will have to wing it. Those are some large blocks, I am thinking of scaling them down for my quilt. 

How many major projects do you work on at the same time? 

Are you participating in any creative challenges this year?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

March Madness and February blog hops

No, not in the basketball kind of way but in the qwazy quilting way. 

Listed at the end of this post are bloggers who "dusted off their quilt books" and chose a project. I had the good fortune to buy these specialty quilt eye-candy publications for $1 each along with some fabrics thrifting. The only problem with discovering new projects and new ideas is that it takes me off on a tangent with pending projects begging to be finished. 

March is National Quilting Month and to celebrate it there is an #IGQuiltFest on Instagram. It is a daily photo challenge (March 1-31) hosted by Amy's Creative Side. I participated last year and it was hecka fun. There are A LOT of upscale quilters, the ones who get all their points right and everything matches up, but I still get in a post or two. 

March also means crazy quilting for me. The Quilt Qwazy Queens blog hop theme is "Choose Your Own Qwazy." My day to post is March 15th, featuring another crazy quilt incorporating satin fabric.

Two hops coming up are one featuring "wings" in quilts.
Participating bloggers listed below:
February 18

February 19

February 20

February 21

The other encourages its participants to "Dust Off a Quilt Book"
Participants in that hop are listed below:
Monday Feb 18th
Turid at densyendehimmel
Pamela at Pamelaquilts
Selina at Selinaquilts
Kathleen at Kathleenmcmusing

Tuesday Feb 19th
Jennifer at curlicuecreations
Stephanie at stephjacobsondesigns
Kathy at Kathysquilts
Shasta at high road quilter
Theresa at bumbleberrystitches

Wednesday Feb 20th
Sharon at Vrooman’s quilts
Suzy at Websterquilt
Nancy at patchworkbreeze
Brenda at songbirddesigns
Karrin at karrinscrazyworld
Denise at craftraditions

Thursday Feb 21st
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Jennifer at Dizzyquilter
Lee Anne at Podunk Pretties
Lyndsey at Sew Many Yarns

Friday Feb 22nd
Bea at Beaquilter
Barbara at Bejweledquilts
Marian at seams to be sew

Spring looks to be roaring in with lots of creative activity. We are still in for stormy weather in Northern California. I am not complaining and hope I don't hear the word "drought" at all during the year.