Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Postcard # 1


Nothing like being in own space and making this space into a "home" of ours. You know how special this past week has had been for us? We are still tired from the upload the truck, drive the truck, unload the truck, return the truck. The washer has been wash 3-4 loads of quilts in last few days, but they are all clean and placed in rooms. Yes, we have a "home" now! I can't say this enough!

West Des Monies, Iowa July 2014 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


July has been an amazing month,but busy! We have been celebrating almost everyday here! We celebrated Fifi's birthday via Skype and watched Lucky tossed himself with his new patchwork mats. Watched Fifi open her birthday package. She loves and adores her quilt! She kept telling me, the quilt has so many spring colors in it! I told her that I had wished spring come sooner since we have had a rough winter. The spring colors just made my day and smile along while making the quilt top. Since we are thousand miles away from each other, S and I hope this quilt will serve the warmth to her anytime when she needs big hugs from us. We hope she would share the little corner of the quilt with Lucky, since Lucky seemed love the quilt more than his patchwork mats.

Over the long weekending, we celebrated America's birthday. We really miss the the small town parade. S was in the parade in honored of her button winning contest. She waved to her friends and they were shouting her name aloud and cheering for her when she went by. She made a new friend, the gentleman who gave her the ride in the parade and yes, yes, yes, she had the most wonderful time! We over stuffed ourselves with ice cream, cookies, hotdogs, S'more, peach shortcake, and homemade coffee.  We walked in the park and visited fair booths. I was hoping to find a fine carpenter to make some alphabet initials, but didn't encounter one.

You know, the after dinner time here at the farmhouse has been amazing! We have homemade dessert almost every night, even fresh made coffee go with the treat, I said that's party time! We are going to miss the fun after we move away! Indeed, our farm life is close to the end and we are in the process of moving out the farmhouse! It sounds crazy, but we are making our next move again and will be the final move for us!! cheers! 

Sewing has been slow and really minimum for last 5 weeks. Until last week, we were confirmed that we could make our next move; planning the move into the new home, booking the moving truck ( the least favorite part of the entire moving process) then shopping for supplies!  Then, you know what? Between times, I started sewing again! I cut into scraps fabric and made simple patchwork dish mats. Yeah, they are not placemats, I called them dish mats. They will be for the serving dish plates in our new home.  Then the small ones would serve as coasters or for the french press { hello!! I've missed you!}. The memory about free motion quilting is vague, since I have been spoiled with the access to a long-arm quilting machine. It really started to feel like dreams slowly coming true to have our own place again! I tried to list out with what to make on the sewing book, but I am procrastinating! Should I start from the kitchen items or bedroom items?!

The list of what to make gets add on daily then crossed out as well! From quilts to pillow cases, from pillow cases to living room cushions, from living room cushions to curtains, from curtains back to quilts again the move to what to make for S' new summer outfits. Even Christmas stockings are in the list and also a Christmas tree skirt? Then the mind start forming more questions, are all the pajama pants too small for S?  S has grown another 4 inches in last year! One yard of fabric probably will not be able to make a new pair of pajama pants now. I keep telling myself can't get too excited about it now, since we'll need to move in first! All the horrible moving dramas that we have had in the past really made me nervous about our move that's coming up next week.

But we are so look forward to our new home....

S will have her very own room, for the first time! We talked about getting new bookcases for her room.  She is thinking a wall full of books, so she could get on the ladder to retrieve books. Oh, I am not sure about that, I replied! How about a ladder for your quilts to start??

Then I'll have a room to myself with a real closet for the first time! Even I don't own lots outfits, but it would be nice to have a space for clothes and shoes. The home will be probably pretty empty, since we sold most of our furniture last year. I truly believed we'll slowly build up again because we've always walk through challenges and believed all will come together for us again!

Oh.. Did you know, I'll have a sewing loft? Yeah, you hear that right, a loft space of sewing and a space to share with S again. I have been researching on the storage units and how to arrange the space! Can you picture me sitting and surrounding by fabric again? I can't tell you, how quick my heart jump as I just typed the last sentence. .. ::excited::

The kitchen has a dine-in space! We will not buy anything right away, since we are not sure what we really have in mind, but there's a small bar alike table that extended from the kitchen counter around the corner. We'll start from there. We'll need a few high stools for sitting! I'll be cooking everyday and drink coffee off French Press again! S has requested a few dishes from me and we'll have a little celebration with lots homemade food!

The grocery list is getting longer everyday, but we seem not be able to cut it down now, since we really don't have anything to fill the kitchen cabinet! All the basic supplies are included in; butter, salt, pepper, flour, sugar, rice...etc. We might need a few trips to get them all, since I sure I'll miss some items.

This morning, I have stopped the store and check out the list of cleaning supplies! We'll be in a new city and probably won't know our way around well. I though we'll get all what we need before the move! Then, I was waited on the phone for a good part of this afternoon and set up new accounts for utility companies today, so we'll be able to see and cook when we are in our new home!

In between times, we made lots jams; peach and strawberry to be exact! The peaches have been perfect for making jams. S, the peach lover is thrilled about the peach jam! It really warms my heart up  that we'll have something homemade and fresh to take with us! It feels like my mom sends us care package from oversea, special and priceless!

I've never though we'll wanted to settle in a place for permanent, but we are SO ready! After all the moves we made this past year, we are tried! We are exhausted! We are looking forward a "HOME" and ready to root in.

So, my friends, I will be gone from here for a little while! I will need some time to settle in our new home in the new city and hope to connect with local people. Of course maybe a modern sewing quilt guild for me to particpate. Help S adopt into new school system and look forward musical opportunity for her.  I will fill you in with good news when I return to this space.  Meanwhile, I will send you postcards from time to time to let you know how we are doing!

I will take photos, so you can walk with us on this long journey to come. I will show you the sewing loft that I am most exciting about! I can't wait to cut into the fabric stashes and lay S' new quilt in her bed for her. Did you know she already requested her 11th birthday quilt from me? This mama has started searching fabric for the quilt.

I wish you sew much and drink lots sun tea because I will making and drinking jars of homemade sun tea. I'll be sewing and catching up all the late night "movie and me" time!

my friends,  so long for now!  I'll send postcards!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pack Patch Mini Quilt Along, READY!

{Pack Patch Mini Quilt Along} started back in April and have completed the quilt along last Friday. To be so honest with you, I am still overwhelmed with the friends who joined and quilt along with me last ten weeks! I can't remember well why I decided to start the quilt along when our life was in between times! You probably don't know, there were many Fridays after I post the themes I quickly started packing for our Friday travel to search a permanent place to live. Indeed, it was exhausted between travel and life, unexpected events! Then on Saturday when we returned; I log in {Pack Patch Mini} and I see so many new blocks pop in the pool already! They really made me smile and glad you have enjoy this quilt along! This quilt along has giving me many opportunities to meet new friends and reconnect with some older friends.  Fresh energy to think the new themes right after I post. Giving me opportunity to share some of thoughts with you and thank you for joining me! Within 10 weeks, we completed 20 different themes and new challenges in seeking colors and giving more in-depth thoughts of their own color choice!  

In this mini quilt,  it comes with 20 blocks and each block has a theme to go behind it! My favorite block is the Cheddar block! It was a great reading about Cheddar quilt back in 1940's! I shared a little bit of the reading in the post. While I was reading the article; a quick lighting though of  Cheddar/bright yellow is either a "loved" and a "oh my goodness" color responds! So, the themes got changed the last mintues! I love how cheddar block pops up from the mini quilt, but also gets tone down by the other blocks. I'd say it highlight the mini quilt and give a focal point! 

My biggest challenge about this mini quilt along is that I am not able to visit everyone's block each week. Sometimes the day just fleet away and I've wished that I could have manage to get a day and  visit through the pool and visit with everyone! What I love about this quilt along is that I love reading your conversations in the posts! Indeed, I check on them daily and read through them! I try not to interrupt your conversations! It feels like hosting a tea party in our dinning room and everyone is having a great time! I wish you all can come to have some pie and tea/coffee with me! It would be real fun to play and brainstorms together~ 

Oh.. I am sure you are ready for the assembling tutorial now!  Let's get start it! 

Arrange blocks: I arranged the blocks by weekly themes, so I can see the change of the blocks from week to week and look into colors I've used. If you've remember that I mentioned in week 3,  I used too much greens and blues. Towards to the end of the blocks, these two colors "almost" eliminated!  However, you can decide on your block arrangement.

Sashing Fabric: You would need 1/2 yard of the sashing fabric. I used Kona Bone for the mini quilt. The options are open. You can try linen fabric that would be blend the colors down and give natural look to the quilt.

 - Cut 15 pieces of  1.5"x3.5" from the sashing fabric between each block
 - Lay the 1.5"x3.5" between first row of the blocks; as arrangement of ab ab ab ab
    ; a (block) b(sashing fabric)

-Set 1/4" seam allowance
-Join the blocks and sashing fabric together and make them into {Block Row}

 -Repeat for the next 4 sets of {Block Row}

 -Cut 4 pieces of 1.5"x 19"
  {Measure your joined {Block Row} width before cutting the sashing length, sometimes it might be  0.25" off}
 - Sew 1.5"x19" sashing stripe to the bottom of Block Row 1 piece

 - Bring the Block Row 2 piece out and join the top of the Block Row 2 piece to the 1.5"x19" sashing

 - I prefer sewing with open seam allowance in the back to avoid the thick seam allowance. I wish I have {fork pins} to avoid so many small pins, but pinning always help stabilized the pieces together

 -Repeat for all rows; press seam allowance open in the back

 -Cut 2 pieces of 2.5"x 21" {measure the length of your quilt block top, it might be 0.25 off; adjust the length according to your finished/press size}. Sew the sashing pieces to the right and left side of the quilt top.

 -Cut 2 pieces of 3"x 22" {measure the width of the press quilt top piece, it might be 0.25 off; adjust the size according to the finished size}. Sew the sashing pieces to the top and bottom of the quilt top.

- Use iron, press the seams open in the back! 
- Select your backing fabric; backing and batting pieces need at least 25"x25"

 -Sandwich the batting between quilt top and backing fabric

 - Hand-quilting or machine quilting would be personal preference.

 -Machine quilting goes really fast for this mini quilt!

 -Use 1/8" seam allowance and machine baste around the mini quilt after quilting the quilt.

 -Trim off the excess batting/backing pieces/ square the quilt

 - Cut 3 stripes of 2.25" WOF for binding

 -Attache the binding to mini quilt

 -Backing quilt detail

 - My favorite part of quilting... hand-binding the quilt! and you?

 { the wind pick up the quilt then a quick snapped of this photo} 

 {the backing fabric is from IKEA and it really is lovely}

 This mini quilt will be hang in the sewing space to be!

Thank you again for this fun quilt along journey with me! And you know that I will start the second quilt along after our next move, which is coming up in 2 weeks! This move will be permanent and I will share more later with you!! For the second quilt along, I have gave some thoughts already and putting ideas in the sketch book! It is still not too late for the {pack patch mini quilt along}. Thank you for making me feel amazing in hosting this quilt along and you are all so amazing!