Monthly Archives: April 2017

Light bulbs

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So these bulbs probably aren’t worth what we paid for them but it’s been fun playing with color! I knew I wanted to add light bulbs that worked with Alexa and that we could still program while we were out of town. The Phillips Hue bulbs were the ones I’d decided to get and I even had the white, much less expensive ones in my basket when I saw the colored bulbs – they can be white or colored and are controlled via an app and/or Alexa. The set up was a little challenging trying to use Alexa with the color scenes so in the end I decided I’d use the app for the colors and keep things simple with Alexa … on/off and dimming. 

There were 3 bulbs and a hub in the starter kit and I think most likely when the bulbs need replacing I’ll get plain white for the family room and my bedroom but I’ll keep a colored bulb in the library. 

93 degrees!

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on 93 degrees!

It’s not even May yet and it’s getting HOT! We took a day off walking and spent the afternoon at the pool. We looked at several places when we were house hunting and I’m so glad we ended up here … not just because of the pool but it’s a big plus in the hot weather!

I’ve started to assemble the small rectangle top – these little ones are so quick! 

Finn is so much more comfortable with the shorter hair in the heat .. we’ll definitely keep him like this. 

Rectangles, leftovers, & quilt math

Published / by Mary / 8 Comments on Rectangles, leftovers, & quilt math

When I was piecing the Dutch Windmill top I had a strip leftover from each fat quarter just wide enough to use with the rectangle die in my 8 inch Qube. I mentioned the other day, I like to save myself work so I cut a stack of rectangles and set them aside for later. In fact I set them aside for 4 months and couldn’t remember at first what quilt they were leftover from when I started sewing them together. 

I love using rectangles in quilts … the two most recent ones are still waiting for quilting….both of them RWB and intended for veterans when they’re quilted and both were based on antique quilts I saw on eBay. 

Here’s a little Windmill one made from a set of 2.5 inch batik strips that is actually finished. 

All 4 quilts were made without patterns which is where the quilt math comes in. The two most frequent requests I get on my website are to resize the quilts and to list fabric amounts, usually in the size quilt they want to make. Needless to say, I don’t provide those services and usually tell them they’ll have to calculate those things for themselves. I’m just too busy with my own quilting!!

Most experienced quilters know the easiest way to resize a quilt are to add more blocks and/or borders. In the case of Becky’s king size quilt, the quilt pattern I wanted to use was throw size and I originally planned to add more blocks and use the yellow border fabric to bring the quilt up to a size to fit her bed. After getting a number of blocks on the design wall, we decided the border fabric wasn’t working and therefore I needed more blocks. So I redid my math …

I use Notes on my iPad to write down my calculations so I can refer back to them as needed. It’s just that easy …start with the size of the quilt wanted, determine size of the block, and divide the block size into the length and width to get the number of blocks needed across and down … multiply those two numbers to determine the total number of blocks needed. 

Borders allow you even more flexibility to inch up to the size quilt you want. 

While calculating yardage needed is a little more time consuming it’s no more difficult. For the rectangle quilt at the top of the page, I’m using leftover strips and fat quarters but it would be easy to calculate what I needed. I do have a fabric calculator but most of the time I find it easier to just calculate how many pieces I can get from a strip and how many strips I need to get all the pieces for my block. It does come in handy when I’m trying to figure out how much yardage I need for simple squares or how many binding strips I need to cut. 

Suppose I was starting with 2.5 inch strips and planned to use a single fabric for the background. 

First up, I’d decide how big I wanted my quilt. I love using 8 inch blocks for these small child size quilts because a 5×7 set works out well for me to quilt here on my regular sewing machine, and at 40 x 56 inches it fits on a baby size package batting. 

Next – my rectangles are 2.5 x 4.5 inches so I calculate how many sections I can get from one strip. Since fabric widths vary I use 40 inches in my calculations. 

40 divided by 4.5 = 8.88 

I need 4 rectangles for each block so I know that each strip will make 2 blocks. 

I need 35 blocks divided by 2 since each strip is going to make 2 blocks = 17.5 strips

I choose 18 different fabrics – this is where a jelly roll would be nice for my colored rectangles 

To calculate how much background fabric I need 

18 strips x 2.5 inches = 45 inches of fabric

Since there are 36 inches of fabric in a yard, I divide 45 by 36 and see that I need 1 and a quarter yards of my background fabric plus I’d add in a few extra inches to straighten the edge of my fabric and in case I miss cut something. 

To make this easier to piece, I’d sew a colored strip to a background strip and then subcut my sections into 4.5 inches. 

I know this doesn’t make exciting reading but maybe someone will stop and realize they can do their own math before writing me to ask me to do it for them!! 


Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on Assembled

The little Crosses and O’s top is assembled. So quick compared to the 2+ weeks it took me to do Becky’s king size one and now I need to clean up a little in the sewing room and piece a couple backs. 

This one will be quilted here in FL and I won’t set up the table to get it pin basted for a couple weeks – when we get back from Hatteras because I’ve got a cleaning service coming Tuesday and company coming Saturday. That means I get to do more piecing after getting those backs done. 

I had an email asking me to review a product from Amazon. Do you use the wonder clips in your sewing?! I love them for hand sewing my binding rather than using pins and since I’m always losing one or two I was thrilled to have the opportunity to buy them at discounted rate in exchange for the review. 

I think they’re a little lighter weight than the Clover ones but they should easily hold up to being used for my binding. And look, they come in a cute little bag!

The price is good, shipping is free if you have an Amazon Prime membership, and they arrived in 2 days. Here’s the link if you want to check them out. 


Published / by Mary / 10 Comments on Surprise

I bet you didn’t expect me to be making MORE cross blocks today after finishing Becky’s king size top yesterday! I’ve blogged before about leftover quilts – usually it’s when I’ve pulled a group of fabrics together for a scrap quilt – I like to take advantage of all that work I did to sort and press! In this case, I had plenty of fabric left from the fat quarter bundle so I made more crosses but paired them with appliqué circles for this little 40×56 quilt. 

The circles are fused and cut with my Accuquilt GO, stitched down with an open zigzag stitch. 


I’m got some rearranging to do before I sew the blocks together but I’m done for today!


Published / by Mary / 11 Comments on Assembled

There’s a reason I don’t make large quilts – I’m easily bored! Becky’s king size top is FINALLY assembled. If you didn’t see my post on the pattern I used, you can find the details at this link.


It will go to Big Canoe with me this summer for quilting … along with 2 queen size tops Mom made. Not really looking forward to quilting 3 big ones but at least Mom has to bind 2 of the 3 although I think I remember offering to machine stitch the binding on her two and just leave the hand stitching for her to do.  I must have been feeling sorry for her like when I offered to help her put the borders on them. Mom has always pieced a lot more large bed size quilts than I have (although I’ve quilted them all plus a number of large ones for my Aunt) but she’s old now ( her words!) and the weight of a large quilt is a lot for her to wrestle with. 

Let’s just say I took a vacation 

Published / by Mary / 7 Comments on Let’s just say I took a vacation 

I’d intended on having Becky’s king size top assembled this weekend but that didn’t happen. I did spend time with Keith, Finn, walking, reading and even a little knitting after not touching it for a few weeks. Today I was back to work – the blocks on the design wall and floor are all in one piece and the rest are in the process of being assembled. 

I won’t bore you with another photo until the top is done but how about another one of Finn. He’s changing so quickly – he’ll sit with us for longer periods now – it still helps to have something nearby for him to chew – and he’s doing better on his walks – less sitting, more walking. He’s also very tolerant of being in the pen or crate when necessary with little to no whining. 

I’m an electronics freak

Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on I’m an electronics freak

You probably know I love my electronics – I always want the newest and latest thing. I bought the Amazon Echo a while back and hadn’t mentioned it on the blog because I honestly couldn’t decide whether it was worth the money or not. I use it in my sewing room and it makes a great speaker – I love the hands free option for changing songs and volume. I check the weather frequently especially in the summer, trying to decide when I want to take my walks. Occasionally I’ll listen to a news brief but in general I found it kind of challenging to use to its full potential because you have to activate “skills” and then remember how to phrase questions for different skills … too much to remember for me. 

So the bottom line was that I used it and like having it in the sewing room but knew I wasn’t using it to its full potential so I surprised even myself when I decided to buy the portable version, the Amazon Tap for the library.  Keith has a Bluetooth speaker for his office but it’s paired to his phone and when he’s traveling I’d like to have music in the library and be able to carry that music outside to the porch. 

Since I have two now, I’ve decided I need to put a little more effort into learning to use them more fully. I did try out the Amazon ordering feature the other day and reordered Finn’s dog food. I’m not sure I’d order something I hadn’t had the chance to research and review but for reordering I think it will be fine. 

I’m not encouraging anyone to buy anything, just sharing my experience with them. I’ve had some problems with the current app that controls the light bulbs in the house so when it’s time to replace them, I will replace them with ones that are compatible with Alexa. 

Happy 28th to us!

Published / by Mary / 11 Comments on Happy 28th to us!

I didn’t sew a stitch today …

I did do a 10 K with Keith (that’s 6.2 miles)

And then we went out to dinner to celebrate our 28th anniversary. We chose a restaurant that has a lot of memories for us. We first went to Armani’s 20+ years ago with his father when we lived in the Tampa area.

Tomorrow I hope to sew a little – I’ve got a section to unpick and resew … some how I flipped it around when I was assembling it. 

Still on the design wall

Published / by Mary / 6 Comments on Still on the design wall

I mentioned that after talking to Becky we decided not to use the yellow border fabric she’d chosen and instead we’ll use this fabric on the back. 

That meant more blocks had to be made (and they have been) and now I’ve been assembling the blocks on the design wall so I can move this section to the bed and finish laying out the rest of the blocks. It doesn’t look like progress is being made but it’s coming along slowly. 

Much, much better

Published / by Mary / 25 Comments on Much, much better

So hot after his morning walk … napping on the cool tile. 

Then after grooming this afternoon. You can see he’s a lot lighter in color now that the black tips are gone but he still has some darker patches. 

After another walk and some playtime, he’s napping again. I’m hoping now that the hair is out of his eyes we can clear up some of the tearing. Like Chesty, we’ll keep him short like this. It’s easier to care for him and all that hair is just too hot living in Florida.