Sunday, December 14, 2014

Learning from your MISTAKES!

First of all, this particular project isn't what I meant by mistakes--fortunately it turned out just about as perfectly as I had hoped! This was from a "Tickle those Ivories" tutorial for the College Days Blog Hop, done by Thimblemouse & Spouse. When I saw it, I fell in love with it and wanted to make one. Well, the pattern actually makes two, which was even better! I decided I would make one for myself and one for my piano teacher.

The project isn't difficult, but with all those straight keys, it is VERY exacting. And my greatest challenge was figuring how to quilt it. I finally decided to just stitch-in-the-ditch all around and between the keys and just did some stippling over the rest of it. I have this antique music cabinet I found in a second-hand shop and it was the perfect topper for it!

Now...about mistakes!  A couple of weeks ago I showed the rows I had completed of Julie Cefalu's Nordic Mini QAL. What wasn't obvious from the photo was that the row of stars was a little wider than the other rows and I'm not exactly sure why. My first mistake was in not going back and looking at the directions to see where I might have messed up to make that row wider!

This picture here isn't very accurate because the wall hanging IS perfectly square, but that wasn't the big mistake. When I sewed the rows together, I could have easily made some adjustments to that middle row. Instead, I decided to try and EASE the wider row to fit with the narrower rows above and below. Let me tell you that that does NOT work when there is about a half-inch or more of excess! It distorted the whole project so that it looks kind of "crooked." You can't really tell it from a photograph but you CAN see that there are some points missing and other places that aren't quite what they should be! Lesson learned--FIX the problem BEFORE assembling the project!

I made a similar, but not exactly the same mistake in this project. (BTW, this project came from page 66 of the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of McCall's Quilting.) I should have cut the black background fabric a bit larger and then trimmed it to size after applying the applique. That section was ALSO smaller than the surrounding borders and AGAIN, I tried easing it in. (I guess I'm a little slow in learning!) Anyway, if you look at the top left corner, you can see that it's not exactly square there and that's because of the stretching I did to ease in the bottom of it.

Now obviously, neither of these are really MAJOR mistakes (thank goodness!) but they ARE mistakes and I generally try to learn from my mistakes and not repeat them in the future. Hopefully I will remember and actually do better next time!

This was another project that I made this week, start to finish. It was quite quick and easy and NO mistakes! I wanted a cute table topper for the table in my entry and this was another project that came from Julie Cefalu, the Crafty Quilter. I modified the pattern slightly to fit my table and I love how it turned out! Thanks, Julie!

I normally try to work on projects in batches, so as I finish the piecing of one project, I'll set it aside and work on another, and then another. Then I'll spend a few days getting all the quilting done. And finally, Laura and I will watch movies while I hand sew several bindings. And that's what happened this week; I finished quilting all the above projects and then Laura and I spent an afternoon watching movies on Netflix while we stitched on bindings.

Here's Laura with one of her finished Christmas table toppers. She put it on a table in her room and set a miniature Christmas tree on top of it.

On another note, Bonnie Hunter presented us with the 3rd clue to her Grand Illusion Mystery on Friday. This one was the easiest and quickest so far. We had to cut fabric strips, sew fabric strips and then cut again. My favorite tool for cutting is the Shape Cut Plus by June Tailor (no affiliation or anything here). It has slots for cutting every half-inch and cuts a piece of fabric up to 12"x18", but of course you can fold your fabric and cut even more at once. It works great for cutting fat quarters! I've found it to be VERY accurate and I use it all the time. So it was the perfect tool for this week's clue.

I cut all my fabric strips on Friday, then sewed, cut some more and did all my final sewing on Saturday. Not counting the time to do the original cutting, I figured these blocks took about 5 hours to make. That was two hours less than last week's clue! And the next two weeks should be even quicker, according to Bonnie. I'm linking to her Mystery Monday Link-Up.

For some non-quilty news, our church had our annual Christmas social Friday night. We usually have a potluck dinner followed by entertainment from various members of the congregation. At the end, instead of Santa Claus coming to visit, we usually have the "3 Wise Men." This year, my son and my son-in-law were both asked to be Wise Men, probably because of the beards. That's my son-in-law on the far left and my son (the tall one) on the right. (And my granddaughter, Jennifer in the wheel chair in the background on the left.)

Our family has 3 birthdays in December and this week Madison turned 2 and we all went to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. I have to admit that Chuck E. Cheese is NOT one of my favorite places to go, but Laura just loves it (maybe partly because she can't hear all the noise!) She gets her cup of tokens and she's GONE! Apparently she's figured out how to play most of the games and I just followed her around and took a few pictures.

Years ago I used to make gingerbread houses from real gingerbread every year. We would invite the extended family over to celebrate Laura's birthday at the beginning of December and we would all decorate gingerbread houses and everyone would either take theirs home or give them to someone special. Making gingerbread houses is a LOT of work, and I don't do that anymore (although we often still make them out of graham crackers for the grandkids). But Laura always enjoyed decorating the houses (and snacking on frosting and candies!!) so now I just buy her a gingerbread house kit every year for her birthday. I get it assembled for her and let the frosting dry and then she slathers it with more frosting and covers it with candy.

This is such a busy, but special time of year. I've tried to limit myself on major projects as we get closer to Christmas. Other than Bonnie's mystery, I just have a few quick gifts I want to make, but most importantly, I want to take time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the season. So occasionally, it's better to...Get LESS Done!


  1. I love your mini quilt Laura--so perfect to go under your little tree...hugs, Julierose

  2. Oh! I am drooling over that cutting ruler. :) Way to go, having Clue 3 finished up already. Mine will sit for a few more weeks, with just the one done up as a reminder for myself. At least I've kept up with all the scrappy cutting I've been doing. Your greens mix is pretty!

  3. Are you sure your blocks for GIMQ clue #3 are right? Mine have the black square on the other side. I must go check Bonnie Hunter's post.

  4. I have done that before, I think it comes from being a seamstress, and making clothes and "easing" to make things work. Beautiful projects though. Great job finishing up clue 3.

  5. It sure was nice to have a quick clue three! Looking good!

  6. Wow, so much happening! Your greens are very pretty. But as Lourixe said above, you might have sewn the wrong side of your strip pairs together. I did that on a few, and it puts the black one on the wrong corner.