Waggons West Etsy Shop

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Banner Day

It was a banner day around here yesterday.  I found this Freaky Geeky fabric and thought it paired perfectly with my chalkboard fabric.  So I made a chalkboard banner. 

It made me happy!

  And tomorrow if I'm not happy, I can erase it and write a different message. 

Here you can see a but more of the fabric. 

What fun! Something to note about working with chalkboard fabric and probably paint and paper too...  it needs to be conditioned.  You have to evenly coat it with chalk and then rub it off before you write on it.  Otherwise the first writing will stick around.  If you decide you are going to buy a chalkboard fabric item you should always ask if you are getting one that has either been conditioned or has not been written on.  You don't want to pay for the ghost of some one else's message.

So here is the question.  I put this one together with the chalkboard and fabric alternating.  You can have a message on both sides.  Should I really make them so the fabric is on one side and the chalkboard is on the other?  What do you think?  

Oh, and I finished up another banner that was sitting in my WIP pile!  

This is a pink and green one like one I made for a silent auction basket.  This one is going to the craftster raffle. 

One of these days I am going to have to make one of these for me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Alphabet Blues

I LOVE triangles! (OK so maybe I've had issues with triangle quilts and am not always crazy about making them. But I do love them.)

I've wanted to make a triangle quilt forever.  I have a stack of polka dot fabric waiting in the wings.  I've been able to see it forever.  But I've always been afraid of triangles.

I finally used my 50% coupon and bought a triangle ruler.  It is the Fons and Porter version, I think.

A short while ago, I made an impulse purchase while visiting a brand new LQS for the first time.  It is the alphabet picture fabric you can just see in the lower left corner of the picture above.  I bought a whole yard because it reminded me of my dad.  I thought it was the style of the drawings, but I really think it is the general feel of it.  At any rate, I had no idea of what to do with it. I knew it was going to need to be fussy cut.  And I knew that that was going to be a bad day. 

I also had been collecting some blue and gray solids.  The LQS had the alphabet fabric, and some coordinating blue and orange fabric as well.  Add to the mix the fabulous inspiration and technical support provided by Andrea of Mouse in My Pocket  while working on her Ghastlies quilt (I have a wee bit of Ghastlies and this may be the first time I actually try to copy a quilt wholesale.) and you have my alphabet blues.

The strangest thing about working with triangles is that they all seemed to line up.  I have more perfect corners in this quilt than in any quilt I've ever made before.  In fact, Spud 1 even noticed, went in for a closer look and was impressed!   

I know that I am notorious for the anthem "Corners Don't Meet and I Don't Care".  But it isn't for a lack of trying.  I am always trying to improve my quilting skills.  I am always working hard to make my corners meet.  I simply refuse to stress out or give up when they don't. 

Likewise, I am very happy that my quilting turned out pretty OK on this one.  I still can't stitch in the ditch worth a darn but I did try on this one.  I only missed in a few spots....  Big obvious ones at the top of the quilt... but I haven't tried ripping them out yet.  I may still but mostly I think that if I rip them to make the front perfect, I will mess up the lines on the back where it will actually show a lot.

The Details:  38 x 45 inches.  Made with Wilmington ABC's fabrics and stash solids.  Cotton batting.  Machine pieced and quilted.  Hand bound. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I always say "We will finish no quilt before it wants to be done".  Some quilts really do not want to be done.  We call them WIPS.  But there is almost always a reason they get put back on the shelf. 

Then there are the quilts that pop up and say MAKE ME NOW!!!  Not something I experience on a regular basis.  Today was the exception. 

I was looking through my stash for something else.  Sadly, I can't even remember what I was looking for.  A charm pack fell at my feet.  It is a black and white set of Half Moon by Moda.  It insisted that it could be sewn together in short order.  Even better, it would be GREAT practice for precision sewing.  I know all the pieces are cut properly so any variations will be due to operator error.

There was surprisingly little operator error.  The center panel went together in no time at all.  The seams ironed out correctly... now that never happens.  It was finished in a flash.

Except...  one charm pack makes for a pretty small quilt.  Barely big enough to call a stroller quilt.  This baby needed something else. 

I headed to my stash thinking either a red border or a border of brightly colored squares.  I have plenty of those.  Certainly something will work.

Except... this quilt had other ideas.  It kept saying "Scallops.  I would look so elegant with scallops."  It refused to play nicely with any of the reds in my stash. 

But on the top of the pile was a black kona remnant.  It is a piece of wide backing that is too narrow for most quilts that need a wide backing.  A little time with the graph paper, ruler and some light math and it became clear that there was enough fabric for an 8 inch border AND enough for the backing as well.  Score!!!

So, the top is pieced.  I have the backing and batting.  Spud 1 is on his way home and can help with the basting.  This quilt is going to be finished in a flash.

Except... that I have to figure out how to draw the scallops.  I've listened to the talk at the LQS a couple times now.  I understand it in theory.  I have paper and tape.  The scallops won't be a problem.

Except... that I have to figure out how to quilt that vast expanse of black border.  And that is a problem for another day. 

And... and I can see that this is going to be another quilt that is going to be impossible to photograph.  All that black on black quilting will hide.  It will either hide my multitude of sins or it will hide from the camera.  Either way, it won't be impressive on the intertubes. 

Variations on a Box of Jiffy Mix

My friend Martin has asked for the Corn Bread Recipe.  Providing it is almost an embarrassment. 

I've made lots of corn bread recipes.  I've gotten stone ground from the Mill (which is amazing).  I've used sour cream.  I've tried them all.  And most are good.  Some are fantastic.  But all of them take more time than a box of Jiffy Mix.  And most days, the difference isn't worth the time. 

So... Jiffy Mix.  Follow the directions.  You have a good pan of corn bread.

Add a couple tablespoons of honey and you have a sweet treat.  It is better than shortcake with fresh strawberries and cream or strawberry rhubarb compote.  Dot it with blueberry pie filling before you bake it and you have a wonderful dessert.

Add a can of corn (well drained) or an equivalent amount of blanched fresh kernels or thawed frozen kernels and you can call it a vegetable.

Add a can of creamed corn and a couple extra eggs to the above mixture and you have a quick cheater corn bread pudding.

Add a can of chopped green chilies, drained and a cup of cheddar cheese.

Add a a cup of cheese and as much bacon as survives the frying process.

Cut up the leftovers and toast in the oven for stuffing (or dressing although why they call it dressing when it goes INSIDE the bird always escaped me... or is that the difference.  It is stuffing if it is cooked inside and dressing if it is cooked along side?)

Cut up the leftovers, toast in the oven.  Put in a greased baking dish with leftover ham, veggies, whatever you have in the fridge.  Mix in a bunch of cheese and cover it with a mixture of eggs and milk/cream/half and half.  I usually use about 8 eggs and enough milk/cream to make up to 2 cups.  Blend well.  Toss in salt, pepper, garlic, spices.  Pour over the corn bread mixture.  You want to have enough milk/egg mixture to cover the bread (some floats) and be pretty sloppy in the pan.  It is not a a science.  Go with what you've got. 

 Let stand about 10 minutes.  If it looks really dry add some more milk and an egg.  Bake until set (350 for around an hour but check... your oven and conditions may vary).

Sorry, no pictures.  Just a quick post since the "recipe" is too long to make sense in a Facebook comment. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Upcycled Billboard

We get to enter two quilts into the Bloggers Quilt Festival this year.  What fun!  There are so many great quilts to look at and eventually vote for.  For those of us who don't get to go to Quilt market it provides some extra fun while we wait for our #quiltmarket feed to refresh!  Thanks go to Amy of Amy's Creative Side for putting it all together.  Be sure to check them all out.

One of Amy's requirements is that we write a new post about an old quilt.  I've said a lot about this quilt already but here goes.....

This is a billboard.  No really.  This quilt is made out of a billboard.  I accepted the challenge to make a quilt using only upcycled materials that ALSO included two things that were never intended to be used for garments or quilts. 

The top of the quilt is made from remnants of pants, shirts and blue jeans.  These are mostly the pockets and seams that are left over from making my upcycled badges.  They were all essentially raw edge appliqued to the surface of a sheet of muslin.  (We were allowed to use new batting.  I substituted muslin.)

The backing is a large portion of a billboard.  New billboards are made of plastic tarp like material that wraps around the wooden structure of the billboard.  Being a packrat, when I came across some one throwing away a billboard, I kept it.  I've been whittling away at it for several years.  There is a bit that covers the table for sunpainting.  There is a bit used to protect surfaces during soaping.  Another bit is used for packaging Christmas Coal.  This portion has the word Face.  I have no idea what the original billboard said.

The final portion of the quilt is a hand-forged iron hook made by Spud 3.  It is used to attach some vintage upcycled gros grain ribbon.  That keeps it all nice and tidy in the trunk of the car.

Here is a better look at the hook.  Spud 3 is a self taught blacksmith who runs Far Creek Forge in his spare time.  

This is pretty much one of the wackiest quilts I've ever made.  It was made in response to Project Quilting Season 5 challenge 2.  In project quilting, Kim Lapacek posts a diabolical challenge dreamed up by her mother-in-law at noon on Sunday.  You have to have a finished quilt by noon the following Sunday.  One week!  A finished quilt in one week.  This year, I worked hard to make functional quilts.   That made the season a bit more challenging. But a lot of fun!  You should totally check it out. 

Honey Teriyaki Salmon

You would think that once your kids get most of the way through college you would be beyond the "Mom, I need a costume tomorrow" stage.  However, Spud 1 came home from finals week and can't find either of his ren faire shirts. 

So it is search out the $2 linen tablecloth and find the twill tape and get 'er done hopefully before midnight.

I was looking for twill tape in the fabric room when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a recipe I thought long gone.  It was, in fact, last seen in the kitchen junk drawer.  How it ended up in a wrinkled baggy in the fabric room.... well, some things are beyond understanding.

Rather than put the blue scrap of paper in another safe place, I'm recording it here.

Teriyaki Salmon.... Originally obtained from a Trader Joe's sampling day.

1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce (We use Soy Vey Veri Teriyaki Sauce)
2 Tbs  Honey
2 Tbs Brown Sugar
3 cloves garlic minced
4 - 10 ounce salmon fillets

Combine first four ingredients.  Add Salmon.  Marinate for 4 hours.  Grill or broil until done.

Actually, all we do any more is dump the Soy Vey on top and bake at 425 degrees F  until done.  Works.  But it is nice to have the original back. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Three Day Quilt.

 It is time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Amy of My Creative Side hosts this event every year.  It ends up being a vast collection of quilts in many different categories... total quilt eye candy overload. 

It is always  a challenge to decide first whether or not to enter and then to decide which quilt to enter.  Then it is the challenge of writing a new post about an old quilt.

I've chosen to enter my Lemoyne Star Quilt this time.  I've written so much about it from my travails acquiring fabric to the final story of the quilt to an Instructable on hand quilting.  It is certainly my favorite quilt from season 5 of Project Quilting.  And it is probably one of my all time favorite quilts.  Best of all, I made it for me so I get to keep it and use it and enjoy it.

For those of you not familiar with it, Project Quilting is an on-line challenge.  Prompts are issued at noon on Sunday and pictures of final quilts are to be posted by noon the following Sunday.  Yes.  The following Sunday.  One week.  Seven Days.  That is all.

The first season I participated, all of my quilts were in the small art quilt, wall-hanging category.  Relatively easy to manage in the space of a week.  This year, Spud 1 challenged me to make 'useful' quilts, quilts that would cover more than his big toe.  I took him up on it.  Each week my quilt was bigger than the last.  This was the quilt I made in response to the week 4 challenge "Across the Universe".  To be perfectly honest, my quilts this year didn't really live up to the spirit of Project Quilting.  A spirit that says we should think outside the block.  But then for me I really was outside my typical comfort zone.  I was working large and I was mostly following traditional patterns.  I don't usually do that.  My typical quilt is a either a small art quilt or a lap robe sized project with of my own design.  I don't do big and I don't follow patterns.  In that respect this was a real challenge.

 Given the week time frame, I usually have a plan by late Sunday and am working on fabric selection or even cutting by that evening.  For this challenge, I was stuck.  I had lots of ideas but no plan.  I kept vacillating between a stars and space/science fiction and the Beatles.  It wasn't until Wednesday that I finally decided I wanted to make a big star quilt for my bed.  (I did mess around with this pattern a couple years ago and ended up with a Christmas quilt so I wanted a not seasonal version for the rest of the year.)

I started cutting on Wednesday evening and managed to piece one of the blocks.  But... I discovered I didn't have enough background fabric.  I've already referred that that adventure above.  Half of Thursday was gone by the time I had not enough but sufficient fabric to finish.

It had been my intention to have it all pieced and ready to baste in time for my Friday morning Bible Study meeting.  There are lots of big tables and helping hands there to stay after a few minutes and help get the job done.  But no such luck.  I wasn't ready to baste until about 3 in the afternoon.  On Friday.  With less than 48 hours until the deadline.

I actually was living large and on track to get it finished.  Except.... the silly quilt insisted on being hand quilted.  Yes, quilts talk.  They have minds of their own.  They can be very adamant about what they want.   And this quilt wanted hand quilting.  Fortunately it wanted big stitches with Pearl cotton and not tiny delicate stitches with quilting thread.  Fortunate, mostly because I am not exactly the sort who can manage tiny delicate stitches even under the best of circumstances. 

So, Friday evening I started hand quilting.  I stitched and stitched and stitched.  Some time late Saturday evening I had enough stitches in it to say that it was sufficiently quilted.  It would hold together in the wash and actually looked pretty good.  Now all I had to do was the binding.

I absolutely could not face the thought of  hand stitching the binding.  I also know that my ability to machine stitch a binding is non-existent.  I can stitch in the ditch about as well as a bar hopper can walk the line at 2 am.  And I'd give the bar hopper the odds if it was a competition!  Then you can take a look at the back.  I completely miss the binding at least twenty five percent of the way around on a good day.  Not the way I wanted to finish this baby.  

Some where in the depths of my stitched out sleep deprived mind came the vision of Elmer's glue.  I'd been in an on-line chat with some one, I think BariJ, who confessed to the use of white school glue for holding bindings in place.  What could it hurt?  The spuds searched high and low and found me a not completely dried up bottle of Elmer's finest.  I grabbed a wooden skewer (OK, there are a million better choices for an applicator but at midnight it was the best I could do).  I started applying and sticking and unsticking my fingers and applying and sticking some more.  Eventually, I made it all the way around and I knew for a fact that the binding covered the stitching all the way around on the back.  

I had enough mental clarity to recall that one of the critical steps in using school glue was to iron it to make sure that it was completely dry.  That would prevent it from gumming up the needle on the sewing machine.  

Rather foolishly I decided to start out stitching in the ditch.  That lasted for about 10 inches.  I stopped and re-started with the edge of my presser foot against the edge of the binding and stitched just inside the seam on the binding itself.  Worked like a charm.  I have NO idea why I can do that but can't keep it in the ditch.  Must be a mental problem!

I was finished with the whole thing by about 1:30 am on Sunday morning. 

I took a few quick photos, including the one above of the spud playing quilt monster.  Posted quickly to Flickr and collapsed.  I had HOURS to spare!!!  This quilt was started Wednesday night and finished early Sunday morning.  Just over three days less sleeping, cooking, meetings and other life events getting in the way of quilting.  Whew!  All in all a fun quilt I am going to treasure!

If you are new to my blog and have made it this far you might want to poke around a bit.  I get pretty long winded but some folks seem to enjoy my stories.  All of them mostly true.  Other folks seem to enjoy my recipes although they are more road maps than precision cooking instructions.  And some even enjoy looking at my quilts.  

No matter what you should head back over to the Bloggers Quilt festival and check out all of the REALLY amazing quilts.  If you are so inclined you can even vote for my quilt when voting opens.  I would appreciate it.  

Thanks and enjoy the quilts. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Give Away Day! Quilt Label

This contest is closed.  Winner will be contacted shortly.  Thank you for stopping by. Check out my etsy shop if you would like your own custom quilt label.  

And the winner is...

ive never seen a quilt label before but these are beautiful. My mom passed away two years ago from cancer and im making a tshirt quilt out of her clothes for my siblings and i and this would go beautifully to commemorate her. This is a beautiful give-away.


It is Give Away Day at Sew Mama Sew.  I am giving away a custom embroidered quilt label.

I just love the idea of creating a label to match the quilt and to document the provenance of each quilt.  I have several quilts from my family where the history is lost.  We can only guess about who and when.  One particularly gorgeous example was found in my grandmother's house.  My dad said, his mother could not have made it but we have no way of knowing who did. 

The two pictures here are of custom quilt labels designed to match a particular quilt.  I have several designs  at WaggonsWest .  But, as you can see here, I like to work with my customers to come up with new designs.  The lion label is an example of combining an existing border with one of my badge designs.  It was FUN.  The vine one was a completely new design created for a customer and now available. 

No matter how many times I am told that I need to label my quilts and despite the fact that I make custom embroidered quilt labels all the time, I never seem to manage to put a fancy label on any of my quilts.  I am usually using my fabric marker and writing around the binding on the back at the last minute if I have to ship one out the door.  It is truly pathetic.   That doesn't have to be the case for you.  All you have to do is tell me what sort of label you would like to see in the comments.  Flowers? Fancy? Text only? Photos?  What is your favorite label? 

The fine print:

Up for grabs is one custom quilt label.  I will ship internationally.  Drawing will be held when I wake up on May 17.  The winner will be notified by email so be sure to leave an addy if you are a no name blogger!  The official rules say that your prize has to be mailed by May 20.  However, this is a custom order.  We will chat about what it is you want and I will design something specifically for you.  It usually takes a few weeks to get it all nailed down and stitched out.  So patience is necessary for this prize.  Winner will be chosen by a random drawing from my favorite comments.

Be sure to check out all of the rest of the prizes at Sew Mama Sew

Friday, May 9, 2014

One Block Short of a Full Quilt

Or:  Sometimes you remember why it is WIP instead of a quilt.

I made these blocks eons ago.  I don't have any of the fabrics left.  I have 23 blocks.  Twelve Ohio Stars and thirteen Michigan stars.   I embroidered the Missouri Mule to make it up to two dozen but now it seems I am still short.  See that big white space in the middle? 

 And the other issue is the white sashing I sewed on one side of every single of of those blocks.  If I recall correctly, those are goofed up in some irritating way as well.  I think that I am going to go all the way around each block with it.  Square them up (because the stars are pretty whack-a-doodle in terms of size) and go from there.  

Well at least it is on the design wall staring at me rather than in the WIP pile haunting me.

The fun thing about these blocks is that looking at them I am able to see how much my technique has improved.  I have a long way to go but I have certainly learned a lot!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Alphabet Blues

This is actually all stitched together and I am trying to decide if it needs a border.  If it weren't for my complete inability to manage the ruler and rotary cutter on angles, I think all of my quilts would become triangle quilts.  I LOVE sewing these together.