Friday, September 19, 2014

New York State Fair - 1

Its been quite some time since I posted.  I actually didn't realize that its been 2 months since I last posted....that's how crazy-busy it has been!

Work has been busy throughout the summer.  Our company is purchasing a competitor, so there's a lot happening due to the merger.  On top of that, we've just had a lot of orders, which is great for business, but makes things hectic.  Add in some travel and visitors, and somehow it got to be the middle of September.

At the end of August though, I went out to the New York State (NYS) fair with my mother-in-law, my mom and my dad.  I know... kind of odd.  My younger sister was originally going to come, too, but she ended up having to work that day.  I took a lot of pictures, so this is going to be broken up into a few posts.

The main reason I wanted to go was to see the quilts at the fair.  They mixed in some wood-working and other hand-crafted items in the same display area as the quilts. 

The quilt below was the overall winner and is absolutely spectacular.  The quilting on it is all hand quilting.  I think it may have been hand-pieced, too.

NYS Fair 2014 - 01

NYS Fair 2014 - 02

The level of detail is just incredible....

NYS Fair 2014 - 03

NYS Fair 2014 - 04

A fairly intricate log cabin quilt.... the quilting was beautiful on it.

NYS Fair 2014 - 05

Someone's very time consuming Dear Jane:

NYS Fair 2014 - 06

This is one of the wood-working items displayed around.  The chess set was gorgeous and the inlaid wood was beautiful!

NYS Fair 2014 - 07

NYS Fair 2014 - 08

This side table had a lot of small detailed carvings on it:

NYS Fair 2014 - 09

NYS Fair 2014 - 10

This rug caught my eye, despite its rather 'cartoonish' feel to it.  The text said "The Cat's Funeral".  Since I won a black cat, it made me laugh.

NYS Fair 2014 - 11

There were a fair amount of sampler quilts, too.

NYS Fair 2014 - 12

NYS Fair 2014 - 13

NYS Fair 2014 - 14

And I'll end off with this beautiful clock.  The carvings on it were exquisite!

NYS Fair 2014 - 15

Overall, we had a great time at the fair.  My MIL and I shared a "wine slushy" at the end of the day.  Afterwards we commented that we should have started out the day with one.  LOL!  Next time we will definitely be hitting up the wine slushy booth right when we arrive.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mariner's Compas Progress

Despite not positing much about it, I have been making slow progress on the Mariner's Compass wall hanging.  Before loading it on my frame to baste it, I drew out the compass pattern I wanted to quilt in the large triangles in the corner of the quilt.  It was much easier to do the marking without the puffiness of the batting.

I'm using Quilter's Dream wool batting on this one as well as Superior Threads (So Fine, Bottom Line, and Lava).  The wool batting gives a very nice loft to it and once I have the filler stitching done, it will really make the designs pop out.

Here's one of the corner squares with most of the basting stitches pulled out.  I still have to do the filler stitching to make the compass motif stand out, but you can get the general idea of what it looks like.  There was a lot of stopping-and-starting on this one due to the straight lines and doing it on my regular sewing machine.  It was also a lot of maneuvering the quilt around, but it will be worth it in the end.

Mariner's Compass_July 2014 2

For the ribbon border around the center motif, I've decided to do a lot of straight line quilting to cause your eye to travel down the curling ribbon.  The red pieces have parallel lines spaced a half inch apart.  The blue pieces have parallel lines stitched a quarter inch apart.

Mariner's Compass_July 2014 3

Again, this caused a lot of starting and stopping (and lots of threads to bury), but I like the look of it.  The white triangles outside the ribbon will be stitched with dense quilting to cause the rest of the design to come to the forefront.

Mariner's Compass_July 2014 1

I've also done all the outline stitching around the center compass, around the outside borders and I've done some free-motion loops on the dark colored squares in the outer border.  I'm saving a lot of the dense quilting until the end.  The exact method of the dense stitching is still a bit up in the air until I get a little bit further in the rest of the quilting.  I'm debating whether to just do dense stippling or to do something like McTavishing or some other fill (circles, waves, etc).  I'll probably end up decided at the last minute.  LOL.

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Last week was a relaxing week and I had every intention of blogging....  Then had too much fun relaxing and enjoying my vacation.  :c)

We didn't go anyway in particular for vacation, just stayed around the house.  However, we did do a lot of visiting with family which was good.  Of the 10 days off on vacation, 5 of them were spent with family.  The other days we did some chores around the house and completed some projects that we had been meaning to finish up.

One of the items was to rid our front garden of our chipmunk problem.  We have 16 acres of land, with about 100 open acres around us and the chipmunks decide that they need to dig in my flower garden!  Argh!  I eventually had enough when they started killing some of my plants due to digging out the roots of the plants.  So we purchased a live trap to catch the chipmunks.

They certainly are cute little guys, but I'm tired of them digging in my garden.  The first day we had the trap, we caught a chipmunk within 3 hours.  The next day, we caught 3 more chipmunks.  At this point, we're up to 6 chipmunks captured.

After we capture them, we throw a towel over the trap so they don't freak out as much, and then walk them across the road (about 1/4 mile) to a farmer's field.  We see it as fair play... the farmer's field dumps all his rain runoff into a culvert that dumps onto our property (and floods it every time we have heavy rain), so we return the favor by giving him chipmunks.  There originally wasn't a culvert dumping the farmer's water onto our property until about 10 years ago when the farmer was tired of his fields flooding.  So he called the state and they put in a culvert, but never actually managed the water on the opposite side of the road.  They just let it dump onto the properties.

Anyway, we'll continue to trap the chipmunks and we may eventually start to mark them with spray paint to see if we're taking them far enough away.  If not, then we'll take them the opposite way on our property and cross a small river and deposit them on the other side.  That should at least deter them a bit.
 Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Its been very busy the past few weeks here, but I think I may have a chance to catch up on some blogging now.  Work has been busy as have things at home.  Somehow it got to be July and I have no idea how that happened.

So backing up a few weeks....

In mid-May, we spent the Saturday before Mother's day at my parents' house.  Its become an annual tradition for us to visit the Saturday before Mother's day and we celebrate Mother's day, my Mom's birthday and my sister's birthday.  We typically will take my Mom out to her local garden center and help her buy plants for her gardens and then help plant them before we leave.

I decided to do something a little different and brought a cake with us from a local bakery.  Its a great Italian bakery with traditional Italian cookies, but they also do some awesome cakes.  Here's a picture of it before we devoured it.  :c)


It was very yummy with marble cake on the inside with a mix of chocolate mouse and strawberries between the layers in the cake.  They do a great job with their cakes and they always look too pretty to cut into.

Around the same time, we noticed that a robin had made a nest behind our trellis.  Why it made the nest on the ground is beyond me... but she decided it was a good spot.  Three eggs in the nest initially, but she did lay a fourth egg later on.


It was really cute seeing the first two babies hatch.  Here they are along a few hours out of their shells.


The one downside... something did attack the nest after all four babies had hatched.  Initially one baby was missing, 2 were injured and the 4th was fine.  Then a few days later, only one baby (the uninjured one) was in the nest.  A week later... no baby bird.  We later found the remains of the bird in the lawn.  Since then, we've also seen a fox around the property, so I'm pretty sure the fox got the baby birds.


The good thing is that the rest of our garden is flourishing.  The picture above is from a few weeks ago, but the plants still look great.  These flowers are pretty much done at this point, but others are starting to come out now.

On the quilting front, I did finish all the straight-line and in-the-ditch quilting I need to do on my Mariner's Compass quilt.  I'm removing some of my basting stitches and then will show an in-process picture of the quilting.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Goodbye....and HELLO!

It has been another hectic few weeks here.  I have been getting some quilting done, but there's not a whole lot to show.  Stitch in the ditch quilting is very boring for photos!  It will be good in the end, but its time consuming and doesn't really photograph well.

I do have some other news though.  Living in upstate NY makes things challenging at times, especially in the winter with the snow that we receive.  This past winter, we had a higher than normal amount of snow, which mean my little Mazda 3 didn't do to well.  There were several days that I was stuck at home because the car just isn't good enough in the snow to risk driving it.

Here's my cute little Mazda:

2004 Mazda3

It has definitely served me well over the years, despite not being all-wheel drive.  Its a pretty sporty car to drive and was a great car to learn to drive standard shift.  Since I really did need an all-wheel drive vehicle, we recently started looking around for a new car.

I knew I wanted to try out a Subaru since they have the best all-wheel drive cars for the price you pay.  Their vehicles are very reasonably priced compared to other all-wheel drive vehicle options.  My husband has a 2009 Subaru WRX, which we both love to drive, so we decided to try and find a new 2015 WRX for me. 

It took a bit of patience as these cars are a hot commodity right now and they are a bit hard to find even to be able to test drive one.  However, we did find one that we were able to test drive and I fell in love with it.  That particular dealer was not willing to give us a fair price for the trade in value for the Mazda, so we ended up walking away.

However, not even a week later, I found another dealer within 100 miles that had the exact vehicle I was looking for.  We ended up putting a refundable deposit on the car and drove the 100 miles 2 weekends ago to get the car.

An here she is....  :c)

2015 WRX

I absolutely love the new car.  It is extremely sporty and can handle just about any curve you throw at it.  I've been very good at driving it so far and not pushing the engine too hard.  Since it has a turbo, you need to break the engine in a bit before you really start pushing it.

We'll end up getting a spare set of rims and tires for the winter since the car comes with summer performance tires, but I know from experience that this thing will be able to walk up walls in the winter once we put the snow tires on it.

So if you're in the upstate NY area, keep an eye out for a blue may be me. :c)

Happy Crafting!
 ~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sampler Quilt

Again, it has been a little while since I've posted again.  I've been slowly making progress on a few projects as well as getting outside to get the garden started.  Its finally warmer here, so I've been spending my weekends outside doing yard work.  We spread pellets onto the lawn that are supposed to repel/kill ticks and other little bugs.  So hopefully the tick population will stay in the woods and not stick to us anymore! :c)

A few weeks back, I did finally get pictures of this sampler quilt that I did as part of a quilt class 3 years ago (yikes!).  I took the class mainly to meet a few other quilters, but also learned a few techniques while I was there.
Sampler 01

When I started quilting this, I wasn't quite sure how to do it, but then decided to just make it completely a sampler.  Most of the blocks have different quilting in them, but I did anchor the four corner blocks by doing the same quilting in them.

These are basically just echo-quilted around the appliqued shape.

Sampler 02

This one has four different styles in each of the white spaces:

Sampler 03

My attempt at keeping lines fairly straight without marking anything...

Sampler 04

And this is probably the most ugly.  My "feathers" are pretty atrocious.  They look more like amoeba or something like that.  I'm definitely going to have to practice my feathers a heck of a lot more!

Sampler 05

Sampler 06

Sampler 07

I actually like how these swirly shapes turned out.  The little curlicues are neat and give a lot of texture to the quilt:

Sampler 08

This one was also a lot of fun.  It was a little messy at first, but as I got used to it, I was able to find a rhythm that worked for me...

Sampler 09

Sampler 10

Sampler 11

More straight lines that were done parallel to the triangles for the flying geese.  These lines are a lot better than the first ones...

Sampler 12

Sampler 13

I really like the quilting on this friendship star block.  It has just enough spin to it that it makes it flow a bit and reminds me of ninja stars.

Sampler 14

Sampler 15

More evenly spaced curlicues....

Sampler 16

Same with the dense filler... better the 2nd time around...

Sampler 17

More flowing arcs in a reverse friendship star block. 

Sampler 18

Its hard to see the quilting on the center area with the log cabin blocks, but I basically stuck to in the ditch quilting.  I did some free motion on the heart, but I couldn't get it to photograph since its red thread on red fabric.

Sampler 19

Overall, I liked this quilt and being able to use sample quilting on the different blocks.  It allowed me to try out a bunch of different things in the blocks to see if I liked anything and where I need to practice a bunch more.

Hope everyone is enjoying their spring!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A little of this... and a little of that...

The weather lately in upstate NY has been pretty miserable for spring time.  We have a lot of cold and rainy days so far this spring.  Most nights we're still down into the lower 40s and during the day, we've been lucky if we hit 60.  So my garden is very slow going this year and we haven't really been doing a lot outside yet since its been so yucky.

For anyone else in woodsy areas and areas prone to ticks, please remember to check yourself after being outside in the woods.  The tick population is definitely increasing here.  In the past 3 weeks, we've found 5 ticks on us after being outside.  My husband had two that were just crawling on him.  On one weekend in particular, I found 2 crawling on me while I was still outside and then found a 3rd one later that evening that had attached itself.  We gently pulled it free and kept it in a baggy (just in case) out in the garage. 

Aside from the very limited outdoor work, I have been doing quilting.  There isn't much to show for it, but I spent several hours today prepping a quilt for quilting.  It is the Mariner's Compass quilt that I plan on doing a lot of custom quilting on.  So today was spent marking some details in the corners of the quilt prior to layering it with batting and backing.  I've found that its easier to get straight lines marked when its just the quilt top versus all the puffiness of the batting.  I also had to cut and press backing material for the quilt.

In the meantime since I don't have any recent pictures.  I realized I never showed a picture of my completed wool applique project.  Here it is below.  The stitching on the bears' heads is embroidered on as well as the dangling stars.

Bear Wool Applique

I quilted it very simply and outlined most of the bear shapes.  In the end, I didn't really care for doing the wool applique.  It turned out fine, but it just didn't spark anything for me.  I could see making something out of wool felt if you want to do a mat for a candle or something like that.  Otherwise, its pretty boring.

I hope to share some pictures later this week of another sampler quilt that I finished up the binding on earlier this winter.  I did a lot of custom quilting in different blocks to try out different techniques.  Some I ended up liking others...not so much.  Its all a learning phase though.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lots O' Thread

Just before my birthday (which was this past Sunday), I finally got around to purchasing thread so I could do the quilting on the Mariner's Compass quilt.  As typical, I bought my thread from Superior Threads.  Their threads are great and are very low lint, which is good for your sewing machine.  I don't want to be a "thread snob", but I've tried a bunch of different threads in the past and these ones are definitely my favorites.  I have yet to have ANY issues with the Superior Threads, regardless of which line of threads I use.

So the small cones in the picture below are actually for quilting the Mariner's Compass quilt.  I already had some great blues left over from the Lone Star quilt that I will use in the blue sections of this quilt.  The red will go in the large red sections of the quilt and the gold is going to be used in the pieced outer border where the fabrics switch from yellow to blue to red to green.
Thread 1

You may be wondering about those large cones in the back.  Since I was ordering thread anyway, I decided to indulge and get some very large cones of thread for piecing.  I use Masterpiece threads for my piecing, and typically use the cream color.  However, Superior had a great deal on some of their large cones, so I also picked up the gold/yellow colored cone.  It was originally supposed to be $107, but was on sale for $40.  Very hard to beat that kind of price.

Thread 2

So if you're wondering on the actual size of the new cones....

The two "small" cones of So Fine! and The Bottom Line are both about 3,000 yards.  That big cone...a whopping 10,840 yards of thread!  :c)  The cream color cone is even larger at 15,000 yards.  I have a lot of piecing ahead in my future to use up these babies.  LOL!

Thread 3

I still have some prep work to do on the Mariner's Compass top before its ready to start quilting, but I'll be sure to share some pictures on here.  I have to mark some things on it prior to loading it onto my quilting frame for basting.  Because I have a small throat space on the machine on my frame, I will only baste it on the frame and then do the actual quilting on my regular sewing machine.

It may seem odd to some of you, but if you only have 5" of throat space on a frame and your quilting design is larger than 5" you end up constantly having to adjust your rollers and where the quilt is positioned.  I'd spend half my time just trying to move the quilt on the rollers and not mess up my stitching lines.  So the quilt gets basted on the frame and then detail work is done on the smaller machine where I can more easily continue my lines of stitching.

Happy Crafting!
~Sarah at upstateNYCreations