What Does the Fox Say???

Last week, when I was out photographing my Flower Garden quilt, I was amazed at the amount of tracks there were out back. It hadn’t snowed in a few days, but still WOW. These are not human tracks, this is a very private area. The back of our house is all windows, we would see this kind of party happening if there were people in our backyard.

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Every direction you look are tracks! I know we have a lot of deer, we have seen as many as 17 at once, most often we see a family of five and occasionally will see other critters but this is an insane amount of tracks.

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Then one morning recently, just after we got up, hadn’t even poured our coffee, My husband spotted this gorgeous fox out the window. We wondered what he was doing just standing there… He paid no attention as Peter grabbed the camera and started photographing, through the window.

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Then he laid down. Lying in wait…

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just before he pounced three feet into the air!

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He dove in, snout first, to snatch something from beneath the snow. We think it was a vole, it was bigger than a mouse anyway.

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And came up with his breakfast. He then layed it down to inspect it like a picky kid.

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Looks good to me. We’ve never seen such a beautiful fox. The red was vibrant and the white was pure. Apparently he eats well around here.

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And away we go.

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So what does the fox say?
Nothing.
He quietly minds his own business….

I imagine this is happening day and night around here. Thus all the tracks.

We live in an awesome neighborhood!

Posted in Nature, Photography, Quilting, View out my window | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Flower Garden quilt

I first talked about this quilt just a week ago. The quilt is based on the classic quilt block, Drunkard’s Path, and set with sashing and borders of the same size as the finished blocks. In this case 4″.

When I started I was just sewing blocks. I hadn’t decided on a finished quilt size.

Drunkards Path quiltI later decided I wanted the finished blocks to stand out more. So I decided to add sashing and borders using the same common size of 4″.

Flowers Garden quilt at Sewfrench

Loving where this was going, I decided this would be a baby quilt and was quickly getting too big. So I made the decision to stop at four flowers. The extras leave me halfway to another baby quilt finish. How many of those do you have?!!

I auditioned a lot of floral fabrics, from my stash, and decided on these two pieces for the back. I think they really compliment the front. One piece was from the 90’s and one was left from a quilt back I made last summer. You know that long piece you have left when you join two widths of fabric to make a back? When you need a piece wider than 44″ but not as wide as 88″? I am always happy to be using up things I already spent the money on!

Quilt back at Sewfrench

I opted to machine quilt, this one. I went with a wavy zigzag between 1/4″ and 1/2″ apart. It created such beautiful texture. I just love it! It makes me want to touch it.

Flower Garden quilt by SewfrenchThis one is shipping out to a sweet, great-niece who was born in October. I hope she loves it as much as I loved making it, especially for her!

Flower Garden by Sewfrench
“Flower Garden”
a Drunkard’s Path variation
Created by Sewfrench
Kona Snow and assorted scraps
Machine pieced and quilted
40″ x 40″

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Posted in 2015 completes, Design, fabric, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Irregular blocks

Playing around, in my studio, last night I came up with this idea. I don’t know why I needed to start something else, but I did. One out the door, means you have to start something else doesn’t it??

Using solid scraps of reds, oranges and golds, from several different manufactures, I just started creating blocks. Very similar to the way I create lots of my quilts, never knowing how they’ll fit together.

Irregular blocks by SewfrenchBelieve it or not these fabrics are all different shades, though they didn’t photograph that way. I will have to be careful, with placement, when the time comes to put them together.

Sewfrench original WIP

Looking at them through the camera’s lens, I think I will need to venture in to other shades and hues, possibly even colors, too.

Sewing with solids at Sewfrench

All my T-shirt quilts are made this way. You would think I would just use some quick quilt math and make blocks with a common divisor. But no, I like more randomness than that. So I just make the blocks, then figure out how to make them go together!

Amanda's Trips quilt by SewfrenchFor our youngest daughter’s Memories quilt in 2005, I used tee shirts and photos, copied on to fabric from my home printer. You can see where some of them fit together, in groupings, nicely. Most didn’t. That is when you wing it!

Same with this one. My husband’s Memories quilt from 2011.

Memories by Sewfrench

I suspect this one will be the same.

Always looking for the next challenge! How about you???

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P.S. This one was subconsciously influenced by Ashley. Thanks for sharing, Ashley!

Posted in Design, fabric, Quilting, Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Paris The Novel

Paris by Edward RutherfurdI loved this book!

This was my first Edward Rutherfurd historical novel and it will not be my last. It is the history of Paris as seen through the eyes of several generations of families–aristocratic, merchant and the lower classes. I loved the descriptions of the city and of the events from such an early time. At over 800 pages long, it covers about 700 years and follows 6 different family lineages over those years. At times it could get confusing, but thankfully there is a lineage tree included.

Similar to certain aspects of Ken Follett’s World Without End, Paris is the chronicle of several families centered around Paris from 1261 to 1968. I loved how the families were connected and how each family has its own stake in the future of Paris.

Having stood, in awe, beneath the Eiffel Tower, Sewfrench at the Eiffel Tower
I really loved the story of Thomas Gascon and how he helped to build it. Because the writing appears to be so well researched, it was fascinating. I also enjoyed the story of Jacob and his family turning to Catholicism to avoid their persecution as Jews. I enjoyed several of the seemingly minor characters’ stories that served as filler for the family trees.

At times, I was a little confused when the chapters jumped from the 1600s to the 1200s and back to the 1800s, until I had a grasp of how the characters would eventually come together. The last 300 pages read almost straight through the 1900s… Once that generation neatly met up, with each other, the author never looked back.

Very long and very enjoyable read. Even more so if you have ever spend anytime in Paris.

Posted in Books, Reading, Review, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Zippered Card Pouch

I don’t know about you but this pouch has been on my radar since I first saw it a really long time ago. I think not only the beautifully coordinated fabrics but also the adorable zipper is what hooked me. And the idea of storing all those grocery store cards, hotel cards, frequent travel cards… in one place that is not in my billfold sold me!

Zippered Card Pouch
So when I finally needed a little pouch, to enclose a gift for my daughter-in-law, I decided I would have a go at it. This is the reason I took on learning how to shorten a metal zipper.


Zippered Card PouchI followed the directions, exactly.

Birthing a pouch at SewfrenchAnd magically it worked!

Zippered Card Pouch at SewfrenchI feel like I am a very experienced seamstress. I sewed, for a living, for many, many years. I did alterations. I created bridesmaids’ dresses. I did upholstery. I made curtains. I made the family’s clothes. I replaced more zippers, coats, billfolds, jeans… than I can count. I even made bags for a university’s orientation packages.
And this pouch was not easy. Lots of hand sewing that needs to be pretty close to perfect, okay I got that.
Topstitching that needs to be near perfect as well, no problem. Seam ripper available if needed.
Perfection was difficult to achieve in this one.
My biggest issue was with the card separator section trying to get caught in the zipper. With the design, as is, I’m not sure how you can avoid that.
Next time I might try it with her original design, instead of her new and improved plan.
Either way, I am happy to have given it a go.

Gift Card Pouch

Even though it wasn’t my prototype, it was the first try at someone else’s tutorial so it felt like my prototype! I like to spread them around the family, so no one person gets stuck with all the jancky test patterns!

I do have to say my husband’s end-grain cutting boards make everything look better! They were waiting to be gift wrapped and worked as a great prop amongst the mess of my studio! He does beautiful work!

Zippered Card PouchHave you made one of these? I’d love to hear about it if you did!

Sew and learn!

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Posted in Christmas, Design, fabric, Finishes, Gifts, Review, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Sewing Curves Without Pins

I am not very good at staying on task… When it comes to me and creativity you probably already know that.

Scrapbusting at Sewfrench

Feeling the need to try something new.

Drunkards Path quilt by SewfrenchMaking a terrible mess doing it… But it will be so worth it!

Drunkards Path at SewfrenchAll those curves have to be sewn. I know most quilters hate sewing curves. Not me. Looking through my quilts, you can see  I have done many curved quilts, over the years. The trick is to learn how to sew them without all the time that pinning takes, not to mention stopping to remove them and breaking needles. No pins needed if you use your 1/4″ foot and hold the top piece up as high as you can while sewing. And practice. You’ll be able to perfectly judge the tension in no time.

Sewing curves with no pinsThat is what I’m up to.
How about you??

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Posted in Quilting, Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

I Am Beginning to See the Light…

Cleaning up, a quilt before it is completely finished, is probably my less favorite part. After the quilting is finished, and the binding is on but before it heads to the washer, I probably spend 20 minutes inspecting and carefully trimming stray threads. I need to clog my washing machine filter just about as much as I need to clip a hole in a new quilt.

A Sewfrench original

While clipping all the ravelly ones, that I didn’t trim as I put the top together….., I sometimes come across spots where I completely missed hand-quilting. These I mark with double safety pins. They dangle, and are very noticeable, if I don’t get back to finishing the missing quilting, right away.

A Sewfrench original

Then off to the washer before I do some embroider, on this one. The colors are so bold that I want to wash it before I do the embroidery for fear of dye leakage. I don’t want it to bleed on my lighter colored embroidery thread. I will then probably spend an equal amount of time, cleaning the ravels again, when I pull it out of the wash…

This one has been a long time in the making. Looking back though, it actually hasn’t been as long as it seems, since I started it. It was just under a year ago when the idea was still evolving. I used big-stitch quilting on it because there are SO many seams to cross. Most pieces are under 2″ square, the majority being even smaller. If you are a hand quilter you totally understand the difficulty of quilting through seam allowances. I am still not sure I like this style of quilting. I feel like it is okay on this one because the design itself will deflect from however I quilted it. And because I despise embroidering so much, it will be a while before you see this one in all it’s glory!! I’ll share when it is finished.

What are you working on? Any hanger-on projects you are working hard, to finish up, before you start new ones???

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Posted in Design, Fabric Tuesday, hand quilting, Quilting, Sewing, WIP | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments