3/3/15

One Rubber Duckie

Yesterday I started on a baby quilt for some friends from high school who are expecting their first grandchild. Don't quote me on this, but I think the baby is due in May. They requested the colors yellow and green and a duck theme. I got on the internet and found a few quilts that might work. It was sheer luck that this particular pattern was done in yellows and greens, and this is the pattern they chose, called "Turn Around Baby" from Queen Bee Quilt Designs. It also has applique templates for bunnies and flowers.


That was all fine and dandy, but try to find some duck fabric in green and yellow. Go ahead...I dare you. 

When I couldn't find anything online, I messaged my friend with some images to see if she liked any I'd selected. She decided to go shopping where she lives in Southern California and see if she could find something locally. She wasn't able to find anything in green either, but she selected the fabric on the bottom of the stack in the image below. She also found a stripe (4th one up from the bottom) that would work well for the binding. I built my fabrics around the colors in the binding fabric to come up with these. We'll get those greens and yellows in if it kills us.


Yesterday I got it all cut out and sewed the strip sets and four patches together to the point where I was ready to do the applique. You can see the binding fabric off on the right in the image below.


About that time my drug-sniffing cat showed up.

Sure enough, Mom. This here's catnip. Let me help you dispose of that safely and propurrly.


So what's doing here? Are you trying to stay organized? Let a cat help out.


About that time, I accidentally bumped the doors behind me, leading him to speculate what might be making that noise. After all, this is his favorite room to lose track of live mice he brings into the house.

Uh-Oh. I think you have bats in your belfry


I should purrobably investigate, don't you think?


This gave me an easy way to solve my problem of too much help. I opened the doors and let him have at it. That kept him occupied for a good long time. Sadly for him, no mice found.

I have one duck applique made. There are 12 of these.


When you arrange the sashings, this is how a single block looks.


I started studying the pattern and realized this was quite a little puzzle to put together setting wise. Since I'm doing applique (and you wouldn't have to), I needed to cut my background blocks 1/2-inch larger to give room for a little bit of shrinkage. I'll trim them to size before sewing them together. That just means I can't really sew anything together until all of the applique is done. Nevertheless, I decided to lay things out so that I can stay on track when I do start sewing everything together.


That's where I'll pick up this afternoon when I'm ready to sew.

Today I'm either walking or swimming. Still arguing with myself over which one. Right now, walking is winning because it is beautiful outside. Then I need to go to the grocery store. The first Tuesday of the month is always senior discount day, and I grab up all the senior benefits I can get, let me tell you. There's gotta be some benefit to getting older, right? They say youth is wasted on the young, but the young don't get senior discounts, so how good can it be? Seriously. Been there. Done that.

Aside from my senior discount, I have a coupon to get triple bonus points on my rewards card today. Holy sh*t. Can a day get any better than that?

My mom is really old. She gets excited about the dumbest things.


Before I go, I wanted to share these stain removal cheat sheets with you. You can thank Jill at Create, Craft, Love for these. Scroll down and click on the image to see them. There are nine in all. 

So off I go. It's a bonus points kind of day. Not a minute to waste.

3/2/15

Valerie's Birthday Party

Yesterday evening, we all headed over to the other side of town to help Valerie celebrate her Tuesday birthday. It was the first time Mike and I had seen her house, which was built in 1943. Valerie took the house down to its virtual skeleton and completely renovated it. It is adorable. My recollection is that it is about 750 square feet, and so it's a nice little doll house for the two of them and their three kitties.


We got the grand tour of the house and enjoyed some wine before heading over to the restaurant Valerie had selected.


I didn't take a lot of pictures of the interior of the house, but I wanted to show you this space-saver stairway. It's not as scary as it looks.


Matthew and Valerie mainly inhabit the lower floor, but the upper floor has two small rooms. One is a sort of lounging "library" with books, bookcases, and comfy cushions. On the side where I was standing is Matthew's "Man Cave" where he has his recording equipment. He had some "mood lighting" that turned both of these images hot pink. I converted the one below to black and white. The hot pink was a little distracting.


I took a few little gifts to Valerie. She's a woman who knows quality when she sees it. She saw my Frankencat on Facebook, and she claimed it as her own. 


Also, I can reveal the little mug rug I made for her. This is the mystery project I've been withholding.


This pattern was designed by The Patchsmith, and I found it on Craftsy. I'm calling mine "Eyes on the Prize". Also, I gave her this Mugtail coffee mug. I saw these at Christmas and thought it would be a perfect gift for Valerie, who loves cats as much as I do.

Speaking of cats, this is George, Valerie's flame point siamese. He was the sweetest thing. Very friendly and affectionate.


This is Osa, who kept her back to us most of the time. She clearly does not like strangers invading her space. Valerie showed us how one can request permission to pet her by putting your hand down by her face. If she nudges your hand (as she did mine), then permission granted. She does not care to have her picture taken however. She closed her eyes just as I snapped the shutter on this one, but she has the most beautiful yellow eyes.


And this shy guy is Smooth. Matthew dragged him out from his hiding place so that we could see him, and his coat is as soft as velvet. Smooth has taken up residence on the Sunshine on my Shoulders quilt. Clearly, he is a mancat of discriminating tastes.


It was cozy seating for six there, but we all had a place to sit down, and we chatted and laughed for a while before we left for the restaurant. It was fun hearing the stories of Valerie's house and renovation adventure.


We had a dinner of Cuban food at a restaurant in Portland called Pambiche. I just looked up the definition of Pambiche, and this is what I learned on Wikipedia:

Pambiche is a Latin American dance derived from Merengue, the national song and dance of the Dominican Republic. The Merengue was once called the "Palm Beach One Step" and it is said that "Pambiche" is a derivation of "Palm Beach." It is considered by some to be the most difficult of all americanized Latin American dances. Dominican Accordionist El Prodigio has released an album entitled Pambiche meets Jazz, in which he combines traditional merengue rhythms (most of the songs featuring pambiche) with traditional American music such as jazz, rock, and blues.

So there you go. I heart the internet. Anyway...good food, good service, good company, and definitely good times.




Now, not to brag about our weather, but allow me to brag about our weather. I'm forgetting for a moment about global climate change and just enjoying what it has done for us in the Northwest this winter. This picture appeared in our local paper a couple of days ago...


along with the news that this has indeed been the warmest winter on record for us. The last record was set in 1958. Average temperature this winter has been a chilly 45.8°F with very little rain. The lack of rain is what has made our winter so nice, and I am not complaining one bit.

So today I'm going to get a start on the baby quilt I'm making for a friend. I started cutting it out yesterday, but I'm going to start sewing it today. Before I leave you however, I wanted to tell you what I discovered yesterday. Those of you more internet savvy than I will probably yawn at this, but I was simply amazed.

As I was deciding which block to make next for Lisa's Retirement Quilt, I came across this one in the stack and heaved a big sigh. This is the downside of asking nonquilters to create blocks. Clearly, this is a paper-pieced block, and there was no way I was going to be able to recreate it without the pattern. (Maybe someone more EQ smart than I am could do it, but it isn't going to be me.)


So I tried searching for different names, like "paper-pieced star" and "paper-pieced pinwheel" and some other things. I could find approximations, but nothing identical. Then, I wrote a blog post entitled "Calling All Smart People" and asked all of you if you recognized it. Then, I deleted it when I remembered that it was possible to enter an image into the Google search box and search for an image. You do it like this.

Go to the Google Images Search page. This is how it looks on my computer screen:


Then, you click on the little camera icon, and upload your image:


When your image has uploaded, instantly, you will get a screen that looks like this:


You can see my image at the top, and then about a zillion times this image has been loaded onto Pinterest. I scanned the list and about halfway down the second page, I found the original pattern:

There, I found the original blog post for the block created by Anna at Six White Horses, along with a link to the pattern on Craftsy.

Cool!

Have I said lately how much I love the internet?

So there you go. And here I go. Heading off to the sewing room now. Have a nice Monday.


3/1/15

Two Days of Stitching

Today I'm going to do some cutting, which doesn't make for very interesting blogging. I decided I'd just show you the stitching I've done since yesterday.

I finished the top-stitching and stitched the name of the block for "Chicken Gumbo".


I had to get out the instruction book for my sewing machine to remind me how to program in those letters, and I let the sewing machine do the stitching for the name. That worked out pretty well, and the machine was surprisingly user friendly. These blocks are going to be terrifically fun to make.

Also, I finished the hand embroidery on the block Sherry submitted for Lisa's Retirement Quilt.


If you missed it first time around, this is the original block submitted by Sherry.


Six down, fifty to go.

That's all I have for you. I've spent the entire morning on embroidery. Time to do something less fun.

We're meeting the kids for dinner tonight to celebrate Valerie's birthday that falls on Tuesday. Looking forward to that.

March Goals and Progress Report

Holy moly! Here we are into March already! Spring is coming. Don't you worry.

Time to check in on myself and see how my February goals went.

Quilting and Flimsies

1. Quilt and bind the Aspen Tree quilt. Complete!



This one now resides with a friend from high school who lives in Colorado. She gave me the perfect new name for it when she said it reminded her of her state's motto: Colorful Colorado. "Colorful Colorado" it is!

2. Bring the Dream Machines quilt to flimsy stage. Complete!


The top is complete, but still much to do before it can be marked in the "finished" column.

Swaps and Monthly Challenges

3. I've been participating in:

Project QUILTING

There were two challenges during the month of February, and my plan was to participate in both. The first challenge theme was "Orphan Blocks and UFO's". This is what I came up with:


made with blocks from this sad little UFO.


The theme for the second challenge was "Hearts". The second theme didn't appeal to me, and so I didn't participate in that one. Sooooo, I guess that makes it Half Complete.


4. My February plan for the Let's Book It challenge was the same one I had in mind in January, even though I changed my mind and did something else. And then February came and nearly went, and I still didn't want to do it. A change of plans was obviously in order since it was clear that I really didn't want to do that project. I told the story of how the start of this change-of-plans project was born. You can read it at the bottom of this post, if you're interested. For the sake of brevity, I'll just say here that I decided on this Chicken Buffet quilt instead. So far, I have the first of twelve blocks completed. I've had the pattern absolutely forEVER, and now it's a WIP thanks to Sharon and the Let's Book It challenge. So I'm marking this one, Complete!



5. Of course, I always want to participate in:



Join me on the Block Lotto Blog
blocklotto.com
February's block was this one, called "Cupid's Arrow". Complete!


6. As is my habit, I'm two month's behind in:

RSC 15

With that in mind, my goal for February is to make the first two blocks in blue and pink. Complete!




7. And I'll need to make two quilt blocks for our hostess in this month's modern block bee. Complete!


This month, our hostess requested our members each make two of this block



Pretty, huh? If you like this block, you can find the tutorial for it right here.

WIP's

8. I've been chipping away at the oldest of the old projects in my sewing room. This month, I'd like to continue on with a quilt I haven't worked on since December of 2013

To that end, Section 1 is Complete!



9. Make four more blocks for Lisa's Retirement Quilt. (My goal is to make one per week.) Complete!


Not bad! All my regular projects were checked off. But you know my list isn't complete until I've given myself something for:


10. With that in mind, the last thing on my list will be to quilt Sew Helpful. No Progress.


Bummer. No bonus points for me this month. I'm drying my tears though because March is here and it's a long month.



There's lots of real estate on the March calendar, but I have some special projects planned in March. You know I always say I'm going to keep my list short, and then it just goes on and on and on. Here's what I have on my list of things to do:

Quilting and Flimsies

1. Quilt and Bind Psycatdelic:


That's a big one. It's going to take a lot of time.

2. A new project that I'm calling "Rubber Duckie". It's a baby quilt for a dear friend's first grandchild, and I want to get the top to flimsy stage during the month of March. Here's the pattern image:


I have my fabrics chosen, washed, ironed, and ready for cutting, and so it's time to get this one started.

3. There are still two more challenges left in:

Project QUILTING

My plan at this writing is to participate in both, but I'll wait and see what the themes are before deciding for sure.

4. I'll need to make two blocks for my bee hostess in:


I don't know at this writing what blocks I'll be making this month, but this one is a given.

5. I always enjoy participating in:

This month I'm starting fresh with a plan to make a small project from this book:


I have lots of pretty variegated threads and so with a nod to spring, my plan is to make this project:


6. Time's running out on this swap, and so I absolutely must get something made in March for:



Quilts for this swap can be no more than 80 inches around the perimeter. I have a pattern picked out, but I'll need to modify it significantly to fit within the 80-inch limit. I'll tell you more when I get there.

7. I'm hoping to get a start on my guild's challenge. Again, I have a pattern picked out, but I'm going to need to modify it again to fit within the size range. The challenge is called N+C+Z, which stands for Neutral (fabrics from a range of neutrals), plus one Color, plus one Zinger (something bright and eye-catching).  And when I get started on this one, I'll say more about it.

WIP's

8. Make four more blocks for Lisa's Retirement Quilt. I'm simply continuing on with my goal of making one per week. I have five of 56 completed so far. When I have two more made, I'll have a whole row completed!


9. Make the next door for the Doors of Ireland quilt...this one:



10. Still hoping to get the quilting finished for Sew Helpful (pictured above). And since I didn't get any bonus points this month, I'm hungry from them now.

So that's a big enough list for a long month. Time to get going. This evening, we're meeting the kids to see Matthew and Valerie's place. Valerie took a 1940's'era bungalow down to the studs last year and completely renovated it. That's where she and Matthew are living now, and I've been dying to see it. Also, we're going to dinner to celebrate Valerie's March 3rd birthday. I have some little things for her...one I've only given you a peek at. I'll be able to reveal the whole thing tomorrow.

It's a busy sewing Sunday here. I hope you have some fun projects on your to-do list for today.