7/1/16

July Goals and Progress Report

Does it seem to you as if June just flew by? It sure as heck does to me. Last week, I despaired of getting much done on my goals-still-to-be accomplished, but the month ended up not half bad. I foolishly started two new projects during the month that were irresistible to me in the form of the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long and the FMQ Sampler from the Sit Down Free Motion Quilters group on Facebook. Both are great projects, but both take time. Nevertheless, I'm happy with what I accomplished for the month, so let's see how it went.

  Quilting and Flimsies

1. At long last, I'm going to finish up the 56 quilt blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. Complete!



2. Also, I want to make the Pet Pawtrait of Scooter the dog. This is a Pay it Forward gift for my friend Marei's husband Bill. Complete!



WIP's

3. This month, I plan to pay the piper and pick up with the next section for A Quiltmaker's Garden. Just because I didn't finish it in May doesn't mean I've given up on it. Hopefully, I can move it along in June. Or not, because No Progress.

Monthly Challenges

4. 

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Make the next block for the Wheel Estate quilt using the color for June. Complete!




5. 
When my cousin asked me to make a baby quilt for their newest granddaughter, I changed out my originally selected project for this Baby Birds baby quilt. The pattern has been in my quilts-to-make notebook for years. It's only started, but finishes aren't required for Let's Book it, and so this goal is Complete!




6. Make a block for


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June's block is this "Improv Bulls Eye". Complete!


If I can finish all of that, I'll make a project for


If I completed my goals, my plan was to make a wine carrier bag similar to these seen on the allpeoplequilt.com website. Since I didn't finish my goals, I didn't finish this either, but I'm keeping it on tap for July.

So here we go...



If I had to choose a favorite month, it would probably be July. I love spending American Independence Day with my family down on the Willamette River. We make a day of it, setting up early on the east side of the river to wait for the fireworks after sunset. It was so darned hot last year, that we all took to using cooling towels to keep from keeling over. This year, we're expecting a nice cool 77°F. Perfect.


As for sewing during July, here's what's on tap.

Quilting and Flimsies

1. My highest priority this month is to quilt the "Seating for Two" quilt. I was going to put this off until later in the year, but there are a couple of quilt shows I'd like to enter it in, and that means it has to be finished this month.


2. Turn Written in Thread into a flimsy. It still needs its outer border, and then it will be ready for quilting.


WIPS

3. The next section of Quiltmaker's Garden has been pushed to the side for two months now (hangs head in shame). Maybe this third month will be the charm to move this long-standing UFO along.


Monthly Challenges

4. Let's Book It:


This month, I'd like to make the next block for Chicken Buffet. Sharon generously allows me to use this project each time I add a block. Here are the blocks I have so far.


5. Rainbow Scrap Challenge:

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Continue with July's color for the Wheel Estate quilt. Here are the blocks I have so far.


6. Block Lotto


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July's block has yet to be announced, as I write this.

That's probably a long enough list for July because I'm still determined to make the wine tote listed above as my project for:


That seems like a shorter-than-usual list, but still plenty to keep me busy. What are you hoping to accomplish in July?

6/30/16

Greenery

No more was accomplished in the sewing room yesterday. When I got home from the grocery store, I was completely wiped out. After putting away the groceries, I sat with a cup of coffee and put my feet up. Then, in an act of stoutheartedness, I resisted the urge to take a nap by going out and watering the annuals. (This made my little cat very happy since he could go with me.) My thinking was that after coffee and activity, my desire for a nap would decrease. It did not, and I gave in after that.

The grocery store has always been my bugaboo as long as I can remember. There was a time when I sat in my car in the parking lot, steeling myself to go inside. There is no rational explanation for this, but I've always thought it's the many decisions one must make once there. It starts the instant you drive into the parking lot...choosing a place to park. Once inside: cart or basket? Fresh or frozen?


Corn or peas? Chicken or beef? The decisions are endless, right up to the point when you unload your groceries from the cart. Paper or plastic? And don't even get me started on people who seem oblivious to others who are also shopping, blocking the aisles with their carts while they chat with someone. It seems ridiculous that it tires me out so much, but I've given up thinking it will be different. The only reward is the feeling of power I get when I'm all stocked up and the groceries are put away, and I don't have to go back for at least another week. Please tell me there are others who feel the same way. 

So even though there was no sewing, it was a good time to finish up Block #5 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. This block is called "Bee Courteous". Those little honeycomb hexagons took forever to stitch.


While I was at the grocery store yesterday, I picked up a catnip start and a basil start. My basil is resisting efforts to prevent it from blooming. Once they bloom, they turn bitter, and they're not much good for cooking...especially when basil is the star of the show. The catnip was for the catio. This morning I headed down to the greenhouse to pot them.

Along the way, I noticed that another sunflower has opened. This one is called Floristan.


Also, I noticed that the hydrangeas are claiming their turn to shine. This purple one was a Mother's Day gift from Erik and Mae. I keep thinking it will change color, but it's been in the ground for about three years now, and the purple is as bright as ever. 


This one has pink, lavender, and blue flowers all on one bush.


This is our largest plant, and it didn't bloom at all last year. I think I might have pruned it a little too vigorously. This year, it's covered in flowers, and they are huge...about the size of a volleyball.


Here's my new basil. I've taken to buying the living basil in the produce section, and then potting it. It lasts longer that way.


The tomatoes continue to amaze me. I'm so glad I switched to Romas this year.


The foliage is looking beautiful and they are covered in flowers.


While I was in the greenhouse, I noticed this at my feet. Obviously, a squirrel has been hanging out here using it as his private dining room.


And there's the potted catnip for the kitties. Mike is going to work building some shelves this weekend. In the meantime, we've put a chair and an upside-down trash can with some cushioning for napping. Also, I put a little crackly tunnel and an empty box. There's also a ring toy with a ping pong ball. I have yet to see either of them use any of it, although Sadie spends quite a bit of time out there. Smitty is staging a boycatt.


The next block for the quilt along won't be released until Saturday, which gives me some time to get back to work on the Gingerbread Square block. And that's where I'm headed next. Before I go, however, I wanted to share this product someone posted on Facebook this morning. She said she had washed a quilt and had red run into white fabric. This seems to be a common problem, and so I'm sharing this product. I can't vouch for it, but the original poster said it worked to solve her problem.



6/29/16

Birds and Bees

Yesterday I started sewing together the Baby Birds baby quilt I'm making for my cousin's granddaughter. As I typed "my cousin's granddaughter," I became curious about how I am related to this new little person, and so I inquired of The Google. As it turns out, she will be my first cousin twice removed. How many of you knew that?

So, anyway, here's Row One:


I was still mulling over that lavender. It actually looks more intense in photographs than it does in person, I'm realizing. It has some sheen, and it appears darker than it actually is. This morning I looked at it again (in person), and I think it's going to be fine. When I added the second row, it seemed to fade a little.

The second row has the chicks. These took quite a while to do because they are fairly large. The block rows are 12.5 inches tall, and the chick is probably about 6 inches. I used Wonder Under for these, although my favored fusible is Heat 'n Bond Lite. The Wonder Under is less stiff, and so for their size, I decided Wonder Under was the better choice. Besides, I bought some for a class that I won't live long enough to use up. 

Here's the middle chick. As it turns out, I didn't have enough of my first yellow for that background, and so I switched it out for something else.


I used a lavender thread to top stitch them. The legs were done using my machine's triple stitch (Stitch #6 on the Bernina 750QE). The eyes and beaks were hand embroidered.


I used my original yellow for the chicks' bodies. Here are the first two rows laid out together. So far, so good, I think.


Today is a grocery shopping day, but I'm hoping to get some more time to work on this, and at least make the third row. That will be the zig zag row. And if I don't link to the free pattern download, I know someone will ask for it.


Yesterday two more sunflowers opened. This is the Ring of Fire sunflower. 


Also, I noticed that both plants of the Cherry Rose variety had died. One had broken off in the recent rain. The other was just withered and brown. No idea what happened to it. Those seeds were the last of the five varieties to germinate, and so I won't use those seeds again.

The other project I'm hard at work on is Block 5 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. I misspoke when I wrote its name yesterday. This one is actually called "Bee Courteous".


It's taking a surprisingly long time to stitch those hexagons for the honeycomb. I've spent several hours on it already. When I moved my hoop this morning, I'd taken it this far.


I'm hoping I'll have time to work on this a little more this afternoon, and perhaps finish it off. If not, it will be finished tomorrow morning.


As soon as I finish up here, I'm heading off to the grocery store. When I get home and put away the groceries, I have a little bit of housework. We're expecting a sunny day, which means I'll need to water the annuals as well. That always makes Smitty happy since he gets to go outside with me.

We ate our dinner outside yesterday, and he was out with us. We've had a young buck hanging around. Last night, he and Smitty had a good sniffing session. They spent about an hour just nosing around one another. Smitty was not afraid of the deer at all, and the deer was very curious about him, following Smitty wherever he went. Pretty funny. Sorry for this pixelated iPhone image. Sometimes you just have to go with the camera you have, even if it's not the camera you want.


And that's all the news from the Three Cats Ranch for today. I hope your day is a good one.

6/28/16

A Few Little Things

My day was slow yesterday. As I mentioned, I'd been awake since 3:30 a.m. and so I ended up going back to sleep for a morning nap. First, I finished stitching Block 4 for the Bee-utiful Quilt-A-Long. This one is called "Bee Humble". Today I'll get started on Block 5.


When I woke up, I did a little housework, and then decided it was high time I made my blocks for the Block Lotto.

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This month's block was the 6-inch Improv Bullseye (Quarters) made in two or three fabrics that were teal/turquoise/aqua with a white that could be a solid or tone-on-tone. Depending on how many fabrics you use, you can make either 2 or 3 blocks at a time. My brain was still in a fog from poor sleep, and so two fabrics were all I could muster


They're pretty free form, and easier than they look. And now that's done. I won the Block Lotto last month, and so I have no chance of winning this month. Still, I can see potential for these blocks, and that's what I love about the Block Lotto. It gives me a chance to try some new blocks without making a big commitment.

My next agenda item was to get a start on the baby quilt for my cousin's grandchild. If you'll recall, I selected this Baby Birds pattern...a free download from Studio E Fabrics.


The Studio E fabrics for this quilt are long gone. I noticed the copyright on the pattern is from 2012. I've selected fabrics from my stash, and I laid out half of the top row yesterday. I think these are going to be fine, although I'm still not sure about that lavender. 


It will also go in the zigzag row, and it will be where the bright pink is in the pattern image above. My thinking is that once it's put there, it will balance out. If not, I might decide to switch it out. (Probably not because I'm not that picky, but we'll see.) Remember that my cousin's only request was that there be "scant" pink. Nevertheless, I'm trying to keep it girly. Oh yes, and this is my project for:

Today is a CSA pick-up day, and I've pretty well used all my veggies from last week. Still in my crisper is a huge head of Romaine lettuce, and we'll have that in a salad tonight. Last night, I tried a recipe for a Beet Salad with Goat Cheese that used some more of that sugarloaf radicchio. The beets were roasted and diced, then added to a salad of lettuce, radicchio, pistachios, and goat cheese. I can't link to the recipe because it's a membership only site, but I can tell you that the vinaigrette was made from the juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon of Dijon, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. It's a simple vinaigrette, but very flavorful.


There are still a few little things left from last week's share, including the beet greens. I'll probably put those in my stock this week. 

This morning Miss Sadie took over the seat of power at the top of the kitty pole. I'm starting to look seriously at her little face and try to get a good image so that I can make her pawtrait. She doesn't have a lot of coloring in her face, but you gotta love those golden eyes. There was too much sun shining on her in this image to make it very useful, but I'm on the hunt now, and I'll keep trying. She has to hold still long enough, and since she's pretty kittenish, that will be a challenge.


So off I go...time to get stitching on Block 5: Bee Industrious. Good advice.