Monday, June 29, 2009

Backings made!

I did get both backings sewn together on Sunday and ready to go. I am renting my mom's floor tomorrow night and hope to have roped in my SIL to help pin this monster of a quilt that Nick's turned out to be. It's king sized I think! Elaine's quilt still has to have batting bought for it but I am eager to get both projects pinned and ready to get the machine quilting done.

DD Elaine and her boyfriend of 3+ years are planning to get a place together and she has asked me to look out for some "kitchen things" they need when I shop over the next couple of months. I began to think of what I can't live without in my cooking and serving needs: serving bowls and platters, slotted spoons and spatulas, prep bowls and baking sheets. It sure adds up when you consider prices of ordinary items! I have one special thing I am going to order for her. Elaine can't stand gift secrets and tries to get people to tell her what the gift is, she's done this since she was little and is the main reason I never put out Christmas presents under the tree very early! I'd always tease and tell her "I forgot" what I bought her. She says she uses this line on her boyfriend now too!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I pinned, I sewed, I cut

Friday night I actually sat at the machine for the first time in a week. Here's my newest project, from Quilt Sampler mag by AP&Q. Though I loved the Civil War look, I wanted to use scraps for most of it. I did have to buy some lights to make the 112 blocks needed. Isn't this a great pattern? I love the zig zag and it is made with only one block!


The majority of these fabrics I had on hand as either scraps or stash. I wanted a summery look with lots of green and florals. The basic block is a 6 inch light with a 5 inch print. I double sewed the triangles so I will have a large pile of bonus triangle squares when I am finished. I'm playing around with making them into small hourglass blocks (a sudden inspiration that caused me to stay up past 11:30 last night at the machine!)

Next, here's Nick's quilt top and the main backing fabric. Unfortunately I did not buy enough of this when I happened upon it--the perfect flannel fabric with all the colors he chose plus a triangle design--so I needed to do MATH.

As I've noted before, I am a WORD girl! But I figured out how to get the backing the right size using leftover fabric 10 1/2" squares down the center to make the back wide enough. Length was not a problem, fortunately.

This MATH problem was for Elaine's quilt backing. Same dilemma, how to squeeze the right sized backing out of the minimum amount of fabric on hand!

Here's the backing all cut out with the quilt top next to it. I did a test layout on the floor and even with seam allowances, it will be big enough by a couple of inches all around. Success!


Tomorrow the plan is to get the backings sewn together. I had a good day playing with fabric and getting all my projects organized and ready to go under the needle. Cutting takes sooo much time but I stretched it out by stopping to do 25 things in between all the different quilts I was cutting for! I was also interrupted by Grant calling me to come and get Mini, as she had a lizard in the garage. I swear, she had only been outside for ten minutes and already caught something. She had it on the neighbor's driveway at first and there was a section of lizard tail that popped off that was still wriggling, grossing out our pregnant neighbor. The lizard disappeared in the garage and Grant made me keep the door closed so it couldn't get in the house. That Darn Cat!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

For inspiration

I have added to my sidebar a graphic/link to Quilt Qua, a resource website that has lots of places to look into for inspiration. My little blog has been invited to be added to the Quilting Blogs roll. I spent some time looking at the list and there are lots of blogs there that I already enjoy, and certainly lots more to discover. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Weekend

Above image of my frontyard flower patch has nothing to do with this post. I just wanted to include a picture
!
This weekend ended up being quite different from what I imagined, which was lots of quilty things happening. Aside from about an hour of piecing on Friday night, NO quilty things have taken place. Instead I have had my family room turned upside down trying to clean out a coat closet and a wet bar. My efforts have resulted in many trips to the recycle and trash cans, a pile of giveaway coats and assorted objects and some much-needed reorganization, but the job is unfinished. Getting distracted is all too easy when faced with a pile of "this, that, and the other", all of which needs to have a decision made about whether to keep it, where to put it if I keep it, and how much room it will take up. A lot of this is related to art and photos and keepsakes, all of which consume a lot of storage space. So I have a card table loaded with stuff yet to make a decision about and a half-finished organization job. This is the reason deep cleaning of storage gets put off for years, ya know? Sigh.


We had a BBQ this evening for Father's Day and it was smaller than our usual gatherings due to my two brothers being out of town for the weekend. That's okay, feeding 10 is somehow feeling like a small gathering to me lately! I made this great rice salad recipe from Carol's blog, only I added twice the amount of rice and balsamic vinegar, half the onion, and no bell pepper. I also used a frozen corn that is available from Trader Joes that is roasted. It sure added a lot to the flavor. The salad came out quite tasty and I can think of a lot of other adaptations to try in place of the bell pepper that I don't really care for--like diced tomatoes, or blanched asparagus tips, artichoke hearts, or diced cucumber. We ate tri-tip, baked beans, fresh corn on the cob, rice salad, watermelon and cantaloupe--a very simple and yummy meal, followed by store bought cake.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

S-O-A-R

Well, first here's a pic of Mini in her favorite spot: on my quilt on our bed. She loves it there! This week there have been two attempted murders in the backyard: she got a mouse one day and a bird the next. Both were still living the last time we saw them, but who knows what happened. And this is AFTER we put her in the reflective collar with a bell!


Here is my finished word project for Tonya. Yeah, doesn't really look that much like my sketch, does it! I wish it did, I would be much happier with it. I like my fabric choices though; that blue print hides all my 800 seams pretty well.

Closeup of the way-too-many-seams in the S.

Lastly, here's a pic of our other, very twitchy cat, Amelie, in her favorite spot on Erica's bed, when she is not directly ON Erica.

Tonight is another exciting evening brought to you by Laundry and Mail. I'm off to get to it!

Not Quilt Related

I went to the grocery store on the way home tonight for a few things. I find that, while I realize I shop at a supermarket and by definition they have more products, it is exhausting to have so many options. I often find myself standing in an aisle for longer than I think I should be, thinking to myself, do we really need so many choices in:
  • Cat litter?
  • Toothpaste?
  • Toilet paper?
  • Sports drinks?
  • Air freshener?

Those are just five off the top of my head, but I could easily come up with about a dozen more! OK, rant over.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Update on Word project

I finished my word project for Tonya. Can't say I'm entirely pleased with it, but for a first effort, I'll give myself a C. I hope it meets approval! No pic to post yet of that but I'll take one before I pop it in the mail to Tonya.
.........I then spent a bit of time last night doing "MATH" for backings of Nick's and Elaine's quilts. I think I have it worked out but jeez it takes a long time. I like pieced backs but they are a pain to get the right size, especially when you don't start with quite enough of the fabrics you wanted to use...ahem...this is a dysfunction of not taking pattern information with you to the fabric store/LQS. Luckily, I will just squeak by with what I have on hand. Unfortunately, I will still have to come up with binding fabrics for both as well, but that's a problem for another month!
........Meanwhile, here's a pic I shot of a layout for a little quilt to make from leftovers from Grant's Diamonds. I can see right now that I will need to play with the arrangement again. The middle block of the top row needs two corners switched. These are all 3 1/2" triangle squares that I matched up to look like square in squares. It's kinda fun. (Blogger will not let me separate these paragraphs but I wanted a little more space!)
Next, backings....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another finish for June!

Yesterday I finally got the last of the handquilting done on Grant's quilt. It has been months since I finished the machine quilting and it feels terrific to have another quilt ready to be loved and used! I love the blue backing and the caramel binding tying it all together. The backing is a Sandy Klop fabric.

Because Grant is a guitar player I wanted to include one on his quilt. He loves the Gibson brand, so we looked for a photo in one of his mags for me to copy the proper shape. You can see the guitar in the next photo (I hope!).

Here's a closer view and it is clickable to see larger. I used an ecru Perle cotton size 8 for all the handquilting. I think it adds a nice touch to the quilt; it is certainly primitive and not perfectly straight! Grant is so happy it is finished. I put the last stitches in just before he got home from an afternoon of golf.

I have lots of leftovers from this quilt and may end up making a coordinating pillow as well. I have so many favorite fabrics in this quilt I am happy to be able to enjoy them forever! Today while my nephew is installing a new faucet for us, I hope to get my words project finished since yesterday I ended up working on Grant's quilt instead. Tomorrow is supposed to be the deadline for getting them in but obviously mine will be late. Sorry, Tonya!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Family dinners

Family has come into town and we had the first of a bunch of summer family dinners last night at my Mom and Dad's. My younger brother Ted and his wife and 3 kids live in Scottsdale, AZ but have a house here as well and come out for the summer. Ted told me that there were 16 days in May over 100 in AZ, a new record. Sheesh. Of course, it seems really cold to them here and my SIL especially is wearing a sweater or coat whenever I see her! Also at dinner last night were a cousin and his wife. There was the usual conversation about what kind of cousin, second, third, etc. I just say COUSIN. It is so much simpler that way! They came north from L.A. to give their new little convertible a chance to visit some windy roads, of which there are plenty to choose from. I looked over their printed maps and pointed out the windiest road I have ever been on---a 14 mile drive from Highway 1 to Jalama Beach, an unspoiled state park just north of Point Conception, where the highway leaves the coast and turns inland. I took Grant on this ride last fall for an afternoon outing---we paid our state beach day parking fee, walked over the dunes and up and down the beach where there was no one but us, and watched the sunset. We ate a Jalama Burger and headed back to the main road before it got full dark. That very windy road is very NARROW and gave Grant a bit of anxiety! Once again, my post content has veered away, but suffice it to say, I love family get-togethers and we had a houseful last night, especially when my other brother Tyler and three of his 6 kids came, and two of my other brother Kevin's 3 kids came over later. There were 17 of us for dinner, a typical number! Today there are tennis tournaments for one family, a trip to Disneyland for another, golfing for Grant, a trip to Vegas for Elaine, and work for Erica. As for me, I have a deadline to meet for my words project for Tonya, Hope is a Four Letter Word. Wish me luck as I make this second attempt!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Peace

Tuesdays have always been my favorite day of the week. Maybe because I was born on one, maybe because it is then no longer Monday! Lately, in my three-jobs working world, Tuesday is my early night. I usually get off Job #3 at 5 pm, and sometimes earlier if the doc wants to get going. Today was one of those early days. It was only 20 minutes or so, but so nice to walk into my house with plenty of daylight left. I came home to a quiet and empty house and went straight to my computer to visit all my fav blogs. I even left the dog outside so I didn't have to referee any cat chasing activities. The window of our office (DH Grant and I share) overlooks the side yard. I can hear Russell when he barks. He has chewed himself a snout-sized hole in the bottom of the gate and when he barks with his snout through there it is muffled and sounds hilarious. I'm not really a dog lover but he's a pretty good dog--He just turned 9 the other day. Let's see if I can find a good pic:
Russell is a red merle Aussie with half-blue eyes. He is pretty small, about 40 lbs and a docked tail. He really needs his summer haircut right now! Not to be left out, a pic of my kitty, Mini. She is a "diluted" tortoiseshell, a term I had never heard before DD Erica brought her home as a kitten. Here she is, inspecting Bear's quilt back in December. When I am sewing, she likes to hang out under the ironing board. She's a small cat but a great huntress. Yesterday morning she left the goriest kill yet on the back patio. It is too revolting to detail here other than to say there was a beheaded and dismembered rodent lying there! Mini is about 4 I think.
We have another cat but she is the twitchiest thing ever and I have no pics of her, a full tortoiseshell named Amelie, about 5 years old. She spends all her time in DD Erica's room even though she was DD Elaine's cat originally, and Mini was Erica's but spends all her indoor time on my side of the bed or with me. Anyway, I seem to have digressed a lot from the title of this post, but Tuesday still is my favorite weekday. When we were first married, Grant had split days off in his work as a bread delivery driver (Weds and Sun) and our date night used to be Tuesdays. I have a date with my sewing machine tonight and he has one with the Lakers!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shopping successes

Unfortunately these loaded backwards to how I wanted! This pic is the three fabrics I posted about here that I cut completely wrong and had to replace.

(Below) The tone is much cooler in real life but it is plain that the blue print in the center I managed to find a pretty good replacement for. The greens are not exactly what I wanted but will work. These will be cut into large triangles, some smaller bars, and also for binding. The stripe is actually much brighter and whiter than in this pic.
And on to the very pricey dress (Jones, New York, bought at Macy's). It fits perfectly and I love the sheer 100% silk fabric. It is knee length and very comfortable. The straps are sewn securely where they leave the neckline casing, so do not ever have to be messed with and it is fully lined. You cannot really tell in this pic, but there is an overskirt of the same material that is split down the middle and goes all the way around the dress, very lovely and floaty. I will definitely wear it again.

With the little coral sweater it was really pretty and I did not find myself over or underdressed for the evening/nighttime event.
I spent a lot of time today cutting fabrics again for the two projects that got mixed up last time...I was a lot more careful today! My stash of lights is depleted once again and I will need to get a few fat quarters or yardage to finish out the second project. Both are from AP&Q publications, one is from Quilts and More, the other Quilt Shop Sampler. More about that later.

Wedding Orts

The Lakers have won Game 2 and I am ready to post pics. Yay on both parts! This is the finished tablerunner. The grass in the background sort of makes the black binding disappear, but you get the general idea. I had never done a 45 degree angle turn with binding so they did not turn out perfect, but were okay.

The quilting was with a wavy line except for the black sashing, which I stitched in ditch. The photo is kind of muddy but there is gold printing on the beige as well as lots of the oriental prints. It finished at about 72" x 16".
The back of the tablerunner is this great modern print, so it is two-sided.

Here's a better look at the center section. The number 3 is supposed to be lucky in Korea, so that is why there are three rows of squares and three lines of quilting in each row.

The happy bride on the right and her groom, with the bride's mom, dad, and family members. I was unable to get rid of that weird eyeball glow on the groom with the red eye tool! The bride's dad is one of DH Grant's oldest friends. I loved his wife's traditional Korean dress. It had lovely rich embroidery with lots of silver in it and she had her hair all braided and wound into a bun secured with a fancy oriental pick.
The wedding was held at a beautiful facility in the Santa Monica Mountains, near Malibu, called Calamigos Ranch. The attention to every detail was so well done, from the live classical music during the very religious Christian ceremony, to the wonderful food and waitstaff; all the traditional wedding events were kept simple and classy throughout. Even the constant cameras and videographers as they were fairly unobtrusive (even a Steadicam!). It was a wonderful evening and Grant and I enjoyed it greatly. We wish Karin and Chris all happiness as they begin married life together. (Blogger would not let me load more photos so my dress will be in the next post.)

Haven't gone to Mars yet!

This past week was "out of this world" busy and tiring, but I haven't left the planet, despite my lack of blogging all week. I have pics to post of my successful dress quest and the finished tablerunner for the wedding we went to Saturday, and some other fabric related fun. But it will have to wait until after the basketball game and BBQ this evening. See you later! GO LAKERS!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thanks

I'd like to thank all of those visitors who commented about my awful week (month!), it really helped to be able to unload and read some kind words in return! June started out okay so fingers crossed it stays that way.

I made little progress on my ongoing projects over the weekend; did some handstitching and also pinned together the table runner that must be completed by next weekend for the wedding gift. Sunday I dragged my mom with me to the outlet mall to try to find something to wear to said wedding. I must have tried on 10 dresses and looked at a lot more, but found nothing that inspired me to part with my money. Summer dresses mostly do not appeal to me because they are generally sleeveless and, ahem, my arms are not ready to be exposed. So that means buying some kind of jacket or shrug. Mom did part with some money on some slacks and some shoes, but I came home empty handed. It's off to the big mall on Tuesday night, where I hope to find SOMETHING suitable to wear and to give the betrothed couple to go along with the table runner. Nothing like waiting until the last few days before an event to find something "perfect"!