Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

My Memorial Day weekend has brought some sewing, some gardening, and some shopping.  Today there will be some barbecuing and family time.  Our flag is flying outside and we are thinking of those whose service ended in death, and those whose service continues daily. 

The most memorable Memorial Day I ever had was in 1980, when I was 18 and staying with some family friends stationed on Oahu.  The husband, an Army Major at that time, was Commanding Officer of Schofield Barracks and was off on maneuvers in the Philippines with his company for three months.  As they had four children, the youngest of whom was 4, I was helping out with childcare.  The family was living in officer's housing on Hickam Air Force Base, sandwiched between Pearl Harbor and the Oahu International Airport.  All the big planes flew low over the house before turning to land, and when the air force jets were flying in and out, the roar was incredible.  You got used to it surprisingly quickly.  Their two boys were in Boy Scouts and for Memorial Day we went to Punchbowl Cemetery outside Honolulu, where many victims of the Pearl Harbor battle were buried.  The scouts gave each grave a small flag and a lei was laid over it.  My stay in Oahu was a couple of months long and I never got to the Pearl Harbor memorial, but the visit that day to Punchbowl was a breathtaking and sobering sight that I will never forget.   

My patriotic Strawberry Fields Quiltalong blocks are taking shape, slowly, but are lots of fun.  Lori's instructions are good and I'm assembling mine block by block so's I can change my mind along the way :) 

 Here are the five I've finished so far, being tested out on the navy print I'm thinking of using.  I like the contrast happening there.  These are small blocks, finishing at 4 1/2 inches.  I can see how people can get addicted to making these tiny blocks, though I think 29 pieces per block is enough for me!
It's hard to pick a favorite among them but I'm pleased with the way my blocks are turning out.  Making them bigger than needed and trimming down works great for me.  Six more full blocks and two half blocks and then I can cut the background and start assembly.  I hope to get the remainder of the blocks finished today and the triangles cut for the zig zag setting.  I also spent time on Erica's quilt, putting on the corner triangles and getting one of the side borders assembled (Whew, that whip hurts when she flicks it!). 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Coasting

I've been in a neighborhood Bunco group for a few years now.  If you haven't played before, it is really fun because it is a no skill dice game during which you can eat, drink, tell stories and laugh.  Plus, prizes--yay!  In our 12-member group, we have a $5 per month buy-in for cash prizes, and we sign up for potluck dish categories.  Sometimes there is a theme.  This month is my turn to host, which means I provide the drinks and table settings, and otherwise sit back and wait for the food and fun to arrive.  As a mostly non-drinker, I am grateful for ready-made Margarita mix.  I picked a BBQ theme and decided to make some coasters a la Karen of Sew Many Ways (click on the link for a tutorial) as a sort of party favor. 

First I cut 5 inch squares, then pinned through the center of a CD as a template and used my rotary cutter to cut around the CD through a stack of 5 "charms" for each coaster.  Very quick and easy.  I cut, pressed and sewed all of these Tuesday night in a couple of hours while receiving a personal concert (Grant's band practice).


I used some recently purchased fabrics and also a couple of fat quarters I'd received as giveaways and gifts.  The bandana fabric started it all (Thanks, Mary!).  I'll definitely use this method again. It was fun to mix up the circles and make them in different combos. I hope the ladies like them. 

This picture below is what a seam ripper is supposed to look like...

..and this is what my seam ripper looked like when I pulled it out of my sewing desk's drawer the other day:

WTH?  No idea how that happened.  It was getting used a lot last weekend when matching all those points in Erica's quilt, and I was putting things away rather rapidly on Tuesday morning before the housecleaners came (yes, once a month my house is actually all clean at the same time), but I don't remember hearing any metallic parts breaking off!  Luckily Erica had a spare in her sewing box, as the other seam ripper I own is almost 9 years old and way past dull.  I liked that ergonomic one especially so will have to replace it.  Looking forward to the 3 day weekend for Memorial Day and getting some lengthy sewing time in.  How about you?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Joining

Not being much of a joiner myself, this blogging thing has been great for "meeting" people and sharing stories, laughter, real life, and of course quilting.    I love spending time in blogland, to the detriment of my "finishes" list, I know.

The Bloggers Quilt Festival third edition has been a lot of fun.  I hesitated to join in--just for a moment--because I knew it would involve more sitting-at-the-computer time and of course it did, all enjoyable!  There are some very talented designers and quilters out there, and lots of new cult inductees--er, I mean new quilters to encourage.  I think I've gotten to probably several dozen blogs by now, some familiar, many new.  I appreciate all the commenters on my entry and welcome a couple of new followers. I'll continue checking out entries over the week. 

I also joined in on the Spring Fever Blog Bingo at the In Stitches shop's blog.  Words being my thing, it was right up my alley (I should probably have mentioned this before entries closed.  Sorry!)  Plus-- prizes, yay!

JudyL is hosting a weekly mystery quilt series beginning June 1 that I am joining as well.  That will be a new to me experience.  Wanna play too?  Judy has posted all the fabric requirements and cutting instructions on her sidebar under "Mystery Quilt".  She is also doing a QOV thingie this Memorial Day weekend but I think I will be spending that time cutting for the mystery quilt.  I'm pondering my choices at present, mostly because I want to use what I have on hand.   

Lastly, I am considering joining Karen's Snowball Night.  It sounds like a good time!  Still pondering that one, though, given the list of WIPs and UFOs I want to get through, and here it is nearly half the year over.  Having some drama at work (both jobs) is not helping right now with my stress level, so escaping into new projects is especially enticing!

Some seams did get joined in Erica's quilt over the weekend too.  The rows were all pieced and sewn together, lacking only the large setting triangles in the corners to complete the center of the top.  One more step got crossed off the list! 

What are you joining?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival




Once again, Amy has organized a wonderful quilt show for us bloggers!  New visitors, Welcome to Annie's Quilt Orts.  I have been blogging for just over a year and the quilt I am going to show is one I made for my Australian friend Sue.  Though we originally met online through quilting, it was the commonalities in other parts of our lives that made us friends.  Sue came to the U.S. meet me and my family in 2001 and we have remained friends since.  Her life changed more than mine and eventually she found herself getting married again, to the soulmate she had been missing.  Jokingly, she asked if I fancied coming to the wedding and I knew the time had finally come for me to repay the visit.  I had always wanted to go to Australia!  After making my travel plans and plane reservations, sending off for my passport and making arrangements to take off work (I had 3 jobs at the time!), of course, I decided to make a quilt.  It had to be simple to suit Sue's modern tastes yet sparkling and lively enough to reflect the couple it would belong to and the gorgeous Queensland locale of their home.  And it had to be done in six weeks! 

The star pattern came from an old American Patchwork & Quilting magazine from 1999. I loved the two color idea but it just wasn't enough variety for me!  Then I found a fat quarter collection of Robert Kaufman hand-dyed batiks that I felt was perfect.  Cutting commenced with a template.  I am not the greatest cutter outer and luckily I found out early how poorly I was doing--epic fail with a test block!  If I had continued, every single point in the entire quilt would have gotten cut off when I joined the blocks.  So, recutting was started and then lots and lots of sewing...the blocks were 6" finished, fiddly things.  There was a lot of sliver trimming that took place but all my points came out well and the quilt had the variety of color I wanted.

The completed top got its sashing and became this:
The throw-sized quilt was completed in six weeks, even though I was sewing on the label in the car on the way to the airport!  It stayed with me through four airports and traveled thousands of miles and many, many hours to Port Douglas, Queensland, where I met Sue again and was introduced to her love and her family.  While we were on their gorgeous boat on the Coral Sea, anchored near the Great Barrier Reef, I presented the quilt to my dear friend Sue and her man Jon, and was overjoyed at the happy and surprised reaction.  They loved it and Sue said it would grace their cabin bedroom, as it contained all the colors of  the sea.  It truly does!
Taken in their backyard, poolside!

I love a pieced back! Simple wave quilting was done and a scrappy binding with leftovers from the batiks.  The quilt is named "Coral Sea for Two".  I will always treasure making this quilt and getting to deliver it in person in the great Down Under land of Oz. 

Lessons learned in this quilt:
  • Don't settle for fabric that's "okay".  Wait for the right ones to speak to you.
  • Make a test block EARLY in the cutting process!
  • Use value to your advantage.  The shades in this quilt are from palest blue to deepest blue-black, with aqua and some green thrown in.  Visually more interesting than a two fabric quilt I think.
  • Make a mistake work for you!  I cut the backing too small and improvised by sewing a bunch of strips and squares together to increase the length.  It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the quilt!
  • Remember to enjoy the process.  It's easy to get caught up in "get it done" instead of concentrating on how much love you are sewing with every stitch.
  • Finally, take lots of pictures of your gift with its recipients!  I didn't get any photos of Sue and Jon with the quilt and I am so sorry.
Thank you for visiting, please come again any time and see what I'm up to! 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just about 40.5% done

Last night I laid out all the blocks for Erica's quilt plus the setting triangles and, through the magic of phone-ology, sent her a pic so she could vote on the setting. 
Lucky for me, she liked it just as it was.  Of course, I had used the printout of her choice of settings as my guide.  This was taken at night in a not really well lit room, blah blah blah, you all know about my lack of fabulous photography skills!

Part two, not so lucky me, I get to match all these points!  There may be some whimpering and cursing coming from the sewing room soon.  However, those are large blocks so there are only 6 rows, plus the large setting triangles.  After that there is a border of flying geese and then a plain border out of the imitation suede in purple.  This is going to be a really heavy quilt.  The quilt designer suggested wool bating to counteract the weight of the stabilizer for the silk plus the (recommended fabric) velveteen. 
I let the silk weave go this way and that as I pieced so that extra texture and shine are added. Wish me luck as I start pinning together all those points...(whimper)....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Couldn't resist!

Some retail therapy happened last week.  I could not wait to spend my LQS gift certificate the girls gave me for Mother's Day. I spent a lot of time looking at tools and accessories, since those usually can't part me from my money due to the prices!  I came home with some fabric too, of course. 
The navy and cream with navy prints are already spoken for.  The other was a "light" that I liked so it came home with me.  I got a yo-yo maker and a 60 degree Marti Mitchell ruler, both for other projects. I'm happy to support my LQS but that ruler was kind of spendy ($17.49) so it was a good thing I had a gift certificate!  But it was a productive shopping trip, even though the Frolic fabric I was looking for wasn't available at the shop.  They have a fabric card plan and the salesgirl announced I have $1.98 before I reach the $200 mark that allows a 20% extra discount on anything.   I should have thrown a fat quarter on the pile!
The above situation kept me from sewing on Erica's blocks one evening so instead I spent time cutting for the Strawberry Fields Quiltalong from Lori's blog, Humble Quilts.  I love all the antique quilts she shows.  But I digress..I decided to make mine patriotic so pulled out lots of scraps. 

 
Alas, sometime after I took this photo I realized I had miscopied the directions for the square-in-square pieces and cut the small background triangles twice diagonally instead of once so I have to recut, dagnabit!  Fortunately I had not cut ALL of the pieces before I played with a layout and realized what I had done.  But I am short on backgrounds so will have to scrounge some more.  I really wanted those blue/white shirtings in it!
While remedying the thread situation at my local fabric store, as usual I cruised by the remnant bin.  The shop sells fabrics of all types and carries lots of the popular designer's quilt fabrics, though never a full line, it seems (except for Amy Butler).  They discount their remnants 30-35% so I got these pieces for quite a bargain.  The green is a Moda fabric and was the largest piece at just over half a yard; $3.23 was what I paid.  Once again I seem to be drawn to graphic prints.  Love the chicken wire one.  It will make a great border or binding I think.  Last night just before dinner I put the last stitch in the final block for Erica's quilt.  Tonight we can lay them all out with the setting triangles, ready to sew into rows. Progress, progress! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Orts

Just another random collection of stuff...

People will take anything if you label it FREE...Dr. P and I spent two afternoons last week cleaning out our office storage/garage (we had a mouse problem and the ladies refused to use it as their break room for months).  We stacked a ton of unwanted crap in the alley behind the garage with a FREE sign--Halloween decorations, old vases, office supplies, some old chairs, etc.  All of it was gone over the weekend except for a cubicle partition wall and a big bag of pillows that were in a leftover plastic bag labeled Hazardous Waste.  But if they had been in some other kind of bag I bet they would have been snatched up!  Hmm, will have to try that.

Do any of you read the household hints column by Heloise?  Well, there was rather a head-scratcher in a column this past week.  A woman wrote in that she finds that if she is trying to remember something for the next day, like not forgetting to take something to work, that if she leaves something out of place, like a bra over a lamp, it will trigger her memory as soon as she sees it the next day.  OMG!  Grant said, when I read him this through my laughter, "Why doesn't she just write herself a note?"  Too funny.  (Personally, whatever I want to take with me I put by my purse or keys or straight into my car! There, a free hint from me).

On the topic of names, today I was waited on in a restaurant by a girl with the name tag "Geahna".  Oh Lord. "Gina" is declasse or something?  Over the weekend I read the birth announcements in the local paper and someone had named their daughter "Sophia Ladybug".  Seriously? And  I recently heard of a baby named Pella.  All I can think of is the window manufacturer! 

I will really miss "Lost" when it ends this month, having been a fan from the first show 6 years ago, and thought it was a really popular show.  But I noticed that in the Nielsen ratings printed for the week that it was only 25th in viewership, and I think I know the reason why.  Too damn many commercials!  It's much easier to watch full episodes online, with only 30 second commercials to tolerate (albeit the same one over and over).  This phenomenon is probably affecting Nielsen's for other shows available online too.    

And finally, I live in a city of 100,000+ people and sometimes it is the smallest world!  Elaine called me today to tell me that her boyfriend's brother has been dating (and has practically moved in with) a girl who used to work in our office as a receptionist some years back.  Amazing!  Also, almost everyone in town knows my oldest brother because he is a small businessman, high school teacher, former sports coach, a Cub Scoutmaster, etc., so even though I am long out of school, I still get, "Oh, you're Kevin's sister".   This happened when I ran into an old childhood neighbor and she was introducing me to her daughter.  Here's a pic of my oldest bro and me from Mother's Day:
You can kind of tell we're related, but I got all the hair. Hee hee.  He's a great guy and I'm very proud of him.  Lastly, here's Elaine with her Uncle Kevin and his three sons, enjoying a lift on Mother's Day.

Okay, that's all for now!  I'm off to sew more blocks for Erica's quilt...or maybe something else (shhh, don't tell her!) 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

The annual Mother's Day brunch we have put on for many years was once again well attended.  My mom and dad, mother in law, Grant's brother and wife, and my brother and his wife and boys came.  This year all three of our kids brought their boyfriend/girlfriend so we topped out at 19.  I made three different oven omelets, Grant cooked a whole lotta bacon and sausage, his brother brought a Honeybaked ham, my mom brought fresh strawberries, and my brother's wife brought homemade chocolate chip scones and blueberry muffins that were to DIE for.  There were also waffles, mimosas, coffee, flowers, gifts, cards, and lots of conversation, laughter, and introductions.  Oh, and 3 dogs, including my nephew's newly adopted lab puppy and the granddog, Scully!   My mom took a few family portrait pics in the backyard and I will share those when she sends them to me. It was a lovely day all around.


Nick brought me these beautiful roses and a mushy card.  He is soooo like his wonderful dad!








These were from Grant along with a lovely card and some of my favorite perfume (Opium by YSL).
The painting was my Grandmother's.  It hung over her fireplace for probably 40 years and I always loved it.  I am happy to have it to remember her by.
Somehow I have acquired a new name...Elaine has called me Moo for the last couple of years, but this is a new one!  She and Erica gave me a gift certificate for my LQS.  Too bad the shop was closed yesterday, I was hot to spend it!  But quilty things did happen.  I did some production sewing of triangle squares for Erica's quilt and sewed a few more blocks. 



When I was cleaning up my sewing room a little on Saturday night I found a pile of leftover triangle squares from the Valentine's day project and I sewed them into this mini.

Those are 2.5" finished squares.  Not sure where I'll go with it from here but it was fun to play!  I also made a pincushion "tuffet" as a belated birthday gift for Nick's girlfriend Ali, but forgot to get a picture.  I'll have to ask her to take one for me.  I used this easy Moda Bakeshop pattern.  Now, unfortunately, it's off to Job #2 for me.  I am really looking forward to that 3 day weekend coming up!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Last of the quilt eye-candy

Step right up folks, plenty of room for everyone to get a look!
This quilt had all the fabrics from Collections for a Cause and some of the other lines used in the Greenpiece BOM I am doing.  Also one of the fabrics in Erica's quilt.  I love all of them!

Isn't this optical illusion fantastic!

More pretty applique.  It looks like the quilter had a little trouble with the center flying goose on the bottom there...I'm sure that would be my problem too!

Absolutely gorgeous and complex medallion quilt.  I have seen this pattern somewhere--probably on the cover of a quilt magazine!

A 12 days of Christmas quilt, so clever and jaunty. 

Look at the milk spilling out of her buckets, and the piper!  The action in this quilt was great.

The pears were my favorite crackle fabric but you can't see it very well in this photo.  The color is off because the lighting was not very good in the fairgrounds building.

This was a beautiful small quilt in broderie perse.  I loved the cross blocks surrounding it and the flying geese.

The quilter stated that this was a class where they made 16 identical blocks and just by switching and turning them, got these fantastic layouts. Loved the colors she used.  Intriguing!

Friendship stars and spools, it looks like to me. Love the scrappy everything!

These were all William Morris prints.  So simple and effective.  Sorry my shot of the entire quilt was too blurry and poor to share.  This was a large quilt.

The Quilter's Psalm.  Hilarious!  I had not seen this before but got a chuckle out of it. Hopefully you can click on this to make it more readable.

Okay, that's all there is, there isn't any more!

Happy Mother's Day to all.  We'll be having our annual Mother's Day brunch here--I think there will be 21 of us, a regular sized gathering for our big family!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More Camarillo Quilt Guild eye-candy

First, on the sewing front, I have now put together eight blocks for Erica's quilt--that leaves 16 to go before the top can be assembled.  I'll show those sometime over the weekend probably.  They are so pretty!  Also I finally talked to my newly married friend who had not opened the wedding gift for three days but loved the zigzag quilt and said it was already in use as a throw on their bed.  So pleased they liked it!   Okay, now on to some more quilty goodness:

Erica said, "Hmm, I wonder why you like that one" (sarcastically of course!)

Okay, so its red and green (and cheddar!).  Of course I love it!

This is not applique but quilt crayon of some sort, with embroidery.  Each block was a little bigger than the size of a regular sheet of paper.

Fantastic, and I loved the sashing and framing.

Very pretty Lone Star.  This pattern is on my list of "someday" quilts.  Again with the piecing and applique.

Civil War prints, with excellent piecing work. 

Another piecing and applique mix I loved.  The yellow background was different and pretty.

There were several of these in the show, but this was my favorite. Says Spring, doesn't it?

The medallion has a 3D effect I liked. 

Someone tell me, is this reverse applique?  Very nicely done, anyway!

I loved the story of this double wedding ring quilt.  It was large and really beautifully sewn, quilted, and bound--a finish after 78 years!  That beats my Grandma's yo-yo coverlet, which has a label that says "Made 1934, Tied 1997".
I have one more batch of quilt pics to post, if you can stand it!