Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Sept 28, 2010

This edition of orts brought to you from hot, hot, hot So Calif!
  • Remember last Tuesday when I said this time of year the national extremes are in California frequently but are far away from where I live?  Uh, correction.  Yesterday the national extreme high temperature was in Los Angeles, where it was 113 degrees in downtown L.A.  That's only 60 miles from here---way too close.
  • My city also had a heat record of 104 degrees, topping one set 20 years ago in 1990.  You'd think I might remember that previous heatwave but I was recovering from gallbladder removal surgery, getting the house packed up to move while taking care of three children, the youngest of whom was 7 months old,  making three bridesmaid's dresses for a friend's wedding, and working part time in the County hospital's transcription department.  It was kind of a busy September that year!
  • This morning we had cloud cover so the temps dropped a lot but now it is muggy.  By the weekend, they say, we'll be having below normal temps.  Make up your mind, O weather mavens!!!
  • Traffic rant of the week:  It is really not necessary, young buck, to flip me off because I assumed we were both going to go straight at the four way stop since you were TOO LAZY to use a turn signal!  That little lever gizmo is there for a reason--you might study up on that in between texting and playing with your ipod. 
  • No quilting has happened since Saturday.  I believe I am in withdrawals because I am actually looking forward to ironing 5 yards of backing fabric for the bowtie quilt.
  • What is it about quilt shows that makes buying fabric and notions so irresistible?  I managed to keep my purchases under $80--and only because I put back some of the "have to have" items I picked up. Sickness, it's a sickness I tell you!
  • Erica called me today at work to let me know she set an appointment with the counselor at ASU in November.  So Arizona here we come :)
  • An uninvited guest was at Baby Jake's birthday party on Saturday.  His grandma told me that her son had filled the feeder that morning and it was already 1/4 empty. 
The feeder was only about 10 feet from where we were sitting in the backyard.  Mrs. Squirrel was looking straight at me, totally unconcerned.

It appears she was supporting a whole family though, given this view!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coastal Quilters Guild Show

My friend Tanya and I traveled up to Santa Barbara for a guild show.  There were some terrific quilts to be seen and of course some vendors that had to be visited. 
This was described as being of Alaskan native influenced.  I liked the interesting fabric choices and unusual the border.

B. Kliban T shirt quilt.  I love his cartoon cats and have a couple of his books and cards. 

Sampler quilts don't always grab my attention but the unique colors in this quilt sure did.

There were even some bowties :)

A winner for use of color, this small quilt was striking.

Especially the quilting!

Fantastic large quilt with appliqued everything.

I loved the incredible colors, the rickrack, and all the stitching.

The hip replacements were sensational!

Having worked for an orthopedic surgeon for 13 years, one who did hip replacements and had one of his own, I can appreciate the gratitude!   I'll share more pics in another post.  Now, though, I am going to seek some cooler place downstairs.  "Record breaking heatwave" is not one of my favorite weather patterns.  It is about 100 degrees at 8:25 PM upstairs here.  We do not have air conditioning in the house and my car's air conditioning doesn't work either.  This morning it was already 80 degrees before 7 AM.  It is not expected to cool down for a couple more days.  I may have to camp out downstairs tonight to get some sleep. Last night was brutal...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jake's quilt

I finished up the baby strippie quilt this morning with enough time to take pictures and get a label on it before dashing to get ready for the drive to the party.
I originally thought I would add red rickrack into the binding but it seemed too "girly" somehow so I left it out.

The initials were cut out of some leftover furry fleece and satin stitched on. I made the decision not to switch from the walking foot that was already on the machine and I think that helped keep it smooth.

This backing is reading orange in the photo but is red flannel with a brown spacer I had to add when I discovered my MATH problem I mentioned earlier.  You can see the very simple edge to edge quilting I did.  Quilting was pretty easy with my new sewing desk's extension table and the Machingers gloves. 

Here's the pattern I made on my computer for the initials.  I had recently read on someone else's blog that they used a font that was 436% of normal to make a pattern.  So I experimented and this J is 750% of normal for the font I chose, making the letter about 7 inches tall.   So much easier than drawing freehand!  I cut 1/8" outside the pattern line to allow for the width of the satin stitching.  Hint: Choose a light gray color to print out your pattern so you don't waste ink. 

Jake's Pumpkin Patch was the party theme and orange the color of the day.  There were orange drinks, orange ice cubes, orange candies, orange cupcakes, and plenty of orange decorations, all made by Jake's mom and grandma.  That's Jake in his mother's arms with his cute faux-hawk hairdo.

Check out the terrific scarecrow and his raven!

Jake got a pumpkin cake all his own to dig into.  I think some of the cake did actually get into his tummy!

The rest of us ate these adorable cupcakes.  The icing was melting, however, because it was HOT today, probably about 95 degrees at midday when the party took place.  Jake's parents chose not to open the gifts until after the party so we didn't get to see the reaction to the quilt.  I hope they like it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A little quilt

I finally did get all my nine patches in the mail for the swap set up by Julie.  I mailed them on Wednesday and she posted a picture of them on her blog today.  Wow, those priority boxes really do work--thanks, U.S. Mail!  I can now reveal the front of the little quilt I gave a sneak peek of on my previous post.
Leftover 4 patches and scraps and stash were mixed together in this 20" square quilt.  It was fun to make a quick little gift like this and Julie said she loved it.  So glad!

Magazine layout style...

Tonight I spent a good 2 1/2 hours quilting the Strippie Baby Quilt and got the binding half on.  Then I ran out of both bobbin thread and steam and called it a night!  I'll finish it up as quick as I can in the morning.  We need to leave here by 11:30 AM for Baby Jake's party so I better get to bed.  TGIF.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Newsflash!

If you watch the Ellen DeGeneres show tomorrow, Wednesday Sept 22, you may catch a glimpse of our lovely oldest daughter, Elaine.  She and her friend Caitie went to a taping today and they sat close to the front on an aisle so believe they may have gotten some camera time (which may or may not have induced embarrassed laughter on their part!).  The guests are Brooke Shields and Selena Gomez.
 
Here's Elaine, and Caitie is a lovely redhead.   Glad you had fun, girls!

Tuesday's Orts--Sept 21, 2010

I've been a very busy quilter, and lots of orts have been coming to mind as I sew.
  • Who knew there was so much MATH involved in quilting?  I am definitely not stupid but sometimes the ciphering confabulates me!  One of my must-have sewing desk supplies is a calculator, sometimes just for basic addition.  I am no good at carrying in my head. 
  • I bought a length of flannel to back the Strippie baby quilt I'm making.  On Sunday night at 7 PM  when I was ready to get the quilt sandwich together, I found out the flannel is only 40 inches wide including the selvages, and I did not want to trim the quilt top any narrower than it already was at 41 inches.  MATH again!  Naturally it was too late to get to an open fabric/quilt shop and naturally I did not have anything suitable here.  So instead I cut the batting to size and made the binding, and last night stopped at a different store to pick up more flannel.  I can already tell I will be cutting it close to deadline on Saturday to get this project done. 
  • Traffic rant of the week: Diagonal parking lot walkers.  Just go straight across the road to the sidewalk first, people!
  • My mom and dad are in Cincinnati.  Mom is scoping out our accommodations for next spring's International Quilt Festival.  Luckily we will be staying with family and not have to think about a hotel room with Cincinnati's newest statistic: Worst bedbug infested city in the U.S.  
  • The new television season has begun.  Grant and I watched the premieres to The Event and Hawaii Five-O.  I liked The Event better, more mystery.  There was quite a bit of violence and shooting and bikini clad women in Hawaii Five-O but the actors are good.  I may be drawn back to watching a series again since Lost is no longer on.  But maybe not!
  • Fall is really here, I guess.  At the overcast and cool Southern California coast, we kept waiting for summer to arrive.  My storage box of fall decor has now made it as far as the house but has not been opened.  It has, however, been inspected by each pet.
  • My 9 patches for the swap I am in have been finished for nearly two weeks but I probably won't get them in the mail until tomorrow as I have been making a little something for the swap hostess out of scraps/stash.   I needed navy blue thread for stitching down the binding.
You'd think that would be available among all these blues.  Not.  I used black instead.

Sneak peak of the back and the dregs of red thread I scrounged for!  This was my first time actually quilting on my new sewing desk and it was really nice, even on this small project, not to have to fight with the height difference between the desktop and the machine bed.  I've got two more quilt tops to practice on before I start Erica's quilt's more intricate work.  I bought some Machinger gloves and am thinking about buying a Supreme Slider sheet.  Anyone use those?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Sept 20, 2010

On my design table today is a project started last year but never finished--and I want them done!
Aren't they fun!  As soon as I saw this the magazine jumped in my basket.

I stopped working on these because I did not really care for the border design of the pattern (Quiltmaker) plus I made this from fat quarters so there was going to be a barely-squeak-it-out component of the process that I just didn't want to deal with then!  So they have sat for an entire year and Halloween will be upon us again. I already cut the strips so maybe I will just make a brick or piano key border.   Opinions?  Other ideas? 
Go here to see the other design walls on Judy's blog. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Catching up

Since posting last, it was quite a rest-of-the-week-still-getting-over-my-cold blur.  Wednesday was catch up day at work and I was exhausted that night. Thursday I filled in all day for our receptionist who was sick, then that night we celebrated both Grant's and Nick's birthdays with dinner out and I was exhausted.  I looked a little like this Thursday night...

...complete with the half-closed eyes.  Yesterday was another long day at work and before 10:30 PM I was in bed, ready to watch a little HGTV and go to sleep.  So no sewing happened at all after my sick days, but I wanted to share something I put together during that time.

This is a Quick Strippie quilt from Mary Johnson, who has other terrific free patterns--she primarily shares these for charity quilts but I needed a fast baby quilt for our 1 year old grand-nephew's birthday party next Saturday.  I cut and sewed this in one afternoon. 

A closeup of the adorable print of puppies.  The backing will be a red flannel I found at JoAnn's and the binding the blue print, which I paid the most for--it was $10 a yard at the pricey fabric store but was the perfect color.  The puppy print and the brown dot I bought for a bargain at my friend Tanya's mom's sale.   I plan to cut the baby's initials out of some tan fleece I have on hand and applique those somewhere to make it a bit more special.  I seem to have a thing with initials just lately!

Do you use snippets like these?  Before I started reading blogs (Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville in particular)  I had never heard of sewing on and off a "threadsaver" like this--and I have been sewing for 37 years and taken many classes!  I find it immensely helpful and am amazed at how much thread it really saves.  Added bonuses: I don't have to hold the ends of my thread when I start a seam, so no chance of the thread getting balled up on the back; 100% cotton thread is also very curly and this eliminates having to fish for the ends as well.  My bobbins last way longer too.  Someday I will get organized enough to start a leader-ender project with the snippets.  But for now, I am getting pretty comfortable with remembering to use one at the top and end of every seam.  I'm off to sew now--Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Sept 14, 2010

Today's Orts are variable with a chance of sneezing and coughing...
  • This time of year brings a weather statistic I enjoy, mostly because it is far away from my city:  The national extreme temperatures quoted in the paper are both in California, less than 300 miles apart.  Today it is going to be a high of 111 degrees in Death Valley, and in Bodie there will be a low of 19 degrees.  I have been to Bodie, a miner's ghost town in the Sierras that is now a National Park, but have never been to Death Valley.  Temperatures can be over 120 degrees there often in the summer, so I surely won't go then!
  • My nose is chapped from too much tissue interaction and my ribs are sore.  But I'm wondering how many calories I have burned off with the sneezing and coughing I've been doing the past four days. 
  • A house across the street is in foreclosure and the now divorced woman and her kids have moved out as of Sunday.  We neighbors may be taking over the lawn care chores.  One of them already edged the larger section of grass.  We all worry about how long the house will remain empty and how the low sales price might affect our home values.  This is not a good feeling.
  • Traffic rant of the week:  It really isn't necessary for you to floor it and pass me on the quarter mile section of the highway before it ends/merges into the freeway.  Because you are going to end up in the slow lane anyway, DUMMY. 
  • I am completely lost in the college evaluation process.  Erica got accepted to ASU and we need to check out the school.  Luckily we can stay with my brother Ted who lives in Scottsdale.  We were debating driving vs flying--the latter would be more expensive though probably more practical.  Erica quickly asserted that we can borrow Ted's Corvette and that I won't be driving, as she's the one who needs to learn the roads.  That girl is quick, I tell ya!
  • The housekeepers were here last week and one of them held up a couple of stacked cardboard trays to ask if they were trash.  I told her no, they have a use.
Yes, I keep my cat in a CPK tray, you got a problem with that? 

I originally brought these home from a luncheon at the office--they held buffet size foil pans--thinking they would be good for transferring parts from one place to another in the sewing room.  They were lying on the floor and Mini climbed in.  Purpose defined--so be it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Border/Patrol

Despite some frequent interruptions today, by the auto body guy, my son, my daughter, the auto body guy, my husband, the auto body guy, the dog, the auto body guy, I was able to get one of the border sections pieced.
Looks a mile long, doesn't it?  That's 40 four patches.
Apologies for the slightly blurry photo.  This is the way I drew the design, butting up to the center, but I think it needs a spacer strip of the background, probably 3" finished.  Otherwise I like it.  Since I was home, I took a little garden patrol to snap some photos.

In about a month or so this plant will be covered with red bracts that will last until February--I love my poinsettia! 

A friend gave us two Plumeria plants about a year and a half ago.  These blooms are on the larger plant and smell heavenly.  Of course I always think of my time in Hawaii when I smell them.  The blossoms are frequently used for leis and the plants tree-sized in landscaping there.  Our plant is about three feet high now and the other about a foot and a half.

Our next year's crop of Hass avocados from our dwarf tree.  There is ONE other fruit! Very disappointing, as the last crop we had was about 25 fruits.  There you have it, border/patrol!

Design Wall Monday--Sept 13, 2010

Actually this week it's a design table....
Pieces and parts for 80 four-patches to use as a border on the bowtie quilt, which now has all rows sewn together, yay!  This quilt has well over 100 different fabrics in it given all the scraps I've cut up.  I'm home sick today--a lovely cold which has had me run through about a box of tissues since Friday--so I'll get to work stitching the border up.  Yesterday included a visit to a fabric shop to get additional fabric to flesh out the backing to Erica's quilt, and I also completed the backing to the Rick Rack Road quilt (the one in my header photo), so I'm getting closer than ever to making sandwiches.  Progress is progress!  Go to Judy's blog to see more Design Walls. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Favorite Things Friday--Mini & Me

I have a little shadow...and she's a cat.
Relaxing on our bed after breakfast.

Assisting with laying out a quilt backing.

Whaddya mean I'm in the way?

This floor is not big enough for both of us?

What are we gonna do next?

See more Favorite Things Friday here.  TGIF.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday's Orts--Sept 7, 2010

September's first Orts are here!
  • Isn't it amazing what tricks your eyes play.  I did not notice until laying out the Bowtie blocks again to play Switcheroo with my mom that I had a duplicate bowtie!  Luckily I had extra background squares so it was an easy thing to stitch up an alternate. 
  • This week's traffic rant:  No, you cannot make a right hand turn from the second lane.  Instead of veering over in front of me you must correct your mistake the legal way. Go up to the next intersection and make a U turn.  Really.
  • Nick found a job on Friday (YAY!), which meant we went out to Kohl's at 9:00 PM to buy black pants, black socks, and black shoes.  And a few other necessities he was lacking, having not worked since December.  It's getting a bit expensive to have The Young Man back in the house! 
  • Job #2 was a bit bizarre last week.  Thursday found me refereeing an argument between two employees.  Dr. P said he couldn't believe he was paying three people to argue in the parking lot. 
  • Note to shoppers: Calling first before you drive 15 miles to a store is a really good idea. Because that "Closed" sign is a real bummer.  Especially if the sign is on a fabric store.
  • Somehow my brain thinks I can add a third project to my current quilting list.  See, I finished all those 9 patches so I have room for a piecing project.  I'm going to try to resist the seduction of a new project and work on an older one. 
  • I had a date last night with my friend Pat.  We went to a movie and then dinner.  We saw The Switch, with Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston.  It was really nice to see a movie with no computer aided graphics, gore, or aliens.  Just good characters, dialogue, and some funny lines.  Oh, and the kid was adorable.
Speaking of aliens, these flower spikes appeared on my echevarria last year, then half the plant died.  Alien Attack or Mother Nature?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Design Wall Monday--Sept 5, 2010

Actually it's a Design BED.  This is my progress on the backing to DD Erica's quilt. 

You can see the E O initials better since I added a lot more of the cream background. Boy, figuring out the size and cutting and sewing of all those sections took a lot of time!  And it's bigger than ever.  It is laying across our king sized bed.  I'm a little anxious about quilting this beast on my own.  Gulp.

Yeah, I'm missing some fabric right there.  So, darn it, gotta go to the fabric store.  Poor me! 
There was a great deal of sewing happening here over the weekend.  I also finished all the 9 patches for Julie's swap--that's 78 of them.

Then I had a little play time with the leftovers:

No idea what'll become of this but it was fun to see the fabrics all together.  I just cut 1.5" strips from the 2.5" strip set leftovers.   I may make a little doll quilt out of it somehow.  I have some young nieces who might like one.  Go to Judy's blog to see the rest of the Design Walls.  Happy Monday!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Favorite Things Friday

My friend, General Pyjamas, is having a new feature on her blog and I'm linking up.  It was already Friday in her part of the world--Down Under--but she graciously has allowed for the remainder of the world to join in when Friday gets to them. Isn't she sweet?

The favorite item I'm showing is a painting.  I have the artist's permission to post this on my blog with the caveat that no one steal the photo.  So please play nice, especially since the artist is my Mom. 
Used with permission of artist.  Do not copy.  Thank you!
This is a painting of Two Trees, a hill that is the backdrop to a great deal of our city.  I grew up in the flatland at the base of these hills and my parents still live there today.  This was the hill that was on fire a couple of months ago, as shown in this post.  My mom was in the middle of painting this piece, many years ago, when she developed a detached retina and had to undergo emergency surgery--a very scary time.  Fortunately she regained her sight and this was the first painting she finished afterwards.  It means a great deal to me.  I am also fortunate to have many other original Ledlie works of art in my home. 

Here we are standing in front of another.  Love you, Mom!  Go see more Favorite Things Friday here, until I put her button on my blog.  I seem to be lousy at grabbing those suckers.