Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

Hi everybody!  The return of the orts, those random bits of thoughts and events that land here most every Tuesday.
  • I was wearing some of Grandma's jewelry the other day and the delicate chain made me wonder if it was something she picked up in Europe on one of their trips.  The tiny tag looked exotic enough to give me a little thrill, but when I really looked closely it read AVON.
  • Last week's weirdness included a couple of frustrating days waiting for a system upgrade on the hospital's computer system, the one I log onto for my transcription work.  My boss was kind enough to reward my all-day-Sunday wait with a couple of gift cards.  I chose Trader Joe's, my new favorite grocery store. 
  • Bunco last week was held at a player's house who has two young girls.  Youngest daughter is 4 and, as each guest arrived, she invited them to look at the wildlife.  I peeked at baby birds nesting on top of the columns of the front porch, tadpoles in a plastic wading pool in the backyard, and inspected the garden and her toys.  I politely declined going to the garage to visit the guinea pig.  An hour or more later she implored again, "Are you sure you don't want to see Snickers?  He's really cute".  Since I knew at least three other ladies had already visited the guinea pig, I again declined politely.
  • The Blogger problems seemed to clear up slowly but one night all my followers disappeared from my sidebar.  I was relieved to have you all back within an hour!  Thank you so much for following.
  • DD Elaine bought me a book for Mother's Day but I never got it.  I texted her to ask if Amazon was holding it hostage and she replied that she never ordered it because she has "bride brain" and forgot.  That is a serious affliction!
  • Traffic rant: The weirdest event of last week occurred when I hit a bicyclist with my car. Rather, a bicyclist rode in front of my car as I was pulling out of the driveway of my brother's auto repair shop, which is on the corner of a major intersection. He was riding on the sidewalk against traffic with no helmet on but a pair of radio headphones. Luckily, I was only going a mile or two an hour and missed the actual frame of his bike, just striking the rear wheel and bending it. He was not knocked over and was unhurt, thankfully. This young man's immediate response told me something wasn't quite right: He had no reaction other than to reach down and try to turn the wheel. I realized he was developmentally delayed or something and I could not just give him cash to fix the wheel of what I learned was his only transportation. Therefore, a two hour odyssey ensued of getting him a new wheel. The guys at my brother's shop helped take the bike apart and stow it in my trunk, and we were off to the bike shop. The first and second shops could order the wheel but it would take a week to get it. The third shop thankfully did have the wheel in stock and transferred the tire, gear, etc and tested and tuned the brakes, front and back. $88 later, Ralphie was on his way again. He very sweetly said, as he shook my hand before leaving on his bike for home, "I really want to thank you". Oh, my!

Doesn't look so bad here...
    But it definitely was not fixable! 
    Lesson learned:  Always check twice when pulling out of a driveway because someone may be illegally riding on the sidewalk in front of you.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Design Wall Monday--May 30, 2011

Hard to believe May is already coming to a close.  On my Design Surface is my May UFO (still not finished!).  I got the top all together on Saturday night and rummaged through my stash drawers to find a suitable backing but didn't have one.  So off to JoAnn's I went yesterday since all the quilting stores were closed in my area, bummer.

I found this lovely large floral which matched admirably and with my 50% off coupon only cost $5 per yard, plus I got 10% off my entire bill.

This crackle fabric was in my stash and will be used for the binding--I believe it is a Moda fabric.  It has just the right tone to go with the background of the Yuletide Blessings fabrics used in the blocks.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  My friend Tanya is coming over in just a few minutes and we are going to sew.  I love sewing with friends!

Happy Memorial Day!  My thoughts and thanks go out to the many active and retired servicemen and women, and the scores who gave their lives to protect freedoms around the globe. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

TGIF

So pleased to see this weird, stressful week has come to a close, and looking forward to a holiday from work on Monday.  My plans include paying some attention to my neglected gardening chores and perhaps a little painting, but mostly I want to sew!   There are only a few days left for me to turn these into a finished quilt to meet another UFO Challenge goal:

This is version four of tonight's edition of Switcheroo.  Don't you wish there was a "back" button when you play this game?  I see a few blocks yet to switch out but I have to stop somewhere.  Maybe I will set a timer for five minutes and call it good!  As always, my work will undergo a CAT scan for quality control...

Unless my supervisor falls off the sewing desk!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No comment

That's right, I cannot leave comments on anyone's blog right now!  This is bad timing on Blogger's part since the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day is going on and there are always lots of blogfriends to visit and leave comments to.  I'm bummed!  So bummed that I skipped Tuesday's Orts.  Plus I've been a bit busy trying to finish my May UFO.  I trimmed all the blocks down to 8" , and tonight will play layout and switcheroo to get ready to sew.  I am not concerned about the quilt's final size as I am that all the blocks are uniform and easier to put together. 

And because a photo is always necessary, here's a little decor idea from Good Housekeeping magazine that I recently tried out:

Regular wine glass, LED tealight...

...and a shade cut from scrapbooking paper.  Cute, huh?  There's a PDF template to print out and you can get two shades from one 12 x 12 sheet of scrapbooking paper if you're careful.  Lighter colored paper would yield more light, but I used what I had on hand as a test.  Here's a link to the online mag and template.  It's Wednesday and a 3 day weekend is coming up.  I'm really ready for the break!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Design Wall Monday--May 23, 2011

I spent the weekend sewing up some long-promised articles for DD Erica, getting them off my list at last!  First, I finished two more pillows like this:


Piping, lapped zipper and lots of fiddly finishing.  I had forgotten what I learned making the first two a few months ago, so had to consult my home sewing book all over again!  These pillow covers are for 18" pillow forms. 

Then I worked on these 13x18" pillow covers.  This is the back of the fabric, an upholstery weight with lots of rayon for shine.  It's nearly as good looking as the front.

This is chenille-like with lots of texture and softness but the fabric raveled like a son of a gun so the first step was to zigzag over all four edges of each front and back.  The pillows went together faster since there was no piping to make and attach, except I did manage to sew the first zipper in backwards so had to rip it out and restitch.  Sigh.

Two of these were added to the pile.  Classy, huh? 

Erica requested a couple of placemats with the leftover Metro Mirage fabric (the cream print).  I bought the Jinny Beyer deep purple fat quarter on the right; the other two fabrics were pulled from my stash/scraps.  I also purchased a browny-purple tiny vine print for backing and binding.  Or maybe it is a purply-brown!

Simple construction produced this pair after several hours.

I quilted just a few lines next to each seam and applied the binding by machine.  Erica will be getting a big box in the mail this week!  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dashed plans

No sewing happened here for several days after the whirlwind quilting weekend on Kitchen Sink, but there was fabric prep!  I washed all the wedding quilt fabrics:

There are a couple of batiks there, which are so great because they are two sided.  The lightest fabric is a white on white and I sometimes have trouble keeping those right side up!  This pile needs ironing and then lotsa cutting.  Fortunately the Natural Beauty pattern (Quilts and More Winter 2010) I am doubling in size features strip sets so the cutting is minimized a bit.

I also composed the label for Kitchen Sink, got it assembled last night and stitched down this morning.

Though unplanned, the leftover triangle somehow turned into a little house and naturally it needed a window and a garden bed.  I like it!

Then I played with some other leftovers because I want to make a quick mini quilt for summer.  And here in the USA, that usually means some Americana for Independence Day.

I just love this wooden stand and mini quilt I won at a silent auction a few years ago at a local guild show.  I've made several other holiday minis but wanted one in a patriotic theme to replace my spring decor.  Easter has not been shown the door yet--I still have eggs and chicks and bunnies on display.  I've been busy, I tellya!  There is a certain future event that has taken over, okay? 

Speaking of which, bride-to-be Elaine and I chatted online for an hour brainstorming the use of Mason jars for the reception.  Then we hunted online and Elaine scored some on sale yesterday at Smart and Final at $7.99 for 12 jars and got a raincheck for the rest.  I stopped by Big Lots last night to look for scrapbooking tools for making labels and serendipitously found Mason jars for $7.25 a dozen.  Oh joy!  I snapped up another 9 dozen to complete the anticipated number, saving 74 cents on each.  Every penny saved helps.  We're going to make these jars do triple duty in a fun way.  But that's a secret til the wedding! 

In the meantime, nothing has been done on this month's UFO, Yuletide Blessings.  And now I'll be down to 11 days to make a quilt.  We'll see what happens!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

A regular feature, letting all the scraps of thoughts of the week land here in a pile of orts.
  • I left work early on Friday and did some shopping.  My least favorite phrase described too many of the shoes I was browsing in Sears:  "All Manmade Materials".  Which to me translates to "sweat and stink shortly".
  • Later I was perusing a rack in another store and a lady came through an opening through a couple nearby racks.  Just as she got abreast of me, she burped, practically in my ear.  That was a new experience.  At least she did excuse herself!
  • DD Erica called to say she was thinking about changing her major (again), this time to Sociology.  I said, "Oh, you mean you're taking Muggle Studies" (Harry Potter term for non-magical people).  This cracked her up and she vowed to post it "everywhere" online.  I did see it made Facebook!
  • My friend Tanya and I visited a local fabric store that is closing it's Camarillo location.  Tanya had two gift cards to use there and I wanted to pick up more fabric for the wedding quilt.  While I was waiting for her to get some fabric cut, I looked over to the register area and standing at the counter there was a familiar looking woman.  I stupidly stared and then said to her, "You're Marcia!", to which she replied, "Well, I played her". (What a dolt!) Then her name entirely flew out of my head so I had to say, "And your name is...?"  and she said "Maureen".  I'm hoping what I said was, "...McCormick, of course".  I mentioned that I had watched her many times on TV and enjoyed it, and thanked her for her work, shaking her hand.   What an idiotic encounter, but I wanted to acknowledge her presence.  I can only imagine what she said to her companions about the dumb fan! 
  • Traffic rant:  On the way back from Camarillo, Tanya and I spotted some thick smoke from an obvious fire in the distance on the opposite side of the freeway, at the edge of some farmland.  The gawkers tied up traffic so quickly we were glad our exit was only a couple offramps away.  The fire was not that close to the freeway but all the lookyloos who could see the flames and smoke created a big snarl that worsened already bad Sunday afternoon traffic, in BOTH directions, for hours. 
  • Doing pretty well with my No Sugar, No Flour eating plan. Snacking on roasted, unshelled sunflower seeds is a hygiene problem, have you ever noticed? There is no sanitary way to eat them without getting your fingers in your mouth. So I use this: 

A shot glass.  This was a Bunco night souvenir and is even my favorite color! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tommy's Kitchen Sink and a Bear

A finished quilt is a great feeling, and I put the last stitch in Tommy's Kitchen Sink this afternoon. He had to throw everything and the kitchen sink at his illness and I hope this quilt brings some smiles. 


I took this photo at my mom and dad's.  Luckily I did not have to pay a location fee for the photo shoot. 

However, a small blue Bear wanted to be in the photo.  (My dad says *Bear is a camera hog.)
*Bear is my dad's companion.

The backing is two colors of gingham flannel in wide horizontal bands.  (In this photo doesn't it look like the quilt is crossing its legs?)

My visit to my parents' house was twofold: taking pics of Tommy's quilt and also getting some measurements.  Apparently my brother Ted felt Bear needed a pair of choners (shorts) for modesty while riding prone on the dashboard during a recent trip Ted and Dad took (his crack was showing!).  I was telephoned from the road and asked to provide the clothing, since I live in the same town as Bear.

I think this recycled shirt is a good choice.  Iron crosses are pretty manly, right?

Dad said posting Bear's measurements online would be rude, so they are a secret.  Let's just say that Bear is apple-shaped and has healthy thighs. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Various and Assorted

Long workweeks do not make for energetic nighttime quilters...I spent more time looking for quilting ideas and going to the fabric store for thread than actually quilting.  But this morning I got up early and got to it.  The Kitchen Sink quilt has aged far too long and needs to get to its new home.


After crosshatching with cream thread in the ditch diagonally through the center of the quilt, I went to my trusty three-step zig zag for the narrow border and some large puzzle-piece stippling in the wide border.  I know, I know, not adventurous in the least!

Using 40 wt thread means you run out of bobbin thread more often...one square foot to go and I ran out at this point!  Good thing I thought ahead and bought two spools of thread. 

Some free motion quilting in the setting triangles will finish off the quilting and I can proceed to binding, labeling, and mailing this off to my aunt's husband, who has been undergoing treatment for tongue cancer.  He's feeling better but is still recovering from radiation/chemo that took a deep toll on the Georgia native.  Hang in there, Tommy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

May is full upon us and the sound of birds.  They like orts too!
  • Russell the dog seems to be suffering from spring allergies.  His eyes are all pink around the eyebrow and he is constantly twirling around on the grass rubbing his face.  He is probably allergic to the grass, the silly dog.
  • Son Nick was playing some pickup basketball at the park last Thursday and rolled his ankle but good as he stepped on another player's foot with all his weight, going up for a layup.  He has one skinny ankle and bony foot and one fat ankle and fat foot.  Sprains sure take a long time to calm down.
  • We had some unexpected rain last night and this morning when I took my walk everything was clean and fresh.  Too bad it was trash pickup day and I had to wend my way around all the cans parked on the sidewalk.
  • I've been on a new eating plan for two weeks and have lost 5 lbs.  It is the No Sugar, No Flour diet by Dr. Gott.  You know, of the newspaper column.  Eating whole grains, meat/seafood, veggies, nuts, and fruit leaves me feeling full so that I don't crave sugar or processed food.  I feel clearer-headed and have more energy.  That's a good feeling!
  • Traffic rant:  Parking lots that are so poorly designed that there is only one way in and one way out unless you drive an entire city block to the other end to exit onto a street you can't make a left turn onto to get back to where you came from.
  • Mother's Day cards warm the heart.  I like to get the funny ones too.
  • My Mother in Law, when she saw her vintage tablecloths and her china gracing the tables at our Mother's Day brunch here, said, "I've seen those before".  And promptly offered me all the rest of her linens.  Oh, my groaning cupboards!
  • Gratuitous scenery photo from So Calif:   
This is camping at Faria Beach. A long row of RVs lined up on the edge of the road.


And this is why!  What a view.  It was dinnertime when I took these shots a couple of weeks ago and my mouth was watering from all the BBQ smells.  These spots are full nearly every weekend and of course all major holidays, practically all year long.  Even I could camp like this!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Design Wall Monday--May 9, 2011

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day.  We held our annual brunch here and enjoyed mini muffin omelets, bacon, fresh berries, homemade chocolate chip scones, pumpkin bread, and waffles, plus a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that was to die for.  Lots of mimosas and OJ flowed as well. 

This roomful of men were watching the Lakers lose.  But they were well fed!  That's my dad, brother, three nephews and future son in law.  At the table are two of my sisters in law, not watching the game :).

On my design floor is this month's pick for the UFO Challenge, #9.  I am determined to get this one finished so need to get a move on! 
 Nicole of Sister's Choice Quilts made 68 of these blocks from this pattern and I was the lucky winner of them when she had a giveaway a year and a half ago. 

Pattern is Fall Frolic by Evelyn Sloppy.  I love the diagonal lines of the design, and red and green is my favorite color combo so I will enjoy playing with these pretty blocks.

It will be a challenge to lay it all out and get the distribution of the blocks even.  Nicole made a few extra blocks 7x9 layout.  It will make a nice sized throw at 56 x 72.  I'm raring to get them sewn!

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April UFO finish--Cheddar and Cinnamon

Yes, I know it's a few days into May, but my April UFO is as finished as it's getting for now.  It was a bit ambitious of me to think I could complete a whole quilt from blocks to binding during a month in which I was going to be out of the state for a whole week and then play catch up at my two jobs!


After assembling the quilt by section...

...I laid out some border options.  Originally I thought I might just do top and bottom borders because I felt the quilt might be too narrow at 63" finished.   
I believe I've mentioned before that I am not a MATH girl. Upon refiguring, it turned out I had not counted borders for all four sides, so the quilt would actually finish at 72", based on the pattern's two borders of 2" and 7" finished, which is plenty big for a couch quilt.  Yeah, I am a WORD girl, not MATH.
 
Ultimately I went with a 6" finished outer border so I could include some corner blocks.

The top is finished!  This is from a Thimbleberries book, the pattern is called Nine Patch Criss-Cross.  I emphasized the stars using Cheddar and Cinnamon fabrics, hence my version's name.

I love this quilt and am so thankful for all the swappers who made these wonderful 9 patches.  I'm pondering whether I should have made the corner blocks with cheddar triangles only.  Also, that very low contrast 9 patch is bothering me a bit and I may decide to change it out. It is especially noticeable in photos.  Opinions?

May's UFO Challenge pick is #9, which on my list is this yummy pile of blocks I won awhile ago in a giveaway from Nicole of Sister's Choice Quilts She did not include the pattern but gave the name and I found a photo online that I can work from to assemble it.  The fabric is Moda's Yuletide Blessings, though it doesn't look especially Christmasy.  I'll enjoy putting this together!  See other April UFO finishes on Judy's Patchwork Times

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

It was a busy week and lots of orts are floating around my mind--they land here each week.
  • The royal wedding was quite a spectacle--but the lovely Kate and her handsome Prince William were classy and mature.  Her dress was just lovely and suited her so well.
  • Wedding salon dress shopping with DD Elaine was a new experience.  She looked beautiful in every dress she tried on and her audience, including me, a best friend, future MIL, and future SIL were not much help at first as we oohed and aahed at her in each one.  Elaine finally tried on several of the dresses again to narrow it down to two.
  • The sample size of one of the finalists was so large it had to be clamped up and down either the front, so the back was flat, or down the back, for the front to be flat.  They need to invent Bridal Clamps to blend in, instead of big industrial red clamps from the hardware store. 
  • Future SIL asked Elaine the final question a la Say Yes to the Dress:  "Elaine, is this your dress?"  And it was.  Sorry, no peeking till the big day!  Her sister Erica was allowed to see it online since she is out of the state and missed being there so much.
  • Sunday I ran out to the shops for a little retail therapy.  Dresses are back in style, yay!  But so many of them are made from that nasty polyester that clings to every lump and bulge.  I found a cotton knit that works much better and even has pockets.
  • Traffic rant:  They have been digging up the street daily on the route I must take to get to work, to replace a flood channel line.  I want to bash into each mallethead that waits until the last second to merge into the one open lane!  Grr
  • Sometimes picture taking involves moving objects when you least expect them:
Thanks, Mini, for adding a huge artifact in the middle of my favorite block!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Design Wall Monday--May 2, 2011

On my design floor today is my April UFO.  I've got the center stitched together but need to add borders tonight.  It won't be finished to my original idea but it will be a completed top and not a bunch of blocks in a box.
This is 54" square at present.  I'm trying to decide if I want to add borders all around, or just at the top and bottom to make it longer.  For bottom and top borders only, I would add the cheddar fabric first and then the cinnamon, with maybe a small strip of the cream/red print between.  Opinions, anyone?
See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.