Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whew! Back in business!

Last night, as many others did, I got kicked out of my own blog in the middle of composing a post.  It was very demoralizing, but after feeling very alone and helpless for an hour, seeing the same "Bad Request Error 400" everywhere I tried to go in Blogger, I discovered bunches of others around the world were experiencing the same thing.  Fortunately this morning everything is rosy.  Or lily, like this beautiful volunteer plant on the side of our building: 

Look how many buds and blooms are on this lovely thing!  I like its shadow too, and it smells divine.

That was third in a row for unfortunate happenings in my world.  Tuesday night I came out from Big Lots and found a flat tire (#1 incident).   AAA came to the rescue and changed it out to my spare.  I drove by my brother Kevin's auto repair shop on the way home and he happened to still be there at 7:30 p.m. (the joys of owning your own business!)  He said he could fix the tire but there wasn't much of a tire left as it was so worn--the reason the nail got into my tire in the first place.  So now we have to get new tires for my car.  Cha-ching!  (#2 incident)  That means driving 10 miles to work on city streets for another day instead of taking the freeway.  Good thing I asked, because Kevin told me that if you read a spare tire, it says not to go over 50 mph or travel more than 50 miles.  Somehow in my mind I knew that, but it is always good to ask!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Design Wall Monday

On my design surface today are the strip sets for the wedding quilt for DD Elaine and Chris.  I sure like fast methods like this--simple width of fabric strips.  The batik narrow strip makes a nice stable center for these so no problem with curving.


These will be cut into 3.5" sections arranged around large 8.5 squares for the Natural Beauty quilt from Quilts and More Winter 2010 issue.  I am increasing the size of this throw to make a queen sized quilt and have redrawn part of the pattern to eliminate a lot of seams in the white setting squares.  It meant cutting three different sized pieces instead of just 3.5" squares, but everything is cut out and ready to go.  I also decided to only use one fabric for the narrow strips rather than two as the pattern calls for.  Makes for fewer strip sets for me to mix up when rearranging!

Finally, finally, I got a Leader/Ender project started.  I have only been meaning to do this for a year or two, sheesh!

These adorable little rectangles will become the Baby Boxes tablerunner from Heather Mulder Peterson's book, On the Run.   See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Set Decorating

Doesn't that sound like a great job?  I've always thought it would be great fun to go into a giant warehouse at the studios and pull furniture and props, especially for a period piece.  My version of set decorating today involves red, white and blue for the upcoming Independence Day holiday.
This mini was made from leftovers from the Kitchen Sink quilt.  I sat outside and stitched the binding down in my new lounge chair. I'm afraid I exceeded the 10 minutes' sun tolerance for my pale skin and got myself a slight sunburn.  Oops!

A little bling for the center of the pinwheel.  I've had this button in my button box so long it is almost vintage. 

Some leftover binding was fashioned into a hanging sleeve...

...to fit on this stand.  The mini is almost too big for the stand and in fact I pulled the binding towards the back a little extra to get another 1/8" clearance.

The Broken Dishes tablerunner fits perfectly on my sideboard.  You'd think I planned that or something!  The mini garden flag adds some height to my arrangement.   Now if I can just get my Patriotic Fields Doll Quilt finished this week, I'll be all set for the big weekend.  It has been waiting a year already to be hand quilted, so we'll see!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer's here

The June Gloom, our usual summer weather pattern, has been hanging around all month so far, true to form.  The marine layer drifts in and out morning and evening but we have been having some sunny afternoons, even at the beach.  I only need to wear my sweater at work half the day, ha ha.  Lots of folks in blogland are showing their flourishing gardens.  I have a harvest to report as well:

Yup, we're farmers!  A neighbor gave us two tomato plants and they are producing.  This plate is about five inches across so it is not a bountiful harvest--these are cherry tomatoes! 

I finished this Broken Dishes tablerunner a while ago and really should have waited for morning to photograph it as this is a bit dark.  I posed it on DH Grant's new lounge chair.  Today I went out and bought another chair for me; mine is red.  There was about 20 minutes of lounging time before the dog went ballistic because someone was knocking on the front door, so I had to get up to see what that was all about.  The neighbor boys told me their ball went over our fence so I plodded through the thigh-deep weeds in the side yard to return not one, but four of their balls that were back there, all different sizes.  Someone keeps missing the pitch-back, apparently!

 
When I came back in from taking the tablerunner picture I found Mini holding down this WIP.  Thanks, Mini!  (Really need to get that one quilted.)

This photo should be titled "Why I should never buy ivy".  There is a sad twin to this plant in another room.  My record with houseplants that require frequent watering is pretty dismal.


But here is our healthy Golden Rain tree in the front yard.  We had it trimmed in late spring and it has filled out nicely and is thickly covered with yellow flower spikes.  The tree is only about half grown at about 15 feet tall though we have had it a number of years.  While someday it may be tall enough to actually shade the house, only part of the driveway and garage receive any protection from the sun now.   Not really reached goal on that one yet!   I love this tree because it changes all year--after the flowers bloom there are lantern-like seed pods that turn to golden and orange colors as fall approaches.  Finally all the leaves and pods fall off and the tree is bare until spring, when first red leaf buds appear that then turn green.  Nice tree!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Works in Progress

WIPs sound so much better than UFOs, don't they?  Getting my UFO Challenge for June finished early freed me to dive into some new projects.  The top to the "Sweet Escape" tablerunner started on the weekend is complete and I am auditioning binding choices.

The pattern designer, Heather Mulder Peterson, always uses striped bindings on the bias.


I have these two green stripes, but am leaning toward pink to continue my pink and blue theme.

It's always so great to have choices!  This pink print is my favorite so far.

This deep pink dot is reading more red but really is a lovely lipstick shade.  Opinions, anyone?

Also in progress, the remaining squares from the Boutique by Chez Moi charm pack are turning into the "Party Time Runner" pictured on the back of the On the Run pattern book, and some scraps are being turned into the "Baby Boxes" tablerunner, also pictured.  The latter will be used as my first leader/ender project once I get the white pieces cut for the box centers.  It has been really fun playing with these squares and strips in lovely summer colors.   

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

Another Tuesday, this one the longest Tuesday of the year.  I kind of feel like that already, and it isn't even noon yet!
  • Father's Day BBQ was a pretty quiet affair--only one offspring of ours was here and I was the only offspring of my parents' present!  It sure made the noise level lower than it normally is for family gatherings at our place. There was plenty of strawberry shortcake too.
  • Traffic rant:  This is of the restaurant sort.  How do you feel about people who leave sunglasses or bags to claim just-emptied tables and then get at the end of a long line to order food, far far behind you?  Yeah, makes me homicidal too.
  • Its getting so I don't want to order soft drinks in restaurants due to the ridiculous prices--$3.00 for an iced tea is pretty common.  On top of a sandwich or salad it can quickly add up to $10 for lunch and I am not willing to do that more than about once a week!  Water is still free most places.
  • I bought DH Grant a nice adjustable lounge/chaise for the backyard for Father's Day.  He has been wanting one for a long time.  I tried it out and now I want one too--however my blinding white legs can't tolerate more than about 10 minutes of sun so it would be a quick lounging session. 
  • Mini the cat supervised me on Saturday morning as I was assessing the pantry:

She was just sitting in there looking up at me before I pulled the camera out.
    Frosted Flakes appear to be a favorite.  See her question mark tail?  She nearly always holds her tail in that little crook when she walks.  Too cute.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Design Wall Monday

On my design surface today is a quick thank you gift for the caterer-to-be at DD Elaine's wedding.  This is a restaurant owner we have known and Grant has served in the foodservice industry for over 20 years, and she gave us a fabulous price per person, required no deposit, and will take very good care of all the many details during the entire reception. 

I had a partial charm square pack of Boutique that I won a couple of years ago, and pulled the pink and blue squares plus a couple of yellows for the layout.
This is the Sweet Escape table runner from the On the Run book by Heather Mulder Peterson.  The deep blue was a remnant I picked up at my local fabric store and I thought it would look great with these charms.

These blocks are only 4 1/2" inches.  Heather includes pressing directions to make the seams lock when joining, which I appreciate with these small pieces.  DD Elaine helped me with the final layout when she came over to see her Dad for Father's Day.

All the rows got sewn.

And a couple of rows sewn together before I finally went off to bed at 11:40 last night!   See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

And the Amish Stripes goes to...

A big Thank You to all who entered my 400th post giveaway and shared your must-have non-quilting accessories.  I enjoyed reading them all.   Music/TV were the top mentions, along with a beverage of choice.  Lots of quilters mentioned chocolate too!   Two ideas I found unusual were using an empty tin can for thread cones while sewing (ANudge), and storing thread with its matching bobbin on chopsticks in a coffee mug (Kathryn Smither).  Thanks for the great ideas, ladies!

There were 39 entries which were scientifically analyzed, written in tablature format and separated before being placed in this receptacle:
I bought this beautiful woven accented gourd in West Lafayette, Indiana at an artists' collective gift shop when my sister and I went there for a Ricky Tims seminar in 2006.  The tag was still inside the gourd and serendipitously this artwork is named "Pot of Fortune" by the artist (handweaver Carol J. Kuebler). 

Here the contents are being stirred by the mixmaster.

The winner is Kate!  Amazingly, Kate was the first to enter the giveaway. Her three essentials were a calculator, notepad, and sticky notes.  Kate will be getting an email with the good news. Kate blogs from Oklahoma and you can visit her at Life In Pieces.  She takes some lovely photos and has a 15 Minutes a Day quilting challenge. 

Thanks again to all readers, commenters, and visitors--hope you enjoyed your time here and please come back again soon.   

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tuesday's Orts on Thursday

Since Tuesday was taken over by the 400th post giveaway, orts have moved to Thursday this week.  As noted in my header, an ort is defined as a bit, a scrap.  I commandeered this definition to reflect my love of scrappy quilts and to categorize my random thoughts once a week!
  • On our way out to breakfast Sunday, we were talking about dogs.  We passed a very large man walking a very small Chihuahua--which looked hilarious to us--and I commented that I heard they were hard to potty train.  DH Grant joked that that will be our next dog.  I said if we were ever to get another dog, for a small dog I would pick a Pomeranian.  Son Nick said, "You would officially be old people if you got a Pomeranian!"  Gee, thanks, son.
  • Last Friday Bride to Be, Son in Law to Be and his mom and I went to meet a caterer and have taste testing of appetizers and dinner foods.  Future SIL loves to eat and his grin kept getting bigger each plate that came out.  Early on he said, "The problem here is going to be pacing myself".  That didn't seem to end up much of a problem!
  • Over the weekend, in doing my medical transcription job a doctor who has a very heavy accent said a word I didn't know.  I could not tell if she mispronounced it nor tell just what she was trying to say.  I looked in my reference books, all of which are over 15 years old, and found nothing.  My co-worker later listened to the dictation and said the word was what I thought it sounded like--patulous--but she found it in a newer radiology reference book.  Guess I need to update!
  • Baby names these days are getting pretty varied.  I mentioned Mariah Carey's twins names, Morocco and Monroe and said that if she liked Marilyn Monroe, why didn't she just call the baby girl Marilyn, because Monroe is a boy's name?  DD Elaine said that she knows several Monroes and none are boys.  I told that story at work and someone said Mariah and Nick were going for "Roc and Roe" (i.e, rock n'roll).  Oh, brother!
  • I have not yet seen the fabulous scenery photos my mom and dad took on their recent Yellowstone vacation. But I did receive one in an email from my dad titled "Why Ma was safe in the forest":

She was protected by a small blue bear.  See how alert and ready for action he is?  Cousin Florence was kept safe too.

There is still time to enter my 400th post giveaway, here.  I have had a couple of no-reply comments so far so please make sure there is an email address where I can contact you, either in your comment or tied to a profile.  I am really enjoying reading everyone's three non-quilting essentials (personally, I consider chocolate to be a quilting accessory so that's why I didn't include it in my listing of non-quilting needs, LOL).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

400th Post Giveaway

The giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for entering!

Slow but sure, the posts have built up to this 400th one!   I started blogging in February 2009 and have enjoyed all the interaction with readers and thank each and every one of you for visiting or following or commenting or just stopping by and taking a look at my little corner of blogland.  I appreciate you!

To celebrate, I am giving away my latest quilt, Amish Stripes.  This is the only paper pieced project I ever started, way back in about 2003 or so, and it has languished since in a box, until Judy's Patchwork Times UFO Challenge.  It is 24 x 30 and is bound and backed in Kona black and machine quilted.

To enter my giveaway, no special leaps, bounds, or somersaults are required.  But I do want information--I am curious to know:  What the three non-quilting accessories you MUST have at your fingertips while sewing/quilting?  Mine are a calculator, a nail file, and Verbena hand lotion by L'Occitane (love that stuff!).  

I will keep the giveaway open until Saturday, June 18th at 5 pm.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you by email, either through a profile or by including your email in your comment.  Don't have a blog or profile?  No problem--send an email to me at:   vtaannieo(at)gmail(dot)com.  I'll either use Mr. RNG or throw all the names in a bowl and let DH or son pull out the winner's name.  Hope you'll join in!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Sewing plans were abandoned for family this weekend.  DD Erica is here from Arizona, and Bride to Be Elaine came over to work on a wedding reception table decorating project.  There was painting, tracing on a light box, and lots of cutting involved.  It was all good, though! 

I did get some fabric shopping in on Sunday--a local store is closing, sadly, but they have all types of fabrics and since I'm planning to make my own outfit for the wedding, I went hunting silk dupioni for a pattern I already purchased (but didn't bring with me and had to call home for yardage requirements. Duh.)

Lucky me, all the silks were 40% off!  I made a near fatal error though, by grabbing the wrong roll for cutting.  I wanted this green on green and there was a navy blue on green just above it that I accidentally pulled.  Fortunately, since I was taking the entire remaining fabric on the roll, it was not an expensive mistake and the clerk was able to simply return the wrong one onto its roll.  Whew!  Both the dress and jacket will be made of this peridot green silk, at a cost of about $70.

I find it curious that the pattern measurements are in English and French...

But the instructions are in English and Spanish.  Anyway, some sewing will be taking place later this summer.  I have not constructed any clothing in a while, but have plenty of experience with clothing and have been putting in zippers lately too.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  And come back tomorrow for my 400th post and a giveaway!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June UFO completed

Judy's UFO Challenge pick for June turned out to be a small project for me and I am pleased to report it is complete before the middle of the month!   Finally, no last minute racing for a finish, unlike the other five quilts I've made so far from the UFO Challenge list.


The Amish Stripes quilt measures 24 x 30 and was paper pieced and machine quilted.  I hinted at the quilt's destination in my last post--I am nearing 400 posts and will offer this little quilt as a giveaway prize for that milestone!  So come back in two more posts for the details; this post is #398 :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Finishes of a different sort

A box arrived late last week containing a book I have been waiting for ages to be published--the finale to The Clan of the Cave Bear/Earth's Children series.   

I finished this 750 page book last night. Son Nick said that since I read so fast I should just have gone to the bookstore and read the book!



These old, out of date and worn out vertical blinds in the living/dining room are also finished.



Now there are beautiful white shutters covering the windows.  Originally the delivery date for these shutters I ordered in April was July 5th. I'm so happy the estimate was way off!  While the shutters were being hung, needle and thread were being used for the first time in days.  The binding on my June UFO, Amish Stripes, started to be stitched down on the back--another hour or so and that should be finished as well.  Then I will reveal the little quilt's destination.   Here's a hint: I am close to finishing the 300s.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

It is Tuesday, and time for Orts...those scraps and bits that float around all week in my head and land here.
  • Last week was busy at work and we had the unusual feature of patients on Friday afternoon.  I didn't leave the office until after 6 pm.  My car wore another rut in the office-to-home path and never moved all weekend. 
  • Saturdays have become almost purely sewing days for me.  I even forgot about a movie date with DH until it was too late to get cleaned up and to the theater on time and asked for a rain check.  Son Nick gave me much grief for the next 24 hours about "ditching his dad".
  • Traffic rant:  Turn signals, people!  I could repeat this every week.  Yesterday a large pickup truck with a rack zoomed from a side street into my lane, causing me to brake, then swung wide and at the last second turned onto the next side street, naturally without a turn signal.  This event was seconded moments later by a moron who zoomed behind and tailgated me as I passed another slow moving truck and then swung wide and turned onto the side street from two lanes over, all without signalling.
  • DD Erica is coming for a visit this weekend.  Not sure how much we'll see of her since she's got lots of friends to catch up with.  Maybe I'll peek in on her while she is sleeping, as I used to do when she was little.
  • DD Elaine and I hammered out plans for those Mason jars purchased by the dozen a couple of weeks ago.  A picture frame is now involved.
  • My sister and I both received the same email from my parents the other day, detailing a future possible retirement venture for the both of us:

Mom wrote:  "It's in Idaho and with a little love and care, we know it'll be the hottest spot in town."  Well, let's see, maybe we could name it The Little Cinder Block Quilt Shop. Nope, still doesn't make it cute enough to move to Idaho!  What say you, sister Kathy?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Design Wall Monday--June 6, 2011

There is nothing on my design surface but I have been busy this weekend.  First I got my May UFO Challenge project assembled and sandwiched and yesterday I completed the quilting.

It needs binding and a label--this will be the fastest UFO finish for me so far.  It's a very small quilt so that's not exactly a record breaking feat! 

I promised Carol of Brown Quilts two pillowcases and got those finished as well.  I used two different methods.  The piano key band one was from allpeoplequilt.com's free patterns for the One Million Pillowcases challenge.  My alteration to the construction was to do French seams on the body.  I also overcast the edges on the piano key band seam once it was attached.  The other I made from maryquilts.com's sharing of a pillowcase construction method that results in all the seams being enclosed as well, and is super fast to make.  I bought a white cotton twin flat sheet from Target (Room Essentials, $7.99 on sale) and have enough left for probably three more pillowcase bodies.  That line has other nice colors and I'll watch for the next sale.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.     

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tommy's Kitchen Sink

The box full of quilty love reached Tommy on Tuesday and my Aunt Peggy called to let me know how thrilled he was.  I am happy to have brought some smiles.  She obligingly took some photos of the man and his quilt:

Tommy's been battling cancer and has lost a lot of weight, but not his great smile. 

Great modeling job, Tommy!  Sending healing thoughts as always, and extra love. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A little Amish UFO

I pulled the box last night for #8 on my UFO Challenge list, Amish Stripes. This box has waited for many years to be emptied of its paper-pieced blocks.  I did not enjoy the process although I liked the colors I chose for the stripes along with that Kona black.  These were being made for a swap that I dropped out of late due to only completing 1/3 of the blocks as the deadline neared, and they certainly held no additional appeal for the guilt and shame at my failure!

Some were already trimmed and paper removed, some trimmed but still with paper, and the rest only stitched.  Removing the paper is surely tedious but there were only 20 blocks for the layout I chose.

This morning I got up early and sewed the top from this layout.  Luckily I have plenty of the Kona black to back and bind the quilt.  I'm keeping it simple!  This 4 x 5 setting will finish at 24 x 30 inches for a small-sized wallhanging.  I'd like to finish this little project by the end of the weekend, as it has a special destination I'll reveal in a few days. 

Next up for today is completing another pillowcase for Carol, of Brown Quilts, who has been collecting patriotic pillowcases for her friend, which she tells about HERE.  I volunteered to make two, and finished one several evenings ago.  Pics to follow! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May UFO finish (well, nearly)

My May UFO has made it to the quilt sandwich stage.  That will have to do for a finish, as May is over!  I got further than last month's near finish, though, so I'm glad about that.
These blocks I won from Nicole at Sister's Choice Quilts about 18 months ago. 

The fabric is Yuletide Blessings and Nicole used the pattern called Fall Frolic by Evelyn Sloppy.  I haven't yet decided on what to rename it!  See other May UFO (actual) finishes on Judy's Patchwork Times

The June UFO number is #8, which on my list coordinates to the only paper pieced project I ever attempted and never finished, despite having many of the Amish Stripe blocks finished.  I may swap this out with #7 on my list, which is the Doll Quiltalong quilt I made in patriotic colors and want to hand quilt to display for the 4th of July holiday. Or I may attempt both, as they are small quilts.  I'll ponder for a day or two while I get May's UFO quilted!

Sewing with friends, and visitors

Memorial Day brought several people to our house, one planned, and two of them unexpected.  First, my friend Tanya arrived in the morning with her sewing machine, new Arrow portable sewing table, and several projects to play with.  She went home with a finished pillow cover, which we started last year:

Tanya and her husband have a travel trailer they take to the beach and this fun and bright 24" pillow will probably live in there. 

The light washed the color out, but this pink and brown flannel made up the majority of the backing, a simple overlapped slipcover.  I also showed her how to use the rotating cutting mat for squaring up blocks on another of her quilt projects and we worked on sashing and border ideas while she trimmed.  I love to sew with friends!  We had a great visit and I hope it is repeated soon.

My mom and dad just returned from a trip to Yellowstone Park with Cousin Florence (whom we stayed with in Cincinnati in April).  Mom came over bearing gifts and bringing their two new companions.

I helped Mom name the new companions.  Meet Jackson the Buffalo and Cody the Wolf.  Cousin Florence had generously ordered rooms at the Old Faithful Inn, with a fabulous view of the geyser from the rooms--the buffalo came from there. Their trip included a lot of dodging of weather due to plenty of storms, rain and snow showers.  They saw some amazing scenery and plenty of moose, buffalo, and elk.  In Cody, Wyoming, they went to a quilt shop that turns out to have been featured in the spring/summer 2011 Quilt Sampler magazine.  Called Friends and Co Quilt Shop, my dad picked up the issue and had the owner, Vicki Mollett, sign their page.  I loved the western style quilt she designed.   
Mom and Cousin Florence looked for fabric souvenirs. Cousin Florence remembered that I love Civil War prints and a jelly roll was the lovely result.  Barbara Brackman's blog, Civil War Quilts, has some fascinating history in addition to the wonderful blocks she is featuring and many in blogland are making.  We finished off Memorial Day with a barbecue with a different guest, son Nick's new girlfriend, Alison.  It was a lovely way to end the day.