Wednesday, February 29, 2012

UFO Challenge 2012 Update

So, here it is, February 29, and I don't have anywhere near a finish on my UFO Challenge 2012 pick of the month, Judy's Mystery Quilt.  But Judy said to post progress if there is no finish, and there has been progress!  I started with the pieced top only:

Here's the backing, which is having MATH problems...

...because as you can see, it does not hang down as far as the top.  I am about a foot short and have yet to remedy the problem.  There is enough fabric but it will mean more MATH and, as my regular visitors know, I am a WORD girl.  The extra seams required on the backing will not bother me but I have yet to come up with a quilting plan.  No finish for February, bummer!  There was no finish for January either but some progress, as I am still handquilting Patriotic Fields--got the binding on and all the blocks done, now working on the sashing and settting triangles.

Judy's draw for March is #8, which on my list is my Greenpiece BOM and there is a lot of work there.  I am going to switch that out for #9, two table runners needing finishing.  I figure that way I can continue to work on the January and February UFOs for a triple play at the end of March to cancel out my two strikes :)

Leap Day Madness

Hop on over to Bonnie's Quiltville and Pat Sloan's blog for a special Leap Day giveaway!  Some yummy quilty prizes are waiting to be won....drawing is tomorrow night!  Spread the word...

Tuesday's Orts--on Wednesday

Yeah, well, I've been on vacation, so I'm a little behind...
  • Grant and I couldn't decide where to go for a couple days vacation plus we had oodles of stuff to do here, so we opted for a Staycation.  It's been nice.
  • Our 9 year old dishwasher died so we've been visiting appliance stores. We first tried Sears and apparently we appeared cootie-covered because the pregnant saleslady stood about seven feet away from us.  Between her soft voice and a loud instructional video playing in the hardware department, I could not hear most of what she said.  
  • What's up with the stainless steel fetish in appliances?
  • Traffic Rant:  People who have no concept of the right of way at stop signs.  Don't sneer at me, you dope, when I waited for someone else's right of way and you came to the intersection after me--I get to go before you!  And use your turn signal, dummy!
  • Yesterday it was time to tackle the sewing closet in the office.  It took hours longer than I expected but I cleared some things out and consolidated to smaller bins and that feels good.  Now to attack my computer desk (gulp).
  • Meanwhile, in the backyard...

Some blocks are relaxing on the lounge chair. I plan to make some friends for them to party with later today.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Feb 27, 2012

On my design surface today is a new project.  Since I'm having trouble with the Mystery Quilt, my UFO pick of the month (see my previous post, Math Is A Four Letter Word ), I'm salving the hurt with some planning and petting of luscious fabrics.  This project has been on my list since I saw it in the McCall's Quilting September/October 2010 magazine and I've been gathering fabrics for a while.  I picked up some of these deep red prints at the Road to California show from the Primitive Gatherings booth.

Yes, my love of red and green quilts continues, this time with deeper burgundy reds and a variety of greens.  I redrafted the pattern to make it 63" square and also am using my favorite version of a churn dash block.  There will be lots of different neutral background fabrics, including some stripes.  I'll start the cutting with the appliqued basket blocks.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

MATH is a four letter word

Mini likes playing with my tape measure.  I'm glad someone is enjoying this---because I'm not!  This is the underside of  the Mystery Quilt sandwich as laid out on tables.  You can see three layers and there seems to be a MATH problem because the green print at the top of the photo is the backing, which is supposed to be the LONGEST layer of this sandwich--you should not be able to see the other layers.  So not only is the backing a foot short but the batting is also not long enough. 

Taking a break for chocolate and despair.  Be back soon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Looking Back

Can you read this sign?  Regular gas at $4.37 at this downtown Chevron yesterday (probably the most expensive filling station in town).
27 years ago today Grant and I got married and soon started our honeymoon with a road trip.  It was supposed to have been an airplane trip to get onto a 3-day cruise to Mexico, but we missed our plane because we went to the wrong airline hub.  By the time we discovered our mistake, our good friend who drove us was off showing his son the planes landing and we couldn't find him.  We raced to the furthest hub where we were supposed to be but were too late, the plane was gone.  So instead we honeymooned in Carmel-by-the Sea and San Francisco.  Good thing gas was only $1.25 a gallon or so then! I was driving the last leg on the way back home and was caught speeding on a two lane highway as I passed a couple of trucks that had a Highway Patrol unit hidden in between.  Yep, the first time I ever signed my new married name was on a speeding ticket.  Happy Anniversary, darling, you are a keeper.  Here's to the next 27!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Binding

Through some overenthusiastic and premature fabric ripping, I managed to self-defeat my original plan to match the pattern on my lush botanical print backing for Judy's Mystery Quilt, the UFO pick of the month.

So instead of finishing the backing, I made binding.  Tonight I'll iron and cut more green fabric and make a frame for the print; the red print will be in the corners.  Only a few days left to make this quilt happen before the month's end and I don't have a quilting plan.  My original idea was to quilt from the back around the flowers and birds but I decided the project was just too large for me to do this well for the first time--I'll try it on a smaller project another time.  Back to square one!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's Orts-Feb 21, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--a collection of thoughts and bits of events that happen during the week and land here.

  • First, a note to my sister Kathy:  CALL ME ABOUT CINCI.
  • Still getting off work too late to get home by dark.  Thought I was gonna make it one day last week but nope, didn't happen!
  • Saturday morning I got up reasonably early but somehow half the morning vanished without my getting much accomplished.  I did spend about 20 minutes looking for a box to in which to mail my blogversary prize to Dawn but ended up buying one at the post office.
  • People watching at the post office is almost as good as the airport, don't you think?
  • Traffic Rant:  Drivers' unwillingness to accept mistakes.  You are in the wrong lane, it was your choice, but that doesn't mean you can illegally turn from the third lane on a red light in front of two other lanes of traffic, you thoughtless boob.
  • My mom's birthday was Sunday and it turned into a big family gathering when two of my brothers came in to town with their families.   Mom ended up with four of her five offspring and 12 of her 16 grandchildren there to celebrate. I got a darling shot of my brother Tyler's youngest three:

John is nearly 3, Lily is 7, and Lauren almost 5.  Several other cameras were pulled out as these sweet smiles held for a minute or so!  

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Quilting Past

Amazing what one finds in a box stuffed in a closet. A folder with photos of a quilt in progress, taken by my mom. This is the first bed-sized quilt I ever made, which was a 40th birthday present for my sister, Kathy, in 2002, and is queen sized.


This is from Eleanor Burns' Double Pinwheel pattern book.  My assistant there, DD Erica, will just be thrilled with this photo of her at age 12.  She helped me feed the beast while I quilted straight lines with the walking foot.  I think is the last quilt using only three colors in my quilting history!  You can see that I had the binding attached but only stitched down to the back partway.  This is a quilt I've gotten to visit a couple of times, and even slept under, as it lives in St. Louis.  I made matching pillowcases out of leftover fabric some time after the quilt, and there are still scraps of that purple print that recently showed up in the HST pinwheels I've been sewing as leader-enders!  Ah, memories...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--Feb 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!  Tuesday's Orts--a collection of thoughts and bits of my week that land here.
  • My husband jinxed me by asking, since he had to go to jury duty, how long it had been since I went.  That very day when I got home from work there was a jury summons waiting for me.  Curses!
  • On the jury summons it lists things you cannot bring into any court facility, "including cameras, knives, scissors, handwork needles, metal fingernail files, tools, wallet chains, handcuff keys or any items that could possibly be used as a weapon."  Let's see, that list technically also eliminates cellphones (cameras), car keys/pens/pencils (stabbing or jabbing), and credit cards (slash factor). 
  • Things I Don't Understand:   The allure of blue or bubblegum pink hair, i.e., Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry at The Grammys.  Both just looked kind of ill.
  • Is it ever OK to answer "moody and distracted" when someone asks how you are?  Just checking...
  • Grant and I went looking at flooring over the weekend to replace our nearly 21 year old carpeting.  The style of carpet we have (slightly longer twist with flecks of other colors) is now so old that it is coming back in style.  Geesh.
  • This time two years ago I was hand quilting the mini quilt I made for my first blogaversary: 

I seem to have an affinity for half-square triangle mini quilts.  These turned into a square-in-a-square design and were leftover from the quilt I made my darling husband.  It almost killed me not to put green fabric in it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Feb 13, 2012

There is nothing on my design wall today because over the weekend I completed two tops, hooray!  There was a lot of getting up and down, sewing short seams, getting up and down, ironing, measuring, pin marking, and sewing long seams.  Okay, obviously I was adding borders:

Three borders to my UFO pick for this month, Judy's Mystery Quilt.  It's big--finishes at 72 x 96.  I had to have Grant assist me again from the stair landing.

Extra care was necessary to make the directional print go the same way all the way around.  I love the way this looks.  Those are 2", 1" and 3" finished borders.  I spent a great deal of Saturday working on this job in between chores and announcing the winner of my blogaversary.

Bricks and Stepping Stones got more attention Sunday.  For the inner border, I was testing either the white or the black and called son Nick over for his opinion.  He looked carefully and then said, "You can never go wrong with black."  He was right--it was the best choice. 

This dark teal print helps bring focus to the brighter teal blues within the center.  I'm really pleased that these choices worked out.  I also got through all the pinwheel blocks being used as my leader-enders. See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winner's Circle

Well, at least inside a big polka dot!  Thank you all for sharing your bucket list quilts for the year--and I hope all of us meet our goal.   

All the names went into a bowl and DH Grant drew the winner.

Dawn, of Collector With A Needle is the lucky draw.  Dawn said :
Happy Anniversary. What a great little quilt and generous give away you have! Bucket list...for just this year? YIKES. I will say finish the hand quilting on my William Morris.  It has languished for years - too many!
Congratulations, Dawn!  I had the pleasure of meeting Dawn at the Road to CA show last month.  She was enjoying her second "winter" in California, having moved from the cold Midwest 18 months ago.  Dawn, please send me your email and your prizes will get sent off in the mail to you tout suite!

Friday, February 10, 2012

TGI Friday

What a work week!  I only managed to get three borders cut for the two quilts I'm working on and no machine time.  However, I tested out the Beam and Read light* purchased at the Road to California show from the Cotton and Chocolate booth and am really liking it for handwork.  I've been stitching down the binding on the Patriotic Fields quilt, continuing January's UFO nearly halfway into February now! 


Taken at the Road to California show.**


Last chance for my blogaversary giveaway which closes tomorrow morning.  Okay, I'm off to sew.

*hilarious review by IHAN of the Beam and Read.
**above photo has nothing to do with anything, but I loved this portrait!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday Quote





But there's still time to enter my giveaway, HERE.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--Feb 7, 2012

Another edition of the bits and thoughts of my week that land on Tuesdays.
  • Things I Don't Understand:   Eye shadow trios that only come with one two-sided applicator, making you supply another tool to apply all three.  Can you say cheap?
  • I made a near fatal error the other day when I mistook Daughter #1 for Daughter #2 on the phone.  Oops! 
  • A trip to the local JoAnn's Fabrics during the Superbowl meant I was there during the last hour the store was open.  Someone made polite but firm loudspeaker announcements every few minutes saying the store was closing in X minutes and to bring all tickets to the cutting counter, bring all purchases to the registers, etc.  I felt a bit harassed and it sure didn't make me want to linger and perhaps spend more money during their Super Sale. 
  • My mom and her friends are spending uncountable hours emptying the very full home of their recently departed friend, organizing a sale and taking home treasures, as was her wish.  I became the owner of an Elna sewing machine and a folding sewing table last weekend.  Haven't tried her out yet and she will be going to Mr. Cubbage the sewing machine man for a spa day soon.
  • Groundhog day was last week but since here in SoCal we never had winter, I can't see much difference occurring over the next six weeks.  Time to plant some lettuce!
  • Talk about a wild hair:

I couldn't resist this new ironing board cover I found at Big Lots discount store for $5.  I may have to go back and get the one with giant clothespins too, at that price!

There's still time to enter my blogaversary giveaway here

Monday, February 6, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Feb 6, 2012

On my design floor today is a nice amount of progress on the Bricks & Stepping Stones flimsy. 
The center is complete and I'll be moving on to borders, which are already cut, yay!  The green row markers were a new to me Post It product I picked up in the office supplies section at Big Lots recently.


These sticky notes are completely sticky, not just on one edge. They stayed on through all the piecing, flipping, ironing, and row assembly without my having to restick them on or use a pin.  Gotta like that.


My progress on the top was impeded a bit by prepping all these HSTs--over 100--to use as leader-enders.  I trimmed them to 4" and eventually they will all be pinwheels like the few on the left.  Most will have the same color on each blade.  I also spent time finishing the little red and white zig zag quilt for my blogaversary giveaway.  See my last post to enter.  More design walls are on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Special Day

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED--THANKS FOR PLAYING!

Today is a special day--it is my blogaversary.  Three years ago I stepped into this vibrant place called blogland and have been fortunate that folks have stopped by to visit, encourage, comment, and come back for more, to my gratitude and pleasure.  I've been lucky to meet some of you in person and am glad to call you my blog friends.  To celebrate this occasion I'm having a little giveaway. 

Handmade is best in my book so I stitched up this 18" mini scrap quilt for the giveaway (I should have used a level to hang it up, apparently!).  Also included are some Valentine flavored fat quarters, the little wooden plaque, and a quilt kit from Cotton & Chocolate.

A closeup of the kit shows the traditional colors and cute basket blocks.  Cotton & Chocolate is a wonderful quilt shop in Thousand Oaks, about a 25 minute drive away, and always a fun place to visit with its mix of modern and traditional designer fabric lines.  Cotton & Chocolate will be featured in the Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler 2012 magazine.  They are very excited about it!

To enter my giveaway, I'm interested in knowing what's on your quilt bucket list as an absolute must-make for 2012.  Mine is the Moda Greenpiece block of the month that is on my UFO list and will be my most ambitious project to date once finished, with its combination of wool applique and pieced stars.  

No other hoops to jump through other than checking back to see if you've won.  International entrants are welcome.  Don't have a blog or not on Blogger?  Send me an email at vtaannieo (at) gmail (dot) com.  The giveaway will be open until Saturday, February 11th at 10:00 a.m. and the winner will be chosen by random drawing with immediate announcement of same. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Updates--UFO #1, B&SS

It has been too windy again for outside shots so I enlisted DH Grant to stand on the stairs and hold up a finished top for a picture.  This is #1 on my UFO Challenge 2012 list, the pick for February. 

This is Judy's Mystery Quilt pattern from summer 2010 (click name for her free pattern). It was on my UFO list last year but only made it from blocks to flimsy stage.  I have two borders to cut and add and already purchased backing fabric in 2010.  Grant asked, as usual, "Who is this for?" and was pleased that I said "Us!" as he told me he likes the colors a lot.  I do too.  After that I vacuumed the carpet and started laying out the Bricks & Stepping Stones blocks for my brother's quilt.

The quilt inspector waited until three rows were laid out before she plopped herself down.

I literally had to push Mini off the blocks in order to take more pics and play Switcheroo.

A few blocks changed position after this photo but I had to stop somewhere.  They are now stacked up and ready to stitch into rows.  I've been trimming more leftover HSTs to use as leader-enders so will get a lot of those done as I sew these 56 blocks together, which I am off to do forthwith!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pink Lemonade update

My version of Lori's (Humble Quilts) Pink Lemonade is a flimsy, as of about midnight last night, just in time for the end of the Pink Lemonade quilt show parade.



It took several shopping trips but the yellow that finally found me is just the ticket.  The top went together with very little fuss, thanks to Lori's great directions, and only a few churn dash tips a little cramped.

Lori sent me these lovely pink charm squares as a thank you for suggesting the name Pink Lemonade for her quiltalong project.  Thank you very much, Lori, these are sweet! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012