Monday, January 21, 2019

Design Wall Monday, 1/21/19

It's Design Wall Monday.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  

I've got a priority quilt on my design floor today, which progressed quickly from parts to a top over the weekend.  I used a pattern/tutorial from Calamity Jane's Cottage blog* for this baby quilt, having  already selected 25 charm squares I wanted to use.  The background fabric strips were simple to cut and I chain pieced the blocks in a short time.  Sunday after a breakfast outing with our grandsons and their parents, I laid out the setting I wanted and completed the top. (* Firefox gives me a warning about this site so I am not linking to it.)

I'm happy with the green background mixing with the grays and blues in the squares.  The tutorial includes using 1/2 charms as a border, but I think I'm going to add a solid background border to have the squares float even more.  The first version of this quilt I made last month with a white background and no border, for a newborn baby, however this quilt is for an almost 1 year old so I want to make it a little bigger.  Backing and binding decisions to follow...

The next priority quilt is also bordered charm squares that will sew up just as easy, the Falling Charms quilt.  Missouri Quilt Company and Connie Kresin (Freemotion by the River) both have tutorials.  I have a lot of cutting to do of 2.5" strips with my Accuquilt GO! for that project.  I don't often use precuts but they sure can speed things up.

Sunday's beautiful sunrise was capped by the Super Blood Wolf Moon lunar eclipse after dark.  Grant and I stepped out back multiple times to watch the eclipse's progress.  It's very hard to photograph the moon, even when it is covered up, but I tried. 

This fuzzy ball looks a little orange!  We had a great view of the eclipse here in SoCal, and I also looked at the Live feed from Griffith Observatory.  I read the next lunar eclipse is not until 2021 but it won't be a Super Moon.  I'll likely watch that too!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Rise Up and Planning

My doctor boss was out of the office on Monday and I feverishly sewed most of the day to get the Rise Up quilt top finished.  While the HSTs were all made, sewing them into rows was quite time intensive.  I used various parts of the Log Cabin Loonies blocks as leader-enders, pleased to be working on those again. 

I couldn't help myself, I had to make some single fabric arrows with the greens.  Can you spot all six?

Constructing the backing was frustrating as usual whenever cobbling together a lot of leftovers.  I had bought two 1 yard pieces of solid green, but naturally needed three.

At one point the backing was in timeout after a miscut. I had to retire to another room with caffeine and snacks until the backing decided to behave.  At guild, after show and tell, I handed the quilt off to my sister to longarm for me.  Meanwhile I will cut the binding and get it ready to apply before the end of the month deadline.  

It has been four weeks since my shingles outbreak and I'm feeling much better, even good enough to face the disaster of my cutting table scraps and clutter.  I sorted and discarded, filled a bag with strings and chunks to take to guild, and will shove the rest into the precut bins.  There was also a good look through the project bins and rewriting of the WIPS in this year's Bullet Journal.  


The list of 26 (!!) projects was in no particular order, but I do have some favorites and priorities on these pages--which are mostly quilts for  ME.  However, our guild is having a sew-in for baby quilts next month and there are a couple of good options for that from my list.  Primarily prepping fabric and cutting stands out for many of the projects.  Two quilts I "owe" as gifts are top of the list.  Quilt tops I've completed need scheduling time with my sister.  I know she wants me to get comfortable enough with her longarm machine not to need her there when I want to quilt; I'm not confident I'll ever be!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

And We're Back...

..from Las Vegas!  Our niece was turning 21 and we were invited to spend the first January weekend in Las Vegas celebrating with family.  It had been a very long time since I was last in Vegas (2004!), and just slightly less long for my husband.  We decided to drive and only left about 1 1/2 hours after we planned to--sound familiar to anyone else?  Our kids, for Christmas, had bought us tickets to the Friday night Beatles Love show.  We had just about half an hour after checkin to relax before heading to the other end of the Strip from the New York, New York hotel where we were staying. Grant had never been to a Cirque du Soleil show and we are both big Beatles fans.  Our seats were very good and we enjoyed it all. 
The above photo was from the act for the Octopus' Garden song.  There is something happening every second with performers and acrobats dropping from the sky, sets popping up from below the stage, and some interaction  with the audience.  You cannot see it all!


This photo was from near the end of the show, I forget what song was playing then.  Amazing set changes every few minutes and so many talented performers.  I had previously seen Mystere and O all those years ago. After getting back to the hotel, we met up with other family and stayed out very late (3 a.m.!)

We spent a lot of time relaxing on Saturday, with nothing planned except attending the birthday dinner, and really felt no desire to do much in town.  I was still suffering with the shingles, two weeks into it, and moving around was pretty painful.  The workweek prior had been hard because of that.  Grant needed the relaxation too.  Our niece had a lovely family party at Il Fornaio in the hotel, and the younger folks headed out to a dance bar afterwards.  Us old folks turned in by midnight!  I took absolutely no photos of the evening, sadly. 


It had rained over the weekend and the clouds were clearing as we prepared to go.  Our intention Sunday was to get on the road by 11 but that did not happen.  Remember that 1 1/2 hours late leaving thing  I mentioned?  Yeah, same thing happened from Las Vegas, but mainly because we wanted to help out the birthday girl by giving her a ride home in our roomy backseat instead of her cousin's crowded vehicle housing our daughter and her boyfriend as well.


I had a good time shooting out the window at the vast desert in Nevada, loving the cloud patterns.  By the time we neared the border, traffic had backed up for a mile, it seemed.

This hotel/casino in Primm, Nevada, had some enticing advice--Get Even Before Leaving. 


Coming in at night on Friday, we had missed all this scenery, but the clouds were spectacular driving back.  This is the Ivanpah Solar Power facility in California.  What you see are thousands of mirrors in huge fields.   It is an amazing sight to pass by.
I liked this solo cloud over the ghost town of Calico, a tourist attraction in the Mojave.  Long after leaving Las Vegas, we finally arrived home, after traffic delays that added almost two hours to our trip!  While flying would have been faster, the desert scenery was enjoyable.  

Since coming home I have been gradually feeling better every day, the shingles lesions are nearly all gone, and so is the burning and tingling.  I have been de-Christmas-ing for days  and we finally packed it all back in the garage today.  Last was the wooden advent box my father-in-law made for me 30 years ago, from an idea I saw in a magazine.  

When open, the felt flaps I added to the box read Merry Christmas to You, and brass tacks hold the flaps closed. This (not great) photo is actually from 2010!  The openings are 2" and I have acquired many special items to fill them. For scale, I included the Sharpie pen.

I bought the tiny glass Santa, Snowman and Tree a few years ago, the slightly larger Netsuke owl maybe a year or two past, and added the bow to the miniature wreath many moons ago.  It has been a fixture for all these years and will be for many more :) 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Review--and what will 2019 bring?

Happy New Year to All!

The sunset in Southern California was very pretty on New Year's Eve, 2018.  We had a simple dinner at home, then I dropped Grant off to celebrate a friend's retirement with a couple of drinks, and settled in back at home in front of the TV.   After picking up Grant a little before midnight, we rang in the New Year watching the ball drop in NYC and listening to fireworks go off in the neighborhood.

Stitching in the year 2018 started with a lot of charity sewing, making quilts for the Thomas Fire victims, followed by the Montecito Flood victims.  Despite devoting many hours to that endeavor I still managed to finish a number of quilted projects of my own this year, listed here somewhat chronologically: 

Cheddar & Cinnamon quilt--binding finally finished.  Thimbleberries pattern
Moda Love Quilt, for Emma
Big Bag made of all my dotted fabrics from stash
Humble Quilts Doll Quilt swap, Houses mini, APQ calendar pattern
Baby Quilt for Lars, Meet Cute pattern.
Tea Time Placemats, Pineapple Quilts company, four for me, four for my nephew and bride.
Narragansett Browns quilt for Uncle Fred, Bonnie Hunter pattern
Broken Dishes pillow from a Frolic turnover
Metro Twist baby/wall quilt, Sew Kind of Wonderful pattern/ruler
Tablerunners: Yarnover by Anka's Treasures, and (2) Cross My Heart from Kim Brackett,
Sue Goes to the Orient wallhanging, pattern Quick Quilts
Rick Rack Nines king-size quilt--binding finally finished, Bonnie Hunter pattern
Michael Miller Challenge fabrics wall quilt.
Medallion Star Rescue quilt--donated to Thomas Fire Relief
Happy Tiers quilts for my cousin's granddaughters.  
Last was a Charm Square Baby quilt for Dacien, tutorial Calamity Jane's Cottage--December's finish I didn't show previously:


Not a bad showing in the finishes arena, with the caveat that distracting squirrel projects and Start-itis flares added to the works in progress!  I also made blocks and items for guild, a snap bag, Christmas stocking, pants for my grandsons, and other small items I'm surely forgetting.  My most successful month was the Three for September self-challenge, wherein I spent three days on one project and then switched to another for three days, all month.  It was very good in moving along projects and I'm thinking March will see another round.  

2019 Sewing Room plans are not too firm at this point. Plenty of UFOs and WIPs to choose from.   I would really love to empty some of the well-aged project boxes the first quarter of the year.  Also a number of finished tops need a trip through my sister's longarm--some have been waiting years to be quilted.  If I can do two quilts a month, what a lovely pile there would be by the end of the year. 

There was also a lot of cross-stitching/embroidery in 2018.   Having handwork for needle and thread time is so pleasant.  Getting the stitcheries framed or otherwise ready to display is what needs work.  Since my sewing room was painted in November, the walls are bare and waiting for color and life. 

Since they say whatever you do on New Year's day you'll do all year, I studiously avoided any cleaning and spent time with my sewing machine.  I used the squares of a squirrel project as leader-enders for the Rise Up quilt rows. 


The small top of 2" finished squares I will expand with borders for a baby quilt, no recipient in mind now.  I'm still battling shingles on day 12 of the antiviral medication; the blisters are drying up but the nerve pain is jarring and moving around makes it worse.  Hoping to be much better in a few days.  

Another goal is to return to more regular blogging.  Blogger problems dragged down my desire to post as commenting has been so difficult to deal with.  Here's hoping all the changes really will make Blogger better.  I appreciate all the readers who take a peek at my little corner of  Blogland, and enjoy their words!  If you can't comment, going to my profile page leads to my email address for non-public feedback.  I'll be celebrating 10 years of blogging this year, a mind-boggling event! 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Christmas 2018

We had a lovely holiday with family, celebrating Christmas Eve with our kids and grandkids with delicious homemade soups and french bread, followed by an apple dump cake made by youngest daughter Erica.
The presents were piled high around the tree, long after I took this photo!  Sadly I didn't get the new tree skirt finished; I still like the red one though.  Grandsons Cove (4) and Hunter  (2)were the stars of the show, as usual. 
Nick's girlfriend Ashley was Hunter's pal all night long.  He's showing a gift from Mimi and Papa. We are going to miss his adorable lisp when he gets older; right now he calls her "Ashwee", and Erica's boyfriend Ryan is "Wyan", so cute.

Cove was still for only long enough for one photo.  He was very excited about the Ukelele that Mimi and Papa got him as well.
This appears to be the only pics I got of my menfolk!  Cove's a blur as usual.

A pre-approved portrait of Elaine and Erica, with son-in-law Chris barely visible behind.
I made a Snap Bag for Ashley, and added a strap for the first time on the dozens of these I've made in the past.  I also made Erica a stocking but don't have a finished shot.  We ate Christmas dinner at my parents, it was cold and windy outside so the 30 of us crammed into the living room. We had just finished dinner when there was a power outage that lasted a good 40 minutes.  My brother Kevin brought in a ton of flashlights (he's a Scoutmaster--he's prepared, lol) and the girls washed all the dishes with cold water.  

My Christmas vacation was extended by a case of the shingles, ugh.  Our son-in-law said I was singing "Shingle Bells", haha.  While I don't have a severe case, it is very uncomfortable around my waist  area where the blisters are, and the burning nerve pain is constant.  We've seen many worse cases of shingles in the office but I plan to get my shingles shot as soon as I can, probably in 3-6 months.

I did get some after-Christmas sewing time in.  Some fellow guild members are making quilts for the families of the Borderline mass shooting, an unimaginable loss of 12 people in early November 2018, most of whom were in their late teens/20s, plus one Sheriff who responded to the shooting.  I chose green from the rainbow choices and have been sewing HSTs for the pattern we are calling Rise Up.


I need 180 of these for the comfort quilt size we are making.  I hope to finish up all the HSTs by Friday and lay them out.  Kelly of Superbuzzy quilt shop did die-cutting for me for the fabrics I chose in her store.  That speeds things up very well.  We don't know when the quilts will be distributed but are hoping to get them done very soon. 

The last of the year's sewing will involve some pajama pants I also intended to give the boys but just didn't get to before the big day.  They will get done this weekend.  

Happy New Year to one and all!  I am pondering what 2019 will bring in the sewing room, and on my sister's longarm :)  There are many tops that deserve a finish, and many projects still under construction.  The squirrels need tamping down so these older projects can become real quilts.