Monday, November 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Nov 28, 2011

There's nothing on my design surface today--because I've finally started on the quilting I'd been avoiding contemplating. After finishing all the larger squares of the wedding quilt Saturday with the ginkgo leaf motif, I started quilting on the smaller white ones.

This motif is a made up compilation of a Dard Hunter Rose and a sort of spiral.   I practiced on paper and then with a bamboo cuticle stick on the actual quilt square before beginning free motion quilting.  I found it easiest to start with the outside circle and then spiral inward in a sort of triangle fashion.  Some extra love is sprinkled into the quilt with the center hearts.

Initially I tried out a rust/cream variegated thread in the white squares but decided what I really wanted to stand out was the texture and not the thread.  Naturally, I ran out of white machine quilting thread before completing all the flowers. There is plenty of thread tying and clipping to keep busy with, though, until I get to the fabric store for more thread.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Quilting leaves on a windy day

This morning I finished free motion quilting all of the larger squares on the wedding quilt. Well, except for one that needed ripping out due to a big tuck on the back.
Each ginkgo leaf is different, just like the ones blowing off the tree in my neighbor's yard.

I used a variegated 40 wt thread that shows up nicely against most of the blocks.

There are 42 of these 8" squares and I have the leaves going every which way across the top.  Next, I plan on quilting the smaller white squares with another organic type shape, a loose interpretation of a flower.  ITIS is the name of my quilting game--I'll Try It & See.  Practicing only goes so far!

Friday, November 25, 2011

After the feast

I hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving had a lovely day.  We fed 20 for dinner, which included Grant, me, son Nick, two of my brothers and their wives, 5 nephews, 3 nieces, two grandmas, one grandpa, and a family friend.  It was the kind of bedlam I love about being part of a big family--lots of talk and laughter, eating and sharing.  I even got to play a board game from my childhood with two of my nephews and son Nick.  Today we had some helpers over to eat up some of the leftovers and this time the girls got to play the game.  Here's my niece making her mad face for when someone sent her game piece back home.  

What a scowl!  Her older sister doesn't seem too afraid.  After they left I went to the shopping mall--but not to score any Black Friday deals--it was to pick up an order I placed a few weeks ago.
I took advantage of a coupon deal at Michael's and got this cross-stitch from years ago framed.  Last year I had posted intentions to make this into a pillow, but I think it will last longer as artwork.  It is approximately 9 x 14 and looks so much better hung on my wall than on a clothes hanger in my closet.  Soon another round of leftovers will get served --this time to the newlyweds.  I hope to settle into some quilting thereafter.  I'm thankful for this four day weekend, and for family and friends, at home and in blogland. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--11/22/11

Tuesday's orts--the bits of thoughts and happenings of my week that land here.
  • My sewing machine also had a birthday last week.  DH Grant bought it for my 40th birthday so it is a decade old--a Husqvarna "Lily".  It is a really good machine which has never needed any repairs, thank goodness, and has only had an occasional spa day. 
  • Thanksgiving dinner shopping was pretty painless as I went to Trader Joe's and Target late on Saturday night.  But when I got home with three cartons of turkey gravy I got to thinking--is six cups of gravy enough for 21 people? 
  • I shop late at night mostly due to C.O.W. (crabby old woman) tendencies towards misbehaving/whining kids/crying babies.  I did act in a big buttinski way towards two kids about 5 and 7 who had gotten bored and were on the floor wrestling and hitting each other while their parents were down a nearby aisle looking at Christmas lights.  I didn't really mean to be so intrusive but found myself saying, after they ignored a pointed stare, "You guys better stop that RIGHT NOW".  The dad popped his head out from the aisle and told them to get up.  I quickly wheeled my cart away muttering something about "someone was going to get hurt".  Moo!
  • Son Nick slept badly the other night when he was away at a hotel.  His girlfriend told him he said, in his sleep, "Oh, CRAP".  Nick told me it must have been during an elaborate dream he had about going bowling with Steven Seagal and losing badly.   
  • Traffic rant:  There is no excuse for parking in a Handicapped Only spot without a placard or license plate giving permission to do so. Especially if there are 15 other open spots within feet of your tricked out, lowered import car with loud booming music pouring out the open windows, you young idiot.
  • Grant is left-handed, which means he folds clothes backwards opposite from how I do.  He also puts soda cans in the fridge dispenser backward opposite from me.  Also the butter knife is faced backwards opposite on top of the butter dish.
  • I was reading through some saved gmail chats between DD Elaine and me over the past months while all the wedding planning was going on.  I miss those chats!  We had some pretty hilarious exchanges.

Two years ago this week I brought home a souvenir from the Sydney, Australia airport, on my way home from Queensland, where I watched my Aussie friend Susie marry her mate Jon at their beautiful home in Port Douglas.  This cute little sheila cheers me on as I sew...Oi! Oi! Oi!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Nov 21, 2011

On my design surface is another new project, which jumped to the front of the line while I was avoiding contemplating quilting on the wedding quilt.  This is a comfort quilt destined for Quilts for Kids.  I showed the skull, flame and stripe fabrics last week and my plan for a strippie quilt.  Finally some sewing happened over the weekend.
I had just enough of the skull fabric to cut three 6.5" strips, but had to piece the flame fabric for enough width for two of the strips.  Luckily it is a busy fabric so difficult to see the seams. I cut all the pieces and stitched the top together in just a couple of hours.  It will finish in the 40 x 45" range.

Even got a backing made...

..and the binding cut and sewn.  All of the fabrics came from stash and scraps and I am very happy to move them on.  This orange piece was in a bag of "scraps by the pound" I bought at my LQS a year or two ago.  It was fun to get a wide variety with fabrics I would not normally choose.  Just now I am short on reds so it's time to get another bag.

I like to chain sew my binding, just flipping the right side up on the loose end of the strip and adding the next strip.  Eyeballing that seam does not work for me so a mechanical pencil and small 1" x 6" ruler are always within reach for marking.  Not shown here are the cut borders and finished backing and binding all ready for the Flowers for Nana Girl quilt.  I will have three more quilts to sandwich once I get all of my basting pins out of the wedding quilt!  I got brave and started the quilting on it Sunday night but didn't get far enough to share pics yet. See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Friday, November 18, 2011


That's what I've got to show in the sewing/quilting vein--Nothing Quilt Related.  Every day I planned to sew and every day I didn't!   Here's a recap of my busy week:
Monday:  My birthday.   I had a lot of transcription work in the morning, then had to run to the bank for DD Erica, then to the store to get ingredients to make a cheesecake, then back home to meet DD Elaine to sort through all the unsold garage sale items and the leftover wedding decor.  After that I ran to meet my mom at her recently departed dear friend's house to look at some clothing and sewing items I might want.  Following that Grant and I went out to dinner for my birthday, then stopped at the mall to get my present--a pair of UGGS for my perpetually cold feet.  When I came home I was so tired I laid down on the bed for a minute to pet the cat before making a cheesecake I planned to take to work, but fell asleep for like two and a half hours before getting up to get ready for bed.  No sewing.
Tuesday:  Back to work after my "day off".  Busy busy day, stopped to buy backing fabric for Nana Girl quilt.  Washed and ironed fabric.  No sewing.
Wednesday:  Another busy busy work day.  Got home at an okay time, ate dinner, washed a crapload of dishes and cleaned the kitchen, sorted through all the garage sale items and listed them for the donation truck arriving the next day, while the cream cheese softened for my recipe.  Got a phone call from my last brother with LATE birthday wishes, and started making the cheesecake at 10:30 pm.  Finally went to bed around midnight once the cheesecake cooled enough to put in the fridge.  No sewing.
Thursday: Plenty of work at both jobs, even ran during my lunch half-hour to pick up a tape from my former Job #3 boss who I occasionally still type for.  Grant went to dinner with a friend so I, after leaving work after 7 pm, went clothes shopping.  Got home after 8:30, ate leftovers at 9:00, admired my newly empty family room, pottered about, looked at a few blogs, and climbed into bed at 10:30 to read.  No sewing.
Today, Friday:  Woke up at 3:30 a.m. and could not get back to sleep.  Got up around 4, sat at my sewing machine for awhile working on quilt backing MATH and a mending project for Elaine.  Tried to sleep on the couch from about 5 to 7, mostly fitfully.  Got up, wrestled with the new format for echocardiograms at Job #1, busy busy day at Job #2, left there at 5:30 pm, watched a movie with Grant, ate dinner, and here I am blogging with you folks.  Still no sewing, too tired tonight.  But I do have pictures to share.

I snuck away for a quick lunch today at a nearby seafood restaurant and ate my favorite giant fish taco outside, enjoying the brief sunshine and a peekaboo view of the ocean before a storm blew in.  Sorry, I didn't pull out my camera until my taco was half eaten so no pic of that.

The restaurant is boat shaped and quite popular with locals and tourists alike.  It was a Japanese restaurant for years but I never went to it then. This is in the older part of town once filled with homes built in the late 1800's to mid teens; the area is now a mixture of historic homes, hotels and motels, apartments, rentals and businesses of all types, hugging the bluff above the sea. The taller building behind it is craftsman style condos that went up just a couple of years ago.

Right next door is this beautiful Victorian cottage that has been restored to picture perfect.  A crew is working on the house next to it--you can see the Tyvek house wrap toward the back of the house.  Can't wait to see how that one turns out.

Tomorrow I'm determined to put stitches in something, anything!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Nov 14, 2011

On my design surface is my version of Flowers for Nana Girl, from Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket Sensations. 

The sashing and rows came together pretty easily, which is always nice.

I hope to get both borders as easily--this is just a mock up.

Had a lovely weekend capped by going out to brunch Sunday to celebrate a birthday--mine!  Yep, today's the day I turn 50.  Hard to believe five decades are now behind me.  From left to right that's my son-in-law Chris, daughter Elaine, me, son Nick, my mom and dad, my mother-in-law Frances, and my hubby Grant.  Nick's girlfriend Alison took the photo.

Beyond the gate we were posed against was the Pacific and a beautiful view looking out to the Channel Islands, a national park. 

This mural in the lobby of the Embassy Suites hotel where we went for brunch depicts what it might have looked like a few hundred years ago when the Spanish were settling in the area. Not much different, really!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Triple Eleven

Once in a century date--though each day in a century is completely unique anyway, right?  Grant and I marked the special date by signing and initialing and dating a hundred mortgage refinance documents.  Since we met it has been nothing but legal documents, as I so often tease him.

Bad news:  Job #1 has been so slow I have had far too many mornings with barely any medical transcription work.  Good news:  I had a bunch of time to sew before going to Job #2 and completed all the sashing for the Flowers for Nana Girl quilt.

I laid it out and started constructing the rows, even got two of the rows stitched together by late last night.  Three more block rows to assemble; then I need to stitch all rows for the center before  moving on to the borders.  My goal is to have this quilt finished by the end of the month.  I have batting but will have to purchase flannel backing.  Don't know why I didn't get that last weekend when I was at JoAnn's.  Duh.

A shamefully overdue Quilts for Kids project is still awaiting basting, quilting, and binding.  I want to send another quilt in with it but have a question.  Are skulls and flames too aggressive for a donation quilt for sick kids?  I've read that teenaged boys are a neglected segment and feel this combo of fabrics from my stash might appeal.  It will be an abbreviated strippie quilt with just these three fabrics.  Opinions, please!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

Late edition of the scraps and bits (orts) of thoughts and happenings of my week...
  • Forgot to share last week how my mani-pedi date with DD Erica went.  I am pathetic at keeping nail polish pristine.  The girl had to re-do my right thumbnail THREE times before I even left the salon!  And of course I dinged them all up when I got home and started doing things.  At least my toes still looked good after a day!
  • Note to self:  Do not start a best-seller, page-turner of a book at 10:30 pm on a weeknight if you want to get more than a few hours of sleep.  Sarah's Key was the book, and when I finally made myself put it down after 200 pages, I was afraid to look at the clock!
  • Sunday I planned to pin baste the wedding quilt and knew I would need many many basting pins.  I even took pins out of a project I'm planning to hand quilt, thread basting it instead, but still I ran out of pins 2/3 of the way through. 
  • So I took a trip to JoAnn's Fabric store to buy more pins.  The store was very very busy, and extremely COLD from air conditioning.  Someone needed to tell them it wasn't summer anymore--but a glance outside at the RAIN should have been the first clue.
  • Traffic rant:  People who fail to grasp the concept of the four way stop in a very busy shopping mall.  Yes, it's your turn.  Now you missed it.  Go.  Go.  GO!  Oh, geez.
  • The new Mrs. G texted me from Maui that she didn't wanna come home.  I texted back that I wouldn't want to either.
  • The "fall back" time change offers me a brief stab at "early to bed, early to rise"...not my forte, believe me.
  • A seldom seen natural event appeared as I got to JoAnn's.

However, I don't think the pot of gold is inside Sam's Club.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Nov 7, 2011

It's been a couple weeks since I last had something on my design surface to post.  Happy to be back!  I've been working on my version of Flowers for Nana Girl from Scrap Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett as a leader-ender project.  This is a quilt for another co-worker who is studying to become a nurse while working two part time jobs.  Yellow is her favorite color. All the blocks are complete and I'm working on the sashing.

The pink block is the "heart" of the quilt.  I used this same idea in the other Scrap Basket quilt I made for my Uncle Tommy, Kitchen Sink, seen here.

The sashing forms leaves, and kind of a friendship star where the leaves meet.  I like that a lot.

A narrow border of solid yellow will go on and then a border of this green calico, which once graced the walls of my girls' bedroom as fabric wallpaper applied with starch.  Guess I better make sure it gets washed!  The green for the leaves and the calico have been leftovers in my stash a long time.  I'm happy to move them into a quilt that will be loved!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Working on it

The wedding quilt, that is.  I had figured up all the MATH a couple of weeks ago for the pieced backing and early last night got half the backing sewn together before making a big mistake:  I sat down on the couch in front of the TV.  Then I was cold so I put a quilt over me, which led to vegging out in front of my favorite game show, Wipeout.  Two hours later, it was getting late and no more sewing had been done.  But I was back to it today.

MATH and cutting instructions for the two different flannels going on the back of the quilt.  Elaine and Chris are crazy for their Boston Terrier, Scully, so I thought the paw prints were appropriate.

I purchased this batting at my local quilt store, primarily because it is lighter weight than cotton and can be quilted up to 12" apart.  It is my intention to use only the organic shape of a ginkgo leaf and not have to do any straight line quilting. Anyone have experience with this brand?  It is a favorite of the quilt shop owner.

I picked up a few sample ginkgo leaves from my front yard, blown in from the neighbor's tree across the street.  I like the "split" ones the best but the fan shape is also pleasing. I may just be able to free motion them all instead of my original plan of drawing them on freezer paper.  Or I may start with a few freezer paper ones just to get into a rhythm.  My quilting method is generally ITIS  (I'll Try It & See).  My seam ripper will probably see some action either way!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Secret Sewing Reveal

One of the secret sewing projects for the wedding was some gift bags for the bridesmaids.  I had purchased a Snap Happy pattern, which uses metal measuring tape for a flexible secure closure, and Elaine really liked the idea.  She chose the fabrics to go along with her colors for the wedding of gray, yellow and cream.

The prairie point "handles", cover, and lining were specifically chosen for the five bridesmaids.

I used a different quilting pattern on each.  You should have seen Grant's face when he walked in as I was cutting up the steel measuring tape!  I bought an inexpensive $5 one.

Elaine chose the largest size bag from the pattern (about 5 x 7") to make it the most useful for the future.

She presented the bridesmaids' gifts in their bags at the rehearsal dinner.

Each girl received a handmade sterling silver wire necklace of their first initial.  Here is her beautiful best friend Caitie modeling hers (a co-worker of Elaine's made the necklaces).  Each also received a wooden hanger for their bridesmaid's dress that Elaine stenciled with their names.  The girls loved the bags, necklaces and hangers. 

Here's a pic of the new deck all set up for the rehearsal dinner, which was decorated by the groom's mom Sandy and family, with an Italian theme.  We had 30 people on that deck with no crowding--except around the heater on the bench because it was a little cool that night and most of the girls were wearing dresses :)

I just stitched up a bag for Elaine that I will give her when they get back from their honeymoon.  The pattern calls for fusible fleece for the batting--otherwise about a fat quarter's worth of fabric is all that is required for both bag and lining (the lining folds over the top to form the casing for the tape).  It only took me about an hour to make the bag, including cutting out all the pieces.  Now I want one!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts, scraps and bits of thoughts and events from my week...
  • This is the first year since I've been married that I've not had Halloween decorations put up.  Luckily Nick's girlfriend carved him a jack-o-lantern so we had something to alert trick or treaters that we were open for business.
  • The rehearsal dinner on the deck was a fabulous affair.  There was plenty of room for 30 people to mill about, eat, drink and visit, although the spacing was a little crowded around the heater on the bench as it was a bit cool and the ladies were mostly wearing dresses.
  • Sunday morning when we drove to the wedding venue for the set up, we were delayed because the floor of the barn was being mopped by a worker.  He claimed he had been told the wrong time because he thought the time change was this weekend.  However, he had his excuse backward because it would be an hour EARLIER instead of later!
  • Traffic Rant:  Zoomers on the freeway onramp or offramp.  You know, those dolts who are behind you as you enter/exit the freeway but have to gun it and zoom around you before the merging portion of the lane marker appears. 
  • I think I've finally caught up on my sleep from last week.  But another nap sounds good!
  • The newly wed Mrs. G is a hairstylist and her co-workers came in on their day off to style the wedding party. Bridesmaid and co-stylist Nicole was tag teamed by her assistant while doing Elaine's hair:

  • While bridesmaid Shasta's "Flock of Seagulls" start turned into...

    ...this gorgeous updo.  Many thanks to the gals who volunteered their makeup and hair talents to the bridal party and Moms of the bridal couple!

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...