Saturday, December 31, 2011

If its a good one

I texted for permission from my co-worker Yadi to put a picture of her online and she said "Only if its a good one".  I told her it was of her getting her quilt, so of course it was a good one.
Prolonging the surprise...

Smiling at the colors.

Action shot.

Happily wrapped in her quilt.  Her smiles and excitement were the best kind of thank you.  I love giving quilts as gifts!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

While she was sleeping

While the Quilt Inspector was doing this:

I worked on the December UFO pick, which for me was the Greenpiece BOM.

I was turning these pretty parts...

...into these lovely stars.  Two more blocks added to the pile and so many more to go.  Otherwise the last few days have been filled with family get togethers and some post-Christmas shopping.  The last of the family leaves town today so I'll be spending more time completing my year end sewing goals of more UFO work and getting the Quilts for Kids quilts finished and mailed--I got one of those basted with the help of my sister (who complained a lot about the non-curved basting pins--you know you did, Kathy!). 

It has been so nice not to have to go into the office though there has been some transcription work happening.  I even had to go down to the hospital to get a TB test.  Even though I work offsite (in my own home!) I am required to get a yearly test and my supervisor called to tell me she couldn't find the paperwork for 2011 and I was going to be put on suspension if it wasn't done by January 1.  Neither of us could remember if I had done it so under the needle went I! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Dec 27, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--the bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here.
  • Best mail time of the year is almost over.  I loved the day that eight Christmas cards came in.
  • Last minute shopping found me at the mall on Christmas Eve morning with all of the men and a surprising number of families.
  • Christmas Eve is Soup Night here.  I made our favorite Hamburger Soup and there were desserts and beverages.  By the time the evening was through there were 18 folks hanging out here.  I loved that! 
  • Things I don't understand:  Music speakers in public bathrooms. 
  • My sister, her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend did start out from Missouri on the 23rd intending to drive straight through to CA, but were stopped cold with thousands of others in Tucumcari, New Mexico, literally, when Highway 40 was shut down due to snow and ice.  They eventually got a hotel and slept for a few hours.  My niece woke suddenly and flung open the door, asking someone in the hallway if the 40 had been opened, to which the reply was Yes, how did you know?  Said Caitlin, "I heard cheering".
  • Christmas morning brought our usual family traditions of listening to Christmas music, eating cinnamon rolls, bacon and eggs for breakfast, and opening gifts one by one.  There was the usual refrain from Nick that he didn't get as many presents as the girls.  Once again, the most popular stocking gift was the $50 gasoline card.
  • The girls exchanged the same gift:
They both liked it a lot!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Dec 26, 2011

Last Design Wall of the year--I've missed a few but have really enjoyed seeing what everyone is working on and getting visitors' comments when they have popped over here.  Thanks, Judy, for continuing to inspire me to have something to show! 

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday with plenty of laughter and joy.  We did!

My design wall is unchanged from last week, still the December UFO pick, but I did do some sewing and quilting this week for gifts:
These Snap Happy bags are so easy and fun to stitch up, and with the metal measuring tape insert, nice and secure.  I enjoyed playing with the quilting on each one.  These were made from decorator fabric discontinued samples from JoAnn's that were $2 each--all 100% silks--for the outer fabric, and the contrast bands/linings were all from stash.  I cut one out for myself but didn't get to it yet. See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Season's Greetings

From our family to yours, wishing you the joys of the season and all that is merry and bright!

*Photography credit: Driver Photo

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UFO Challenge 2012

My participation in Judy's Patchwork Times UFO Challenge 2011 was enjoyable but spotty.  Of the 12 quilts on my list, there were four complete finishes (see the page for updates).  I did work on all of the quilts except for two that were not touched at all in the middle of "Wedding Central" time.  All of these quilts were for ME, and I worked on gift quilts and projects every month as well, so I didn't disappoint anyone but myself by not finishing them :)  It is my dream, however, to have a stack of finished quilts of my very own, so in joining the 2012 UFO Challenge, there will be some repeats.  

1.  Judy's Mystery Quilt--The center of the top is complete.  Needs borders, backing assembled (already purchased), quilting and binding.
2.  Caramel Blues--The center of the top is complete.  Needs borders, backing assembled, quilting and binding.
3.  Cheddar and Cinnamon--The top is completed.  Needs backing, quilting and binding.
4.  Any Witch Way--Two small quilts.  One top is complete. Letters for names are pieced for the second, which needs to be completed, then both quilted and bound.
5.  Patriotic Fields Doll Quilt--Sandwich completed.  Awaiting hand-quilting and binding.
6.  Yuletide Blessings--Sandwich completed.  Needs quilting and binding.
7.  9 patch Quiltbuddies--Cut setting squares, assemble top, add borders.
8.  Greenpiece BOM--Some blocks completed.  Make remaining pieced blocks and all wool blocks, assemble tree medallion.
9.  Table runners--Two table runners.  Baby Boxes needs borders, backing, quilting and binding.  Party Time needs the applique stitched down, backing, quilting and binding.
10.  Jewel Box--Make 32 additional jewel box blocks to make a throw sized top.  Assemble top. 
11.  Quiltbuddies Christmas block swap:  Cut sashing and cornerstones, assemble top.
12.   Double pink and brown/tan 9 patch blocks--Make X's and O's small quilt.

Looking forward to having more finishes in 2012!  Thank you Judy for having the Challenge again. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Dec 20, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--bits of thoughts and events that land here most weeks.
  • Sugar Season is playing havoc with my No Flour, No Sugar eating plan.  Especially since I work in a doctor's office and people bring in lots of goodies.
  • When I delivered the wedding quilt, DD Elaine turned it over to see what the label said...and was disappointed that there was no label.  Oh, dear.  Gotta remedy that!
  • Coming back from a walk the other evening, I came up behind my neighbor walking from the mailbox.  She turned and showed me that a letter addressed to someone in Mammoth Lakes had come to her mailbox.  The post office was way off on this one!
  • Things I Don't Understand:  Sagging skinny jeans on young men.  Okay, so you expect your calves to hold up your pants?
  • We went to a Japanese Teppan restaurant for our office Holiday gathering.  Dr. P had never been to a Teppan place before.  This is logical because he is a vegetarian, and watching meat being sliced and grilled in front of him isn't exactly something he finds enjoyable.  But the rest of us liked it plenty. 
  • Mini the cat supervised me closely, as usual, as I was trying to find a good place to photograph the Yellow Flowers for Yadi quilt in the backyard, frontyard, and sideyard. 
She did require a break to sharpen her claws, however.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Dec 19, 2011

As I completely finished my Flowers for Nana Girl quilt yesterday, I am so ready to get back to piecing.  On my Design Wall today is the UFO pick for December, which by coincidence was a Christmas gift from my dear hubby.  This 2010 block of the month from Moda called Greenpiece just wowed me with its multitude of pieced stars and pretty wool applique blocks.  However, four blocks per month proved too much for me and I only got three months' worth of the pieced blocks completed.  I stowed each month's delivery in a drawer thereafter, sadly.

All the fabrics are yummy reproductions in warm and deep shades. 

There is a medallion with a tree in the center with wool leaves, which I plan to customize.  I only got as far as cutting the backgrounds for the wool blocks and prepping some shapes with freezer paper templates.  I'd like to get all the pieced blocks done by the end of the year, though I will not even meet my UFO goal doing that!  I have the week off work following Christmas and I hope to spend lots of time at my sewing machine.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Promise Kept--a finish

Smaller quilts make for faster finishes, that is true, but much time is still devoted to the quilting process.  I am pleased to report that the quilting was completed in a couple of lengthy sessions and one short one.  Putting on the binding was fairly quick since I do it all by machine using my walking foot.  My version of "Flowers for Nana Girl" (from Scrap Basket Sensations) is called Yellow Flowers for Yadi.

Yadi is my co-worker who is a nursing student and working two jobs part-time while she studies.  She has been our back office assistant for a number of years and we share a room at work.  She loves yellow and her second favorite color is pink.  The one pink block is the "heart" of the quilt.

Hard to tell, probably, but the outside block sashing is a white fabric with a tiny pink dot.

The back is all flannel to keep the student warm and cozy while she reviews for those difficult tests!

This photo shows the all over texture pretty well. Bren and Joy asked how I kept my spacing so even and consistent.  Well, a close inspection would reveal that it isn't at all perfect, with some squashed and shortened loops and some too widely spaced apart.  Mostly I worked within the "lines" of the blocks.  On my domestic sewing machine, with its very small throat space, it was necessary to corral the loops to about 4-5 inches wide to avoid having to shift the quilt too much and risk crooked loops.  Also I don't sew very fast so I feel I have more control.  There was some ripping out and a couple of times the needle got broken, but overall it went fairly smoothly.  I used a white quilting weight thread, which meant filling the bobbin frequently, however.   So happy to have made my promise to myself come true and I look forward to giving it to Yadi tomorrow at work.  Pics to follow!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


As I promised myself, work on the Flowers for Nana Girl quilt is moving right along.  At this point the quilting is about half done and just after posting this I'll get back to it.

My co-worker, for whom is quilt is destined, is a big fan of  "I Love Lucy".  I thought quilting in big L's would be a fun way to incorporate her favorite lady.  That's as much planning I put into this task!

It is simple to do and gives some lovely crosshatching texture to the quilt, the way I've nestled the loops together--which just sort of happened--and I really like it.  OK, I'm going back in!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flowers for Nana Girl update

A late night session resulted in both borders getting attached to my version of Flowers for Nana Girl, from Scrap Basket Sensations.  The instructions called for a mitered border but with this busy of a print I didn't think it warranted the extra time and fabric.

This quilt has a deadline of this weekend.  The pin basting will ensue tomorrow night and quilting and binding will be completed by Sunday night.  There!  I've said it and now just need to not make a liar out of myself.  In other updates, the Christmas tree is finally fully decorated, I ordered the photo prints for our Christmas cards, and one more gift has been purchased.  It's a good thing we had a family portrait taken at the wedding, since Erica is in Arizona at school and not available until late next week!  I missed my tree decorating buddy--she usually helps me every year with the lights at least. Tonight my mom and I are going to enjoy some holiday cheer at a local movie theater showing of "It's a Wonderful Life", one of our favorites.  Time to enjoy the season!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Dec 13, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--the bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here once a week.
  • On our downtown errand on Saturday we witnessed the Grinch with his sleigh and Cindy Lou Who in some live-action play in a pocket park.  We only caught glimpses as we drove by but it looked entertaining.
  • Looking forward to the shortest day of the year so we can start back to more evening light.  This pitch dark at 5:30 thing gets old fast.  And our parking lot's motion detector lights at work are very temperamental.  Sometimes it requires jumping up and down on a certain spot!
  • My sister Kathy and her daughter and boyfriend are driving out from Missouri for Christmas.  They are leaving the 23rd and driving straight through, 30+ hours.  I said that the 2 AM to 6 AM shift would be brutal, but she said "Not for me--'cause I'm not doing it!"  Smart woman.
  • Things I don't understand:  Sheer bodices on wedding gowns.  Ick. 
  • Christmas cards flood the stores this time of year but we are not getting very many in the mail.  Not that I've sent any out yet this year's still early, right? 
  • The quilt inspector did a brief QC review of the wedding quilt. 
I know it appears that she was on her way to the water dish, but I prefer to think my work didn't need close inspection.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Dec 12, 2011

On my design floor today is the wedding quilt.  Yes, it has been featured about a dozen times but here it is--hooray--for the last time!
I like to stitch my binding on first, then trim away the extra batting and backing.

This quilt is large--super queen size--it barely fits in the room, which is why the edges look wavy--they aren't!  I machine stitched the binding down; the clips were to mark where I missed catching the edge and had to go back and put in a few hand stitches on the back. 

The sharp angles are complemented by rounded and organic shapes for the quilting. The ginkgo, being one of the oldest species of tree on the planet, are a repeating theme in the fabrics and quilting to represent my wishes for a long and happy married life for Elaine and Chris.

I decided against quilting in the outer border.  Somehow it felt more in keeping with the modern design.

Two different flannels for the backing and Dream Green polyester batting help make this one heavy quilt.  I'll be pleased to see it on their bed and not my design floor any more!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday's doings

We had plans to go out to breakfast this morning and get our Christmas tree, but it started getting late and we were hungry so we ate at home and put off the tree errand until midday.   Last night I finished the mini quilt but the light was poor and I could not get a good photo.

Here it is on the wooden stand displayed with my favorite rustic decorations. I'm pleased with the simple framing and fabric choices and will love having this in my mini quilt collection.  Then it was back to work on the wedding quilt.  A quilting plan for these 3 x 8 edge sections came to me as I was drifting off to sleep the other night.

 I'm calling this a "stacked stone" sort of design.  Nice organic curves to balance the many right angles of the blocks.

Free motion quilting first in a serpentine and then circle around and serpentine back up to complete the ovals. I eyeballed it all the way, no marking, no worrying about whether each "stone" was exactly the same width, just having the same number of stones in each section, which in this case was five.  Very quick, finished all the sections in less than an hour and then spent some time tying off and burying threads.  I use an Easy Threader needle for this task--the kind with a split end that you pop over your your threads instead of having to trim the ends of the thread even and then through an eye.  Much faster!  I'm determined to get this quilt finished this weekend.  Yes, I know I said that last weekend too but really feel it is doable this time!

About noon we went and got our fresh tree--bought the very first one we looked at at Lowe's (we are not picky except we like Noble Fir trees 6-7' tall), had lunch, came home and I finished the household decorating.  The tree is next, which means moving furniture and bringing down more boxes but is the tail end of the decorating.  Looking forward to having that fresh tree smell in the house for the next week or two!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Favorite Things Friday

I'm linking up with Shay's Quilting in My Pyjamas blog this week for the Favorite Things Friday party.  Besides just liking Fridays in general, my favorite thing today is Christmas decorations, the handmade/homemade sort.  I've made dozens of Christmas ornaments and decorations over the years and have given dozens as gifts--there have been felt mittens, painted mini plaques, embroidered and beaded felt decorations, rice paper decoupaged reindeer, quilted and bejeweled  banners/Christmas card holders, stuffed toy candy canes, and painted wooden trays, among the many!  Here's a start to my latest, set to adorn a mini quilt wooden stand:

This beautiful 6" paper-pieced tree block was made by a fellow online quilt group member for a swap we had four years ago.  Shame that it has been sitting in a tub so long!  I framed it out and will do a simple stitch and turn, a bit of quilting, and add a sleeve for the rod on my hanger.  Voila', decor 2011!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday's Orts--Dec 6, 2011

And this week's orts are once again a motley crew...
  • Do you ever get creeped out by people who seem to shadow you in a store?  Whatever aisle you peruse, there they are.
  • Weekends just never seem to be long enough.  I think they should all be three days long.
  • I had to laugh at the reaction to my "art" post last Wednesday.  Boy, no one seemed to like that little wooden statue at all.  But she and "her little dog too"  made me smile.
  • At Bunco when we stopped for a player to choose a gift or steal from someone, everybody had a different nonchalant method for not drawing the potential thief's attention.  "Don't look her in the eyes", was my next door neighbor's advice.
  • Our building at work is made of concrete block, has tons of single pane windows, and a huge skylight in a large hallway the length of the building.  It took four hours yesterday for the temperature to rise from 62 to 70 degrees.  Thank goodness for ceiling fans to push all that warm air down to human level in the exam rooms.
  • The Traffic Rant feature is on hiatus, however, it is being replaced by another feature on bewilderment called...
  • Things I Don't Understand:  This week's entry is Memory foam bathmats.  Just how long does anyone spend on a bathmat that it requires memory?  
  • On our excursion to the art museum in Santa Paula we also visited the Oil Museum which had a number of exhibits, including one of people's collectibles.  Naturally I was drawn to the fabric.

    Isn't this a fun way to display aprons?

    The exhibitor's first line was priceless, I thought!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Design Wall Monday--Dec 5, 2011

I received a call Sunday night from a concerned blog reader (Hi Dad!), because my last post was more than several days ago, wondering if anything had happened to me, and the outcome of the Bunco night gift exchange.  The Snap Happy bag was "stolen" once and then the thief held onto her prize for the rest of the night, about which I was most pleased.  We partied late and I didn't leave until 10:30 pm.  Good thing I only had to walk next door to get home. 

Friday night after work I stopped to buy Christmas lights--then spent a good hour or two finally putting all of the fall decor and my Grandma's dishes we used at Thanksgiving back into their boxes.  I was closely supervised by Mini the cat, as usual.  She wanted to be on the table, then the mantle, then on the highest spot on top of Grant's amplifiers where she could survey my every move.  Apparently I passed quota as she eventually wandered off. 

Saturday morning I did some paying transcribing work, then spent a couple hours working on the wedding quilt, stitching in the ditch alongside the larger squares.  This was not in my original plan but it seemed the quilt wanted a bit more structure.  I went to my hair appointment with DD Elaine and when I got home it was time to do some more holiday decorating.  

Someone immediately did some quality testing of the Christmas throw on the back of the couch.  I never got back to the wedding quilt until Sunday, but after several more hours during two sessions the grid stitching on this super Queen sized quilt was DONE.

Amazing how long it takes to quilt straight lines in two directions that are not supposed to be seen!  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting a bit bigger.  There is a bit more free motion quilting needed, a decision about whether to quilt in the border, and then the binding to attach.  A finish this week appears to be in the cards!   See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Tonight is our annual Christmas exchange with our Bunco players group.  I purchased a gift card for a planned holder made from my favorite pattern, the Snap Happy bag.  A few months ago in the clearance aisle at JoAnn's Fabrics I found discontinued special order fabric samples, and quickly snapped up all the 100% silk ones at $2 each.  The samples are about 17" square so nearly a fat quarter size. Using the largest size measurements from the pattern (~6" x 7") I could cut two bags from each sample, if desired.

Pearl colored silk combined with a stash fat quarter of a Japanese woven in a dragon print.

Some simple meandering with a variegated Sulky thread.

This time I matched the fabric triangle pull tabs to the lining, then cut more steel measuring tape to insert into the casing and sewed up the sides. Voila, a classy gift bag I hope one of the Bunco gals will love.  We have lots of fun "stealing" already opened gifts throughout the night's games.  Lots of laughter and food and drink on the agenda for tonight, as always!

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...