Saturday, June 30, 2012

UFO Challenge 2012 update--June

Close, but no cigar, as they say.  With this month's UFO pick I started with a bunch of swapped 9 patch blocks and ended up here:

Completed top, backing, and binding.  Since I just finished another quilt yesterday that was a UFO Challenge 2012 pick leftover, my record for near finishes stands.  Overall, I am happy with these X's and O's and using up stash to eke out the pieced backing.  The pink and brown and cream make a nice Neapolitan treat.  Maybe that will be my quilt's new name.  What do you think? 

Judy's number pick for the month of July is 3.  On my list that is the Cheddar and Cinnamon quilt, which is a carryover from last year's challenge. Hmm, another food-related name.  The top is complete and the quilt needs backing, quilting, and binding.  Since I will be having more free time when my job ends in a week, I hope to devote proper attention and have a finish to show at the end of July.  See more finishes on Judy's Patchwork Times

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jollas de la Mar

Deadlines seem to push me along pretty well--this time until the wee hours last night and more this morning to complete the Jewel Box quilt in time to give it to my boss on our last day all together in the office. 

I stuck with this simple wavy line quilting in "sets" around the quilt.

This barn raising setting emphasized the "heart" I like to put in my quilts.

Some free-form hearts completed the quilting, then a scrappy binding and label and this deadline was met.  I'm calling it Jollas de la Mar, which in Spanish means Jewels of the Sea.  Dr. P is a big ocean lover so the wave quilting and tropical fish colors were right up his alley.  I hope he and his family enjoy it--though he has vowed he won't share!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday's Orts

A late edition of Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and happenings that land here semi-regularly.

  • The kids bought their dad L.A. Dodger baseball tickets for Father's Day and we are going to a game this weekend.  Today Grant turned in all our saved recyclable cans and bottles and got $84 back.  That should cover a couple of  Dodger Dogs, soda, and maybe a beer or two, shouldn't it?
  • School has been out two weeks and the neighbor boys on either side of us have made full use of every second with daily fort-building using Boogie boards, scrap wood, chairs, blankets, etc, as well as playing basketball, baseball, and evening sessions of catching June Bugs.  We love our front row seat to all this childhood memory-making.
  • Traffic Rant:  There is no end to the bullying behavior of speeders.  Today, a woman in a big pickup truck nearly ran into me as she was trying to merge two lanes over, in heavy traffic, before we even got to the end of the freeway onramp.  Seriously, who needs to be in that big of a hurry before they even get ON the freeway?
  • Another successful DIY repair over the weekend saw two 20 year old torchieres shine brightly again.  All it took was a screwdriver, $20 in halogen replacement bulbs, and a lot of cleanup of dessicated insect bodies.  I'm now able to SEE at my cutting table at night for the first time, and can also read in bed again. Yay!
  • My Mom's dear friend, who never threw anything away, passed away last fall and a lot of her sewing things came to me, including a bag of notions.  
This is only a small portion of the bag I brought home.  I turned one unopened Talon zipper over:
"Copyright 1947".  Now that's a great vintage!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Design Wall Monday--June 25, 2012

On my design surface today is the backing for the UFO Challenge project of the month, X's and O's.  I've sewn the tablerunner together and made the binding already, so am hoping to get the project completed by deadline. 

These fat quarters will barely be wide enough for a backing but I'm trying to use stash only and that means "making do".

Quilting on the Jewel Box quilt is also going on.  Not sure I'm happy with this yet but am trying to keep it simple so I can finish it this week. 

A do-over of my patriotic displays from the last post.  The yellow flower pot was switched out for a clear vessel and some blue glass chips, clear marbles and glass chips, and some red rick rack, and a quick rummage through the stash for this pinwheel fabric to cover the green vase with the lighted branches.  Looking much better, right?

In the dining room, I hung my Patriotic Fields quilt (pattern from Humble Quilts, Lori's Strawberry Fields Doll Quiltalong) and got the table prettied up.  These starry vinyl placemats have been around a long time--I'm sure I had them when the kids were little!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Week's End

Yesterday I left work a bit earlier than normal; leaving the office before 5 PM hardly ever happens, and it occurred to me that a shop I wanted to visit was still open:  Super Buzzy carries wonderful Japanese fabrics as well as other well known designers' fabric lines of the more modern sort.  The shop was much larger than it looked from the outside--since I had previously only been able to glance in the window while driving by at 30 MPH.  I was in my happy place among all the pretty fabrics, notions, and many bolts of Kona solids.   I found a quilt pattern I had admired in Keepsake Quilting, and also picked up some Happy Mochi Yum Yum by Monica Solorio-Snow (of The Happy Zombie blog) for another project.  My name was put on a mailing list and this keychain rewards card for purchases added, to be swiped in the future.  The amazing mini stocking on my keyring was knit by Lou from the Manxgirl blog--she sent it when I won a giveaway from her last year.  I love how these three items match :)

The gal (owner?) at the register answered my questions about the newly started Ventura Modern Quilt Guild, which meets monthly in the shop, and encouraged me to join despite my stating that I'm not exactly a modern quilter.  The quilt pattern I purchased is modern, though.  Solids are drawing my attention more and more when I look at magazines and catalogs.  This pattern includes sizes from crib to king and is made entirely of 2.5" strips, surprisingly.  Super Buzzy is a welcome addition to the quilting community and I will definitely shop there again.

New sights in the kitchen window today:  Independence Day decorating (need to find some white vessels for this display!) and a portable collapsible clothesline in the poor, neglected backyard.  I may have to pretty up that clothespin bag to distract from the dry grass and thin garden beds.   

The sideboard got some attention too.  My red and white Broken Dishes tablerunner received an Honorable Mention at last year's County Fair (two other quilts got Second Place).  I'm planning to enter a few more pieces this year, including Caramel Blues and maybe the X's and O's tablerunner.  Both of these need finishing, as does the Jewel Box quilt; thankfully my Mom did come over Thursday night to help me pin it, saving me at least an hour and a half of time.  Okay, I'm off to play in my sewing room!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This penchant of mine for having four projects going at once is sometimes paralyzing, as Quilter's ADD means ideas are constantly banging around my brain begging for attention, but often I can't decide what to work on first.  That kept me away from the sewing room two nights this week, instead watching TV, though I did enjoy episode reruns of the BBC's Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth one night, and a few episodes of What Not to Wear the other night.  Last night I fought against sloth simply starting with clean up, and that meant cutting prepared fabric that had been moved around too many times on the cutting table.

First I had to do a test block for this scrappy pinwheel quilt sketched out, determining what size to cut the squares for the alternate half-square triangle setting blocks.  They will finish at 7" so I determined after two test blocks that 8" cut squares will give me just enough extra to sliver trim after sewing the HSTs, without wasting my fabric.  24 squares cut and checked off the list. 

I also cut and pieced the flannel backing for the Jewel Box quilt that must be basted and quilted ASAP, since I'm giving it to my boss before we close next week. Hoping to get that pinned tonight, though I may have to call in reinforcements...Mom?

Following that, playtime with miniatures.  I cut down the first border of this mini to finish at 3/4" and then added the two outer borders.  I'll back this with another blue print and bring it to the front for the binding finish.  For quilting, wouldn't little thread ties be fun?  Hmm, hmm, pondering.   Next, I decided on binding only for the X's and O's quilt, then cut and constructed that from the two pink fat quarters selected.  Last task of the night was altering sleeves on DD Elaine's sweater, but that is too boring to show.  Feeling better about that QADD working for me on this occasion!   Do you have it too?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Design Wall Monday--June 18, 2012

On my design floor today are the three blocks for the June UFO pick, which I'm glad to say is well on its way to getting completed this month, yay!

I really like how the O block in the center feels curvy even though there are only straight seams.  The blocks will finish at 20 inches so I'm considering just putting on a pink binding and not doing any borders, since I want to use this as a tablerunner and 20 inches is kinda wide already.  Or maybe a narrow pink border and a cream binding?  Need help here!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Past Times/Pastimes

My mom has been going through boxes of photos that came from her parents and my dad's parents, and sending me a few, some of which I have never seen.  This one, for instance:

This is my sister Kathy and me, I believe with Christmas gifts, modeling Grandma's handmade flannel nightgowns and new dollies wearing matching nightgowns.  We must have been about 6 and 7 years old, when Pixie cuts were all the rage. Isn't my sister the cutest with her beautiful dark red hair and matching dolly? This photo must have been taken at the other grandmother's house, because I see a lot of boys' feet and legs and arms, and I think Uncle David is sticking his head in the photo.  My mom has seven younger brothers; David is the youngest and is six months younger than his first nephew, my oldest brother Kevin.  Got that?  Anyway, this photo triggered the memory of the dolly and her nightgown, tucked away in a suitcase with other treasured childhood things.

Poor thing, her hair is a mess, the nightgown has a weird blue stain and the sleeve elastic is long worn out, but she still has the most darling face.  The sock doll I made at about age 10 or 11 with my best friend from two doors down, Toni, from a book of crafts she had.  The dolly's name is Flower.  I gave her the black hair and blue eyes I always admired on Snow White.  Flower's looking a bit worse for wear too, but I'll always keep her.  

I took a much-needed mental health day off of work on Thursday and worked on the X's and O's to distract myself from the sadness and stress of the last two weeks until we close.  The stripes are going every which way but it isn't really bothering me.  I may turn some of the squares to have all the stripes going the same way around the outside edges.  So there you have it, Past Times and Pastimes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and happenings that land here semi-regularly.
  • To add to the bad news May brought, my favorite soft drink has been discontinued by Pepsi--they are no longer making Pepsi One.  Curses!
  • At work, as the last weeks are winding down until we close, Dr. P is having a hard time with not telling patients where he is going to be working next.  But I keep giving him the "zip your lip" motions because the truth is that he doesn't have a contract yet and no one can make an appointment to see him.  So he needs constant reminders to quit telling people!
  • Meanwhile, fighting to get Palmetto GBA (Medicare) to process Dr. P's paperwork continues.  After not properly getting our application scanned into their system for over three weeks, until I called to see where in process it was, the application has been rejected for further information, which we were previously told by a customer care agent that we DIDN'T need to have.  Multiple phone calls have gone unanswered by the analyst assigned to our application who faxed that rejection.  The frustration level is pretty horrendous to us all, but especially Dr. P, who has been seeing 40% of his patient load for free for six months. 
  • I came home Friday to find that our son's truck was no longer parked in front of our house.  I thought the damn thing had been stolen, given the luck we were having with thieves hitting the neighborhood.  Grant reassured me that it had instead been towed by AAA to the muffler shop to replace the stolen catalytic converter, a $200 repair job.  The muffler repair shop owner told Grant that the thieves only get about $30 for the metals inside the converter, "Just enough to buy a bag of dope".  Sickening.
  • Traffic rant:  People in parking lots who block two lanes of traffic because they can't wait for someone to back out of that closest-spot-to-the-store and don't want anyone else to get it.  Oafs!
  • Do you have five minutes to smile?  Go watch this:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chores on Saturday

I woke up early yesterday and got right out of bed--not my usual pattern, to be sure--ate breakfast, made tea, and set to work on the day's chores.  Fortunately the first task was most pleasant and involved sewing.

Three of the four blocks for one of the X blocks were sewn and pressed.  That bottom left one might need some resewing as it is not laying flat.  In my eagerness to proceed to sewing, I didn't check the pink swap blocks for square.   
Oops, this one will need some adjustments too, so the sewing session ended for the day. Aren't these the prettiest fabrics?  I just love them. 

Grant was up by then and after he ate breakfast we proceeded to the next chore, which was fixing the washing machine agitator.   For some unknown time, the top of the agitator was not turning, and through my online research, I learned the problem was some feed dogs wearing out, an easy fix not requiring more than a socket wrench and a half-hour's time.  Replacement parts were ordered (less than $10) and received, directions read, and the first attempt made.  Well, at first the top of the two part agitator was not "easily lifting off".  Therefore, the You Tube video was watched, some extra muscle applied to separate the parts, and within 15 minutes the new feed dogs were inserted, agitator reassembled and the washing machine repaired.  Isn't the Internet an amazing thing when help is required?

Final chore of the day was painting.  We have had sample colors on the wall for months and finally agreed on one.  Last weekend we picked up paint and supplies and started the prep.

Dining room paint samples and patching.  Cute, huh?  On the bottom left are the final two we were choosing between.  We went with the lighter soft tan, called Fioli Antique Lace.  We also picked a more expensive primer/paint combo for better coverage. 

A few hours later, the walls were dry and looking pretty good.  The medium terracotta we put on the walls more than 15 years ago will be covered over gradually.  The last time we did this job it took the two of us nearly six weeks to complete, mostly because the house's "open plan" includes two-story walls in the living/dining room, a hallway to the family room, a wide stairwell and the second floor hallway, with no good place to stop.  Today we'll continue the painting chore to get the dining room back together at least! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tri Recs Puzzler

Sewing machine time this week has been nearly non-existent, but some progress was made on the UFO project of the month prep.  First, a bunch of MATH to see if the 1/3 yard of background fabric from stash was going to be enough.  J-u-s-t squeaked by on that note!  Then, instead of making a template from the magazine pattern for the X's and O's, since my record with template accuracy has not been great, I bought a set of Tri-Recs rulers. 

Squares, rectangles and tri-rectangles ready to go.  Folding the fabric in half before cutting gave me the reversed triangle at the same time.  It's so nice to have these things mentioned in the directions in case I hadn't thought of it before pushing the rotary cutter through my limited fabric :).

The Recs Tool includes a notched edge at the top of the triangle for lining up the offset pieces when placed right sides together.  I'm looking forward to that extra help at assembly time.

It was a puzzle to cut the brown striped fabric and get all the tri-recs pieces in their proper spots in matched pairs--I just couldn't let the stripes go willy-nilly. Though the background fabric is a bit light compared to the tan blocks, I like the contrast with the brown.  So, pressing onward to construction! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and happenings that land here semi-regularly.
  • Did I share the bad news that thieves brazenly stole our son's Toyota truck's catalytic converter a few weeks ago by cutting it from the exhaust line with a Sawsall before dawn while it was parked right in front of our house?  While that was tragic, it turned funny when I dumbly repeated that someone told me it had value because of the plutonium inside.  Uh, that should have been platinum, my husband correctedNo nuclear fission taking place here! 
  • In other bad news, my doctor boss at Job #2 has decided to end his solo practice, so we will all be out of a job at the end of June.  My friend Pat, the receptionist, has been answering patients who ask her what she is going to do next with,  "I'm going to find a husband."  A surprising strategy, but one that gets a laugh.
  • Traffic rant:  They have been digging up a busy street downtown for weeks months, replacing storm drains, closing off one of the two lanes. While driving with caution is good, I want to tell the driver at the front of the long single line of cars ahead of me, it is really not necessary to slow down to 5 mph while gawking at the heavy equipment. Pay attention!
  • My sister, the dog lover, remembered my dog's age as 12 when I told her it was his birthday.  She remarked about herself that it seems silly that she can't remember all her nieces and nephews' ages, but always knows how old the dog is.
  • Mini probably recently had a birthday too.  She is six.  I only know that because I ran across an old pocket calendar I'd saved and saw a notation of when I took her to the vet for her spaying. 

I'm not sure how she found this cement comfortable but stayed there an hour, where I could see her from my sewing machine.  Cats!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Design Wall Monday--June 4, 2012

On my design table today is the UFO Challenge pick of the month, #12. That correlates on my list to yet another 9 patch quilt from that wonderful swap of Julie's. This time it's the pink and brown patches that are getting their turn.

Three blocks will make a nice table runner from this pattern, which is X's and O's from the June 2011 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine.   All the blocks are made from the same template for the triangle-rectangle, just different colorways.  A tri-rec ruler would come in handy just now, wouldn't it?  I'll make two X's and one O for my project, and at least two borders.  I haven't quite worked that all out yet.

These browns were purchased at the International Quilt Festival in Cinci, but I don't know if they are going to work.  I didn't have the pattern with me and after getting home and seeing the quilt again, these may have too much of a strong print.  Quilt-ITIS will ensue (I'll Try It & See).  More design walls are on Judy's Patchwork Times, go take a look at all the great things people are making!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What's Happening

Surely not much on the quilting front, as we have been busy readying the living/dining room for painting.  I looked back in my photo files to May last year and found this pic I meant to share long ago regarding attaching a binding:  I lay my little 1 x 6" ruler with the 1/4 line horizontally on the unstitched edge, also making sure a vertical hash mark is at the raw edge of the side I'm currently sewing.  It is then easy to put in a pin at the quarter inch mark from the right edge to indicate where to stop stitching, then backstitch and remove the quilt from under the needle to do the miter fold of the binding. 

This photo struck me particularly because I cannot find this 1 x 6 ruler ANYWHERE. It usually lives in a drawer bin on the door of my sewing desk, but I last remember it out in the dining room where I was looking at a quilt template pattern in a magazine last weekend. I'm pretty sure I put it back on my desk, but am afraid it got accidentally swept off and into the trashcan when I was moving things around.  The trashcan was subsequently emptied by Grant for the weekly pickup and I didn't miss the ruler until mid week.  This ruler was my constant companion for years and will need to be replaced, as a seam gauge just doesn't work the same way as a quilting ruler!

The above binding was going on these two placemats I made for DD Erica for her little house in Arizona.  She has recently petitioned for another set in similar colors, and while combing my scrap boxes I found some suitable fabrics and even some scraps from these.  Erica also noted that my Blogger's Quilt Festival post was incorrect--her bed is a King, not Queen, and therefore the quilt I made her is even more impressive for its size :).  Thanks, Erica!

It is also Russell the dog's 12th  birthday today. 

Here he is at Christmas 2005.  He's a bit grayer now and has put on some weight, but is still going strong!

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...