Friday, November 30, 2012

UFO Challenge update

Another UFO bites the dust!  Judy's pick for November I had swapped out for this Christmas block swap project that has been waiting a turn for several years.  My goal was to have a completed top and in the waning hours of the deadline the borders were attached.  The dark green pin dot border is an Essential Dots print from Moda.  They come in a very wide range of colors and I'm getting low on my favorites.

I must give my thanks to the Yahoo Group members of Quiltbiddies who made these blocks.  I believe this is the third project I completed this year from one of the swaps that we had in years past.  While I am still a member of the group I have not been active, essentially since I started my blog and got involved with all the wonderful folks in blogland, like Judy!  See more UFO busters on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Judy picked #4 for December, which I had already switched out.  I am left with only one number on my list, #8, the Moda Greenpiece BOM.  This BOM had four blocks per month, two pieced and two wool.  Since I was working 3 jobs at the time the BOM started, I barely made any progress.  I think I have four months of the pieced blocks completed and none of the wool blocks, though I do recall cutting the background squares for the wool blocks.  Time to get to tracing on freezer paper and cutting block pieces!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pushing Through a UFO

Far too often I have four things going at once--amazing what concentrating on a SINGLE project can do!  I have had these Christmas themed swap blocks for four years.    Never having had the desire to make my own sampler quilt I got one the best way, with each swapper making three different blocks of their own choosing.

Yesterday afternoon the piecing began and at the end of the evening all the rows were complete, up to attaching a sashing row to each block row.  Today I finished assembling the rows into two larger half sections, which I find easier to deal with in completing a top.

Pressing all the seams to the sashing made these widely different blocks lay nice and flat.  The more ambitious ladies paper pieced some very complex designs, didn't they?

One of the block swappers from Australia attached some crystals to her blocks.  I have no experience with these types of embellishment and wonder if they hold up to machine laundering.  Anyone know?

I like this block a lot.  All the blocks are 6" finished so the pieces are very small.  This is a very bright white quilt--out of my usual realm--so I'll use a dark green polka dot as a wide border to bring in some balance and make the quilt a better finished size.  My goal with this UFO was to have a completed top, and I'm sure to reach that goal with this kind of  focus!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Continuing Story

Part of the Thanksgiving prep meant my sewing area had to be cleared, since it is adjacent to the kitchen and we move some living room furniture into it to make a sitting spot--after all, everyone always wants to be in the kitchen to visit with the cooks :)

 It took several hours for me to fold up and store all the piled up fabric, scraps, tools, project bins...

...throw out the trash and try to make the room look like a workspace and not a looted shop.  Unfortunately, it is still crowded and too much is out in the open, but I'm hoping to remedy that soon.

Having a clean worktable for the first time in months allowed me to cut all the sashing sections for this month's UFO, a Christmas swap block project, lay it out and pile it up for piecing.  I also did get the backings and batting done for the Christmas tablerunners.  Two of them were completely finished and taken to the shoppe for sale but I neglected to get photos.  Two others were sold on Thanksgiving, as my dad coveted one and my sister in law the other.  Nice doing business with them :)

 I added the additional background strips to make the on point blocks float.  Sorry for the blurry shot.

 Bringing the backing to the front for a finished look without adding separate binding did save time and turned out pretty well on the two completed runners.  The above runner will get the same treatment.

Mr. Snowman is coming along--I'll add his eyes when all the poky needle stuff is over.

In another continuing story, my 93 year old mother in law is doing excellently since her mastectomy surgery and today got her staples out.  She has had no pain nor any complications other than a pulled drain which necessitates needle extraction of excess fluid at the doctor's office, and is feeling her usual self.  I, on the other hand, am still coughing and blowing my nose over a week into this cold.  Ready for that to be over, I tellya! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Thanksgiving was its usual day full of craziness and peace--and dishes, lots of dishes!  We got a late start on our cooking since I neglected to borrow a roasting pan from my mom, and the box of cornmeal for muffins was full of bugs.  So I sent Grant to the store for cornmeal while calling my mom and dad.  They didn't answer.  I left a plaintive message.  Grant called from the store to see if I got a hold of them and then he went to their house while I left another plaintive message.  He called me to say no one answered the door and their car was gone.  A total mystery!  So he went back to the store and bought one of those aluminum roasting pans and a rack.

Meanwhile, I prepped the celery and onions for the stuffing and then started vacuuming the family room.  When Grant got back home, I was on the floor with a screwdriver and the vacuum cleaner torn apart.  The belt was broken.  I put on the new belt, reassembled the vacuum cleaner, washed my hands, and proceeded to get the cornmeal muffins mixed and into the tin and oven.  Then while they were cooking we got the bird ready.  Did I mention it was still frozen when we took it out of the fridge that morning?  That had necessitated getting out the picnic cooler and putting the bird in cold water, changing it out every 20-30 minutes for about an hour and a half.  Anyway, now completely defrosted, Ms. Turkey got washed, dried, stuffed and slathered in butter and into the hot oven forthwith, about an hour later than planned.  Oh well!

Then came the mad rush to finish cleaning and prepping.  Sometime during this whirlwind my parents called back to say they were not home because they had been doing a self-assigned weekly community chore wherein they take trash bags, "grabbers", and rubber gloves and pick up all the garbage that thoughtless, careless, lazy people leave on the sidewalk behind the houses on their block. Their back wall is on a busy street across from the Community College so there is lots of traffic both auto and foot every day of the week, and no regular city cleaning of the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, Grant washed dishes for the second time, vacuumed the living room, we moved furniture out of the living room and Grant set up the folding table and chairs while I went up and down the stairs multiple times to get the boxes of dishes.  Subsequently I decided to iron tablecloths and picked two.  An hour later I had one tablecloth and 12 napkins done but had to take a break before getting the last one done.  Son Nick came in about that time and handed me a shirt to iron for him.  Grant decided the turkey was done--an hour early--and took it out of the oven.  Then we decided it wasn't done enough at only 180 degrees and he put it back in the oven alongside the casserole of extra stuffing .  I rushed through a shower and getting ready and then madly ran about decorating the tables until company started arriving.  I had to excuse myself to put my face on, then ran back down to get the appetizers prepped, side dishes finished and platters and serving pieces assembled....while people continued to arrive and bring things that needed to be put places, and of course greetings and drinks. DD Elaine brought the ham all cooked and helped me bunches by prepping for a salad and making the mashed potatoes. 

Finally everything was ready and the 10 of us sat down to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, ham, broccoli salad, fruit salad, and cornmeal muffins.  I sat at a table with my son and daughter, and son in law Chris, who said he refused to sit at the adult table :)   Later there was pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and Dutch apple pie, yum yum.  Lots of chatting and laughter throughout, and glasses raised to the chefs.  It is our habit to enjoy our guests and leave the cleanup til later.  Since Grant had already had two shifts on washing by hand, plus two times filling the dishwasher, it was my turn to wash.  We turned up the music, got the leftovers put away and cleaned up the kitchen.  Another successful holiday party!  Tell me, do your parties start like ours?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday with Granny Loz

I was fortunate enough to meet yesterday with another blog friend, as Lorraine from Granny Loz was in L.A. on her way home to Australia.  I picked her up at her airport hotel and we spent the day at The Getty Center, high on the hill above L.A.  Parking is $15, but entry to the huge and beautiful museum is free, thanks to the Getty Trust.  Despite there being five full levels of cars in the underground parking already when we arrived, it was not crowded in most of the galleries and the grounds and plazas are extensive.  So, those of you in So Calif or visiting from elsewhere, take advantage!

We made our way down to the gardens first.  Lorraine has a much better camera than I and she took some terrific shots of the museum buildings and grounds. Though I was losing my voice due to a bad cold, we talked and talked...

 Ate a delicious lunch in the museum's fine restaurant after visiting some galleries...

And took in the views of downtown L.A. to the ocean.  In the distance we could see Catalina Island off the coast, in the haze. 

It was a blissful day and Lorraine was every bit of the lovely lady I knew she would be.  Thanks for meeting with me, Loz, and for the generous gifts.  Happy travels!

To all of my American readers and blog friends, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!  I'll raise a slice of pumpkin pie in your honor!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Nov 19, 2012

On my design floor today are some more projects destined for sale.  Christmas items are being collected for display as soon as possible at the shoppe before the next big sales weekend so I want to get in on that!

Leftover swap blocks with setting and corner triangles.  Thank goodness for Bonnie at Quiltville's tip sheets to save me from quilt MATH!

 A well-aged off-white background fabric from stash seemed to work perfectly.  Though it appears slightly purple in this photo, the print is a tiny tan dot and swirl that is better than a solid to dress up these runners, IMHO.

These three were a bit off size--as in not 6.5" square like the others--so I decided sashing and borders would be a better choice.  Hope to get these all quilted and ready to put on the shelves by Wednesday.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Slow Sunday Stitching

I've been working on some more Christmas stitcheries to complete and sell at the craft shoppe.

My thought is to border them with a seasonal fabric and add a ribbon hanger.  These are small, only a few inches high, so they could hang on a tree or in a small spot for a bit of holiday cheer.  The snowman doesn't look like much yet but once all filled in and outlined in black like the gingerbread man, he'll be adorable.

As a birthday gift from my husband I ordered this pincushion and scissor weight kit.  Poinsettias and pomegranates are two of my favorite motifs.  I also ordered the linen to stitch upon.  But before I do that, some secret hand stitching projects need completion.  More about that later!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who is the lucky one?

Thank you all for sharing your ambitious quilting goals with me--indeed you have my wholehearted backing for reaching them!  And for the birthday wishes, further thanks.  I spent my birthday in the hospital where I was born, helping my 93 year old mother in law after a surgery.  She is a tough old bird and was doing very well.  In a few minutes I'll be heading out the door to the hospital and hopefully her discharge will not be long after.  But first, the winner of Mr. Turkey and the Give Thanks pattern:

 These beautiful flowers were a birthday gift from my darling husband.  The decorated gourd holds all the entrant's names.

 Grant wanted to pick the winner, and she is....

 Darlene B!

Congratulations Darlene!  I have sent an email notifying her of her win.  Mr. Turkey does have two of these corner hanger triangles so that he can be displayed vertically as well.  Thanks again to all of you for popping in on my little blog and your kind words and birthday wishes!  Happy Quilting :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's Orts--the Late Edition

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of events and thoughts that land here semi-regularly.
  • I was admonished today by my daughter Elaine that I haven't been keeping up with my orts posts, even after she sent me a blog-appropriate photo.  I agreed it was a great pic; so, dear daughter, here it is, with my thanks: 
Pretty clever, no?

  • Traffic Rant:  Why, yes, I would like to wait here endlessly while you are jawing to the driver of the car next to you AFTER the light turns green.  Thanks for the time off from pushing on that gas pedal!
  • During my shift at the Senior Craft Shoppe yesterday we had few visitors come in the door, and two who did were merely seeking information on where the nearest public restroom was (not our shoppe!). 
  • Thanksgiving is next week!  I suppose I should finalize my menu and guest list since people will be showing up on the doorstep at some point, believing they will be offered food and drink.
  • This time three years ago I was on a plane to Australia to go to the wedding of a friend I met through the Internet in 1998.  Next week I get to meet a different friend from Australia, who I met through blogging.  The Internet is an amazing place!
  There is still time to enter my 700th post giveaway, HERE, before the drawing tomorrow night. Good luck!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Few Words


Although blog postings have been fewer this week, I have been working away on a special project...

 It has a couple of these.

 And some of these...

 plus one of these...

 Which add up to a whole turkey. You see, this is my 700th blog post. 

 So to celebrate all those words you have let me share with you, and those you have shared with me over the past nearly four years, I am having a Give Thanks giveaway.

This little quilt is 16" square and I had fun machine quilting loops all over.  I'm including the pattern so that you may make a Give Thanks turkey too.   There may be a few little surprises included as well.

There are no fancy rules or requirements for this giveaway, which is open to all.  To enter, a few words of your own are what I'm looking for.  Leave a comment answering this question:  What is your most ambitious quilting goal?  Mine is to make a bed-sized Lone Star Quilt.  I'd love to combine piecing and applique to make it extra special.

There will be a quick window for this giveaway.  Make sure I have a way to contact you.  Don't have a blog?  Just email me privately at VtaAnnieO (at) gmail (dot) com.  I'll choose a random entry on Wednesday, November 14th, at 8:00 pm, which happens to also be my birthday.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Nov 5, 2012

On my design surface today are some leftover Christmas swap blocks that will become a small table runner to sell at the shoppe.

These friendship stars were what I made for the swap.  I had leftover 2 1/2 and 2 7/8 squares so just thought surrounding the pieced blocks would be fun.

Too busy, though?  Opinions welcomed.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

UFO Challenge 2012 Update

After the Trick or Treaters stopped ringing the doorbell, I put on my jammies and headed to the sewing machine for some down-to-the-deadline quilting on the October UFO Challenge pick, my Yuletide Blessings quilt.  Surprisingly, it only took about two and a half hours to complete.

 Of course, I did make it easy on myself by using the walking foot and my favorite wavy line stitch, this time on the diagonal for a diamond pattern.

This throw quilt will be very soft and cuddly during those cold winter evenings.  The binding will go on later today--I was just too tired last night!  Judy pulled #9 for the November UFO pick.  I had already swapped out that number for another project so will swap again for #11, which is a 6" swap block project in a Christmas theme.

My throw sized layout includes cornerstones and sashing and I'll back it with this text Christmas print purchased some years ago.  There are enough leftover blocks for two other projects, one of which is destined for sale the craft shoppe.  Now for a stash hunt for enough white background for the sashing...

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...