Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday's Orts

Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here occasionally. 

• DD Erica was a great help Thursday and Friday as I scrambled to find a dress and look like a lady for the company awards banquet I ended up going to with DH at the last minute. Together we found a LBD that I loved at Macy's. 
• There was a boy of about 10 sitting outside the dressing room entrance, who was so sweet to tell me, "That's a really pretty dress".  Later Erica told me he'd offered her his seat. She complimented his mother on his manners, but told me that politeness is one thing, sweetness is not something taught. I agreed!
• Friday night I got a manicure. I made an appointment at 9:00 pm. Luckily I only had to go upstairs to my resident nail specialist, where we watched Harry Potter on TV while she worked. 
• Saturday I got a pedicure from the same specialist, then she flat ironed my hair for me. What a relief to have an expert's help. 
• Our drive to Newport Beach was uneventful, and the banquet tasty, though  the awards portion was long, as usual. But we had a good table with some friends and enjoyed ourselves. 
• At breakfast in the hotel restaurant the next morning, Grant told the waitress he would have coffee and I would have Earl Grey tea. The waitress looked at me and sort of chuckled before walking away. When she came back with coffee and no tea and he repeated the request, the waitress told us what she'd thought he said about me was, "She's over eighteen". Too funny. 
• There is always a professional photographer at these events and our photo came out pretty well this year. Mind you, I took an iPhone shot of it so it's a bit dark. 
...but our wrinkles are a little less noticeable that way!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meanwhile, in Southern California...

I celebrated buying my first LBD (Little Black Dress) with this:

Strawberry Shortcake made by my sister Kathy with fresh picked strawberries she bought at the farmer's market, and homemade shortcakes. Yum!  The LBD is for my husband's annual company awards dinner, which up until yesterday I was not going to. But plans change!  Wish me luck on finding black shoes tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday's Orts

Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here occasionally. 
•While shopping at JoAnn's on Saturday, a customer recognized me, though I couldn't place her immediately. Turns out we worked together years ago at a psychiatric group. She was kind enough to say I looked the same. At least I think it was kind!
• My sister Kathy has both "shiny object" and "toy" attraction disease. At JoAnn's she found much to play with. Most prominent were feather wands. The grin on her face was irresistible. 
Traffic Rant:  As I was driving back home from work on the freeway and approached an incoming off ramp, the driver of a supposedly merging car STOPPED at the end of the ramp, which forced me to have to accelerate and change lanes in front of a semi to pass his stopped car. Grrrr!
• Doing pretty well with the action phrase of the year so far--follow through--it feels good to immediately act on a "should" thought, as in "I should call-water-clean-sort-find", etc. I've also included inspiration thoughts as well, when a creative idea hits. That's fun!
• Now that is only semi-dark in the mornings, the bus ride includes some beautiful sunrises. And moonsets, like this one last Friday. 
Not a bad shot from a moving bus, with an iPhone!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Design Wall Monday--1/20/2014

On my design surface today is another project for my soon-to-be grandson.  My daughter's pregnancy is now at 35 weeks and I have yet to finish any of the three projects I'm making, though all three are in different stages of progress.  A shopping trip was required for two of them, so my sister and I made a trip to JoAnn's Fabrics on Saturday.  After being assaulted at the door by too loud piped pop-rock music we asked to have turned down, I began to search for a replacement fabric for this project:

My daughter was passed along a Moses basket by a friend and she asked me to make a new liner to replace this pink one--obviously it is not what she wants for her baby boy. There was no suitable pre-quilted double-faced fabric to be found at JoAnn's so I knew I would have to make my own.  The parents like modern and simple so I selected a solid charcoal Kona for the outside, and a fun modern print for the inside. 

The yellow isn't quite as chartreuse nor the charcoal as dark as this photo appears.  I'll channel quilt vertically to emphasize the chevron shapes and use the charcoal for the binding around the top, bottom, and handle openings of the liner. 

This gray freckled aqua print will cover a foam cushion/pad seen as that orange thing in the photo.  I'm thinking aqua thread would be fun, which of course I don't have on hand.  Anyway, it is pinned and ready to go.  The other project, the quilt top I showed last DWM, required batting to be purchased as well, and it is now a quilt sandwich.  The final project is a pair of curtains for the nursery window and I was in search of drapery lining.  Naturally it only comes in 54" widths and I need 60".  I didn't want to have to piece the lining since the front of the curtain will already have to be pieced.  I ended up purchasing two queen sized percale flat sheets to get the width and length I needed.  At $15 apiece, it was a lot cheaper than buying drapery lining.  I'll have a lot of ironing to do, what with 6 yards of curtain fabric and two queen sized sheets!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Crazy Gate

My daily walk break often takes me past a house with a staircase topped by a wrought iron gate. I've shown the quirky way the owners accessorize before. Well, they are at it again. 
This was a few weeks ago--bells. I missed getting a photo of the rubber ducks with Santa hats. Yesterday this was the scene:
I think they are felt. The hippo slays me!  Can't wait to see what appears next. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Design Wall Monday--January 13, 2014

On--or technically off--my design surface today is a finished quilt top.  This is a baby quilt for my grandson due next month. 

I completed all the rows this afternoon and followed through with cutting and attaching the narrow borders (cut at 2"). I had set aside a length-of-fabric section of background fabric for this purpose before cutting all the squares for the geese.

As mentioned in my previous post, to keep the geese nice and flat, I clipped on either side of the triangle points when joining the geese and pressed in opposite directions so that the seams would nest easily when the vertical rows were sewn together.  This method worked well!  I then pressed the vertical seams open.  The backing fabric got ironed and I'm ready to move on to basting and then quilting.   Feeling great that these were mostly just a pile of geese on Friday :)

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Geese Arranging

I love a Saturday spent sewing!  All the rest of the geese for the baby quilt got assembled, and then I waited for DD Elaine to come over after her mommy-to-be afternoon rest so that we could play layout.  Auntie-to-be Erica helped play too. 

 Nine sets of geese all pointy and bright.

 Up and down the geese fly in rows. 

I will assemble them in vertical rows to make matching the many seam intersections easier.  Before getting too tired last night, I did sew two rows together and then pinned the other two sets together, all ready to go under the needle today.  To get nice flat geese, I clipped the seams on the tip of the triangles and pressed it upward, while pressing the remainder towards the next goose--I'll show that in another post when I get a picture.  The joined row seams will be pressed open. Then I'll add narrow borders of background fabric to make the geese float. While I stitch, I'm thinking about how to quilt this.  It will probably be in straight lines to keep a modern look.  I've got the backing and binding fabrics washed but not ironed.  Really happy with the way this is coming together so far!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Design Wall Monday

On my design surface today are piles of flying geese in gray and brown and aqua and burnt orange.

These piles will become twosies and then foursies; each print has three foursies which equals twelve geese in each print and there are nine different prints so that makes--a whole lotta geese to fly on my grandson-to-be's baby quilt!  His mommy and daddy bought and assembled his crib today so this Mimi-to-be needs to get these twosies and foursies finished so the game of Layout and Switcheroo can take place on the way to a finished quilt top.  This fast geese method is the best! 

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.   

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Still Life and Snowman

New Year's Day was a marathon of putting away all the Christmas Decorations--I decorate only my downstairs living areas, but that includes living/dining room, kitchen, fireplace mantle in the sewing room, open stairwell, hallway, and the powder room.  I think I'm up to seven or eight boxes of Christmas decorations, not including tree lights, house lights, and wreaths.  That's a lot of organizing.  There is still a pile of linens and quilts on a chair that haven't made it upstairs yet...

I wanted to share a last couple of Christmas decor photos--my sister Kathy made these fun gingerbread houses and tree using a downloaded template from Better Homes & Gardens magazine.  She mostly free-form scored the house detail, but also used textured fun foam and added some details not included in the original design.  Smearing powdered sugar brought out the details.  Sugar in the glass vessel holds them upright.  I'm leaving these out for a little longer as I think they go with the bears and pine cones I put out for January decorating. 

The mini quilts I have slowly been making for my 12" quilt stand include this Christmas tree.  I did not make the beautiful paper-pieced block, it was from a swap some years ago from an online group I belonged to.  Some simple borders, stitch and turn finishing and a tube hanger made it quick and easy.  I believe my count of minis is about six but I'd like to make more from orphan blocks to switch out through the year. 

Pretty terrible meandering but it holds the mini quilt together!  The snowman finally got finished last night, again with a simple stitch and turn method and tube hanger.

I did only a quick stash search for black buttons and these may be a little big.  And maybe too close together!  He's looking over two silly black bears on ice--gifts from a friend.

Pattern from Quilts & More magazine, Winter 2013

Minimal quilting again, just going around the snowflakes and the snowman, as well as the center background square.  I'm going to enjoy seeing Mr. Snowman all month :)   My sympathies to all of you suffering from the Arctic freeze and early winter misery.  Hope it eases up soon.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 is here! 2013 Review

Happy New Year!  What a year 2013 was!  I was looking back through photos for the year and what went on in the sewing room.  There were a lot of small finishes--many for the Senior Craft Shoppe--mug rugs, tablerunners, a small quilt for my Blogversary, some St. Paddy's day decorations--but all that sewing stopped when I went back to work full time in mid March after having been mostly unemployed for six months prior. 

I did manage to kit up some of my unfinished BOM blocks from 2009's Moda Greenpiece project to work on during the bus ride.  The next couple of months were pretty light for blog posts.  April saw me working on two very different baby quilts, both of which were finished that month. 

Here is my friend Leslie with the Houndstooth quilt--she had a beautiful baby girl named Katherine and called Kate.

And here is my daughter Elaine (on the right) with her friend Allison and the Mod Circles Baby Quilt (Moda Bakeshop).  Allison had a beautiful baby boy named Jude.

The remainder of the year was pretty slow in the finishes department.  I made more mug rugs for a friend's daughter, worked on Greenpiece blocks and borders, made an embroidered pillow for my daughter, finished three larger quilts (one for my nephew's wedding gift), and one more baby quilt.  And since June when we found out that we are going to be grandparents, there have been plans in the works for nursery projects.  January is going to be a very busy month of finishing the baby quilt, making curtains and a bassinet liner, and whatever else comes up, all before the big event coming up late in February. So very excited!

Part of my sewing slump this year had to do with what I learned from my doctor in October: that I have an underactive thyroid gland--finally a reason to pin my constant fatigue to!  It wasn't until November that I started to regain some of my energy after being on thyroid pills for a month, and was actually able to sew after work again.  Up to that point I was so totally exhausted in the evenings that I wasn't doing anything.  

As far as goals for this new year, I haven't picked a word for 2014 so much as a direction--follow through.  Too often I adopt a "I'll do that later", when now is a perfectly good time and will be a lot less trouble while the idea is fresh or the task is at hand.  Calendaring "personal sewing retreat" days once a month is also on my agenda, hopefully with my sister joining in.  It is so much fun to sew with someone at last!  She pushes me to keep going and I help her with rounding out her ideas.

To all of you who stuck with the past year's scanty blogging, I thank you and hope you'll continue to look in at what's going on here at Annie's Quilt Orts.  May your 2014 be full of good things!

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...