Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stitching and Avoiding

It was a very busy new-job-learning-curve work week after the holiday, and there was no sewing.  Mostly because of avoiding this:

The king sized bed skirt--not queen sized as I mistakenly noted in my last post.  I have the skirt part with the pleated corners all finished.  I even took it over to the kids' house and made sure everything would land where it was supposed to.  What's left is the tedious part of making the flat center out of a bunch of pieces (meaning more MATH), and that did not entice.  So I treated myself to sewing "just a couple of rows" of the bullseye blocks on Friday night. And of course a couple of rows led to a couple more...

I like to assemble several block rows and then make sections of several rows at a time.  I find that more project follow-through-friendly at the end not to have to sew all the long seams at once.  Today after errands and lunch that bed skirt again taunted me from the cutting table, but I was able to ignore it some more to complete the remaining bullseye block rows and assemble the sections en toto.  I did have one oops to fix. 

 I missed seeing this identical pair of  blocks touching when I laid out the rows.  So some unsewing and resewing took place.  I just switched two blocks so it was not too painful.  Thankfully these were on the edge of the quilt!

This older dark green leafy Thimbleberries print has been in the stash for awhile, and hasn't found a home yet.  I kind of like the darker print to contain the busy bullseye blocks.  And I'm leaning toward the green and cream check for a narrower inner border, probably 2"

Close up of the options.  Opinions?  Tonight's task will definitely be working on the bed skirt.  I want to be able to take it to my daughter when I go over to babysit Cove tomorrow morning, yay!

He loves to bicycle his legs and wiggle everything while crooning now, at 3 months old.  It's adorable!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Friday after spending some time on cleanup chores around the house, I spent some additional time crawling around on the floor.  But it involved playing with fabric, so I didn't mind :)

I have to back up and say I made one additional raw-edge bullseye block on Thursday night to make an even number of blocks for the layout.  It took longer to find circular items to trace for the different sized rounds than it did to make the block!  I then cut it into quarters.  There was a slight boo-boo in that I just sewed all three rounds on top of each other, whereas the other gifted bullseye blocks had the centers cut out of each layer from the back of the block before adding the next.  I had to finesse that method by trimming very very close to the stitching and pulling the fabric out of the stitching line for each layer.  Thank goodness it was only four quarters to mess with!

My layout is 10x12, which will finish at 40x48" once all the blocks are sewn.  I tried to mix up the blocks as best I could, but with four blocks of each bullseye, it was a little bit harder. I'm loving the diagonal rows. I can imagine starting this with layer cake sized bullseyes for a larger quilt. 

It is surprising how small a stack 120 blocks makes!  Today's sewing tasks include making a bed skirt for a queen sized bed, from a sheet set.  I'll be glad to have that project behind me!  I'm off to iron now...

Friday, May 23, 2014


What a whirlwind week this has been.  

On Monday, my manager sent me a semi-cryptic email in the mid morning, asking me to please meet with her after lunch.  I sent back an OK, then spent the next couple of hours with uh-oh thoughts whirling through my head.  Once back from my hasty noon meal, we headed downstairs to one of the doctors' offices, my heart pounding.  Once seated, she apologized for the cryptic email and proceeded to say very nice things about my work, professional demeanor, and experience, and offer me a different job, this one much closer to home.  A bit stunned, I took roughly five seconds to agree to the new position, as a Scribe.  She then asked if I could start immediately, as in Wednesday, after a training session on Tuesday with all the other Scribes.  I agreed to that as well.
This is how my daughter Elaine pictured a Scribe :).  Fortunately, robes are not required, but for the first time in my medical career, wearing scrubs is.  And they are black, a color I seldom wear.  So, on Tuesday, my last bus ride and walk through Santa Barbara streets to work was a bit melancholy.

 A couple of pics of houses and vistas I'll miss seeing.
And my bus friends I'll miss too: Jessica, Silvia, Donald, Jan, Pamela, Guillermo. It was a bit hard, of course, saying goodbye to my workmates for past 15 months--Margaret, Trish, Amber, and Lori, the two Rachels, and Mari, the one on maternity leave.  But I haven't left the company, only the workplace, so will see them again.

Tuesday's training session was a bit of a repeat for me, since I already did many of the "new" tasks in my workday in transcription/compliance.  I looked forward to my first day with a 20 minute commute and the transition from transcribing, which seemed a good lateral move.  Since I spent many years in a former office performing intake histories primarily for Workers' Comp patients, that part of the job is familiar.  What is different is working with multiple patients, doctors, and multiple rooms.  My ankles were on fire after standing all day shadowing another Scribe, but yesterday went much better, when I was sitting more while taking the histories and moving from room to room.  Still learning the job--but liking it a lot.

This is my new view on the ride home, strawberry fields, clouds and mountains.  I love being able to wake up later and get home sooner, as well as having the energy gained from moving around rather than sitting all day.  I had previously planned to take today off, so am enjoying a lovely four day weekend, while my new office mates deal with the busiest day of the week with the main ortho surgeon.  I'm not sorry I'm missing that on my first week--and I also get to skip it next week too when he is in another location.  I'll feel better having a couple of weeks under my belt before facing the senior doc!

The other big news of the week occurred on Tuesday, as I was walking from the office in Santa Barbara with my bag of new scrubs under one arm, and my bag with all my desk drawer items under the other, while I listened to a voicemail from my other manager, Dana, from the hospital.  It seems the hospital HR department informed Dana that since I haven't actually had any per diem hours transcribing for the physiology department for a year, I am being let go.  It was amusing to me that these two job changes happened in the same week!  So today I will be returning the computer and transcription pedal to Dana, who is also having a job change.  She is stepping down from management and returning to nursing for the last part of her career.  What a whirlwind week, eh?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Design Wall Monday--5/19/2014

On my design surface today is another project that has been lingering in a box, unfinished, for far too long.  In keeping with my motto of the year, follow through, and since the turntable cutting mat was already out, I set to work. 

Some years ago someone gave me the bright pink fabric, which was cut in long and wide bias pieces.  I felt it looked a bit oriental and sewed a bunch of leftover cutoff Asian print triangles from this quilt below, Oriental Plates, which I made in 2006 from a Gai Perry design and gave to my work friend. It took a surprisingly short amount of time to trim all the HSTs to 3" square.  I don't know why I dread that part so much.

Many of the fabrics were Japanese imports I bought at a great little quilt shop in Pismo Beach. Anyway, several years ago I had the bright idea to do some sort of applique or embroidery and set the HSTs around it.  My applique skills being what they are, yesterday I abandoned the original delicate floral motif idea for something much simpler :)  Pawing around in the books and magazines in the Hoosier cabinet, I came across a cutie:

 This is Sunbonnet Sue Goes To The Orient.  Fittingly, the magazine containing this pattern is also from 2006.

The hardest part has turned out to be selecting the fabrics for the applique.  My Sue will have black pants, a green blouse, and an orange hat.  Maybe.  Still pondering!

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival--Spring 2014

It's Festival Time!  Once again Amy is putting on the Blogger's Quilt Festival, a great place to wander around and see some fabric play and some amazing stitching and quilting.  I hope you'll enjoy your visit to my little corner of the fun.

I'm sharing a baby quilt that I made for our first grandchild.  My daughter and her husband definitely favor a modern esthetic, and yet I had to smile when my daughter showed me a picture of a modern quilt she liked-- which was made from a very old quilt block, flying geese.  We collaborated on the size and layout of the flying geese quilt, and shopped together at Superbuzzy for all the fabrics.  

Lots of aquas, burnt orange, browns and grays, with a bit of a woodland theme, perfect for the baby boy they learned they were expecting.  I set about making sets of geese using the fast geese method.

Geese a-flying in groups of four.

We played layout and switcheroo and I got the center of the top together.  My daughter wanted the geese to float, so I added a narrow border of the white print.  The backing she selected to be just one fabric, which actually made it easier for me when it came time for the quilting.

 The mom-to-be agreed to hold the quilt when I brought it to the nursery, but didn't want to be in the photo :)

I machine quilted around all the geese and added a bias plaid binding.  

 Love those ring-tailed critters!  Our grandson arrived on February 26th and they named him Cove. 

His mommy has been posing him on his quilt for his monthly growth photos.  I love that!

Be sure to visit the Festival and see lots and lots of terrific quilts of all sorts.  There are a number of categories to enjoy.  I'm linking this one to the Small Quilts.  Have a great time!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Too Hot To Sew

But not too hot too cut!  The parties we had last weekend meant I had to clean up my sewing room so we could stage it for food buffets. I deliberately sorted and stacked and reorganized. Along the way, I came across some gifted UFOs.  Since it has been way to hot to sew, trimming blocks to size was the next best way to play with fabric. 
These are raw edge bullseye blocks. Luckily the former owner of the blocks included a note that these were to be trimmed to 9". I used my turntable for that. 
Lots of yummy tans, blues, plaids, some reds and greens. Then I started cutting them in quarters. I knew I wanted an alternate layout, since diagonal settings are a favorite. 
Liking it already!  There are only 29 blocks, but the giver included a couple of extra background pieces so I can make more. I could also add borders, of course. 
Hope you're staying cool, wherever you are!  Today should be the last scorcher of the week. Yesterday when I left work for my walk to the bus, it was 94 degrees at 4:15 in Santa Barbara. Yuck. Today the high is supposed to be 88. We shall see!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

Hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day!
We had a very busy weekend, hosting two parties at our house.  The first was a retirement party on Saturday for DH Grant's coworker.  A couple of months ago Grant asked me if it would be okay if they held the party here and I said "sure", without knowing the final date.  Then when it turned out to be the day before our annual Mother's Day brunch, that seemed a bit much!  It all worked out, in the end, as we did a lot of cleanup and setup for the retirement party that carried over for today. It was a nice afternoon party of about 30 people on Saturday and we gave his coworker a good sendoff.  

Today we feasted on creme brulee french toast and strawberry scones my sister made, some wonderful coffee cake my son-in-law's mother made, delicious fresh berries my mom brought, and omelet muffins, bacon, sausage, and waffles we fixed here, for 14. 

I requested a four generation photo for my side of the family: My mom, my daughter Elaine with her son, Cove (10 weeks), and me.  It was difficult, but I did get some Cove snuggle time amid all the family members who wanted turns holding him too!  He was very good while being passed around to everyone.

Since this weekend was about mothers, here's a pic of my coworker and her impending daughter, after the lunch hour baby shower on her last day. The quilt was a big hit and she loved all the pink.  She's very petite, only 4'11", and that baby girl sticks out far!  She had to go on maternity leave a week earlier than planned due to some elevated blood pressure.  My prediction is May 30th, the day before her due date.  We'll await word in the next several weeks.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Design Wall Monday

Last week I was a bit distracted and called my post Design WALK Monday, so this week I made sure not to repeat that title :).

I'm showing more of the same here, folks, a baby quilt--but now it is finished!  This pattern was from the new quilting magazine Fresh Quilts and was designed by Gudrun Erla.  My sister came over Saturday afternoon and helped with spray basting the batting and attaching the Minkee backing.  Then it was on to the quilt-as-you-go method.

The longest strip established, each neighboring row was then stitched with a regular 1/4" seam using a walking foot and going through all three layers. The completed row was flipped open and smoothed in place--no ironing seemed necessary this time--until all the rows were attached.

And except for the one row I put on upside-down and had to unpick and re-sew, the process went very quickly. The Minkee posed no problems because of the spray baste--there was no crawling, rolling, or lumps, and no bad words necessary :)

I did have some issues with the fairly minimal instructions for this quilting method in the magazine.  Having never done this method before, it would have been very helpful to have photos of the process of laying it out from beginning to aid in centering the first row.  I ended up losing quite a bit of the bricks off the edges when I squared the top. After that it was time to add the binding.

This quilt is for  coworker having a girl, whose name will be Camila, so an initial seemed like a good detail to add. My sister suggested a flower too.  I freehand drew the C and used a cup to make a circle before sketching the petals of the flower.

She even supplied the bit of yellow Minkee for the flower center.  We spray basted the Minkee pieces, at my sister's suggestion, to keep them from shifting while being machine appliqued. 

As a bonus, the C also shows up on the Minkee backing. Overall I'm pleased with this baby quilt and would use the method again, as it was very quick to make.  The whole quilt could probably be done in a day next time.  We're having a baby shower on Friday for my coworker and I'm way ahead of my usual time frame for gifted quilts!

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Random Bits and Bobs

There was no action in the sewing room this week, save for Monday night's mad rush tidy-up before the housecleaners came for their once a month visit (a small luxury we can't give up!).  You've probably all heard about California's heat wave and it was pretty miserable here, especially at night since we have no air conditioning. Ugh. Today the high is a lot lower and some moisture is gradually returning, thank goodness!

 To match the post title, here are a few random shots from the week:

Bus commute photo of the Channel Islands.  The ocean was so dark, as the sun had only risen enough over the mountains to light up the islands.  I liked the contrast and all the different blues. Gazing at this view is the best part of riding the bus.

Dear Grandson Cove turned two months old on 4/26.  He's gained two pounds and an inch and a half in the last month.  I love that my daughter is using the quilt I made for him as her backdrop in monthly growth shots.

There was a face on my English muffin Grant made me this morning.  I had to take a quick shot before the eyes melted.

After breakfast I planned to get to the spray basting of the baby quilt-as-you-go.  Good thing I double checked the batting size, it was too small!  So I had to cut another and lay out the longest strip to confirm.  All good now!  The batting is now resting.

This birdie is front and center.  I'm waiting for my sister to arrive and help me, since she has spray basted before and I have not. There will be sewing today, at some point!  I should do some cutting while it cures.

Blog surfing led me to check out this fantastic DIY ladder/succulent project on the blog Sugar & Cloth.  What caught my eye is the "ladder".  It is a section of premade pressure treated railing from Home Depot that she stained and sealed.  My first thought was what a great quilt ladder it would make.  I checked the price of the 6 foot section: it is only $32!  Unfortunately, it is not sold at my local store, but I may be looking around for something similar. 

Finally, I got a lovely thank you card from the Doll Quilt Swap partner I sent my Churn Dash doll quilt to, Regina in Ohio.  She loved it and I'm pleased she did.  Lori has a linky party for the swap and there are some wonderful examples HERE. Neither of the swappers I gave to/received from have blogs, so I posted the link from my wrap-up that had both quilts. 

Happy Saturday!

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...