Friday, December 30, 2016

Random Rant on Pinterest

On Pinterest, for fun I like to look at home building plans, in addition to my usual perusal of quilts, embroidery, funny stuff, cat gifs, gardens I will never plant, and recipes I will never make. 

(Not my bathroom)
 
Half of the plans I dismiss nearly instantly based on a few very personal biases:
 1) My #1 instant dislike of a house plan is if the kitchen sink is visible from the front door.  Kitchens are messy and I wouldn't want my guests--or other visitors--to see mine.  Similarly, I don't want to look into a bathroom from the front door either.  Yuck.

2) Huge foyers with no coat closet.  Another mystery.  I guess that's the reason for all the Pins of entryway storage build-outs.

3) Bathrooms without windows.  I don't care how big the fan is in the ceiling, it never completely dries out, which equals mold. Not to mention odors.  Well, there I did mention odors after all.

4) Dining rooms in the front of the house, completely separated from the kitchen.  I do not get this type of layout at all.  Is it just for show and people don't use it except for holidays?  I think areas like this become dumping grounds and crap collectors.

5) Master bathrooms without any doors.  This became popular 20-25 years ago, but does not make sense to me.  Bathroom stuff is noisy with water running, toilets flushing, hair dryers, shavers,  etc. My own master bedroom has an open vanity area.  How can people not disturb their partner if they have a different schedule?  They can't.  I also hate the requisite giant soaking tub hogging all the natural light from the big window it sits under in every.single.home.plan.  Who really uses one?

6) Those weird long narrow dark bonus rooms over garages. I have never personally been in a house that has one.  It might be a Midwest thing.  We sure get gypped out here on the West Coast because no one has attics or basements.  That's why most people's garages are full of stuff and offsite storage facilities are so prevalent.  But I digress. 

7)  Windowless laundry rooms.  Why is it that so many home plans have laundry rooms stuffed under stairs, in hallways, or crammed into the tiniest space with no windows?   I do not want to trample over dirty laundry on my way inside the house from the garage.  Laundry is a Big Damn Daily Deal that needs space for sorting, folding, hanging, handwashing, soaking, and ironing. It is a cluttered and often damp job.  I looked at a plan today for a 4000+ square foot house with a two story rotunda entry and the laundry room was miles from the bedrooms, literally 6x9 feet in size, and had a door to the outside, making it a pass through. There was no sink and no storage. Sheesh. Another very large home had the washer and dryer in a hallway closet that was visible from the front door. Classy.

I'd categorize most of these fails as "Looks Good On Paper".  And also I'd point the finger at men, because most architects and builders are male. Obviously they are not entirely responsible.  However, my dream house would be a lot different from most of the plans I see. I'll show you--when I win the lottery :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Timber Quilt Finish

Lots of folks are listing their finished quilts for the year--I came up with a minimum of 9 finished quilts for 2016, but in searching my blog to make the list, realized I never showed my finished version of the Timber Quilt.  It was completed in April and hand delivered to the recipients by the parents of the bride, soon afterwards.

Timber is a pattern by designer Alison Glass.  I started it as a wedding gift prior to the couple's wedding in October 2015, but obviously it didn't get done in time.  The pattern, though complex, was dead on with measurements and all of my sections came together easily.  I sneaked in two red geese to symbolize the "heart" of the quilt, something of a trademark for me.

I ended up making the lap sized version of the pattern.  I quilted it with a walking foot, copying the cover quilting which had mirror image spacing of the lines from the center. 

For the backing I found this brownish print.  My daughter asked me why I chose it--and I told her because it was another neutral color--
--and I liked the fool the eye perpendicular wavy stitching line :)


 It crinkled up nicely after its first bath. 
I think they liked it! 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Slow Sunday Stitching

Kathy of Kathy's Quilts hosts a slow stitching linkup every Sunday.  This week she invited stitchers to post Christmas or holiday stitchery.  I have a lot of those but will share just a few. 
These guest towels I cross-stitched many years ago and I  pull them out yearly to hang in the half-bathroom.  I'm pretty sure no one has ever used one, lol. 

These bear stitcheries were probably Bucilla kits that I bought in 1985--I finished them in 1986 so had to change the date of the pre-printed cloth :).  

The beading and the fancy white stitch around the holly leaf ring were definite challenges, but fun to try out. I don't recall any beaded projects after these, however!
I love to bring them out each year and remember our early Christmases. Son Nick would have been one year old in 1986.

I do love to decorate for the season, although limit it to the downstairs and stair railings.  The bamboo shelf in the 1/2 bath gets Christmasy too.  I love these winter dressed birds from Target. You can see the embroidered towels hang here as well. 

In the sewing room I added this plaque that was a Secret Santa gift I received from a co-worker.  I love it.  She was most generous.

She also gave me this cute snowman full size stocking who was full of little gifts for our final exchange and Secret Santa reveal.  We have a great group of employees and I'm lucky to be working with them.


Our backyard Poinsettia filled out nicely with the little bit of rain we've gotten (just over 3.75 inches the past two months).  It is over 12 feet tall and there are a few volunteer plants that have appeared below.    See more holiday stitching on Kathy's Quilts. 

Christmas Present

Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas to one and all!   We had our own family celebration Christmas Eve with our kids, son in law, and those adorable grandsons. 
 Daughters Erica and Elaine with Hunter.  I did not get a good photo of our son in law so spared him the one bad shot I was able to get!

 Last year it was Cove in a Giant Gift Bag, this year Hunter took a turn.  He is a crawling machine and headed straight for the tree every chance he got.  He's waving bye bye and pulling up to stand everywhere, chattering away.  Poor kids have been sick for over two weeks and their sleeping schedule has been terribly disrupted, which has been very hard on their parents.

 A little blurry, but happy Papa and Mimi with Cove 2 yrs 10 mos and Hunter 10 mos. Their birthday will be coming up before we know it. 

 The tree before all the packages were crowded round.
 Cove looking at a photo of the big truck Uncle Nick drives at work.  Word has it that Santa brought Cove a chainsaw and other tool toys.  He loves his tools and all trucks and big equipment.

We enjoyed Erica's choice for dinner, Christmas Fettuccine (Alfredo with broccoli and chicken), French bread, Caesar salad, with Apple Crisp and vanilla ice cream for dessert.  We will gather with many other family members this afternoon for filet Mignon from the grill, with and lots of other yummy foods.  I made two cheesecakes and have a batch of cookies to finish off today to share for dessert.  But for now I'm relaxing and planning to get some cross-stitching done.  To one and all, my best wishes for the coming New Year and may your bobbin never run out!  Thank you to of you readers who stop by and check in on my little blog, and special thanks for commenters!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

UFO Challenge 2017

Years ago I participated in Judy's UFO Challenge, whereby a list is made of 12 unfinished projects and she randomly picks a number each month to be worked on.  I have no shortage of UFOs of all types, some of which never made it off the list since the last challenge years ago!  So I have gathered my list and am looking forward to being intimate with fabric and thread and plans.  Here they are, in no particular order. 

1.  80s Star Medallion rescue: 


This star was pieced by my former boss's now former spouse, probably back in the late 80s; he gave it to me with a lot of other discarded sewing stuff some years ago. I cut off wide expanses of the blue print and added the pieced borders and haven't touched it since April 2015.  It needs backing, quilting, and binding.  However, I don't think I'll give it back to the former spouse--maybe I'll donate it to QOV.!

2.  Sue Goes to the Orient Wallhanging:

Poor Sue has been waiting for an outfit for the past two years, but these leftover HSTs have been around for about 10 years.  I need to select the fabrics for the applique and buttonhole stitch on, sew the borders on, choose a backing, then quilt and bind.  I last blogged about this project in May 2014.

3.  Improv Log Cabin:

I made the first row of blocks (on the left edge) in a class at QuiltCon 2016 with Heather Jones.  I passed off my row to my fellow Row Robin participants at our modern quilt guild and got back this very interesting finish.  I need to decide if I want to add another row of Improv Log Cabin blocks to lengthen the quilt (it is sideways in the pic); it will then need backing, quilting, and binding.  

4  Greenpiece Quilt Kit:

My dear husband bought me this block of the month in 2009, and there were four blocks per month--but that was the year I had 3 part time jobs so most of the kits were set aside.  I have all the pieced blocks done, the pieced inner border, and close to 1/2 of the wool applique blocks complete. My goal is to  finish all the wool applique blocks and the center medallion applique.  If massive progress is made, I'll trim all the applique blocks to size and frame the center tree.  Taking some stitches on my lunch break should help speed things up. Someday I want this beautiful quilt to hang in our bedroom.

5.  Quick Curve Metro Twist Quilt: 


One of our guild challenges last year was to use a neon color. I chose this orange and planned a small wallhanging using the Metro Twist pattern and the Quick Curve Ruler.  It was my UFO for guild this year but obviously never made it to the finish line. I have many pieces cut and need to finish the blocks, assemble the top, then the backing, quilting and binding.  

6. Pinwheel Garden Quilt: 
I cannot locate a picture of the finished quilt top, but it and an accompanying finished backing are hanging in the closet.  My plan is to quilt the center and then add some interest inspired by this quilt border seen at a local quilt show in 2013:

I liked the way it implied a stem without making one.  I have the greens set aside but need to play with size of leaf and layout and determine how many I need for the borders, cut, applique, then bind the finished quilt. 

7.  Send another quilt out for quilting, then bind.  I have several tops hanging in the closet that I plan to send out to be professionally quilted.  That means prepping the top, making a backing and binding, getting it delivered and selecting designs.  

8.  Houndstooth charity quilts:
I have two tops to complete for philanthropy for our guild.  One has all the blocks made and just needs assembly.  The other is cut and some blocks sewn.   I want to pass these on soon for someone to quilt and bind. 

9.  Flying Geese Baby Quilt:

Needs backing, quilting, and binding.  

10.  Round Robin Star wallhanging:
My quilt from guild Round Robin of 2015 needs to be finished.  Need to decide if it needs additional borders, then make a backing, quilt and bind. 

11.  Projects in Boxes: 




These four projects have languished far too long in boxes.  Two are from Kim Brackett's Scrap Basket Surprises book, one is a Moda Bake Shop pattern by Jo Kramer, and the last is a free pattern insert from a magazine that will use Aussie fabrics I purchased on my trip to Australia in 2009. They all have 2.5" strips in the design and my Accuquilt GO cutter will make quick work of that part of the job.  I love piecing!

12.  Cocoa Baskets: 

I finished this top in July 2016 but it too had languished in a box for years.  It needs backing, quilting, and binding.  I can't wait to hang this one up in the house too.

I'm going to enjoy concentrating on one project finish a month and will post my progress. Thanks, Judy!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Design Wall Monday--Dec 12

Good to have something to show for Design Wall Monday again.   Sewing has taken a back seat to reorganizing the house post-Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas, but today I sewed for the first time in a week.  First order of the day was a gift for our annual holiday guild party exchange.  I knew I wanted to make a Snap Happy Bag but wasn't sure what I was going to make it from.  I spied a set of precut strips that was a freebie at Quilt Con and paired them up with some solid gray. 

Simple walking foot quilting with a bright thread. 

The color is off, against that green of the mat, but it's a nice mid gray Kona.  The lining folds over the front of the bag to become the casing for the steel tape that gives the Snap Bag its name. 
I did manage to insert the section of steel tape measure backwards on one side, necessitating unpicking an already backstitched and zigzag finished seam, grr, but that was quickly fixed. 

The Prairie point tabs on each side are used to open the bag.  I think I've made about 15 of these bags over the last five years but the last one was a while ago so I needed to review the instructions again.  These are great for organizing a purse or holding sewing supplies securely.  I hope whoever picks the gift enjoys it!

Another UFO peeked its head out as well--I've had these 5" charms cut for some time but recently found setting and border fabric for a Christmas quilt.  
 I'll be making 4 patches with the charms as well as some appliqued circles.

These birdies were too irresistible!  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.