Monday, December 30, 2019

Design Wall Monday--last of 2019

It's Design Wall Monday--see more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.

Off my design wall is the background for my version of Jen Kingwell Design's Dream Weaver quilt (pattern by Michelle McKillop) that the newlyweds picked out.  I greatly expanded the small quilt to make it throw size, eliminating the disappearing nine-patches for plain squares, and have been sewing up sections.  Finally the last batch got sewn up today and joined to the rest.

There's 520 squares assembled now.  The Dream Weaver medallion in the pattern is quite small, with some of the pieces being less than an inch finished.  I am enlarging the templates to better suit the size of my version.  Looking forward to playing with all the colors they picked out for the dream catcher. 

Happy New Year to one and all!  We all will be getting used to not writing or typing 19-- for the date :)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Lucky Quilt Finished

Two years ago I designed a word phrase quilt using the Simple Shapes Alphabet by Laura Hartrich. I cut and sewed all of the letters while at my first Sewtopia in New Orleans, using Drunkard's Path templates by Jen Carlton Baily.  The top was finished soon after returning home, but remained only a top until last month, despite being on two UFO lists!  Finally I got a backing and binding picked out and my sister quilted it on her longarm machine.  It has sat a month waiting for me to sew up some missed spots when attaching the binding, which I accomplished today.  Finished at last!  My husband held it up for pics today in the backyard. 

So happy with the quilting design and texture it gives the quilt. At Superbuzzy, I chose a solid Kona Berry for the binding, and found a great print for the backing--on sale!

All the colors of the quilt top seemed to be here...

..with my favorite--tea--as the theme.   I love this Cream and Sugar, Tea for Two Windham fabric and have lots of cutoffs from the quilt to play with later. I'm thinking a hot pad or mitt would be really fun and I have plenty of InsulBrite. 

I got a  photo of my Camellia bloom this year.  Our avocado tree is loaded with fruit as well--I counted 19 avocados just on one half of our dwarf tree.  It is not likely we will get freezing weather in our area, but we watch for it just the same--lows are predicted in the 40s this week.  Many many acres nearby are planted in strawberries, citrus, and nursery stock and frost and rain are dreaded around here!  There is still snow in the nearby mountains and our grandsons got to play in it today when their parents took them to Rose Valley in the Los Padres National Forest, about an hour's drive. 

 Their first snowman!  They had a great time playing. 

 I did a lot more sewing today and will show that tomorrow for Design Wall Monday. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas and Finishes

We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with the married kids and our youngest and her boyfriend, and of course our precious grandsons.  Daughter Erica and her boyfriend had bought the same bouquet of flowers individually at Trader Joes to give to me. I combined them for a pretty bunch.

I made a local restaurant's dish--a favorite Italian recipe they serve called Broccoli Rigoletti.  It involves lightly steaming broccoli and then frying it in olive oil and garlic until crispy.  The cooked rotini and broccoli go into a baking dish with cheese on top and heated until the cheese melts.  This is served with marinara sauce.  It came out well and I'll make it again for Grant and me in a smaller amount!  The kids brought deserts and we gathered around the tree for gift opening.  The girls all liked their Minky scarves :)

The hit of the evening was a Star Wars lightsaber toy that made different sounds and could record a message of your own. Grandson Cove was delighted--his mother less so!  Also popular with Cove was a book detailing of all the Pokemon cards.  He is very into trading cards and knows many of their names.  Auntie went up to her old bedroom and got out her binder of Pokemon cards to show him--he was much impressed.  Meanwhile, grandson Hunter was playing with his Paw Patrol toys and checking out his new scooter.  So wonderful to have them all here.

Next morning daughter Erica came over to have breakfast with us and get her stocking.  I found these mantle clips at Target--our mantle has a curved edge and normal stocking holders that hang over would only be toppling forward, so I have never used them.

They came in different colors, I chose the red for added decoration--they worked great!  Christmas dinner was at my mom and dad's--I think we numbered about 20 or so.  It was pouring rain most of the evening--luckily after the BBQing was done by my oldest brother. We did not get to see the newest member of the family, three week old Elliott, my grand-nephew, but hope to meet him soon. My brothers and sister loved their chef's boas.  I have plans to make more as gifts.  

Our city was in the news recently due to a tornado touching down near our harbor Christmas morning--there were a few trees destroyed, kayaks and large paddleboard storage racks moved, and some other minor damage.  Then after the storm hit Chritsmas night and closed all the major routes into the Central Valley, traffic north was bumper to bumper for many hours as truck traffic and all those who were headed north were rerouted.  What a mess!  The snow is mostly gone in our local mountains but the highway patrol was escorting traffic through the high passes due to black ice.  

Having nowhere to go Thursday, I spent time with needle and thread, working on the  Oh My Stars blocks for Barb's swap (Fun with Barb blog).
I was driving myself crazy counting and recounting all the different parts and pieces needed for the required 40 blocks!  Finally I got it all detailed and sewed up a bunch more flying geese. 

There was a very thick seam on this set--I discovered it was doubled when I went to press!  An easy fix, fortunately.

All 40 are now finished and ready to mail off.   I'll be back to show my visit to the Getty Villa in Malibu with my sister, niece and her fiance. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Design Wall Monday--Christmas stitching

On my design surfaces today are some Christmas gifts.  See more Design Wall Monday posts on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  

We had a Secret Santa swap at work and the younger medical assistant's name I drew is one I've gotten to know a little bit, which always helps.  She loves pineapples and I found a great free pattern and tutorial for a pineapple shaped hotpad, on CraftyStaci's site.  There are many more great free patterns and tutorials on her site.  Previously I made a patchwork square out of 1.5" strips from a free giveaway at a quilt show.  Once I printed out the pattern, I needed to add another strip to the bunch I had sewn together already.  Luckily I had some Insul-Bright on hand, and the fat quarter dresser had several options for the crown and backing.  

 I chose a pretty pink for the backing, it matched the pink squares well.  The tutorial gave excellent instructions for layering the Insul-Brite, thin batting, and the cut fabric pieces.  Very soon I had both pieces made and followed the tutorial for joining them.  Topstitching and crosshatch stitching finished out the hotpad nicely.

 I didn't mark a thing, just eyeballed across the tiny squares.

The whole shebang took about an hour to assemble and finish.  Note that CraftyStaci's pattern did not require the patchwork, I decided on that design for my version.  My swap partner loved it!  She also liked the Minky scarf I made.

They are not much to look at, but are sure cozy and soft!.  The tan Minky I had leftover from a quilt back.  One scarf is wider than the others.  I found the pink star Minky in the remnants bin at my local fabric store, and got two scarves out of the 3/4 yard that cost me $8; one I gave to my Secret Santa.  Our daughters, daughter in law, and niece will be cozy with these.  I used a tutorial from Jenny Doan I found on YouTube.  Very simple to make by machine.  Cutting and pinning the slippery Minky took longer than sewing!  Still to finish before the big day are a couple of pajama pants for the grandsons. 

From my Secret Swap partner I received a fun seasonal sign...

...and a cute burlap bag filled with some sweet treats and a gift card to Joann Fabrics.
I love reusable things.  Unfortunately I missed seeing what everyone else got at our staff holiday party, as I needed to leave early and take daughter Erica to have nerve repair surgery on her thumb that afternoon.  More on that story later!

This morning I sewed up a bunch of Chef's boas for my brothers and sister.  Have you seen these in shops?  Very expensive.  I bought some basic dishtowels at Target and matched them to stash fabrics.  

Instructions I found online were modified as I was using towels with prefinished edges, which I cut in half.  I made long tubes from my cotton fabric and turned under the edges of this scarf portion, and folded the terry towel to fit the opening, top-stitching a double row to secure. 

Somehow the first boa--the red one--ended up skinnier than the others.  I hope they like them!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Holiday Times Keeping Me Busy!

Well, gosh, didn't mean to disappear for so long.  It's been sweatshop sewing, decorating, and plenty of work and family of late.  I did get the binding on my Lucky quilt in time to share at the guild meeting, but haven't gotten any better photos.  You can see the random box quilting my sister Kathy did pretty well here.  I think it looks great and hope to get some outdoor photos sometime this week.

 Kathy also quilted this lap size Sliced Cake (a la Canoe Ridge Quilting).

I finished this top during my Three for March self-challenge.  Kathy hooked up the longarm's computer to quilt this design she named "Annie's BS Swirl", lol.  I haven't had a chance to make binding for it yet.  This is a fun method for using lots of prints.

There was also a lot of work on the star blocks for Barb's Oh My Stars swap.  

I saw a hint on Instagram about cutting apart flying geese a fast way.  It worked really well.  There are now 17 completed blocks and the remaining ones in various stages of completion.  I want to get these in the mail right after Christmas.  

Speaking of Christmas, decorating was finally accomplished Saturday, only a week after we got our tree, sheesh. 

Very happy to have the tree skirt I finished for the Fair now under the tree.   

A few vignettes on the kitchen cupboard end shelf.  

And my latest cross-stitch staged on my Grandma's recipe box.  This was a free Lizzie Kate design I jazzed up with a border, extra cookies, and my own color scheme for the cup.  

I posted this guy on IG, noting his pensive look while resting up for the big night with Santa :).

There will be lots more sewing this week, I have a Secret Santa gift to finish up, plan to sew some fabric wrapping bags, and a couple of scarves.  Oh, and do some Christmas shopping....

Hope everyone is taking time to enjoy the season and plans with family and friends.  

Monday, December 2, 2019

Design Wall Monday--Thanksgiving and Quilting

It's Design Wall Monday again, see more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I have several things to show for the long holiday weekend's work.

First, Thanksgiving prep meant moving a lot of my sewing room stuff into the garage so we could make room for moving furniture to extend the dining tables.  My husband took the opportunity--and unusually cold and rainy weather in SoCalif--to use our fireplace.  

Usually my cutting table is directly in front of the hearth and hides the pretty ginkgo leaf firescreen I got as a gift one Christmas.  We have had piles of logs from an ornamental pear tree that the drought killed years ago--Grant fed the fire all day with them and it made him very happy :)  We were only 11 for dinner and there was plenty of everything, with lots of leftovers!  It was a lovely time together and we got a visit from the grands and their folks later. 

Friday morning I partially reassembled my sewing room to work on two projects, the Oh My Stars swap blocks from the fabrics I showed last post, and the ongoing background fabrics for Jen Kingwell's Dreamweaver quilt for our son and new daughter-in-law.  I got seven more rows sewn together.

 That's another 140 squares completed....and another 140 to go.  I pulled out the project bin and applique template instructions and will need to confer further with the 6-month-weds about fabric choices in the near future.  Then I got to work on the swap blocks.

I used my GO cutter for the 2.5" red print squares and cut the remaining pieces.  The flying geese were made the four-at-a-time way and then trimmed to final dimension.  In this photo the muslin background looks pink, for some reason...

...this photo has truer colors.  I'll need to keep being careful with the seam allowances to keep the 1/4" from the points, but I am really pleased with the fabric choices.

I'll have another quilt to share next time--my sister quilted my Lucky word quilt top for me today!  We got it on the frame together and she finished it tonight.  Here's a sneak peak...

So excited--here's how it last looked...two years ago after Sewtopia New Orleans in November 2017.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Design Wall Monday, HST play

See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.

On my design floor is a class project.  Just before leaving on our Sewtopia trip, I learned my name came off the waiting list for a fellow guild member's class the weekend following our trip.  I had no time to prep for the class prior to Sewtopia--had not even picked out fabric--but we were instructed to come to class with half-square triangles already made.  I rummaged around in the sewing room and came across a package of precut Kona Snow triangles, and a pack of Moda Slices in solids of mostly blues/greens.  I added the copper toned solid length I bought in Seattle at Dry Goods Design.  

Since the triangles were of different sizes and makers, I chose to save the precut 90 degree corner, and trim 2.5" off the larger triangle, so that it could be used for something else--possibly binding.

Such pretty colors.  

We sliced and inserted--our tablemate had nearly the same insert color that I had, though my blocks were a lot smaller, about 6".  She had brought a vinyl tablecloth for a design board, it worked great tucked around a picture hung on the wall.

My sister's blocks were the largest of anyone's at 15"! She used a fat quarter stack of Guicy Guice prints she had hoarded for awhile and didn't want to cut small.  Most people used blocks about 9.5" We had a grand time sewing and I finished 12 blocks. 

I think this would make a nice tablerunner.  I have 13 more HSTs to  play with, with a purple print to insert.  

Now I really must finish the Newlywed's Dreamcatcher quilt before I start anything else new...though the fat quarter stack of Christmas fabrics I got as a door prize from Sewtopia is going to look great made up in the Meadowland pattern I sure is a lot of fun to start new quilts!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Weekend Doings

I spent more time on the Mt. Hood Abstractions Quilt by Violet Craft.  Once I got more of a rhythm with figuring out the coverage for the sections, folding the paper back and lining up everything just so, things moved along. 

I completed three small sections and sewed them together.  The new moon section will not get to join its companion until later.  Violet's pattern is very clear in what order in which to join sections.  I'm eager to complete the mountaintop so may jump ahead to that section before finishing the sky pieces.  So far, so good, but lots more opportunities to mess up!  If I keep at it, perhaps I won't dread it so much :)

Barb's Oh My Stars Swap for 2020 is due on January 11th.  I had not yet finalized my selection for the stars, wanting to find the muslin first, and then do all the figuring as to exactly how much yardage will be required to cut out all the pieces needed.  I scored a two yard remnant of muslin today for $4.98 at Kmart, of all places, that has a nice tight weave and hand without too many specks.  I'm in the Repro group, so pulled out all my larger pieces from stash and, with help from my hubby, chose the fabrics for two-color stars. 

The Judie Rothermel red print I have hoarded for a long time.  The mustard print is a more recent buy, I think I found it on the Central Coast Shop Hop this year; it will be the center square since it is directional.  I'm going to use my GO Cutter for the muslin 2.5" corner squares, and plan to make the flying geese star points the No Waste 4-at-a-time way, as Barb demonstrated in her tutorial for swappers.  The count is 40 stars and that doesn't seem too bad for a month's sewing time.  I aim to have all the pieces cut during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

Meanwhile, as the next door neighbor was putting up his Christmas lights, I decorated my house for Thanksgiving. Fall is my favorite season to decorate for, though I'll only get to enjoy it for a short time.  We will host a small group of 10-12 this year, which luckily will include two of our kids!  Three of my siblings and their families will not be here, and our married-with-children daughter is going to her in-laws but will stop by afterward, hopefully.  

My folks are bringing a ham, there will be Turkey and stuffing and all our usual favorite accompaniments.  I am going to make a couple of pumpkin pies this year, and my special cream cheese pie everyone loves.  Clearing out the sewing room will be the hardest chore to make room for guests, lol!  I may just shove it all into the garage instead of traipsing up and down the stairs endlessly--heck, I could fill up my car in the garage--though that seems pretty hoarder-like:)

Friday, November 22, 2019

Sewtopia Wrap Up

Final post of the fun we had in Seattle.

Sewtopia Seattle had two swaps this year, a general blind swap, and a super secret swap with a named attendee.  I participated in both.  For the blind swap I made a zippered selvage bag and put a bunch of sewing goodies, mini charms and thread, a selvage coaster, and some treats.  I was the very lucky recipient of an amazing bag.

Isn't it gorgeous?  It is quite large, with leather straps and an inner pocket with a zipper.  I love it.  My bad memory of names leads me to guess this was by a terrible I can't be sure, but I recognized her from previous events.  Many thanks!!

For the secret swap, we left each other little things for the first two days, then the reveal was on the third day.  I was again the recipient of a very generous swapper.  

There was tea, treats, a teacup, tea towel, quilted tote with handles, ruler, thread, notepad, ruler, and the beautiful pillow with sewing machine.  Kathryn from Calgary is a talented maker herself and I appreciate all her time and care in the swap, just awed at the effort!

As I mentioned before, for the blind swap I made a Snap Bag and filled it with sewing goods, a pattern, fabric, and other treats.  Somehow, at stupid o'clock when I was packing, I never got a photo of it.  My partner, Jill, was very sweet in her appreciation of my gift.

Shop Hop finds were fun too.  I bought a bunch of fat quarters for our game night, which were all lost, haha, but I did make it home with plenty of fabric, including the swag bag from Sewtopia. 

Missing from this photo is another length of a Christmas print from Quilting Mayhem, and a length of solid fabric from Dry Goods.  

Our last day in Seattle, my sister and I were glad to have the afternoon to sightsee before our 7 pm flight.  We luckily were able to check out but leave our luggage with another attendee who was staying another night.  We took another Uber to the Space Needle area, first exploring the grounds and perusing all the eating places at The Armory.  

Kathy posing with another enourmous totem pole. The people watching was great while we enjoyed a stone fired pizza. The Children's Museum is below the Armory and it was fun to see all the kids.  We bought our passes and rode up the Space Needle with the crowd. 

The sky was gray and dramatic and I liked the contrast with the fall leaves on the trees lining the streets far below the tall buildings.

Lots of folks were posing on the revolving glass floor.  It was entertaining to watch :)  The Seattle Eye is there in middle at the edge of the water. 

I caught a seaplane flying low as the sun hid behind the clouds.  Too soon, we took the elevator down, perused the gift shop but did not buy anything, and made our way to the Chihuly exhibit and gardens.  Dale Chihuly is a famous Seattle glass artist who works in a team approach to making all his glassworks, which are displayed all over the world.  I'll  share just a few favorites of the many I photos I took!  I really loved the garden the most, with the dramatic plantings chosen to go along with the glass art. 
 Sort of a forest with all different shapes of glass.  The spires were about 8-10 feet tall.

This boat he found washed up on shore was filled with huge glass spheres.  The reflective black manganese floor is very unique.
As you exited the gallery, this large spray of glass shapes greeted you. 

Different glass shapes among plantings at the base of the Space Needle.

I loved this enormous bouquet of glass shapes wiggling atop the mound of Black Mondo Grass contrasting with the striking bright green tips of the bushes at the base.  Very dramatic!  Before we headed back to the hotel, we watched a live demo of glass blowing taking place alongside the gallery.  Three women were creating a vessel.  So many steps are involved, all of which can result in a collapse of the hot glass.  We had a terrific time in Seattle and with all the Sewtopia ladies.  Next November's Sewtopia will be in Orlando, Florida!  I've never been there, either!

Easy Breezy, Windham Challenge

 A combo post of the last few days... I completed sewing the two quilt halves of my version of the  Easy-Breezy leader-ender and laid it out...