Saturday, May 07, 2016

Baskets

This week I picked up this project again to work on.  The baskets are from When the Cold Wind Blows by Blackbird Designs.  I now have 260 baskets done - only 31 more to go.  I think I'll leave this one out to work on instead of hiding it in the closet.


I've decided not to do the appliqued on-point setting squares.  Enough is enough.  I'll just do a straight setting so I can get this one done in this lifetime.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Losing Track of Time

I always have the best intentions and then things go wonky.  Before I know it weeks or months have gone by and my best intentions have fallen by the wayside.  There always seems to be something going on that swallows up my quilting time.

My flower beds have been ignored during the peak weed-growing season.  I walked around the yard yesterday and was amazed at how much is blooming and how the weeds have flourished.  Purple irises are blooming - a surprise planting that I inherited with the house.  I was tempted several times to pull up those things because I didn't know what they were. Glad I didn't do that!


I saw this "weed" in a crack in the sidewalk by the pool.  On closer inspection I saw that it's a teeny tiny poinsettia that volunteered there.  I immediately thought of the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  Well, the tree part, not the rest of the depressing book.  Anyway, this morning I gently tugged on it and it came out roots intact.  I planted it in a clay pot.  We'll see how it fares.  I may have doomed it but it was going to get a dose of Round-Up if I left it there.


My first project went up on the new design wall.  I shuffled things around a bit and got it all assembled.  Just need to get a backing pieced and it's another one in line to get quilted.


I went through the yardage stash and found a good backing for this one.  It's the one on the left, Chasing Butterflies by RJR Fabrics.  I also found a backing for the Moda Modern Building Blocks, the one on the right, an old Jane Sassaman line called Butterfly Gardens.  I guess it was a butterfly kind of day when I went searching!  I've been wanting to use that Sassaman fabric for a long time.  While it's not a perfect match color-wise to the Modern Building Blocks, I think it will do fine.  Besides, isn't it "free" fabric when you find it in your stash?  ;)


I'm pondering what's up next on the design wall.  I have several quilts that just need an assembling of the blocks.  I'm wanting to start a Village (Carrie Nelson pattern) but I think I'll hold off just a bit until I get at least two more ready for quilting.  That's the plan, anyway, at this point.

Off to hop in the shower and get back to the Cottage.  On the way back there, I'm sure I'll get sidetracked by some weeds that are calling out to me, "Pull me up"!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Exciting Weekend

I finally accomplished the one thing I've been wanting for years and years.  A design wall!


It ended up being 96" wide and 80" tall.

It was interesting to get it up, and for a while yesterday I was about to throw in the towel.  My handyman, Peter, had no clue why I wanted to cover perfectly good insulation boards with "material" and hang it on the wall.  It wasn't until we were done and I grabbed a block out of a UFO tub and stuck it up there that he finally "got it"!

A month ago I ordered a bolt of flannel from Jo-Ann's for about $2.50 a yard.  Although the sku's matched, the color was totally different than it looked online.  Then after buying the insulation board last weekend, I realized that I'd have to piece the flannel to cover it.  Peter was carefully watching me measure, and about passed out when I ripped the length of that fabric instead of cutting it.  (I love to watch the reaction of folks when I do that!)  When I was stretching the fabric over the board and duct taping it to the back, I couldn't get those two seams to keep from wrinkling a bit.  Oh, well, as my Dad used to say often to me, "Bebe, we aren't building a piano here."  Then I decided to Velcro it to the wall after pondering for a month on how to attach it.  Silly me didn't want to screw it in because I wanted to be able to easily take it down and change the flannel when I needed to.  I tell you, screws would have been easier to deal with than trying to pull the board away from the wall with two-inch Velcro holding it firm!  But, you know, it's up - it's done - and I'm a happy camper.

Oh, a couple of other things that totally blew Peter's mind ... and made me laugh out loud.  1)  When he said he wished he had brought his square, I opened a drawer full of rulers.  2)  He handed me the scissors to cut the fabric from the bolt and I whipped out the rotary cutter.  3)  I made that cut directly on the top of the cutting table and he tried to stop me because I was going to cut the surface, which precipitated a lesson on cutting mats.  4)  The Osilio iron that raised itself up when I let go of it.  5)  That me, a girl, truly understood measuring and drawing straight lines and getting things to match.  At the end of the day when he was once again expressing his amazement at all the tools I had in my sewing room, I couldn't help but think of my late boss' favorite phrase ... "Stick with me, kid!"

So it seems I'm all ready to get back into quilting and get those blocks all sewn together that I've been making but not assembling.  No more excuses!

I guess everyone has seen the news about all the bad weather we've had down here.  I think the worst of it passed slightly north of my little town, but there was still plenty of rain and very high winds.  Thursday night about 1:15 I woke up and actually got scared.  The wind was blowing so hard that the shutters were banging and this big old house felt like it was moving and swaying.  I put Penny in her little travel kennel and stuck her in the little downstairs bathroom tucked under the staircase, and I sat holding a flashlight until it was time to get dressed to go to work.  There were several times during that period that I was sure any minute the house would blow down. The fact that it's been sitting here since 1927 and has been through hurricanes and things a lot worse than that storm didn't even enter my mind at that point.  But all's well - and thank you to all of you who were worried and emailed or called me.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Light

You know that light at the end of the tunnel?  I think I can see it.

I haven't been able to work much on the basket blocks lately because of other commitments.  I did finish 250 but had no more prepped.  So this weekend I just did it.


I need to cut the last 41 background squares, and then I'm ready to get these all stitched up.

This is the Trick or Treat quilt from the When the Cold Wind Blows by Blackbird Designs.

I'm pondering the appliqued setting triangles.  I'll see how I feel when it's all up on the design wall, but right now I'm leaning towards just plain background triangles.  I think when the baskets are done that I will want to be done with this quilt.  Another choice:  A friend from California, Yvette, set hers as straight squares (not on point) with no border and it's beautiful.  I might follow her example.  Still pondering.

I hope I have an even distribution of colors throughout the quilt.  I used all colors of my Civil War fabrics except for blue, red and pink.

Regardless of how I decide to set the quilt, I'm real happy that I stuck with it and did the 291 baskets - or will soon have them done.  I'll have to go back and see when I started this ... or maybe I don't want to know!

The light is shining brightly on this overcast day in my little corner of the universe.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Party Time

Today is Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras.  There's a Mardi Gras parade today in my little town, but I think I'm going to stay home and enjoy my day off.  Mardi Gras surely wasn't a paid holiday in the other LA!


Mardi Gras is the last day of feasting and celebration before the clock strikes midnight and Lent begins.  I suspect some of those folks in New Orleans and at other celebrations around the state will need those 40 days to sober up!

Other than a purple, green and gold wreath on the front door, I didn't decorate at all.  I guess next year I should do that. And make a Mardi Gras quilt.  This picture caught my eye this morning. It looks like it would be simple enough to make, or even just squares in the three colors of the day.  We'll see what I can come up with for next year....



Wishing everyone a happy day.  As we say down here ... laissez les bon temps rouller!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Perils of UFOs

I decided this morning to go out to the Cottage and select two UFOs to work on - to get them ready to go to the quilter.

First up was the Moda Modern Building Blocks. I started this quilt in September of 2014.  I thought I just needed to find the backing, get it pieced, and it would be ready to send off.

Wrong.

I pulled it out of its tub and was immediately stuck in the finger by a pin.  Apparently I had pinned the top and bottom halves together and had never sewn the seam.  How dumb is that?  (sigh)  So that's first up on the agenda.

The next one I pulled out was the Metro Scope blocks that I made using the Quick Curve Ruler.  I started this one in July of 2014.  Apparently I started a lot of things in 2014 .......


I needed to fix this block.  Right before I moved, my friend, Mary Ann, and I went to the Quilt Loft in Upland CA, and I brought these blocks with me so I could get the backing.  I told Mary Ann something seemed off and I couldn't figure it out.  She took one look at it and saw that I had flipped a corner.  It's the top right, and you can see that I sewed it backwards.  I will get that one fixed, the blocks sewn together, backing pieced, and find someone to quilt it for me.

This isn't much on the sewing front, but it's a move forward in my little world.  Hooray!

My handy man came over yesterday and we measured where I want to put the design wall.  Next weekend I'll pick up the supplies and hopefully that will be done soon.  I have two or three sets of quilt blocks that I need to get up on a wall so I can get them arranged.  I've given up on doing it on the floor -- I can't get up and down easily, and Penny loves to run through the blocks and scatter them!

I didn't do squat this week as far as quilting.  Not even an appliqued basket.  Before I get back to those, though, I need to finish a binding.

No more starting something and not finishing!

Remind me I said that!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Cold and Dreary

I stitched on New Year's Day and finished up another Ziploc bag of baskets this morning.  There are 20 in each bag.  I have now completed 240 baskets with 51 more to go!  It's always exciting when I can see the end of a long-term project!


This is the Trick or Treat quilt from When the Cold Wind Blows by Blackbird Designs.  Even though I haven't finished the baskets, I might spend a little time today making a plan for appliqueing the 48 setting triangles. 

I just took a stroll around the yard and it's awfully cold out there.  Okay, "cold" is a relative term in the South but I guess it seems colder because it's dreary and damp.

The white camellias are blooming.  The reds will open in a few weeks.  This particular bush has stunning pure white blooms, and another bush has white blooms with yellow centers.  The solid white is my favorite.


Penny spent a lazy day yesterday, New Year's Day.  I felt bad because Santa only gave her recycled toys for Christmas, so I picked up a squeaky toy for her.  She won't let it out of her sight!


I heart my dog!