Thursday, July 2, 2020

June Finish

June was not the best month--one thing after another went wrong, mostly trivial things, but still. The worst of it was when we broadsided a deer on the interstate in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. My husband, who was driving, saw the deer emerge from the woods, headed for the highway at a full gallop. He managed to slow down from 70 to 55 mph, but we hit the deer so hard that the poor thing just exploded. My son, who was coming along behind us about a mile back, said there was only half a carcass left on the highway. Thankfully we had the pickup truck that day, wouldn't have wanted to think what would have happened in the car. Just got the truck back yesterday from the auto body shop--$2600 in damages.

The Department of Transportation is cutting back the growth further and further away from the highway; but at 70 mph, there's not a lot of time to react. The auto body shop and the insurance company both reported that there have been a lot of deer strikes this year because we had such a mild winter. Two winters ago, the deer stripped my evergreens at the front of the house. Night after night, I'd watch through the window around midnight, and three or four of them would come and munch on my plants. By the end of the winter, they consumed nearly all of the greenery. My neighbors' evergreens suffered the same fate. I didn't see the deer this past winter, so they must have found things to eat in the woods.

I did not finish the Mountain View Lodge quilt, which was my One Monthly Goal project for June; but I did finally finish the Star Crazy quilt. Yay! Only took me 10 years, lol.

I quilted it with an all over feather, Plumage, I think, from Willow Leaf. I got off on one of my rows and had to restitch a few places after I got it off the frame, but it didn't take long.

SO glad to get this done!

Credit where credit is due: Star Crazy design by Sue Garman, for Alex Anderson's The Quilt Show, 2009.

Company is coming tomorrow for several days--my sister-in-law who visits once during the summer and right after Christmas every year--and there are other activities planned for the month. Of course I'll be at the sewing machine this month, but I hesitate to commit to a One Monthly Goal. I have a few more days to think about it.

Another thing that took some of my time in June was hand dyeing. There's a Bonnie Hunter string quilt I want to make that uses 4 yards of solid yellow. I used to hand dye cotton years ago, and it occurred to me that it would be a lot less expensive to dye my own yellow than to purchase it. I kept all my supplies over the years, thinking I might get back to it; and I still have a bunch of prepared-for-dyeing (PFD) cotton.

I had to buy new dye, of course; and ProChem has evidently changed some of their formulations. The Golden Yellow I bought 20 years ago was more yellow than what I just dyed some fabric with. I now have some cheddar colored fabric that would probably look great with some Civil War repros. Clearly it will be a process to find the right yellow. In the end, it might be cheaper to just buy it, lol. Still having fun with it though, so I'll keep going.

More soap and lotions got made in June too--a new herbal shampoo bar that smells so lovely, another batch of hair conditioner, another batch of bug repellent, a spray to ease sunburn, some lavender violet face and body cream, and some honeysuckle rose salve. I picked the honeysuckle blossoms and infused them in a lightweight oil, along with some dried rose petals, to make the salve.

The timing of that turned out to be pretty good. My husband was pulling some vining weeds out of the junipers yesterday, and evidently the oils in the plant were toxic as he now has a bumpy red rash all over his arms and belly. We don't think it is poison ivy or poison oak--don't know what it is, truthfully. Haven't been able to identify it online.

Last night before he went to bed, he applied Cortisone on one arm and witch hazel on the other to see which worked better. The itching woke him up during the night, so he tried the honeysuckle rose salve and said that worked the best.

There are courses in herbology that you can take, and they are not inexpensive. I've always been a little dubious that herbs really can alleviate all the ailments they say they can; but I have to say, I'm beginning to be a believer. I bruised my tailbone two summers ago taking my granddaughter down a metal slide at the park, and after a year it wasn't better. I started applying a pain stick I made that contains arnica and cayenne red pepper, and it has helped so much that it mostly doesn't bother me anymore. I've used it for other aches and pains, and it does seem to really work well. Even if it's all in my head, if the pain goes away, I'm all in, lol.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

OMG for June

One of the guys my husband used to work with made a beautiful canvas boat cover for us over the winter. It is for a pontoon boat, so it's not small. He has steadfastly refused payment for his time and materials, so I thought perhaps he might like a quilt for his recliner. I made a quilt like this years ago for my brother-in-law, same pattern, same fabric line, different colors. That one was well received, and I hope this one will be too.

My goal for the month of June is to complete the entire quilt.

You can see what others are planning to get accomplish by clicking here.

The Star Crazy quilt is still sitting on the frame. I have to finish that one to be able to finish this one, so maybe I'll get a twofer this month, lol.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

No OMG This Month

So! How are we liking the new and improved Blogger? Not! My dashboard automatically opened up into the new format; and for the life of me, I couldn't see how to start a new post. I found the button to use the Legacy (old) formatting and switched back to it; but eventually, I discovered how to start a new post in the new formatting. I hate change, and it will take a little while to get used to the new format if Blogger forces me to use it. 

My OMG for May was to finish the Star Crazy quilt. I'm sorry to say only half of it got quilted, and it's still sitting on the machine (insert sad face). Too many other things got in the way the latter half of the month--
tying up loose ends for my part in two quilt shows that got cancelled;
several all-day sessions of soap making to include 7 pounds of soap, a couple of different batches of lotion, and some stuff to keep the bugs away and soothe when they don't stay away;
and some serious spring cleaning, which may be ongoing til the fall because I've neglected it for so long. I suppose that's the most of it. May not sound like much, but I'm so darn slow at everything that it takes me forever to get things done.

This is also the season that dandelions and violets are blooming, and I have been harvesting blossoms to use for face cream, lotion and soap. I infuse the blossoms in either water or oil, depending on what I'm making.

Last year I made a couple of batches of dandelion soap, dandelion lotion bars, and violet leaf soap, but I missed my chance to make violet face cream because I waited too long.
This year I made my lavender and violet face cream, and it is such a lovely light cream. I shared some with my friend who let me pick flowers at her place.

I also picked some lilac blossoms which will be used for lotion most likely. Honeysuckle and wild rose will be blooming soon, and I can't wait to try some recipes with the roses. All of these recipes came from; she uses a lot of plant material that she grows locally to make her own bath and beauty products. I have a couple of her books, and I really enjoy her blog.

I did finish this wallhanging earlier this month. It was a kit from Keepsake Quilting called Lake Life that I bought late last year. I also bought enough of one of the other fabrics in the line to make pillowcases, which hubby received for Christmas. We bought a camp on a lake last summer, and hubby has just retired; so this was a surprise for him.

Hubby started working from home in late March, I think; and it was a challenge to get this done. Even though he was supposed to be working, he would pop down to my sewing room occasionally throughout the day. I couldn't always hear him coming, so I'd have to work on the quilt at night often times after he went to bed.

We visited camp about once a month all winter just to make sure everything was secure, so I sent him up one day in April, and that's when I managed to get it quilted. Binding was another task that took place at night.

There was not quite enough backing fabric in the kit, so I added a panel of fabrics left over from the front, which worked out beautifully.

Lake Life was quilted with a pantograph called Waterworld, from Willow Leaf Studio, which was perfect for the theme of the quilt.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

OMG for May

Star Crazy was a project for One Monthly Goal a while ago, and now it's back on. I got it loaded on the frame, and there it sits. I have just GOT to get this done, so my OMG for May is to get it quilted and bound, once and for all!

To see what others are working on in the month of May, visit Elm Street Quilts by clicking here!

The top half of the Sashed Tumblers quilt is now complete. That's 6 rows out of 12, and I think I'm going to have to add two more rows to get it the size I want.

The 5 Farm Girl Vintage 2 blocks were finished this month too. My friend received the next 6 block kits in the mail a week or so ago. I have them cut out but haven't started the sewing yet.

I only make cold process soap about once a month now because I have quite a bit on hand. This was a 3-pound batch I made with 4 different colors using the spoon plop method. Yes, that's a technical term. It was the first time I'd really tried it, and I should have been more conscientious about pushing the soap into the corners of the mold and into the other plops. As it is, there are gaps in between spoonfuls of soap, which doesn't really bother me. They might separate in the shower, but that won't really bother me either.

I am slow as molasses as most everything I do, so I expect it'll take me all or most of the month to finish Star Crazy, the Sashed Tumblers top, and make the next 6 Farm Girl blocks. I also have a tough time staying focused on one project, so it is entirely possible some other project will get injected into the mix.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

OMG for April Done!

Good grief, I almost forgot to do my post for One Monthly Goal! I actually finished my quilt early this month, had it all done by April 22, then forgot about the posting.

To see what others accomplished this month, visit Elm Street Quilts by clicking here.

The Spinning Pinwheels quilt finishes at 36" x 48", just the right size for a charity quilt for the Margaret Murphy Center near my town. It was designed by Nancy Mahoney and appeared in Fons & Porter's "Scrap Quilts" magazine, Fall 2017.

It was fun to put together, easy with paper piecing; but the quilt top did not go together without issue. When I was constructing the very last block, I realized the pattern was off. The block itself went together perfectly, but when I started sewing the blocks into rows, things weren't lining up as they should. I eventually figured out that the pattern in the magazine had been drafted incorrectly. Isn't that just maddening??

No one would probably ever notice it, but the green leg in those skinny stars is slightly shorter than the yellow leg, and the whole star tilts very slightly because of it. The seams where the blocks join each other are all off by 1/4"; but I figured visually it was better to line up the green and yellow legs than the block seams. Darn good thing it was all bias edges because a little easing was required to get it together. Still turned out pretty well, I think.

I quilted it with the Popcorn pantograph from Willow Leaf Studio.

I did work on some other things this month, and that can wait til another post. I also started another scrap quilt, one called Sticks and Stones. One of the gals in my quilt chapter brought one in for show and tell one meeting, and I liked it.

One night a week or so ago when I was too darned tired to do anything else, I sat and sewed 162 two patches together. The 1-1/2" squares were cut out a long time ago, and there are plenty more where those came from.

Then I sewed together 6 sets of two-patch units--those are the stones, added a couple of 1-inch strips on either side--those are the sticks...

... and when I get enough of them together, they will make up the Sticks and Stones quilt, a pattern I found on Annie's Pattern Central.
I love this!

I still need probably another 150 two-patches for a quilt that finishes at 60" x 74"; so it'll be one of those projects that gets worked on here and there.

Friday, April 3, 2020

OMG for April

I figured out why it was that I was unable to leave comments on blogs with the drop down Comment box. I have no idea what settings bloggers use to get that box in the first place; but I now know that if you have third party cookies blocked in your browser settings, that will prevent you from leaving comments. I discovered that was the problem by googling it. It's a verb now, googling. I google everything. Google is your friend.

In my particular case, my son installed an add-on to my browser called Privacy Badger that blocks advertising and cookies as you are touring the web. You know all that advertising you get in the sidebars on Facebook? Gone. You know all the pop up windows you get on other sites? Gone, mostly. It works extremely well, but it can also block things you don't necessarily want to block. Luckily, you can turn off Privacy Badger for a given site. Once I did that, my ability to leave comments was restored. Yay!

After carefully considering several alternatives, I decided I wanted to get the Spinning Pinwheels quilt done this month for my One Monthly Goal. Right now I need to make 9 more sets of these triangular units for my finished blocks.

My goal for April is to finish the blocks and assemble them into a finished quilt. You can see what others have planned for the month of April by clicking here.

I'd still like to try and get Star Crazy quilted this month and get some more work done on the Sashed Tumblers. In the meantime, my quilt pal finally received the first installment of her Farm Girl Vintage 2 BOM. I already have a complete kit that I hadn't started yet, and I told her I'd work on it with her. This month her kit included the first 5 blocks out of a total of 50, I think; so right now we have nearly a full month to get them done.

This is my first one, Cheerful Tulips. Once I get the other four finished, I'm going to start working on the Vintage Christmas blocks, another Lori Holt sampler quilt. I bought the kit for that one last year and got all of the blocks cut out and bagged up but never really got started with the sewing.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

OMG for March Done

I have had an uptick in spam comments over the last three months, so additional steps have been taken with comment moderation to combat it. Speaking of comments, I have been unable to leave comments on the blogs I like to read for many weeks now. When I try to leave a comment, I can click on Comment as Google account or Comment as Name/Url, and I haven't been able to get anything to work. I HAVE a Google account. I AM logged in. For the life of me I can't figure out how to make it work. It is beyond frustrating! If anyone knows a solution, please share.

The coronavirus pandemic is making me nuts right along with everybody else. Our lives are on hold for the foreseeable future. Grocery store shelves are so bare that it's downright scary. We can't get toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, flour, yeast, canned vegetables, canned fruit. There doesn't seem to be a problem with fresh produce or fresh meats though--yet. Over the counter medications are sketchy. If people would scale back their hoarding, there would be plenty to go around. At least I haven't heard that anybody has starved to death yet. I can't see my kids or my granddaughter. Last Monday we had 89 cases of COVD-19 in Maine, today it was up to 253. No, it's not New York, but there's no getting around the fact that it's going to get worse. Truthfully, it's surreal.

I finished Nature Walk this afternoon, which was my One Monthly Goal for March. This is supposed to be for my granddaughter, but I like the colors so much I may keep it for myself, lol.

To see what others have finished for the month of March, click here
I quilted it with a dragonfly pantograph in grey thread, but it turned out a little busier than I expected. Still love it.

Credit where credit is due: Nature Walk by Tamara Kate Designs. 

I washed the backing for my Star Crazy quilt today, and I should probably get that loaded and start the quilting on it, but I'm waffling. I should also get back to the Spinning Pinwheels, but I'm waffling.

I started this Sashed Tumblers quilt using a bunch of scraps left over from the Yankee Puzzle quilts my quilt chapter made last spring, and this is really what I want to be working on at the moment. No one else in the chapter seems to be interested in using the scraps, and since I'd like to not continue to store them, I started this quilt. It's another of Missouri Star Quilt Company's tutorials. I have all of the tumblers sewn into rows, only need to add the sashing between the rows, no borders on this one. I may have to add a couple more rows to make it a little longer, but I'll assess after I get the rest of it together.

I also finished the Missouri Two Step quilt earlier in the month. Another one with fabrics I love. This one IS for me.

I quilted it with the same dragonfly pantograph I used on Nature Walk.

Credit where credit is due: Two Step tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Co.