Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Stash Report

Starting a new quilt is usually good for whatever ails me, and so is retail therapy. I've gotten about 20 large four-patch blocks done, half what I need, for the pink and brown quilt. Then I decided I'd better buy my border fabrics before they're gone, since that's usually my luck. The brown tone on tone will be the inner border, then the white, then I can't make up my mind about the outermost border. So far I'm leaning towards the one at the bottom of the photo. Opinions? Also picked up a stack of other fabric at the quilt shop.

Starting a new project often motivates me to work on an older one too, usually because I need the space on the design wall, so I continued on the snowman quilt. I finished all the machine applique on the snowmen two nights ago, so the center of the quilt is now complete. It didn't take me as long as I thought to do the machine applique, and I really, really like the way the blanket stitch looks. Now I just have to add some borders. My outer border is a dark green, so now the navy blue background in the corner star blocks is lost. I guess I'll change it to either red or mabye a lighter blue, if I have any left.

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 4-1/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 42 yards
Fabric added this week: 21-3/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 95 yards
Net used year to date: -53yards

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cactus Flower

Even though lots of quilters also seem to be gardeners, I've never really done very well with houseplants. I never provide them enough of some essential ingredient--light, water, food--and eventually they always succumb to bugs--red spider mites, mealybugs....or something else.

So I was amazed that these cactus plants survived. One of the kids expressed an interest in having a cactus several years ago, so I bought a six-pack of them, all different, in pots that were one inch tall and one inch in diameter--little tiny cactus plants. I think they were supposed to be novelties, you know, like the Venus fly traps in the tiny plastic greenhouses you see in the store sometimes.

I planted all six of them in this shallow clay pot, which is seven or eight inches in diameter. I did lose two of them, but the rest have positively thrived despite the abuse I've heaped on them. The fuzzy white cactus is now just about a foot tall, and those aloe looking things have become three, where there was just one originally.

My reward for neglecting them over the years is the sudden appearance of what appears to be a flower spike on one of them. I'm so excited to see what develops! I hope I don't have to wait another year for it to open.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Brown and Pink Quilt

I've amassed a good collection of pink and brown fabrics, so it's time to stop talking about making a pink and brown quilt and start making one. My plan is to make a queen-sized quilt for my bed, and I think I have enough fabric now to do it. Most of these are civil war fabrics, and I really like them a lot. I'll probably throw in some more tone on tone browns, as this lot looks pretty busy in the photo. I'm hoping to have some pinks left over, because I want to use them for Bonnie Hunter's Double Delight quilt. I'll be busy washing and cutting the next few days!

The pattern I'm using is one that was on the web about a year and a half ago that I saved the directions for. Mary from Making Scrap Quilts From Stash used pinks and browns for hers, and I was enthralled with it--been thinking about it ever since. Yesterday I asked her if she minded if I made one like hers, and I'm happy she was agreeable. You can see her quilt here.

I might just start another quilt too. Not too long ago, Wanda told me that having multiple quilts in progress is the only way to work. Truth be told, I've always worked that way, but now I'm not going to feel guilty about it anymore. Gee, how's that for cheap therapy?

I want to get busy working on a quilt from Scrap Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett, one of the new books I bought on our Shop Hop. There are actually a bunch of quilts in there that I really like, and there's a pink and brown one too. And it's jelly roll friendly! If you like scrap quilts, hop over and visit Kim on her blog, Magnolia Bay Quilts.

It's still cold in my basement sewing room, about 60 degrees, so I've gone back to working on the flannel Snowman quilt again. We've had a couple days in the 90's, but we also had a frost warning last night, so the weather is still quite variable this time of year. It's fine to still be working with flannel.


Teresa at Moonvalley Creations is having her 100th post giveaway! Someone can win Jan Krentz's Lone Star book, five batik fat quarters, or a cute bottle cover for Mary Ellen's Best Press Spray. Hop on over!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The 32-Hour Bag

It didn't really take me that long to make this tiny bag, but it sure felt like it! I picked up the pattern on the Shop Hop we did a few weeks ago, and my good friend Kay and I worked on it together at a Casey's Quilters meeting.

It was the zipper on the top of the bag that gave me fits. I ripped it out four different times because I just wasn't happy with either the placement or the amount of bulk in the seam. I was much happier once I figured out a different way to install it. I could whip one of these together pretty quickly now!

I used squares left over from the Charm Party tote I made last September. That tote has becoming my knitting bag, so I'll fill this little pouch with knitting notions and throw it in the tote.

Credit where credit is due: Sweet Stuff design by This and That Patterns

Sunday Stash Report

There is upheaval in our lives and a lot on my mind, so I haven't done much sewing or knitting lately. I want to finish several projects but just can't seem to get motivated, so I'm doing nothing. Not good! Maybe beginning a new quilt would jump start me back into action.

I did finish the quilting on another strippy but haven't bound it yet. I quilted it with a Trumpet Vine pantograph from Keryn Emmerson. Interesting. I had a little trouble spacing the rows correctly, but that's what these little strippies are all about for me--practice.

Not one thing has changed in my stash for the last three weeks--nothing out, and nothing in either.

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 37-3/4 yards
Fabric added this week: 0 yards
Fabric added year to date: 73-1/4 yards
Net used year to date: -35-1/2 yards

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all the loving, caring mothers who have struggled and sacrificed to raise happy, healthy, productive, responsible kids--Happy Mother's Day and God Bless You.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Stash Report

I committed Stash Enhancement again this past week thanks to the Shop Hop, but I sure had a good time doing it. Jeepers, it boggles my mind how quickly the numbers add up! I added nearly 15 yards this week, but I'm done shopping for a good while with the possible exception of backings. Time to get busy quilting again!

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 37-3/4 yards
Fabric added last week: 14-3/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 73-1/4 yards

Net used year to date: -35-1/2 yards

Still not too bad for the end of Month 4.

Email Problem Fixed

Anyone who left a comment April 30 or later probably got a bounce. Up until then I had all my comments forwarded to a Verizon address, and that address dropped dead on April 30. I changed everything in Google but forgot to change it in Blogger. I've asked Lori to leave me another comment to test it, but I think it's fixed now. Sorry about that! Changing email is such a pain, isn't it?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another Strippy

Last Sunday I wrote in my Stash Manager's report
that my goal this week was to complete five strippies. Shortly thereafter I hopped over to Pat's blog and read her Stash Report. Pat likes to list what she accomplished the previous week and what her goals are for the next week. Pat is a prolific quilter and usually succeeds in meeting or exceeding her goals.

After reading Pat's report, I realized I had a long moment when I set my goal for the week. No way, no how can I get five strippies done in one week. I'm just not that organized, even though I am now retired. One is far more realistic.

I quilted this one the other day using the Watercourse pantograph from Willow Leaf Studio. As pantographs go, this is perfect for a beginner--fun and forgiving. I fixed the tension problem on my Lizzie, and I was very pleased with it. Tomorrow I'll try to bind this one and load another strippy. I love this pattern!

Shop Hop Day 2

Yesterday was the second day of our two-day Shop Hop. Kay let us sleep in an extra 15 minutes, so we started later in the morning. Okay, I'm kidding--it's just that our first shop was closer to home. The shop owner even opened up a half hour early just for us. Wasn't that nice of her?

Quilt Essentials in Auburn was the first place we visited. I've been there before, but not before I started knitting. They have a great knitting shop in the other half of the store, and I'll go there again. I didn't buy any more yarn, but I did get a nice retractable Clover tape measure.

We visited two other shops as well yesterday morning, and I picked up a few other things--some yardage of a couple of browns for some different projects, a jelly roll, a pack of charm squares, couple more patterns, and some foundation paper for all those miniature quilts I want to make.

At the last shop, a few of us finished shopping early and stepped outside to wait for the others. We are just coming into black fly season in Maine, and they were terrible yesterday. They're not biting yet--they just keep buzzing around your face and head--but they will be soon. I was out gardening the first summer we lived here in Maine; and when I came in, my son said I had blood running all down the back of my neck. After I washed the blood off, I discovered I had huge bumps and welts all over, which itched like mad and took days to disappear. Woe be to the unsuspecting person who goes out without bug repellant during black fly season! Thankfully it's short lived.

The last stop of the day was Moody's Diner in Waldoboro. Moody's, a plain and simple little diner, opened its doors in 1927 and has survived for 80 years because of "good food, reasonable prices, and quick, pleasant service". They're famous for their walnut cream pie, a recipe requested by Gourmet magazine. Margo likes the walnut pie so much that she ordered it at the same time she ordered her sandwich. Guess she was afraid they'd run out before she got some!

I had fish chowder for lunch, and it was about the best I've had anywhere. Not knowing if I'd ever have an opportunity to eat there, I bought their cookbook a while back; and the recipes for both the fish chowder and the walnut pie are in the book.

Margo at Heart in His Hand Quilting has a nice write-up and photos of our Shop Hop on her blog too.